Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne

When we stop to really think about the Christmas story, it is quite incredible. Jesus, a king, left His perfect throne in heaven to come to Earth as a baby in order to ultimately save us from death and eternal separation from God. He left His kingly crown FOR ME. And when it was time for Him to be born, he wasn’t even born in a palace or even a modest home, he was born in a BARN or more likely, a cave, and put in a manger, a trough!

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

Talk about humility. God took on human form, humbling Himself, becoming like men even though he was fully God, so that He could grow up and taste death for everyone.

But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:9

Paul challenges us in his letter to the Philippians to have this same humility.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil 2:5-8

Jesus obeyed God even to the point of death. Paul’s letter goes on to exhort us to all things without grumbling or complaining. I know I fall short of that on a regular basis. Jesus is our example. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death. In comparison, we don’t have much to grumble about…

This beautiful Christmas carol tells the story well. After each verse we have the opportunity to confirm our willingness for the Lord to dwell in us: “O come to my heart Lord Jesus. There is room in my heart for Thee.” In the last verse we see what we can look forward to in glory: God’s voice calling us home saying “There is room at My side for thee.”

Together, let’s live with the humility of Christ as we look forward to His victorious coming.

Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne
Words by Emily E. Elliott

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,
And in great humility.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word,
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

When the heav’ns shall ring, and her choirs shall sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.”
My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest and callest for me.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Day of Redemption

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." Luke 2:8-15

As we continue to wait for Jesus’ return to Earth, we can only imagine what it must have been like for the people to realize their Deliverer had finally come. As we see from the account in the Gospel of Luke, the shepherds were surprised to see the angels that night. They got the news from the angels and went straight to Bethlehem to see this new King who didn’t come in the form they were expecting: He came as a baby, a gentle, tender baby who was resting on a pillow of hay when the shepherds came to worship.

Their day of redemption had come! Christ, who came into the world to save it, was born and the Earth rejoiced. As this hymn says, earth’s darkness is gone! The prophecy from Isaiah had come to fruition.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. Isaiah 9:2

Jesus truly brought Light to the world. He is the True Light.

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. John 1:9

Hail! Hail! Day of Redemption! Jesus’ birth and death saves us from our life of sin and makes us His children. We are adopted as sons, hallelujah!

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5

Day of Redemption
Words by Flora Kirkland

The day of redemption hath come with a song—
The song of redemption from sin so strong.
The angels first chanted it over a hill;
As Christmas returneth it echoes still.

Hail! Hail! day of redemption!
Hark the angel chorus rings!
Hail! Hail! day of redemption!
Bow before the King of kings!

Redemption most wonderful! Gift from the sky,
Redeemer most gentle, so low to lie!
O herald so glorious sent from above,
To speak to the shepherds of God’s great love.

O marvel of tenderness! Marvel of light!
The King from the glory, so wondrous bright!
Is resting all quietly, pillowed on hay,
And gone is earth’s darkness! Behold! ’tis day!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wake, Awake for Night is Flying

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. I Thess., 5:1-2

Wake, Awake! The bridegroom is here! Don’t you look forward to that day, when we’ll hear that call, and arise to meet Christ, our bridegroom? This wonderful Advent hymn helps us look forward to that day, when we, with the choir immortal, will gather round His dazzling throne.

In the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus reminds us that we don’t know the day nor the hour of our Lord’s returning. Through this story, He tells us to be ready: to have our lamps trimmed and oil with us, so we will be ready to meet Christ. In the story, five of the virgins forgot to bring oil. They had to go buy some, and by the time they got back, the bridegroom had come, and taken those who were ready into the wedding feast, and SHUT THE DOOR. The five who weren’t ready did not get in.

"Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.

Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.

The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the prudent answered, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.

Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
Matthew 25:1-13

Awake, Jerusalem, at last! Will you be ready when Jesus comes again?

"There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Luke 21:25-28

Straighten up, lift up your heads, your redemption is drawing near! That is great news. I am looking forward to that day when we will rise from our gloom and see our Lord come down all glorious, in truth victorious. Come, Lord Jesus!

Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying
Words by Philipp Nicolai
Translated from German to English by Catherine Winkworth

Wake, awake, for night is flying;
The watchmen on the heights are crying:
Awake, Jerusalem, at last!
Midnight hears the welcome voices
And at the thrilling cry rejoices;
Come forth, ye virgins, night is past;
The Bridegroom comes, awake;
Your lamps with gladness take;
Alleluia! And for His marriage feast prepare
For ye must go and meet Him there.

Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing;
She wakes, she rises from her gloom;
For her Lord comes down all glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious.
Her Star is risen, her Light is come.
Ah come, Thou blessed One, God’s own beloved Son:
Alleluia! We follow till the halls we see
Where Thou hast bid us sup with Thee.

Now let all the heavens adore Thee,
And saints and angels sing before Thee,
With harp and cymbal’s clearest tone;
Of one pearl each shining portal,
Where we are with the choir immortal
Of angels round Thy dazzling throne;
Nor eye hath seen, nor ear hath yet attained to hear
What there is ours, but we rejoice and sing to Thee
Our hymn of joy eternally.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Beauty of Praise

Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name. Psalm 30:4

Briggie urges us to Praise God in all circumstances.

I write about how we have so many reasons to praise.

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

We have so many reasons to praise! God, our Savior, Redeemer and Friend, the King of Heaven is worthy of our praise. This hymn just starts to scratch the surface of the many reasons we have to praise the Lord.

Through Christ’s work on the cross, you are ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven.

…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28

and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. I Peter 2:24

So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel. Matthew 15:31

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14

God has shown great grace and favor to our ancestors, and to us. He certainly is slow to chide and quick to bless.

But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. Psalm 86:15

Need another reason? God is glorious in faithfulness.

For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:5

He saved us not according to what we have done, but according to His wide mercy.

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:5-6

We are born, live, die. We are fickle, we change our minds. God does not. He stays the same. I praise Him for that. I praise Him that the same God who made a covenant with Abraham, who chose David as the King of Israel, who met Saul on the road to Damascus, is the same God who relates to me! He does not change.

