“Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Jehovah”

#hymnsforHim

Today at church we witness the baptism of a family. It’s always really neat to see baptism, and be a part of that sacrament – but today it was older kids, not infants. They knew a bit of why they were there, having water placed on their heads in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Their parents had trusted in Jehovah to guide them – and now they will be endeavoring more so to help their kids look for the same guidance. 
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, 

Pilgrim through this barren land. 

I am weak, but Thou art mighty; 

Hold me with Thy powerful hand. 

Bread of heaven, 

Feed me now and evermore.
2. Open now the crystal fountain, 

Whence the healing waters flow; 

Let the fire and cloudy pillar 

Lead me all my journey through. 

Strong Deliverer, 

Be Thou still my Strength and Shield. 
3. When I tread the verge of Jordan, 

Bid my anxious fears subside; 

Death of death, and hell’s destruction, 

Land me safe on Canaan’s side. 

Songs of praises, I will ever give to Thee. 
When we are weak, He is mighty. When we find ourselves in barren land, He is our crystal fountain. Death and anxious fears have no grip on us anymore. 

How beautiful a thought is it that, though we may be surrounded by evil which wishes harm on us He is ever there guarding us as only He can? When we need Him, He is there – like the fiery pillar – to give us what we need. Not necessarily what we want, or what we think we need. But what we actually need. 

Temptations will abound, and circumstances will try to drown His Word, and His Truth, out. But we must sing His songs of praises to ourselves, quietly reminding ourselves of His goodness. And when things get really rough, we need to sing those songs of praises loud, with vigor and strength! 

Remember that He would fashioned the universe with but a word also cares for us, His children! And if that concept seems strange to you, please reach out, and I’ll try my best to make sense of it! 

Have a great Sabbath everyone! 

Come, Christians, join to sing!

#hymnsforHim

 

It has been a busy day for me, what with work, and then finding a squirrel in the house… But, this song reminds us what we are ultimately called to do! Rejoice, sing! Shout loud praises to the Lord of all creation!

Come, Christians, Join to Sing

1. Come, Christians, join to sing
Alleluia! Amen!
Loud praise to Christ our King;
Alleluia! Amen!
Let all, with heart and voice,
Before His throne rejoice;
Praise is His gracious choice.
Alleluia! Amen!

2. Come, lift your hearts on high,
Alleluia! Amen!
Let praises fill the sky;
Alleluia! Amen!
He is our Guide and Friend;
To us He’ll condescend;
His love shall never end.
Alleluia! Amen!

3. Praise yet our Christ again,
Alleluia! Amen!
Life shall not end the strain;
Alleluia! Amen!
On heaven’s blissful shore,
His goodness we’ll adore,
Singing forevermore,
“Alleluia! Amen!”

I feel like this is a great song to just focus your mind when you wake up in the morning. We all need something to try and keep our minds and hearts focused on the right thing – on Him who gives us life! He who condescended to the place of a lowly servant so that we may be granted grace!

As I close out the night, I challenge those who read these to send out some praise to our God and Savior! So often, we pray supplication and we pray for things! But we need to remember that prayer is conversation – conversation with One who knows what we need better than we do! Spend some time of prayer in thanksgiving and adoration!

Praise our Christ! Sing forevermore!

Alleluia! Amen!

Again, if you enjoy these posts share them with your friends and family! Let me know your favorite hymns! Let me know your thoughts or comment something you want me to tackle! This is an opportunity for growth in the faith!

Luke 5:12-16 “Touching the Leper”

I taught on this passage, as well as a few other miracle passages of Luke a couple Sunday’s ago at my church – and wanted to extend my lesson (to an extent) here as well.

12 While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. 

This is one of my favorite passages because it hearkens back to one of my favorite Old Testament books to study and teach on – Leviticus! I know that may seem ridiculous, but Leviticus is an awesome book! The Law found there just exemplifies how much Christ did for us!

