Tag Archives: Hymns

I’ll Never Get Bored

Don’t get me started talking about my son or I could go on forever. I love telling people about what a great young man he is, about his artistic talent and generous nature, and about his plans to go to art school. I never get bored telling others about him.

There is another Son that I never get bored with talking and writing about—Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Although not all of the 900+ posts on my blog are about Jesus, the majority are. I have shared about His grace and love, about how He has helped me face challenges in my life and my faith that He will continue to do so, and about the many lessons I have learned from His Word. I love to tell the story of what Jesus has done for me because He has given me a peace and joy I never knew before I knew Him, and I want that peace and joy for everyone I know. Actually, I want it for the whole world. And I know there are people who read my blog who never get bored with reading and hearing about His love, too.

But there is one person who apparently does. (There are probably others, but most who aren’t interested simply don’t read my blog rather take the time to tell me my choice of subject is boring.) This person wrote to me:

I seldom read your stuff…. You are a good writer, but you go on and on and on about the same stuff…. How wonderful God is, and nothing good would happen without the blessings of God, how God feeds the hungry, nourishes the sick, etc. etc. etc. Doesn’t it get boring, reading and writing the same thing over and over? You could substitute just about any of your posts for another.

I was really letting this bother me, but then this morning in church we sang the great old hymn I Love to Tell the Story. The first verse says:

I love to tell the story
Of unseen things above
Of Jesus and His glory
Of Jesus and His love
I love to tell the story
Because I know it’s true
It satisfies my longings
As nothing else will do

I was reminded of why I love Jesus and share His love with others. It’s because He satisfies the desires of my heart as nothing and no one else ever could. There will always be those who don’t want to hear the story of Jesus. That is their choice and I am not upset or offended by their choice. But I will never grow bored with sharing God’s grace with those who want to hear. So I decided today to share Alan Jackson’s rendition of the hymn we sang this morning, I Love to Tell the Story.

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Psalm 28 – A Mighty Fortress

Going in order of Psalms I’ve not posted before, we come to Psalm 27. I have posted a few verses of this Psalm as parts of other posts, but never the whole Psalm for Psalm Sunday. I think it is an appropriate Psalm for today, Reformation Sunday, because in the last stanza is speaks of God as our fortress of salvation. This is appropriate because one of the most famous hymns written by Martin Luther, which we always sing in church on Reformation Sunday, is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” It is an awesome hymn, and as a bonus I’ve posted a video of it sung by Chris Rice below the Psalm.

Psalm 28

    Of David.

 1 To you I call, O LORD my Rock;
   do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
   I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
2 Hear my cry for mercy
   as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
   toward your Most Holy Place.

 3 Do not drag me away with the wicked,
   with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbors
   but harbor malice in their hearts.
4 Repay them for their deeds
   and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
   and bring back upon them what they deserve.
5 Since they show no regard for the works of the LORD
   and what his hands have done,
he will tear them down
   and never build them up again.

 6 Praise be to the LORD,
   for he has heard my cry for mercy.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
   my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
   and I will give thanks to him in song.

 8 The LORD is the strength of his people,
   a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
9 Save your people and bless your inheritance;
   be their shepherd and carry them forever.

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When Did Pride Become a Virtue?

Yesterday I was listening to my iPod on shuffle and the old hymn “They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love” sung by Jars of Clay came on. It’s a pretty good hymn, all about unity among Christians and, as the title suggests, how other will know that we are Christians by the love we show each other and other people. But there is one line in this otherwise beautiful hymn that has always kind of bothered me. In the second verse is the line, “And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride.” Whenever I hear it I wonder why would we save each person’s pride? When did pride become something to save or desire? When did pride become a virtue?

At Dictionary.com I found the following about the noun “pride,” its synonyms, and its one antonym:

Synonyms
1. Pride, conceit, self-esteem, egotism, vanity, vainglory imply an unduly favorable idea of one’s own appearance, advantages, achievements, etc., and often apply to offensive characteristics. Pride is a lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect: Pride must have a fall. Conceit implies an exaggerated estimate of one’s own abilities or attainments, together with pride: blinded by conceit. Self-esteem may imply an estimate of oneself that is higher than that held by others: a ridiculous self-esteem. Egotism implies an excessive preoccupation with oneself or with one’s own concerns, usually but not always accompanied by pride or conceit: His egotism blinded him to others’ difficulties. Vanity implies self-admiration and an excessive desire to be admired by others: His vanity was easily flattered. Vainglory, somewhat literary, implies an inordinate and therefore empty or unjustified pride: puffed up by vainglory.

Antonyms
1.  humility.

And yet, pride is often itself lifted up as a virtue. We are proud to be Americans (there’s even a song about that). We are proud of our educational achievements (with all those letters after our names). We are proud of our charitable activities (loving to pat ourselves on the back for being so generous and Christ-like). We are proud of our honor students (there’s even a bumper sticker for that). We strut our pride as if the accomplishments and characteristics we are proud of are of our own making and design.

The problem with pride, as I see it, is it leaves out God’s immeasurable contribution to the blessings we enjoy. Let’s look just at being proud to be an American. For most of us, we did nothing to accomplish this. It is a matter of where we were born, which was determined by where our parents lived at the time, which they in turn may not truly have had much control over. Rather than saying “I’m proud to be in American,” wouldn’t it be better to say “I am blessed to be an American”? Or better yet, “I am humbled to have the good fortune to be an American”? It is by God’s grace that I live where I do and to Him belongs the glory, not me.