For I, the LORD, do not change. Malachi 3:6

We certainly have a lot to praise God for. I hope you will join me in praising Him today.

Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven
Words by Henry F. Lyte

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for His grace and favor
To our fathers in distress.
Praise Him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Glorious in His faithfulness.

Fatherlike He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows.
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Widely yet His mercy flows.

Frail as summer’s flower we flourish,
Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish
Our God lives unchanging on,
Praise Him, Praise Him, Hallelujah
Praise the High Eternal One!

Angels, help us to adore Him;
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him,
Dwellers all in time and space.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Carnival of Beauty

It's my turn to host again, and the theme this week is the beauty of praise. Please submit your entries to carnival.of.beauty@gmail.com by Thursday midnight your time.

For more information on the Carnival of Beauty, see Amanda at Following an Unknown Path.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Words by Charles Wesley

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.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the season where we remember Jesus and His coming to earth as a baby. For many, many years, the Jews had waited for their Messiah, the One who would set them free from their fears and sins. The Law couldn’t do that. The Law, and the sacrifices associated with the Law, could never set them free, it only reminded them of their sin.

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. Hebrews 10:1-3

They needed a Savior, the Hope of all the earth, to redeem them and deliver them from their life in the Law. Jesus was this Savior! He was born to deliver God’s people, born just like you and me, but without sin. Can you imagine what the shepherds must have thought when the angel came to tell them that the Savior they had been waiting for was finally here? And not only that, he was a BABY! In a manger of all places!

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:8-12

Jesus was the long expected Savior born those many years ago. And just as in the Advent season we reflect upon Christ coming to earth as a baby to grow up to save His people through His death on the cross, we now await His second return to earth. Some day, soon I hope, He will come to bring those who have believed in Him home with Him, to live with Him forever. Jesus Himself promised this when He was here on this earth.

"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
John 14:2-3

That day is coming when Christ will bring His kingdom and raise us to His glorious throne. Are you ready?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks to God

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thess. 5:18

Thanks to God
Words by August L. Storm
Translated from Swedish to English by Carl E. Backstrom

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Beauty of Faithfulness

Welcome to this week's Carnival of Beauty! As we reflect on what we are thankful for during this season, we can certainly add in God's faithfulness. He is faithful in so many different ways: meeting our physical needs, answering prayer, forgiving sin.

Loni reminds us that despite the failures in our fallen world, the ultimately, faithfulness can be found solely in Jesus Christ.

Susanna reflects that faithlessness is a foil to the great beauty of God's faithfulness.

And I offer encouragement that God is always faithful to forgive us.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

He Took My Sins Away

Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. Deut. 7:9

Our God is faithful. The Psalms are full of reminders of how He has been faithful to David and His people. David often extols God’s faithfulness.

Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 36:5

Indeed, the story in the Bible is one long story of the faithfulness of our God. His people are repeatedly unfaithful, but He remains. His faithfulness is shown in the sending of His son to redeem His people, to reconcile them to Himself, to give us eternal security and save us from death. This faithfulness was foreshadowed even in the very beginning, just after Eve was deceived by Satan. God promised Hope. And He delivered.

We were sinners, and yet God rescued us. While we were STILL sinners, he sent His Son to save us. We are forgiven, and yet as humans, we are still prone to sin. But God is faithful, and He forgives us if we confess.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9

Know that He has been faithful to forgive you, and faithful to provide a cure for your sin-filled life that separated you from Him. Rejoice that God has been faithful to us in providing His Son, and taking our sins away.

He Took My Sins Away
Words by Margaret Harris

I came to Jesus, weary, worn, and sad.
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
And now His love has made my heart so glad,
He took my sins away.

He took my sins away, He took my sins away,
And keeps me singing every day!
I’m so glad He took my sins away,
He took my sins away.

The load of sin was more than I could bear.
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
And now on Him I roll my ev’ry care,
He took my sins away.

No condemnation have I in my heart,
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
His perfect peace He did to me impart,
He took my sins away.

If you will come to Jesus Christ today,
He’ll take your sins away, He’ll take your sins away,
And keep you happy in His love each day,
He’ll take your sins away.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Carnival of Beauty

It is my pleasure to host the Carnival of Beauty again this week as we celebrate faithfulness.

God is faithful, and I'm sure we all have MANY stories we could tell or examples we could give to encourage others.

Send your entries to carnival.of.beauty@gmail.com by Thursday midnight your time. I will post the carnival on Friday morning.

We all look forward to reading how God has been faithful to you!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jesus Bids Us Shine

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Jesus Bids Us Shine
Words by Susan Warner

Jesus bids us shine
With a pure, clear light,
Like a little candle
Burning in the night.
In this world of darkness
So let us shine—
You in your small corner,
And I in mine.

Jesus bids us shine,
First of all for Him;
Well He sees and knows it,
If our light grows dim.
He looks down from Heaven
To see us shine—
You in your small corner,
And I in mine.

Jesus bids us shine,
Then, for all around;
Many kinds of darkness
In the world are found—
Sin and want and sorrow;
So we must shine—
You in your small corner,
And I in mine.

Jesus came into the world as the Light of the World, and he bids us to shine in the darkness while we are in the world. Each of us, in our small corner, can shine for Jesus in our own situations and can show His love to the people with whom we interact. Jesus told us that this would be a natural outpouring of our being His children – we are in the light, and we are called to shine that light around our corner of the world, so that people will glorify God as a result of our good works.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

We live in an imperfect world, in a crooked and perverse generation, which makes it even more important that we shine for Jesus.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world... Phil. 2:14-15

So how do we walk in the Light? How do we shine, each of us in our small corners?

Be imitators of God, walk in love, learn what is pleasing to the Lord, expose deeds of darkness, make the most of your time.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:1-16

Practice the truth.

He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. John 3:18-22

Love your brother.

On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. I John 2:8-10

This hymn reminds us (as if we need reminding!) that many kinds of darkness in the world are found – it is so important that we shine as children of Light – that as a result of our shining in this world, men will glorify God our Father. And that is our goal while we are here on Earth – that our lives would bring glory to God, and that through our light shining, others will glorify Him as well.

