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Posted By Nan

As today is New Years Eve, and it is a tradition for many to make New Years Resolutions, it is a good time to think about how we can make resolutions for God. “Take My Life and Let It Be consecrated Lord to Thee”. The hymn looks at the ways to be consecrated:

  • In endless praise,
  • In the actions of our hands and feet,
  • With our voice, especially as we sing praises to God and fill our lips with messages from God,
  • With our possessions and our intellect,
  • With our will, our hearts, our love,
  • And with ourselves.

Today as you look forward to a New Year, spend time with God asking how He can take your life and consecrate it to Him. As you do this, consider the beautiful words of this hymn, also written by Frances Ridley Havergal, about all that Jesus has done for us. A good reminder of what we do, or might do, in response to all He has done.
I gave my life for thee, My precious blood I shed, That thou might’st ransomed be, And quickened from the dead; I gave, I gave my life for thee, What has thou giv’n for Me?
My Father’s house of light, My glory circled throne, I left for earthly night, For wanderings sad and lone; I left, I left it all for thee, Hast thou left aught for Me?
I suffered much for thee, More then they tongue can tell, of bitt’rest agony, To rescue thee from hell; I’ve born, I’ve borne it all for thee, What has thou borne for Me?
And I have brought to thee, Down from My home above, Salvation full and free, My pardon and My love; I bring, I bring rich gifts to thee, What hast thou brought to Me?

  • What have you given to Jesus?
  • What have you left/given up for Jesus?
  • What have you suffered for Jesus?
  • What have you brought to Jesus?
  • What response can you make to those questions in 2015?

May God bless you in 2015 and may you grow closer to Jesus every day.
 

 
Posted By Nan

Today I am starting a study of the beautiful hymn Take My Life and Let It Be. The words are below:
1. Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
2. 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.
3. Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
4. Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
5. 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.
6. Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
This hymn was written by Frances Ridley Havergal in 1874. Frances was the daughter of an English vicar. She had a passion for music, with a wonderful singing voice, and a gift of poetry. She used her gift with words and music to write some beautiful hymns. Her life was dedicated to God. She prayed morning, midday and evening regularly and at times in between when it was necessary. This beautiful hymn is very much a prayer of her heart. It is often used in consecration.
The root of this hymn is Leviticus 11:44 “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy … “ (NIV).
We are to be totally consecrated to God. This holiness is to be expressed in every aspect of our lives. We dedicate ourselves fully to God because of who He is and what He has done.
In Matthew 5:48 Jesus said “Be perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect” (NIV). For context read v43-37. We are to grow in to complete maturity of godliness in mind and character.
In Romans 12:1 we are told “… in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship” (NIV). We are to worship Jesus with our heart, mind and will. We are to worship (obediently serve) with passion, intellect (rationally) and choice. Never forget, we choose to follow God, He does the rest.
In John 10:17-18 we are reminded that Jesus obediently gave His life to God. He obediently chose to die because God commanded it.
Finally in Psalm 119:109-110 we read how David chose to take his life in his hands by honouring God and His commands, even when it would have been easier for Him to disobey. He took his life in his hands, not to do his own thing, but to choose to follow God.
“Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee”
Over the new few weeks, I will be looking at this hymn more closely to learn from a woman who gave her all to God, just how I can give more to Him.
 

 
Posted By Nan

Today, in preparation for Christmas, I am writing about an often forgotten Christmas Hymn “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen”. It was written by an unknown author c1760. The original words were:
God rest you merry, Gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. For Jesus Christ our Saviour was born upon this day. To save poor souls from satan’s power which long time had gone astray. Which brings tidings of comfort and joy.
Such a beautiful summary of all that Jesus’ birth means. For many who hear this hymn it appears to refer to merry Gentleman but in the original writing, there was a comma between merry and Gentlemen. In the 14th century, the word merry meant bountiful, prosperous. That would make the line more like God rest you bountifully, gentlemen, do not be dismayed about anything. This appears to be a direct reference to Luke 2:8-20:
The Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. It was night and they were watching their sheep. Suddenly, a brightness lit up the field around them and there stood an Angel, shining with the glory of God. These humble men were terrified in the presence of such Holiness. But the angel told them not to be afraid. He had come to bring them the good and joyful news that, in Bethlehem, the town of David, the Messiah, their Saviour, Christ the Lord, had been born. He was a baby, in a stable, lying in a food trough, wrapped in scraps of cloth. After the Angel spoke, he was joined by a large number of angels singing praise to God with the words “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”
So the first line could well mean: Allow God to give you an abundance of rest and do not be afraid of anything.
A version of the hymn, printed in 1961 replaced the last line with a chorus:
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy. O tidings of comfort and joy.
Then added four verses:
From God our Heavenly Father a blessed angel came, and unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same. How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name.
The Shepherds at those tidings rejoiced much in mind and left their flocks a-feeding in tempest, storm and wind, and went to Bethlehem straight away this blessed babe to find.
But when to Bethlehem they came whereat this infant lay, they found Him in a manger where oxen feed on hay. His mother Mary kneeling unto the Lord did pray.
Now to the Lord sing praises all you within this place, and with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace. This holy tide of Christmas all other doth deface.
I love the idea that the true meaning of Christmas, the Glory of God that resides in true Christmas ‘defaces’ everything else. I also love the reminder of the dramatic impact the visit of the Shepherds to baby Jesus had on them. The Bible tells us they were so overjoyed at what they had seen and been told that they told everyone. The impact of the events on them were so great that their wonder and sense of God’s glory was communicated to those who heard them so they also believed.
My prayer for you is that the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ shall have such an impact on you that your joy will be infectious.
May the true meaning of Christmas and our Salvation bring you rest and peace of mind this Christmas. God was, is and always will be with you.
 

