Christianity 201

October 18, 2014

Give Me This Mountain

I was enjoying the lyrical depths of a playlist of songs by Graham Kendrick and was particularly drawn to the song Give Me This Mountain (Caleb’s Song). I decided to post it on Thinking Out Loud by itself, but wanted to at least include the scripture reference. The video annotation reads:

A song about a Biblical encounter between Caleb and God. Caleb was called ‘wholehearted’ by God and was allowed to enter the promised land.

I decided to investigate that further, first in scripture,

Numbers 14:24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

and then when I landed on the blog of Harvest Pointe Fellowship in Evans, Georgia. Once there, I knew I had to include it here at C201.  Click the title below — a reference to Caleb’s character before God — to read it at source.

Wholehearted -Joshua 14

Besides God, there are two main characters throughout this stage of our study of Joshua: obviously Joshua is one of them, and the other is Caleb. Caleb is one of the spies who entered the Promised Land the first time– all the other spies gave reports of giants and fortified cities and how it would be impossible to take this land but Caleb (and Joshua) stuns everyone by boldly proclaiming that they should enter the land because God had already given them the victory. No one listened to him and the children of Israel are forced to wander the wilderness once more. We should not be surprised to learn that the name “Caleb” comes from Hebrew and means “wholehearted”. Caleb is a man who lived his entire life with wholehearted devotion to God’s purpose.

…Caleb is one of the unsung heroes of the Bible. He stands as a shining example of one who never lost his edge spiritually. He himself said at age 85, “I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and coming in” (Joshua 14:11 NKJV). This demonstration of courage must have unnerved the other men. They may even have thought him senile.

At this point of our study of Joshua, God’s people have taken much of the long awaited Promised Land and Joshua was dispensing portions of it to the tribes. However, Caleb steps forward to claim that which had been promised him by Moses. In fact, Caleb asks for the land that he had surveyed as much younger man.

In response, Joshua granted his faithful friend Caleb what he asked. He gives Caleb Hebron. The old man proved he had not yet exhausted his courage, when he said:

Now therefore, give me this mountain [the land of Hebron] of which the Lord spoke in that day. . (Joshua 14:10–12 NKJV)

The other men of Israel must have breathed a sigh of relief that Caleb had chosen this portion of land. This was not some beautiful, green pasture; it was one of the most treacherous mountainous areas of the Promised Land. Even more problematic was the fact that formidable adversaries inhabited this land. This was the home of the sons of Anak, the very same giants that terrified the 10 spies sent by Moses. No one wanted to take on the giants except 85-year-old Caleb. Can’t you just envision him holding up that muscular old arm, saying, “Give me this mountain”?

I love the boldness of this man of God. I can just see Caleb running up that mountain. I can see him as he slays his adversaries. He was victorious. He had been strong all those years and he finished well.

Let me share several principles with we learn from Caleb’s life that can give us this same spiritual stamina we need to run and indeed finish in the race of life well.

1. Follow the Lord 100 percent. Scripture says again and again that Caleb “wholly followed the Lord.” It’s in Joshua 14:8–9 and verse 14: Joshua blessed Caleb and gave the old man what he asked because “he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.”

This is clearly a key to Caleb’s spiritual success. But what does it mean to “wholly follow the Lord”? It means that you must fully follow our Lord not halfheartedly, but completely. One hundred percent.

Are you wholly following the Lord your God? If you are not, you will eventually be picked off. It is only a matter of time until you become a casualty in the race of life.

2. Don’t compromise—stand your ground. At the risk of being ostracized, Caleb took a stand for what he knew was true. He knew he needed to be more concerned with God’s approval than man’s approval. And for this, he was rewarded.

As you walk with the Lord, you will face many temptations to cave in to peer pressure, to do what everybody else does. But if you are going to fully follow the Lord, then, like Caleb, you must make this principle operative in your life. Stand firm and seek God’s pleasure, no one else’s.

3. Take God at His Word. Caleb didn’t win immediate entrance to the Promised Land. First, he had to wander around with those ungrateful, complaining Israelites for 40 years. They said things like “We remember the good old days back in Egypt, where we had garlic, leeks, and onions.”

