Healing Waters

Ezekiel 47 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

The river from the temple

47 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple towards the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me round the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.Related image

As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits[a] and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in – a river that no one could cross. He asked me, ‘Son of man, do you see this?’

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, ‘This water flows towards the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah,[b] where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds – like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.’

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Jeremiah 18:3-6 New International Version

So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

The hymn was inspired in 1902 by a simple prayer of an elderly woman at a prayer meeting: “It really doesn’t matter what you do with us, Lord — just have your way with our lives . . ..”

The author, Adelaide A. Pollard (1862-1934) was born in Iowa. Hymnologist Kenneth Osbeck provides a detailed description of her life. He notes that following her education in elocution and physical culture, she moved to Chicago where she became a teacher in girls’ schools. In addition, she developed a fine reputation as an itinerant Bible study teacher. Later, she worked with two evangelists, one who developed a healing ministry, and the other who focused on the imminent return of Christ.

Pollard had a strong desire to be a missionary in Africa. When this plan was not fulfilled, she taught at a Missionary Training School at Nyack-on-the-Hudson. She finally made it to Africa for a brief period before World War I, but she spent the war years in Scotland. After returning to the United States, she continued her ministry even though she was in poor health.

“Have Thine Own Way, Lord” was composed during a time when Miss Pollard was trying to raise funds to make a trip to Africa. Her unsuccessful attempt to do this left her experiencing a “distress of soul.” This crisis of the soul and the simple prayer of an elderly lady provided a setting for personal reflection on the will of God for her life. After the prayer meeting, she returned home and wrote the hymn as we sing it today.

The text with its tune ADELAIDE was included in the Northfield Hymnal with Alexander’s Supplement (1907). Two changes were made for The United Methodist Hymnal: In stanza two, “Master” was changed to “Savior” and “whiter than snow” was changed to “wash me just now.” This change offers insight into the process of editing a hymnal.

The Rev. Carlton R. Young, editor of The United Methodist Hymnal, noted in his Companion to the United Methodist Hymnal: “The Hymnal Revision Committee debate on the latter change was intense and sustained. Those proposing the change stated that one does not have to be white, a North European, or Anglo Caucasian to be perceived as spiritually pure and socially acceptable. An African American member said, ‘You can wash me as much as you wish, but after you’ve finished, I’ll be just as black, which is beautiful.’ Those who wished to retain the original argue that the reference to washing was not about the pigmentation of human skin, but to the soul as in Psalm 51:7, ‘Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.'”

The third stanza perhaps is autobiographical, reflecting the struggle of Miss Pollard to discern God’s will for her life: “Wounded and weary, help me I pray!” This stanza also summons the “power” of Christ to “Touch me and heal me.” The final stanza invokes the Spirit to “fill” the singer, “till all shall see/Christ only, always,/living in me! The Rev. Young notes that, “In her last years she was attracted to extreme texts, living the life of a mystic.”

Being like Jesus

Philippians 2 New International Version

Imitating Christ’s Humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

To be like Jesus!
This hope possesses me,
In every thought and deed,
This is my aim, my creed;
To be like Jesus!
This hope possesses me,
His Spirit helping me,
Like him I’ll be.

Take time to be Holy

1 Peter 1 New International Version – UK

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Be holy

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’[a]

This beloved devotional hymn comes to us from British layman William Dunn Longstaff (1822-1894). Since his father was a wealthy ship owner, Longstaff was a person of independent financial means. Due to his generous philanthropy, he was influential in evangelical circles. The Rev. Carlton Young, editor of The United Methodist Hymnal, notes that he followed his friend and persuasive Welsh preacher Arthur A. Rees when he left the Anglican priesthood in 1842 after disagreements with his rector and bishop. As a result, Rees established the Bethesda Free Chapel in Sunderland, where Longstaff served as his church treasurer. He married Joyce Burlinson in 1853 and together they had seven children.

Longstaff befriended a number of well-known evangelists such as William Booth (1829-1912), founder of the Salvation Army. Some of Longstaff’s hymns were published in the official magazine of the Salvation Army magazine, The War Cry, during the 1880s. In 1873 the famous American preacher Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) and his chief musician Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908) arrived in England to hold a series of evangelistic meetings. The financial sponsor for their revivals died, leaving them with meager means to continue. They were desperately seeking funds, and Longstaff came to their rescue, helping to establish a donor base that allowed Moody to hold revivals in London and Scotland.

Methodist hymnologist Robert Guy McCutchan notes that Longstaff was inspired by the words of Griffith John, a missionary to China, repeated in a meeting in Keswick, England in the early 1880s. John cited I Peter 1:16, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (KJV), a reference to Leviticus 11:44. The hymn text appeared in Hymns of Consecration, the collection of hymns used during the Keswick event.

Longstaff showed the hymn to Ira Sankey, who in turn passed it on to American songwriter George C. Stebbins (1846-1945) to set in 1882. Stebbins laid it aside and did not recall it until an evangelistic meeting in India, during which the theme of holiness was explored. Stebbins recalled Longstaff’s hymn and set it to music for the revival. He sent his tune HOLINESS to Sankey, who published the hymn in New Songs and Sacred Solos (1888).

