Friday, November 30, 2007

In Christ Alone

I love hymns. I love the simplicity of a capella hymns. I love singing them with the Saints of God or by myself throughout the day. I love listening to professional recordings of hymns. I love meditating on the words to the hymns and thinking about what they mean to me. I love feeling the presence of the Lord when I worship Him through singing hymns.

I also really enjoy listening to contemporary Christian music on occasion. I enjoy music like what we heard at Raise the Praise. I enjoy tuning into the local Christian radio station. Some of these songs are just as powerful and can lift my soul just as much as a good hymn.

One of my favorite contemporary Christian songs is "In Christ Alone." I haven't heard this song in a long time, but it just came to mind out of the blue the other day. When it came to mind I couldn't remember many of the words. Actually, I couldn't remember any of the words except "in Christ alone." I finally looked up the lyrics and I'm very thankful I did. The words to this song are powerful and beautiful. It was a great encouragement to me to read through the lyrics and meditate on the truth contained in them.

"In Christ Alone"
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

You can listen to this song and watch a video here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

O Give Thanks Unto His Name

The Lord has been so good to me, I want to sing His praise,
I want to glorify His name all my remaining days.
The Lord has been so good to me, I will on Him depend;
And ev'ry day where e're I be, I would His truth defend.

As the day in which we take time to give thanks to God for all His blessings approaches, I can't help but to sing this hymn. The Lord has been so good to me throughout all my life, and especially throughout this last year. There are so many things for which to be thankful that I couldn't possible cease from giving praises to Him.

I am thankful for the blessing of health. I am thankful for the blessing of the food I have to eat every day. I am thankful for the abundance of clothes in my closet. I am thankful for the comfortable bed I have to sleep on. I am thankful for the many cars parked outside our house.

I want to follow in His steps and show my love this way;
I want to lift His banner up, each fair or cloudy day.
The Lord has been so good to me, I will on Him depend;
And ev'ry day where e're I be, I would His truth defend.

I am thankful for my sight which allows me to see all His beautiful creations. I am thankful for my hearing which allows me to hear His truth and the singing of praises. I am thankful for my voice which allows me to share the Good News and praise Him. I am thankful for my sense of smell which allows me to enjoy the beautiful flowers and fragrances of the season created by Him. I am thankful for my hands which allow me to grasp the beauty around me and feel as if I am touching my Savior Himself.

I want to mingle with His saints while here on earth I stay,
And meet them on the golden shore on that eternal day.
The Lord has been so good to me, I will on Him depend;
And ev'ry day where e're I be, I would His truth defend.

I am thankful for the church I am a member of. I am thankful for the physical building where I can come out of the world and worship His name. I am thankful for the fellowship with my dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I am thankful for the Truth I can read, hear, and believe. I am thankful for faithful ministers who are diligent to teach His flock.

Lord Jesus, wilt Thou mercy show and save me by Thy grace,
That I may when this life is o'er look on Thy lovely face.
The Lord has been so good to me, I will on Him depend;
And ev'ry day where e're I be, I would His truth defend.

I am thankful for the recent sweet times I've had in communion with the Lord. I am thankful for the times when I can fall before His throne and "find grace to help in time of need." I am thankful for answered prayers and for being led by the Holy Spirit. I am thankful for His mercy which is new every morning. I am thankful for the knowledge and hope that one day I will praise Him more perfectly.

And in the land of endless bliss, where all the praise is Thine,
Some humble place at Thy dear feet, may this poor sinner find.
The Lord has been so good to me, I will on Him depend;
And ev'ry day where e're I be, I will His truth defend.

I am thankful for His perfect will and plan for my life. I am thankful for the blessing of this sweet gentleman. I am thankful for the patience and the leading the Lord has shown the two of us. I am thankful for the joy he has brought to my life. I am thankful for his encouragement to love the Lord more perfectly. I am thankful for the peace of God in my heart.

Psalm 92:1-2 "It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night"

Psalm 69:30 "I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Oh, the things kids say!

One thing I have loved about doing my field experience at the primary school this semester is getting to hear all the cute and funny things kids say. Rarely a day goes by that I don't laugh about something a student says to me or another student. Of course, some of what they say isn't polite or good, so I have to hide my chuckling at those. Others, however, are just so cute and innocent. Oh, to have the mind of a 6 year old again!

Today, was probably one of the most laughter-filled days I've had this semester. I couldn't stop laughing at what the students were saying. I'm going to share three incidents with you, but remember that they are not going to seem as funny as they were in person.

#1: I walk into the classroom and a boy, S, walks up to show me his outfit.

S: I'm wearing as much camo as possible today, so I can be in the army when I get older.
Me: Wow, that is a lot of camo.
S: Do you think it's enough to be in the army?
Me: Oh, I definitely think so!

#2: I noticed one student sitting in her desk coloring a picture, which is rather unusual. This student usually has to be told what to do about 10 times each morning before everything gets done.

Me: C, good morning! How are you this morning?
C: (sigh) I'm just so exhausted.
Me: Why are you so exhausted?
C: Because I have to dress like the 70's for K's party, and I just don't know how I'm going to do that.
Me: Oh, K is having a 70's birthday party?
C: Yeah, and I just don't know how to dress like the 70's. Everything is going to be soooo big. K, is it alright if I just wear normal clothes?
*At this point, I had to walk away because I couldn't carry on the conversation any longer and cover up my laughing.

#3: I noticed that one student, J, was looking at his book during reading time. He usually isn't doing what he's supposed to be, so when I catch him doing the right thing, I try to praise him and focus on his good work.

Me: J, can you read this book to me?
J: Well, I'm just taking a picture walk. (This is when they just look at the pictures throughout the book.)
Me: Well, when you're done can I hear you read a little bit?
J: I just don't think I can.
Me: Why not?
J: I'm just not into this kind of thing.
Me: What kind of thing?
J: This 3 bears story, I'm just not into that kind of thing.
Me: (trying to hold back laughter) Well, I'm sorry, but during reading you have to be reading the book that the teacher assigns. You don't get to pick.

There were several other things said throughout the day that made me laugh, but these were definitely the funniest.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Psalm 100

As I've been preparing for our meeting that starts tomorrow night, this Psalm keeps coming to mind. Lately, I've really been enjoying reading the Psalms. Some, like Psalm 25, are good to read when I'm feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. Others, like Psalm 113 are great to read and give praise to the Lord. It seems to me that there is a Psalm that describes any situation that I could be dealing with. This Psalm, Psalm 100, is a great reminder of the praise we should be giving to the Lord when we gather together to worship. I pray that as tomorrow evening approaches, I might "enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise."
Psalm 100

1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.