I Vow To Thee, My Country

In light of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral yesterday I thought I would look at the story behind this hymn Although the hymn is commonly used at Remembrance to remember those who fought and died in both wars for the country, the Queen did at her coronation make a vow to serve the Country.

The origin of the hymn’s text is a poem by diplomat Cecil Spring Rice, written early in the 20th century, entitled Urbs Dei (“The City of God”) or The Two Fatherlands. The poem described how a Christian owes his loyalties to both his homeland and the heavenly kingdom.

The Story Behind I Vow to Thee, My Country

In 1908, Spring Rice was posted to the British Embassy in Stockholm. In 1912, he was appointed as Ambassador to the United States of America, where he influenced the administration of Woodrow Wilson to abandon neutrality and join Britain in the war against Germany. After the United States entered the war, he was recalled to Britain. Shortly before his departure from the US in January 1918, he re-wrote and renamed Urbs Dei as “I Vow to Thee, My Country” significantly altering the first verse to concentrate on the themes of love and sacrifice rather than “the noise of battle” and “the thunder of her guns”, creating a more sombre tone in view of the dreadful loss of life suffered in the Great War. The first verse in both versions invokes Britain; the second verse, the Kingdom of Heaven.

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love.
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best.
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know.
We may not count her armies; we may not see her King.
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering.
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

Many Mansions

Image result for God's heavenly mansions

John 14 New International Version 

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Today we have yet another popular reading, as we did yesterday. Here at the beginning we are told that we should not worry if we believe in God and Jesus. Furthermore Jesus tell us his Father’s house has many rooms or mansions as the King James bible puts it And he is going to prepare a place for us, then he will return to take us home.

Even if we have sinned and asked forgiveness.

As for the people who do not believe in God or Jesus They will never see God’s mansion

Loaves & Fishes

John 6 The Message (MSG)

Bread and Fish for All

1-4 After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee (some call it Tiberias). A huge crowd followed him, attracted by the miracles they had seen him do among the sick. When he got to the other side, he climbed a hill and sat down, surrounded by his disciples. It was nearly time for the Feast of Passover, kept annually by the Jews.

5-6 When Jesus looked out and saw that a large crowd had arrived, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread to feed these people?” He said this to stretch Philip’s faith. He already knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered, “Two hundred silver pieces wouldn’t be enough to buy bread for each person to get a piece.”

8-9 One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.”

10-11 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was a nice carpet of green grass in this place. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted.

12-13 When the people had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted.” They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves.

14-15 The people realized that God was at work among them in what Jesus had just done. They said, “This is the Prophet for sure, God’s Prophet right here in Galilee!” Jesus saw that in their enthusiasm, they were about to grab him and make him king, so he slipped off and went back up the mountain to be by himself.

16-21 In the evening his disciples went down to the sea, got in the boat, and headed back across the water to Capernaum. It had grown quite dark and Jesus had not yet returned. A huge wind blew up, churning the sea. They were maybe three or four miles out when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, quite near the boat. They were scared senseless, but he reassured them, “It’s me. It’s all right. Don’t be afraid.” So they took him on board. In no time they reached land—the exact spot they were headed to.

22-24 The next day the crowd that was left behind realized that there had been only one boat, and that Jesus had not gotten into it with his disciples. They had seen them go off without him. By now boats from Tiberias had pulled up near where they had eaten the bread blessed by the Master. So when the crowd realized he was gone and wasn’t coming back, they piled into the Tiberias boats and headed for Capernaum, looking for Jesus.

25 When they found him back across the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.

The Bread of Life

27 “Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”

28 To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?”

29 Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.”

30-31 They waffled: “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

32-33 Jesus responded, “The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.”

34 They jumped at that: “Master, give us this bread, now and forever!”

35-38 Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.

39-40 “This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.”

