Tuesday Hymns: “Psalm 5”

During our Sunday evening worship we sang Psalm 5 out of The Trinity Psalter. It is a beautiful Psalm about the justice and grace of the living God. One hears the Psalmist cry out about the trouble he faces day to day, and the realization that his only hope is to be found by “looking to [God’s] holy place, in [God’s] fear [to] worship there.” It is comforting for me to be reminded that the people of God of all the ages have faced many of the same struggles that we do, and that God’s “mercies are new every morning” for us, just as they were for them millennia ago (There is a reason the Psalms have been called “God’s Hymnbook“). We sang this Psalm to the tune of Jesus, Lover of My Soul.”

O Jehovah, hear my words;
To my thought attentive be.
Hear my cry, my King, my God,
For I make my prayer to Thee.
With the morning light, O LORD,
Thou shalt bear my voice and cry;
In the morn my prayer arrange
And keep constant watch will I.

Truly Thou art not a God
That in sin doth take delight;
Evil shall not dwell with Thee,
Nor the proud stand in Thy sight.
Evildoers Thou dost hate;
Liars Thou wilt bring to naught.
God abhors the man who loves
Deed of blood or lying thought.

But in Thine abundant grace
To Thy house will I repair;
Looking to Thy holy place,
In Thy fear I’ll worship there.
Since, O LORD, mine enemies
For my soul do lie in wait,
Lead me in Thy righteousness;
Make Thy way before me straight.

For they flatter with their tongue;
In their mouth no truth is found;
Like an open grace their throat;
All their thoughts with sin abound.
Hold them guilty, O my God;
Them for all their sins expel;
Let them fall by their own craft,
For against Thee they rebel.

But let all that trust Thy care
Ever glad and joyful be:
Let them joy who love Thy name,
For they guarded are by Thee.
And a blessing rich, O LORD,
To the righteous Thou wilt yield;
Thou wilt compass him about
With Thy favor as a shield.

Tuesday Hymns: “By Grace I’m Saved, Grace Free and Boundless”

(Way back in 2010 this was one of our Tuesday Hymns, and its truth is so significant to the lives of believers, I decided to repost it.)

Hymns sung in corporate worship should always have a solid Biblical foundation. Our Tuesday Hymn for this week, By Grace I’m Saved, Grace Free and Boundless, is such a hymn. Christian L. Scheidt, the author, writes of the truth of Scripture, the sinfulness of man, the grace that is ours through Jesus Christ, and the peace that is promised to the Christian who rests in “this ground of faith [that] is certain.” It is usually sung to the tune, MENTZER, or NEUMARK.

By grace I’m saved, grace free and boundless;
My soul, believe and doubt it not;
Why stagger at this word of promise?
Hath Scripture ever falsehood taught?
Nay; then this word must true remain:
By grace thou, too, shalt Heav’n obtain.

By grace! None dare lay claim to merit;
Our works and conduct have no worth,
God in His love sent our Redeemer,
Christ Jesus, to this sinful earth;
His death did for our sins atone,
And we are saved by grace alone.

By grace! O, mark this word of promise
When thou art by thy sins oppressed,
When Satan plagues thy troubled conscience,
And when thy heart is seeking rest.
What reason cannot comprehend
God by His grace to thee doth send.

By grace! This ground of faith is certain;
So long as God is true, it stands.
What saints have penned by inspiration,
What in His Word our God commands,
What our whole faith must rest upon,
Is grace alone, grace in His Son.

Some wise words from B. B. Warfield

B. B. Warfield, Professor of Theology at Princeton Seminary from 1887 until 1921 said it well, “The marvel of marvels is not that God, in His infinite love, has not elected all this guilty race to be saved, but that He has elected any.” In other words, the difficult question is not so much “How can a loving God send anyone to hell?” but “How can a holy God allow any sinner into heaven?”

That last question is answered for us in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake he [God the Father] made him [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him [Christ] we might become the righteousness of God.” At the cross, Christ took all the just punishment for our sins upon Himself, that we might have His righteousness placed in our account. I, for one, am amazed at the bountiful grace of God that has been poured out upon us in Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow, take the time to gather with God’s people to worship our gracious Triune God.