Despite the Israelites’ childish clinging to conjured memories, Caleb hung on to the promises of God. He knew God would be faithful, regardless of the time frame. Caleb trusted God’s word to him. We can do the same.

4. Long for fellowship with your God. Caleb asked for a place in the Promised Land called Hebron. There is something very interesting about the name Hebron, which—in the original language—means “fellowship, love, and communion.” Hebron is where Abraham met with God face-to-face and received the promise of the new land in the first place.

Caleb yearned for fellowship with God. While the other Israelites longed for Egypt, Caleb longed for Hebron. While the others looked back in dread, Caleb looked forward with fearless anticipation. While others wanted to please themselves, Caleb wanted only to please God.

This is an essential key to spiritual longevity. You must always move forward. You must always seek to grow spiritually and never look back. That’s what will keep you going.

If you are living this Christian life for others’ applause, you won’t make it. You have to run empowered by your love for God.

Questions for thought:

1. Have you ever felt resentful or burdened by something God was calling you to do?
2. One justification for not helping or serving is that feel we need time for ourselves, for our studies, for our work, for our own rest. While easy to understand, what do you think is wrong with this mindset?
3. When was the last time you felt excited and even proud to have the chance to serve? What made that situation so different?
4. What are some practical ways you can begin to see serving God as your privilege rather than your burden?

 

March 10, 2014

The Name Above All Names

Ps. 34:3 NIV Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.

Phil. 2:9 NIV Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Jer. 10:6 NIV No one is like you, Lord;
    you are great,
    and your name is mighty in power.

Today I want you take six minutes to listen to a song that will appeal to everyone reading this regardless of whether you like traditional or contemporary worship. I thought of this song in the early hours of Sunday and am glad it was available to add here. This features the music of Chuck Girard, lead singer of Love Song, one of the groups which launched contemporary Christian music in the 1970s. He then went on to worship leading and writing powerful worship songs like this one.

IT’S THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES,
AND WE WILL DECLARE IT, WE WILL DECLARE IT
IT’S THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES,
AND WE WILL SHOUT IT TO A DYING WORLD.

Who will declare My name?
Who will shout My name in the middle of the nations
Who will take the shield of faith and the sword of My tongue,
And declare My name to a dying world?
You who have declared Me thus far,
Will walk in even greater power
Though the sands of time are running out,
My name will be declared in this final hour

I am Jehovah! I Am that I Am! And My trumpet will soon call ..out
I formed the worlds with a whisper
But I’m getting ready, I’m getting ready, I’m getting ready
To shout!

CHORUS

I will possess My people
I’ll take every inch that you’ll surrender to Me
For I’m building an army, and I’ve given it My Name
And my words in your mouth shall set the captives free.

I am Jehovah! I Am that I Am! And My trumpet will soon call out.
I formed the worlds with a whisper
But I’m getting ready, I’m getting ready, I’m getting ready
To shout!

Related posts at C201 on the name(s) of Jesus, God:

February 21, 2014

Jesus, What Can I Give, What Can I Bring?

I will offer up my life
In spirit and truth,
Pouring out the oil of love
As my worship to You.

In surrender I must give my every part;
Lord, receive the sacrifice
Of a broken heart.

Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a friend, to so loving a King?
Savior, what can be said, what can be sung
As a praise of Your name
For the things You have done?

Oh my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed
By this thankful heart.

You deserve my every breath
For You’ve paid the great cost;
Giving up Your life to death,
Even death on a cross.

You took all my shame away,
There defeated my sin
Opened up the gates of heaven
And have beckoned me in.

Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a friend, to so loving a King?
Savior, what can be said, what can be sung
As a praise of Your name
For the things You have done?

Oh my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed
By this thankful heart.

