Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hymn-ful Sundays! All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name

This week's hymn is one by Edward Perronet, a contemporary of John and Charles Wesley. Perronet was also and Anglican priest, and worked closely with the Wesley brothers during the eighteenth century revival.

All hail the power of Jesus' name! 
Let angels prostrate fall; 
bring forth the royal diadem, 
and crown Him Lord of all. 
Bring forth the royal diadem, 
and crown Him Lord of all. 

 Ye chosen seed of Israel's race, 
ye ransomed from the Fall, 
hail Him who saves you by His grace, 
and crown Him Lord of all. 
Hail Him who saves you by His grace, 
and crown Him Lord of all. 

 Sinners, whose love can ne'er forget 
the wormwood and the gall, 
go spread your trophies at His feet, 
and crown Him Lord of all. 
Go spread your trophies at His feet, 
and crown Him Lord of all. 

 Let every tribe and every tongue 
before Him prostrate fall 
And shout in universal song 
the crownèd Lord of all. 
And shout in universal song 
the crownèd Lord of all. 

 O that with yonder sacred throng 
we at His feet may fall! 
We'll join the everlasting song, 
and crown Him Lord of all. 
We'll join the everlasting song, 
and crown Him Lord of all.
Edward Perronet

There is such a majestic air in this hymn! No matter who we are and what we have done, Peronnet calls on us all to crown Jesus Lord of all! And He is indeed, Lord of all. Even the angels fall before him, the Lamb who was slain for all sinners.

Be blessed and crown Him Lord of all!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hymn-ful Sundays! "O the Bitter Shame and Sorrow"

This week's hymn is by Parisian Theodore Monod, who wrote these words during a series of consecration services in England. Monod was the son of a pastor in the French Reformed Church, and became a pastor himself, serving in the late 19th and early 20th century.

O the bitter shame and sorrow, 
That a time could ever be, 
When I let the Savior’s pity 
Plead in vain, and proudly answered, 
“All of self, and none of Thee!” 

 Yet He found me; I beheld Him 
Bleeding on th’accursèd tree, 
Heard Him pray, “Forgive them, Father!” 
And my wistful heart said faintly, 
“Some of self, and some of Thee!” 

 Day by day His tender mercy, 
Healing, helping, full and free, 
Sweet and strong, and ah! so patient, 
Brought me lower, while I whispered, 
“Less of self, and more of Thee!” 

 Higher than the highest heavens, 
Deeper than the deepest sea, 
Lord, Thy love at last hath conquered: 
Grant me now my supplication, 
“None of self, and all of Thee!”
Theodore Monod

This is one of my favorite hymns, as it shows the progression of our hearts as we are made new in Christ by the Holy Spirit. From the hardness of our hearts at Christ's first call, the pride of our selfish ways, to the slow change as we recognize the magnitude of the sacrifice paid on the cross for us, to our growth as we walk daily with God, to the heights we reach when we can finally say "None of self and all of Thee!" And what a beautiful moment it is when we can truly say, none of my God, but all of You.

Be blessed and shine in and through Him!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hymn-ful Sundays! "O Worship the King"

This week's hymn is by Robert Grant, and a reworking of lyrics by psalter William Kethe. Grant was a turn of the 19th century lawyer and politician, who was born in India, but lived much of his life in England.

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;

Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

 O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

 The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, Thy power hath founded of old;
Established it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

 O measureless might! Ineffable love!
While angels delight to worship Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.

Robert Grant/William Kethe

These are such inspired words of praise to God, and they declare the majesty and glory of God and God's creation. The hymnwriter has evoked such imagery of the awesomeness and majesty of God. It reminds us why God is more than deserving of our praise.

Be blessed and shine worshipping the King!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Biweekly Bits #17: Timing is Important

After writing 26 bits, I realized that there is so much I could elaborate on with each of my bits. So I decided to turn them into a biweekly (i.e. fortnightly) series, for the next year.

