Before the Foundation

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Free bing passover lamb

Before the Foundation…

(By: H. E. Basaar, Spring 2005)

He knew before the beginning,

He knew what it would take;

He knew we would be sinning

And of the sacrifice He’d make.

***

Yet, He hovered low over the waters,

He moved upon the deepest darkness,

He drempt of us, our sons and daughters,

As He graced the liquid stillness.

***

He fashioned the world within his hand,

Suspended it in the midst of space.

Called the stars forth within his plan,

Crafting the world and the human race.

***

Still, there it was before Him

The sight of pain and blood.

The stabbing evil taint of sin

Arose in His mind as a flood.

***

Yet, God, who is light within light,

Into the desolate abyss shone

Brilliantly down from his glorious height,

Where he sits on his heavenly throne.

***

Soon land was formed and birds flew,

Animals walked on dirt called Earth.

Fishes swam in oceans blue,

And trees and flowers were given birth.

***

The world was good, He said it was so

And graced it with a grin.

His eyes searched it out as He looked below,

For all was well therein.

***

Yet there it was, the horrid cost,

Of making this our world,

He saw the future tempest tossed,

And yet its realms unfurled.

***

He then stooped down, as He walked this land,

And scooped up some dust within his hand,

Through His fingers He felt the grains of sand,

And then molded it into something grand.

***

It sat there lifeless upon the earth,

As the Spirit hovered yet again.

God held His masterpiece of greatest worth,

And breathed upon it His holy wind.

***

He saw the blood, He saw the pain,

And yet the breath of life He breathed,

He perceived the guilt, the rancid stain,

Yet in His image, man He made.

***

He saw Calvary from the midst of Eden

As He looked in the eyes of Adam and Eve.

He beheld heaven from whence Lucifer’d fallen,

He looked at you, and He looked at me.

***

From the very beginning He saw our shame.

Before He’d made us, He understood.

Before Earth’s foundation the Lamb was slain.

Yet He looked upon us and said, “It is GOOD.

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Behold God’s Lamb!

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Free bing passover lamb

Time of Remembrance

Palm Sunday was truly a special day to commemorate Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey. It was the day wherein the people cried out “Hosanna in the highest” while waving palm branches, cheering loudly, and laying their coats in the road (Matthew 21). Let’s think on that stirring scene of Jesus being heralded as their Davidic king of salvation by a people unprepared for Him to die on a shameful cross just four days later. What the Jews of Jesus’ day strongly desired was a conquering king to deliver them from Roman oppression and to restore the kingdom to them as promised to David. But, unbeknownst to them, God had sent them His sacrificial Lamb who would save them from something mightier and more terrible than Rome. This Lamb would by His shed blood save them from their sin and put them back in right standing with God the Father.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem humbly upon the foal of a donkey, it was on the 10th of the first month on God’s calender. In the history of the Jews this was the day on which they were to select a lamb for the feast of Passover that would come four days later. They selected the lamb on the 10th and were to bring it into their homes. They were to watch it to make sure that it was truly without spot and without wrinkle. Plus, they might even get attached to the cute little lamb that in four days they would kill before the Lord.

Exodus 12 is the first time that God stipulated that this was to be done. At that time the children of Israel were in Egypt. Nine plagues had already struck the Egyptians, and a tenth was about to wipe out all of the firstborn. It was then that God told the Jews to prepare a spotless lamb.

Genesis 3:15

Such a promise of salvation was not first seen in Exodus 12, however. It is in Genesis 3:15 that we first behold this promise:

15 And I will put enmity between thee [the serpent] and the woman, and between thy seed [the serpent’s] and her seed [Jesus]; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Genesis 22

Furthermore, we also see this promise in the story of Abraham when he is taking his son Isaac to sacrifice him for God in Genesis 22:1-2,6-13

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.”

God Will Provide “Himself” A Lamb

It is said in Hebrews 11:17-19 says of Abraham,

“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”

Thus, Abraham still believed that God would fulfill His Word regarding salvation through the line of Isaac the son of promise. He never gave upon believing what God had said, and therefore, believed that God could even resurrect Isaac.

