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.

Serving Christ

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Matthew 16: 21-28 New International Version 

Jesus Predicts His Death

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

The words and music of this song written by two former General’s of The Salvation Army mean so much to me that I find myself somehow returning to it quite a lot. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a simple tune with such true and earnest words to it

Easter Monday

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The Bible makes no mention of Easter or Easter Monday. There is no requirement as a church to celebrate it, but there is prohibition either.

Easter Monday as we know is the day after Christ’s resurrection where he said for 40 days appearing to believers and giving ministry. He also healed the sick and proved to doubter’s he was the son of God.

Easter Monday, also called Bright Monday or Renewal Monday, is the beginning of Bright Week. It is common to douse people in water, representing the new life of baptism, and play games with Easter eggs. Such as Easter egg hunt or rolling your a hard boiled egg down a hill (which represents the stone being rolled away).

Mothers

Proverbs 31:25-30 25

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29″Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

I thought I would share something on mother’s today (as it is Mother’s day in the UK yesterday).

The bond between a daughter/son is very special, she is there for us when we need someone to talk to she speaks to us with wise words, She is also there when we need to be loved and comforted. The words of the song ‘When Mothers of Salem’ come to mind.

When mothers of Salem their children brought to Jesus,
The stern disciples drove them back and bade them to depart:
But Jesus saw them ere they fled and sweetly smiled and kindly said,
“Suffer little children to come unto Me.”

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“For I will receive them and fold them to My bosom:
I’ll be a shepherd to these lambs, O drive them not away;
For if their hearts to Me they give, they shall with Me in glory live:
Suffer little children to come unto Me.”

How kind was our Saviour to bid these children welcome!
But there are many thousands who have never heard His Name;
The Bible they have never read, they know not that the Saviour said,
“Suffer little children to come unto Me.”

O soon may the heathen of every tribe and nation
Fulfil Thy blessed Word and cast their idols all away!
O shine upon them from above and show Thyself a God of love,
Teach the little children to come unto Thee!

God’s Inner Sanctuary

1 Corinthians 3 The Passion

The Church, God’s Inner Sanctuary

16 Don’t you realize that together you have become God’s inner sanctuary[i] and that the Spirit of God makes his permanent home in you?[j] 17 Now, if someone desecrates[k] God’s inner sanctuary, God will desecrate him, for God’s inner sanctuary is holy, and that is exactly who you are.

True Wisdom

18 So why fool yourself and live under an illusion?[l] Make no mistake about it, if anyone thinks he is wise by the world’s standards, he will be made wiser by being a fool for God![m] 19 For what the world says is wisdom is actually foolishness in God’s eyes. As it is written:

The cleverness of the know-it-alls
    becomes the trap[n] that ensnares them.

20 And again:

The Lord sees right through
    the clever reasonings of the wise
    and knows that it’s all a sham.[o]

21 So don’t be proud of your allegiance to any human leader. For actually, you already have everything! It has all been given for your benefit, 22 whether it is Paul or Apollos or Peter the Rock,[p] or whether it’s the world[q] or life or death,[r] or whether it’s the present or the future—everything belongs to you! 23 And now you are joined to the Messiah, who is joined to God.

COME, Saviour Jesus, from above,
Assist me with thy heavenly grace;
Empty my heart of earthly love,
And for thyself prepare the place.

2 O let thy sacred presence fill
And set my longing spirit free,
Which wants to have no other will,
But day and night to feast on thee!

3 Henceforth may no profane delight
Divide this consecrated soul;
Possess it thou, who hast the right,
As Lord and Master of the whole.

4 Wealth, honour, pleasure, and what else
This short-enduring world can give,
Tempt as ye will, my soul repels;
To Christ alone resolved to live.

5 Nothing on earth do I desire
But thy pure love within my breast;
This, only this, do I require,
And freely give up all the rest.

Standing, Knocking, Pleading

Revelation 3 New International Version

To the Church in Laodicea

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Verse 20 of the above reading connects with the following hymn;

O Jesus, thou art standing,
outside the fast closed door,
in lowly patience waiting
to pass the threshold o’er:
shame on us, Christian brothers,
his Name and sign who bear,
O shame, thrice shame upon us,
to keep him standing there!

O Jesus, thou art knocking;
and lo, that hand is scarred,
and thorns thy brow encircle,
and tears thy face have marred:
O love that passeth knowledge,
so patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal,
so fast to bar the gate!

O Jesus, thou art pleading
in accents meek and low,
“I died for you, my children,
and will you treat me so?”
O Lord, with shame and sorrow
we open now the door;
dear Savior, enter, enter,
and leave us never more.

Epiphany

Reginald Heber (1783–1826) wrote Brightest and Best. Heber was Anglican bishop of Calcutta and was by all accounts a good man, standing up for Indian rights and opposing the more obvious defections of imperialism. He focuses only on the magi, poetically describing their exotic gifts in verse 3. The carol’s theme is a little like Rossetti’s Bleak Midwinter, with its final verse pondering what gifts we moderns might bring to the manger, having reflected on the humble-looking child’s cosmic pedigree. Heber uses a little less syrup than Rossetti, noting God’s acceptance of heart-felt worship and humble prayer rather than futile and unwanted physical offerings.  

Brightest and Best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us Thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining;
Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore Him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Savior of all!

Say, shall we yield Him, in costly devotion,
Fragrance of Edom and offerings divine?
Gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would His favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Hail the blest morn, when the Great Mediator,
Down from the regions of glory descends;
Shepherds, go worship the babe in the manger.
Lo, for His guard, the bright angel attends.

Brightest and Best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us Thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Surprised by Wisdom

Photo by Eduardo Braga on Pexels.com

“It seems like the older I get, the wiser you become. Sometimes when I talk to my daughter I even hear your words coming out of my mouth!”

My daughter’s candor made me laugh. I felt the same way about my parents and frequently found myself using their words as I raised my kids. Once I became a dad, my perspective on my parents’ wisdom changed. What I once “wrote off” as foolishness turned out to be far wiser than I had thought—I just couldn’t see it at first.

The Bible teaches that “the foolishness of God is wiser” than the cleverest human wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:25). “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness” of the message of a suffering Savior to rescue “those who believe” (v. 21).

God always has ways of surprising us. Instead of the triumphant king the world would expect, the Son of God came as a suffering servant and died a humbling death by crucifixion—before He was raised in unsurpassable glory.

In God’s wisdom, humility is valued over pride and love shows its worth in undeserved mercy and kindness. Through the cross, our unconquerable Messiah became the ultimate victim—in order to “save completely” (Hebrews 7:25) all who place their faith in Him!

1 Corinthians 1:18–25

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

18 For the message of the cross is foolishnessh to those who are perishing,i but to us who are being savedj it is the power of God.k 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;

the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”c l

20 Where is the wise person?m Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age?n Has not God made foolisho the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the worldp through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to saveq those who believe.r 22 Jews demand signss and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified:t a stumbling blocku to Jews and foolishnessv to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called,w both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of Godx and the wisdom of God.y 25 For the foolishnessz of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weaknessa of God is stronger than human strength.

Learning to Trust 

Matthew 6:25-34 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Do not worry

25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 ‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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.

Renewing our Covenant with God

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Deuteronomy 29 New International Version 

Renewal of the Covenant

29 [a]These are the terms of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelite’s in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.

Moses summoned all the Israelite’s and said to them:

Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”

When you reached this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out to fight against us, but we defeated them. We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do. 10 All of you are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, 11 together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. 12 You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, 13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 14 I am making this covenant,with its oath, not only with you 15 who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today.