Friday, September 25, 2015

Hymn Based on Psalm 123

To Our Lord We Lift Our Eyes

Suggested tune: GOWER'S LITANY (  Meter: 7776.  Based on Psalm 123.  Words: William Weber, 2015.

v. 1
To our Lord we lift our eyes,
to our Savior crucified,
now enthroned above the skies,
Jesus, Lord, have mercy.

v. 2
You command but also fill,
pour Your Holy Spirit till,
we delight to do Your will,
Jesus, Lord, have mercy.

v. 3
When from You we look away,
and no longer see Your face,
and are in a dismal place,
Jesus, Lord, have mercy.

v. 4
Father, turn us from our sin,
grant to us the Light within,
all are blessed who walk with Him,
Jesus, Lord, have mercy.
v. 5
Worldly men condemn, deride,
but with You we would abide,
You for us were crucified,
Jesus, Lord, have mercy.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Daily Walk/Meditation: Proverbs 16:25

A picture of part of my path today from near Bennington, Nebraska. My meditation was on this verse:

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 16:25)

Human beings were never meant to find their way, but rather to receive the way from the Lord. Apart from revelation---God communicating with us---we are lost. The essence of our sin is following what we think is best, rather than what God says is best. We were created to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). All philosophies, psychologies, and religions end in death whenever they depart from God's revelation, and his revelation is found in the Scriptures. Those Scriptures point to his Son, Jesus Christ, and in him alone is found life rather than death.

New Hymn Based on Acts 3

How Blessed the Man who Walks with God Each Day

Suggested tune: SINE NOMINE with alleluias ( click on For All the Saints 463).  Based on Acts 3.  Words: William Weber, 2015.

How blessed the man who walks with God each day,
rises with Christ who is the life and way;
looking to Jesus and from self away.
Alleluia, alleluia.

v. 2
For from our birth, our sin has made legs lame,
Jesus, we need the power of Your name.
So speak and act to spread Your grace and fame.
Alleluia, alleluia.

v. 3
To know You, Father, and to know Your Son,
this is the prize, for this the wisest run.
Daily renew, this walk that we've begun.
Alleluia, alleluia.

v. 4
Great is our joy, though this is not our home,
sins are forgiven, we are not alone.
We are His temple, He the cornerstone.
Alleluia, alleluia.

v. 5
Lord Jesus Christ, to You we look and wait,
weary we grow, and dire are our straits.
But by Your name we walk and will not faint.
Alleluia, alleluia.

v. 6
Come to us, Lord, be with us is our cry.
Times of refreshing come when You draw nigh.
Restore, return, be seen by every eye.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Legitimate Discontent over Congregational Singing

I talked with my daughter about her experience visiting a sound Evangelical church yesterday in Omaha. Both her and her friend liked the sermon and the supper, but disliked the singing for various reasons. I talked to a much older woman about her upcoming move to a new city and she was excited about the music at one of the churches she visited because they sang only to the accompaniment of a piano.

Why is there such discontent about congregational singing that crosses generational boundaries, so that both 20 somethings and 50 somethings are dissatisfied? I think the reason is simple: we do not know the liturgical function of congregational singing, and if you don't know the purpose of something it is impossible to get it right.

Biblically the purpose of congregational singing is quite simple: it is congregational prayer. But, sadly, congregational singing at this point in time does not resemble congregational prayer. Until the two are seen to be the same, legitimate, not illegitimate, discontent will continue among the faithful.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Daily Walk/Meditation: What Does it Mean to Fear the Lord?

I went on a 15 mile walk yesterday. Started at 6:30 and ended about 11:45. It is interesting to see how the scenes constantly change as the sun comes up. What a glorious artist is the Lord! His canvas constantly changes from moment to moment. Here is one moment during my walk.

My meditation for the walk was Psalm 128. Verse one says:
Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! 
The parallelism of Hebrew poetry invites us to compare "fear of the Lord" with "walks in his ways." That comparison tells us something very basic. Our walk or way of life tells us if we truly fear the Lord. If we do not walk in his ways, then we kid ourselves if we think we are his. As Jesus warns us, "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).

Thankfully, a large part of walking in his ways (if not all of it!) is mourning over our sin, confessing it, and renewing our joyful trust in Jesus Christ. Daily repentance and faith, daily dying and rising with Christ, is the way to walk with the Lord. Let us not be content to ignorant of his ways or live in our sin, but instead let us cry out for mercy each day for forgiveness and the gift of the Spirit so that we may truly "walk in his ways."

Friday, September 11, 2015

Daily Walk/Mdeitation: O for a Contrite Heart!

The Lord gave me an interesting day, today. I was in a bit of a hurry in the morning and had to back a bus to get to mine and I nudged the door and thought I might have slightly broke a mirror. It turns out I didn't break the mirror and the door was fine. But all through the route I was upset about that mirror. And then it dawned on me that I was more upset with a bus mirror than I usually am about my sin!
Then, I went on a two hour walk at Standing Bear Lake. When I got back to my car I found that the passenger side window had been smashed and my wallet stolen. I was just shocked and mad that anyone would do such a thing! But then it dawned on me again that over the course of my whole life I have stolen the honor, glory and love the Lord deserves, and it rarely shocks me or makes me mad or sad.
And then I remembered the two verses the Lord brought to my attention yesterday:
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isaiah 57:15)

But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)
May the Lord give me (and us) a contrite and lowly heart that loves Him and His instruction.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Daily Walk/Meditation: Idolatry and Power to Live a Godly Life

From my walk tonight after the difficult Husker loss (American football).  Glad football is just a game and in the whole scheme of things, not too important.  The last couple of weeks these verses from 2 Timothy 3:1-5 have been on my mind.  Notice how the phrase "lovers of" occurs four times.  Three of these loves are idolatrous, and one is not:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Sadly, the context makes it clear that these sorts of people will be found in the professing Christian church, for they have "the appearance of godliness" but deny its power!  These people make idols of "self," "money," and "pleasure,"  

While the world may worship at the shrine of self, money and pleasure, and those who compromise with the world join them in their idolatry, may Christ's true disciples live in their Lord's dying and rising.  For only in his death and resurrection can we live in the Father's love and the Spirit's power for the blessing of others and the glory of him, who brought about the new creation.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Musical Prayer Before Daily Devotions

I penned these lines as a preface for personal Bible reading. Could be sung to the tune for Amazing Grace.

Your Glory, Father, in Your Word
Suggested tune: AMAZING GRACE (  Meter: CM.  Based on Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-2.  Words: William Weber, 2015.

v. 1
Your glory, Father, in Your Word,
please show me as I read.
That glory shines in Christ, my Lord,
in all His words and deeds.

v. 2                  
And may I love You as I ought,
and Jesus Christ Your Son.
I humbly listen to be taught,
for You my heart have won.

v. 3
O Father, certain is Your Word,
Your testimonies true.
And for the gospel I have heard,
I thank and honor You.

v. 4
And though near Christ I long to stay,
I stray, a wand'ring sheep.
So bind by cords of love and faith,
my soul, my Shepherd, keep.

v. 5

The Son who died and rose again,
to Him all praise is due!
O may His gospel fall like rain,
to make parched sinners new.

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