namely the Bank House at Hixon. This happened last night and we had great fun. Just as the entertainment described in psalm 150 we had a varied array of musicians and instruments. Different styles of hymns and songs, some modern some traditional, powerful rhythms engaged a loving response from the audience. All of us, brothers and sisters in Christ we expressed our adoration to our Saviour in unity. 1 Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. 2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. 3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, 4 praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, 5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. 6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.
Here are some photos. Have a blessed week and do keep in touch. N.
God wants us to become His children—to be like Him (Hebrews 2:10; 1 John 3:1-3)!
To become more like God, we need to learn to have His priorities. We need to learn to use those priorities to produce a plan for improving our lives and aligning them to God’s plan. And we need to put those plans into action. God’s priorities and plans always produce results, and so can ours.
God reveals to us what is truly most important in life. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
The Kingdom of God is the perfect government of God that will bring peace and plenty to this earth when Jesus Christ returns. We must be preparing for that time now. Seeking God’s righteousness means striving to live the right way—obeying God’s beneficial laws that are based on God’s love. (Study more about these priorities in our article “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God.”)
The end of Matthew 6:33 reveals an amazing thing about God’s priorities. If we put what God says is important first, the other things we need and want will be added to us as well!
Read on, follow this link here. I found this interesting website: www.lifehopeandtruth.com . Have a blessed evening my friends. N.
Dr. Nabeel Qureshi is a former devout Muslim who was convinced of the truth of the Gospel through historical reasoning and a spiritual search for God. Since his conversion, he has dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel through teaching, preaching, writing, and debating.
Nabeel has given lectures at universities and seminaries throughout North America, including New York University, Rutgers, the University of North Carolina, the University of Ottawa, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Biola University. He has participated in 17 moderated, public debates around North America, Europe, and Asia. His focus is on the foundations of the Christian faith and the early history and teachings of Islam.
A distraught father has described his constant anguish ever since his eldest daughter went missing two weeks ago during a murderous rampage by Boko Haram militants. "I am very worried about her," the dad in his 50s who asked to be identified as a civil servant told NBC News by telephone. "Every day I think about her, I have not even slept. I pray to God that she is still alive."
After attacking a military base near the town of Baga on January 3, the brutal Islamist sect turned its attention to the civilian population in and around the Nigerian fishing town. It torched thousands of buildings, kidnapped women and children, and killed townsfolk indiscriminately.
The father told NBC News that he only had enough time to bundle his wife and most of his children into a car, and head for the relatively safe haven of Maiduguri 100 miles to the south. But with the area under attack and the safety of his family to consider, he said it was simply not an option to travel across town to the home of his 23-year-old daughter and her husband.
How long are those massacres going to last unpunished? How long is Boko Haram going to taunt us? I say 'us' because I know that you and I feel the pain of all those parents and family members as if we were there with them.
Heavenly father, we ask you who are all powerful and omniscient to twart the plans of our enemies and give wisdom to our political leaders to help bring peace in Nigeria and the countries nearby. May your will be done. In Jesus-Christ, our saviour and redeemer. Amen.
Well, it's this time of the year. We are off to Weston village hall for a night of fellowship and fun. Steven is getting ready, putting on the 'kilt' and I am told that Viv and Ian will entertain us by their witty repartees. The Scottish poet Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759. The evening centers on the entrance of the haggis (a type of sausage prepared in a sheep's stomach) on a large platter to the sound of a piper playing bagpipes. When the haggis is on the table, Steven will read the "Address to a Haggis". This is an ode that Robert Burns wrote to the Scottish dish. At the end of the reading, the haggis is ceremonially sliced into two pieces and the meal begins. I do think people attend if they like haggis. Personally I don't mind as I have an acquired taste for the French andouillette so..the haggis tastes more oaty than the andouillettes.
Former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi explains how his search for the truth about Jesus in scripture led to his conversion.
Contrast is the mother of clarity. So says author Os Guinness, and this principle is what ultimately led me away from Islam and towards the gospel.
As a young Muslim in the West, our community very intentionally defended me against Christianity, the majority religion. The first verses of the Koran that I and the other young children at our mosque memorised proclaimed that God is neither Father nor Son (based on Surah 112:3).
Traditions informed us that this teaching makes up a third of the Koran (Sahih Muslim 812), so we recited it every day. By the age of six, I had recited, ‘God is not a Father, God is not a Son’ thousands of times. It is no wonder I became a bold opponent of the Trinity.