Matt Redman’s song, I Will Offer Up My Life has been one of my all time favorites since I heard it the first time at a Christian summer camp. But I hadn’t thought of it lately until I found this verse, the first part of Micah 6:6:

What offering should I bring
when I bow down to worship
    the Lord God Most High? (CEV)

What must I bring when I come to meet with the Lord?
    What must I do when I bow down to God above? (ERV)

 Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? (KJV)

How can I stand up before God
    and show proper respect to the high God? (Message)

What can we bring to the Lord?
    What kind of offerings should we give him? (NLT)

With what should I approach the Lord
        and bow down before God on high? (CEV)

I’ve included several translations of the one phrase this time, each slightly different and each gives us pause to think about this rhetorical question. Of course, there is nothing of earthly value — things that would have worth to us — that is not already his to begin with.

The passage continues to ask questions,

6b Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (NIV)

and then answers the rhetorical question,

Human being, you have already been told
what is good, what Adonai demands of you —
no more than to act justly, love grace
and walk in purity with your God. (CJB)

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God. (NLT)

In another song, The Heart of Worship, the same songwriter, Matt Redman writes these lines:

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart.

God doesn’t want our material offerings, he wants us to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly; all of these are attitudes of the heart. Dare I say that if our righteousness is as filthy rags, sometimes our offerings may not be much better. Our best may be pursuing justice, pursuing mercy, striving to attain humility.

At this point, someone will ask, ‘Then where is God’s own justice satisfied?’ The answer is, simply, ‘Jesus.’

Heb. 10:11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

Really, if you want a test case, the best one is this: If you can bring it to God, carrying it in your hands, it’s probably not what he wants. As to satisfying the requirements of the law, the test case is: Your standing before God is not based on anything that you do, but is based on what he has done for you.

September 1, 2013

God’s People Always Have a Song

In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life. (John 3: 14-15, The Message)

Over a week ago, we arrived at the summer camp where me met to pick up our two sons; one of whom had been working there for 17 weeks, the other who was there just over 13 weeks. I love Christian camping and its mammoth potential in the life of a child or teen. If you are one of the ‘givers’ and you’re looking to invest in ministry for maximum lasting impact, I encourage you to seek out an interdenominational camping ministry — they’re the ones that don’t have a source of automatic funding — and ask what their current capital needs are.

Anyway, the staff were having a wrap-up lunch, and even though I hadn’t been there, I got the same lump in my throat that I would have gotten having spent the 13 or 17 weeks there myself. I looked at one young man who was fighting back some tears and I just about lost it.

The staff watched a slide presentation that included four of the songs they had come to love over the summer, one of which clearly engaged them more than the rest, Let it Be Known by Worship Central. It’s not just that the song has a catchy rhythm and physical actions. I believe that God always has a song; that a song gets raised up in every time and place and season.

Let it be known
That our God saves
Our God reigns
We lift You up up
Let it be known
That love has come
Love has won
We lift You up up up oh

Some of the staff are returning to school, others to jobs, others to an uncertain fall season. Some will go back to Christian homes where they’ll be taken to churches on Sunday that sing the same songs; others to non-Christian families that beg the question, “How can we sing the songs of the Lord in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137).

But on that day, in that dining hall, the power of their corporate worship and the sheer volume the soundtrack pumping through the speakers, would empower any of them to say, “With God, nothing is impossible.” (Luke 1:37)

Come on let’s turn it up
We’re gonna sing it out
For all the world to hear…

…Nothing can stop us now
No one can keep us down
We’ve found our voice again…

…No need for fear and shame
There’s power in His name
Come on let freedom reign…

My prayer for them would be that after the energy has faded and they are back home — perhaps with other Christian friends, or perhaps feeling very alone — the power of the Holy Spirit would continue to be as strong in their lives.

God has new songs he is waiting to birth in the hearts of people in different locations, situations and junctures of personal and corporate ministry. Perhaps one of the young people in that dining hall will write one of them.  In the meantime, turn it up loud — really loud — and make their end-of-summer anthem yours as well:

May 20, 2012

Give Me Vision To See Things Like You Do

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It’s been awhile since I added to the worship collection here. This one really needs to be here. (See the sidebar for more songs here at C201.)

Isaiah 55:2 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Psalm 121:1 I raise my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.

Hebrews 12: 2-3 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

God I look to You
I won’t be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to You
You’re where my help comes from
Give me wisdom, You know just what to do

Scripture texts: NIV (Is.),  CEB (Ps.), and MESSAGE (Heb.)

