Dedication and Commitment

Isaiah 6 New International Version 

Isaiah’s Commission

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted,seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;

    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King,the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

He said, “Go and tell this people:Image result for commitment to jesus

“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;

    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’

10 Make the heart of this people calloused;

    make their ears dull

    and close their eyes.[a]

Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

    hear with their ears,

    understand with their hearts,

and turn and be healed.”

11 Then I said, “For how long, Lord?”

And he answered:

“Until the cities lie ruined

and without inhabitant,

until the houses are left deserted

and the fields ruined and ravaged,

12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away

and the land is utterly forsaken.

13 And though a tenth remains in the land,

it will again be laid waste.

But as the terebinth and oak

leave stumps when they are cut down,

so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

Saviour, while my heart is tender,

I would yield that heart to Thee;

All my powers to Thee surrender,

Thine and only Thine to be.

Take me now, Lord Jesus, take me;

Let my youthful heart be Thine;

Thy devoted servant make me;

Fill my soul with love divine.

Send me, Lord, where Thou wilt send me,

Only do Thou guide my way;

May Thy grace through life attend me –

Gladly then shall I obey.

Let me do Thy will or bear it,

I would know no will but Thine;

Should st Thou take my life or spare it,

I that life to Thee resign.

May this solemn consecration

Never once forgotten be;

Let it know no alteration,

Registered, confirmed by Thee.

Thine I am, O Lord, forever,

To Thy service set apart;

Suffer me to leave Thee never,

Seal Thine image on my heart.

John Burton Jr(1803-1877)

Saviour while my heart is tender is one of the most beautiful songs i,ve heard. Played here by The international Staff Songsters of The Salvation Army pianist Richard Philips. It’s a song of re dedication or commitment. If I were to pick a favourite verse it would be hard, but I think my favourite would be Verse 1

Triumph of Peace

A blog with a difference today As we listen to Lt Col Ray Steadman Allen talks about ‘The Triumph of Peace’ written by Eric Ball for Brass Bands.

Peace in our time, O Lord,
To all the peoples – peace!
Peace surely based upon Thy will
And built in righteousness.
Thy power alone can break
The fetters that enchain
The sorely stricken soul of life
And make it live again.

Too long mistrust and fear
Have held our souls in thrall;
Sweep through the earth, keen Breath of Heav’n
And sound a nobler call!
Come, as Thou didst of old,
In love so great that men
Shall cast aside all other gods
And turn to Thee again.

Peace in our time, O Lord,
To all the peoples – peace!
Peace that shall build a glad new world,
And make for life’s increase.
O living Christ, Who still
Dost all our burdens share,
Come now and dwell within the hearts
Of all men everywhere.

Living Godly lives in this Present Age

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Titus 2 New International Version – UK

Doing good for the sake of the gospel

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say ‘No’ to and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused.
I see the things You do through me as great things I have done.
And now You gently break me, then lovingly You take me
And hold me as my father and mould me as my maker.

I ask you: “How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?”
And You answer: ” My child, I love you.
And as long as you’re seeking My face,
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.”

At times I may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged,
Knowing that someone, somewhere could do a better job.
For who am I to serve You? I know I don’t deserve You.
And that’s the part that burns in my heart and keeps me hanging on.

I ask you: “How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?”
And You answer: ” My child, I love you.
And as long as you’re seeking My face,
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.”
You are so patient with me, Lord.

As I walk with You, I’m learning what Your grace really means.
The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary.
So, instead of trying to repay You, I’m learning to simply obey You
By giving up my life to you For all that You’ve given to me.

I ask you: “How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?”
And You answer: ” My child, I love you.
And as long as you’re seeking My face,
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.”

I Want to Be Great

Let’s be honest here. I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I’ve lived most of my life. That’s not what I see happening in much of our country. That’s probably not what most of us were told or taught growing up. Sure, we might have heard that verse in Sunday school or church and even agreed with it, but then Monday came. 

For most of us, I suspect, Monday greatness is about being number one, a winner, a success. It’s about power, control, wealth, fame, reputation, status, and position. Have you ever seen the losing super bowl team dancing around Monday morning with two fingers in the air shouting, “We’re number two, we’re number two?” Probably not and you probably never will. Can you imagine a political slogan about making America last or a servant of other countries? And who wants to be the servant of all anyway? That’s for the poor and uneducated, minorities or foreigners, and those we can get away with paying less than a living wage. At least that’s often how it works today. Being last and servant of all is not what we usually strive for. That’s not the greatness to which we aspire.