We were also taught that Muhammad was God’s greatest messenger; the most perfect man who ever lived. We learnt the story of his life and did our utmost to follow it. We emulated him to such a degree that we even attempted to walk into the lavatory the way he did. The reverence we accorded him was barely secondary to our reverence for Allah.
Although Islam teaches that the Bible and the Koran originated from God, we were effectively instructed that they were polar opposites: the Bible has been polluted, the Koran remains pristine; the Bible is partially the word of man, the Koran is purely the word of God; the Bible contains contradictions, the Koran is completely coherent; the Bible leads to confusion, the Koran leads to life.
So, as a young Muslim I ardently called others to the way of Islam. I was certain of its truth. My confidence in Islam translated into zeal for Allah, Muhammad, the Koran and sharia. But contrast is the mother of clarity.
DOUBTING THE KORAN
I met a young Christian named David, and we quickly became firm friends due to our common morals and devotion. The time came when I challenged him on the reliability of the Bible, and I had finally met someone who was equipped to defend his faith.
Ultimately, he challenged me to contrast the history of the Bible with that of the Koran. It was then that I discovered there had been so much dispute over the Koran early in its history that an official edict established one standard Koran and ordered all the rest destroyed (Sahih Bukhari 6:61:509-510). There was no occasion for the Bible to have been officially altered throughout Christendom, but there was certainly occasion for the Koran to have been modified throughout the House of Islam, and records remain of old variants that testify to former versions.
While discussing the Bible and the Koran, I also challenged David on the divine authority of Jesus. He responded to my points, but he also challenged me to contrast my arguments with a case for the authority of Muhammad. It was then that I realised my standards for criticising the origins of Christianity would raze the foundations of Islam if I applied them consistently.
Though I doubted the reliability of the Gospels, written in the lifetime of Jesus’ disciples, the entire edifice of the Sirah (various traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad) rested on accounts from 150-250 years after his death. The earliest account of Muhammad’s life is only known to us because one devout Muslim preserved it, and he uses no uncertain words to say that what he received contained fabrications and false reports (Ibn Hisham, who edited Ibn Ishaq’s Sirah Rasul Allah).
By contrast, the case for Jesus’ death, deity and resurrection was very strong, built on early records that were most coherently explained by orthodox Christian positions. It was through this contrast that matters became clear.
THE CASE FOR CRUCIFIXION
While still contemplating these issues as a Muslim, I attended a debate between a Christian called Michael Licona and a Muslim called Shabir Ally on the topic of Jesus’ resurrection. A trend in Ally’s thinking emerged through the course of the debate, and what I saw shook me.
Multiple ancient sources report Jesus’ death by crucifixion, including Jewish, Gentile, and Christian records. These reports are so numerous and the surrounding circumstances so clear that even atheist and agnostic scholars say Jesus’ crucifixion is among the surest facts of history. But with excessive scepticism, one can deny anything. Ally advanced the koranic view of Jesus: that, despite all the reports, Jesus did not die by crucifixion.
But what reason is there to stand by the koranic claims about Jesus when all the other records disagree? The Koran was written 600 years after Jesus and 600 miles away. The only reason to believe the Koran is an a priori faith in Islam. That is why only Muslim scholars deny Jesus’ death by crucifixion. Ally was very sceptical with the Christian case but not nearly as critical of the Islamic perspective. No contrast, just one-sided criticism.
REACHING MUSLIMS TODAY
That was 2004, and I continue to see the same trend among proselytising Muslims today: constant criticism of Christianity in the face of rather uncritical acceptance of Islam. I see many young men zealously championing Islam, and they remind me endearingly and dishearteningly of my younger self. I see them as sincere, honest, devout young men who usually haven’t seen an equal treatment of these two faiths.
Is there no one to befriend them, as David befriended me? Is anyone praying for them, as David’s church prayed for me? Is anyone loving them as Jesus would, with both compassion and truth?
Through dialogue, these young men, precious to God, might come to see that the Christian view of Jesus is much earlier, more coherent, and better evidenced than the Muslim view of Jesus. They might come to see that Islam is built on much weaker foundations than Christianity. In turn, they might stop leading people away from Jesus and instead become evangelists for the gospel. It happened to me, and it can happen to them.
