Tuesday Hymns: “Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns”

Benjamin Beddome was an 18th century English Baptist pastor who for a long period of time would write a hymn each week to be sung after his Lord’s Day message (I shudder to think of attempting to do that!). This week’s Tuesday Hymn is his Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns. This hymn proclaims Christ victory in the spreading of His kingdom over all the earth as His praise comes forth “from all below, and all above!” It is sung to the tune, TRURO.

Shout, for the blessed Jesus reigns;
Through distant lands his triumphs spread;
And sinners, freed from endless pains,
Own him their Saviour and their Head.

He calls his chosen from afar,
They all at Zion’s gates arrive;
Those who were dead in sin before
By sovereign grace are made alive.

Gentiles and Jews his laws obey;
Nations remote their off’rings bring,
And unconstrained their homage pay
To their exalted God and King.

O may his holy church increase,
His Word and Spirit still prevail,
While angels celebrate his praise,
And saints his growing glories hail.

Loud hallelujahs to the Lamb,
From all below, and all above!
In lofty songs exalt his Name,
In songs as lasting as his love.


Tuesday Hymns: “O Lord Most High, with All My Heart”

Many of the hymns in The Trinity Hymnal are based upon the Psalms. Our Tuesday Hymn for this week, O Lord Most High, with All My Heart, is based upon Psalm 9:1-2, 7-11. It speaks of the sovereignty of God (verses 1-2), the grace of God (verses 3-4), and the worthiness of His praise (verse 5). It was taken from The Psalter, 1912, and is sung to the tune of ROCKINGHAM OLD.

O Lord most high, with all my heart
Thy wondrous works I will proclaim;
I will be glad and give thee thanks
And sing the praises of thy name.

The Lord, the everlasting King,
Is seated on his judgment throne;
The righteous Judge of all the world
Will make his perfect justice known.

Jehovah will a refuge prove,
A refuge strong for all oppressed,
A safe retreat, where weary souls
In troublous times may surely rest.

All they, O Lord, that know thy Name
Their confidence in thee will place,
For thou hast ne’er forsaken them
Who earnestly have sought thy face.

Sing praises to the Lord most high,
To him who doth in Zion dwell;
Declare his mighty deeds abroad,
His deeds among the nations tell.

Grace By Which I Stand

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:30-31)

I would never say that Dixie (my wife, if you are not aware) is not charming. She can be witty, clever, and is able to make up silly rhymes on cue. I also can honestly say (and not just because she reads this blog from time to time) that I believe that she is very attractive. Whatever color her hair may be on a particular day or whatever style may have been chosen (well, except for the really bad perm that she once had perpetrated on herself), I am always proud to be seen with her in public.

However, the character trait which Dixie possesses that I love the most is her undying fear of the Lord. She is never one to hide her sin, or pretend it does not exist, but is always quick to confess and look to the grace of God as her only hope in life and death. She is one who understands and appreciates the grace of God more than most, and, that is why one of Keith Green’s songs was always so precious to her (Yes, I know that his theology could be really goofy…is goofy a theological category?):

Lord, the feelings are not the same,
I guess I’m older, I guess I’ve changed.
And how I wish it had been explained,
that as you’re growing you must remember,
That nothing lasts, except the grace of God,
by which I stand, in Jesus.
I know that I would surely fall away,
except for grace, by which I’m saved.

Lord, I remember that special way,
I vowed to serve you, when it was brand new.
But like Peter, I can’t even watch and pray, one hour with you,
And I bet, I could deny you too.
But nothing lasts, except the grace of God,
by which I stand, in Jesus.
I’m sure that my whole life would waste away,
except for grace, by which I’m saved.

But nothing lasts, except the grace of God,
by which I stand, in Jesus.
I know that I would surely fall away,
except for grace, by which I’m saved.
—“Grace By Which I Stand,” Keith Green

How did that grace become ours? Through Christ’s work as our priest. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism reminds us:

Q. 25. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?

A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God, and in making continual intercession for us.

I am so grateful that God chose to touch my wife with His grace, as He did me, and so many others from “every tribe and language and people and nation,” for “I know that I would surely fall away, except for grace, by which I’m saved.”

“Christianity Today” Interview with Joni Eareckson Tada

The following is an excerpt from an excellent interview with Joni Eareckson Tada by Christianity Today (Yes, good things can come out of Carol Stream, Illinois from time to time). The existence of evil in the world within the parameters of God’s sovereignty has always been a thorny issue for many people, but Joni reminds us that suffering is a part of a fallen world, and that the onset of the new heavens and the new earth will bring an end to such difficulties.