The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing. Have you ever thrown something away and then needed it shortly thereafter? Or found something that you really needed once you no longer had need for it? Or received something, met someone, gained an opportunity that seems wonderful, but you KNOW you aren't ready to fully receive/appreciate it? Timing is everything. More importantly, God's timing is everything.
I've often experienced this phenomenon, where right after I give or throw something away, I come across the one situation in which it would have been useful to me. It's such a frustrating position to be in! But to be honest, it never was a do or die situation: things worked out just fine without having that one thing that I thought would have been perfect for that situation. Perhaps this is one of the best illustrations of God's timing, that even when we think the circumstances are not ideal, he nudges us forward, whispering, "It's time my dear." It is in times like that that we trust God's sovereignty over our lives, knowing that if He is calling us, the time is right, and we will be fully equipped to do whatever is asked of us.

I've also experienced what might be the opposite of the former situation: a seemingly great opportunity comes along, but for some reason, you can't take it. While sometimes missed opportunities are exactly what the name suggests, there are also times when missed opportunities are the voice of God saying to us "Not yet, my dear. It's not time yet." This is particularly hard to hear when something seems to be perfect for you, except for the timing, when everything that you wanted seems to be walking right by, but you can't take hold of it. The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing. It is in times like these that we trust God's sovereignty over our lives, knowing that there is a reason for "missing out", and trusting in His ability to provide for us.

The key to trusting in God's timing is trusting in God. If we pine after the "what ifs" and the "could have beens" and the general "shoulda-woulda-couldas" of life, aren't we at the same moment implying that God is not always good? Or that God cannot be trusted to provide for us once more? When Samuel was called by God (1 Samuel 3), he was confused, and he didn't understand the call. God had to call Samuel three times before Samuel finally knew how to respond. But God kept calling Samuel until he answered, because God had work for Samuel to do, and the time was right for him to do it.

As a young boy Joseph had a dream that all his brothers would bow before him (Gen 37). He knew that this was a dream from the Lord. But it was decades before Joseph saw that dream come to fruition, and before it did, he would spend years in jail in Egypt. During that time he interprets a dream for the king's cupbearer (Gen 40), who would be reinstated to his position. When the cupbearerer leaves the jail just as Joseph predicts, Joseph asks him to remember him to the king, so that Joseph too, could be released from jail. And the cupbearer does remember Joseph to the king, two years later. Joseph was probably very frustrated as the days went by and he remained in jail, but God's timing was perfect. Joseph was released from jail just in time to warn Pharaoh of an imminent famine, which would result in him being named Pharaoh's second-in-command. When the famine did come (Gen 41-42), Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to purchase food, which would place them bowing before the appointee of Pharaoh who was, yup, their brother Joseph. God provided, and did it in His time.

Every time I come to a crossroads in my life, I have a  greater appreciation for God's timing. I think we've become so used to this 21st century culture of having whatever we want, whenever we want, that we miss the beauty of the right thing coming at exactly the right time.

This time, I'm preparing to graduate, which of course means that I have to decide what I'm doing next, and as of this moment, I have absolutely no idea. It's frustrating to be so uncertain, but I remember having every single class that I wanted to take mapped out at the beginning of my freshman year of college eight years ago, and how much that changed because of the ways God moved in my life. But it is in this season that I can most appreciate God's timing, because I am confident that not only will He guide me as I make major life decisions, but also that the timing of His provision is always perfect.

So perhaps you may share this prayer with me today, that the right thing may happen at the right time. Or maybe this week you can rejoice over the beauty and perfection of God's timing in your own life.

Be blessed and shine in His time!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hymn-ful Sundays! "Jesus, Friend of Little Children"

This week's hymn is best known as a children's hymn. It was written by Walter Mathams, a British chaplain, in the late 19th century.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Hymn-ful Sundays! "Here I am, Lord"

This week's hymn is another fairly contemporary one, written by Dan Schutte in 1981. Schutte was asked to write a song based on Isaiah 6, three days before the event at which it was to be sung. In combining his thoughts on Isaiah 6 with the story of God's call to Samuel, he came up with this song, Here I am Lord, also known as "I the Lord of Sea and Sky". He says that the song "tells of the God who overshadows us, giving power to our stumbling words and the simple works of our hands, and making them into something that can be a grace for people."