41-42 At this, because he said, “I am the Bread that came down from heaven,” the Jews started arguing over him: “Isn’t this the son of Joseph? Don’t we know his father? Don’t we know his mother? How can he now say, ‘I came down out of heaven’ and expect anyone to believe him?”

43-46 Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End. This is what the prophets meant when they wrote, ‘And then they will all be personally taught by God.’ Anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to me to be taught personally—to see it with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from me, since I have it firsthand from the Father. No one has seen the Father except the One who has his Being alongside the Father—and you can see me.

47-51 “I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”

52 At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”

53-58 But Jesus didn’t give an inch. “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”

59 He said these things while teaching in the meeting place in Capernaum.

1 Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.

2 Alone with Thee, amid the mystic shadows,
The solemn hush of nature newly born;
Alone with Thee in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn.

3 Still, still with Thee! As to each newborn morning
A fresh and solemn splendor still is giv’n,
So does this blessed consciousness, awaking,
Breathe each day nearness unto Thee and heav’n.

4 So shall it be at last, in that bright morning,
When the soul waketh and life’s shadows flee;
O in that hour, fairer than daylight dawning,
Shall rise the glorious thought, I am with Thee.

Why Did David Lift His Eyes to the Hills? 

I was inspired by a friend who is holidaying in the area of “The Ochills” in Scotland and was reminded of the inspiration a man called Earnest Rance received from the fist two verses to write this song,

https://extranet.salvos.net/misc/auesongbook.nsf/c86531ad19e5596cca256d030017dd6b/12f5913ac1950250ca256d01001369dc?OpenDocument

Children of Jesus

Mark 10 New International Version

The Little Children and Jesus

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

The Story Behind Jesus Loves Me

“Jesus Loves Me” is one of the most popular Christian hymns around the world, especially among children. The hymn was first written by Anna B. Warner as a poem. Anna’s sister Susan requested a poem for a dying child and Anna wrote the wonderful words of Jesus Loves Me to bring comfort and peace.

Anna’s poem appeared in a novel, Say and Seal, and was composed by William Bradbury in 1862.

“Jesus Loves Me” with its simple, direct message, is one of the first hymns missionaries teach to new converts. It was the favourite hymn of Francis Schaeffer, who recognised that ultimately what intellectuals and children alike need is the simple message of Jesus. Amy Carmichael, the Irish missionary to India, was converted after hearing this hymn at a children’s mission in Yorkshire, England.

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
Refrain:

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, “Let them come to Me.

”Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.

Stress

Romans 10 New International Version – UK

Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

11 As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’[e] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’[f]

Or as The Message translates it,

Romans 10 The Message (MSG)

11-13 Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”

I have a question for you. Can you honestly say you have had a ‘Stress free’ live? I know I haven’t. Something I’ve always tried to bare in mind when stressed or worried is the old saying ‘It’ll all work out in the end’ and it usually does.

Photo by Jake Ryan on Pexels.com

Of course as we all know some of the more common stress factors are Marriage, Divorce and financial problems and that’s only the tip of the iceberg as they say.

As Christians dealing with stress we must trust in God because as The Message puts it ‘He’s the same God for all, a generous God who can help.

You were the Word at the beginning
One With God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What a beautiful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus, You brought heaven down
My sin was great, Your love was greater
What could separate us now

What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What a wonderful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

How sweet is your name, Lord, how good You are
Love to sing in the name of the Lord, love to sing for you all?
Death could not hold You, the veil tore before You
You silenced the boast, of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring, the praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival, You have no equal
Now and forever, Our God reigns
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name, above all names

What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What a powerful Name it is
Nothing can stand against
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

You have no rival, You have no equal
Now and forever, Our God reigns
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name, above all names

What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What a powerful Name it is
Nothing can stand against
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Hope 

Philippians 1:19-26 New International Version 

19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.[a] 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ,which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Here we have a very interesting passage where Paul is wrestling with the decision between life and death and although he knew he would be better with Christ in the end he remained on earth.