“Christianity Today: You have hinted at a classic question: How can a good God allow such suffering in the world? How does your latest book, on God’s sovereignty, address that?

“Joni Eareckson Tada: When people ask that question—even I struggle with that question—we aren’t accepting the fact that this earth is wired to be difficult. The rule of thumb is that we experience much suffering because we live in a fallen world, and it is groaning under the weight of a heavy curse. If God being good means he has to get rid of sin, it means he would have to get rid of sinners. God is a God of great generosity and great mercy, so he is keeping the execution of suffering. He’s not closing the curtain on suffering until there is more time to gather more people into the fold of Christ’s fellowship.

That answer suits me, and I think it would suit others if they stop and think: Suffering is connected to sin; if God were to get rid of suffering, he’d have to get rid of sin, and then he’d have to get rid of sinners—and God is too merciful to do that.” (Christianity Today, October 12, 2010)

To read the entire article go to the Christianity Today, Joni Eareckson Tada on Something Greater than Healing.

HT: Tim Challies

Tuesday Hymns: “Zion, Founded on the Mountains”

Last night, Reed was in a “hymn singing mood,” so he and I picked some hymns out of The Trinity Hymnal to sing before he went to bed (It definitely was a duet that would not be pleasant to your ears). One of the hymns that he chose was entitled, Zion, Founded on the Mountains, which is our Tuesday Hymn for this week. It is a rendition of the 87th Psalm which speaks of the victory of God’s Kingdom as it spreads throughout the earth. In this hymn we are reminded that by Christ’s own blood, He “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and [He has] made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10) It was originally in The Psalter, 1912, and is sung to the tune of CAERSALEM.

Zion, founded on the mountains,
God, thy Maker, loves thee well;
He has chosen thee, most precious,
He delights in thee to dwell;
God’s own city, God’s own city, God’s own city,
Who can all thy glory tell?

Heathen lands and hostile peoples
Soon shall come the Lord to know;
Nations born again in Zion
Shall the Lord’s salvation show;
God Almighty, God Almighty, God Almighty,
Shall on Zion strength bestow.

When the Lord shall count the nations,
Sons and daughters he shall see,
Born to endless life in Zion,
And their joyful song shall be:
“Blessed Zion, Blessed Zion, Blessed Zion,
All our fountains are in thee.”

The Valley of Vision: “God’s Good Pleasure”

Anyone who ever says that the Puritans were detached and legalistic have never read the Puritans. They believed in experiential Calvinism; a true doctrine that was not cold and lifeless, but one that was on fire with love for their Lord, because He had first loved them. The following prayer is from the Valley of Vision. Did I mention that I love the Puritans!

Sovereign Lord,

Thy will is supreme in heaven and earth,
and all beings are creatures of thy power.

Thou art the Father of our spirits;
thy inspiration gives us understanding,
thy providence governs our lives.

But, O God, we are sinners in thy sight;
thou hast judged us so,
and if we deny it we make thee a liar.

Yet in Christ thou art reconciled to thy rebellious subjects;
give us the ear of faith to hear him,
the eye of faith to see him,
the hand of faith to receive him,
the appetite of faith to feed upon him;
that we might find in him light,
riches, honour, eternal life.

Thou art the inviting One,
may we hearken to thee;
the Almighty Instructor;
teach us to live to thee;
the Light-Dweller,
inaccessible to man and angels,
hiding thyself behind the elements of creation,
but known to us in Jesus,

Possess our minds with the grandeur of thy perfections.

Thy love to us in Jesus is firm and changeless,
nothing can separate us from it,
and in the enjoyment of it nothing can make miserable.

Preserve us from hypocrisy and formality in religion;

Enable us to remember what thou art
and what we are,
to recall thy holiness and our unworthiness;

Help us to approach thee clothed with humility,
for vanity, forwardness, insensibility,
disorderly affection, backwardness to duty,
proneness to evil are in our hearts.

Let us never forget thy patience, wisdom,
power, faithfulness, care,
and never cease to respond
to thy invitations.

Parenting Children in a Fallen World

John MacArthur has written an excellent article about how to raise your children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” entitled, “How to Provoke Your Children” on his Grace to You website. He says in part:

Paul’s command to parents includes two parts. The first is negative. He said, “Do not provoke your children to wrath.” Don’t thoughtlessly aggravate them. Don’t unnecessarily goad them. Don’t deliberately exasperate them. Don’t foolishly discourage them. But express your love to them by treating them with gentleness, kindness, consideration, and respect. After all, that’s an essential part of being a good example to them.”