I found this exciting story in the Premier magazine and if you follow the link you can also read:
Jesus is redeemer, saviour, best friend, true love,
He is faithful, perfect, alive, calling, undeniable, soon coming, amazing, beautiful, merciful, holding my hand, everything, glorious, holy, deliverer, the word, Lord, peace, forgiveness, miraculous, with me, healer, a strong tower, forever steadfast, the Blessing , real , the reason, the promise fulfilled, salvation , shepherd, risen,
Watching this video clip is really encouraging. Let's keep on supporting Tearfund even more so that more people find help and know that our Lord is good and his love unconditional. Have a peaceful and blessed 2015. In Jesus name.
so here are two jokes that he may like to comment on...
We were checking in for our international flight, when my husband turned to me and said, “Darn, I should have packed the piano!” I turned to him and replied, ” Are you crazy? What’s that supposed to mean?” He replies sheepishly, “I forgot the passports on top of the piano!”
One day a man went to an auction. There, he found an exotic parrot. He really wanted this bird, so he got caught up in the bidding. He kept bidding, but kept getting outbid, so he went higher and higher and higher.
Finally, after bidding much more than he had intended, he finally won. The bird was his! As he was paying for the parrot, he said to the auctioneer, "I sure hope this parrot isn't defective. I'd hate to pay this much money only to find out that he can't talk!"
"Of course he can talk," said the auctioneer. "Who do you think kept bidding against you?"
At 6 pm I went to Stowe carol service and it was great to resource, listen to lots of different readings from the word of the Lord and pray.
Then, at 7.30 pm, we had a totally different carol evening at the Bank House in Hixon. The pub was packed even more than usual as so many came to sing no less than twenty different carols and praise the Lord and exalt the name of Jesus above any other names.
There was a shortage of chairs but it didn't stop us from singing heartily and joyfully, also the musicians Maureen, John and Steven were excellent.
Have you been carolling yet, did you enjoy it? Let me know!
I would like to share with you all this joyful prayer I found about the wonderful time of Advent.
Blessed are you, Sovereign Lord, just and true:
to you be praise and glory for ever.
Of old you spoke by the mouth of your prophets,
but in our days you speak through your Son,
whom you have appointed the heir of all things. Grant us, your people, to walk in his light, that we may be found ready and watching when he comes again in glory and judgement; for you are our light and our salvation.
Blessed be God for ever.
God our Father,
you spoke to the prophets of old
of a Saviour who would bring peace.
You helped them to spread the joyful message
of his coming kingdom. Help us, as we prepare to celebrate his birth, to share with those around us the good news of your power and love. We ask this through Jesus Christ, the light who is coming into the world. Amen.
Lord Jesus, Light of the world, the prophets said you would bring peace and save your people in trouble. Give peace in our hearts at Christmas and show all the world God’s love. Amen.
People of God: be glad! Your God delights in you. giving you joy for sadness and turn the dark to light. Be strong in hope therefore; for your God comes to save.
You are God’s children. Lord make us one in the love of Christ today and for ever. Amen. Have a restful and joyful week-end. N.
House of Bread (HOB) is an organisation that offers a home-cooked meal for homeless and vulnerable people in Stafford, England and the surrounding area. We run our humble operation out of a church kitchen in the centre of Stafford town. Each week our volunteers take turns to cook a hot, home-cooked meal for our guests, who are growing in their numbers every week. Fantastic homely meals aren't the only thing on the HOB menu, friendship, support, advice and someone to listen are available to all our visitors, or as we like to call them our friends. Ask any of our visitors and they will tell you, it isn't a house that makes a home; it’s the family inside it. House of Bread is like a real home; we eat together, laugh together, cry together, share success and support each other in times of crisis. A short promotional video that encapsulates the work of House of Bread. This video was kindly produced by Joseph Cheetham-Wilkinson Productions.
This afternoon, when I came back from school, I was pleased to hear my hubby mention that Boko Haram agreed to release the schoolgirls. Here is the article in the BBC news. Nigeria's military says it has agreed a ceasefire with Islamist militants Boko Haram - and that the schoolgirls the group has abducted will be released. Nigeria's chief of defence staff, Alex Badeh, announced the truce. Boko Haram has not made a public statement. The group has been fighting an insurgency since 2009, with some 2,000 civilians reportedly killed this year. Boko Haram sparked global outrage six months ago by abducting more than 200 schoolgirls. The girls were seized in the north-eastern town of Chibok in Borno state, and their continued captivity has led to criticism of the Nigerian government's efforts to secure their release. Members of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign said in a tweet on Friday: "We are monitoring the news with huge expectations."'Cautiously optimistic' Air Chief Marshal Badeh revealed the truce at the close of a three-day security meeting between Nigeria and Cameroon. He said Nigerian soldiers would comply with the agreement.
