Discipleship

John 15:1-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

I Am the True Vine

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.Image result for discipleship

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Holy Ground

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Exodus 3 New International Version 

Moses and the Burning Bush

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

As I walked
Through the doors
I sensed his presence
And i knew
This was a place
Where love abounds
For this is a temple
The Jehovah God abides here
we are standing
In his presence
On holy ground

We are standing
On holy ground
And i know,
I know there are angels
All around
Let us praise,
Praise Jesus now
we are standing

On holy ground

In his presence
there is joy
Beyond all measure
And at his feet
peace of mind
Can still be found
If you have a need
I know he has the answer
reach out and claim it
For we are standing
On holy ground

We are standing
On holy ground
And i know,
I know there are angels
All around
Let us praise,
Praise Jesus now
we are standing

On holy ground

We are standing
On holy ground
And i know,
I know there are angels
All around
Let us praise,
Praise Jesus now
we are standing

On holy ground.

In his holy wonderful presence
He loves us in our hour of sorrow
He’s our hope, our hope for tomorrow
We are standing in his presence
In holy ground
Holy ground

Being close to God

Genesis 28 10 – 22

Jacob’s Dream at Bethel
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it[c] stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.[d] 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel,[e] though the city used to be called Luz.
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord[f] will be my God 22 and[g] this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!See the source image
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus: Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus

There let the way appear steps unto heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus

Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus

Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee,

A sixth verse was later added to the hymn by Ed­ward H. Bick­er­steth, Jr. as follows:

There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,
There in my Saviour’s love, perfectly blest;
Age after age to be, nearer my God to Thee.

Chorus

Rescued from the Wicked

Image result for God rescues needy from the wicked

Jeremiah 20 New International Version 

Jeremiah’s Complaint

You deceived[a] me, Lord, and I was deceived[b];
    you overpowered me and prevailed.
I am ridiculed all day long;
    everyone mocks me.
Whenever I speak, I cry out
    proclaiming violence and destruction.
So the word of the Lord has brought me
    insult and reproach all day long.
But if I say, “I will not mention his word
    or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
    a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
    indeed, I cannot.
10 I hear many whispering,
    “Terror on every side!
    Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!”
All my friends
    are waiting for me to slip, saying,
“Perhaps he will be deceived;
    then we will prevail over him
    and take our revenge on him.”

11 But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior;
    so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;
    their dishonour will never be forgotten.
12 Lord Almighty, you who examine the righteous
    and probe the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
    for to you I have committed my cause.

13 Sing to the Lord!
    Give praise to the Lord!
He rescues the life of the needy
    from the hands of the wicked.

14 Cursed be the day I was born!
    May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!
15 Cursed be the man who brought my father the news,
    who made him very glad, saying,
    “A child is born to you—a son!”
16 May that man be like the towns
    the Lord overthrew without pity.
May he hear wailing in the morning,
    a battle cry at noon.
17 For he did not kill me in the womb,
    with my mother as my grave,
    her womb enlarged forever.
18 Why did I ever come out of the womb
    to see trouble and sorrow
    and to end my days in shame?

You could say this is a follow up or a part 2 of yesterday’s blog on ‘God doesn’t Forget’ because the main verse reminds us once again that God will always rescue the lives of the needy against the wicked

God’s Amazing Grace

Psalm 146 New International Version 

Psalm 146

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.Image result for Gods amazing grace

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

The song ‘Amazing grace’ came to mind when reading the highlighted verse eight where it mentions in verse one about being blind & but could now see. This is a video with a powerful message.

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’

What Jesus really means to me

 “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
   And the government will rest on His shoulders;
   And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

See the source image

More than Wonderful  is a song written by Sandi Patty and referring to the words of the first part of the song I thank Jesus every day for his love that never ceases and the fact that he everything he said he would be. The song also reminded me how Jesus came to dwell with us. Let me share the second verse and chorus from the song.

Well, I tried Him and I found His promises are true
He’s everything He said that He would be
The finest words I know could not begin to tell
Just what Jesus really means to me

For He’s more wonderful than my mind can conceive
He’s more wonderful than my heart can believe
He goes beyond my highest hopes and fondest dreams
He’s everything that my soul ever longed for
Everything He’s promised and so much more
More than amazing, more than marvelous
More than miraculous could ever be
He’s more than wonderful, that’s what Jesus is to me..