Each of the four stanzas begins with the invitation, “Take time to be holy.” The first stanza begins with a devotional request, “speak oft with thy Lord.” The invitation to holiness extends to care for “God’s children” and “those who are weak,” echoing the twin commandments, Matthew 22:36-40, to love God and neighbor.

The second stanza seeks to be alone with Jesus while “the world rushes on.” Through time with Jesus, “like him we shall be,” and, as a result, others will witness this “likeness.” In Methodist theology, this might be seen as a journey toward Christian perfection.

In stanza three, Jesus becomes the “guide” that we follow and trust. The final stanza suggests that when we “Take time to be holy,” our souls become calm. This calmness leads to Jesus’ control in our lives. Control manifests itself in “fountains of love.” This love in turn “fit[s us] for service above.”

Carlton Young distinguishes between Longstaff’s use of holiness and the Wesleyan understanding of personal holiness that demands a “radical change of heart and the resulting release from the bonds of sin as embodied in the Wesleyan precepts of entire sanctification, perfecting grace, perfect love, and Christian perfection.” To illustrate the transforming nature of holiness, the Rev. Young cites a section of the opening stanza of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Love divine, all loves excelling”:

Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

In addition, Longstaff’s sense of devotional holiness also does not embrace a Wesleyan sense of social justice. This hymn has appeared in Methodist hymnals in the United States since 1901, reflecting the evangelical roots of Methodism in this country

  1. Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
    Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
    Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
    Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
  2. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
    Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
    By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
    Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
  3. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
    And run not before Him, whatever betide.
    In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
    And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
  4. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
    Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
    Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
    Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

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.

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A Quiet time

Philippians 4 New International Version

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Final Exhortations

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Do you ever get those days where all you long for is a bit of ‘Me time or Quiet time’. I know I do.

In my case, on Saturday night we had my daughter, her husband and 2yr old granddaughter round for tea, and let me tell you granddaughter takes after her mum. (A real live wire).

Sunday we attended our local Salvation Army in the morning but managed to grab a bit of ‘ Me time or Quiet time’ before heading to mother in law’s for tea that night

Please listen to The International Staff Songsters and follow the words of In this Quiet moment

In this quiet moment, still, before your throne,
Conscious of your presence, knowing I am known,
In this quiet moment, set my spirit free,
In this quiet moment, make a better me.

The Great Awakening

Deuteronomy 34:1-8 New International Version – UK 

The death of Moses

34 Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, opposite Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land – from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, ‘This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, “I will give it to your descendants.” I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.’

And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. He buried him[a] in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.

Lord, pour out Your Spirit
On all the peoples of the earth
Let Your sons and daughters
Speak Your words of prophesy
Send us dreams and visions
Reveal the secret of Your heart
Lord our faith is rising
Let all heaven sound the coming of Your day

There’s gonna be a great awakening
There’s gonna be a great revival in our
land
There’s gonna be a great awakening
And everyone who calls on Jesus
They will be saved

Lord, pour out Your Spirit
On all the nations of the world
Let them see Your glory
Let them fall in reverent awe
Show Your mighty power
Shake the heavens and the earth
Lord, the world is waiting
Let creation see the coming of Your day

There’s gonna be a great awakening
There’s gonna be a great revival in our
land
There’s gonna be a great awakening
And everyone who calls on Jesus
They will be saved

There’s gonna be a great awakening
There’s gonna be a great revival in our
land
There’s gonna be a great awakening
And everyone who calls on Jesus
They will be saved

There’s gonna be a great awakening
There’s gonna be a great revival in our land
There’s gonna be a great awakening
And everyone who calls on Jesus
They will be saved

There’s gonna be a great awakening
There’s gonna be a great revival in our
land
There’s gonna be a great awakening
And everyone who calls on Jesus
They will be saved

Expect the Messiah

Matthew 13:53-58 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

A prophet without honour

53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his home town, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked. 55 ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’ 57 And they took offence at him.

But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town and in his own home.’

58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Serving one God

Exodus 23 New Living Translation

A Promise of the Lord’s Presence

20 “See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you. 21 Pay close attention to him, and obey his instructions. Do not rebel against him, for he is my representative, and he will not forgive your rebellion. 22 But if you are careful to obey him, following all my instructions, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you. 23 For my angel will go before you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, so you may live there. And I will destroy them completely. 24 You must not worship the gods of these nations or serve them in any way or imitate their evil practices. Instead, you must utterly destroy them and smash their sacred pillars.

25 “You must serve only the Lord your God. If you do, I[d] will bless you with food and water, and I will protect you from illness. 26 There will be no miscarriages or infertility in your land, and I will give you long, full lives.

27 “I will send my terror ahead of you and create panic among all the people whose lands you invade. I will make all your enemies turn and run. 28 I will send terror[e] ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites. 29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you. 30 I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land. 31 And I will fix your boundaries from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea,[f] and from the eastern wilderness to the Euphrates River.[g] I will hand over to you the people now living in the land, and you will drive them out ahead of you.

32 “Make no treaties with them or their gods. 33 They must not live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against me. If you serve their gods, you will be caught in the trap of idolatry.”

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.