Category Archives: Easter

Praise Him! Praise Him!

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to His holy Name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long:

Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died.
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.
Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.

Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring!
Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever.
Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King!
Christ is coming! over the world victorious,
Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong.

Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!

Words by Fanny Crosby, 1869
Music by Chester G. Allen,

 


Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 29:2

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.
Psalm 96:8

Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 150:5 – 6

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!
Psalm 138:1 – 3

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57


 

“Let me tell you about this amazing person I just met. He can do anything. From the first time I met I him I was astounded at the places he had been and the things he had done. I can’t imagine anyone having done more things in this world. And despite all of this, he is quite likely the nicest person I have ever met. . . “

This may seem a bit over the top, but have you ever met someone who so impressed you, that you had to tell everyone about them. You simply were driven to sing his praises. This is the driving force behind Fanny Crosby’s, “Praise Him, Praise Him.”

In the hymn we see that it is Jesus of whom we are driven to sing praises. A message that echoes the message of scripture. Over and over again, we are told to praise God. In Psalm 29:2 we are told to “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” In Psalm 96:8 we read “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.” And again in Psalm 150:5 – 6 we are told to “Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!”

It is clear that we are instructed in scripture to sing our praises of and to God. This call then goes beyond us to all of creation. Crosby reminds us of this when she writes, “Hail Him! Hail Him! Highest archangels in glory.” This echoes the words of Psalm 138:2, “Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!”

So Crosby reminds us that we are called to “Praise Him.” But she does not simply leave it at that. Rather she drives home the truth that He is worthy of the praise we give. She writes “For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died. He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation, Hail Him! Hail Him! Jesus the Crucified. Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows, Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.”

This is the God we are called to praise. And when we stop to realize who He is, when we stop to see what He has done, praising Him is not something we need to be told to do, it is something we feel compelled to do. Crosby gives us an amazing list of why to praise Him, but it is far from exhaustive. So when we find our focus on all of these reasons, to give Him praise is the least we can do in response.

And the hymn does not stop there. Not only are we called to praise Him because of who He is, not only are we called to praise Him because of what He has done, but Crosby reminds us that we are called to praise Him because of what He is yet to do. The hymn continues, “Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever; Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King! Christ is coming! over the world victorious.”

As we look to the future we can know the end. He is the prophet, priest, and king. He will reign forever and ever for He is victorious over the world. If this is not enough, he provides us with the way to victory as well. Despite the troubles we face in this world, when we put our faith in Him we will know the victory over this world that is found only in Him. A victory of which Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:57 when he writes, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Yes, scripture instructs us to praise Him. But when we begin to sing His praise and to realize what we have to praise Him for, we can not keep it to ourselves. We will want everyone to know of Him. So we go out to the world to “Tell of His excellent greatness.”

 

 

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My Jesus, I Love Thee

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Words by William R. Featherston, 1864
Music by Adoniram J. Gordon, 1876

 


for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice
Psalm 95:7

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13

We love Him because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 – 39


 

Deep down we are all the same. Yes, some of us prefer to be alone and some prefer to be around other people. Some of us prefer to be with people we know well and some prefer to continually meet new people. Some of us prefer to be with people like us and other prefer to spend time with people who are different. Yet despite all of these differences, deep down we are all want the same. We want somewhere to belong.

And so we search for a place. Some search in relationships with other people. Some search in drugs and alcohol. Some search in money. Some search in work. Some search in helping others. And while these, at least for a short time, seem to give us a sense of purpose, in the end, even the most well-meaning of them, leaves us feeling empty.

So we continue to seek somewhere to belong. Somewhere that we are accepted and wanted. Somewhere that we are loved. The love that we seek is found in Christ. It is in His presence that we can find the one place we are accepted and always belong. It is in response to this sense of belonging that William Featherston wrote his hymn, “My Jesus, I Love Thee.”

The hymn begins “My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine.” We are looking for a place to belong, it is found in Jesus. And this belonging has a flip side found in Psalm 95:7 where we read, “for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture.” We are His and He is ours. This is the ultimate level of belonging, to know that we belong to someone and we can reciprocate.

So when we know we have this level of belonging, we are willing to give everything in response. When we know that we have found belonging in Christ, we are willing to sacrifice all our selfishness. This is the declaration of the hymn, when it says “For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.”