Furthermore, since every word of God is inspired, it is important to note Abraham’s prophetic words, “God will provide Himself a lamb.” It does not say, God will provide a lamb FOR Himself. No. It quite clearly implies in the Hebrew text that God will provide Himself as a Lamb. For indeed, it is believed that Golgotha is more than likely the mountain to which God directed Abraham in the land of Moriah. Thus, Jesus died as the provided Lamb on the very spot where Isaac was to have been a sacrifice.

1 Peter 1:18-25

First Peter 1 sheds greater light on this concept of God as the Lamb.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.25 …And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

Behold! The Lamb of God!

And so, before Jesus was ever born or began His ministry, and well before God told the Jews in Egypt to sacrifice a spotless lamb; even before He taught His people that “without blood there is no remission” of sins (Hebrews 9:22), even before Abraham beheld the ram caught in the thicket, even before the world was created, before the foundations of Earth were laid, even before God said “Let there be light,” it was planned that Jesus would be the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. Just as God taught the Jews to select a spotless lamb, God Himself selected the LAMB who died once for all and whose shed blood covers all who believe (Hebrews 9:23-28, 10:10).

And it was on Palm Sunday that God ushered His perfect, humble, spotless Lamb into Jerusalem in front of the cheering crowd. It was on Palm Sunday that God’s Lamb Jesus was brought into God’s house (the Temple) where He was observed and questioned for four days to see if He was perfect. It was on Palm Sunday that God’s plan of salvation though His Lamb was nearing its grand unveiling.

It was on Passover, otherwise known as Good Friday, that Jesus was mocked, beaten, given a ridiculous, illegal trial wherein He was falsely accused, was jeered, spit upon, robed in purple, and crowned with thorns (like the ram in the thicket). It was on Passover, that Jesus, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, bore on His back our sins, our infirmities, our pain, our grief (Isaiah 53). It was on Passover that Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith…for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). It was on Passover that God profoundly tore the veil of the Temple in two, right down the middle from top to bottom, as a New Covenant was created in Christ’s blood. All of this detail, this elaborate symphony of grace, was intricately woven throughout the holy Scriptures through promises from the beginning of time. And on Passover…the mystery literally was unveiled.

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Sources:

On the word “Hosanna”: thttp://www.preceptaustin.org/hosanna-save_now

All Bible Quotes taken from the KJV Bible: https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org

 

Outstanding Songs and Scenes that Communicate This Truth of Christ as the LAMB:

Born As The Lamb

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Have you ever wondered why the angels announced the tidings of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds? (Luke 2:1-14) Why not announce it to carpenters or fishermen or merchants or priests or kings? I have heard sermons and teachings about shepherds and how dirty and repulsive and disreputable they were, and that God therefore brought these tidings to the lowest of the low. But, in all my reading and years of research I have not found in the Old Testament a basis for shepherds being scoundrels. Instead what I have seen is that many important individuals in the Old Testament were shepherds and were not frowned upon, such as Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David and many others in Israel. Furthermore, God calls Himself a shepherd in Ezekiel 34, and David in Psalm 23 calls God his shepherd.

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.”

The shepherds watching their flocks by night in Bethlehem the evening of Jesus’ birth were not just any old shepherds however, and the sheep raised in Bethlehem were not just any old sheep. Shepherds in Bethlehem, according to Jewish history, were specifically those who were raising flocks for Temple sacrifice in neighboring Jerusalem and for all the sacrifices for God’s feast days, including Passover.

Not only this, but shepherds only kept watch over their flocks by night when it was “lambing season”. Lambing season was the time of year when baby lambs were born. It was then that shepherds had to be on high alert. A mother lamb often carried more than one lamb in her womb (upwards to 3), and so the shepherds had to be close at hand in case those little lambs got all tangled up and were not being birthed properly. So, these were very important Temple shepherds and very important sacrificial sheep.

Furthermore, little lambs were born in the Spring (sometimes into the early summer), and specifically the lambs for Passover would have to have been born one year before the Passover on which they would be sacrificed. After all, it is stipulated in scripture that the spotless lambs sacrificed on Passover were to be one year old (Exodus 12:5).

