Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Name that Hymn

I love the book of Psalms. The largest book in the Bible is actually a music book. I like to call it a HIM book, because it's all about exalting and worshiping God! Many of our modern day praise and worship lyrics are taken from the Psalms.

In Colossians 3:16, the apostle Paul instructs, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God" (NIV).

One way the word of Christ can dwell in us richly is through song!

Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.

During my quiet time walks with Abba Father in the morning, I sometimes take my hymnbook. I like to thoughtfully, prayerfully read the words out loud as I walk. Sometimes, I break out with the melody. What a special time entering into the heart of the hymn writer as s/he exalts God.

Revisiting old hymns may seem archaic for some Christians nowadays. How sad, since hymnology is rife with biblical doctrine about God, salvation (redemption), sanctification (growth in Christ), and the believer's future glorification. Hymns center in who God is and what He has done for us. When so much Christian music today focuses on self, hymns focus on God--the place to begin if we are ever to experience victory and the joy and peace we desire. 

In addition, hymns make us think. We're called upon to stop and ponder, chew on the words and the meaning. No burger and fries meal here; hymns offer a full course meal to digest and to satisfy. Don't get me wrong--I'm one of those Christian music lovers who likes variety (modern praise choruses, spiritual songs, and hymns), but once in a while, I like to pull out that old hymnal and sing a few tunes.  

As I revisit a five hymns in this post, perhaps you'd like to play along. Can you guess the name of the hymn from the line below?

1. " . . . . how sweet the sound; that saved a wretch like me." 

2. "There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not."

3. "I trust the Ever-living One--His wounds for me shall plead. I need no other argument,"

4. "Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,"

5. "I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me,"

So, any of the above lines ring a bell? Post your answers in the comments section below. 




Thursday, September 1, 2016

Living He Loved

The other day while walking in my quiet place and chewing on Philippians 2:1-8 (why God left heaven in the person of Jesus), an old hymn came to mind: "Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away. Rising He justified, freely forever. One day He's coming, oh glorious day!" (One Day).

The phrase "living He loved me" kept rolling around in my head. Yes, He died, was buried, and rose again for my redemption and eternal life, but He lived for 33 years prior to that. Thirty-three years of living to show love to those around Him. Living in a human body with weakness and limitation, subject to ridicule and rejection (after all, in most eyes, He was the bastard boy of Mary). And He did so by choice . . . . because He loved. He knew His purpose and He glorified the Father by living out that purpose.

As Abba Father reminded me of this in the morning hour during my walk, I sensed Him speaking to my heart: "Eileen, I just want you to live. Live . . . and love as I loved while on earth. I have given you My purpose--to glorify Me by sharing Jesus's love with others."
That sharing of His love occurred when I stopped to engage the teens waiting at the street corner for the bus.

And that sharing continued with Chuck as soon as I walked back in the door; however on this morn, I addressed his needs with a greater strength and sensitivity.

That sharing progressed as I moved upstairs to interact with two-year-old Rivers and five-year-old Gabe. With just enough attention given to satisfy them and to release me to go back downstairs to my office and begin my morning work day.

All I could say in response was "Thank You, Abba! I can live and love because You continue to show me how, by Your mercy, grace, and strength."

What's God been showing you through His Word lately? Perhaps a take away from a sermon, a Sunday school lesson, a radio speaker, or your quiet time in the Word?

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