As the Newsboys (modern day hymnwriters?) say,

Make 'em wonder whatcha got
Make 'em wish that they were not
on the outside looking bored
Let it shine before all men
Let 'em see good works and then
Let 'em glorify the Lord.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Alone with God

After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. Matthew 14:23

Once again, Jesus serves as our example. Even Jesus, the Son of God, truly God incarnate, knew the need to be alone with God. He sent the crowds away and went up to the mountain by Himself to pray. Because He was just like us, and faced the same things we face, He knew how much He needed to be alone with God, to pray, to realize His entire dependence on the Father.

How much more so do we need this! We are fully human and fully sinners, and we must make the time to be alone with God, to hear His voice, to study His word, and to come before Him with our petitions, in thanksgiving.

Andrew Murray writes, “Would God that every servant of His understood and practiced this blessed art, and that the Church knew how to train its children into some sense of this high and holy privilege, that every believer may and must have his time when he is indeed himself alone with God. Oh, the thought to have God all alone to myself, and to know that God has me all alone to Himself!”

It is certainly a high and holy privilege to be able to spend time reading and studying the Bible, God’s word to us, and to hear Him speak through His word. It’s also a great privilege to be able to go to Him in prayer.

I hope you will take advantage of this great privilege today. When the storms of life around you beat, you can find strength in spending time alone with your Lord and Savior.

“My soul, practice being alone with Christ! Practice that solitude! Practice the stillness of thy own heart!” –George Matheson

For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength." Isaiah 30:15

Alone with God
Words by Johnson Oatman, Jr.

When storms of life are round me beating,
When rough the path that I have trod,
Within my closet door retreating,
I love to be alone with God.

Alone with God, the world forbidden,
Alone with God, O blest retreat!
Alone with God, and in Him hidden,
To hold with Him communion sweet.

What tho’ the clouds have gathered o’er me?
What tho’ I’ve passed beneath the rod?
God’s perfect will there lies before me,
When I am thus alone with God.

’Tis there I find new strength for duty,
As o’er the sands of time I plod;
I see the King in all His beauty,
While resting there alone with God.

And when I see the moment nearing
When I shall sleep beneath the sod,
When time with me is disappearing,
I want to be alone with God.

Monday, October 29, 2007

In the Service of the King

Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. Romans 15:17

As Christians, we are called to serve. We are God’s servants here on Earth, and we are to be in service to one another.

…through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." Gal. 5:13-14

God has enabled us to serve by giving each one of us special gifts. When you are serving God in the way He has gifted you, you will be able to say along with this hymn writer, “I am happy in the service of the King, I have peace and joy that nothing else can bring.”

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. I Peter 4:10

We have these gifts, and they must be employed in our service to one another. I don’t think you’ll have to look far to see where your gifts could be used in service to others. I’m sure many of us have opportunities to serve each and every day – and we are called to take advantage of these opportunities and show God’s love through our service.

Jesus Christ is our example of service. Two examples of His service to His disciples include washing their feet (John 13:5) and cooking them breakfast (John 21:2). He also exhorted them to follow His example and serve others.

You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. John 13:13-15

Of course, His greatest example of service is that He gave His life for us. He came to this Earth to serve.

Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matt. 20:26-28

Take some time today to consider how you can serve, how Christ would use you as a instrument of His love and grace in someone else’s life. I thank my father-in-law for his great example of service – he is quick to help a neighbor, colleague or someone who goes to his church. He doesn’t tire in service to others – through which he is serving God.

Happy Birthday, Dad S. You are loved.

Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Psalm 100:2-3

In the Service of the King
Words by Alfred H. Ackley

I am happy in the service of the King.
I am happy, O so happy!
I have peace and joy that nothing else can bring,
In the service of the King.

In the service of the King
Every talent I will bring.
I have peace and joy and blessing
In the service of the King.

I am happy in the service of the King.
I am happy, O so happy!
Through the sunshine and the shadow I can sing,
In the service of the King.

I am happy in the service of the King.
I am happy, O so happy!
To His guiding hand forever I will cling,
In the service of the King.

I am happy in the service of the King.
I am happy, O so happy!
All that I possess to Him I gladly bring,
In the service of the King.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wait, My Soul, Upon the Lord

My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.
Psalm 62:5

There’s a great story in I Samuel 13 about waiting. And the story shows us there are dire consequences in NOT waiting on God and His timing for us - we are called to be patient.

In this story, Saul is King and has assembled a great army. His army has defeated one group of the Philistines and now they (Israel) are “odious” (offensive and detestable) to the Philistines (v4). So the Philistines gathered up their forces (30,000 of them, 100 times more than Saul’s complete army of 3,000!) and started to move to where Saul was. Saul had also summoned the 1,000 men in his army who weren’t with him, and they were on the way. In the meantime, the men who were with Saul saw that they were in a strait because of the approaching Philistines and started hiding in caves, thickets, cliffs and in pits (v6). How would you feel if you were Saul? Your men are all in hiding and an army 100 times the size of yours is approaching, and your reinforcements aren’t on the scene yet! Yikes!

Now Saul had a directive from Samuel, that he was to wait seven days and until Samuel got there so that Samuel could offer sacrifices to God and show Saul what to do. Here Samuel says to Saul,

"And you shall go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do." I Samuel 10:8

But, Saul got impatient. It was the 7th day and Samuel hadn’t yet arrived – where was he anyway? Saul’s people were scattered and he didn’t want to lose his opportunity so he said,

"Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings." And he offered the burnt offering. (I Samuel 13:9)

Well, wouldn’t you know it, as soon as he had offered the sacrifice, Samuel shows up! And as you can imagine, Samuel was not happy.

Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. But Samuel said, "What have you done?" (v10,11)

And here comes Saul with the excuses.

"Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, therefore I said, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the LORD.' So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering."

If I were Samuel, I would have said, “You FORCED yourself? Hmm, really?” But Samuel wasn’t sarcastic. Instead, he chastised Saul, saying

"You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you." (v13-14)

Read that again and make sure you catch exactly what Samuel was saying. Saul did not keep God’s commandment and as a result, he forfeited the chance to have his kingdom established over Israel forever. He didn’t wait. He was impatient. Now his kingdom will not endure, Samuel says. (And as we know from another story when Saul was disobedient, His kingship was removed from him.)

