Tuesday, August 27, 2013

About These Devotionals

Each of the devotionals on this blog contain a hymn, a bible verse, a photo, and a brief message of hope and comfort.  It is my hope that they will be of comfort to Christians when trials, troubles, sickness, and death come to loved ones and themselves.  They are all one click away from the list on the right.

I Know Whom I Have Believed

2 Timothy 1:12 I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

The flag in the photo above was torn and tangled by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but the lighthouse is still standing guard in Biloxi, Mississippi. An image of this old lighthouse is shown on the latest Mississippi car tags as a symbol of endurance and trustworthiness. In a like manner the verse above and the hymn below point to the trustworthiness of our triune God. Paul, in the verse above, expresses full confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ and Christ’s power to guard what has been entrusted to him by divine revelation.

In the beautiful hymn below the author, Daniel Whittle, lists many things that he does not know about the workings of God’s amazing grace. He is puzzled as to why God made his wondrous grace known and how his saving faith was sealed in his heart. He doesn’t understand how his faith produced peace in his heart, or how the Spirit moves convicting us of sin. He admits that he does not know what good or ill awaits him in this temporary life, and that he doesn’t know when Christ will return. BUT, he does know whom he believed and is persuaded that He is able to deliver the promises of the gospel good news. Brethren, praise God that we can rest in the promises of God for our eternal future.

I Know Whom I Have Believed
Words by: Daniel W. Whittle

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

But I know Whom I have believèd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

How Great Thou Art

Job 38:25 “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt,

God in chapter 38 of Job outlines His incredible awesome acts of creation. In the hymn below, some of these acts are also outlined. When these awesome acts are considered, a human being can only stand in wonder and amazement. How great thou art is a natural reaction to all that God has created and sustains. When you then meditate on the fact that God sent his son to planet earth to die on the cross of Calvary as an atonement for the sins of all who place their faith and trust in him, then adoration, praise, and worship are the proper responses to such a great salvation. If our sin debt is so great that Jesus must die in order for us to be reconciled to God, then what an insult it is to Him for anyone to assert that human self-effort or allegiance to false gods of human imagination will also be acceptable to God for our salvation.

Brethren do not be fooled by the spirit of the age into thinking that there is any other way to eternal life other than through grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Be secure in peace and comfort if you are resting in Christ alone to take you home on that great day when he returns, and we who are found in Him will be able to sing, “How Great Thou Art."

              How Great Thou Art
Words by: Carl Gustav Boberg

O Lord my God! when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul! my Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!

Monday, August 26, 2013

I Saw The Light

John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Hank Williams, the great Country and Western singer of the 1940’s and 1950’s, wrote the spiritual song shown below. It has a beautiful melody and sound theological insight. The first stanza relates how human beings resist and reject Jesus with their own sinful rebellious will. Then just as Jesus tells us in John 3:3-8, the Spirit moves like a stranger in the night and sinners are changed in an instant and enabled to see the light. The sinners response of being born again by the Holy Spirit is to shout, “Praise the Lord, I saw the light”. The song goes on to show how the sinner is literally blind until Jesus gives him sight and the power to see spiritual light. Once a sinner sees this light he is enabled to walk in a new way with a new heart. He is indeed a new creation in Christ with new affections and desires.

The Barnyard Opry, shown in the above photo, entertains patrons free of charge twice a month and always bears witness to the spiritual light that is found in Jesus Christ. In this photo the moon has been enlarged about ten fold. While most may not have even noticed the moon on this night, they would certainly have noticed had it appeared as shown above. The same thing happens when the Holy Spirit shines spiritual light into the hearts of sinners. Brethren, Praise the Lord if you see this light.

              I Saw The Light
Words by: Hank Williams

I wandered so aimless, life filled with sin;
I wouldn't ask my dear Saviour in.
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night;
Praise the Lord, I saw the light!

I saw the light, I saw the light.
No more darkness; no more night.
Now I'm so happy no sorrow in sight.
Praise the Lord, I saw the light!

Just like a blind man I wandered alone,
Worries and fears I claimed for my own.
Then like the blind man that Jesus gave back his sight;
Praise the Lord, I saw the light!

I was a fool to wander astray,
For straight is the gate and narrow is the way.
Now I have traded the wrong for the right;
Praise the Lord, I saw the light!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I Love To Tell The Story

Psalms 66:16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.

