Under His Wings

Under His Wings

Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Refrain

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.

Refrain

Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.

Refrain

Things arent always great. Life has ups and downs, twists and turns. You really cant predict where life is headed. I believe there are two ways to face this uncertain world: headfirst as an independent agent of chance and will power… or to seek refuge and guidance from the Creator of all things. This hymn is a powerful reminder of what lies in wait for those who seek the LORD for strength and wisdom.

Hymn writers have some of the most amazing stories. Amazing Grace was penned by an abolitionist. It is Well was penned after the writer had lost family tragically. This hymn was penned by Pastor William Cushing, around the year 1900. At fifty years old, he was afflicted by a disease that took his power of speech from him. As a pastor, not being able to speak makes that profession quite difficult. Sermon composition, and delivery was no longer a viable option… and this caused him great grief as he cried out to the LORD. But, where one door closes… another opens. The LORD will not put us through what we cannot handle, with Him by our side. Cushing found in his sorrow a gift for hymn writing – and he would write nearly 300 of them! It was twenty-five years after his new gift was revealed to him that he wrote “Under His Wings.” Towards the end of his life here on earth, he spoke up about that rest he had found in the Savior’s arms.

Imagine, if you wish, that one thing that makes you you. Whether it be athletics, speech, eyesight, your running, your singing, your spouse…. your kids…… now, if that thing were taken from you… ripped from your hands… how would you respond…? Who would you be? This is not an easy question to ponder.. or even consider answering. It is something that honestly makes me uncomfortable to even type up and think of myself… I dont want to think about what it would mean to lose my hearing, and my power to sing… or to lose my legs… or no longer see my wife and kids…. or even to lose my family. But God is a God of trust power, and I have seen people come back from terrible loss, and a great many more turn away during times of incredible gain… This hymn seeks to guide us to a better understanding of God’s work in our lives. Even when – especially when – everything seems down, we can find immeasurable power and love and grace and mercy and peace and direction… under His wings

Amen?

Advertisements

He will be with you 

He will be with you 

This hymn resonates with me today. I may not be facing certain death but I’ve been hit with news that I wasn’t expecting. A job that seemed a sure thing fell through and coming to grips with that isn’t easy. It’s happened over and over and over again… and it’s just disheartening. But i need this hymn tonight. I need to remember that no matter what… God is with us. He guides our paths. He directs our ways. And we need to trust Him. 

1. When you pass through the waters, 

I will be with you, 

And the waves will not 

Overcome you. 

Do not fear, 

For I have redeemed you, 

I have called you by name, 

You are Mine.
Chorus: For I am the Lord your God (I am the Lord your God),I am the Lord your God (I am) 

The Holy One of Israel 

Your Savior 

For I am the Lord your God (I am the Lord your God),I am the Lord your God (I am) 

The Holy One of Israel 

Your Savior 

I am the Lord (do not fear) 

I am the Lord (do not fear) 

I am the Lord (do not fear) 

I am the Lord (do not fear)
2. When you walk through the fire 

You’ll not be burned, 

And the flames will not 

Consume you. 

Do not fear, 

For I have redeemed you, 

I have called you by name, 

You are Mine.(Repeat chorus)

He has called us by name. Us. He has claimed us as His own. He has redeemed us! I ask myself as I ask you, reader – “what else do we need?” Yes, times may be rough. Yes, things may fall through. But God is there. He is truly there. To those who find faith in things of this world, but seem to feel empty in times of turmoil – God is there for you!
As I get ready to fall asleep, it is good to know that God has already won the victory for me. For His own. On that truth I rest my hope, and on that truth I rest my spirit. Amen. 

Then sings my soul!

Then sings my soul!

So today I will start some posts following my thoughts from last year – hymns for Him. I may repeat some, but the beauty of these hymns is that they have new depths to dive into every time! 

Hymns are written in all times of life. Times of joy and of deep pain. They speak on a level words alone simply cannot. That’s why music, though hymns in particular, are so central to the Christian faith. David sang them throughout his life. They pepper all of Scripture. To relegate them to a time come and gone is to rob yourself of such beauty. 

How Great Thou Art is a great song to begin this year of hymns on. Here is the text :

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds thy hands have made,

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,

Thy power throughout the universe displayed:
Refrain

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:

How great thou art! How great thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:

How great thou art! How great thou art!
When through the woods and forest glades I wander

And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,

When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,

And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:
Refrain
And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,

Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,

That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,

He bled and died to take away my sin.
Refrain
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation

And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!