“I Look To You”

As I lay me down,
Heaven hear me now.
I’m lost without a cause
After giving it my all.

Winter storms have come
And darkened my sun.
After all that I’ve been through
Who on earth can I turn to?

I look to you.
I look to you.
After all my strength is gone,
In you I can be strong
I look to you.
I look to you.
And when melodies are gone,
In you I hear a song.
I look to you.

About to lose my breath,
There’s no more fighting left,
Sinking to rise no more,
Searching for that open door.

And every road that I’ve taken
Led to my regret.
And I don’t know if I’m going to make it.
Nothing to do but lift my head

I look to you.
I look to you.
And when all my strength is gone,
In you I can be strong
I look to you.
I look to you.
And when melodies are gone,
In you I hear a song.
I look to you.

My levees are broken
My walls have come
Tumbling down on me

The rain is falling.
Defeat is calling.
I need you to set me free.

Take me far away from the battle.
I need you.
Shine on me.

I look to you.
I look to you.
After all my strength is gone,
In you I can be strong
I look to you.
I look to you.
And when melodies are gone,
In you I hear a song.
I look to you.

Safe in the arms of Jesus

Proverbs 3:21-26

21My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; 22they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. 23Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. 24When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, 26for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.

1
Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,See the source image
Sweetly my soul doth rest.
Hark! ’tis a song of heaven
Borne in the sweetest voice,
Echoed by saints in spirit,
Making my heart rejoice.

Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul doth rest.
2
Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe from corroding care,
Safe from the world’s temptations,
Sin cannot harm me there.
Free from the blight of sorrow,
Free from my doubts and fears;
Only a few more trials,
Only a few more tears.
3
Jesus, my heart’s dear Refuge,
Jesus has died for me;
Firm on the Rock of Ages
Ever my trust shall be.
Here let me wait with patience,
Wait till the night is o’er,
Wait till I see the morning
Break on the golden shore.

New Beginnings

Image result for A new life in Christ

2 Corinthians 5 The Message

A New Life

14-15 Our firm decision is to work from this focused centre: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

21 How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

I want to be close, close to your side
So heaven is real and death is, a lie
I want to hear voices of angels above
Singing as one
Hallelujah, holy, holy
God almighty, the great I am
Who is worthy, none beside thee
God almighty, the great I am
I want to be near, near to your heart
Loving the world and hating the dark
I want to see dry bones living again
Singing as one
Hallelujah, holy, holy
God almighty, the great I am
Who is worthy, none beside thee
God almighty, the great I am
The great I am
The mountains shake before you the demons run in fear
At the mention of the name king of majesty
There is no power in hell
Or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the great I am
The great I am, the great I am yeah
Hallelujah, holy, holy
God almighty, the great I am
Who is worthy, none beside thee
God almighty, the great I am
Hallelujah, holy, holy
God almighty, the great I am
Who is worthy, none beside thee
God almighty, the great I am
The great I am
The great I am
The great I am

Do you remember you’re Conversion?

Acts 9 New International Version 

Saul’s Conversion

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”Image result for saul's conversion

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptised, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

O what a wonderful, wonderful day – day I will never forget;
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Saviour I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend – He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, With joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart.

Chorus:
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Saviour made me whole;
My sins were washed away –
And my night was turned to day –
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

Born of the Spirit with life from above into God’s fam’ly divine,
Justified fully thru Calvary’s love, O what a standing is mine!
And the transaction so quickly was made when as a sinner I came,
Took of the offer of grace He did proffer – He saved me, O praise His dear name!

Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure after the passing of time;
I have a future in heaven for sure, there in those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day when at the cross I believed;
Riches eternal and blessings supernal from His precious hand I received.

The words to the above song ‘Heaven came down’ is a brilliant and fitting song for someone who has just been converted. Below is a video of Salvation Army timbrelists doing a display to the march ‘Heaven Came Down’