Do you love to tell the story?  The bottom line of this story is given in Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  God is holy, loving, and just and, while He loves human beings, He is also just and must punish their sin.  All men are sinners and cannot save themselves by their works or good deeds.  They are helpless in and of themselves.  However, God solved this problem by sending His son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross and suffer the penalty for the sins of those who place their faith in Him.  Through trusting in faith in His death and resurrection, sinners not only have their sins paid for by Christ, but they also have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them.  Salvation and eternal life is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.  This is the story of Biblical salvation and there is no other way by which men can be saved.

Praise God for this gospel story.  Brethren, rejoice if you trust in this story by faith because you are rich and healthy spiritually even if you are on your deathbed without a penny to your name.  What a wonderful story we have to tell!

I Love To Tell The Story
Words by: A. katherine Hankey

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.

I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.

Friday, August 23, 2013

I Need Thee Every Hour

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

As the photo above shows, clocks are everywhere including being built into buildings.  Time creeps or flies by, depending on our circumstances.  Human beings by nature are in a constant state of need.  Oxygen, food, water, proper body temperature, and complicated bodily functions are needed constantly for human beings to survive physically.  Since God provides all of these needs for our physical well-being, all human beings are in constant physical need of God’s provisions.  In a like manner, Christians need God constantly for their spiritual well-being.  The power that comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit is a constant source of nourishment for the spiritual needs of Christians.  For blessings, peace, instruction, inspiration, and for avoiding temptations the Lord is needed every hour.  This hymn points out that the Lord is needed in all circumstances of joy or pain. 

Praise God that He responds to these needs no matter our location or the time of day.  He is there in our joy and He is there in our pain.  He is even there when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  Brethren, we need the Lord every hour and He will always be there for us.  What comfort and peace is ours for the asking.

I Need Thee Every Hour

Words by: Annie S. Hawks

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee, O I need Thee;

 Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessèd Son.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

In the photo above we see an example of the abundance that we take for granted each and every day.  However, we should always be aware that God is in control of all of the complicated factors that are involved in producing such a wide variety of food that we enjoy.  The hymn below states a truth that we should be thankful for every minute of every day when it says, “All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.”  God has provided everything that is needed for human and animal life in this world.  He has not only provided for our needs, but he maintains the intricate workings of the natural order.  The Bible says it well in James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Brethren, life is temporary and fragile on earth and death will come to everyone in due time.  However, God’s faithfulness does not end at our death as God has provided all that we need for our spiritual salvation.  Even though we all have sinned and offended his holiness and are subject to his justice, he has also provided for us to have eternal life through faith in his son, Jesus Christ, who has paid the penalty for our sins on the cross of Calvary.  Praise God for such a great salvation!  Great is thy faithfulness.

Great is Thy faithfulness
Words by: Thomas O. Chisholm

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Breathe On Me

Acts 10:44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.

The Bible tells us that we are saved by God’s mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus tells us in John 3 that sinners must be born of the Spirit to be saved and likens it to the wind blowing where it wishes.  He further states that you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  In a like manner, the early morning mist in the photo above appears and disappears without anyone knowing it is coming or going.

In the hymn below, the prayer is for the power of God, the Holy Spirit, to intervene and make positive Godly changes in the human heart.  It is an acknowledgement that salvation proceeds from God’s grace and is applied by the Holy Spirit.  Brethren, let us be ever mindful that our salvation does not begin with human power and it is not completed with human power.  Let us, with prayer and humble reliance, ask for all of things that are requested in this great hymn.  As Christians, we have an infinite source of power at our disposal.  The power of the Holy Spirit surpasses all understanding.  Praise God that if we ask the Holy Spirit will breathe on us.  No matter what our hardship or heartache may be, comfort is but a prayer away.

Breathe On Me
Words by: Edwin Hatch

Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
Until my heart is clean;
Let sunshine fill its inmost part,
With not a cloud between.

Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
My stubborn will subdue;
Teach me in words of living flame
What Christ would have me do.

Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
Fill me with power divine;
Kindle a flame of love and zeal
Within this heart of mine

Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
Till I am all thine own;
Until my will is lost in Thine,
To live for thee alone.