If you are a parent I would encourage you to read the entire article at Grace to You.

HT: Tim Challies

Tuesday Hymns: “Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face

“Mine is the sin, but thine the righteousness;
Mine is the guilt, but thine the cleansing blood;
Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace,
Thy blood, thy righteousness, O Lord my God.”
—Horatius Bonar

Horatius Bonar’s (December 19, 1808 – May 31, 1889) hymns invariably are filled with the truths of God’s marvelous grace, and, more often than not, touch on the active obedience of Christ on our behalf. Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face, our Tuesday Hymn for this week, is no exception. In it he has written of the assurance of forgiveness that one finds when he gathers with the church of God for worship. Bonar, a Scottish Presbyterian pastor, clearly understood that he could draw near to God in one way, and in one way only: through the finished work of Jesus Christ. This hymn is sung to the tune, MORECAMBE.

Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen,
Here grasp with firmer hand th’eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon thee lean.

Here would I feed upon the bread of God,
Here drink with thee the royal wine of heav’n;
Here would I lay aside each earthly load,
Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.

This is the hour of banquet and of song;
This is the heav’nly table spread for me:
Here let me feast, and, feasting, still prolong
The brief, bright hour of fellowship with thee.

I have no help but thine, nor do I need
Another arm save thine to lean upon:
It is enough, my Lord, enough indeed;
My strength is in thy might, thy might alone.

Mine is the sin, but thine the righteousness;
Mine is the guilt, but thine the cleansing blood;
Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace,
Thy blood, thy righteousness, O Lord my God.

The Third Use of the Law

In the June, 2006, edition of the Australian Presbyterian, I found an article discussing holiness by Dr. Joel Beeke entitled, “God’s First Priority.” The first thing that struck me was the sheer amount of knowledge that Dr. Beeke possesses. In the article he quoted everyone from Anselm, Augustine, Stephen Charnock, Luther, Melancthon, to present day scholars like John Murray. (When was the last time you quoted Anselm?) But, what struck me particularly, was a paragraph about the Law of God:

“I know that when Calvin came along and promoted the law as a guide to holiness (what we call the “third use of the law”), scholars have said ever since that that was contrary to Luther. But in my studies of Luther, I have found that while Luther believed that the primary use of the Law was to convict us of sin, he nevertheless taught the law was also meant to guide us into holiness. We see this in his catechism and other writings. He taught that the law’s like a stick; God first uses it to beat us to Christ, and then He puts it in our hand so that we can use it as a cane to walk onward in our Christian journey. This is all Calvin meant by it. In fact the Protestant who first referred to the “third use” of the Law was Philip Melanchthon –Luther’s right-hand man. Calvin simply picked up Melanchthon’s terminology and then developed it.”

Leaving aside all the controversy about Luther and the “third use of the law,” Luther certainly had his theological ducks in a row when he discussed the Law as a stick (to drive us to Christ) and as a cane (to aid us in our sanctification after we have been redeemed by His grace). It was God’s Law that shone its light on my life so that I could see my sin in all its immensity, and, along with God’s Spirit, convinced me that my only hope was in Christ. Now, God’s Law is so helpful in my daily life as I seek to live for my Lord, for it shows me what is righteousness and what is sin. It is truly a “lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

To read the entirety of Dr. Beeke’s article (its lengthy, but rich), click here.

“Sin, sin, go away, come again some other day.”

As a young person I looked forward to the day in which I would finally have victory over sin in my daily life. To my deep chagrin, the older I got, the clearer my sin became to me. Instead of moving beyond temptation, it seemed as if temptation not only didn’t go away, but it grew in magnitude, and visited me more often.

However, I thankfully discovered that I was not the only one who had faced this problem. Paul wrote so many years ago, “For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15) He went so far as to cry out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)

Even my favorite Frenchman, John Calvin, wrote of why pastors should be especially caring to those caught up in sin:

Men who truly fear God and sincerely and firmly endeavor to train disciples for his service, because they are more severe on themselves than on others, are not such exacting masters; because they know their own infirmity, they forgive the weak more readily.”

Yes, our sin is real. Yes, our sin frustrates us to no end. But, that is not the end of the story because Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote something else:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4)

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