For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. ~Psalms 36:9

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Serving God Through Music and Singing

Some in our family is reading through the Bible chronologically this year, which is neat, because it provides a nice overall perspective.  This morning, as I was read in 1 Chronicles, I read some commentary notes on part of it by Matthew Henry.  It was very good, and brought out some really neat thoughts.  I wanted to share them here for all of you, hoping you'd enjoy reading it as well.  It was a great encouragement to be God-focused with our music, and to put our best into singing the praises of the Lord.  May the rest of your week be blessed!

Matthew Henry’s Commentary Notes on 1 Chronicles 25:1-7:
Observe, I. Singing the praises of God is here called prophesying (1Ch_25:1-3), not that all those who were employed in this service were honoured with the visions of God, or could foretel things to come. Heman indeed is said to be the king's seer in the words of God (1Ch_25:5); but the psalms they sang were composed by the prophets, and many of them were prophetical; and the edification of the church was intended in it, as well as the glory of God. In Samuel's time singing the praises of God went by the name of prophesying (1Sa_10:5; 1Sa_19:20), and perhaps that is intended in what St. Paul calls prophesying, 1Co_11:4; 1Co_14:24.
II. This is here called a service, and the persons employed in it workmen, 1Ch_25:1. Not but that it is the greatest liberty and pleasure to be employed in praising God: what is heaven but that? But it intimates that it is our duty to make a business of it, and stir up all that is within us to it; and that, in our present state of corruption and infirmity, it will not be done as it should be done without labour and struggle. We must take pains with our hearts to bring them, and keep them, to this work, and to engage all that is within us.
III. Here were, in compliance with the temper of that dispensation, a great variety of musical instruments used, harps, psalteries, cymbals (1Ch_25:1, 1Ch_25:6), and here was one that lifted up the horn (1Ch_25:5), that is, used wind-music. The bringing of such concerts of music into the worship of God now is what none pretend to. But those who use such concerts for their own entertainment should feel themselves obliged to preserve them always free from any thing that savours of immorality or profaneness, by this consideration, that time was when they were sacred; and then those were justly condemned who brought them into common use, Amo_6:5. They invented to themselves instruments of music like David.
IV. The glory and honour of God were principally intended in all this temple-music, whether vocal or instrumental. It was to give thanks, and praise the Lord, that the singers were employed, 1Ch_25:3. It was in the songs of the Lord that they were instructed (1Ch_25:7), that is, for songs in the house of the Lord, 1Ch_25:6. This agrees with the intention of the perpetuating of psalmody in the gospel-church, which is to make melody with the heart, in conjunction with the voice, unto the Lord, Eph_5:19.
This good work of singing God's praises Samuel revived, and set on foot, but lived not to see it brought to the perfection it appears in here. Solomon perfects what David began, so David perfects what Samuel began. Let all, in their day, do what they can for God and his church, though they cannot carry it so far as they would; when they are gone God can out of stones raise up others who shall build upon their foundation and bring forth the top-stone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Creating Order by Faithfulness in the Little Things

"If we are trying to work out our own prideful agendas, we will be frustrated and will fall. However, we can create order by being submissive stewards of the work God is doing in the world. If we do that, we are working out the order He already possesses and is already exercising, then control no longer weighs heavy on our shoulders. Additionally, we can also leave the outcomes in His hand and focus on the present process (practicing faithfulness) rather than on our successes or failures. Faithfulness doesn’t imply large, impressive deeds. Faithfulness is all about doing what’s in front of you – your own duty, however humble that is – reliably and earnestly. Faithfulness does not evaluate how a duty ranks in the public eye or whether or not the duty will earn credit; faithfulness steadily fulfills its calling."Rejoicing in Repetition: In Housework by Mystie Winckler


Monday, April 21, 2014

"Let us fight as if it all depended upon us, but let us look up and know that all depends upon Him."
- C. H. Spurgeon -

"Only as everything fails us and we fail ourselves, finding out how poor and weak we really are, how ignorant and helpless, do we begin to draw upon abiding strength."
- J. Hudson Taylor -

Friday, April 18, 2014

Is Your All on the Altar?