I did a Biblegateway.com search for the words pride and proud throughout the whole Bible. Pride appears 63 times and proud appears 47 times in the NIV, and for the most part they are not viewed as a virtue but as a sinful condition of the heart. It is only in the New Testament when the pride of believers is in Christ alone and not in themselves that the word pride finds an acceptable usage on our tongues.

The prophets Obadiah and Hosea wrote of the evils of pride. Pride is deceptive, and the proud forget their God.

“The pride of your heart has deceived you,
   you who live in the clefts of the rocks
   and make your home on the heights,
you who say to yourself,
   ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’
Though you soar like the eagle
   and make your nest among the stars,
   from there I will bring you down,”
            declares the LORD.
Obadiah 1:3-4 (NIV).

I cared for you in the desert,
   in the land of burning heat.
When I fed them, they were satisfied;
   when they were satisfied, they became proud;
   then they forgot me.
Hosea 13:5-6 (NIV).

But I love the antonym of pride, and that is humility. The word humble appears 71 times in the NIV. In each instance, humility brings blessing. Moses was selected by God for the work of freeing the Israelites because he was humble. Numbers 12:3. Ahab was saved from disaster because he humbled himself before God. 1 Kings 21:29. The Lord heals and forgives the sins of those who are humble. 2 Chronicles 7:14. God guides the humble. Psalm 25:9. He gives grace to those who are humble. Proverbs 3:34. Daniel was given great wisdom and visions from God because he was humble. Daniel 10:12. The Lord always lifts up and exalts those who humble themselves before Him. Luke 14:11.

It is easy to be deceived by pride, but it is not a virtue. Being prideful will not lead to blessing, but may instead ultimately lead to the loss of the greatest blessing of all. Humility, on the other hand, is a virtue that one can cling to and trust that good will come from being humble.

They will know we are Christians by our love, but they ought to also know we are Christians by our humility. We must never forget that all we have, all we are, all our accomplishments and blessings, are a gift from God and to Him belongs the glory.

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I Love to Tell the Story

Yesterday in church our opening hymn was “I Love to Tell the Story.” It is one of those great old hymns where you really don’t need to have the words on the overhead screen or in the bulletin because everyone knows it. I don’t think we’ve ever sung it in church before, but it was perfect to go with the message we heard. (Our worship team always does a great job of selecting music appropriate for the message!)

Before I get to the message, I wanted to share this Alan Jackson version of this beautiful hymn:

We had a special guest speaker who is a perfect example of one who loves to tell the story. He is a representative of The Gideons International. He shared with us how the Gideons distribute Bibles worldwide and the impact they have made.

When I think of the Gideons, I think of how there has always been a Bible placed by the Gideons in every hotel or motel room I’ve ever stayed in. I always thought that was the only way they distributed Bibles. And our speaker did mention that there are some new hotels with a policy that they will not open until all the Gideon Bibles are placed. He also told the story of a local hotel where the Gideons couldn’t get there before the grand opening. When they arrived a few days after the opening, the manager told him the story of a couple who had enjoyed their stay, but noticed that there was no Gideon Bible in the room.

I learned yesterday, however, that putting Bibles in hotel and motel rooms is only a small part of what the Gideons do. They also bring Bibles to people in hospitals, distribute Bibles in prisons, and on college campuses. According to their website, in the last fiscal year they placed 10,802,435 Bibles in the United States, including youth Testaments, college Testaments, hotel Bibles, hospital Bibles, prison Bibles, and medical Testaments. They also distribute 68,190,377 Bibles to 192 countries worldwide last year. Since they first started in 1908, the Gideons have placed over 1.7 billion Bibles.

A great thing about this ministry is that if you donate money to them, 100% of your donation goes to the purchase and distribution of Bibles because the Gideons, who are all volunteer, pay their own expenses and the administrative costs.

The Gideons’ ministry is based on two wonderful scriptures that were our readings for yesterday’s service:

As the rain and the snow
   come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
   without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
   so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
   It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV).

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV).

I know I love to tell the story of Jesus and His love. That’s what this blog is all about. It is always such an encouragement to hear from others who love to tell His story, too. I left church yesterday quite encouraged by this speaker, having learned of another great way to help distribute God’s Word around the world to those who want and need it. Our guest speaker asked mostly for prayer, and so I am passing his request on to you. Please pray for this terrific ministry. And if the Holy Spirit leads you, they can certainly use your financial support as well. Just click on the link above to visit their website and learn more.

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Music Monday Extra – Nothing but the Blood

This is another hymn, written by Robert Lowry, recorded by Jars of Clay for their Redemption Songs CD. I thought it was an appropriate Music Monday Extra because it ties in with my post from this morning. It is a reminder that the sin of man would forever keep us in darkness and separated from God if not for the blood of Jesus, willingly shed for us.

If you want to read the lyrics and hear the original melody as written by Lowery, check it out on HymnSite.com. I love this version by Jars of Clay, though; and one of my favorite things about it is the background vocals by the Blind Boys of Alabama, another of my favorite bands. 

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