Divine Love

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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.

Love our Enemies

Luke 6 New International Version – UK

Love for enemies

27 ‘But to you who are listening I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 ‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Judging others

3‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’

There are two reasons for us to love our enemies. One is simply because God said to, but the other is because God loved us first. It was when we were still God’s enemies (Colossians 1:21 and Romans 5:10) that He demonstrated His love for us. Through Jesus (Romans 5:8) God’s love brought salvation to us.

We all have people we don’t like and of course it’s worse when we fall out with our friends Christian or otherwise.

Jesus taught us to ‘Love our Enemies’. He gave us a few rules such as ‘ Turn the other cheek’, ( to me that meant do not retaliate).

He also spoke about giving our clothes to other people and lending without expecting repayment.

It isn’t an easy thing to do is to Love our Enemies because no matter how hard we try to Love them they might not be prepared to do the same. If we pray about it, perhaps things may change for the better.

Jesus also taught us not to Judge others.

We do not know what a certain person is going through, whether it be health matters, financial or otherwise, only God knows

Seeking Wisdom

Proverbs 1 New Living Translation

Wisdom Shouts in the Streets

20 Wisdom shouts in the streets.
    She cries out in the public square.
21 She calls to the crowds along the main street,
    to those gathered in front of the city gate:
22 “How long, you simpletons,
    will you insist on being simpleminded?
How long will you mockers relish your mocking?
    How long will you fools hate knowledge?
23 Come and listen to my counsel.
I’ll share my heart with you
    and make you wise.

Do you have/have had a wise friend or member of your family you could trust? Many years ago I had a Christian grandmother who was very wise in many ways .

She was the sort of person where you could come to her in confidence with your problem and she would listen and give good guidance.

After giving you her guidance, she always used to say something along the lines “It’s up to you now to decide what to do”. She also said Pray about it!

My grandmother was the sort of Christian who didn’t just help members of the family with problems. She also had friends inside and outside church who relied on my Gran to help them with their problems as well.

When she died at over 100, naturally she was a loss to the family. In fact my gran was held such high regard by other people that when it came the day of the funeral there was standing room only in the Salvation Army hall

If you have a wise friend or member of family – Church family you can trust and you have any problems share it with them and of course The Lord himself.

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

Living Lord

Romans 5 New Living Translation

Faith Brings Joy

"The LORD is to be Praised!"

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace[a] with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Proud of your Parents

Proverbs 17 The Message

A Whack on the Head of a Fool

17 A meal of bread and water in contented peace
    is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

A wise servant takes charge of an unruly child
    and is honored as one of the family.

As silver in a crucible and gold in a pan,
    so our lives are assayed by God.

Evil people relish malicious conversation;
    the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip.

Whoever mocks poor people insults their Creator;
    gloating over misfortune is a punishable crime.

Old people are distinguished by grandchildren;
    children take pride in their parents.

We don’t expect eloquence from fools,
    nor do we expect lies from our leaders.

Receiving a gift is like getting a rare gemstone;
    any way you look at it, you see beauty refracted.

Overlook an offense and bond a friendship;
    fasten on to a slight and—good-bye, friend!

10 A quiet rebuke to a person of good sense
    does more than a whack on the head of a fool.

11 Criminals out looking for nothing but trouble
    won’t have to wait long—they’ll meet it coming and going!

12 Better to meet a grizzly robbed of her cubs
    than a fool hellbent on folly.

13 Those who return evil for good
    will meet their own evil returning.

14 The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam,
    so stop it before it bursts.

15 Whitewashing bad people and throwing mud on good people
    are equally abhorrent to God.

16 What’s this? Fools out shopping for wisdom!
    They wouldn’t recognize it if they saw it!

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer when we lose our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe

La luce che tu dai
I pray we’ll find your light
Nel cuore resterà
And hold it in our hearts

A ricordarci che
When stars go out each night
L’eterna stella sei

Nella mia preghiera
Let this be our prayer
Quanta fede c’è
When shadows fill our day

Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

Sognamo un mondo senza più violenza
Un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace e di fraternità

La forza che ci dia
We ask that life be kind
È il desiderio che
And watch us from above

Ognuno trovi amor
We hope each soul will find
Intorno e dentro a sè
Another soul to love

Let this be our prayer
Let this be our prayer
Just like every child
Just like every child

Need to find a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

E la fede che
Hai acceso in noi
Sento che ci salverai

Peace and Hope

Romans 5 New International Version

Peace and Hope

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Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

1 Hope for the world’s despair:
we feel the nations’ pain;
can anything repair
this broken earth again?
For this we pray:
in every place
a spark of grace
to light the way.

2 Wisdom for all who bear
the future in their hand,
entrusted with the care
of this and every land.
When comes the hour,
O Lord, we pray,
inspire the way
we spend our power.

3 Honour for all who’ve paid
war’s painful, bitter price,
when duty called they made
the greatest sacrifice.
Their memory
will never cease
to cry for peace
and harmony.

4 Ease for the troubled mind
in endless conflict caught,
each soul that cannot find
the peace beyond all thought.
May they be blessed
with healing balm
for inner calm
and perfect rest.

5 Love for the human heart:
when hate grows from our fears
and inwardly we start
to turn our ploughs to spears.
Help us to sow  
love’s precious seed
in word and deed,
that peace may grow.

Knowing Jesus

Philippians 3 New International Version 

No Confidence in the Flesh

Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

There are at least two sets of words to the tune’ I Surrender All’, the one below connects with verses 7-8 in the above reading. You may know the more common lyrics  ‘ All to Jesus I surrender’ sung here by The International Staff Songsters of The Salvation Army.

1.
Lord, I pray that I may know thee,
Risen One, enthroned on high;
Empty hands I’m stretching to thee,
Show thyself to me, I cry.
Chorus
Show thyself to me, show thyself to me,
That I may reveal thy beauty;
Show thyself to me.

2.
All that once I thought most worthy,
All of which I once did boast,
In thy light seems poor and passing,
‘Tis thyself I covet most.

Give thyself to me, give thyself to me,
That I may show forth thy power;
Give thyself to me.

3.
Only as I truly know thee
Can I make thee truly known;
Only bring the power to others
Which in my own life is shown.

Show thy power in me, show thy power in me,
That I may be used for others;
Show thy power in me.

Wisdom 3

Image result for Moral Benefits of Wisdom

Proverbs 2 New International Version 

 

Moral Benefits of Wisdom

My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just
    and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
    and understanding will guard you.

Faith heals the Sick

Image result for Faith healing the sick

James 5 New International Version 

The Prayer of Faith

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.