Breathe on me, breathe on me,
Holy Spirit, breathe on me;
Take Thou my heart, clean every part,
Holy Spirit, breathe on me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sweet Hour of Prayer

Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

The chapel in the photo above is not only peaceful and beautiful inside, but is located in a wooded area next to a serene pond.  Such a setting inspires a person to come before the throne of grace in thanksgiving, praise, and supplication.  However, there are many places that believers can designate to come to the Lord and have a sweet hour of prayer.  It is the fellowship and communication with God that is central in prayer time and not the location.  There is much peace, comfort and doctrinal truth to be found in the words of the beautiful hymn below.  The author says the following: “And since He bids me seek His face, Believe His Word and trust His grace, I’ll cast on Him my every care, And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!”  In these four short lines the author gives us all we need to know for our Christian walk.  Seek, believe, trust, cast, and wait.  Brethren, when we do all of these things, how can our hour of prayer be anything other than sweet?

Praise God that we can come to Him anywhere and in all seasons and have a sweet hour of prayer.

Sweet Hour of Prayer
Words by: William Walford

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight:
This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise
To seize the everlasting prize;
And shout, while passing through the air,
“Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Praise Him! Praise Him!

Psalm 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

The photo above shows a golden hand pointing to the heavens as it sits atop a church steeple.  This testimony to the glory of God, His mercy, and his love is located in the little town of Port Gibson, Mississippi.  This steeple focuses attention on God rather than a building of brick and stone.  God is glorified, as thanksgiving and praise are the messages that this hand pointing to the heavens sends.  The hymn below also proclaims God’s praise and points to His love, honor, holiness, greatness, redemption, atonement, salvation, power, glory, and victory.  The hymn ends by crowning Him Prophet, Priest, and King. 

Brethren, praise God as you meditate on the wonderful words of this hymn and consider the wonderful salvation that is the present possession of all who are in Jesus Christ by faith.  With such a savior, praise and thanksgiving should overflow in our hearts even when serious temporal concerns have intruded into our lives.  The victory is won and we have nothing to dread or fear.  Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!

Praise Him, Praise Him
Words by: Fanny Crosby

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! 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.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Jesus Paid It All

Colossians 2:13-14 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

In the photo above, the floor of the small wedding chapel appears to have a crimson stain.  However, no amount of scrubbing by human hands will remove this stain since it is actually a reflection of light through a stained glass window.  In a like manner, the hymn below refers to sin leaving a crimson stain upon the souls of sinners and, just like the allusion on the chapel floor, there is nothing that human beings can do to remove the stain of sin from their souls.  This crimson stain represents a debt that humans are powerless to pay to the infinitely holy and just God that created the universe.  The best works and good deeds of the best human being that ever lived cannot pay his own sin debt.  However, praise God that Jesus Christ paid this debt by his atoning sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.

Jesus paid it all and cancelled the debt that sinners owe due to the crimson stain upon their souls.  He washed the stain white as snow with his spilled blood on the cross to all who claim this grace through faith.  The second line of the refrain goes on to proclaim, “All to Him I owe.”  We should rejoice in thanksgiving and praise when we consider that we have contributed nothing to our salvation because Jesus paid it all in washing away our crimson stain.

Jesus Paid it All
Words by: Elvina M. Hall

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

And now complete in Him
My robe His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down
All down at Jesus’ feet.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Take It To The Lord In Prayer

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

The photo above was taken five months after Hurricane Katrina left nothing in a subdivision but slabs and pipes sticking up out of the slabs.  The human misery that was caused by this storm has been well documented.  In times like this, the message in the hymn below is of great comfort to Christians as they struggle to cope with the trials and sorrow that inevitably come in our short time on earth.  Christians can be certain that, no matter what burdens or troubles they may have, Jesus is there to provide solace and peace.  Trials and tribulations are a part of living in this world, and Christians experience unnecessary pain when they do not carry everything to God in prayer.  We should never be discouraged when we consider our eternal inheritance of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Brethren, praise God and be thankful for the privilege of being able to carry everything to the Lord in prayer.  Christians should be comforted as they reflect on the truth of the last two lines of this beautiful hymn and take all of their troubles to the Lord in prayer.