So we share our love with Him. A love that does not always come so easily to us, but is the only possible response to the love that He has shown us first as the hymn continues, “I love Thee because Thou has first loved me.” Our love does not exist in a vacuum, it is the response to the love that He has shown us. This echoes the words of I John 4:19 which tells us, “We love Him because He first loved us.”

He loved us first, and with a love that is not simply words, but demonstrated in the most incredible of actions. It echoes Jesus words in John 15:13 were we read, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” As the hymn puts it,he “purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.”

It is in this love that we find our purpose and meaning. It is a love that has no end. It is what leads Featherston to write, “I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow.” He is our love not just of this lifetime, but forever, just as His love can not separated from us. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38 – 39)

In Christ, we can find what our hearts desire. A place to belong which is engulfed in his love. So we respond by loving Him who has loved us first. When we begin to understand the love that God has extended to us we can join with others proclaiming, “If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”

 

 

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Just As I Am

Just as I am—without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Words by Charlotte Elliott, 1835
Music by William B. Bradbury, 1849


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28 – 30

For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Matthew 26:28

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Luke 5:31 – 32


We all do it. We worry about what others are thinking of us. It is probably most obvious when we first meet that someone special. We begin to put on a new face. We suddenly express an interest in the things the other person likes. We begin to find out where their going to be and we adjust a schedule for “chance” encounter. We begin to change our behavior so the other person will accept us.

There is a flip side as well. A side where we see the person as so beyond us that we feel we can never be worthy of their affection. We feel that we could never even be near them or speak to them because of the fear of being rejected. This is the fear that dwells in each of us to enter the presence of God. And it should, for we are entering the presence of a Holy God. But this fear need not stand in His presence for God has called each of us from where we are. He has declared,”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” We need not change before we can come before God. It is but the start of a journey and we may come exactly as we are. This is the message is Charlotte Elliot’s hymn, “Just as I Am.”

The hymn declares, “Just as I am—without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me. And that Thou bidst me come to Thee.” We do not need to be perfect to come before God. He came to call us from where we are. In Luke 5:31 – 32 “Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” But how can we stand before a perfect and Holy God. It is only through the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. It is through His shed blood that we are made acceptable in God’s sight. This is what Jesus declares at the last supper when he says, “For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28) So he has called us to him, and all we need to do is respond.

So the hymn continues by describing the areas of darkness and trouble that we each come from. Elliott writes, “ though tossed about With many a conflict, many a doubt, Fightings and fears within, without.” and “ poor, wretched, blind.” This is but a taste of where we each come from, unworthy of entering His presence. And yet, He bids us come.

We can not change to make ourselves to be worthy of entering His presence, but when we enter His presence He “wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve.” He can change us to be worthy. So we come to Him, “Because (his) promise (we) believe.”

It does not matter where we have been, or what we have done. God is waiting for us to come to Him. He has opened the door with the blood of His Son, blood that can make us new. So we need not cower in fear of entering His presence, but can instead say, “O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

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Are You Washed In The Blood

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you walking daily by the Savior’s side?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Do you rest each moment in the Crucified?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb;
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean,
O be washed in the blood of the Lamb!
Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Words & Music by Elisha Hoffman, 1878

 


for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:23

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Isaiah 1:18

I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 7:14

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them
John 7:38

but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
John 4:14


 

There is nothing more annoying that getting a stain on one of favorite pieces of clothing.  I can’t tell you how many shirts I have had that ended out with a permanent stain from an unfortunate drip. Now I have seen the commercials where they rub grass, blueberries and other such things into a piece of clothing to create horrible stains. Then they magically wash it with some astounding stain removing detergent and it looks as good as it did when it was new. Now I don’t know about you, but I have never seen a detergent that can really work like that.  No matter how hard you try, there always seems to be some residual sign of the stain.

This is not unlike the stains that sin leaves upon our souls.  Stains that continually build up upon each other slowly darkening our soul.  And just like the stains in my shirt, there is nothing that we can do to make them like new.   Of course many options are pitched to us by the world – doing good works, getting an education, going to church – and while these are good things, no matter how much we do them, they can not make our soul clean like new. Thankfully, God has given us the only way to make our souls clean. It is through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. This is a theme found in Elisha Hoffman’s “Are You Washed In The Blood?”

