Thursday, December 31, 2009

Come Thou Fount - Verse 1

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

I think I'll have to expand on my thoughts regarding this hymn. God is the fountain of every blessing - every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, in whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. God doesn't change, and He is always good.

This is a cry from the songwriter to God, to come and tune his heart to sing about the fathomless grace of God. Without the Lord's work in our hearts, we'd want nothing to do with Him. The carnal man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are foolishness to him. Unless the Spirit tunes our hearts to sing His praise, we just won't do it. We'll give thanks to "Mother Nature"; we'll enjoy the beauty of creation; we'll gasp in wonder at the amazing development of a newborn baby. But without His grace, we'll never sing the praises of God who made it all.

I remember when the Lord first touched my heart and I began to walk with Him. The trees were more beautiful. The sun shone brighter. The birds' songs were more clear and sweet - I burst with the knowledge that this was God's world, and that He was MY God, and that I knew Him.

The melodious sonnets we Christians should sing mirror those praises of the angels who sit in the presence of God. Some day we'll indeed join in that heavenly chorus, but for now, we Praise the Mountain of God we're FIXED upon. This is the redeeming love of God. He redeemed us - bought us back from the slave market of sin, and paid the full price.

How can I not sing?

May God richly bless you in 2010, and may you sing His praises!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking Forward

We're ending the year 2009, and as I am prone to do, I've been contemplating my Christian walk. How have I done this year - have I made progress? Can I say that I have grown in grace, and in the knowledge of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ?

A group of ladies that I belong to was discussing the difference between personal conviction and legalism recently. One lady made the point that our obedience IS important, and that people can tend to use the term "personal conviction" to excuse all sorts of wrong behaviour.

Another one explained that early in her Christian walk, she had a checklist of sorts, a list of rules she made for herself, so she could follow the rules and feel good about her accomplishments. But she said this,

"I am slowly learning to let go of the things I do for the purpose of making me feel secure in my devotion for the Lord and to replace them with what He truly does want from me."

And I say, what He wants from us is our love and thankfulness. The FIRST and GREATEST commandment is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. He inhabits the praise of His people. The very best we can give Him is acknowledgement that He is God, that He is good, that He provided everything we need for life and godliness, and that His grace is amazing. All of the things we DO are tainted - our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in His sight. Yet, He is pleased with our meagre efforts to obey and to please Him, especially when we acknowledge that we do it falteringly and not well at all.

He simply wants the truth from us. We are needy people. We cannot obey fully and well, although we can attempt to do so, and we ought to do so. We are called to be holy, for He is holy.

What that looks like may be different from family to family and person to person. That's what people are talking about when they speak of personal conviction.

God's standards don't change, and I am not implying that they do.

But the truth is that we can never measure up. We can never do things right. We can't even think pure thoughts for a day, much less act in a pure and holy manner towards God and towards our neighbour.

That's why we praise the Lord, for He lives IN us. His righteousness is imputed to us. He took our sin and exchanged it for His beautiful robes of purity.

I used to have a checklist that made me feel pretty good about myself. As I have matured and grown and learned more about God and His word, and developed more of a relationship with Him, I too have realized that my checklist was for my benefit. The awful truth is that I am rotten through and through, and my best strivings are "losings" - except for the mercy of God.

That astounds me and makes me want to live a purer, holier life - simply because God loves me so much, and is so very, very good to me.

The following is a hymn that has ministered to my soul. I am prone to wander, and as I look forward to 2010, I know that the only reason I can go on is because I have been redeemed, and I am kept by the fetters of His grace that bind my heart to my glorious God.

Someone named "jp", in a comment on this blog, said this:

The words paint a picture of a man who realizes the error of his wanderlust while at the same time knowing the profound and ceaseless goodness of God's grace. What then is the author's cry to God? He calls on the Stone of Help to rescue him. He begs God to bind him to grace with shackles and to seal his heart.

I praise God that He has bound me to grace with shackles, and that He has sealed my heart with the Holy Spirit as an earnest, an indication that He is IN me, and He is keeping me by the power of His love.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

David - the Liar; A man after God's own heart.

I have an enemy that likes to whisper truths into my mind. Things like, "You're a failure." (I am, definitely. I fail to make my bed most days, for instance. Add a million things to the list and it chalks up to the truth. I AM a failure.)

