Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hope in Lyrics Part I

Hope in Lyrics: Part 1

All around us today is a constant beat of uncertainty and negative rumblings from the news to the gas pump. I am finding much encouragement in lyrics of poems and songs.

The renewed interest in Charles Wesley's lyrics is probably due to our fast changing and uncertain times. Could any sane person not be shaken in a time like this? Even the experts cannot confidently predict anything.

On this blog we claim that the Bible promises us an abundant life. The humor posts are a writing stretch for me. I thank you for your gracious reponses, but these next few days I am feeling a strong need for a sober seeking for God as my source in my struggles. Join me as we look to Wesley for inspiration.

"Arise my Soul Arise" by Charles Wesley

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And 'Father, Abba, Father,' cry.

It is extraordinary that Charles Wesley wrote this in 1742. As you read these lyrics you could imagine he had just finished watching the 11 o'clock news. Look at the first line, "Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;" I'm going through major changes with my husband's recent death. I'm fighting off some guilty fears as I work to plan my savings to last my lifetime. My children insist that I work it out to live until I'm 100.

I am known as a strong confident Christian. Recently my shaking has not been limited to my knees. I even say to myself, "Where's your faith in God? Aren't you the one that gives the message: God will never forsake you?"

But, my assurance is secure as I meditate on this hymn. Wesley speaks truth that stands forever: "The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears." " Yes, before the Throne of God my confidence stands.

The Bible is my main source of wisdom and in Hebrews 6:11 I read "We desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope to the end."

Wesley continues in this hymn by saying "My name is written on His hands." I place that right up there with the scriptural truth that He knows how many hairs are in my head. Individually and corporately, you and I are not forgotten.

In I Peter we see we have a living hope:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." {1 Pet 1:3 RSV}

I'm wrestling with financial planning in the most uncertain economic climate of my lifetime. My young friends are coping with the concern for their jobs in this turbulent time. Everyone I know is adapting their lives in trying to be wise for the unknown near future.

Last night in our mid week service I could "feel" that weight on many of us, young and old. Our worship and Bible study were so amazing I have no words to express the loving assurance of God among us.

Jesus is our Living Hope. He is enough. I may have to whisper that under my breath several times today as I do the "hard work" of using my left brain and get my financial house in excellent order with a tight budget and wise plan. You have your "stretch" because I read your comments and many other bloggers' concerns.

God has always worked in chaos. Look at the beginning of the Bible. He is with us in our lives and this transition is making some chaos....He is our Living Hope.

I Peter 3:1 in the Message Bible reads, " What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have Him, this Father of our Master Jesus!

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!

God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.

The Day is coming when you'll have it all—life healed and whole."

The struggle I'm having in my life planning is my wants.
John Piper, writes "I think if you probe deeply you will find that it is not your actions or thoughts or ideas. It is your desires. We are most basically what we crave. Ideas and principles will be brought in afterwards to justify our appetites and passions."

What makes you you? "

"What is the essence of your unique personhood?"

What is that tap root from which the flower of your individuality grows?"

He sums up much of my honest seeking, "The primal thing is your yearning and longing. Your individuality is determined by what you hanker for."

My prayer in my fast changing place is that Holy Spirit will so fill me that my desires line up with Father God's destiny hope in me. He is my Living Hope.

How is He your living hope?

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© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.