 

Here we have a man afflicted by a disease of the flesh. A disease that has almost 100% physical attestation. No one can miss how this man has been afflicted.  He sees Christ and he sees a way out. Maybe this man can help the leper, maybe not. But the leper is going to try anything. If we read other miracle stories in Luke we find specifics not found in the other Synoptics. Luke was, by all accounts, a physician. He had scoured the records to find the best sources to write his gospel. He is incredibly thorough. Mark is the exact opposite. He’s the action gospel. Everything is immediately this, and then immediately that. You’d think that Jesus and His disciples were sprinting everywhere! Luke takes a more detailed approach. He reminds his readers that he took a slow study of the events surrounding Christ. He interviewed people. He checked sources. He went to locations of interest. This gospel is one written out of evidence – evidence for Christ.

We read in Luke about a man with a withered “right” hand. Mark and Matthew just mention that the hand is withered. We read that Peter’s mother had a “great” fever. You get a sense that Luke did some serious research in writing this account. He interviewed with great intensity to get the closest account he could for his gospel account. When Christ comes to the man with leprosy we read his is “full of leprosy.” This man doesn’t simply have a bad case of dandruff. He isn’t just reacting poorly due to his eczema. He is full of this disease. It affects him through and through. This is important, as it points to a dire dilemma Jesus walks up to. But Christ knows all things and is over all things. He approaches this man regardless of his physical condition.

 

 

Let’s think about this again. The Jewish heritage, their law, had been passed down for ages. It reflected in nearly every aspect of their lives. It gave them something to do at waking up, at eating, for dealing with neighbors, for dealing with enemies, how to ask forgiveness for a multitude of kinds of sins, how to make a pleasing sacrifice (though the root of that concept had been lost). Etc. Basically they knew the systematic and ritualistic right from wrong. To have leprosy was to have sin. It covered you. It was a part of you. Either you or your parents caused some an ailment. It was a physical embodiment of sin. There were rituals and finely tuned sacraments to perform to remove such a bodily issue.

 

Jesus was a rabbi. He was “better” than the common Israelites. He knew His law. THEY knew that He knew His law. There were factions among the religious elite that would have been around. We read that no one was around actually there to see the miracle happen, but we also read that the man (undoubtedly known as the leper) was charged to go to a priest to make offering to God after the healing. So we know that the religious elite would have learned about this. They would have known a healing of a leper had taken place. But what would have stunned them, what would have no doubt enraged them, would have been to see how He healed this man.

You do not touch lepers. Ever. For any reason. It causes uncleanness. It makes you unworthy to be before God. But Jesus. He knows the will of God. He knows the law of God. He is God. He sees this man. A wretch. Not unlike us in many ways. He has compassion. He sees faith that He can actually heal this physical, and spiritual illness. He walks up to the man. He walks up surrounded by His disciples. These big, burly, fishermen. This guy must have thought, “here it comes. They’ve come to kill me.” But Jesus walks up to this man, who has fallen to His face in reverence, and reaches out His healing hand – the hand that helped form the cosmos – and He touches this man. He puts His hand that has shaped stars on this man who has probably never had positive physical contact in years.

The disciples must recoil, thinking that this is the end of their journey. This rabbi is infected now. But no. This man has been touched by God Himself. The skin on his arms and legs immediately – we see that word – clears up. Where normally sickness would spread, salvation overcomes. Rather than becoming unclean by touching this leper, Jesus makes this unclean leper clean. He reverses the effects of sin. This one miracle foreshadows Jesus’ entire mission on earth.

 

“Wretched man that I am, who can save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” This passage reminds us that Christ is not turned away from our state of sin. In fact, He is our only way out. It is not what we do that brings us to a good standing with God. It is what Christ has already done! When Christ said, “it is finished,” on the cross He wasn’t just stating the chronological facts. He was using a common Greek phrase used in the court system. It meant “paid in full.” It was used to complete a bill of sale. Christ paid our bill before a holy God. He reached out, and touched a man, me, full of leprosy – and I became clean!

Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ His Son!