This enemy then sneers, "You're not much of a Christian, either." (I'm not. I read my Bible most days, but sometimes I don't. I promise to pray for people and forget to do it. I fall into patterns of thinking that are definitely not Christlike. I AM NOT much of a Christian.)

He goes on to announce, "You could be a better wife and mother." (I could be. At this very moment Rick has no socks in his drawer. At this very moment I could be baking muffins for the kids when they wake up, but I am not baking a thing. Again, those are only two examples of my lack of wifely expertise and lack of motherly love out of many, many examples.)

No wonder the creep can say to me, "How can God love YOU? How can He accept you? And what makes you think you will be welcomed into heaven? You are no Jonathan Edwards! You are no Charles Spurgeon! YOU are a SINNER!"

And he is a liar.

See, the truths he insinuates into my mind are only half-truths. While I am a failure, my failures teach me to run to HIM - the One Who Never Fails. When I am a poor Christian, I rest in the fact that Jesus is rich in grace and mercy. As the days whirl past and I realize how little I have accomplished, I remind myself that the truth is that Jesus accomplished it all!!

David is known in the Bible as a man after God's own heart. Yet, after Jonathan told him that King Saul was indeed seeking to kill him, he did not react in faith. He fled for his life, and the first thing he did was to lie to Ahimelech, pretending to be on a secret mission from Saul. The next thing he did was to pretend to be insane so Achish the king of Gath would spare his life.

David lied. David lacked faith. David did not trust God, nor did he wait on Him.

David is an encouragement to me. I make foolish choices, too. I live with the consequences of my decisions, and I suffer hardship because of them. Yet my Father still loves me.

Luke 5:31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus called ME - a sinner, a failure in every way. He saved me. He substituted His righteousness for my sinfulness.

Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Do you see that? No condemnation. I am set free. Jesus' righteousness is mine! And Satan can go to hell.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I have been having acupuncture done on my neck. The worst thing about it is not having needles over an inch long stuck into my person at 6 or 7 different locations. The worst thing is that I have to STAY STILL the whole time said needles are in place.

This is not an easy task for me. I like to move.

Today, not only was I not supposed to move, but to add to the difficulty of the situation, my nose started to itch. I sat there, head on my hands on a pillow in front of me, breathing into the pillow, wondering if they'd changed the pillowcase or if I was breathing in someone else's germs, and all the while trying to ignore the itch.

I finally heard the timer go off, and was inwardly rejoicing at the prospect of being able to scratch my nose. Imagine my disappointment when the physio lady came in and began TWISTING all of the needles. "I'm just stimulating the acupuncture sites," she said cheerily. "I'll be back in about ten minutes."

Off she went, and I sat there, feeling itchy and uncomfortable. My head hurt from being on my hand, and my nose was still itchy, and now all of the little needles were sending messages to my brain. It wasn't painful... just bothersome.

Ten minutes passed v e r Y S L O W L Y.

In came Craig, the physiotherapist, and out came the needles.

Free at last!

Until the next time.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Colossal Frauds

John MacArthur has written a hard-hitting post that exposes the "health and prosperity" TV 'preachers' for who they really are. He writes,

Someone needs to say this plainly: The faith healers and health-and-wealth preachers who dominate religious television are shameless frauds.

I like people who tell it like it is. John MacArthur isn't afraid to say that these people who prattle on and on, duping vulnerable ones out of their money by promising to get rid of their cancer, to heal up those cavities, or to get rid of their diabetes (if they just send a little cash in the envelope provided) are outright charlatans.

Stacy from Louisville has a quote that I love on her blog:
I'm a committed follower of Jesus Christ who is "...unable to commit to any messiah who doesn't knock over tables." - Garret Keizer

If Jesus sat for a minute (as I did early one morning recently) and listened to Benny Hinn 'praying' with his eyes opened, putting on a show for those watching, he'd not only knock over tables... I think He'd knock over Benny. I know I wanted to knock him upside the head and ask him, "What were you thinkin'?"

Obviously, he wasn't.

Because, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. We are HIS treasured possessions, and He doesn't take kindly to anyone who touches one of His anointed.

I'm cheering Pastor John MacArthur on. Praise God for men who tell the truth!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

4 out of nearly 19

Cutie-patooties, aren't they? I swiped this from Heather's amazing adventures.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Baby is leaving....

Oh, she's all grown up and everything. But she's still my little brown-haired girl. And she's leaving the country, going on a plane, landing in a country that doesn't speak English as its native language.

