A Wonderful Day

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 traveling 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.”

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 baptized, 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!

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!

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.

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!

A Song of Consecration

John 15:15-17 New International Version 

15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Jesus, tender lover of my soul,
Pardoner of my sins, and friend indeed,
Keeper of the garden of my heart,
Jesus, Thou art everything to me.

Jesus, Thou art everything to me;
Jesus, Thou art everything to me;
All my lasting joys are found in Thee;
Jesus, Thou art everything to me.

What to me are all the joys of earth?
What to me is every sight I see,
Save the sight of Thee, O Friend of mine?
Jesus, Thou art everything to me.

Here I lay me at Thy bleeding feet;
Deepest homage now I give to Thee;
Hear Thy whispered love within my soul;
Jesus, Thou art everything to me.

This lovely song of consecration was written by Edward Henry Joy – an early-day Salvationist born in Canterbury, England in 1871. Later, he was a bandsman at Folkestone Corps before becoming an officer in 1894. He had only one corps appointment – at Tunstall, where he was also responsible for Golden Hill outpost. After this, Joy served in local administrative appointments until 1917, when he was transferred to International Headquarters, as Under Secretary in the Foreign Office. After some international travels, he was appointed to Western Canada as Immigration Secretary, and then Editor-in-Chief. In 1932 he became editor of The War Cryin South Africa. Colonel Joy retired in 1938 and in the following year returned to England, where he died in 1949.

When We’re Weary

Galatians 6:1-10 New International Version (NIV)

Doing Good to All

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.Image result for Christian when weary

Psalm 46 says desist striving and know that God is in control. Lord God we pray that you’d take us back to the joy of our salvation That joy that gives us strength.

Don’t grow weary in doing well,
Don’t surrender in the fight;
Keep on storming the gates of hell,
Keep on doing what you know is right.

For there will be seasons of testing
And there maybe weeping for a night,
But soon we’ll be reaping the blessing
If we keep pressing on towards the prize.

Keep on praying in the Spirit,
Keep on walking in the light;
Don’t be fearful or discouraged,
Keep on doing what you know is right.”

The Lord Holds our Hand

Isaiah 42 New International Version 

The Servant of the Lord

42 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
    who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,Image result for Holding hands with the Lord
    who gives breath to its people,
    and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”

  1. Hold Thou my hand; so weak I am, and helpless,
    I dare not take one step without Thy aid;
    Hold Thou my hand; for then, O loving Saviour,
    No dread of ill shall make my soul afraid.
  2. Hold Thou my hand, and closer, closer draw me
    To Thy dear self-my hope, my joy, my all;
    Hold Thou my hand, lest haply I should wander,
    And, missing Thee, my trembling feet should fall.
  3. Hold Thou my hand; the way is dark before me
    Without the sunlight of Thy face divine;
    But when by faith I catch its radiant glory,
    What heights of joy, what rapturous songs are mine!
  4. Hold Thou my hand, that when I reach the margin
    Of that lone river Thou didst cross for me,
    A heav’nly light may flash along its waters,
    And every wave like crystal bright shall be.

Hope in the Darkness 

Jeremiah 31:16-26 New International Version 

16 This is what the Lord says:

“Restrain your voice from weeping
    and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,”
declares the Lord.
    “They will return from the land of the enemy.
17 So there is hope for your descendants,”
declares the Lord.
    “Your children will return to their own land.

18 “I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning:
    ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf,
    and I have been disciplined.
Restore me, and I will return,
    because you are the Lord my God.
19 After I strayed,
    I repented;
after I came to understand,
    I beat my breast.
I was ashamed and humiliated
    because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’
20 Is not Ephraim my dear son,
    the child in whom I delight?
Though I often speak against him,
    I still remember him.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
    I have great compassion for him,”
declares the Lord.

21 “Set up road signs;
    put up guideposts.
Take note of the highway,
    the road that you take.
Return, Virgin Israel,
    return to your towns.
22 How long will you wander,
    unfaithful Daughter Israel?
The Lord will create a new thing on earth—
    the woman will return to[a] the man.”

23 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity,[b] the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: ‘The Lord bless you, you prosperous city, you sacred mountain.’ 24 People will live together in Judah and all its towns—farmers and those who move about with their flocks. 25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

26 At this I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been pleasant to me.

1
Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come! Jesus, I come!
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
2
Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come! Jesus, I come!
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storm and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
3
Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come! Jesus, I come!
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
4
Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come! Jesus, I come!
Into the joy and pleasure, Thine own,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the flock Thy love doth enfold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee!