What a Friend we have in Jesus
Words by: Joseph M. Scriven

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Psalm 145:7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The angel in the above photograph inspires one to think about the glorious music that will no doubt be played and sung in heaven.  What more can be said about the beautiful and meaningful words of the hymn below.  This is a song that is focused on the mercy and grace of our triune God.  The sweetness of praise and thanksgiving drips from each line as well as the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.  From an admission of being prone to wander, the writer begs that God would take his heart and seal it.  These are beautiful words that flow together to make a beautiful tune. 

Brethren, meditate and reflect on these words line by line.  Especially consider the last four lines which state: “Come, my Lord, no longer tarry, Take my ransomed soul away; Send thine angels now to carry Me to realms of endless day.”  Praise God for the glory to come.  What do we have to fear in this world?  (Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?)

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Words by: Robert Robinson

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.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Death Hath No Terrors

1 Corinthians 15:55  “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

Insect stings can be very painful and even cause death in cases of allergy or multiple stings.  Paul tells us that our physical bodies will experience a sting of death caused by sin, but for Christians death has no victory, as they will be resurrected with imperishable bodies.  The power of sin is the law, and Christians are rescued from the power of sin by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who conquered the power of sin by his perfect obedience of the law.  Therefore, Christians are given the victory through the person and work of Jesus Christ.  The sting of death is gone for Christians as the death of our physical bodies leads immediately to spiritual life in the presence of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  Protection from insect stings, such as that of hornet, can be secured through wearing protective clothing, and protection from the sting of spiritual death can be secured through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Praise God for this wonderful gift of victory and salvation through Jesus Christ.  Grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone is the only way for sinners to conquer sin and death.  Brethren, meditate on the hymn below and thank God that death hath no terrors for all that come to the cross of Calvary to be washed by the blood of the Lamb of God.

Death Hath No Terrors
Words and Music by: Charles P. Jones

Death hath no terrors for the blood bought one,
O glory hallelujah to the Lamb!
The boasted vict’ry of the grave is gone,
O glory hallelujah to the Lamb!

Jesus rose from the dead,
Rose triumphant as He said,
Snatched the vict’ry from the grave,
Rose again our souls to save—
O glory hallelujah to the Lamb!

Our souls die daily to the world and sin,
O glory hallelujah to the Lamb!
By the Spirit’s power as He dwells within,
O glory hallelujah to the Lamb!

We seek a city far beyond this vale,
O glory hallelujah to the Lamb!
Where joys celestial never, never fail,
O glory hallelujah to the Lamb!

We’ll then press forward to the heav’nly land,
O glory hallelujah to the Lamb!
Nor mind the troubles met on ev’ry hand,
O glory hallelujah to the Lamb!

We’ll rise some day just as our Savior rose,
O glory hallelujah to the Lamb!
Till then shall death be but a calm repose,
O glory hallelujah to the Lamb!

Leaning On The Everlasting Arms

1 John 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Christians are shown enjoying a meal together in the above photographic rendering.  When Christians come together for such occasions, they are also in fellowship with the Father and Jesus Christ as John points out in the passage above.  These times of coming together by a church family are filled with joy and peace as everyone has a common mindset of leaning on the everlasting arms of the LORD.  This leaning is just another way of saying that their trust and hope is in God rather than themselves, political leaders, or government.  To lean on the arms of princes, kings, or presidents is pure folly, but trusting in God’s sovereignty, providence, and His Word is fail-safe.  With the guarantee of spiritual security through eternal life, Christians can be secure when troubles of all kinds come knocking at their door. 

Praise God for the inheritance that we have as adopted sons and daughters of His Kingdom.  Brethren, look closely at the words to the hymn below.  Reflect on the magnificent truths that are made in each line of this short but rich hymn.  Joy divine – peace is mine – secure – sweet to walk – bright the path – what have I to dread – what have I to fear – blessed peace – Lord so near.  Let us rejoice as we lean on the everlasting arms.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
Words by: Elisha A. Hoffman

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Grace Greater than Our Sin

Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Grace is an act of mercy that is applied by God as David points out in the verse above.  Notice David does not make a statement about cleaning himself up and making himself acceptable and presentable before God.  No, he appeals to God’s mercy as he repents of his sin with Bathsheba.  The way God purges and washes the sin away is answered in the great hymn below when it states,Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.  What can avail to wash it away?  Look! There is flowing a crimson tide, Brighter than snow you may be today.”  How one gains access to the most important washing that a person can have is answered in the last verse which states, “Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, Freely bestowed on all who believe! You that are longing to see His face, Will you this moment His grace receive? “