March 27, 2012

10,000 Years And There Forevermore

I think Matt Redman has appeared here more than any other worship songwriter.  Listen to this song, 10,000 Reasons, a couple of times through; the words are on the screen.  Feel free to leave your comments and thoughts as you listen the second time.

December 2, 2011

A Church Where Freedom Reigns, A People Full of Grace

Occasionally there are worship song videos posted here, and I can’t think of a better time to do one than today, in light of all the reading we’ve had here this week.  If the videos aren’t your thing, this is a good day to carry on with parts 2, 3 and 4 of yesterday’s readings. 

Re. Yesterday:  For the record, I believe very definitely that “the buck stops” with the Bible as the final authority for those who follow Christ.  But I’m also understanding where the writer — an Eastern Orthodox person for whom tradition is placed in high regard — is coming from in reference to solo scriptura.  I hope that studying this material provides you with some things to think about.

The music video is from Eddie Kirkland from North Point Community Church.  This may not be your musical style, but listen once anyway and note the marriage of powerful (loud!) music with powerful (dynamic) lyrics.  This is a great opening song for any church that’s doing contemporary worship.

If you see something online that C201 readers should know about, be sure to click the “submissions” tab so that we can consider sharing your ‘find’ with everyone. If you have a blog of your own and have written something of a devotional nature or a Bible study nature that you’d like to see picked up here, click the same “submissions” tab.

Christianity 201 is a melting-pot of devotional and Bible study content from across the widest range of the Christian blogosphere.  An individual article may be posted even if some or all readers might not agree with other things posted at the same blog, and two posts may follow on consecutive days by authors with very different doctrinal perspectives.  The Kingdom of God is so much bigger than the small portion of it we can see from our personal vantage point, and one of the purposes of C201 is to allow readers a ‘macro’ view of the many ministries and individual voices available for reading.

November 25, 2011

One of the First “Offerings of Worship to the King”

  • Before we get started today; for our American friends, if you missed it back in October, here’s a beautiful 6-minute video of a worship song which was posted here for Canadian Thanksgiving.

The song Offering by Paul Baloche is sung in many of our churches, but not everyone knows the original first verse which has a definite Christmas theme to it.  Can I suggest introducing this other verse to your congregation if they are not already using it? The music on this version is by the group Casting Crowns.

Those first “offerings of worship” were from shepherds and astronomers (or if you prefer, astrologers).  This is as diverse a mix as you’ll find.  For in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, rich nor poor, simple nor educated.

October 19, 2011

The Lord Giveth, The Lord Taketh Away, Right?

The book of Job is complicated.

Several years ago a manufacturer of Christian giftware created an entire themed line (or range as the British say) for men based on Job 1:10–

“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.

There were work gloves, and a measuring tape, and other items all inscribed with

You have blessed the work of his hands

And everything was going fine until my wife pointed out that the speaker in this passage wasn’t God, wasn’t Job, wasn’t Job’s friends; it was the devil.  They were selling merchandise with a quote from the devil.  I mean, it’s possible for Satan to speak the truth in a situation, but it is rather unsettling.

I mention that because on the weekend, we had a discussion about the popular worship song, Blessed Be The Name (of the Lord).  The line that came up was,

You give and take away

and the individual pointed out that God allows things to happen, but doesn’t specifically cause things to happen.

The song lyric is based on Job, but this time we can’t blame the devil.  Chapter one, verse 20 and 21 reads:

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (NIV)

The statement reflects Job’s understanding of how things work, but it’s a limited understanding; this being chapter one and all.

We do however see similar themes; such as I Samuel 2: 7,8

The LORD makes poor and rich;
He brings low, He also exalts. (NASB)

and Psalm 75: 6,7

For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. (KJV)

But the causality appears slightly different in the NLT

For no one on earth—from east or west,
      or even from the wilderness—
      should raise a defiant fist.
 7 It is God alone who judges;
      he decides who will rise and who will fall

and is closer to the idea of God allowing but not actually doing.  And certainly, to believe in the sovereignty of God is to believe that nothing that takes place happens without his rubber stamp on it.