Father’s

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Helen Steiner Rice (May 19, 1900 – April 23, 1981) was an American writer of religious and inspirational poetry.
Helen Steiner was born in Lorain, Ohio on May 19, 1900. Her father, a railroad worker, died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. She began work for a public utility and progressed to the position of advertising manager, which was rare for a woman at that time. She also became the Ohio State Chairman of the Women’s Public Information Committee of the Electric Light Association, and campaigned for women’s rights and improved working conditions.
In 1929 she married Franklin Dryden Rice, a bank vice-president in Dayton, Ohio. After the stock market crash in October that year, Franklin lost his job and his investments. He fell into a depression from which he never recovered, and committed suicide in 1932.
Rice became a successful businesswoman and lecturer, but found her most satisfying outlet in writing verse for the prominent greeting card company American Greetings. Her poems received wide exposure in the 1960s when several were read by Aladdin on the poetry segment of the Lawrence Welk television show.
The demand for her poems became so great that her books are still selling steadily after many printings, and she has been acclaimed as “America’s beloved inspirational poet laureate”. Helen Steiner Rice’s books of inspirational poetry have now sold nearly seven million copies. Her strong religious faith and the ability she had to express deep emotion gave her poems timeless appeal.
She died on the evening of April 23, 1981, a month before her 81st birthday, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio.

Sunday past in the UK was Father’s day, Here is one of Helen’s poem’s

Fathers are wonderful people
Too little understood,
And we do not sing their praises
As often as we should…

For, somehow, Father seems to be
The man who pays the bills,
While Mother binds up little hurts
And nurses all our ills…
And Father struggles daily
To live up to ‘his image’
As protector and provider
And ‘hero of the scrimmage’…

And perhaps that is the reason
We sometimes get the notion,
That Fathers are not subject
To the thing we call emotion,
But if you look inside Dad’s heart,
Where no one else can see
You’ll find he’s sentimental
And as ‘soft’ as he can be…

But he’s so busy every day
In the grueling race of life,
He leaves the sentimental stuff
To his partner and his wife…

But Fathers are just wonderful
In a million different ways,
And they merit loving compliments
And accolades of praise,

For the only reason Dad aspires
To fortune and success
Is to make the family proud of him
And to bring them happiness…

And like Our Heavenly Father,
He’s a guardian and a guide,
Someone that we can count on
To be always on our side.

Helen Steiner Rice

Declutter

One of the buzz words of the moment is ‘declutter’. You know your husband is really bored when
he goes into his office and starts having a clear out. Now he is enjoying retirement all the files and
folders in the office are obsolete. I pity the poor recycling men today as our blue bin was stuffed
full. I have had a bit of a clear out as well. All the baking and cooking equipment that ‘will come in
useful one day’ has now gone to better homes. The challenge now, is not to fill the filing cabinet
and kitchen cupboards with other things. This got me thinking, do you need to have a clear out of
things that are worrying you, things that are taking prominence in your mind, things that are holding
you back from a full relationship with God? Perhaps, I think he coming days, when you are not too
busy, you could take time to have a little declutter of your heart and mind. Give over to God the
things that are holding you back from fully serving him. Anger, feeling you have been hurt by
someone, annoyance, complaining, criticising. Know again a true, deep, uncluttered relationship
with Him again.

1 O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free,
rolling as a mighty ocean
in its fullness over me.
Underneath me, all around me,
is the current of thy love;
leading onward, leading homeward,
to thy glorious rest above.

2 O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Spread his praise from shore to shore;
how he loveth, ever loveth,
changeth never, nevermore;
how he watches o’er his loved ones,
died to call them all his own;
how for them he intercedeth,
watcheth o’er them from the throne.

3 O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Love of ev’ry love the best:
’tis an ocean vast of blessing,
’tis a haven sweet of rest.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
‘Tis a heav’n of heav’ns to me;
and it lifts me up to glory,
for it lifts me up to thee.

Ruth Malcolm

Following Wisdom

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Proverbs 3 New International Version

19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
    by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
    and the clouds let drop the dew.

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