Flashback Friday

Today is Friday, our day of worship since we moved to this part of the world. Our girls have both been sick this week. Ethan kindly offered to stay home with them so I could go and worship with our church this morning. What a gift from the Lord to join His people in praise!

When I got back, Ethan told me he and the girls had been listening to chapel songs from our Cedarville days, 14  years ago. We started comparing notes on which were our favorites. Music holds so many memories. As we stood there in the kitchen YouTubing those songs, we had so much fun remembering His work in our lives. It was a gift to praise again, this time joining Ethan, alongside whom I love to worship Jesus the most.

One of our favorites is The First Place. Do you remember these wonderful lyrics?

The First Place

Jesus, the perfect picture of the unseen God
Maker of things we cannot comprehend.
Wisdom, the earth displays Your strength and beauty.
Sovereign, yes, every throne knows You are God.

Every inch of this universe belongs to You, O Christ.
For through You and for You it was made.
Your creation endures by the order of Your hand.
So You must have in all things the first place.

Victor, over sin and death You triumphed.
Firstborn, You’ve shown us life beyond the grave.
Bridegroom, we long for You in expectation.
Jesus, Your church rejoices to proclaim.
© 1999 Matthew Westerholm

Our Heart Our Desire.

Salvation Belongs to Our God

This one was not a chapel song but played often at events– Testify to Love

And of course–In Christ Alone, our class song!

And since it is Flashback Friday, here are two more pictures in honor of our college days…

Traditional Finger Food dinner before finals week

Encouragement Through Song

I am taking Dynamics of Biblical Change, an online counseling course via CCEF. I am only in week 2 so far, but I already am forever grateful for it. I have found my heart singing as I have delighted in all that God is showing me He is for me in Christ.

In both of the lectures so far we have started worshiping Christ in song. In today’s class I sang the song below with great joy. David Powlison added two stanzas (4 & 7) to this song which reflect how we, as new covenant believers, should sing this psalm. The psalm begins by asking, who can stand before you if you look at our sins? As the song dwells on the grace and mercy of Christ, it ends with the joy of a soul that can stand and does stand gladly before its Savior.

This song was so timely– reflecting the work the Lord has been deepening in my heart, even the last two weeks. As He turns my sight away from my sin and fills it with Himself, He is freeing my heart with overflowing joy and living hope.
Psalm 130–From the Depths of Woe (written by Martin Luther, “From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee,”–contemporary melody & arrangement by Christopher Miner. Stanzas 4 & 7 added by David Powlison).

From depths of woe I raise to thee a voice of lamentation.
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me and hear my supplication.
If thou iniquities dost mark, our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
[lead] O who shall stand before thee?
[echo] Who shall stand?
[lead] O who shall stand before thee?
[echo] Who shall stand?
[Together] Who shall stand before thee?

To wash away the crimson stain, grace, grace alone, availeth.
Our works, alas, are all in vain; in much the best life faileth.
No man can glory in thy sight, all must alike confess thy might
[lead] And live alone by mercy
[echo] Live alone
[lead] And live alone by mercy
[echo] Live alone
[Together] Live alone by mercy.

Therefore my trust is in the Lord and not in mine own merit.
On him my soul shall rest; his Word upholds my fainting spirit.
His promised mercy is my fort, my comfort, and my sweet support.
[lead] I wait for him with patience
[echo] Wait for him
[lead] I wait for him with patience
[echo] Wait for him
[Together] Wait for him with patience

And though my sorrows dark may be, Christ is my consolation.
He is my refuge day by day, high fortress of salvation.
He’ll take away my tears of pain, wash dust of death away with rain.
[lead] And now I sing before thee
[echo] Now I sing
[lead] And now I sing before thee
[echo] Now I sing
[Together] Now I sing before thee.

And though I wait the livelong night, until the dawn appeareth,
My heart still trusteth in his might; it doubteth not nor feareth.
Do thus, O you of Israel’s seed, you of the Spirit born indeed,
[lead] And wait till God appeareth
[echo] Wait till God
[lead] And wait till God appeareth
[echo] Wait till God
[Together] Wait till God appeareth.

Though great our sin and sore our woes, his grace much more aboundeth.
His helping love no limit knows, our utmost need it soundeth.
Our Shepherd good and true is he who will at last set Israel free
[lead] From all their sin and sorrow
[echo] All their sin
[lead] From all their sin and sorrow
[echo] All their sin
[Together] All their sin and sorrow.