But, still, why would the Angel of the LORD proclaim to these important shepherds that the Messiah had been born?

We can find the simple answer to this in John 1:29, “The next day when John [the baptist] seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” First Peter 1:19-20 says, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you…”

The Angel of the LORD and the angelic host of heaven revealed this message of the Savior to the Temple shepherds on a night that they were watching for lambs to be birthed among the Temple sheep because Jesus was the spotless LAMB of God spoken of in Isaiah 53 who had come into the world to die as a Temple sacrifice on Passover. And since God is so orderly and is indeed the one who created the times and seasons and holy days, at what better time for Jesus to be born than at the time of year when all other Passover lambs were being birthed in the fields? It is no wonder then that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was born among Temple sheep in Bethlehem during lambing season in the Spring around Passover and was laid in a humble manger. In this timeless passage (Luke 2) of remarkable simplicity and incredible power, God reveals to us His fulfillment of prophecy with intricate precision and glorious harmony.

Helpful Source:

Jonathan Cahn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptlsXtTf6n0

Hymn Lyrics: He Giveth More Grace

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He Giveth More Grace

by Annie Johnson Flint

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater, 
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase; 
To added affliction He addeth His mercy; 
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace. 

When we have exhausted our store of endurance, 
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done, 
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources, 
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

 Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision, 
Our God ever yearns His resources to share; 
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing; 
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

Chorus:

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure. 
His pow’r has no boundary known unto men; 
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, 
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

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For More Information Concerning the Author, Connect With The Article, “Like Crushed Roses”: https://wordpress.com/post/holylight4u.wordpress.com/583 

Hymn Lyrics: His Eye Is On the Sparrow

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His Eye Is On The Sparrow

by Civilla Martin

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

—-

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

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To Learn More About The Author, Please Connect To The Article, “Like Crushed Roses,” At This Link: https://wordpress.com/post/holylight4u.wordpress.com/583

Like Crushed Roses

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free bing desktop wallpaper music piano keys red rose

As Christians we have all had different experiences, different joys, different pains, different disappointments, different regrets, different afflictions, but we all have the same Jesus. We all have experienced ups and downs, highs and lows, sorrows and joys, and through it all Jesus has said, “My Grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Story after story in the Bible relates to us the incredible trials and successes of believer after believer, from childless Abraham and Sarah who in their old age saw the fulfillment of God’s promise though the birth of their son Isaac (found in the book of Genesis); to Job who lost everything including all seven of his grown children, his wealth, and his joy, but who saw it restored and multiplied in the end (the book of Job); to Paul who was a Hebrew of Hebrews and a well-respected man of standing among the Jews who then for Jesus lost it all, was beaten, went hungry, endured hardships, pain, shipwreck, loneliness, and eventually was martyred for Jesus, and yet before his death saw the Gospel spread throughout the known world because of his labors (2 Corinthians 11). They each had different trials, but they all had the same Lord. And through their stories we can see that God did not leave them comfortless. We also can see through their stories that God comforts us through the stories of their experiences.

And this is still the same for Christians throughout history. Many of the hymns that we sing to the Lord when we gather together were inspired through the trials, tragedy, hardships and grief of their authors. Though not all of us have been through the same experiences, we all have experienced the unending love and incredible mercies of Christ throughout our lives, and have been sweetened by His presence, giving off a fragrant aroma like that of crushed roses.

Now, let’s take a closer look at what a few of the hymn writers have been through, and how their pains and joys still inspire us today as we continue to sing their songs unto the Lord.

His Eye Is On The Sparrow”

Civilla Martin and her husband became very close to a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle. Mrs. Doolittle was bedridden 20 years, and Mr. Doolittle wheeled himself to and from work in a wheelchair. Yet, in spite of their great afflictions, they were full of joy and were a comfort for all who knew them. When Mr. Martin asked them what the secret to their cheerfulness was, Mrs. Doolittle responded, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” It was through this relationship and because of those words that Civilla Martin penned the inspirational song, “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.”