Can you imagine how Saul must have felt? He lost his chance because he couldn’t wait a few more minutes for Samuel to get there. The Lord was going to establish Saul’s kingdom over Israel FOREVER. FOREVER. And he blew it – he didn’t see the big picture and he thought only of his current circumstances.

It’s really easy for us to look at this story and say “Oh Saul, how shortsighted of you.” But if we’re (and I’m included at the top of this list) totally honest, there are many times we do this same thing. We don’t wait on God, and instead we take matters into our own hands. Are there times you’ve been mere minutes away from being delivered by God when you decided to fix it yourself? We’ll never know what God had planned for us and our future if we act ourselves instead of waiting on Him.

I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:1-3

Wait, My Soul, Upon the Lord
Words by William F. Lloyd

Wait, my soul, upon the Lord,
To His gracious promise flee,
Laying hold upon His Word,
“As Thy days thy strength shall be.”

If the sorrows of thy case
Seem peculiar still to thee,
God has promised needful grace:
“As Thy days thy strength shall be.”

Days of trial, days of grief,
In succession thou mayst see;
This is still thy sweet relief:
“As Thy days thy strength shall be.”

Rock of Ages, I'm secure,
With Thy promise, full and free,
Faithful, positive, and sure,
“As Thy days thy strength shall be.”

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Beauty of Peace

Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee... Isaiah 26:3

In her Scribblings, Blair reminds us that true peace comes only when we realize that I AM rules.

Cheryl encourages us to take time to rest in God's presence and focus on Him to regain your peace.

Peace is not always easy to come by. Barbara ponders why she is not always able to feel the blessing of peace in aboundance that Jesus promises us.

Peaceful slumber. It's something we all need.Dirtyhands4Him discusses, with Scripture, how we can enjoy peace at night.

Vicki provides some food for thought: In an age where we're surrounded by spiritual counterfeits, many are preaching a false gospel, leading to a false peace. Are we listening to a knock-off version or truly trusting in Christ?

Peace, perfect peace in this dark world of sin? Join Susanna as she reflects on the true peace we have through our Savior.

Donetta offers a poem on peace.

Great minds think alike! Susanna and I both were singing Peace, perfect peace this week. I expound on this beautiful hymn, expressing how we can have peace in all circumstances.

May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. I Peter 1:2

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Peace, Perfect Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27

Peace is not an easy thing to come by in our world. We are surrounded by strife – in our neighborhoods, in our homes, in our workplaces, in our world at large. Conflict, sin and turmoil are around every corner. We long for the day when there will be complete peace on Earth. Until then, Jesus has called us to live a life of peace.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Romans 12:18

The beauty of peace is that it can be ours in every circumstance, and this hymn speaks eloquently about that peace that passes all understanding. In this dark world of sin, the blood of Jesus whispers peace within. Because of Jesus’ work on our behalf, we have peace with God!

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2

Peace amidst all our duties, and the stress of daily living? We find peace when we do the will of God, living in peace with one another.

Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. II Cor. 13:11

So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Romans 14:19

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
II Tim. 2:22

Peace with sorrows surging around? Jesus guarantees our sorrows and suffering, our tribulations. But we can be courageous in them - He offers us peace through Himself - He has overcome the world.

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Peace amid suffering’s sharpest throes? Jesus offers us sympathy. He can sympathize with our weakness because He has felt everything we have.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Heb. 4:15

I am especially thankful for this next verse – peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away. Jesus offers us peace in ALL our circumstances – geographical and otherwise.

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance The Lord be with you all! II Thess. 3:16

We can be assured that in Jesus’ keeping our loved ones safe in His everlasting arms, even if we aren’t geographically close at hand.

Peace when we don’t know the future? How can that be possible? This is the peace that for me, personally, is hard to achieve. I need to lay my burdens about the future at the foot of the cross. Intellectually I know that He is on the throne, and I have no need to fret about the future. But my heart is deceitful, and my mind is prone to wander. Jesus tells us how to have peace about the future:

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matt. 6:33

And in the next verse, he reminds us that it isn’t prudent or necessary to fret about the future:

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt. 6:34

Finally, Paul encourages us with what awaits us in our eternal future if we stay the course – a crown of righteousness!

In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
II Tim. 4:8

Peace amidst death – either our own or that of someone we love. How do we find peace in that situation? Because we know that Jesus has vanquished death! Death no longer rules, but Jesus does!

…our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel… II Tim. 1:10

At the end of this hymn we receive great encouragement – it is enough! Earth’s struggles soon shall cease, and Jesus will call us to perfect peace in heaven, our blessed homeland.

Until that day, I leave with you this benediction from the writer to the Hebrews, praying that the God of peace will equip you to live a life of peace amidst every circumstance you face today, tomorrow, and until He calls us home.

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21

Peace, Perfect Peace
Words by Edward H. Bickersteth, Jr.

Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.

Peace, perfect peace, ’mid suffering’s sharpest throes?
The sympathy of Jesus breathes repose.

Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus’ keeping we are safe, and they.

Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.

Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.

It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus call us to Heaven’s perfect peace.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Carnival of Beauty

I'm hosting the Carnival of Beauty this week - the theme is the Beauty of Peace. Please submit your entry to carnival.of.beauty@gmail.com by Thursday midnight your time, and the carnival will be posted on Friday morning. For more of the fine print, see Amanda.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Blessed Homeland

As I heard of some devastating events in my city today, I couldn’t help but think, “This world has nothing for me.” There is enough in daily life that makes me yearn for my heavenly home, but in times like these, the heavy surges rolling, I find myself longing for heaven even more than usual. I groan in this body, longing for my true home.

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. II Cor. 5:1-3

Heaven: we will finally be free of evil, free of sin, and be complete in our new bodies, sharing eternity with our Savior. I have to remind myself that I am only passing through this barren land: I am truly an alien. I must stay focused on the life and citizenship that awaits me in my true home.