Brethren, praise and thank God if you have had this bath and are brighter than snow in the eyes of God.  What a blessing and a comfort it is to know that our sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ.  Though we will have worldly problems of many kinds during our brief life, we are assured of spiritual refuge in his marvelous grace.  Christians have a future that is brighter than the snow on the mountain peak in the photo above.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord
Words by: Julia H. Johnston

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

In The Garden

John 20:15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

Joseph of Arimathea arranged the burial of Jesus and he was laid in new tomb in a garden where no one had yet been buried.  Mary Magdalene was the first person to arrive there the morning of the resurrection of Jesus, and she was the first person to see and talk to him after initially believing his body had been removed.  As she sat alone outside of the tomb weeping in the garden, can you imagine the scene when she met the risen Lord?

Can you imagine being in that garden alone and having a conversation with the resurrected savior of the world?  The rest of her life must have been filled with unbelievable joy and peace when she reflected on the day she met Jesus in the garden alone.  Is the joy and peace really any different for Christians who meditate on this event and what it means for their salvation and future spiritual destination?  The photo above and the hymn below illustrate that Christians can have eternal contentment anytime they meditate on this hymn or visit a beautiful garden such as the Bellingrath Gardens shown in the photo above.  Brethren, let us take comfort when we visit such gardens in person or when we rely on past memories to visit them in our imagination.

In the Garden
Words and music by: C. Austin Miles

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

Blessed Assurance

Hebrews 10:22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith………………..

Assurance of union with Christ is the greatest experience that a human being can have in this world.  When a believer meditates on being born of His Spirit and washed in His blood, he can be certain that he is an heir of salvation.  Christians have the Holy Spirit at work in their hearts and, thus, sense the joy that surpasses all understanding.  With eyes on heavenly things above Christians can sing with confidence and praise, this is my story, this is my songBlessed assurance, Jesus is mine

Praise God for the comfort, peace, and joy that come when believers meditate on His love and rest in His sovereign providence in their lives.  There is no worry for Christians when troubles come because they know Jesus is mine!  Where is the anxiety for Christians that trust in His love and watch care in their lives?  When Christians are in perfect submission, they are at rest.  Then they are contented, at peace and delighted to sing with joy that this is my story, this is my song.  When the day comes to be called to our heavenly home, we may not be able to sing with our lips but in our hearts we will be singing with joy, This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, all the day long.  For we know that if God is for us, then who can be against us.  Brethren meditate on the words of this hymn and be comforted.

Blessed Assurance
Words by: Fanny Crosby

Blessèd assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sins Washed Away

Zechariah 13:1 On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.

Children love to play and be washed in water fountains as the photo above demonstrates.  The water cleans their sweaty and dirty bodies.  The great hymn below also speaks of a cleansing fountain that washes sinners clean.  All human beings have sinned and fall short of God’s glory and righteous standards.  The Bible teaches there is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood and that the Old Testament sacrificial system of animal sacrifice does not atone for sin.  The book of Hebrews explains that the Old Testament sacrificial system pointed toward the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, as the savior who could make atonement for sin. 

Praise God that he so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to redeem sinners from the curse caused by sin.  There simply was no other way that God could forgive the debt incurred by human sin.  The great hymn below points to this great truth and gives some of the details and reasons the blood of Jesus on the cross of Calvary saves sinners.  Just as children are attracted to the water fountain above, Christians are drawn to the fountain filled with the blood of our savior Jesus Christ.  What peace, joy, and comfort it is for believers to know that all of their sins have been washed away by His redeeming love.

There is a Fountain Filled with Blood
Words by: William Cowper

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains. Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains; And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day; And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away; And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more; Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply, Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die; Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save, When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave. Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave; When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be, For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine, To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

The Firm Foundation

Hebrews 13:5  “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

In the photo above, the cabin is supported by steel pipes that are anchored in solid rock.   Although it seems to be in a precarious position, it has been built on a firm foundation of solid rock.  If the exact same pipes were in sand, the house would come tumbling down the hillside with the first heavy rain. 