So what do you think?  Can you stand and sing that line of Blessed Be The Name with confidence?  Or do you shy away from it?

I think it’s important that our overarching belief is that God working to bring all things toward the good.  As Romans 8:28 reminds us:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who arecalled according to His purpose. (NASB)

He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.  (w/ vs. 27; The Message)

And furthermore, we can adopt an unconditional allegiance to God regardless of the circumstances or even regardless of their source.  Job reaches this point twelve chapters later, in 13:15:

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…(KJV)

September 9, 2011

O, Church of Christ Rejoice

Come People of the Risen King by Kristen and Keith Getty and Stuart Townend:

Performed by Stuart Townend.

Performed by Kristen and Keith Getty

Come, people of the Risen King,
Who delight to bring Him praise;
Come all and tune your hearts to sing
To the Morning Star of grace.
From the shifting shadows of the earth
We will lift our eyes to Him,
Where steady arms of mercy reach
To gather children in.

REFRAIN
Rejoice, Rejoice! Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice; O Church of Christ, rejoice!

Come, those whose joy is morning sun,
And those weeping through the night;
Come, those who tell of battles won,
And those struggling in the fight.
For His perfect love will never change,
And His mercies never cease,
But follow us through all our days
With the certain hope of peace.

Come, young and old from every land –
Men and women of the faith;
Come, those with full or empty hands –
Find the riches of His grace.
Over all the world, His people sing –
Shore to shore we hear them call
The Truth that cries through every age:
“Our God is all in all”!

Come, people of the Risen King,
Who delight to bring Him praise;
Come all and tune your hearts to sing
To the Morning Star of grace.
From the shifting shadows of the earth
We will lift our eyes to Him,
Where steady arms of mercy reach
To gather children in.

REFRAIN
Rejoice, Rejoice! Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice; O Church of Christ, rejoice!

Come, those whose joy is morning sun,
And those weeping through the night;
Come, those who tell of battles won,
And those struggling in the fight.
For His perfect love will never change,
And His mercies never cease,
But follow us through all our days
With the certain hope of peace.

Come, young and old from every land –
Men and women of the faith;
Come, those with full or empty hands –
Find the riches of His grace.
Over all the world, His people sing –
Shore to shore we hear them call
The Truth that cries through every age:
“Our God is all in all”!

July 31, 2011

The Defender of the Weak: Strength Will Rise

You, O Lord, are from everlasting to everlasting…

May 23, 2011

Here in the Love of Christ I Stand

When I looked today at the list of songs in the right hand margin, it was clear one was missing, In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty.   This is the version by Adam Young aka Owl City which omits the second verse, which is included below. I wanted to include this version because of the impact it makes when a singer in the pop music industry makes a clear declaration of faith.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost it’s grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

As I was getting ready to publish this, I discovered that this isn’t the only time Adam has covered a worship song, and this one, as far as this blog is concerned, is definitely a keeper.  How Deep The Father’s Love For Us, also by UK’s Stuart Townend.  A few of you, especially in Canada and the UK where this is a CCLI Top 25 title have heard this song done perhaps more ‘churchy,’ or with the verses divided differently but trust me, many are hearing these powerful lyrics for the first time.


How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

February 5, 2011

Graham Kendrick: Lead Me to the Cross

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (or a skipping CD?) I want to repeat my assertion that the best worship songs are those that focus on the cross of Christ.  There is no greater theme.

This is a late ’90s worship song by British worship leader and composer Graham Kendrick.  This is the only recording I could find of the song online, and the onscreen lyrics are not working and serve as a bit of a distraction.  Play it through a couple of times as an audio feed; and the lyrics are reprinted below from Graham’s website.  Flowing from above, all forgiving love, from the Father’s heart to mine.


How can I be free from sin?
Lead me to the cross of Jesus
From the guilt, the power, the pain?
Lead me to the cross of Jesus

There’s no other way
No price that I could pay
Simply to the cross I cling
This is all I need
This is all I plead
That his blood was shed for me

How can I know peace within?
Lead me to the cross of Jesus
Sing a song of joy again!
Lead me to the cross of Jesus

Flowing from above
All-forgiving love
From the Father’s heart to me!
What a gift of grace
His own righteousness
Clothing me in purity!