“Just As I Am”

“Just As I Am” was written by a young woman named Charlotte Elliott. She was an angry, bitter lady, for she had a disability that could not be overcome. Her anger was directed at God, for she felt that God must not love her. Her family wanted to help her, so they invited a Swiss minister to dinner. It was at this dinner that she erupted violently. After her embarrassed family exited the dining room, the minister gently spoke with her. At one point, Charlotte asked him, “If I wanted to become a Christian and to share the peace and joy you possess, what would I do?” To which the minister replied, “You would give yourself to God just as you are now, with your fightings and fears, hates and loves, pride and shame.” Then thoughtfully she inquired, “I would come to God just as I am? Is that right?” And so, she came to believe in Jesus during that heart-to-heart discussion. Later for the sake of her minister brother who was raising funds for a school for poor ministers she wrote a poem that was published entitled, “Just As I Am.” That poem went on to become the most famous hymn in history. Though for the rest of her life she still struggled with her infirmities and disability, she was encouraged by letter after letter sent to her by those who had been profoundly touched by her poem that later became a hymn made popular during the altar call at the Billy Graham crusades.

He Giveth More Grace”

Annie Johnson Flint was born on Christmas Eve and was to her parents the “greatest earthly gift.” A short 3 years later, Annie would lose her mother who died in childbirth, and a short time after that would also lose her father who had been “suffering from an incurable disease.” Her father, a godly man, willed Annie and her baby sister to a good baptist family named Flint, in order that they be raised in a solidly Christian household. At the age of 8 while attending a revival meeting, she believed in Jesus for herself and was truly converted. She was a cheerful and optimistic child, full of hope and undying faith.

Later, two years into a teaching career, the debilitating affliction of rheumatoid arthritis began to rear its ugly head in her life. On top of this, her sister and her were made orphans again when both of their adoptive parents died within a few short months of each other. The two of them had very little money, but her love of music and poetry became a monetary blessing. “Two card publishers printed some of her greetings and released the first little brochure of her poems,” and through the Sunday School Times she began to correspond with countless hurting people who did not understand what they were enduring. Through the poems and other words that she wrote to them, “she became convinced that God intended to glorify Himself through her in her weak, earthen vessel; and like Paul, she gained real assurance and could say with the apostle, the promise granted to him: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” She could also say with Paul, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” She believed that God had laid her aside for a purpose, even though that purpose was obscure to her at times” (any quotes about Annie Flint are taken from https://hymnary.org/person/Flint_Annie).

“God Leads Us Along”

God Leads Us Along” was written by George A. Young. Not much is known about Young, but what is know is that he was a carpenter and preacher of the Gospel. Researchers believe he more than likely lived between the years 1855-1935, and diligently served the Lord in small rural areas of the United States. Though he held no known huge revival meetings nor had a mega church nor was a popular television preacher, he sought to preach the Gospel wherever he went while at the same time raising his beloved family. After years of scrimping and saving, he and his wife were able to build their own small home. However, not long after the completing of this home, those who hated his message of the Bible burned it down while he was away ministering to others. In 1903 he wrote the words and composed the music to “God Leads Us Along” which depicts a lovely Psalm 23-like pastoral scene with a chorus of profound meaning.

“Around 1942, hymn writer Haldor Lillenas (The Bible Stands; Wonderful Grace of Jesus) decided to track down George Young’s widow, and find out more. He got an address in a small town and, driving there, he stopped at a gas station to ask for directions. When the attendant saw the address, he said, “Why sir, that’s the County Poor House up the road about three miles. And mister, when I say poor house, I really mean poor house!”

Not knowing what to expect, Lillenas made his way there. He found Mrs. Young, a tiny, elderly woman, in surroundings that were far from congenial. However, she radiated the joy of the Lord, and spoke of how He’d guided her and her husband over many years. Then, she exclaimed, “Dr. Lillenas, God led me here!” I’m so glad He did, for you know, about every month someone comes into this place to spend the rest of their days….So many of them don’t know my Jesus. I’m having the time of my life introducing them to Jesus! Dr. Lillenas, isn’t it wonderful how God leads!”” (Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Histories, by Alfred B. Smith (Dickinson Press Incorporated, 1981 quoted on https://wordwisehymns.com/2011/12/14/god-leads-us-along/).