If being great, holding the number one position, means being last of all and servant of all, then we have completely misunderstood what greatness is really about. And the disciples don’t understand greatness any more than we do. 

“What were you arguing about along the way?” Jesus asks them. “But they were silent for they had argued with one another who was the greatest.” Jesus didn’t get an answer to his question, only silence. It was the silence of having been caught, found out. Jesus isn’t asking for his sake but for theirs. He seems to have already known what they were arguing about. 

Their argument happened on a public road, out in the open. His question, however, is asked in the privacy and interior space of a house. This is about more than a change in physical location. Jesus is moving the conversation inward. He’s not gathering information for himself but inviting the disciples’ self-reflection on what it means to be great. He’s presenting the disciples with an image and the reality of their better selves, and he’s doing so for us too. 

Jesus is not saying that we should not or cannot be great. He never says that. Rather, he is asking us to reframe our understanding of greatness.

What does it mean and look like for you and me to be great in today’s world? That’s the question.

Jesus answers that question by taking a little child in his arms and saying to the disciples, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

I want us to be careful here. Jesus does not say that greatness is in being a child and he doesn’t say that greatness is in being childlike. Greatness is in welcoming the child. 

Now that doesn’t sound too difficult or challenging. Who wouldn’t welcome a little child? But Jesus isn’t talking about the child. He’s talking about what the child represents. We’ve so romanticized and sentimentalized children and childhood in today’s culture that it can be difficult to understand what Jesus is getting at. 

The child is a symbol for something else. The child is a symbol of vulnerability, powerlessness, and dependency. The child in Jesus’ day had no rights, no status, no economic value. The child was a consumer and not a producer. Greatness, Jesus says, is in welcoming and receiving into our arms one like this, regardless of his or her age. 

Greatness is found not in what we have accomplished and gained for ourselves but in what we have done and given to “the least of these” (Mt. 25:40), the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, and imprisoned; the symbolic children in each of our lives. Think about a family member or a nurse’s aide who bathes, changes, and cares for the elderly, the sick, the dying; she or he is a great one. I can’t help but think about the members of our Open Table ministry and how week after week they meet with and invest themselves in the life of another; they are great ones. 

Greatness never puts itself in a position of superiority over another. It is not about me; my nation, my tribe, my people, my religion, my politics, my bank account, my house, my job, my accomplishments, my reputation, my status. Our greatness is revealed in our service and care of others regardless of her or his ability or willingness to pay, repay, or return the favor. 

When Jesus talked about loving others even when they don’t love you (Lk. 6:32), doing good to those who do not do good to you (Lk. 6:33), lending without expectation of repayment (Lk. 6:34), and inviting to supper those who cannot invite you back (Lk. 14:12), he was describing greatness. 

Greatness comes to us when we share with others who have nothing to share with us. Think of the young boy who shared his five loaves and two fish with 5000 people who contributed nothing but their hunger (Jn. 6:9). He was great. Last week I sat in a meeting with ten or twelve people gathered around a table at the food pantry listening to them discuss how they could better feed the hungry in Uvalde. They are the great ones.

Greatness comes when we forgive one who has neither asked for our forgiveness nor changed his or her behavior. Those who refuse to carry bitterness or envy toward another are great. When we respond to the needs of others, when we refuse thoughts and actions of hatred or prejudice then greatness comes. Our refusal to objectify the opposite sex or to join in jokes about minorities or foreigners is an act of greatness. When we overcome fear, tear down walls, and make room for one who is different, vulnerable, in need, then we are great.

Last week I heard Monica, one of the children in our school, pray that we would be kind to each other. She is on her way to greatness. 

Greatness is not something to be achieved or earned. It is a quality that arises within us when our lives are in balance and we step into our better selves. That’s the life Jesus offers us. That’s the life I want to live. I want to be great, don’t you? This kind of greatness happen in the simple, ordinary, and mundane. It often goes unnoticed and unnamed but its there. Greatness is always a choice set before us.

You know what day tomorrow is, right? It’s Monday. Jesus will set Monday’s child before us. And Monday greatness will tempt and call us. But there is another greatness, the greatness of the last and the greatness of the servant of all.

I wonder who the child is that Jesus will set before us. I wonder which greatness you and I will choose.

“Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”

The Penitent’s Plea

One of my favourite hymns is The Penitent’s Plea written by Herbert Booth and goes to the tune Savior, hear me, while before Thy feet.