I'm okay with all of this. It's wonderful that she has this chance to go and relax in the sun with a good friend, who has been there more than fifteen times. My baby's in good hands.

Not only that, but because she's a Christian, God will be with her every step of the way. He promised never to leave or forsake His own.

So I rejoice.

She's gonna have a great time. And I can't wait to hear all about it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Preaching the Gospel to yourself

I keep telling people (including myself) that it is of utmost importance to preach the gospel. This is a never-ending task - we need to be preaching the gospel every single day, in season and out of season, to anyone who will listen, by our words and by our lives. But don't forget to start by preaching the gospel to yourself.

Great Quote from the Irish Calvinist:

Usually sometime between brushing my teeth and washing my face I am looking eye to eye with the guy who needs to hear the gospel most. And I preach it to him. I remind him of his wicked sin, God’s forbearing mercy, indescribable grace, perfect Savior, the brutality and success of the cross, and the truth of the empty grave. By the end of the sermon my soul is more refreshed than my freshly brushed mouth. And the truth of the matter is, I need it. My sinful self-absorption characterized by a forgetfulness of the gospel is far more repugnant than morning breath.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The gospel is about love.

God loved His children so much that He sent His Son, His perfect, sinless Son, to earth to live a perfect life. His life was not to be an easy one, for He experienced fatigue and pain, mocking and derision, rejection and outright hatred, then betrayal by one of those who walked beside him daily. He took all of the sins of His people upon Himself, and satisfied the wrath of God against sin by shedding His blood - for without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.

So what is the good news, anyway?

To get how good it is, you have to start with the bad news. If you draw breath, you are a sinner. You are under the wrath of God, because you can never measure up to His perfect standard. You have broken His laws, and what you deserve is death. The wages of sin is death. There is nothing you can do to save yourself from the wrath to come. You are without hope.

That's why Jesus had to come. In just over three weeks we will be celebrating His birth, and people will be wishing each other "Merry Christmas", without even realizing how wonderful it is.

God rest ye merry, Gentlemen, let nothing you dismay; Remember Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas day, to save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray.

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy. Good news. Jesus came to live for us, and to die for us. The gospel is that good news that He paid the price for sin. All of our sin, past, present and future. If we look to Him and believe that He died in our place, we are saved.

That doesn't mean we don't have to repent. We live before the face of a God Who IS HOLY - perfectly holy. He cannot look on sin.

We repent daily, but not out of fear. We repent out of love and joy for what God has done for us. We acknowledge our sin, and we thank God that He did everything necessary to pay the price for it.

“In fear-based repentance, we don’t learn to hate the sin for itself, and it doesn’t lose its attractive power. We learn only to refrain from it for our own sake. But when we rejoice over God’s sacrificial, suffering love for us – seeing what it cost him to save us from sin – we learn to hate the sin for what it is. We see what the sin cost God. What most assures us of God’s unconditional love (Jesus’s costly death) is what most convicts us of the evil of sin. Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves. Joy-based repentance makes us hate the sin.”

- Timothy Keller

The following song paints a beautiful picture of the Uncontainable God contained within a stable. I have been blessed listening to it this week.

The incarnation is full of seeming paradoxes and contradictions - the uncontainable God contained within a stable, the eternal God being born to a young girl, and so on. This song is an attempt to paint a picture of the amazing truth that "God is with us" through various Christmas images, and to respond to that in worship.

On Christmas Day

By Matt Osgood
Added: 10th November 2008
Luke 2:16; Luke 2:7; Isa 7:14; Matt 1:23;

1. On Christmas day, a humble girl
gives birth to hope for all the world,
this is Immanuel.
How awesome and mysterious,
the Lord of heaven draws near to us,
this is Immanuel.

2. The hands that once split night from day
now feebly clutch a blade of hay,
this is Immanuel.
Majestic king, now small and weak,
the Word of God must learn to speak,
this is Immanuel.

This is our God, seen by our eyes,
the love of the Father made known in Jesus Christ.
This is our God, worthy of praise,
the love of the Father revealed on Christmas day.

3. The shepherds come and bow to him,
the Lamb who takes away our sin,
this is Immanuel.
For God has entered time and space
to show the world his endless grace,
this is Immanuel.

Immanuel, Immanuel. Our God is with us now.
Immanuel, Immanuel. Our God is with us now.