 

How often today are we surrounded by the lepers of our society? How often today do we shy away from those who we feel would make us diseased in their pattern? How often do good church-going Christians abstain from work in the world – from real light giving – to keep from mingling with the sinners? I challenge you who read this to ask yourself that, and ask God to show you your lepers. Ask Him to help you to better reflect His Truth by reaching out to those lepers and letting them into your life! He who began a good work in you, can in turn use you to work in other’s lives for His glory! Amen!

Come, ye sinners

Come, ye sinners

#hymnsforHim

Come, ye sinners… once we are brought into His family, THIS …this… is the Truth that we are promised. I am poor. I am wretched. I sin. I am weak – weak willed, and weak minded. Christians are not perfect. We cannot, and should not, claim to be. THAT is what makes us stronger. So, let’s read this:

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus, ready, stands to save you,
Full of pity, joined with power.
He is able, He is able;
He is willing; doubt no more.

Come ye needy, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.
Without money, without money
Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry ’til you’re better,
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous, not the righteous;
Sinners Jesus came to call.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.
This He gives you, this He gives you,
‘Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.

Lo! The Incarnate God, ascended;
Pleads the merit of His blood.
Venture on Him; venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.
None but Jesus, none but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good.

When I read/sing these words they cut at every aspect of my life. It’s just amazing what God does in this world by speaking through His people. Gifted people who can discern His Truth on such a beautiful level.

Come ye sinner poor and wretched, weak and wounded, sick and sore… weary and heavy laden, bruised and broken by the Fall. Who doesn’t feel that burden daily? Who isn’t reminded our life’s brokenness on a consistent basis? Yet, truly, if we tarry – if we push ourselves to be better…. to be stronger… to just fight that tempting mistress just a little more earnestly.. maybe God will like us more? Maybe if I’m just nicer to that weird guy at work. Or say my prayers more earnestly… Maybe I can tithe more! Or say more kind words? If I just read the Scriptures more! Do even more devotions! That is surely find favor in His eyes! If we tarry until we are better… we will simply never come at all…

How many people live their lives this way? How many religions are founded on such premises of merit based salvation? I sit here just exhausted contemplating doing those things simply to gain favor with an almighty being. Those works above are not bad things! In fact, as we read in James, if I am to count myself in the family of believers and do not do those things I have no faith. Faith without works truly is a dead faith. It is lukewarm, and Christ will in the end times spit you out for you were never truly for him. Our faith, wholly given in grace by God (so that none may boast), finds completion in works. But if we simply lean on them for salvation we will surely fall!

True belief… true repentance… they are found in Him. Lo! The Incarnate One pleads on our behalf – those who look to Him in grace given faith. Amazing grace it is! The merit that we desire is His blood. The works that we want to offer are simply to accept His sacrifice and offer our lives to the one who gave His. Him and Him alone do us good. We must, MUST, venture on Him – and wholly on Him – to find that true belief and true repentance. It is through Him that we find relief. Relief from hardship. From pain. From suffering. From heartbreak and tears. From the cascading and, at times, all enveloping sadness of death. It is He who breaks the cycle that sin tosses us into.

If you want to know more about Him who calls us ugly sinners to Himself. To come and dine with Him. Not to find wagging fingers, but a firm vision of who He sees you to be in Him – please, let me know. Share this with your friends, with your family. Reach out to me! I am by NO means an expert, but I can pray with you, pray for you!

And be praying for me! I thoroughly enjoy writing these posts! Hymns are beautiful, they bring such passion in such few words. But I need to keep my focus on this! Sometimes life can get confusing, and I will get pushed back and just need God to keep me pushing forward on my blog posts. Thank you for reading!

The Church’s One Foundation

#hymnsforHim

This is probably one of my favorite hymns – though there are many. This hymn always gets me for some reason. Its a long one, not unlike For All the Saints, but every verse is a sermon in and of itself. So, today I submit to you – the internet, and the two or three followers I currently have – day 28: “The Church’s One Foundation”

The Church’s One Foundation

1. The church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died.

2. Elect from every nation,
Yet one over all the earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

3. Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping;
Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song.