It begins with the words, “Have you been to Jesus, for His cleansing flood? Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?” A cleansing flood.  The hymn starts from the truth that we are all stained with sin.  Romans 3:23 tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It is this sin that stains our souls. But there is hope. In Isaiah 1:18 the Lord says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Even though these sins have so stained our lives, our souls can be made clean by being washed in the blood of Jesus Christ.

This is an amazing realization, our souls can be made like new.  Our lives can be restored. When we come to embrace this, we need not fear the stains. So the hymn continues, “Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour? Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?” The question is not if we have found perfection, or if we are capable of eliminating any future sins from our lives, but do we trust in Him. When we do stumble and fall, we can trust in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  We can trust that he will forgive us and make us clean.

So we look forward to the day when we will be made perfect. The day when we shall stand before Jesus. A day when we will “Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin.”  We shall then be clothed in the perfection of Christ. This is the day that John saw and described in Revelation 7:14 when he writes, “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Through His blood, we are made clean and we are given a new source of life that will well up within us.  As the hymn writer says, “There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean.” This fountain is our source of life.  It is the fountain promised by Jesus in John 7:38 when He told us that “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

When we put our trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will overflow with living waters “welling up to eternal life.” When we put our trust in Jesus, we will be washed in His blood, being made new.  (John 4:14) If the eternal joy of being in Christ is what we truly seek, then we should each ask ourselves “Are (we) washed in the blood of the Lamb?”

 

 

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At Calvary

Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

Now I’ve given to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my king,
Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary!
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

Words by William R. Newell, 1895
Music by Daniel B. Towner

 


“‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt and the sin they committed becomes known, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the tent of meeting.
Leviticus 4:13 – 14

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
Ephesians 4:17 – 19


 

“I shouldn’t have been given a ticket for parking there.  I didn’t know it wasn’t allowed.”  I spent many years working in university security and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I heard these words.  It was not their fault, because no one told them it was not allowed.  Sound like it makes sense, but we all know that it is not an excuse. It’s something we have probably been told since we were very young. Nicole Flatow puts it this way in the opening of her article about a recent supreme court decision at “Think Progress.”  She states;

“There is one simple concept that law students learn in their very first weeks of criminal law class: Ignorance of the law is no excuse. This principle means that when an individual violates the law, it doesn’t matter whether or not they knew what the law said. If it’s a crime, and they are found to have committed the elements of that crime, they are guilty.”

Whether you knew it is wrong, or not, it was still wrong. Taken further, the question is, if we do not know what we are doing is wrong, how can we ever expect to make amends.  The short answer is that we can not, but there is someone who can. This is the message of William Newell’s “At Calvary.”

The song summarize the ignorance that most of us live in far too easily.  An ignorance that many seem to revel in. After all, the old saying is “ignorance is bliss”.  So the hymn begins with the words, “Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was crucified, Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.”

This is how we so want to live our lives . . . for ourselves.  We are nothing new in this capacity.  Jesus, when speaking of the end times uses this description in Matthew 24:37 – 39, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.” In the days of Noah, people lived to meet their own pleasure, oblivious to the circumstances around them.

This life of seeking our own pleasures is an offense to God Himself. We must then come to accept these action that violate God’s law, even when done in ignorance must exact a consequence. Leviticus 4:13 – 14 tells us, “‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt and the sin they committed becomes known, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the tent of meeting.”

One might argue, “well that was Israel. God has revealed himself to them so of course they had no excuse.  Paul answers this objection when he says in Ephesians 4:17 – 19  “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.” Jew or gentile, it makes no difference.  The axiom remains true. Ignorance of the law is not excuse.

So we today easily find ourselves doing the same. We are all to often unaware that our behavior is self-indulgent, and an affront to a Holy God.  But as the hymn tells us, the truth has been made known if we will but listen.  It says “By God’s Word at last my sin I learned; Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned, Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.”

When we realize the magnitude of our actions.  That we have lived a life seeking our own, mocking God, whether intentionally or unintentionally, at every turn, we can not help but quake with fear.  This is the Holy God, Creator of all and we have dishonored Him at every turn.  But thanks be, that we are given the way to make things right. It is through the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross.