When I woke up this morning and was thinking on a difficult situation, this old favorite hymn came to mind.  It’s been a while since we’ve sung it, and I was amazed as I read the words.  I guess the Lord wanted me to hear this message this morning.  It is my hope that this song will minister to some of you as well.  May the Lord bless, and guide, and strengthen you, and may He help us each to lay all things on the altar so that He can fulfill His perfect will in our lives.  I know someday we will see the bigger picture.

Is Your All on the Altar?

You have longed for sweet peace,
And for faith to increase,
And have earnestly, fervently prayed;
But you cannot have rest
Or be perfectly blest
Until all on the altar is laid.

Would you walk with the Lord,
In the light of His Word,
And have peace and contentment always,
You must do His sweet will,
To be free from all ill,
On the altar your all you must lay.

Oh, we never can know what the Lord will bestow
Of the blessings for which we have prayed,
Till our body and soul He doth fully control,
And our all on the altar is laid.

Who can tell all the love
He will send from above,
And how happy our hearts will be made,
Of the fellowship sweet
We shall share at His feet,
When our all on the altar is laid.

Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart, does the Spirit control?
You can only be blessed
And have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Strong-Hearted Women and the Men Who Love Them

This blessed me beyond words!  ~Karen

Strong Hearted Women and the Men Who Love Them
I’m not sure what started it.
But I suspect it had something to do with this one book I’d read a few years back. I’m not saying the author intended to communicate this message, but it’s certainly what I concluded.
If I wanted to be a a good wife – a biblical wife? Then I needed to tone it down a bit.
Okay, a lot.
I needed to swallow it, hold it back, and keep it down. I was far too intense for my own good. Or at least for my husband’s good.
So I started this new, radical campaign. I didn’t even tell my husband what I was up to, but decided that from then on, I was going to mellow out. Keep it quiet.
Now for those of you who know me, you probably find that rather funny. You can’t even hardly picture it.
But I really did try.
And I kept it going fairly well . . . until one day when we were discussing a certain subject while standing by the piano—a subject that I felt, ahem, passionate about. And suddenly, I couldn’t take it any longer.
I nearly shouted, “I JUST CAN’T DO THIS.”
Do what??” his eyebrows raised.
“I can’t simply keep my mouth shut and not express all that I’m thinking or feeling!” I was practically shaking with frustration.
Then – being the sensitive soul that he is – he burst out laughing.
I resisted the temptation of throwing the old red hymnal at him. But only barely.
I’m glad I did though, because I might have missed what he said next . . . .
“But, Baby, I don’t want you to ‘zip it’. I married you because I appreciate your strong mind and passionate heart. Don’t you see? I love that about you.”
Oh. You do?
And at last I was able to reconcile being a strong-hearted woman and being a biblical wife.
Now some of you might not see the struggle here. What? What’s the issue?
Well, the “issue” is that Scripture talks about the “beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (I Pet. 3:4) and I truly wanted to fit that description. But I wasn’t so sure that I did.
So maybe you’re a strong-hearted woman too. You don’t give up, you’re willing to stand up for what you believe is right, and you’re passionate about your family and the world you live in.
Boy! do I get that.
And guess what? It’s okay.
So all my strong-hearted friends, be encouraged.  Here are some  beautiful truths for you:
A Strong-Hearted Woman can keep a quiet heart. She’s not agitated in her spirit, yet remains strong in her convictions. A lovely example of this is Elisabeth Elliot – one of the strongest women of my acquaintance and also the author of Keep a Quiet Heart.
A Strong-Hearted Woman draws her strength from Christ – not from herself. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13).  Always remember the true Source of your strength.
A Strong-Hearted Woman readily respects her husband. She uses her strength to support her husband. Not to go up against him (Eph. 5:33).  (More here: The Highly-Rated Habit of Respecting Him)
A Strong-Hearted Woman cultivates a sweet spirit. Sweetness and strength are not opposites. These two qualities actually can - and should - go hand-in-hand.
A Strong-Hearted Woman walks in humility. She knows that just because she might feel more strongly about something doesn’t necessarily make her right (and you know what I”m talking about!).  Don’t let your intensity triumph over all.
God gave you that wonderful, passionate heart and, as long as you’re submitted to Him, then you’re right where He wants you to be. Not only that, you’re right where your husband  wants you to be.
Yes, your man loves that about you.
In His grace,
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The Blood of Jesus