Let's unite in one accord and pray that Boko Haram keeps his word and release our girls promptly. Father you know what's what, your eyes see deep in people's hearts, may the students' kidnappers hear you and release all the girls quickly. We ask you in Jesus' name, our King, saviour and redeemer,
It is lovely to be back at home though it means than in less than 2 weeks, I will be back at work. I have to sort out lesson plans, prepare some more and plan different types of lessons. In term of blogging, as I still cannot read the comments you write, I am seriously considering of moving to another platform, i.e.wordpress. I am not sure when it'll happen but I will let you know.
I am keeping on reading the Bible in a year and if you care for joining me click here. Have a blessed Sunday
Good evening everyone. I will put the last two days reading I have missed due to travelling and first day back home settling down. I think that it will work out all right in the end. Do join me as it is more fun and let me know if you do.
Queen Vashti Deposed 1 This is what happened during the time of Xerxes,[a] the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush[b]: 2 At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, 3 and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.
4 For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. 5 When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa. 6 The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones. 7 Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king’s liberality. 8 By the king’s command each guest was allowed to drink with no restrictions, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.
9 Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.
10 On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— 11 to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. 12 But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.
13 Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times 14 and were closest to the king—Karshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memukan, the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom.
15 “According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?” he asked. “She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.”
16 Then Memukan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, “Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17 For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’ 18 This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.
19 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. 20 Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.”
21 The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memukan proposed. 22 He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household, using his native tongue. Esther 2 - Esther Made Queen 1 Later when King Xerxes’ fury had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. 2 Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. 3 Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. 4Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it.
5 Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, 6who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin[c] king of Judah. 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. 9 She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.
10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. 11 Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.
12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.
15 When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favour of everyone who saw her. 16 She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favour and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality. Mordecai Uncovers a Conspiracy 19 When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.
21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana[d] and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. 23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were impaled on poles. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king. Esther 3 Haman’s Plot to Destroy the Jews 1 After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. 2 All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.
3 Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” 4 Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behavior would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.
5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. 6 Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.
7 In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on[e] the twelfth month, the month of Adar.
8 Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents[f] of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.”
10 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11“Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”
12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.
15 The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.
17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.
Psalm 35:17-28 Listen to this passage 17 How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. 18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you. 19 Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. 20 They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land. 21 They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it.” 22 LORD, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord. 23 Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. 24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, LORD my God; do not let them gloat over me. 25 Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!” or say, “We have swallowed him up.”
26 May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. 27 May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The LORD be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.” 28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Nehemiah 12:27-13:31English Standard Version (ESV) Dedication of the Wall
27 And at (A)the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, (B)with cymbals, harps, and lyres. 28 And the sons of the singers gathered together from the district surrounding Jerusalem and from the villages of the Netophathites; 29 also from Beth-gilgal and from the region of Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built for themselves villages around Jerusalem. 30 And the priests and the Levites (C)purified themselves, and they purified the people and the gates and the wall.
31 Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks. (D)One went to the south on the wall to (E)the Dung Gate. 32 And after them went Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah, 33 and Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam,34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, and Jeremiah, 35 and certain of the priests' sons (F)with trumpets: Zechariah the son of Jonathan, son of Shemaiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Micaiah, son of Zaccur, son of Asaph; 36 and his relatives, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, (G)with the musical instruments of David(H)the man of God. And Ezra the scribe went before them. 37 At (I)the Fountain Gate they went up straight before them by (J)the stairs of the city of David, at the ascent of the wall, above the house of David, to (K)the Water Gate on the east.