When we turn to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can experience the forgiveness of all sins, whether intentional or unintentional. This is the only means of making amends and God has given it to us freely.  This is why Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When we accept this gift, we can know “salvation’s plan!” We can know “the grace that brought it down to man!” We can begin to comprehend “the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!”

No, ignorance is no excuse.  We remain guilty, even when we did not know what we were doing was wrong.  But praise God that He did not abandon us in our ignorance, but that provide a way to forgiveness that we might be restored to fellowship with Him. When we accept this we can join with all believers declaring, “There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.”

 

 

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Do This In Remembrance of Me

 

I am taking a brief aside from my hymn reflections to look at another aspect of worship. In this Lenten season we begin by looking at Christ as our example. We reflect on the fullness of His life. His struggles, His triumphs, His sorrows, His joys and most importantly His sacrifice. We look to Jesus as not only our Savior, but our example of living a life in service to the Father. We follow His lead in the examples He set, in the parables He told, in His teaching and in the commands he gave. I want to look specifically at something in this last category.

Communion, The Lord’s Supper, The Eucharist, The Bread and The Wine. What ever term you use for it, as Christians, we are called to partake of it. The words of Jesus echo down through the ages. “Do this in remembrance of me.” This is the command that Jesus gave us, a command with a deeper meaning. It is not like the slogan of Nike, “Just Do It.” which carries not reason or meaning other than enjoying yourself. This call has real meaning. There is a reason we are to partake. Jesus said, “Do this . . . in remembrance of me.”

We find the account of the Lords supper in Luke 22 and then find Paul recounting the events with further explanation in 1 Corinthians 11:23 – 32.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked. He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Luke 22:7 – 20

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
1 Corinthians 11:23 – 32

In Remembrance of Me

Now I realize that we could get caught up here in a debate on the substance of the Lord’s Supper, but the final conclusion will be that people hold many different position from Transubstantiation to Memorial. But from whichever belief you come, as believers we are to take part in The Lord’s Supper with remembrance of Christ.

We remember that He was born into this world in human flesh. John 1:14 tells us, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” This is of utmost importance, for the manger and the cross are intrinsically linked. Remove one and the other becomes meaningless. You can find more of this in the article, The Real Meaning of Christmas.

We remember that while he was born fully man, He was still fully God. John 1:1 tells us, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” He was Emanuel, God with us. Not a God who remained distant from us, but a God who dwelt among us. He walked among us that He might know us and we might know Him.

We remember that he faced the very temptation we face in this life. Temptations to meet physical desires, to meet the lust of the eyes and the desire to elevate our selves above God. Yet the scriptures tell us in Hebrews 4:15 that He was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet He did not sin.”

We remember that he came to “give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) He paid the penalty for our sins when He hung upon the cross, His body broken, His blood shed so we might not know death.

We remember that He rose triumphant from the grave so that we need not fear death. He opened the door to eternal life. This is why 1 Corinthians 15:20 – 22 tells us, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

We remember that Through Christ, we have become joint heirs with Him. We have become children of God. That we may stand before God not in trembling fear of judgement, boldly as children before a loving Father. So Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

A Word of Warning

When we come before the Lord’s table our attitude should be one of remembrance and reflection. For while we remember Christ in all of these ways, we reflect on our lives. Have we remembered to give Christ the recognition He is due? Have we confessed the sin in our lives? Have we sought to live our lives Honoring Him? Have we surrendered our lives to follow Him?

These are the questions that we must ask of ourselves as we prepare to partake of the Lord’s Supper, for Paul has warned us in 1 Corinthians 11:28 – 29 that “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.” When we fail to properly prepare for the Lord’s Supper and when we fail to remember the real reason that we partake of the Lord’s supper, we make it meaningless. We take the incredible sacrifice that the Lord has given and make a mockery of it. This is the judgement Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 11:29. For we have forgotten that Jesus gave everything for us.

So, as we go through this Lenten Season may we be reminded of this truth. May we prepare each day to come before the Lord’s Table. May we remember Jesus and what He has done for us. Let us truly partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him.