4. The church shall never perish,
Her dear Lord to defend
To guide, sustain and cherish,
Is with her to the end
Though there be those that hate her,
And false sons in her pale
Against a foe or traitor,
She ever shall prevail

5. Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
‘Til, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blessed,
And the great church victorious
Shall be the church at rest.

6. Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with Thee.

The first verse, is the gospel. Plain and simple. God, from both physical and spiritual creation has sought His bride – the Church. His sacrifice would be the dowry paid to claim her, and He will never let go. The bride is comprised of every tribe and tongue… so so many different kinds of people call out to Christ in total dependence on Him. Yet, we are all one in the Church. We find unity, and community, in partaking the Last Supper. Every time our church has Communion Sunday we are reminded that we stand among a cloud of witness from past, present, and future when we partake this meal. This meal that seems to breach the walls between natural and supernatural. It is not soul saving, but it is absolutely thirst quenching and grace giving. We, the Church, have seen a lot of tumult in our time. From the councils, and the unifying of an empire under a pseudo-banner of Christ. To the hardships and pains brought about through the Catholic church. The false gospel proclaimed in the execution of the crusades, and the false purity sought in the horrors of the Inquisition. The Church has pressed onward. There have always been those Godly few that proclaimed Truth in the midst of spiritual, political, and societal heresy. And I know a time will come when we will no longer cry out, “how long,” but will turn our voices to glad singing as He has brought His kingdom to fruition.

The Church’s foundation is not in doctrinal words, or a pope, or through apostolic intercession… it is built upon the Solid Rock. The Cornerstone. The perfect Man, who was wholly God. No matter what earthly circumstance plagues us as the bride of Christ – we can be assured that we will not fail. Though man can corrupt the true nature, and mission, of the Church – for a time – she will be the lamp on a hill reflecting God’s majesty to all those who look. Let us thank God for His everlasting covenant with His people!

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Thank you for reading, and if you enjoy please comment and share! I am going to post concerning a different hymn every day, and potentially other topics whenever I can! Have a blessed day!

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

1. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

2. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

3. Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

4. And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

5. When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

#hymnsforHim

Amazing grace, as one of the most well known hymns, has touched the lives of millions upon millions of people since its inception in the 1800’s. It tells us a story not unlike our own – one of woe, and sin; one of complete helplessness, one of traversing many hardships. Yet the tag is always pointing to our Savior who promises so much more if we but accept grace freely given.

Grace is a concept that seems somewhat foreign to our post/hyper-modern world. To give freely what is unearned, or in fact undeserved seems preposterous. Grace must be co-opted. It is both a work of God and of man. He offers it, and we reach out and accept it. That makes the most sense, no? It may make sense to the world. Nothing is free. But grace, God’s grace, THAT is free.

For grace to be merited, is to make assumption that we have power in our salvation. That may sound empowering, and to some it may even sound like a good thing! But lets think for a second. How good are you really? How often, in the heat of a moment of temptation, do you choose good – do you choose God? I would be honest in saying over 50% of the time I choose sin. So, if we co-opt with God for our salvation, when did we choose good? Why does one particular choice bring salvation, and others are just choices? Are we really that proud to say that God, the omnipotent, all gracious Being that He is can be turned away? That when He offers grace to a sinner, we have any choice but to accept it in awe and amazement of His majesty?

That is what this song allows us to see. Amazing grace! How sweet such an offer sounds, that He would wish to save such a wretched sinner as myself?? Once I wandered the wilderness that is my sin, I was lost in my own damnation – but now! Now, I am found in Him who found me. He took my face, He made the scales to fall from my blind eyes. He held my blackened heart and He made me new. He taught me true fear, a fear of not knowing Him – then instantaneously He relieved those fears through His grace. There is so much in my life I have already done, that I have already made it through. It is by God’s grace that I stand here today – that I found breath this morning. And I know – I know for certain! – that it is His grace that will lead me to a new home when my time comes. It will be a life of endless peace and worship – one devoid of sinful flesh. It will be a life full of true purpose, and absolute fellowship with my brothers and sisters and with our Lord. And when we have spent an incalculable number of days before our Lord, singing His praises, working in and to His glory, it will be as if we had only begun.

Amazing grace!