38 (L)The other choir of those who gave thanks went to the north, and I followed them with half of the people, on the wall, above (M)the Tower of the Ovens, to (N)the Broad Wall, 39 and above (O)the Gate of Ephraim, and by (P)the Gate of Yeshanah,[a] and by(Q)the Fish Gate and (R)the Tower of Hananel and (S)the Tower of the Hundred, to (T)the Sheep Gate; and they came to a halt at (U)the Gate of the Guard. 40 So both choirs of those who gave thanks stood in the house of God, and I and half of the officials with me; 41 and the priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, (V)with trumpets; 42 and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang with Jezrahiah as their leader. 43 And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away. Service at the Temple
44 (W)On that day men were appointed over the storerooms, the contributions, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the Law for the priests and for the Levites according to the fields of the towns, for Judah rejoiced over the priests and the Levites who ministered. 45 And they performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did the singers and the gatekeepers, (X)according to the command of David and his son Solomon. 46 For long ago in the days of David and(Y)Asaph there were directors of the singers, and there were songs[b] of praise and thanksgiving to God. 47 And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah gave the (Z)daily portions for the singers and the gatekeepers; (AA)and they set apart that which was for the Levites; (AB)and the Levites set apart that which was for the sons of Aaron. Nehemiah's Final Reforms
13 On that day (AC)they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it was found written (AD)that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, 2 for they did not meet the people of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them—yet our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 As soon as the people heard the law, (AE)they separated from Israel all (AF)those of foreign descent.
4 Now before this, (AG)Eliashib the priest, who (AH)was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to (AI)Tobiah, 5 prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, (AJ)which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. 6 While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for (AK)in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes(AL)king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king7 and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, (AM)preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. 8 And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. 9 Then I gave orders, and they (AN)cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.
10 I also found out that (AO)the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each (AP)to his field.11 (AQ)So I confronted the officials and said, (AR)“Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12 Then all Judah brought(AS)the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13 And (AT)I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, (AU)for they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers.14 (AV)Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.
15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses (AW)on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, (AX)which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And(AY)I warned them on the day when they sold food. 16 Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17 (AZ)Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, (BA)profaning the Sabbath day? 18 (BB)Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster[c] on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”
19 As soon as it (BC)began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 (BD)But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites (BE)that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. (BF)Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.
23 In those days also I saw the Jews (BG)who had married women (BH)of Ashdod,(BI)Ammon, and (BJ)Moab. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people.25 (BK)And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. (BL)And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 (BM)Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women?(BN)Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was (BO)beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. 27 Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and (BP)act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?”
28 And one of the sons of (BQ)Jehoiada, the son of (BR)Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of (BS)Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me.29 Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood (BU)and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.
30 Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; 31 and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits.
Remember me, O my God, for good.
1 Corinthians 11 English Standard Version (ESV)
11 (A)Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Head Coverings 2 Now I commend you (B)because you remember me in everything and (C)maintain the traditions (D)even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that (E)the head of every man is Christ, (F)the head of a wife[a] is her husband, and (G)the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife[b] who prays or (H)prophesies (I)with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same (J)as if her head were shaven. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since (K)he is the image and glory of God, but (L)woman is the glory of man. 8 For(M)man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but (N)woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.[c] 11 Nevertheless, (O)in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And (P)all things are from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 (Q)If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do (R)the churches of God.
Psalm 35: 1-16
Psalm 35 English Standard Version (ESV)
Great Is the Lord Of David.
35 Contend, O Lord, with those who (A)contend with me; (B)fight against those who fight against me! 2 Take hold of (C)shield and buckler and rise for my help! 3 Draw the spear and javelin[a] against my pursuers! Say to my soul, “I am your salvation!” 4 (D)Let them be (E)put to shame and dishonor who seek after my life! Let them be (F)turned back and disappointed who devise evil against me! 5 Let them be like (G)chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away! 6 Let their way be dark and (H)slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them!
7 For (I)without cause (J)they hid their net for me; without cause they dug (K)a pit for my life.[b] 8 Let (L)destruction come upon him (M)when he does not know it! And let the net that he hid ensnare him; let him fall into it—to his destruction!
9 Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord, (N)exulting in his salvation. 10 All my (O)bones shall say, “O Lord, (P)who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”
11 (Q)Malicious[c] witnesses rise up; they ask me of things that I do not know. 12 (R)They repay me evil for good; my soul is bereft.[d] 13 But I, (S)when they were sick— I (T)wore sackcloth; I (U)afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed (V)with head bowed[e] on my chest. 14 I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother; as one who laments his mother, I (W)bowed down in mourning.
15 But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered; they gathered together against me; wretches whom I did not know tore at me without ceasing; 16 like profane mockers at a feast, they gnash at me with their teeth.
27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.’
A wicked sinner but convinced I was 'a good person' I fell in a pit in 2006. I cried out to the Lord and I was rescued and redeemed by Jesus-Christ my saviour. He has turned my life upside down. I am married to Steven, a c.o.e. vicar, mother of two loving daughters, step-mum to a lovely young lady, a sister, cousin and an auntie to many nephews and nieces. We live near Stafford in the UK.