Then I shall bow in humble adoration,

And there proclaim, My God, how great thou art!

Refrain 

This song is so powerful. All of creation sings out to God. His soul cries forth from within him to the Lord! And yet He is awestruck at the power and humility of Christ to come down and bleed and die for us. 

I scarce can take it in…

How can we sing this song?

We sing it in high times, and we pour over it in low times. We proclaim it when at our peak of joy, and pray it when in the deep valleys. God finds us in both instances and beckons us to come and sit and find refuge and joy with Himself. 
As we set off into 2017, with all it’s coming ups and downs let us look out at the world God has created and exclaim, 

How GREAT Thou art!


Amen

Apostle’s Creed Pt9

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth…
and in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
From there He judges the living and the dead.
I believe in Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen!


Ending on a high note. Our creed reminds us of what our faith promises. What Christ Himself promises. What God has promised since the Fall. A reclaiming of what was lost – to find good standing before God. Forever. This whole Creed, is should be argued, is about God. Not man. 
This life isn’t about having the most stuff. Or giving the most stuff away. It’s not about getting ahead, or playing the humble part. It’s not good vs evil inside you. It’s not outweighing good over bad. It’s not about reaching a perfect state of (insert desire here)…. this life is about the Lord Jesus Christ. You either are with Him or not. But in either case He is what it centers around. 

So it only follows that the end of life (as we know it) has some connection to Him, too. He was the first resurrected human, and as our advocate – we share in that beautiful future. His resurrection is everlasting, thus ours is as well. To believe in the resurrection is to, again, ascribe power and historicity to Christ. We believe in His true existence. Thus the retelling of His subsequent life after death is founded in truth. Which follows that to abide in Christ is to find life everlasting, by God’s side. Which is exactly where you want to be. 
I hope you enjoyed this little walk through the Apostle’s Creed. It was not fully diving into it. As I don’t have that much time! But it explains the basics, and rounds the corners. I’m excited to take this year to blog more about this life I strive to live for He who gave me so much. This Creed can be seen as a litmus test for my beliefs. If it seems like I say something contradictory to the Apostle’s Creed – tell me! If you find yourself disagreeing – tell me too! 
All in all; have a great night! Amen!

Apostle’s Creed Pt8

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth…

and in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

From there He judges the living and the dead.

I believe in Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen!

Catholicity. It means more than simply being super Catholic in practice or doctrine. In Latin catholic means “all embracing.” So, speaking of the holy catholic Church (as a Reformed thinker) is to speak of the entire Church. The “big C” Church. All Christians worldwide who presently are, who have been, or who will be. So what then does it mean to publicly state that we believe in the holy catholic Church?

An important first note is to clear up that meaning of catholic. In using that term the writers specifically wanted the opposite of the meaning we think of today. We believe in the unity of believers under the banner of Christ. Christ is our absolute – He is what we base our faith off. Not denominations. Not pastors. Not history or tradition. The Church invisible… the Church triumphant… they all center around Christ. So, to believe in the “one holy, apostolic, Church” is to believe that Christ is all that really matters when calling yourself a church.

The next line you’d think is an unnecessary one. How else could we even claim to be Christians without the forgiveness of sins?? This phrase, though, points out something that many simply would rather forget exists. Popular pastors glaze over it, eastern spiritual leaders reject it, and the a-religious mock it or denounce it as judgmental. That thing is sin. To admit that you believe in the forgiveness of sins is to admit you believe in sins in the first place. To admit that is to say that you mess up in a way that good deeds dont cover for. It is to admit that you cannot find salvation in yourself – your own light doesnt provide true guidance. To say, as a Christian, that we believe in forgiveness of sins is to place ourselves at the feet of Him from whom we take our name and lay prostrate in humble reliance on Him. It means we approach the mercy seat of Christ, where He answers prayer.

I hadnt really thought about how important this clause was until right now. This is where we come to die to ourselves, and live for Christ. It is where the Gospel takes ahold of our lives in a real way. It is where repentance is found. Here we stand before a holy God, and find the blood of Christ covering us and counting our sins as nothing. To accept and exclaim belief in forgiveness of sins is a most beautiful thing indeed.

Tomorrow I finish this tour of the Apostle’s Creed, but I invite questions and comments as we move through 2017! Amen!

Apostle’s Creed Pt7

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth…

and in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

From there He judges the living and the dead.

I believe in Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen!