If you are unfamiliar with the hymn or tune it’s a hymn of repentance and a hymn used to forgive sins

1 Saviour, hear me while before thy feet
I the record of my sins repeat.
Stained with guilt, myself abhorring,
Filled with grief, my soul outpouring;
Canst thou still in mercy think of me,
Stoop to set my shackled spirit free,
Raise my sinking heart and bid me be
Thy child once more?

Refrain:
Grace there is my every debt to pay,
Blood to wash my every sin away,
Power to keep me spotless day by day,
For me, for me!

2 All the memories of deeds gone by
Rise within me and thy power defy;
With a deathly chill ensnaring,
They would leave my soul despairing.
Saviour, take my hand, I cannot tell
How to stem the tides that round me swell,
How to ease my conscience, or to quell
My flaming heart.

3 Yet why should I fear? Hast thou not died
That no seeking soul should be denied?
To that heart, its sins confessing,
Canst thou fail to give a blessing?
By the love and pity thou hast shown,
By the blood that did for me atone,
Boldly will I kneel before thy throne,
A pleading soul.

4 All the rivers of thy grace I claim,
Over every promise write my name.
As I am I come, believing,
As thou art thou dost, receiving,
Bid me rise a free and pardoned slave,
Master o’er my sin, the world, the grave,
Charging me to preach thy power to save
To sin bound souls.

Please sit back and enjoy this cornet solo of The Penitent’s Plea

Here am I

Isaiah 65 New International Version – UK

Judgment and salvation

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65 ‘I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
    I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
    I said, “Here am I, here am I.”
All day long I have held out my hands
    to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
    pursuing their own imaginations –
a people who continually provoke me
    to my very face,
offering sacrifices in gardens
    and burning incense on altars of brick;
who sit among the graves
    and spend their nights keeping secret vigil;
who eat the flesh of pigs,
    and whose pots hold broth of impure meat;
who say, “Keep away; don’t come near me,
    for I am too sacred for you!”
Such people are smoke in my nostrils,
    a fire that keeps burning all day.

‘See, it stands written before me;
    I will not keep silent but will pay back in full;
    I will pay it back into their laps –
both your sins and the sins of your ancestors,’
    says the Lord.
‘Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains
    and defied me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
    the full payment for their former deeds.’

This is what the Lord says:

‘As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes
    and people say, “Don’t destroy it,
    there is still a blessing in it,”
so will I do on behalf of my servants;
    I will not destroy them all.

I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
    and from Judah those who will possess my mountains;
my chosen people will inherit them,
    and there will my servants live.
10 Sharon will become a pasture for flocks,
    and the Valley of Achor a resting-place for herds,
    for my people who seek me.

11 ‘But as for you who forsake the Lord
    and forget my holy mountain,
who spread a table for Fortune
    and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny,
12 I will destine you for the sword,
    and all of you will fall in the slaughter;
for I called but you did not answer,
    I spoke but you did not listen.
You did evil in my sight
    and chose what displeases me.’

13 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

‘My servants will eat,
    but you will go hungry;
my servants will drink,
    but you will go thirsty;
my servants will rejoice,
    but you will be put to shame.
14 My servants will sing
    out of the joy of their hearts,
but you will cry out
    from anguish of heart
    and wail in brokenness of spirit.
15 You will leave your name
    for my chosen ones to use in their curses;
the Sovereign Lord will put you to death,
    but to his servants he will give another name.
16 Whoever invokes a blessing in the land
    will do so by the one true God;
whoever takes an oath in the land
    will swear by the one true God.
For the past troubles will be forgotten
    and hidden from my eyes.

If you want to know the words just click on the video

Following the Lord

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Luke 18 New International Version

The Rich and the Kingdom of God

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honour your father and mother.’[a]

21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Keeping us safe

Psalm 31 King James Version 

15 My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

16 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake.

17 Let me not be ashamed, O Lord; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.

18 Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

20 Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

21 Blessed be the Lord: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.

22 For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.

23 O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.

24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

TO GOD BE THE GLORY

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Psalm 126

A song of ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of[a] Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.[b]
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes,[c] Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

MY TRIBUTE TO GOD BE THE GLORY

How can I say thanks for the things
You have done for me?
Things so undeserved yet You gave
To prove Your love for me
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude
All that I am, and ever hope to be
I owe it all to Thee

To God be the glory
To God be the glory
To God be the glory
For the things He has done
With His blood He has saved me
With His power He has raised me
To God be the glory
For the things He has done

Just let me live my life and
Let it be pleasing Lord to Thee
And if I gain any praise
Let it go to Calvary
With His blood He has saved me
With His power He has raised me
To God be the glory
For the things He has done

For the things He has done
For the things He has done