Friday, November 30, 2012

Is Not Thy Mercy Still the Same?

My God, My Father, Blissful Name
Anne Steele, 1716-1778

My God, my Father, blissful name,
Oh may I call Thee mine?
May I with sweet assurance claim
A portion so divine?

This only can my fears control,
And bid my sorrows fly;
What harm can ever reach my soul
Beneath my Father’s eye?
Whate’er Thy providence denies,
I calmly would resign;
For Thou art just, and good, and wise.
O bend my will to Thine.

Whate’er Thy sacred will ordains,
O give me strength to bear;
And let me know my Father reigns,
And trust His tender care.

If pain and sickness rend this frame,
And life almost depart,
Is not Thy mercy still the same
To cheer my drooping heart?

If cares and sorrows me surround,
Their power why should I fear?
My inward peace they cannot wound
If Thou, my God, art near.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The War On Sin

A convicting question raised by Kevin DeYoung:
If the war on poverty is worth fighting, how much more the war on your own sin?
There is a gap between our love for the gospel and our love for godliness. This must change. It's not pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism to take holiness seriously. It's the way of all those who have been called to a holy calling by a holy God.  
--Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in Our Holiness

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Melody That Had Long Been Silent

While re-reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit over the holiday weekend, I was struck by how significant a role music and songs played in his tale (and the same is true in The Lord of the Rings).  There is joyful singing, playful singing, sorrowful singing, etc.  Songs and music play a central role in the story. 

Maybe the most poignant place to notice this is in what Tolkien says about the dragon, Smaug, and how music and melody had been lost under his cruel dominion.  Listen to what happens when Bilbo and the dwarves come upon the unguarded treasure of the dragon:
Fili and Kili were almost in merry mood, and finding still hanging there many golden harps strung with silver they took them and struck them; and being magical (and also untouched by the dragon, who had small interest in music) they were still in tune. The dark hall was filled with a melody that had long been silent.    

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving Hymn

Great Sovereign Lord, What Human Eye
Samuel Boyce, 1812

Great sovereign Lord, what human eye
Amidst Thy works can rove,
And not Thy liberal hand espy,
Nor trace Thy bounteous love?

Each star that gilds the heavenly frame,
On earth each verdant clod,
In language loud to men proclaim
The great and bounteous God.

The lesson each revolving year
Repeats in various ways;
Rich Thy provisions, Lord, appear;
The poor shall shout Thy praise.

Our fruitful fields and pastures tell,
Of man and beast Thy care;
The thriving corn Thy breezes fill,
Thy breath perfumes the air.

But oh, what human eye can trace,
Or human heart conceive,
The greater riches of Thy grace
Impoverished souls receive?

Love everlasting has not spared
Its best beloved Son;
And in Him endless life prepared,
For souls by sin undone.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Our Lives Are Directed by Our Hungers

A reminder that human desire or human hunger is not the problem, but what our sin causes us to hunger for:
From the beginning, then, Scripture affirms the reality and goodness of human hunger. Sin, of course, perverts our hunger, so that we seek to taste forbidden fruit rather than grasp the fruit of of the tree of life, but sin does not change the fundamental realities of human desire. Our hearts follow where our treasure is; if what we value above all is in heaven, we will desire Christ who is above, but if what we find most desirable are earthly things, our hearts will be focused on things below. Our lives are directed by our hungers, and we find rest only when we hunger for the One who opens His hand to satisfy the desire of every living thing more than we hunger for the things in His hand.

--Peter Leithart, Blessed Are the Hungry: Meditations on the Lord's Supper

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Doctrine Most Divine

What Wisdom, Majesty, and Grace
Samuel Stennett, 1727-1795

What wisdom, majesty and grace
Through all the Gospel shine!
’Tis God that speaks, and we confess
The doctrine most divine.

Down from His starry throne on high,
Th’almighty Savior comes;
Lays His bright robes of glory by,
And feeble flesh assumes.

The mighty debt that sinners owed,
Upon the cross He pays;
Then through the clouds ascends to God,
’Midst shouts of loftiest praise.

There He, our great high priest, appears,
Before His Father’s throne;
Mingles His merits with our tears,
And pours salvation down.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Bible Is a Humbling Book

Rich Mullins on why we were given the Scriptures (put in a way that only Rich could put it):
We were given the Scriptures not so that we could prove that we are right about everything, but we were given the Scriptures to humble us into realizing that God is right and the rest of us are just guessing...which is what makes the Bible so fun to read (especially if you're not a fundamentalist).

--Rich Mullins 

Monday, November 12, 2012

CT's Roundup of Post-Election Responses from Prominent Christian Voices

Christianity Today has a collection of quotes from different voices reflecting on the "new moral landscape" of post-election America.  You can read them here

Thursday, November 8, 2012

He All His Foes Shall Quell

Rejoice, the Lord Is King
Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Rejoice, the Lord is King:
Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals, give thanks, and sing,
And triumph evermore.
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice,
Rejoice, again I say rejoice.

Jesus, the Savior, reigns,
The God of truth and love;
When he had purged our stains,
He took his seat above.
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice,
Rejoice, again I say rejoice.

His kingdom cannot fail,
He rules o'er earth and heaven!
The keys of death and hell
Are to our Jesus given.
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice,
Rejoice, again I say rejoice.

He all his foes shall quell,
Shall all our sins destroy,
And every bosom swell
With pure seraphic joy.
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice,
Rejoice, again I say rejoice.

Rejoice in glorious hope:
Jesus the Judge shall come,
And take his servants up,
To their eternal home.
We soon shall hear th' archangel's voice:
The trump of God shall sound, rejoice.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The LORD Will Reign Forever - A Reminder on Election Day

If you are an American citizen and you have not voted yet, I hope you will exercise your right and duty at some point today by going to vote.  Too many sacrifices have been made for you and me not to take advantage of this great freedom.   

And then as you watch and wait on the results of this election throughout the day and into the night, I hope you will keep the truth of Psalm 146 in mind (whether the candidate you voted for wins or loses).  Let this psalm remind us where our ultimate hope and trust must lie - in the God who will reign forever:
Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!

--Psalm 146:3-10

Monday, November 5, 2012

We Shall Not Be Able to Strut Round Heaven Like Peacocks

A good reminder of our need for humility:
Christians are always uncomfortable in the presence of pride, for they sense its incongruity. We shall not be able to strut round heaven like peacocks. Heaven will be filled with the exploits of Christ and the praises of God. There will indeed be display in heaven. Not self-display, however, but rather a display of the incomparable wealth of God's grace, mercy, and kindness through Jesus Christ.

--John Stott

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Hymn for All Saints Day

For All the Saints
William How, 1823-1897

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor's crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!