 
Posted By Nan

Revelation 22.
This concludes the Book of Revelation. We see the River of Life, flowing from the throne of God and of Jesus. Along its banks the Tree of Life gives life without death. The Tree of Life will give eternal life in Jesus’ presence.
In heaven, all those who have washed their robes in the blood of Jesus will be allowed to enter. There they will worship Jesus and wear His name on their foreheads. There will be nothing in heaven that is under a curse. There will be no night and no sun as all light will come from God. We will no longer stumble in darkness. (Matthew 4:16).
Jesus warns that He is coming soon and all will be rewarded according to what they have done. In this current age it has become popular to talk about “karma”. It is an attempt to break the connection of God’s promise that all will suffer the consequences of their sin. Accept that comforting truth but deny it has come from God because then you will have to change! We all stand before God and answer for our wrongdoing. How hard it will be for the ones who have not turned to Jesus and asked Him to cleanse them from their sin. Without His payment we will not be able to enter heaven. Praise God that Jesus has provided us with the means of Salvation.
The final beatitude of Revelation is that blessed are those who have been washed clean by Jesus blood. We are blessed indeed. A blessing that is totally undeserved but very welcome. We will have the right to enter heaven and eat of the Tree of Life.
In the conclusion, Jesus states that those who obey the prophetic words in the Book of Revelation will be happy and blessed. But what are those prophetic words? We are to remain true to our faith in Jesus. To continue to follow Him on the narrow path. Take up our crosses daily and seek to die to self so that we can become more like Him. Be prepared through prayer and reading of the Bible to spot those false prophets when they cross our paths. We are to refuse to worship anything but God and Jesus, no matter what hardship that may take us on. We are to stay true to Jesus and never turn away from Him. He will give us what we need.
It is good to remember the 7 blessings or beatitudes of Revelation (NIV):
1:3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
14:13 Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.
16:15 Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.
19:9a Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!
20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
22:7 Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.
22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
We need to read Revelation and take comfort in the fact that Jesus died for our sins so we may enter Heaven. We are to remain ready to serve God and not think we can slip away come back later.
I leave you with the following passage from 2 Peter 1:19-21(NIV)
We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
May God Bless You
 

 
Posted By Nan

Revelation 21.
We come now to the climax of Revelation. Now all that has passed is forgotten. Peace reigns. The New Heaven and New Earth arrive. There is no sea, not necessarily no water, but the sea as represented as an evil place from which emerged satan and his minions.
“… Now the dwelling of God is with men and He will live with them …” (v3 NIV).
The creation has been subjected to decay since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. This has led to separation from God. Now the people will once again live with God. They will be His people and He will be their God. He will wipe away all tears.
Why? Because there will be no more death, which means no more crying and pain. No more sickness means no more crying and pain and no more natural disasters which means no more crying and pain.
Those who are cowardly, unbelieving, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, practisers of magic arts, idolaters, and liars will face the second death. They will be thrown into the symbolic lake of burning sulphur. They will not be allowed into God’s presence. Their names are not written ion the book of life and only those whose names are written in the book of life can live in the New Heaven and New Earth.
Jesus reminds that His words and true and can be trusted (v5). This is an echo of Jesus’ words recorded in the Gospels. He would often say “I tell you the truth”. There are numerous examples of this in the gospels, some examples are Matthew 19:23, Mark 3:28, Luke 9:27 and John 3:5. We must never forget that Jesus is truth (John 14:6). Jesus does not lie, what He speaks, happens.
Now the Ekklesia are home. We have gone full circle from Genesis to Revelation. Those who form the Ekklesia are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of the living. Jesus is the beginning and the end. He was there at the start of creation and will be there at the end when we enter eternity. The great light has come. There will be no more stumbling in darkness.
For those reading these words, there is a message. No matter how hard life seems. No matter how much we suffer in this world, we will enter Peace at the end of all things. This message is designed to strengthen our faith, hope and resolution to follow Jesus faithfully during all the temptations of life and in the face of persecution. One day all suffering will end and we will enter eternity in God’s presence. Hallelujah!
 

 


 
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Nan
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