Power In The Blood

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Sin-stains are lost in its life-giving flow;
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Words and Music by Lewis E. Jones, 1899

 


I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 7:14

There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.
Psalm 38:3 – 4

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18

I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Psalm 104:33


 

People have searched for it since the beginning of time. Many have spent their entire lives trying to gain it.  They have schemed, plotted and even murdered to find it.  They are looking for control and influence over others. They are looking for power. But this power is simply a cheap imitation of true power.  A fleeting reflection.  For A king can be overthrown.  So, if this is not real power, then what is true power? According to Webster’s, it is the ability to produce an effect. This is the power described in Lewis Jones’ hymn, “There’s Power in the Blood.”

This is power that can effect true change. Power that can redeem those enslaved to sin and bring home the lost. Power that can give new life and make us children of God. Revelation 7:14 gives a picture of this power when it says, “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

It is this power that can make us “free from the burden of sin.” A burden we can not bear on our own. A truth presented in psalm 38:3 – 4 which tells us, “For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.”

It is a power that can give us victory. A victory presented in 1 Corinthians 15:57 which tells us “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It is power that can cleanse the most unclean. As 1 John 1:7 tells us, “the blood of Jesus . . . purifies us from all sin.”

It is power that take the darkened sinful heart and make it “much whiter than snow”. This is what Isaiah 1:18 tells us when it says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow

This is real power.  Power that does not control us, but changes us.  Power that opens the door to God.  Power that is found only in the in His Son Jesus Christ.  Kings may rule, Presidents may direct, but their power will fade and leave them. Only the true power remains.

So as we close out, let us cry out His daily praise “I will sing to the LORD all my life.” This is our highest calling. To praise God for all He is. To worshp Him at all times. Psalm 104:33 tells us that “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”

True power is in the blood of Jesus Christ.  It is power that can effect our entire person.  It is power that can make us new. It is power that can save out souls. It is in reaction to this power that I declare, “There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r In the blood of the Lamb; There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r In the precious blood of the Lamb”.

 

 

Read more about, “Power In The Blood.”

 

 

Beneath The Cross of Jesus

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

O safe and happy shelter, O refuge tried and sweet,
O trysting place where Heaven’s love and Heaven’s justice meet!
As to the holy patriarch that wondrous dream was giv’n,
So seems my Savior’s cross to me, a ladder up to Heav’n.

There lies beneath its shadow but on the further side
The darkness of an awful grave that gapes both deep and wide;
And there between us stands the cross two arms outstretched to save
A watchman set to guard the way from that eternal grave.

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

Words by Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1868
Music by Frederick C. Maker, 1881

See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.
Isaiah 32:1 – 2

He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
Genesis 28:12

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Ephesians 1:7

“I am unworthy–how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.
Job 40:4

It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
Ephesians 5:12

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14

they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.
Revelations 22:4 – 5


I am not a fan of hot weather. My ideal temperature is in the mid-seventies. Yet I chose to spend a week with the Boy Scouts living on an island off the coast of the Florida Keys. Mid-seventies is what we were lucky to reach by morning. Needless to say, when the sun was high over head, it was well above my comfort zone. Thankfully our camp was set just within the tree line where there was shade from the hottest heat of the sun and a gentle breeze could be enjoyed. If it were not for the shelter from the sun, I do not know that I could have survived the week. This is the image which is drawn for us in Elizabeth Clephane’s hymn, “Beneath The Cross Of Jesus.”

The imagery of the break from the burning sun is presented starting in the first verse where it says, “Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand, The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land; A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way, From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.”

As we begin to look more closely, we see the meaning behind the picture. It is the cross, which is our shelter. Described as “a mighty rock within a weary land.” The cross becomes our place of refuge from the trial of this world. This image draws our minds to Isaiah 32:1 – 2 were we read, “See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.” This image is tied to the Great King, Jesus himself who hung upon that very cross.

The hymn continues by describing it as “O safe and happy shelter, O refuge tried and sweet.” It then begins to change the image from that of a place of shelter, to seeing the cross as the way to God. It is a “place where Heaven’s love and Heaven’s justice meet!” It bridges the gap that separated us from God, bringing together His justice and mercy. Just like the stairway seen in the dream by Jacob in Genesis 28:12, the cross is seen as the direct pathway to God.

But how can a cross be the way to God? Clephane reminds us that it was the sacrifice upon the Cross that makes the difference. A reminder that should come to us as we see the cross, for “Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see, The very dying form of One who suffered there for me.” It was Christ death upon the cross that opened the way to God. His death, in our place. This is a wonder beyond our understanding, and so the hymn writer says, “And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess; The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.”