The Shadow of His Grace

J. Gresham Machen, in The Christian Faith in the Modern World wrote, “What I need first of all is not exhortation, but a gospel, not directions for saving myself but knowledge of how God has saved me. Have you any good news? That is the question that I ask of you. I know your exhortations will not help me. But if anything has been done to save me, will you not tell me the facts?

I am not here to say that exhortations do not have a place in the Christian’s life. We find exhortations again and again in Paul’s writings, especially at the end of his epistles, and they should be proclaimed with all of the fervor that we can muster. However, we as God’s people (and unbelievers, also) need to hear the Gospel again and again. We need to be reminded that Christ Jesus did what man could never do: live the righteous life required by God’s Law, and then die “once and for all” to pay the penalty for our sins. He suffered God’s wrath on our behalf in order that we could be declared righteous before God.

So even as we battle against our enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil, we must always have at the back of our mind the knowledge that it is not what we can do that makes us right with God, but what Jesus has done for us. Even as we “press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” we must do so resting in the finished work of Christ on our behalf.

May His grace always overshadow all that you think, say, and do.

Tuesday Hymns: “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”

Bernard of Clairvaux was a monk of the Cistercian order during the early 12th century who was often quoted by the Reformers as example of one who understood at some level the doctrine of sola fide. Our Tuesday Hymn for this week is an example of this churchman’s description of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ for His people (Note: I am not saying he had a full-orbed understanding of this great Biblical doctrine): “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.” Notice, how clearly he states in the second verse that “mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.”

Whenever we sing a song such as this (from the 12th century) as part of our corporate worship, I am reminded that we are a part of the people of God of all the ages, and these words have been sung to praise our God, not for years, not for decades, but for centuries.

O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down;
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory,
What bliss till now was thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I joy to call thee mine.

What thou, my Lord, hast suffered
Was all for sinners’ gain:
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Saviour!
‘Tis I deserve thy place;
Look on me with thy favor,
Vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
To thank thee, dearest Friend,
For this thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me thine for ever;
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love to thee.

Be near when I am dying,
O show thy cross to me;
And for my succor flying,
Come, Lord, to set me free:
These eyes, new faith receiving,
From Jesus shall not move;
For he who dies believing,
Dies safely, through thy love.

The Rankin Report (Up to the minute news about the Rankin family)

I have not posted on this blog since June 14 because our lives have become quite complicated, but things have begun to settle down a bit so I thought I would give a short report on how things are faring with the Rankin Clan. After spending the last 11 years home schooling our two children (albeit the last two connected to a job skills center), we, after much prayer, and with some trepidation, decided to place both of our boys in a public school. They each have special needs (see my last post) and we felt the structure would be a positive thing for both of them, but especially for our oldest. Our local Christian schools are not able to take on the particular issues that special need’s kids have, so we felt that this was our only option.

I must say, after two weeks, things seem to be going very well. There have been a few hiccups along the way, but all in all, the boys seem to be adjusting to the world of changing classes, and learning to adapt to people who are different (my youngest was surprised at how disrespectful of his teachers some of the kids were…although it is much easier to see disrespect in others than it is in yourself). Dixie is even beginning to relax a little, although her “MOM ALARM METER” is very sensitive when it comes to her kids. The teachers, counselors, nurses (our youngest is somewhat of a hypochondriac) and principals have been very helpful and gracious as we have adjusted to this new adventure, and I have nothing but praise for their dedication.

Most of all, we have been reminded once again of our Savior’s promise to “never leave us nor forsake us” even to “the end of the age.” Samuel Rodigast’s marvelous hymn, “Whate’er My God Ordains is Right,” has never been far from my mind over this last year:

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
His holy will abideth;
I will be still whate’er He doth,
And follow where He guideth.
He is my God,
Though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall,
Wherefore to Him I leave it all.

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path,
I know He will not leave me,
And take content
What He hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait His day.

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
His loving thought attends me;
No poison’d draught the cup can be
That my Physician sends me,
But medicine due
For God is true,
And on that changeless truth I build,
And all my heart with hope is fill’d.

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Though now this cup in drinking
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it all unshrinking;
Tears pass away
With dawn of day,
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet am I not forsaken,
My Father’s care
Is round me there,
He holds me that I shall not fall,
And so to Him I leave it all.