Poetry Saturday—Hark the Glad Sound

Hark the glad sound! The Savior comes,
The Savior promised long;
Let ev’ry heart prepare a throne,
And ev’ry voice a song.

He comes the pris’ners to release,
In satan’s bondage held.
The gates of brass before Him burst,
The iron fetters yield.

He comes the broken heart to bind,
The bleeding soul to cure,
And with the treasures of His grace
To enrich the humble poor.

Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace,
Thy welcome shall proclaim,
And heav’ns eternal arches ring
With Thy beloved name. —Philip Doddridge

Transforming Grace (book review)

Not too long ago I read that the song “Amazing Grace” was the best-known song in the entire world. People who know Jesus as their Savior certainly can attest to how amazing grace is. But what about after someone becomes a Christian? What happens with grace then? Jerry Bridges dives into this topic with his eye-opening look at Transforming Grace.

In the opening lines of the preface, Bridges states, “The Bible teaches we are not only saved by grace, but we also live by grace every day of our lives.” This is a concept that many Christians miss, and as a result feel like they are living their lives on what Bridges calls “the performance treadmill.” In other words, far too many Christians mistakenly think that God’s grace saved them, but now it will be their own righteous works that will keep them saved.

In 13 chapters, Bridges dismantles the “performance” mindset and helps Christians see the freedom and joy that come from a proper understanding of how grace transforms and empowers our lives every day.

To help transfer Bridges’ lessons into everyday application, I also highly recommend getting a couple of friends together for this journey. Not only read Transforming Grace together, but then take some time to work through the discussion guides for each chapter. These guides will give you some Scriptures to ponder, and some discussion-starting questions to talk about with your friends. This time will help you go from learner-to-liver with the concepts of transforming grace.

I am a NavPress book reviewer.

Saturday In The Psalms—Like No One Else

Praise is awaiting You, O God… (Psalm 65:1).

Why is praising awaiting God? Because no one else does what He does!

  1. He hears all our prayers
  2. He turns no one away
  3. He atones for our transgressions
  4. He helps us approach Him
  5. He fills our lives with good things
  6. He longs for us to dwell with Him
  7. He satisfies our deepest longing
  8. He is All-Righteous
  9. He does awesome things!
  10. He is Salvation
  11. He is Confidence
  12. He answers our prayers
  13. He is Creator
  14. He is Wonderful
  15. He is Beauty
  16. He is All-Powerful
  17. He is Provider
  18. He is Abundance
  19. He is Good
  20. He is Joy

There is no like You, O God!

So my praise will be lifted to You—to You my vows will be fulfilled!

Thursdays With Oswald—God’s Purpose For Israel And Me

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

God’s Purpose For Israel And Me

     God created the people known as Israel for one purpose, to be the servant of Jehovah until through them every nation came to know Who Jehovah was. … The election of the nation by God was not for the salvation of individuals; the elect nation was to be the instrument of salvation to the whole world. The story of their distress is due entirely to their deliberate determination to use themselves for a purpose other than God’s. … Israel is still in the shadow of God’s hand, in spite of all her wickedness. God’s purposes are always fulfilled, no matter how wide a compass He may permit to be taken first. … 

     When we are born from above the realization dawns that we are built for God, not for ourselves. … 

     The creative purpose of God for the missionary is to make him His servant, one in whom He is glorified. When once we realize this, all our self-conscious limitations will be extinguished in the extraordinary blaze of what the Redemption means. We have to see that we keep the windows of our soul open to God’s creative purpose for us, and not confuse that purpose with our own intentions. … 

     A saint is made by God…. Then do not tell God He is a bungling workman. We do that whenever we say “I can’t.” To say “I can’t” literally means we are too strong in ourselves to depend on God. “I can’t pray in public; I can’t talk in the open air.” Substitute “I won’t,” and it will be nearer the truth. The thing that makes us say “I can’t” is that we forget that we must rely entirely on the creative purpose of God….

From So Send I You

Oswald Chambers draws the analogy between why God called Israel, and why He called you. God desired to use Israel to show all nations His love, and He still desires to do the same thing with every single one of His saints today.

In order for God to use you, first be aware that He does indeed want to use you. He created you for His plan and purpose. Next, be open to how your life can glorify God. Take your eyes off you and put them on Him. Finally, stop saying “I can’t.” If God has created you to do something for Him, you most certainly can do it in His power and anointing.

Will you let God use you for His glory today?

Saturday In The Psalms—In Over My Head!

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck! (Psalm 69)

Not just up to David’s neck, but he felt like he was in over his head! Ever been there? You feel like…

  • …there’s no solid ground to stand on
  • …you’re stuck in deep muck
  • …the floodwaters are rising fast

David cried himself dry and hoarse because of the troubles ganging up on him!

One of David’s motivations in asking God for help was not just to alleviate his own suffering, but to not be a burden to other God-followers—“Let not those who wait for You, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed because of me; let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel.”

So David made his prayer to God, believing that God would completely vindicate and rescue him. And as he prayed, he praised—“Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song, and I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”

When you’re in over your head, there’s nowhere else to look but up! 

Our prayer: Holy Spirit, when I feel like I’m in over my head, may You remind me to lift up my prayer and my praise to my Savior. Don’t let other God-followers be ashamed because of me, but let my deliverance be the reason they continue to look expectantly to You!

Thursdays With Oswald—What Is A Missionary?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

What Is A Missionary?

     A missionary is a saved and sanctified soul detached to Jesus. The one thing that must not be overlooked is the personal relationship to Jesus Christ and to His point of view; if that is overlooked, the needs are so great, the conditions so perplexing, that every power of mind and heart will fail and falter. We are apt to forget that the great reason for missionary enterprise is not first the elevation of the people; nor first the education of the people; nor even first the salvation of the people, but first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ—“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations.” If we are going to remain true to the Bible’s conception of a missionary, we must go back to the source—a missionary is one sent by Jesus Christ as He was sent by the Father. … 

     In revising the lives of men and women of God and the history of the Church of God, there is a tendency to say—“How wonderfully astute those men and women were! How perfectly they understood what God wanted of them!” The truth is that the astute mind behind these men and women was not a human mind at all, but the mind of God. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who were foolish enough in the eyes of the world to trust God’s wisdom and supernatural equipment, while watching carefully their own steadfast relationship to Him. … 

     The special person called to do missionary work is every person who is a member of the Church of Christ. The call does not come to a chosen few, it is to everyone of us.

From So Send I You

Are you a Christian? Then Jesus calls you His missionary too!

Do you feel equipped to be a missionary? Jesus said all that is required for missionary service is a total reliance on Him.

With that in mind, go be Christ’s missionary to your world today!

Poetry Saturday—Diary Of An Old Soul

Lord, I have fallen again—a human clod!
Selfish I was, and heedless to offend;
Stood on my rights. Thy own child would not send
Away his shreds of nothing for the whole God! 
Wretched, to Thee Who savest, low I bend:
Give me the power to let my rag-rights go
In the great wind that from Thy gulf doth blow. 

Keep me from wrath, let it seem ever so right:
My wrath will never work Thy righteousness.
Up, up the hill, to the whiter than snow-shine,
Help me to climb, and dwell in pardon’s light.
I must be pure as Thou, or ever less
Than the design of me—therefore incline
My heart to take men’s wrongs as Thou tak’st mine. —George MacDonald
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