Commitment

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

In The Salvation Army we have what is known as ‘Commitment Sunday’.  A Sunday when we are asked to dedicate/rededicate our life’s to Christ.

Of course commitment Sunday isn’t the only time you can give your life to Christ, it can happen anytime you wish provided you let him in. The words of an old chorus come to mind:

Behold me standing at the door,

And hear me pleading evermore:

Say, weary heart, oppressed with sin,

May I come in? May I come in?

I leave you with The Chelmsford Citadel Songsters as they sing ‘I Dedicate myself to Thee’. I hope it gives you much blessing.

The Guiding Star

Matthew 2 New International Version – UK

The Magi visit the Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:

‘“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.”[b]

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

  1. As with gladness men of old
    Did the guiding star behold,
    As with joy they hailed its light,
    Leading onward, beaming bright;
    So, most gracious Lord, may we
    Evermore be led to Thee.
  2. As with joyful steps they sped
    To that lowly manger bed,
    There to bend the knee before
    Him whom heav’n and earth adore;
    So may we, with willing feet,
    Ever seek Thy mercy seat.
  3. As they offered gifts most rare
    At that manger rude and bare;
    So may we with holy joy,
    Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
    All our costliest treasures bring,
    Christ, to Thee, our heav’nly King.
  4. Holy Jesus, every day
    Keep us in the narrow way;
    And, when earthly things are past,
    Bring our ransomed souls at last
    Where they need no star to guide,
    Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

Last night I was out Carolling with my local Salvation Army Band & Songsters. It was when we were asked to sing the above carol that I made the connection with ‘The Mercy Seat’(for those of you who do not know about The Salvation Army it has what is basically a piece of wood which acts as a place of prayer).

I also began to realise as I got into the next two verses that I suppose you could call this a prayer at Christmas time or anytime really.

Note: I aim to bring you Christmas blog on 25th December! Merry Christmas

God Bless!

A very special Birthday

Matthew 1:18-25 English Standard Version

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[b] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

[Verse 1]
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appears and the Soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees; O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

[Verse 2]
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the Wise Men from Orient land
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend

[Verse 3]
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord; O praise His name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim

The Story Behind And Can It Be

Romans 5 New International Version

Peace and Hope

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.

According to the editor of The Oxford Edition of the Works of John Wesley, “And Can It Be” was written immediately following Charles Wesley’s conversion to Christianity on May 21, 1738. Wesley had known his Bible well before this time but had not yet experienced affirmation of new birth or the wholeness of grace in his life.

Wesley starts the first stanza by expressing admiration over the love shown by Jesus dying for him and wonders how we who “pursued” his death are now graced by it.

In the second stanza, Wesley calls for appreciation of God’s love and mercy in this sacrifice.  In the third stanza, Wesley conveys the unending grace and mercy of Christ’s love and humility in the incarnation, death, and finding of lost sinners.  In the fourth stanza, Wesley harkens to the “imprisonment” of his own sin and the freedom he found in Christ.

Finally, he reviews the results of Christ’s loving and merciful work: there is no condemnation for those made alive in Christ and clothed in his righteousness; rather, there is open access to the throne as we have the right to claim the divine crown.

Feel Free to leave a comment, in the reply box.I would love to hear from my followers and anyone else that read this. thanks!

God’s Care for Us

Genesis 3:1-13 New International Version – UK 

The fall

Now the snake was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’

The woman said to the snake, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”’

‘You will not certainly die,’ the snake said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.Image result for God’s Care for Us

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’

10 He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’

11 And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?’

12 The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’

The woman said, ‘The snake deceived me, and I ate.’

Hoping for Help

Lamentations 3 The Message

It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God

19-21 I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
    the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
    and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
    to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
    quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
    to stick it out through the hard times.

28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,
    go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
    Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
    The “worst” is never the worst.

31-33 Why? Because the Master won’t ever
    walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
    His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
    in throwing roadblocks in the way:

34-36 Stomping down hard
    on luckless prisoners,
Refusing justice to victims
    in the court of High God,
Tampering with evidence—
    the Master does not approve of such things.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Honouring God and serving Jesus

John 12:26 New International Version 

26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.

One of my favourite pieces in The Salvation Army brass band world is ‘Guardian of my Soul’ of where we hear two hymn tunes come through, the main one which is based on the piece itself.

I Worship You, God’s only Son,

Who took my sins to the cross,

So I could be completely free to follow where You lead.

Lord, Your wounds are now my healing

and I am wholly Yours.

You know my name and where I’m going,

Guardian of my soul.

O let me hear thee speaking

In accents clear and still,

Above the storms of passion,

The murmurs of self‑will.

O speak to reassure me,

To chasten or control;

O speak to make me listen,

Thou Guardian of my soul.

I’ll follow You, God’s only Son,

Along the road to the cross,

No other place can I find grace

Unfathomed and unflawed.

And, as I reach the Hill of Calvary

And see Your open arms,

I’ll know my name and where I’m going,

Guardian of my soul.Image result for honouring god

The second is ‘O Jesus I have promised’

Strangely I have for yet another day found myself at the passage where Jesus predicts his death. I would also say this is a follow up from yesterdays blog ‘Serving Christ’ because as long as we continue to ‘serve Christ’ he will be our ‘Guardian of our Soul’

1.

O Jesus, I have promised

To serve thee to the end,

Be thou for ever near me,

My Master and my friend.

I shall not fear the battle

If thou art by my side,

Nor wander from the pathway,

If thou wilt be my guide.

2.

O let me feel thee near me;

The world is ever near;

I see the sights that dazzle,

The tempting sounds I hear.

My foes are ever near me,

Around me and within;

But, Jesus, draw thou nearer

And shield my soul from sin.

3.

O let me hear thee speaking

In accents clear and still,

Above the storms of passion,

The murmurs of self-will.

O speak to reassure me,

To chasten or control;

O speak to make me listen,

Thou Guardian of my soul.

4.

O Jesus, thou hast promised

To all who follow thee,

That where thou art in Glory,

There shall thy servant be;

And, Jesus, I have promised

To serve thee to the end;

O give me grace to follow,

My Master and my friend.

Here am I

Isaiah 65 New International Version – UK

Judgment and salvation

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

Jesus standing at the door

Revelation 3:20 New International Version 

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.

O Jesus, thou art standing, Image result for the light of the world
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.

One my favourite pieces of music is ‘The Light of the World’ which depicts Holman Hunts picture of Jesus standing outside a closed door and if you look closely at the door you will see there is no knob on the outside to open the door.

Children of Jesus

Mark 10 New International Version

The Little Children and Jesus

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

The Story Behind Jesus Loves Me

“Jesus Loves Me” is one of the most popular Christian hymns around the world, especially among children. The hymn was first written by Anna B. Warner as a poem. Anna’s sister Susan requested a poem for a dying child and Anna wrote the wonderful words of Jesus Loves Me to bring comfort and peace.

Anna’s poem appeared in a novel, Say and Seal, and was composed by William Bradbury in 1862.

“Jesus Loves Me” with its simple, direct message, is one of the first hymns missionaries teach to new converts. It was the favourite hymn of Francis Schaeffer, who recognised that ultimately what intellectuals and children alike need is the simple message of Jesus. Amy Carmichael, the Irish missionary to India, was converted after hearing this hymn at a children’s mission in Yorkshire, England.

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
Refrain:

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, “Let them come to Me.

”Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.