CANDLE OF HOPE

Romans 15:13

Image result for House decorated for Christmas

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today is the first Sunday in advent ‘The Candle of Hope’

Isn’t it strange how at the lead up to Christmas you start to see adverts for donations to several charities whilst at the other end of the spectrum you see a house decorated like the one above.

Though having said that there used to be a person who lived in a nearby village to me decorated his house at Christmas to raise money for a ward in the local hospital.

Precious Jewels

Malachi 3 New International Version 

Israel Speaks Arrogantly Against God

13 “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord.

“Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’

14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evil doers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’”

The Faithful RemnantImage result for malachi 3 v17

16 Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honoured his name.

17 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

A favourite children’s hymn to a tune some of you may not recognise played by David Daws on Euphonium and accompanied by Regent Hall Band of The Salvation Army.

  1. When He cometh, when He cometh,
    To make up His jewels,
    All His jewels, precious jewels,
    His loved and His own.

    • Refrain:
      Like the stars of the morning,
      His bright crown adorning,
      They shall shine in their beauty,
      Bright gems for His crown.
  2. He will gather, He will gather
    The gems for His kingdom,
    All the pure ones, all the bright ones,
    His loved and His own.
  3. Little children, little children,
    Who love their Redeemer,
    Are the jewels, precious jewels,
    His loved and His own.

A Lesson in Worship

1 Timothy 2 New International Version

Photo by Chad Kirchoff on Pexels.com

Instructions on worship

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle – I am telling the truth, I am not lying – and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11 A woman[a] should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women[c] will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

Honouring God and serving Jesus

John 12:26 New International Version 

26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.

One of my favourite pieces in The Salvation Army brass band world is ‘Guardian of my Soul’ of where we hear two hymn tunes come through, the main one which is based on the piece itself.

I Worship You, God’s only Son,

Who took my sins to the cross,

So I could be completely free to follow where You lead.

Lord, Your wounds are now my healing

and I am wholly Yours.

You know my name and where I’m going,

Guardian of my soul.

O let me hear thee speaking

In accents clear and still,

Above the storms of passion,

The murmurs of self‑will.

O speak to reassure me,

To chasten or control;

O speak to make me listen,

Thou Guardian of my soul.

I’ll follow You, God’s only Son,

Along the road to the cross,

No other place can I find grace

Unfathomed and unflawed.

And, as I reach the Hill of Calvary

And see Your open arms,

I’ll know my name and where I’m going,

Guardian of my soul.Image result for honouring god

The second is ‘O Jesus I have promised’

Strangely I have for yet another day found myself at the passage where Jesus predicts his death. I would also say this is a follow up from yesterdays blog ‘Serving Christ’ because as long as we continue to ‘serve Christ’ he will be our ‘Guardian of our Soul’

1.

O Jesus, I have promised

To serve thee to the end,

Be thou for ever near me,

My Master and my friend.

I shall not fear the battle

If thou art by my side,

Nor wander from the pathway,

If thou wilt be my guide.

2.

O let me feel thee near me;

The world is ever near;

I see the sights that dazzle,

The tempting sounds I hear.

My foes are ever near me,

Around me and within;

But, Jesus, draw thou nearer

And shield my soul from sin.

3.

O let me hear thee speaking

In accents clear and still,

Above the storms of passion,

The murmurs of self-will.

O speak to reassure me,

To chasten or control;

O speak to make me listen,

Thou Guardian of my soul.

4.

O Jesus, thou hast promised

To all who follow thee,

That where thou art in Glory,

There shall thy servant be;

And, Jesus, I have promised

To serve thee to the end;

O give me grace to follow,

My Master and my friend.

Lost Sheep

Luke 15New International Version

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

This is one of many beautiful, heart-touching songs whose lyrics were written by Colonel Mrs. Ivy Mawby. Ivy was born in 1903 and entered the Salvation Army Training College for Officers in London at the age of eighteen. In 1929 she married then Major Arthur Mawby. Ivy spent much of her lifetime speaking and writing, with particular interest in the needs of women. She travelled extensively and was known for being able to see the Divine in life’s ordinary things. She served in France and Great Britain. At International Headquarters, Ivy worked in the Editorial Department, using her admirable writing skills. She retired as a Colonel in 1963. Mrs. Mawby was Promoted to Glory in 1983, having enriched the Salvation Army with her writing of poetry, prose and song.