Today was going to fit perfectly with what was going on in my life. Hah! Today was going to be the day I was to be ordained as a deacon in my church. Which would have matched perfectly with the Holy Spirit. But, the snow was just bad enough to cause us to cancel church. But God is always good, and it allowed more time with the family – worshiping and fellowshipping together! It was a good time!

But now, we come to the third Person of the Trinity. The doer of the Bunch. The Spirit is described, in theological circles, as the One who fulfills the Will of the Father in the Kingdom of the Son. God works through the Holy Spirit. It was through the work of the Spirit that creation was brought into existence. It was through the work of the Spirit that salvation is worked out in us (with fear and trembling). It is through the power of the Spirit that we are being sanctified.

Now, the concept of the Trinity can (and probably always will be) a strange one to grasp. Honestly, we may never fully grasp it. Its hard to thing of three completely equal in power, holiness, majesty, and honor Persons – yet they are one Being. Human analogies fall short in some capacity. We cant totally wrap our heads around it. But we must give the Holy Spirit its due place of honor and glorification. He is as much God as the Father or the Son is. He is not a lesser piece. They are One in harmony and relationship. The creed knew that there needed to be an established Truth in that. The Spirit is not less than the other Persons. There were/are heresies that place the Spirit at a subservient level to the Father and Son. And this creed sought to disband such theology.

When we say we believe in the Holy Spirit, we are placing our trust in His existence. We know He is real, because we have felt His work in our lives – in our hearts. Whenever I overcome a temptuous situation – the Spirit has been working in my heart. When I find the words to show the Gospel to anyone – the Spirit has been working through my mouth. When I find the strength to stand after a rough week of spiritual warfare – the Spirit grants me that power. When we look back at the Church’s past, and how it has stayed together for over 2000 years… the Spirit has not abandoned it, even in it’s toughest times. The Spirit is an integral part of our relationship with the God of Scripture.

As we finish today, let us thank God for His Spirit, and its work in our hearts, our lives, and our world. Amen!

Apostle’s Creed Pt 6

We are getting to the last few phrases of the creed!

 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth…

and in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

From there He judges the living and the dead.

I believe in Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen!

The creed has hit the first few big parts of the Christian faith. We have talked about how all things started, how Christ was born, how He lived, and that He died. That His life is firmly planted in history. His death paved the only way to God, and now we reach how that death does what it does.

Christ’s death was not the end of the story. Thankfully. Had it been, there would have been a very different world created from it. Christ’s death was only the period, the ending, on one thing – death itself. His death would end the power of death over His people. His death would end the power death had on the world. Christ’s death was not the end of His life. That is what is so amazing about Christ and his promise. His death may have ended death’s ultimate reign, but it would be His resurrection that showed the future for those predestined to eternal life.

Death had lost it’s sting, and Christ had crushed the head of the serpent. God had preordained Christ’s resurrection to be the end of that little escapade with death and  the beginning of our eternal relationship with Him. Christ was resurrected from the dead, to an eternal life, in body, beside the Father. He would be forever like us, in flesh… yet, above us to be that link between a wholly holy God and a wholly unholy creature. He will be providing intercession until He comes back to bring us home.

From His post alongside God the Father, Christ separates the sheep from the goats. The wheat from the chaff. The eternally saved from the eternally reprobate. Christ knows His own, those who He will welcome into His paradise in the last days, and yet the Church is not meant to sit idly by letting things happen. Christ has ordained to use us in this world to He has Willed. As a last statement, I think this is important. Many within the Church feel that mission work, whether at home or abroad, is unnecessary…. this goes against everything that Christ expected of His followers. We are meant to be the hands and feet of Christ now in this world. It may be uncomfortable, and “out of our shell” at times, but it is this that we are meant to do in the world. Being His workers is our beautiful calling – though it can and will be tough at times.

He will bring those to Him that are meant to. He judges the “quick” (living) and the dead. He holds the Book of Life in His hands. This should give us both awe and pause. Awe because He does call some to Him, even knowing how fallen we are… and pause because the Savior of all mankind does call some to Him and some from Him… as in He is the measure of salvation. Not our feelings. Not if we were good or bad people. Not chakras. Not karma. Not the universe… a real, historical person wants to have a relationship with you and me. He desires it. He seeks it Himself, knowing that we are so fallen, we never could (or would want to) reach out ourselves.

This Jesus is the One who conquered death. Who was the first born to true life everlasting. Who knows all men’s hearts, and acts according to the Book of Life that He authored… He wants to know us personally. All He asks is to trust Him, have faith in Him… and what’s even more amazing… He offers that faith freely…Amen?