How can I live day by day?
Lead me to the cross of Jesus
Following his narrow way?
Lead me to the cross of Jesus

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1991 Make Way Music,
http://www.grahamkendrick.co.uk

October 16, 2010

Redeemer Saviour Friend

Another classic worship song suitable for use all year long, but especially for Easter or Communion.   This is the version of this from BCAD, an unusual Hosanna Integrity album from a few years back that can only be described as worship meets evangelism.  There are many versions of this song online. Listen the first time and then replay it and sing along.

I know You had me on Your mind
When You climbed up on that hill
For You saw me with eternal eyes
While I was yet in sin
Redeemer Saviour Friend

Every stripe upon Your battered back
Every thorn that pierced Your brow
Every nail drove deep through guiltless hands
Said that Your love knows no end
Redeemer Saviour Friend

Oh Redeemer redeem my heart again
Saviour come and shelter me from sin
You’re familiar with my weakness
Devoted to the end
Redeemer Saviour Friend

So the grace
You pour upon my life
Will return to You in praise
And I’ll gladly
Lay down all my crowns
For the name by which I’m saved
Redeemer Saviour Friend

by Chris Springer and Darrell Evans Integrity’s © 1999 Hosanna! Music & Integrity’s Praise! Music


October 11, 2010

Believing The Impossible!

Today’s piece is from Lori Ettel, author of the devotional blog, A Display of His Splendor, and appeared under the title, “Superhero.”


“David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine, your servant will go and fight him.” (1Samual 17:32)

Yesterday at soccer practice I had to laugh when I saw this little boy. He is three and is the cutest thing ever. He has blonde curly hair and is such a dude. When I saw him, I told him he’s going to be surfer…that’s what he looks like. And he replied boldly, “No I’m not. I’m going to be Spiderman!!” I love it. He was so doggone cute! That is such a boy statement.

It reminded me of David and Goliath. Here the Philistines thought their guy was bigger and tougher. They thought they had it in the bag. The Israeli army was buying it too. They were so intimidated by Goliath’s size. They were frightened and no one would step forward to fight. They just stood there. Along comes David. He’s not afraid. He’ll fight Goliath.

Now, David was the youngest among his brothers. He was sent simply to bring them food. He wasn’t planning to fight that day. But when he got there and saw what was going on, he couldn’t believe it. He knew his God was bigger than Goliath. He knew that he could do anything with God backing him up. Everyone thought David was just young and stupid. But in reality, he knew the one with the Super powers. He knew that only God could defeat Goliath. He had child-like faith. Everyone around him was older and wiser…hmmm. But David had faith.

I think it’s interesting that as we get older, we become less likely to believe the unbelievable. We become so full of wisdom and knowledge; we don’t think God can do the impossible. We start off as children thinking we can do anything. But as we age, we become more afraid. Aren’t we supposed to be more grounded in the Lord as we grow older? Aren’t we supposed to be less afraid as we grow older? Instead, we fear more. Is it because we are wiser and have seen the truth of life? I think we have started depending on what we see and not depending so much on what is unseen. We have limited the power of God and taken over. We have become so self-sufficient. We think if we cannot do a task, it simply cannot be done. We have stopped relying on God. We have stopped believing in His power. We are too willing to accept defeat.

I love that a little three year old boy reminded me that he is not afraid of anything. He truly believes he can do anything. He can’t wait to grow up and be Spiderman. Something happens to us as we grow older. We lose that ability to believe that God can do anything. The bible is full of magnificent stories of God and His power. But we don’t really believe them, do we? Oh they are nice stories but God doesn’t work like that anymore does He? We don’t believe He can. God is not any less powerful or willing to show His power. I believe we simply don’t expect it. God is so big. He is able. He is a Superhero!

He is able more than able
To accomplish what concerns me today
He is able more than able
To handle anything that comes my way

He is able more than able
To do much more than I could ever dream
He is able more than able
To make me what He wants me to be

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