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. Phil 3:20-21

Can you imagine singing loud songs of triumph to our Savior, whom we’ll meet in heaven? He has reserved our “spot” in heaven for us – through His mercy we are born again and obtain the inheritance as His children. I love that it is imperishable, undefiled and will not fade away!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. I Peter 1:3-5

We all have many throbbing cares in this fallen world. Things just aren’t how God originally intended: there is sin and evil all around us. But as this hymn says, when we’re in our blessed homeland, our longings and our yearnings will be hushed by peace. That’s something to look forward to. And while we’re still here groaning on earth, we can be encouraged that Jesus has made the way for us – He has passed through the heavens as our great high priest, and He can sympathize with us because He’s experienced the same feelings as us.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:14-15

When the heavy surges roll around you, call on your Great High Priest who has prepared a place for you, and has guaranteed your inheritance through his grace and mercy. And, keep your eyes heavenward, looking forward to that glorious day when the Lord will return and we’ll all be home. Really home.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. I Thess. 4:16-17

Blessed Homeland
Words by Fannie Crosby

Gliding o’er life’s fitful waters,
Heavy surges sometimes roll;
And we sigh for yonder haven,
For the homeland of the soul.

Blessed homeland, ever fair!
Sin can never enter there;
But the soul, to life awaking,
Everlasting bloom shall wear.

Oft we catch a faint reflection,
Of its bright and vernal hills;
And, though distant, how we hail it!
How each heart with rapture thrills!

To our Father, and our Savior,
To the Spirit, Three in One,
We shall sing glad songs of triumph
When our harvest work is done.

’Tis the weary pilgrim’s homeland,
Where each throbbing care shall cease,
And our longings and our yearnings,
Like a wave, be hushed to peace.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Love of God

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

There are many, many hymns that I could say are my favorites. In fact, I’ve had to quit saying that because I say it so much: but if I was stranded on a deserted island, and could only have 3 or 7 or 18 hymns, I would definitely have to include this one.

The word pictures in this hymn really bring the truth of God’s love alive for me. God’s love is greater, bigger, longer, higher, deeper than any tongue or pen could never tell. EVER. If everyone on earth was trained as a writer and used every branch, blade of grass and stem as a quill, dipping it in the ocean filled with ink, and writing on the paper sky, it would drain that ocean dry to write about God’s love. Think about this: every one on earth is writing, dipping their quills in an ocean full of ink. The ocean goes dry because there is so much of God’s love to write about. And the paper sky fills up, it can’t contain all the writing about God’s love. There’s just too much. Isn’t that an amazing picture?

As Christians, we believe that God’s love was demonstrated to us in the sending of His son to die for our sins. He reconciled us to Himself, and pardoned us from our sin. God’s love redeemed Adam’s race.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). Ephesians 2:4-5

But God’s love is so much more than sending Jesus. Certainly, His plan to redeem His creation was in place from the time Adam and Eve sinned (Gen. 3:15), but God shows His love to His people in all things. In the Old Testament, God led His people out of Egypt and protected them until they reached the land He had provided. His incredible love for them meant that they had rules to follow and commandments to keep. He put those in place for their protection. He disciplined them out of love. He had a purpose in mind for them: that they would get to the land He had ordained for them. And, eventually, they did.

I think it’s examples like those that inspired the 3rd verse of this hymn. That verse is from a Jewish poem, Haddamut, written in 1050 by Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai. This is the part I find extremely amazing: the man who wrote the 3rd verse doesn’t believe that Jesus is the Messiah. He doesn’t believe that God sent Jesus to die in our place and redeem us, reconciling us to God and promising us an eternal future. And yet, look what he says about God’s love: it would drain the ocean dry if all the scribes were to write about it. The scroll couldn’t contain the whole of God’s love, if it was stretched from sky to sky. God’s love is THAT big, even to someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus.

God’s love will endure, when time has passed away, when earthly kingdoms fall, when men call on mountains instead of Him. It is sure, it is strong, it is more beautiful and greater than tongue or pen can ever tell.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. II Cor. 13:14

The Love of God

Words by Frederick Lehman

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Beauty of Hope

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5

Welcome to this week's carnival of beauty. I hope you are inspired and encouraged by our three essays today revealing the beauty of hope.

Michal writes about the hope she and her family found when God took them down a path that no one would want to go, in Hope is a Journey.

Susanna writes that the sure and living hope of a believer is a thing of beauty and noy something known to this world.

And I chime in with a post on our reason for hope: Jesus Christ and His love for us.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

My Hope is in the Lord

In this century, probably more than any other, there are a lot of things we can put our hope in. And, we regularly do. Many people put their hope in their career, their sports team, their stock account, even their children. However, there is really only one thing we can put our hope in and know that it is well-placed, and it is this: Jesus Christ died for our sins and gives us access to God, and an eternal future. My hope is built on nothing less.

Indeed, when Jesus lived on Earth, He made it clear that He is our only hope. He is our only way to God.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6

We certainly know that we can hope in Christ, for He gave Himself for us by dying a criminal’s death in our place. He paid the price for our sin. He bought us with His blood.

You were bought with a price. I Cor. 7:23

There is nothing we can do to earn this gift or to save ourselves from the wrath of God. Apart from Christ, we cannot suppress God’s anger. Our only hope is Jesus’ righteousness.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. II Cor. 5:21

We also have hope because we know that Jesus now stands at the right hand of the Father – he is in heaven, preparing a place for us, and interceding for us.

This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. Acts 2:32-33

Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Romans 8:34

He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. Hebrews 10:12

Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

As this hymn says, we must believe, recognize His work on our behalf, and receive Christ as our Savior. It is only then that your hope will be grounded in the Lord of all hopefulness, the One who will not disappoint you, as other earthly vessels can.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2

Words by Norman J. Clayton

My hope is in the Lord
Who gave Himself for me
And paid the price
Of all my sin at Calvary.

For me He died;
For me He lives,
And everlasting life
And light He freely gives.

No merit of my own
His anger to suppress
My only hope is found
In Jesus' righteousness.