Like to a lamb who from the fold has strayed
Far on the mountain, of the dark afraid,
Seeking a shelter from the night’s alarm,
Longing for comfort of the shepherd’s arm,
So Jesus found me on sin’s mountain drear,
Gathered me close and banished all my fear.

In the love of Jesus there is all I need,
While I follow closely where my Lord may lead;
By His grace forgiven, in His presence blest,
In the love of Jesus,
In the love of Jesus is perfect rest.

Like to a pilgrim in an unknown land,
Seeking the comfort of a guiding hand,
Fearing the perils of the winding way,
Pleading for strength sufficient every day,
I met my Lord; and though the path be dim,
He knows the way and I will walk with Him.

Like to a child who, when the night may fall,
Out of the darkness hears his father call,
Far and a weary though his feet may roam,
Sees in the distance shining lights of home,
So at the last the music of His voice
Will calm my fears and make my heart rejoice.

Hypocrisy

Matthew 23 New International Version 

A Warning Against Hypocrisy

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.Related image

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honour at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Serving Christ

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Matthew 16: 21-28 New International Version 

Jesus Predicts His Death

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

The words and music of this song written by two former General’s of The Salvation Army mean so much to me that I find myself somehow returning to it quite a lot. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a simple tune with such true and earnest words to it

Easter Monday

Image result for Easter egg hunt

The Bible makes no mention of Easter or Easter Monday. There is no requirement as a church to celebrate it, but there is prohibition either.

Easter Monday as we know is the day after Christ’s resurrection where he said for 40 days appearing to believers and giving ministry. He also healed the sick and proved to doubter’s he was the son of God.

Easter Monday, also called Bright Monday or Renewal Monday, is the beginning of Bright Week. It is common to douse people in water, representing the new life of baptism, and play games with Easter eggs. Such as Easter egg hunt or rolling your a hard boiled egg down a hill (which represents the stone being rolled away).

Giving Thanks

Image result for Giving thanks to God

Psalm 138 New Living Translation 

A psalm of David.

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;
    I will sing your praises before the gods.
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
    I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
    by all the honour of your name.
As soon as I pray, you answer me;
    you encourage me by giving me strength.

Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord,
    for all of them will hear your words.
Yes, they will sing about the Lord’s ways,
    for the glory of the Lord is very great.
Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble,
    but he keeps his distance from the proud.

Though I am surrounded by troubles,
    you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
    and the power of your right hand saves me.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
    for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

In verse eight we are told that the Lord has a plan for our lives, the thing we have to remember is when we as humans try to go a different way God has other plans for us and sometimes we may not like the route that God is taking us, but we have to accept that he is taking us that way for a reason.

Who Will Tell Them?

Our Savior . . . has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

2 Timothy 1:10

Today’s Scripture

2 Corinthians 4:1–6

Insight

When we hear the word ministry we often associate it with a vocation or certain church-related activities that we perform individually—“my ministry is this or that.” But Paul is telling the church at Corinth that they all have the same ministry: “through God’s mercy we have this ministry” (2 Cor. 4:1). So what is this universal ministry Paul is calling the church to? The Greek word translated “ministry” in this passage is commonly rendered “waiting at tables.” Paul is talking about service. All Christians are called to a lifestyle of service that witnesses to and communicates the good news of Jesus.

World War II had ended. Peace had been declared. But young Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda of the Japanese Imperial Army, stationed on an island in the Philippines, didn’t know the war had ended. Attempts were made to track him down. Leaflets were dropped over his location, telling him the war was over. But Onoda, whose last order in 1945 was to stay and fight, dismissed these attempts and leaflets as trickery or propaganda from the enemy. He did not surrender until March 1974—nearly 30 years after the war had ended—when his former commanding officer travelled from Japan to the Philippines, rescinded his original order, and officially relieved Onoda of duty. Onoda finally believed the war was over.

When it comes to the good news about Jesus Christ, many still haven’t heard or don’t believe that He has “destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). And some of us who have heard and believed still live defeated lives, trying to survive on our own in the jungle of life.

Someone needs to tell them the glorious news of Christ’s victory over sin and death. Initially, they may respond with scepticism or doubt, but take heart. Imagine the freedom they’ll find when Christ illumines their mind with the knowledge that the battle has been won.

Please pray for The Ukraine!