In a manner of speaking – Worship @ Home Sunday, 14 June 2020

The Salvation Army, Prestonpans Corps

(Major Elizabeth Turner)

Angela Douglas gives her testimony on her enrolment as a Soldier. (Steven Turner)

Song          Have you ever heard the story

(Tune Gospel bells; play from beginning for devotional reflection on the song)

1. Have you ever heard the story
Of the Babe of Bethlehem,
Who was worshiped by the angels
And the wise and holy men
How he taught the learned doctors
In the temple far away?
O I’m glad, so glad to tell you,
He is just the same today!

Just the same, just the same,
He is just the same today.
Just the same, just the same,
He is just the same today.

2. Have you ever heard the story
How he walked upon the sea,
To his dear disciples tossing
On the waves of Galilee?
How the waves in angry motion
Quickly did his will obey?
O I’m glad, so glad to tell you,
He is just the same today!

3. Have you ever heard of Jesus
Praying in Gethsemane,
And the ever-thrilling story,
How he died upon the tree,
Cruel thorns his forehead piercing,
As his spirit passed away?
This he did for you, my brother,
And he’s just the same today!

4. Have you ever heard of Jesus
Who was buried in the tomb,
And was mourned by his disciples
In despair, defeat and gloom?
By the power of God eternal,
He arose on Easter day,
And he lives for our salvation:
He is just the same today!

S. Z. Kaufman (verses 1-3),
Gordon Taylor (verse 4)

Pray the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Bible Reading Acts 4:1-14


This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

4 1–2 The teaching and preaching of Peter and John angered the priests, the captain of the temple police, and representatives of the Jewish sect of the Sadducees. They were furious that the people were being taught that in Jesus there is a resurrection from the dead. So while Peter and John were still speaking, the Jewish authorities came to the temple courts to oppose them. 3 They had them arrested, and since it was already evening they kept them in custody until the next day. 4 Yet there were many in the crowd who believed the message, bringing the total number of men who believed to nearly five thousand!

5 The next day many Jewish leaders, religious scholars, and elders of the people convened a meeting in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and others who were members of the high priest’s family. 7 They made Peter and John stand in front of the council as they questioned them, saying, “Tell us, by what power and authority have you done these things?”

8 Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered, “Respected elders and leaders of the people, listen. 9 Are we being put on trial today for doing an act of kindness by healing a frail, crippled man? Well then, 10 you and everyone else in Israel should know that it is by the power of the name of Jesus that the crippled man stands here today completely healed! You crucified Jesus Christ of Nazareth, but God raised him from the dead. 11 This Jesus is ‘the stone that you, the builders, have rejected, and now he has become the cornerstone!’ 12 There is no one else who has the power to save us, for there is only one name to whom God has given authority by which we must experience salvation: the name of Jesus.”

13 The council members were astonished as they witnessed the bold courage of Peter and John, especially when they discovered that they were just ordinary men who had never had religious training. Then they began to understand the effect Jesus had on them simply by spending time with him. 14 Standing there with them was the healed man, and there was nothing further they could say.

Chorus            Take Jesus to all the world

Take Jesus to all the world, He’ll put things right.
Take Jesus to all the world, He’ll put things right.
Jesus died for all mankind,
So I know that you will find
If you take Jesus to all the world, He’ll put things right

In a manner of speaking

Image copyright BBC TV

Comedians have long used the art of mimicry to reflect the voice and mannerisms of a public face. If, with a little judicious make-up and similar clothing, they could be made to look more like the person of their satire, so much the better. As a child, I too would engage in various efforts of mimicry, mimicking the voice of the character of Frank Spencer in the comedy show ‘Some Mothers do ‘ave ‘em’. I would also try to portray the voices of other popular people of the day, as well as family members, friends or people known to the family. I hasten to add that this was never in a cruel or unkind way, neither is it something that I still do! I remember my mum cautioning me about overdoing this in any way: citing that she knew a girl who had mimicked another’s voice so much, she actually couldn’t stop it and that mimicked voice became her own. But it was not to good effect. How sad that her own voice never had the opportunity of making its mark for good in the lives of those who knew her.

Last week we reflected on the amazing story of Peter and John on their way to worship, and the healing of the crippled man who had long sat beside that beautiful gate. Seeing those who were making their way in and out to worship at the temple, the man himself was never, ever able to go through those gates to lift up his voice in prayer or praise in community with others. That is, until Peter and John introduced him to the beautiful, powerful name of Jesus, and in that moment his life was transformed.

Peter and John, as disciples of Jesus, had walked beside, leaned on and learned closely from Jesus over a period of three years. Now, filled with his Holy Spirit, the men were able to continue his ministry of grace, love, forgiveness, hope, healing and new life to the broken in their community. Not in a manner of mimicry or of meticulously following a formula, but out of a deep rooted, personal love for and relationship with Jesus themselves. 

Their presence with and learning from Jesus had brought them to an understanding of the value and worth of kingdom living principles. It guided their actions and found credible voice through their own particular lived experiences. They admired, loved and wanted to be like Jesus, but not in the manner as a person only mimicking the ways of another might do.

Yes, the coming of the Holy Spirit was meant to place the image of Jesus in the life of a believer, making that man, woman, girl or boy the finest version of themselves that they could ever be. The image of Jesus in each person was meant as much to be like a seal of authenticity; however the personality, character and voice of the individual is essentially, their own.