And now for me He stands
Before the Father's throne
He shows His wounded hands
And names me as His own.

His grace has planned it all
Tis mine but to believe
And recognize His work of love
And Christ receive.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Carnival of Beauty

I am hosting the Carnival of Beauty this week. Our topic is the beauty of hope.

To participate, send an email to carnival.of.beauty@gmail.com with the following information:

1. Your first name
2. The name of your blog with the link
3. The name of your piece with the link
4. A brief one or two sentence description of your piece that will be in the listing of the Carnival submissions.

Please submit your entry by midnight your time on Thursday, September 27.

Monday, September 24, 2007

O Let Your Soul now be Filled with Gladness

And the ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads they will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 35:10

O Let Your Soul now be Filled with Gladness
Words by Peter Aschan

O let your soul now be filled with gladness,
Your heart redeemed, rejoice indeed!
O may the thought banish all your sadness,
That in His blood you have been freed,
That God's unfailing love is yours,
That you the only Son were given,
That by His death He has opened heaven,
That you are ransomed as you are.

If you seem empty of any feeling,
Rejoice, you are His ransomed bride!
If those you cherish seem not to love you,
And dark assails from every side;
Still yours the promise, come what may,
In loss and triumph, in laughter, crying;
In want and riches, in living dying,
That you are purchased as you are.

It is a good, every good transcending,
That Christ has died for you and me!
It is a gladness that has no ending
There in God's wondrous love to see!
Praise be to Him the spotless Lamb,
Who through the desert my soul is leading
To that fair city of joy exceeding,
For which He bought me as I am!

I love this wonderful hymn, set to a Swedish folk song. I wish I could play the music for you, because I’m sure you would sing it in your head all day long, as the music is so beautiful and lilting, and the text is so encouraging.

I love the point this hymn makes in every verse: We are ransomed, purchased, bought AS WE ARE. There’s nothing we can do to make ourselves better, Christ forgives us and makes us His, in exactly the state we are in right now. And most of us don’t need reminding – the state we are in right now is sin.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

That’s God’s unfailing love – that He gave His only son to die for our sins, and that by His death, heaven is opened to us and we are ransomed. Christ paid the price!

He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. I John 2:2

Many of us would do well to remember what this hymn reminds us of: that come what may, good bad, and everything in between, we have been purchased as we are. That is good news no matter what you are facing today. Verse 2 pretty much sums up a lot of what any human may be up against: those you love don’t love you back, darkness is evident everywhere, loss, triumph, laughter, crying, want, riches, living, dying. We still hold fast to the promise that He has redeemed us and we are His.

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3

Christ died for you and me – that is a good that transcends every other good that we could possibly imagine. If we have no other reason to be glad, that alone should keep us singing until He calls us home to Him. Praise be to the Spotless Lamb.

Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Discipline of God

Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. Job 5:17

Many of us, when growing up, would hear from our parents that they disciplined us because they loved us. As a kid, that’s hard to take. And, frankly, hard to believe. But as an adult, I can appreciate the truth in that statement. Out of their love for us, our parents wanted us to learn, and we learned (among other ways) through discipline. (Some of us learned faster than others, but I digress!)

The same is true with our Heavenly Father. He disciplines us because He loves us.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. Rev. 3:19

God disciplines us out of love, in order to conform us to the image of His son. Although it’s not pleasant, we can be assured of God’s love for us in a time of discipline. As this hymn so eloquently says

The Father's love is sometimes found in troubles and hard circumstance, and in the rough uneven ground.

This hymn also encourages us to not lose heart when we are disciplined. It is for discipline that we endure, as the writer to the Hebrews reminds us.

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Hebrews 12:7-8

The writer draws the parallel here that without discipline, we cannot be considered God’s children. And, just as we were disciplined by earthly parents, we should be subject even more do God’s discipline, because His discipline leads to sharing in His holiness.

Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. Hebrews 12:9-10

So don’t lose heart, no matter how hot the flame. As I wrote here, God knows exactly how hot to make the flame, and how long to leave you in it. He is perfecting us through the fire. His love works in us to break us of our stubbornness – and look what happens after we’re disciplined:

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Hebrews 12:11

I know I want the peaceful fruit of righteousness in my life. That requires that I be trained by discipline, trained by the One who loves me.

Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days. Prov. 19:20

God’s discipline, when recognized, understood and learned from, is a beautiful gift of love to us from the One who knows us best, and knows what’s best for us.

He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. Proverbs 15:32

The Discipline of God is Strong
Words by Jim Elliff

The discipline of God is strong
To make the sinning Christian bend,
Until affection, thoughts, and ways
Are each conformed to God's own end.
The selfish child must not forget
The Father's love is sometimes found
In troubles and hard circumstance,
And in the rough uneven ground.

Do not lose heart when you're reproved,
No matter how extreme the flame.
He turns the ground and burns the roots
Of suffocating weeds of shame.
We must not faint, nor are we free
To treat His love without concern,
When God takes love's severest course,
For lessons to be soundly learned.

Not all that's hard is discipline,
For we must train our minds to know,
That testing also from His hand
Is His design to make us grow.
We quickly should discern its source.
If sin, repentance is the cure.
If trials for obedience,
They only make the Christian sure.

Rejoice, my pilgrim, in His ways,
And do not doubt His providence.
He's never let a sparrow fall
Without divine intelligence.
Rejoice, His love works by design
To break our willful stubbornness.
No one could tame our raging lusts,
But God in His omnipotence.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine!

I’ve been doing some pretty deep reading in the last day or two about different theological “camps” and have been thinking about what it all means. Many things that I’ve read have led me to think and ponder what I believe and why. It’s all a bit mind-boggling, honestly. As I was sitting here thinking about it, I suddenly thought “Jesus is mine.” That’s what matters. These are the beautiful truths that I am convinced of:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. I Cor. 15:3-5

He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:13-14

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph. 2:8

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
I John 1:6-7

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? I Cor. 3:16

I have the blessed assurance that Jesus is mine – I have been purchased by Him, washed in His blood, filled with His spirit.

That’s my story. That’s my song.

And for that, I will definitely praise the Savior all the day long!

