Trust

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1 Corinthians 13 New International Version 

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The love chapter as we all know is very well known and commonly used at weddings. The highlighted verse talks about trust which made me think of the wonderful song ‘I am trusting thee Lord Jesus to the moving tune of Bullinger).

  1. I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
    Trusting only Thee;
    Trusting Thee for full salvation,
    Great and free.
  2. I am trusting Thee for pardon;
    At Thy feet I bow;
    For Thy grace and tender mercy,
    Trusting now.
  3. I am trusting Thee for cleansing
    In the crimson flood;
    Trusting Thee to make me holy
    By Thy blood.
  4. I am trusting Thee to guide me;
    Thou alone shalt lead;
    Every day and hour supplying
    All my need.
  5. I am trusting Thee for power,
    Thine can never fail;
    Words which Thou Thyself shalt give me
    Must prevail.
  6. I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus;
    Never let me fall;
    I am trusting Thee forever,
    And for all.

Giving up Everything

Luke 14 New International Version

The Cost of Being a Disciple

25 Large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.Image result for surrendering all for jesus

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

His Prescence

In the secret of Thy presence,
Where the pure in heart may dwell,
Are the springs of sacred service
And a power that none can tell.
There my love must bring its offering,
There my heart must yield its praise,
And the Lord will come, revealing
All the secrets of His ways.

In the secret of Thy presence,
In the hiding of Thy power,
Let me love Thee, let me serve Thee,
Every consecrated hour.

More than all my lips may utter,
More than all I do or bring,
Is the depth of my devotion
To my Saviour, Lord and King.
Nothing less will keep me tender;
Nothing less will keep me true;
Nothing less will keep the fragrance
And the bloom on all I do!

Blessèd Lord, to see Thee truly,
Then to tell as I have seen –
This shall rule my life supremely;
This shall be the sacred gleam.
Sealed again is all the sealing,
Pledged again my willing heart,
First to know Thee, then to serve Thee,
Then to see Thee as Thou art.

general_albert_orsborn

How we all need to spend time being quiet and still in the Lord’s presence! This beautiful devotional song was written in 1920 by Albert Orsborn, the Salvation Army’s “Poet General”. He had been asked to write a song for a series of officers’ councils, but only made a start after the first session! For such a prolific hymnwriter, apparently the task would not be difficult! Orsborn is quoted as saying: “At about 5:30 (in the morning) I awoke with a very real sense of a Presence quite near me. Then slowly, but easily, these verses and the chorus came into my mind. All I had to do was to catch the inspiration and write down the words…by candlelight.” The song was used that evening but not published until 1923.

Obey God and he will provide

Deuteronomy 11 New Living Translation

The Blessings of Obedience

“Therefore, be careful to obey every command I am giving you today, so you may have strength to go in and take over the land you are about to enter. If you obey, you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors and to you, their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey! 10 For the land you are about to enter and take over is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you planted your seed and made irrigation ditches with your foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 Rather, the land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys with plenty of rain— 12 a land that the Lord your God cares for. He watches over it through each season of the year!

13 “If you carefully obey the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul, 14 then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil. 15 He will give you lush pastureland for your livestock, and you yourselves will have all you want to eat.

16 “But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the Lord and serve and worship other gods. 17 If you do, the Lord’s anger will burn against you. He will shut up the sky and hold back the rain, and the ground will fail to produce its harvests. Then you will quickly die in that good land the Lord is giving you.

18 “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 20 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.

22 “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him. 23 Then the Lord will drive out all the nations ahead of you, though they are much greater and stronger than you, and you will take over their land. 24 Wherever you set foot, that land will be yours. Your frontiers will stretch from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north, and from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.[b] 25 No one will be able to stand against you, for the Lord your God will cause the people to fear and dread you, as he promised, wherever you go in the whole land.

26 “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! 27 You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. 28 But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from him and worship gods you have not known before.

29 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land and helps you take possession of it, you must pronounce the blessing at Mount Gerizim and the curse at Mount Ebal. 30 (These two mountains are west of the Jordan River in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Jordan Valley,[c] near the town of Gilgal, not far from the oaks of Moreh.) 31 For you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you take that land and are living in it, 32 you must be careful to obey all the decrees and regulations I am giving you today.

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