Tag Archives: Father

Just A Closer Walk With Thee

I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Words and Music Unknown, Unknown Date

 

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:18

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 4:8

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

 

Having raised three children, one of the things that became clear early on is that children like to be able to do things themselves. Something like zipping up your child’s coat. You have done it since they were born, but the inevitable day comes when thy say, “I do it myself.”

As adult’s we really don’t change. We like to do things ourselves. And even when we struggle, the last thing we want to do is admit that we need help. But the fact is that we do need help sometimes, in fact we need help quite often.

This is the message behind “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.” The author starts with that statement that is so hard for us to admit, “I am weak.” This flies in the face of who we are. Not only is it ingrained in us from birth, but society has reinforced in us the idea that weakness is a bad thing, that we always need to give the appearance of strength.

But the fact is that we are indeed weak. As much as we may want to do everything ourselves, we can’t. We need help. So where do we turn? We may turn to family or friends, and this is not a bad thing. Family and true friends should always be willing to give that helping hand, even if it is simply to bounce our thoughts off of. But as helpful as they are, they too are limited in what they can do.

So where do we turn? When we look back at children we find the answer. You see, that child who strongly protest, “I do it myself.” will also be the child who becomes fearful and panicked when they lose sight of their parent. You see, as much as they want to do things themselves, it is their parents that they make them feel safe.

This is where we turn, to our Father in heaven The hymn goes on to say, “but thou art strong.” God is our strength. In Isaiah 41:10 God tells us, “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” This is why Paul writes in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

It is God alone who can give us the strength we need to make it through each day. The author declares in the second verse, “Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares?” He answers his own question with, “None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.”

It is by keeping ourselves near to God, that we find this strength. Psalm 145:18 tells us, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” And James tells us in chapter 4 verse 8, to “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

Our strength comes from God, and comes by walking close to Him. So, I make the chorus of this hymn my prayer, “Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.”

 

 

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This Is My Father’s World

100_0262This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world:
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad! 

Written by Maltbie D. Babcock, 1901
Music by Franklin L. Sheppard, 1915 (based on a traditional English tune)

 

Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Romans 1:19 – 20

 

This world can really seem messed up when we look around. Take a look at the evening news and you will see what I am talking about. It seems that most, if not all of the stories are about something going wrong. War, murder, crime, famine, disease and more. These are what we are so often presented with. Why should it then surprise us when people do not believe that there is any hope out there.

But when we take an honest look at the world around us, we can begin to see something different. We see majestic mountains. We see the beautiful colors of the fall foliage. We hear the sweet song of birds in the early morning hours.

As we look at the incredible existence of this world we are struck by the incredible balance of our world in the cosmos. A world that is kept in balance. It sits close enough to the sun to provide warmth for life, but it sits far enough away to not burn up. It contains all that is needed for life. The seasons flow from one to another without fail.

When we look a the inhabitants of this world, we may see the problems that are listed, but we also begin to see compassion for one another. With this deeper look, we begin to see not just the ugliness, but a beauty that comes from it’s creator.

This is the message found in “This is My Father’s World.” The world in it’s beauty and majesty stands forth as evidence that God is in control. As Paul wrote in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

Yes, at first look we seem to see the ugliness stand out as though it was the norm, but as Babcock writes, “O let me ne’er forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”

So I choose not to simply see the ugliness of the world, but to be moved with compassion for a world crying out for it’s creator. And so, I declare, “This is my Father’s world: why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!”

 

 

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Children of the Heavenly Father

Children of the heav’nly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in Heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.

God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

Words by Karolina W. Sandell-Berg
Music: Traditional Swedish Melody

 

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:9 – 11

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
I John 3:1

 

We have all been raised with lullabies. Those comforting melodies that we use to put children to sleep, to drive away bad dreams and to let them know they are loved. That in many ways is what we have in “Children of the Heavenly Father.”

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I come from a strong Swedish heritage, and take great pride in it. And this beloved Swedish hymn is tied to that heritage.

A few years ago, I had the privilege to sing this hymn at my Grandfathers funeral, and in true Swedish tradition, I sang it in the original language. Now in all honesty, I don’t speak Swedish. But that did not take away from the beauty of this traditional Swedish melody. When I combine this beautiful relaxing melody, with the meaningful words (in English of course) I begin to see the real beauty of this piece.

You see, one of the real keys to a powerful piece of music is that the music and the words each, individually, communicate the same message. That is the case with “Children of the Heavenly Father.”