Christians also have a firm foundation in Jesus Christ.  By grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, Christians are assured of eternal life in a spiritual house built on a foundation of Jesus, the solid rock described in Matthew 7:24.  They are further protected in their temporal life from any harm that God has not ordained.  The great hymn below points out what a great savior we have in this life for those who seek refuge in him.  He will never forsake his flock in sickness or health.  He will be there in poverty or wealth, and when old age slips upon the scene, He will be there to comfort and give the peace that passes all understanding.  The love and promises of God are built on this firm foundation that cannot be overturned by anything on earth or in the spiritual realm.  Praise God that this firm foundation will not and, in fact, cannot fail.

How Firm a Foundation
Words by: John Rippon

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

Abide with Me

1 John 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

Just before bedtime every night Cuffy cat likes to cuddle as the above photo shows.  It is a ritual that is repeated every evening, just like clockwork, as Cuffy very much desires and seeks this human interaction.  In a like manner Christians increasingly desire and covet having Jesus abide with them as they enter the evening time of their lives.  Earth’s joys grow dim and its glories pass away as this great hymn states, and Christians need the presence of the LORD as time flies away. 

Praise God that when Christians walk through the eventide of life God is with them to comfort and to abide with them.  God’s magnificent grace saves, sanctifies, and glorifies believers as they pass through this temporary world on their journey to their eternal home.  Brethren, rest assured that each heartfelt prayer and plea for God to abide with me is fulfilled.  Our savior told us in Matthew 28:20 “…….And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Nothing can prevent Christians from arriving safely home to heaven with the Savior by their side.  Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.

Abide with Me (words by: Henry F Lyte)

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Perfect Peace

Ephesians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ

A river is used to illustrate God’s perfect peace in the hymn below.  In the photo above, it is apparent that a beautiful river can be a very peaceful setting.  During ancient times and in the early days of exploration and settling of the United States, rivers were a source of much needed water for people and their livestock.  After a long days journey, it must have been a peaceful and refreshing time when pilgrims camped by a river. 

Paul used the above Scripture blessing seven times in his epistles.  Saints can rest in the spiritual peace that comes from the trust they have in God’s providence and sovereignty.  Christians are hidden and safe in His blessed hand as the hymn below states.  There is no worry or no fear for God’s redeemed when their focus is on their spiritual and eternal condition.  Brethren, this is God’s perfect peace and it is like a river glorious.  Praise God that Christians will have an eternal home of perfect peace and rest as they are camped forever by that great river glorious.  How do worldly concerns compare with such a great salvation?  In Romans 8:18 Paul summed it up really well when he said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  Let us be ever mindful and meditate with thanksgiving and praise on our spiritual destination where we will have perfect peace.

Like A River Glorious
Words by: Frances Havergal

Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Beulah Land

1 Corinthians 2:9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

God’s magnificent work of creation is on full display in the Colorado town above.  There are undoubtedly many beautiful and scenic places and towns in this world.  However, from the above passage we can conclude that we have not seen anything yet.  Not only have we not seen the glory that has been prepared for us in Beulah Land, we have not even imagined in our wildest dreams how magnificent the City of God will be when we arrive at our eternal home.  As Christians age in this fallen world, God’s grace comforts them as they meditate on this passage and this hymn.  They long for, and are homesick for, this land of joy and peace where they have never been.

Brethren, imagine the unbelievable joy in that instant when faith turns to sight as believers walk through deaths door to enter sweet Beulah Land.  Praise God with thanksgiving for this grace and spiritual provision that was bought and paid for by Jesus Christ who became the second Adam so that, by faith, we could be counted as righteous.  Romans 5:19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.  Therefore, Jesus restored what Adam destroyed and we will have all of eternity to be giddy with joy and praise in sweet Beulah Land.

Beulah Land
Words by Squire Parsons Jr.

I'm kind of homesick for a country
to which I've never been before
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken
and time won't matter anymore

Beulah Land I'm longing for you,
and someday on thee I'll stand
There my home shall be eternal.
In Beulah Land, Sweet Beulah land

I'm looking now across that river,
to where my faiths 'gonna end in sight
There's just a few more days to labor,
then I will take my heavenly flight

Beulah Land I'm longing for you,
and someday on thee I'll stand
There my home shall be eternal
In Beulah Land, Sweet Beulah land