Tag Archives: acceptance

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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