As I said, the melody has the rolling feel of a lullaby seeking to sooth a scared child. In this case, we are those scared children, and we need to be reminded that our peace can be found in our Heavenly Father. As we look at the words we see this message revealed.

We see a Heavenly Father who watches over and protects us. We see a Heavenly Father who provides all that His children need. We see a Heavenly Father who can not be separated from His children and knows all they face.

And so I peacefully come to rest in the final words of this hymn, “His loving purpose solely, to preserve them pure and holy.”

 

 

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The Doctrine of God


I was unsure how to title this section, after all how does one describe God? Infinite, yet personal. powerful, yet gentle. God is God. He summed it up best Himself when he stated, “I am that I am.” For this reason I have chosen to simply entitle this “The Doctrine of God.”

So who is God? God is nonmaterial, personal and eternal, . (I will discuss the nature of the Son at a different time.) The question then is, “What does nonmaterial mean?“ The term nonmaterial does not mean that God is without substance. Rather, it points to the fact that God is Spirit (John 4:24). He is nonmaterial in the sense that we understand physicality.

God is personal. To say that God is personal is to say that God possesses two basic characteristics. First He possesses consciousness. He is aware of himself and his relationship with his creation, with us. Second, He possesses distinctiveness. He possesses a unique identity and characteristics.

Of these characteristics possessed by God, some are unique to Him alone. There are three basic attributes of God, which are unique to him. These attributes are:

  1. Immutability – God in His essence and nature is never changing (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, James1:17). This is not to say that God is static, for He is capable of change and does so in His relationships (Genesis 6:6, Exodus 32:10, 14), but His very nature is unchanging.
  2. Infinity – God is limitless in His existence. He is beyond measure and therefore not capable of being confined. Included in his infinity are unconfinable (I Kings 8:27, Acts 17:24), all-powerful (Job 42:2), always present (Psalms 139:7-12, Jeremiah 23:24), and all-knowing (Psalms 147:4-5).
  3. Eternity – God is not confined to the essence of time. He is beyond time. His existence is outside time and is therefore in existence before, during, and after time. He has no beginning or end (Genesis 21:33, Psalm 90:2, I Timothy 1:17).

God also possesses certain attributes that are shared with his creation on a limited basis. These qualities include, but are not limited to:

  • Knowledge (John 2:25)
  • Power (Genesis 1:3, Matthew 19:26, Revelation 19:6)
  • Goodness (Mark 10:18)
  • Justice (Micah 6:8)
  • love (I John 4:7-10)

God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. He created them from nothing. (Romans 4:17, Genesis 1:1) Before anything existed, God existed. He was in the beginning. In the beginning, there was only God. (John 1:1) God created everything from nothing and brought life to it all. God is the origin (Colossians 1:16) and sustainer (Hebrews 1:3, Nehemiah 9:6) of all things. All things exist to bring Glory to Him (Isaiah 43:6-7).

God is the essence of being. I refer to God as a being, which is true in that he possess consciousness and distinctiveness. But God is more than “a” being, God is the essence of being. He is the source of all life (Acts 17:25, Colossians 1:16).

God himself exists eternally as a triune being. This is most commonly referred to as the Trinity. This is difficult concept for many and has led to some misunderstandings. While I do not claim to be able to explain it in any detail, I must be clear here, there is ONE God (Deuteronomy 6:4, Ephesians 4:6).

This one God exist eternally in three persons (John 10:30, 14:15-26, Acts 1:3-5): God the Father (John 6:40, Ephesians 4:6), God the Son (John 1:1, 6:40), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). Each of these are clearly identified in these passages as God, not a god and not one of the gods, but as God. They are each equally and fully God. (John 10:30, Romans 8:9-14)

At the same time there is a economic subordination, that is to say there is a functional authority structure between them. Each plays a specific role. The Son prays to the Father, the Father sends the spirit (John 14:16). This has much more to do with the relationship between the three then God’s relationship with us. This is not to say it has nothing to do with God relationship to us, for we see demonstrated in God, the unity of purpose. The Son submits to the will of the Father (Luke 22:42). The desire of the Son was to do the will of the Father. They were united in their purpose and the son was subordinate to the Father in his action. We also see that God sends His spirit to those who believe in Him and the Spirit is subordinate in His actions. The Spirit is clearly united in the purpose. Yet, as should be clear from these same passages this economic subordination does have something to do with us. For the united purpose of each of these is God’s desire to have a relationship with us. It is through this unique relationship within God, that He reaches out for a relationship with us. Again, it is a difficult concept that I do not claim to be able to explain in full.