Practical Application

We as Christians can know that God cares about us. He did not just care about the Bible story characters nor just about these hymn writers. He cares about us. That’s why these hymns were born. They were born so that we could be comforted through them, inspired through them, be encouraged through them. Psalm 40:5 says, “Many, O LORD my God, are . . . thy thoughts which are to usward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” Psalm 139:17-18a says, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand…” Not only this, but 1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.” So first of all, know that God cares for you!

Furthermore, whether we have been inspired by another’s trial or our own, in good times and joy, in grief and great loss, bitterness and uncertainty and broken dreams, we all like these hymn writers, have a testimony, a story to tell. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 we see that God comforts us so that we in turn can comfort others. “3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” Truly, we are to edify one another with songs, hymns and spiritual songs as seen in Ephesians 5:18-21.

So, number one, let’s remember that God cares for each of us individually. Let’s not forget all of His daily benefits (Psalm 68:19)! As it says in Psalm 103:1-6,

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.”

Let’s also remember that we are here for others as well because God cares for them, and wants to love them through us. As long as we breathe, we have purpose. These hymn writers could easily have given up, but instead they sang a song that is still resonating today, even now in your hearts. We may never write a great hymn nor be famous, but we can still give a word of encouragement or comfort to someone we know. That’s all these hymn writers did at the time. They were not great. They were not famous. They were simply Christians going through trials and tribulations who chose to praise God through the midst of it, and wrote a song, a song which has survived the test of time and still inspires God’s people today. Like crushed roses smell sweeter, even so, may the fragrance of our trials minister to the needs of others. May we not forget that we are the body of Christ, God’s Holy of Holies, and it is our purpose to build up one other and share our stories to encourage and inspire each other to press on. Remember, God cares for us, and therefore, we all have a story to tell!

Various Sources:

Books:

Morgan, Robert J., Then Sings My Soul, 2006.

Osbeck, Kenneth W., Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories for Personal Devotion, 1990.

Alfred B. Smith, Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Histories, Dickinson Press Incorporated, 1981).

Online:

His Eye is On the Sparrow:

His Eye Is On The Sparrow,” http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/h/i/s/hiseyeis.htm.

He Giveth More Grace:

“He Giveth More Grace,” http://littlebirdieblessings.blogspot.com/2011/08/he-giveth-more-grace.html, August 19, 2011.

“Do You Ever Wonder About Great Hymns Like He Giveth More Grace?”, https://rare.us/your-daily-bread/faith-your-daily-bread/do-you-ever-wonder-about-the-story-behind-great-hymns-like-he-giveth-more-grace/, by Tami Nantz, May 2015.

“Annie Johnson Flint,” https://hymnary.org/person/Flint_Annie, http://www.homecomingmagazine.com/ (excerpts)

Just As I Am:

“Miss Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871,” http://www.stempublishing.com/hymns/biographies/elliott.html.

“Charlotte Elliott Faced God with One Plea,” https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1801-1900/charlotte-elliott-faced-god-with-one-plea-11630559.html.

“History of Hymns: “Just As I Am” Comes from Writer’s Struggle with Confining Illness,” https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-just-as-i-am-comes-from-writers-struggle-with-confining-il, article by Irene Ting-Ting Lai, via Discipleship Ministries, the United Methodist Church website.

God Leads Us Along

“God Leads Us Along,” https://wordwisehymns.com/2011/12/14/god-leads-us-along/.

Because He Lives:

“Courage and Strength For His Child: Because He Lives,” http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/courage-and-strength-his-child-because-he-lives, as taken from Lindsay Terry’s Stories Behind 50 Southern Gos pel Favorites, 2005.

“Rev. McDowell: The Story Behind the Gaither’s “Because He Lives,” http://www.oleantimesherald.com/lifestyles/rev-mcdowell-the-story-behind-the-gaithers-because-he-lives/article_2d73f288-ccaa-11e3-9d7f-0019bb2963f4.html, article by Rev. Dan McDowell, special to the Oleans Times Herald, April 25, 2017.