On heights of joy I’ll raise to thee a voice of exultation.
Lord, turn thy glorious face to me; receive my adoration.
Thy mercies triumph full and free through Jesus Christ who rescued me.
[lead] I gladly stand before thee
[echo] Gladly stand
[lead] I gladly stand before thee
[echo] Gladly stand
[Together] Gladly stand before thee


The God Who Serves Us

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis describes a horrific place where all dreams come true and characters find themselves living in their own nightmares. As darkness engulfs them, Lucy cries, “Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now!” At first nothing changes, but soon a huge bird flies towards them, encircling them and then flies away. As it circles around them the bird whispers to Lucy, “Courage, dear heart.” She is certain she has heard Aslan’s voice. The captain of the ship follows the bird’s guidance and they find themselves in the light again.

Serving others is not necessarily living our own nightmare. After all, it is more blessed to give than to receive. But sometimes in the laying down of our lives, we find ourselves anxious about God’s love for us. The hours and days ahead of us seem dark and hopelessness threatens us. We may experience weariness and deep discouragement as we nurture life in others: in parenting, mentoring another woman, or nurturing a relative with disabilities. Lucy’s words resonate with my own heart, “God, if ever you loved me at all…”

As we start a new week of serving and dying to self, where do we find fresh endurance to love others beyond our own strength?

The Son of Man, Our Servant

Over the past months I have discovered comfort in an astonishing truth found in Mark 10:43-45:

“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Just before these verses, the disciples James and John had come to Jesus and requested they wanted to sit at his right and left hand when He was in glory. They wanted to be great in Jesus’ kingdom. The Lord used this opportunity to explain to them who is truly great in His kingdom.  

In this passage, Jesus used striking language to refer to Himself. In calling Himself the Son of Man, He was alluding to the prophetic vision in Daniel 7: 13-14. In this passage, Daniel saw one “like a son of man” to whom the Ancient of Days gave all dominion and glory and a kingdom from all peoples and nations “who would serve Him.”

And yet in Mark we find something unexpected. The Son of Man said he didn’t come to be served but to serve those for whom He would give his life. Jesus is the Servant Isaiah talks about who would be “a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness” (Isaiah 42: 6-7).

There is great joy in the Son of Man’s revelation of Himself as our Servant.  He knows we are utterly unable and unwilling to count others as more important than ourselves. So He both served us and enabled our service. He did that by living a perfect life, giving us His righteousness and taking our condemnation. By dying and rising again, he gave us a new heart and set us free from our sin so that it no longer has dominion over us (Rom. 6: 14).

Christ became a servant until death. God then highly exalted him and gave Him a name that is above every other name (Phil. 2: 8-9). Christ served us with his life, death and resurrection. But his service to us did not end there!

Now at God’s right hand, He ministers to us daily as our merciful and faithful High Priest (Heb. 8: 1-2). It blows my mind to think that our highly exalted King Jesus is still that Son of Man who serves. As our priest forever:

  •         He always lives to pray for us as He sits at the right hand of the Father (Rom. 8: 34; Heb. 7: 25).
  •         He is able to completely save those who draw near to God through Him (Heb. 7: 25-26).
  •         He provides emergency help by giving us a way of escape when we are being tempted (Heb. 2:16-18).
  •         He is our helper who can never forget or abandon us (Heb. 13: 5-6).

We find power as we entrust ourselves to the Son of Man’s ongoing service. Through His Spirit in us we have a Helper who enables us to be helpers! He is intimately involved in our lives, equipping us daily to do God’s will (1 Peter 4: 10-11).

As we experience the difficulties and sorrows that nurturing others can bring, our hearts may cry out with worry or bitterness, “Who cares for me?! Who sees my needs?!” Believe that our Risen Lord does. Comfort food, close friends, Instagram and Netflix will never hold a candle to what Jesus does for us at the right hand of God. When we are desperate for comfort and respite, let’s run to the Throne of grace! Promised grace and mercy await us there (Heb. 4: 16). His help and provision may come in the form of His people serving us or in the removal of the hardship. But it may also come by the way He strengthens our soul (Psalm 138: 3).

And, can you believe this? At the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, the Son of Man, who served us with his life, death, resurrection and intercessory work, will dress Himself, have us recline at the table and serve us (Lk. 12: 32). His service to us will continue into Eternity! Such is our Savior! O for faith, then, to trust His voice whispering to us today: “Courage, dear heart.



The art included in this post is by Ruth from GraceLaced Shoppe. Click on the image if you are interested in purchasing it.