Blessed Assurance
Words by Fannie Crosby

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I Have Settled the Question

I am drawn to this hymn because of the last line in every verse: I have settled the question forever. As Christians, we have made a decision to follow Christ, and live as He has commanded. Once you make that decision, there is no turning back: you are now dead to the flesh but alive through the spirit.

If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. Romans 8:10

As the refrain here says “I will never turn back from the narrow way.” Jesus tells us that there are very few that find the way to life – it is narrow, and the gate is small.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 17:13-14

When we come to Jesus through faith, and make the decision to follow Him, we don’t walk in sinfulness. We reject sin’s pleasures that do not last, and hold fast to the holy truth. Here again, we lay aside our old self, and put on the new self.

But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:20-24

The way is narrow and few find it. It is not easy. Christ is our example, and He was a sinless man: that is impossible to live up to – for those of us (all of us!) who are sinful. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, God will sanctify us and transform us to the image of the Son. We are in a race – and it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So, brothers and sisters, if you have settled the question, then press on!

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-14

I Have Settled the Question
Words by Haldor Lillenas

I remember when the Lord spoke to my soul,
I could feel the heavy burden from me roll
When He spoke the gracious words, “Wilt thou be whole?”
Then I settled the question forever.

I have settled the question, hallelujah!
I will never turn back from the narrow way.
I am going through with Jesus, hallelujah!
Till I reach the gates of glory some sweet day.

I no longer walk the ways of sinfulness,
But I daily tread the paths of righteousness
Since the day the Lord has come my life to bless
I have settled the question forever.

I will choose the holy joys that always last,
And reject sin’s pleasures that will soon be past,
To the treasures of true worth I’m holding fast,
I have settled the question forever.

Others may deny the Lord and live in sin,
But the race that I have entered I must win,
Through the pearly gates I mean to enter in,
I have settled the question forever.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jesus what a Friend for Sinners

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

I find great comfort and encouragement in the notion that Jesus is my friend – even though I am a sinner, He loves me and forgives me and is a constant presence in my life. As this hymn says, friends (earthly friends) can fail – but Jesus makes me whole.

I love this hymn because it so plainly states who Jesus is and what He does for us. He is our friend, our strength, our help, our guide, and our keeper. Even when we fail, He wins the victory for us.

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Cor. 15:57

John reminds us that we have victory that has overcome the world!– think about that next time you are tempted, tried and sometimes failing.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. I John 5:4

Jesus is indeed our Comforter. He has promised that we will face suffering, but Paul reminds us that we also have comfort – abundant comfort through Him.

For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. II Cor 1:5

I often find comfort in the Word. The Bible is overflowing with God’s promises that bring comfort and encouragement. I relate to King David:

This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me. Psalm 119:50

Another way we are comforted is through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in each of us once we proclaim Jesus as our Savior. The Holy Spirit is our comforter and our guide. Jesus promised this:

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” John 16:13

Jesus is truly my all in all. As this hymn says, MORE than all in Him I find. I rejoice and thank God that He provided Jesus to die for my sins, forgive me, and be my friend. I am His, and He is mine.

Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners
J. Wilbur Chapman

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my victory wins.

Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows over me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night overtakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.

Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Did You Think to Pray?

Pray without ceasing. I Thess. 5:17

Did You Think to Pray?
Words by Mary A. Kidder

Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ our Savior,
Did you sue for loving favor,
As a shield today?

O how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day;
So when life seems dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.

When you met with great temptation,
Did you think to pray?
By His dying love and merit,
Did you claim the Holy Spirit
As your guide and stay?

When your heart was filled with anger,
Did you think to pray?
Did you plead for grace, my brother,
That you might forgive another
Who had crossed your way?

When sore trials came upon you,
Did you think to pray?
When your soul was bowed in sorrow,
Balm of Gilead did you borrow
At the gates of day?

As children of God, we have a wonderful privilege – we can go to God directly in prayer, with praise and petition. We also have the promise that Jesus lives to intercede for us (Romans 8, Hebrews 7:25) when we don’t have the words to pray.

Prayer should be a regular and natural part of our life. But as sinful humans, we don’t always commit ourselves to prayer as we should. This hymn reminds us to pray, because prayer makes a difference.

So many times I have caught myself in the midst of worry and have thought, “why am I spending time stewing over this? I should just be praying!” I love how the refrain states it: “O how praying rests the weary.” I know that I often find rest after releasing my burden and giving it to the Lord. That’s what He promises us:

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:22

I have found this promise to be true in my life: God has sustained me in a miraculous way when I have cast my burdens on Him. He doesn’t want us to bear them alone. He wants to bear our burden, and encourages us to bring them to Him.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

In addition to finding relief from trials and burdens, this hymn covers many different reasons for praying: to find strength for the day ahead, to be able to resist the temptor’s power, to be guided by the Holy Spirit, to plead for grace and the ability to forgive another. God wants to hear from us in all our situations. And though we may not get the answer right away, we are to keep on praying.

I love this parable that Jesus shared with his followers about prayer:

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, 'Give me legal protection from my opponent.' For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, 'Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'" And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:1-8

Our earnest prayer is pleasing to God, and He will not delay long over us! Thanks be to God for the beautiful gift of prayer.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Forgiveness: Christ is your Example

Our pastor preached on this passage about forgiveness yesterday, and I saw the story differently than I ever have before.

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35

The slave owes his master 10,000 talents. In today’s money, that is more than 8 BILLION dollars. There is no chance that a person could ever repay a debt that huge. Thus, the gravity of this lesson. The master demands the slave and his family to be sold in order to pay what he owes, but the slave begs for an extension. And so the master has compassion and forgives the debt. Totally forgives it! Doesn’t require a payment plan, but totally forgives it!

Are you following the metaphor here? We were slaves to a master, sin, until Christ forgave our debt by taking our place on the cross. We could never hope to repay God for the debt of our sin – it’s much more than 10,000 talents, or 8 billion dollars’ worth. There is no possible way we could ever earn enough to repay him. But God has compassion on us, releases us from our sin, and forgives us.