It is the wonder of God’s redeeming love that opens the door for us to know him. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” We have been forgiven of all our sins. The things that separated us from God have been erased that we might stand before him. He extends to us a love that we do not deserve. We are unworthy of His gift. Job understood this in chapter 40:4 when he declared “I am unworthy–how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.” So the wonder of our unworthiness should remind us of the extend of God’s redeeming love.

The cross is our shelter and our bridge. It protects us from the trials of this world and opens the door to eternal life. It will lead us into the presence of God, that we may look upon His face. His face is the only sunshine we will need for all eternity. (Revelation 22:4 – 5)

Yes, when we find ourselves standing beneath the Cross of Jesus, we find ourselves looking at the bridge to God. This item of shame to the world upon which criminals died, is to us a thing of glory. So in the company of Paul in Galatians 6:14, who said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I join in the words of the hymn declaring, “My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.”

Read more about “Beneath The Cross of Jesus.”

How Deep The Father’s Love

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

Words & Music by Stuart Townend, 1995

 


God so loved the world that He gave His only son, so that whoever believes in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
Matthew 27:46

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4 – 5

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days,save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
Matthew 27:39 – 43

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
John 19:30

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galations 6:14

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:45


 

 

Do you have one of those things in your life that you wish you could do over? Things you have said, that you wish you could take back? Times you feel you have completely disappointed someone who means the world to you?

I remember a time when I was in fourth grade we had organized flag football games during our noon recess. Parents and others would come to watch the games. It was a pretty big deal. Well one day, it was my teams turn to play. I, however, did not feel like playing that day and instead chose to spend the time inside at the “Learning Center” with a friend. Now one could argue that I let my teammates down by not showing up, but that was nothing when compared to what I felt when I got home. I learned that’s my parents had gone out of their way to see me play in the game. My mom had interrupted her work at home to come in and my dad had given up his lunch hour from work. I felt terrible that I had disappointed them. They have probably forgotten it, but 35 years later, I still remember.

As much as I felt I had let them down, that is nothing, when compared to how we feel when we honestly look at how we have failed to live up to what God deserves and what Jesus went through to reconcile us with Him. This thought permeates through Stuart Townen’s hymn, “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us.”

The hymn begins “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.”

John 3:16 tells us, “God so loved the world that He gave His only son, so that whoever believes in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” It is simply unimaginable that God could love us so much that He would give His son, His only son, and for us . . . for me.

But not only did He give us his son, He put our sin upon him. Sin so great that the Father could not look upon Him and then turned away. The hymn continues “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.” It reflects the words of Jesus found in Matthew 27:46 where we read “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’).”

And so the Father turned away from the Son as He hung upon the cross carrying the burden of my sin. It fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 54:3 which says, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering.” So the hymn continues, “Behold the Man upon a cross, My sin upon His shoulders.” And if it were to end there I would be amazed, yet it goes on. For his carrying my burden is something I did not deserve. I am as guilty as anyone of not truly realizing who He is. Townend writes, “Ashamed I hear my mocking voice, Call out among the scoffers” I might as well have been there. Surely I would have been no different than the people described in Matthew 27:39 – 43, “Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying . . . “save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’”

Yes, as the hymn says, “It was my sin that held Him there, Until it was accomplished.” Everything that I have done shows that I do not deserve what He has given me. It is my nature to turn from him and instead trust my own ability. For this, I am ashamed. But, despite my failing,He will not abandon me. For with “His dying breath (He) has brought me life, I know that it is finished.”

He gave everything that we might be restored to Him, despite our failings. In light of this truth, I am embarrassed and ashamed of all I have done. So the hymn continues, “I will not boast in anything (I have done), No gifts, no power, no wisdom.” Instead there is only one thing I can boast in, “I will boast in Jesus Christ,His death and resurrection.” This is the message of Paul in Galations 6:14 when he says, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

Yes, there are things for which I am ashamed. There are thing I wish I could take back. Things that make me question, “Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.” But these do not matter. The minute I put my faith in him, He forgave me. So I can say, “But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom.”

 

 

Read more about “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us.”