"We are come to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."—Hebrews 12:24.
Reader, have you come to the blood of sprinkling? The question is not whether you have come to a knowledge of doctrine, or an observance of ceremonies, or to a certain form of experience, but have you come to the blood of Jesus? The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness. If you have truly come to Jesus, we know how you came—the Holy Spirit sweetly brought you there. You came to the blood of sprinkling with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and oh! what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus! The dropping of His blood is as the music of heaven to the penitent sons of earth. We are full of sin, but the Saviour bids us lift our eyes to Him, and as we gaze upon His streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, "It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness." Oh! sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus! If you have come to that blood once, you will come to it constantly. Your life will be "Looking unto Jesus." Your whole conduct will be epitomized in this—"To whom coming." Not to whom I have come, but to whom I am always coming. If thou hast ever come to the blood of sprinkling, thou wilt feel thy need of coming to it every day. He who does not desire to wash in it every day, has never washed in it at all. The believer ever feels it to be his joy and privilege that there is still a fountain opened. Past experiences are doubtful food for Christians; a present coming to Christ alone can give us joy and comfort. This morning let us sprinkle our door-post fresh with blood, and then feast upon the Lamb, assured that the destroying angel must pass us by.
-Charles Spurgeon, Morning Meditation, April 17th

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An interesting thought to ponder....

The way you keep your house, the way you organize your time, the care you take in your personal appearance, the things you spend your money on, all speak loudly about what you believe. The beauty of thy peace shines forth in an ordered life. A disordered life speaks loudly of disorder in the soul.
~Elisabeth Elliot
Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim,
for God's eye is still the same.
- Charles Spurgeon -

Monday, April 14, 2014

God Gives the Very Best

I was very blessed by this poem this evening. 

 "Life is but a Weaving"
(the Tapestry Poem)

“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.”
~Corrie ten Boom~ 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The believers only hope and greatest joy: In Christ alone

A foundational truth of biblical Christianity is that the believer has a right standing before God in the gospel-in Christ alone.  The psalms of David confront us with man's greatest dilemma: "Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?  Or who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully."  Any man who entertains even the remotest possibility that there is a personal and moral God must tremble at David's question.  Unless he is an imbecile or his conscience has been seared beyond use, he must recognize that he does not possess the necessary qualifications to stand approved before the Judge of all the earth.  The Scriptures tell us that if he looks within, he will find that his heart is more deceitful than all else and is wicked beyond comprehension.  If he turns to consider his own mind, he will find that there are wicked thoughts lodged within.  If he listens intently to  his speech, he will become aware that it is full of deceit, cursing, and bitterness.  If he gazes upon his hands, he will see that they are stained with the residue of countless misdeeds.  If in desperation he seeks to cover his shame by dressing himself in his most righteous deeds, he will find that he is clothed in the filthy rot of  a leper.  Although he washes himself with lye and uses much soap, the stain of his iniquity remains.  Everywhere he turns, he finds himself accused, condemned, and without hope.  It is in this moment of absolute helplessness and final resignation that the illumined and regenerate sinner looks to Christ and finds his hope in Him.  Turning from self-righteousness, he believes and is justified by grace alone through faith alone.  From that moment on, he bears the twin marks of a Christian: he glories in Christ Jesus and puts no confidence in the flesh.  He has entered into that great company of saints who believed God and it was reckoned to them as righteousness.  He has cast himself upon Christ and clings to Him with a strength multiplied by the terror of what would have befallen him if he had been left to fend for himself.  He stands upon Christ alone and will not venture from Him.  He is convinced that he can ascend into the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place only by virtue of the person and merit of Christ.  To paraphrase the old hymn writer: "His hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.  He dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.  On Christ the solid Rock he stands, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand."  
~Paul Washer in his book The Gospel's Power & Message, chapter 2 pages 13-14