August 18, 2017

The Power of the Cross: an Easter Meditation

His robes for mine: O wonderful exchange! Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered ‘neath God’s rage. Draped in His righteousness, I’m justified. In Christ I live, for in my place He died. See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown? Oh, to see the pain written on His face, Bearing the awesome weight of sin. Every bitter thought, every evil deed, Crowning His blood-stained brow. THIS THE POWER OF THE CROSS: Christ became sin for us, Took the blame, bore the wrath; We stand forgiven at the cross!   His robes for mine: such anguish none can know. Christ, God’s beloved, [...Read More]

A Christmas Meditation: Let Us Adore Him!

Let us adore Christ the Lord, together at Christmastime... For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; And that child is our Messiah, And that son is our promised Redeemer! The government shall be upon his shoulder, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And he shall be their peace. And his name shall be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. O come, let us adore Him at Christmastime... And every day of the year... For He is Lord! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!   Excerpts taken from [...Read More]

Taking the Time

Ephesians 6:18 tells us to pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. Of course, it's silly to think we're supposed to be on our knees 24/7. It's silly to think we're supposed to walk around spouting off prayers every single second. But we should have a spirit of prayer at all times. Praying should come as naturally as breathing! We should live so continually dependent upon God that our first thought is always of Him, that our first cry for help goes immediately upward, that our first exclamation of joy is spoken for His ears alone. That continual dependence on God is made possible by His Spirit dwelling in us. And we are instructed to pray in that same [...Read More]

Let me play you a song…

I've played the piano since my sixth birthday. In fact, piano lessons were a much anticipated birthday gift that year. My older brother plays, and apparently when I was little, I wanted to be "just like him." Well, I soon fell in love the piano for its own sake. My high school years passed with many, many hours at the keyboard. I played for church services, school programs, competitions, and just for fun. I learned to pour out my heart on 88 keys. I still love playing, although I don't spend quite as much time at it now. And I definitely still pour my heart into it. Today, I was playing an arrangement of Like a River Glorious by Dan Forrest, and the beauty of the music simply overwhelmed [...Read More]

Hymns for Advent: Incarnation

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. Israel’s Strength and Consolation, Hope of all the earth thou art! Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart! Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word, that should set thy people free! But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room For Thy holy nativity. Born thy people to deliver, Born a child and yet a King. 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.” Born to reign in us forever, Now thy [...Read More]

A Moment of Anticipation: Hymns for Advent

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. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free thine own from Satan’s tyranny! From depths of hell thy people save, and give them victory over the grave. There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.  O come, thou Day-spring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here! Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight. ...for [he] will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of [...Read More]

The Rock in My Soul

My soul is weary. My heart is aching for friends who are struggling through difficult things right now. Loved ones are hurting, physically and emotionally. Friends are in seasons of uncertainty, of dim haziness. And so I pray. I pray for their hurt, their frustration, their need for clarity and direction. I pray that the Spirit would give courage and comfort. I pray for grace -- for God's grace is more than enough for every one of us, every moment. I pray for strength -- for God's strength is shown most perfect in our weakest moments. I pray that my friends would be made more aware of blessings. That their hearts would be filled with gratitude -- for life, for salvation, for the [...Read More]

Come Thou Fount (paraphrased)

Sometimes I like to write out hymns in my own words. Because, though I sing them every week at church (and sometimes in between), I don't always think about what I'm singing. I know the words, but I might not truly understand the message. So I write them in my own words. I personalize their depths of truth. I offer them as heartfelt prayers to my heavenly Father. Recently I did this with Come, Thou Fount, a well-known hymn penned by Robert Robinson in 1758. I discovered two lesser-known verses to the hymn, and included those in my paraphrase, simply because of the depths of praise in their words. So as you read through this, can I suggest that you offer it as your own prayer of praise? [...Read More]

Book Review: Then Sings My Soul

Recently I've been reading Then Sings My Soul: Book 3 by Robert J. Morgan. Some of you may be familiar with his series of hymn-stories; this was actually the first one that I've read. I'm not completely finished, but then it's not really the type of book you read in just one sitting. Morgan starts this volume of hymn-stories with a 54-page historical overview of Christian hymnody. As you can imagine, limiting it to that size requires brevity and simplicity. But even in its conciseness, it provides an interesting and informative overview of our hymnody, from the songs recorded in Scripture all the way through what is being composed today. The next two sections of Then Sings My Soul follow [...Read More]

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart; Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move; Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art; And make me love Thee as I ought to love. Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh; Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear. To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh, Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer. Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King? All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind. I see Thy cross; there teach my heart to cling: O let me seek Thee, and O let me find! We sang this at church yesterday, and I had to just stop and ponder the words for several moments. This would be an excellent prayer to use during personal [...Read More]