“Because He Lives: The Story Behind a Worship/Southern Gospel Classic,” http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/music/Because_He_Lives_The_story_behind_a_worship__Southern_gospel_classic_/59502/p1/ (Quote by Gloria Gaither), article by Tony Cummings.

Hymn Lyrics:

“His Eye Is On The Sparrow,” https://www.hymnlyrics.org/mostpopularhymns/his_eye_is_on_the_sparrow.php

“He Giveth More Grace”

http://paulsohn.org/he-giveth-more-grace/

Poetry Corner: We All Have A Story

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“We All Have A Story”

Poem by: H. E. Basaar, February 2017

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We all have a story, of pain and of glory;

We all have a tale to tell

Of how Jesus saved us, encouraged and changed us

To live for Him well.

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We all have a melody, of sorrow and laughter;

We all have a spiritual song;

Hymns of God’s graciousness, and of His holiness

That make believers strong.

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We’ve all been through trials, of despair and of grief

Thus, all have comfort to share

To those who are hurting, striving and learning

To cast upon God all their care.

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We all have a story, we all have a song

All have something to give.

No matter our status, no matter our gifting

Through us may the Savior live.

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No matter our age, we all still have purpose

Revealed to us from above.

To comfort, encourage, and to build up the body

With anthems of glorious love.

Poetry Corner: The Road Not Taken

why I write
“The Road Not Taken”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
free bing wallpaper yellow woods
AUTHOR: Frost, Robert, 1874–1963.
TITLE: Mountain interval, by Robert Frost.
PUBLISHED: New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1920.
PHYSICAL DETAILS: 75 p. front. (port.) 23 cm.
ISBN: 1-58734-017-8.
CITATION: Frost, Robert. Mountain Interval. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1920; Bartleby.com, 1999. www.bartleby.com/119/. [Date of Printout].
ON-LINE ED.: First published December 1995; published July 1999 by Bartleby.com; © Copyright Bartleby.com, Inc. (Terms of Use).

Hymns And Poetry Corner

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why I write

Hymns and Poetry Corner is a little nook I decided to create recently on my blog. I love good poetry and the quality of the old hymns, and have determined to post various hymns and poems by various authors that have inspired me throughout the years and that inspire me still. They will be carefully documented. The name of the author and title of the hymn and/or poem will be clearly displayed; and at times the date of the its writing as well as a bit of background information, particular websites that may have valuable tidbits about them, and their impact on my own life will possibly also be added. Enjoy!

God’s Still Plays Music On Broken Chords

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free bing pictures broken down piano keys

There is a true story found in the pages of a book entitled, Tramp for the Lord. The story is that of brokenness, specifically the brokenness of the country of Germany after WWII. The people of that nation were devastated at the end of the war, and many were astounded to hear of Hitler’s atrocities. Some who had had positions of importance had lost everything, including their home, their job, their family, and their dignity.

It was into this scene that Corrie ten Boom enters, turning a concentration camp of horror into a transitional home for those who were destitute. While visiting such a transformed facility, she met an older woman who sat in a corner of a large room that she shared with three families. The woman had been a concert pianist and a professor of music before the war. Now, she had lost everything. However, a pastor offered her the use of a piano miles away in a church that had been demolished by bombs, but the piano was untouched.

One thing led to another, and Corrie ten Boom was invited to hear this woman play. After walking miles and miles (since there was no other mode of transportation), they finally reached their destination. As the woman sat down to play, she asked Corrie if she would like to hear something in particular. Breathing a prayer, Corrie responded, “The Chromatic Fantasy” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ5IkHlKQrw). Well, Ms. Ten Boom was appalled with her selection for it is one of Bach’s (and truly one of classical music’s) most difficult pieces ever written. Not only this, but though the piano had survived the bombs it had not survived the inclement weather. It was soggy, dilapidated, with all of its peddles broken off. The ivory of the keys was non-existant, and the chords were terribly rusting and some were even broken. Corrie looked on in horror, wondering what on earth was about to happen.

The older concert pianist smiled however, poised her fingers above the broken keys, and prepared to play. Her fingers flew across those decaying keys, and unexpected heavenly music danced in Corrie ten Boom’s shocked ears. How could such a weather worn piano play with such elegance, and how could such a war-crushed woman play with such poise? (For the rest of the story read: Tramp for the Lord, page 47-50, “Music from Broken Chords”).