So what is our response? Well, don’t use the slave in this story as your example! In our story here, the slave went to his fellow slave who owed him only 100 denarii, a small fraction of what he himself owed before he was forgiven. When the fellow slave couldn’t pay, even after asking for the same extension, the first slave refused, and threw him into prison!

And then note the master’s rebuke: Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you? Think about this in light of people in your life who need your mercy and forgiveness. Christ forgave us our debt, one which we could never, ever, in a million years repay ourselves. When others offend us, it is not even close to what we did to send Christ to the cross. It is the least we can do to offer forgiveness to others since we have been forgiven by God.

As I share these thoughts on the story in Matthew 18, I realize that sometimes, forgiveness is easier said than done. We like to hold on to past hurts, grievances and offenses. So pray. Ask God for the power to release your pain and hurt and allow you to grant forgiveness to those in your life who need it. From past experience, I can say that once you forgive, you will be free.

This hymn was just recently written (1990) and beautifully captures the spirit of this parable told by Jesus.

Remember Christ and be ready to forgive.

Remember Christ, Our Savior
Words by Robert E. Smith

Remember Christ, our Savior
Who paid the debts you owed
To God the Heavenly Father
And to you mercy showed.
When others sin against you
Be ready to forgive.
Since you have been forgiven
With them in peace now live.

Go first to find your brother,
Your sister or your friend.
Do not reveal to others
The hurt you need to mend.
Confront in humble spirit
The one whose sin caused pain
That he might seek forgiveness
And you a friend regain.

When bitter anger tempts you
To nurse your broken heart
With brooding thoughts of hatred
And vows of vengeance start.
Pray to the Lord of Pardon
For power to release
Each selfish act against you
That rage might in you cease.

O Father, Son, and Spirit,
O Patient Trinity,
Who lifts from us sin’s burden
And from its debt sets free.
Grant us the will to pardon
All those who us offend
That we might enter heaven
With them when ages end.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Amid the Thronging Worshippers

“I will declare Thy Name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.” Psalm 22:22

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. It is a day when schedules are relaxed, agendas are short and rest and rejuvenation are the priorities. Much more than that, though, it is a day when we gather with other believers to worship our Lord and Savior.

There’s something about being with the “throng of worshippers.” It’s so different than when I worship in my kitchen, my car, or at my piano. Hearing the chorus of voices raised in praise is an experience I savor. Even more so, it makes me anxious for the day we will all be together in heaven, praising and worshipping in God’s presence.

And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; for ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED." Rev. 15:3-4

Praising together. To me, that’s the beauty of the Lord’s Day.

Amid the Thronging Worshippers
Author unknown, paraphrase of Psalm 22

Amid the thronging worshippers
Jehovah will I bless,
Before my brethren, gathered there,
His Name I will confess.
Come, praise Him, ye that fear the Lord,
Ye children of His grace,
With reverence sound His glories forth
And bow before His face.

The burden of the sorrowful
The Lord will not despise;
He has not turned from those that mourn,
He hearkens to their cries.
His goodness makes me join the throng
Where saints His praise proclaim,
And there will I fulfill my vows
’Mid those who fear His Name.

He feeds with good the humble soul
And satisfies the meek,
And they shall live and praise the Lord
Who for His mercy seek.
The ends of all the earth take thought,
The nations seek the Lord;
They worship Him, the King of kings,
In earth and Heav’n adored.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

He Giveth More Grace

He gives a greater grace…James 4:6

He Giveth More Grace
Words by Annie J. Flint

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials he multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Isaiah 40:29

I don’t want to muddy up this post with a lot of my own personal thoughts, because I think this hymn and the accompanying scriptures stand very well on their own. (I guess that could be said of everything I write, but I’m feeling particularly compelled today to just let you meditate on these words.)

I am prompted to share this hymn today after reading a selection in Streams in the Desert last night. It spoke to me where I am, and I can’t stop thinking about it. The writer commented that in seeing this verse on wall hanging, he was struck with the verb “IS.”

And He has said to me, "My grace IS sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." II Cor. 12:9

God’s grace IS sufficient. Not will be, not can be, not if. It IS.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Saturday, August 4, 2007

God is Working His Purpose Out

God is Working His Purpose Out
Words by Arthur Ainger

God is working His purpose out
As year succeeds to year;
God is working his purpose out,
And the time is drawing near;
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,
Where’er man’s foot hath trod,
By the mouth of many messengers
Goes forth the voice of God:
“Give ear to Me, ye continents,
Ye isles, give ear to Me,”
That the earth may be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

What can we do to work God’s work,
To prosper and increase
The brotherhood of all mankind,
The reign of the Prince of Peace?
What can we do to hasten the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

March we forth in the strength of God,
With the banner of Christ unfurled,
That the light of the glorious Gospel of truth
May shine throughout the world;
Fight we the fight with sorrow and sin
To set their captives free,
That the earth may be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

All we can do is nothing worth
Unless God blesses the deed;
Vainly we hope for the harvest-tide
Till God gives life to the seed;
Yet near and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2

In Job’s dialogue with God, he acknowledges that no purpose of His can be thwarted. God’s ways are higher than our ways – He is God and we are not. He reminds us of this many times in the Old Testament through His dealings with His people.

See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand. Deut. 32:9

God is indeed working His purpose out – in our individual lives as well as in the earth as a whole.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.' Isaiah 46:9-10

And what is His purpose? This hymn tells us that God is working His purpose out so that one day, the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. I cannot even begin to comment on how God will work that purpose out – but we know He will. Three separate times in His word He says

I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. Isaiah 45:23


For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

This hymn makes it clear that we, as Christians, have a distinct role to play in bringing closer the day that every knee will bow and the earth will be filled with the glory of God: we fight the fight with sorrow and sin to set the captives free, but note that we don’t do it on our own power: we march forth in the strength of God. God promises us this strength and Peter reminds us that He supplies the strength we need.

'Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' Isaiah 41:10

Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. I Peter 4:11

I look forward to the day when God’s purpose will be worked out – He already knows what it will look like, and how it will happen. The rest of us need to trust Him and let His light shine through us, because one day

The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14