On no account does the Holy Spirit quash the unique qualities of the believer; after all, they were originally conceived in the mind of God and loved by him into being. In Psalm 139 verses 15 & 16a we read, “You even formed every bone in my body when you created me in the secret place, carefully, skilfully shaping me from nothing to something. You saw who you created me to be before I became me!” (TPT). The presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is not meant to make them carbon copy saints, but rather to show how God delights in diversity and has a specific purpose for each person. In being filled with the Holy Spirit, each individual is to be caught up in the frame of the Church worldwide, and launched by the Spirit of God to live and work powerfully for him, having something very specific and positive to contribute to the Kingdom of God as a whole.

When Peter and John were detained and questioned by the ‘Jewish leaders, religious scholars, and elders of the people’ (Acts 4:5) about their actions and asked how it had come about, the Bible tells us ‘Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered, “Respected elders and leaders of the people, listen. Are we being put on trial today for doing an act of kindness by healing a frail, crippled man? Well then, you and everyone else in Israel should know that it is by the power of the name of Jesus that the crippled man stands here today completely healed!”’ (Acts 4:8-10) Peter wanted no misunderstanding about this man’s healing. It was solely the power and name of Jesus that had accomplished this, and he alone deserved the attention and praise.

The compelling authority and assuredness with which Peter spoke was not lost on them. The Bible narrative states, “The council members were astonished as they witnessed the bold courage of Peter and John, especially when they discovered that they were just ordinary men who had never had religious training. Then they began to understand the effect Jesus had on them simply by spending time with him” (Acts 4:13). What an awesome statement that last sentence is! Let’s read it again “then they began to understand the effect Jesus had on them simply by spending time with him” (Acts 4:13b). Oh, that people would come to such an understanding when they encounter me!

Francois de La Rochefoucauld stated, “The accent of one’s birthplace remains in the mind and in the heart as in one’s speech.”[1] For the individual filled with the Holy Spirit, this should be a truth that clearly marks us out as his. The manner in which we think, we behave and we speak should truly be the manner of Jesus. The ‘rebirth’ place of the individual who has been filled with the Spirit of Jesus should be etched in their soul, never to be forgotten, always firing the imagination to live unmistakeably in the manner of Jesus, yet being the individual he purposed us to be, for his honour and glory. When we do that, then, just as the Bible states of the council that convened on Peter and John, “there was nothing further they could say” (Acts 4:14). The evidence was staring them in the face – literally in the healed man and heard plainly in the disciples’ bold words.

Can you think back to that moment and place where you claimed the forgiveness, love, grace and power of Jesus in your life? Do you recall the joy, thrill and excitement of that moment? In that moment you were being filled with the very atmosphere of heaven, the accents of which would renew your mind fill your heart and be heard in your speech. Compare that time to where you are now. Has anything changed? Does the air and attitude of heaven pervade your thinking still, fill your heart and flow out in your speech?  Yes, life is tough and challenging, but the name and power of Jesus is more than a match for any challenges that come our way. That is a truth that we need to boldly declare to ourselves when things are not all as they should be.

We need the courage to trust Jesus and not doubt his everlasting love for us. We need to hold on to him even though it may seem as if all hell is let loose upon us or our loved ones. As we do hold fast to Jesus, we and our loved ones will have the joy of walking through and into places we may perhaps never have imagined being. This will be a reality that no one will ever be able to contradict, for the evidence will be there for all to see. With bold trust, bold living and bold declaration to the power of Jesus to save to heal, to bring transformation, then those within sight and earshot of us will be stirred to decide if they are going to take Jesus into their hearts and lives too. If they do, it will need to be for real with no mimicking if they are ever going to know the thrill of being citizens of life beyond the beautiful gates.

Song                What a beautiful name it is

(Sung by Hillsong Worship)

You were the Word at the beginning
One with God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-ND

What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ, my King

What a beautiful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus, You brought heaven down
My sin was great, Your love was greater
What could separate us now

CHORUS

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC

Death could not hold You
The veil tore before You
You silence the boast of sin and grave

The heavens are roaring
The praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign

Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names

What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ, my King

What a powerful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Words and Music by BEN FIELDING & BROOKE LIGERTWOOD
© 2016 Hillsong Music Publishing. All rights reserved.
International copyright secured. Used by permission.

“A Prayer for A Transformed Life”[2]

Father, You have commissioned us, as believers, to reach the lost, inviting them to surrender their lives to Jesus and receive forgiveness of sins.  It is at their point of surrender that we witness the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit; cleansing, restoring, purging, and maturing the young believer toward good works in Christ. We thank You for the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit at work in each of us who come to faith, equipping us with the endurance and perseverance needed to walk our journey of faith in the midst of an increasingly hostile and unaccepting society. It is through Jesus that we come to You in prayer. Amen.

“A Prayer for Power to Witness”[3]

Father, as Your Holy Spirit empowers us, we can effectively proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ through Scriptural teaching and through our godly example.  Help us to faithfully witness in the mission field You’ve appointed us to.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Song         O for a thousand tongues to sing

( Live from The Royal Albert Hall with The Salvation Army)

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise;
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears;
‘Tis life and health and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood avails for me.

Charles Wesley (1707-88)

Benediction

May God’s blessing surround you each day,
As you trust Him and walk in His way.
May His presence within guard and keep you from sin.
Go in peace, go in joy, go in love.


[1] Francois de La Rochefoucauld quote found: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/speech-quotes_4

[2] https://adailyprayer.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/a-prayer-for-a-transformed-life/

[3] https://adailyprayer.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/a-prayer-for-power-to-witness/

About prophetable

My wife Elizabeth and I were commissioned as Officers (ministers) in The Salvation Army in 1997, and have served in appointments in England and Scotland. Since July 2016 I have been working in The Salvation Army's Scotland Office as combined parliamentary and ecumenical representative.
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