Jesus prays on The Mount of Olives

Luke 22 The Message

A Dark Night

39-40 Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, he said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.”

41-44 He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.

45-46 He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief. He said, “What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won’t give in to temptation.”

47-48 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said, “Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49-50 When those with him saw what was happening, they said, “Master, shall we fight?” One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.

51 Jesus said, “Let them be. Even in this.” Then, touching the servant’s ear, he healed him.

52-53 Jesus spoke to those who had come—high priests, Temple police, religion leaders: “What is this, jumping me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I’ve been with you in the Temple and you’ve not so much as lifted a hand against me. But do it your way—it’s a dark night, a dark hour.”

Trusting in God

1 Peter 1 New International Version – UK 

Photo by Adrien Olichon on Pexels.com

Praise to God for a living hope

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

As the varied way of life we journey,
Come the plains and then the mountainside,
Come the days of joy when birds are singing,
And the world is fair and sweet and wide;
Then a deeper joy comes, overfilling,
From the everlasting throne of love,
And all other joy is but an echo
From the ever-blessèd heights above.

There are shadows on the earthly pathway
Where, at times uncertainly, we tread;
In perplexity we halt and linger
Till our faith again is upward led.
For the heights of truth are ever calling,
And celestial radiance from afar
On our pilgrim way is gently falling
For our comfort where the shadows are.

In the days of peace and golden sunshine,
In the days of joy, or days of woe,
There is confidence in Him who holds us;
There is light to guide us here below.
And beyond await the heights of rapture,
Where all earthly joys, transcended, fade
In the glory of the Saviour’s presence,
In the Home eternal He has made.

How God leads

John 14 The Message

25-27 “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

Composer Edmeston, James, born Sept. 10, 1791. His maternal grandfather was the Rev. Samuel Brewer, who for 50 years was the pastor of an Independent congregation at Stepney. Educated as an architect and surveyor, in 1816 he entered upon his profession on his own account, and continued to practice it until his death on Jan. 7, 1867. The late Sir G. Gilbert Scott was his pupil. Although an Independent by descent he joined the Established Church at a comparatively early age, and subsequently held various offices, including that of churchwarden, in the Church of St. Barnabas, Homerton. His hymns number nearly 2000. The best known are “Lead us, Heavenly Father, lead us” and “Saviour, breathe an evening blessing.” 

1 Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us
o’er the world’s tempestuous sea;
guard us, guide us, keep us, feed us,
for we have no help but thee;
yet possessing every blessing,
if our God our Father be.

2 Saviour, breathe forgiveness o’er us:
all our weakness thou dost know;
thou didst tread this earth before us,
thou didst feel its keenest woe;
lone and dreary, faint and weary,
through the desert thou didst go.

3 Spirit of our God, descending,
fill our hearts with heavenly joy,
love with every passion blending,
pleasure that can never cloy:
thus provided, pardoned, guided,
nothing can our peace destroy.

Divine Love

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

Ephesians 3 New International Version

A Prayer for the Ephesians

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

The Story Behind Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

According to Hymnary.org, Love Divine is considered “among Wesley’s finest”.  The hymn first appeared in Wesley’s Hymns for those that Seek, and those that Have Redemption published in 1747.

Wesley is considered to have been influenced by a distinctly pagan popular song of the day, ‘Fairest isle, all isles excelling’, written by John Dryden for Act 2 of Henry Purcell’s opera King Arthur (1691).  

The hymn is written around a progression of thoughts: (1) our prayers for the Holy Spirit, (2) praying for the return of our Lord through the second coming, and (3) prayers for the finalisation of his new creation.

  1. Love divine, all loves excelling,
    Joy of Heav’n to earth come down;
    Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
    All thy faithful mercies crown!
    Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
    Pure unbounded love Thou art;
    Visit us with Thy salvation,
    Enter every trembling heart.
     
  2. Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit
    Into every troubled breast!
    Let us all in Thee inherit;
    Let us find that second rest.
    Take away our bent to sinning;
    Alpha and Omega be;
    End of faith, as its beginning,
    Set our hearts at liberty.
     
  3. Come, Almighty to deliver,
    Let us all Thy life receive;
    Suddenly return, and never,
    Nevermore Thy temples leave.
    Thee we would be always blessing,
    Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
    Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
    Glory in Thy perfect love.
     
  4. Finish, then, Thy new creation;
    Pure and spotless let us be;
    Let us see Thy great salvation
    Perfectly restored in Thee;
    Changed from glory into glory,
    Till in Heav’n we take our place,
    Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
    Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Tempted

Image result for Tempted from sin

Luke 22 New International Version

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.[c]

45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”