We all in a way are like that piano. Even the woman in the story was like that weathered, battered piano. We too are weathered. She thought life had robbed her and left her a mere shell, devoid of purpose. We too have been through experiences that have left us less than perfect. The rains of life have left us soggy but not unusable. The rust of life has crept up on us over time, even as weeds encroach upon a garden, but our chords are still musical. We too are still capable of playing beautiful music. We too are vessels that can still be used by God.

There are many in the Bible who were weathered and worn, but one in particular stood out to me, and her name is Naomi. We read in the book of Ruth that Naomi first had to leave her home, family and friends behind because of a devastating famine (vs. 1). Then, while trying to survive in a foreign land, her husband died (vs. 3). Still reeling from the loss of her husband and hoping that all was turning around, Naomi went on to lose not one but both of her childless sons (vs. 5). All too easily we can glance over those verses and hurry on to the rest of the story. But truly it is astounding to note that in a mere 5 verses we catch a glimpse of the enormity of Naomi’s losses. For indeed, she’s lost everything. In verse 13 she states that she felt the hand of the Lord was against her (vs 13). Later when she returns to the land of Israel, she tells her old friends to call her Mara meaning “bitter” instead of Naomi which means “sweet” (vs 20). She goes on to say that when her family and she had left the land of Israel because of the famine, her heart and life had been full. There may have been a horrible famine, but life was good. However now, though she still owned the land, it meant nothing to her for she was returning to it empty (vs 21). She had no husband, no sons, no grandchildren and no prospect of them, no money and no prospect of it, and therefore, no future. Or so she thought…

For the story doesn’t end there, for unbeknownst to her, her daughter-in-law, the young, quiet, gentle, Moabite woman who begs to accompany her in her devastation and despair, is ordained by God to become the great grandmother of King David and was to be in the lineage of Jesus, the Savior of the World.

But, all too often we can be like Naomi, focused on our losses, focused how we used to be full but now are empty, focused on the past, thinking we’ve no future. The devil loves to keep us in the slough of despond, wallowing about unable to move beyond our present experiences. Or maybe we think our best days are over, that we’ve no real purpose now. The devil loves to keep us thinking like this too, for it keeps our minds on what we are not, instead of on who God is in us.

In 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 we read,

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Now, this passage talks to us about “light” and “earthen vessels” and “glory”. So let’s take a closer look!

First of all, what is this “light”? In Genesis 1 God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God separated the light from the darkness. This was a physical light that the darkness could not overwhelm. In John 1 God said He sent the Light of Jesus into the World. He is the spiritual light of the world that the darkness could not understand nor overcome. This same light of Jesus has shined in our hearts, and His fellowship with us has brought about illumination to our spirits that we might begin to comprehend who He truly is.

Second of all, what are the “earthen vessels”? In Exodus 31-32 God wrote His law on actual stone tablets. It says that with His finger He wrote it and engraved it. However, God predicted that the day would come when He would write His Word upon the hearts of His people and not on stone. 2 Corinthians 3:3 states that Christians are the “epistles” or letter of Christ written by the Spirit of God on “fleshly tables of the heart.” Indeed, we are those “fleshly tables,” those “earthen vessels” made of clay and extremely fragile. Nevertheless, upon these earthen vessels are written the very Words of God.

And lastly, what is “glory”? “Glory” means to think or recognize. It is the value of something or someone based on God’s perfect objective opinion. When speaking of the glory of God it means His unchanging essence.

When we give God glory we are giving Him His full recognition. Thus, the “glory of God” is essentially what He is, and the “glory of man” is what God created him to be.

2 Corinthians 3:7,9,13, 18 states,

“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance…for if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory…And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished…”

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Now, from these passages it appears that “glory” also has a light to it, because Moses had to veil his face because of the glory of God that shone from it. Not only did Moses’ face glow, but the glow faded. It was actually more the fading of the light that was covered by the veil than the glow.

However, the glory of God in the “face of Jesus” is unfading and undimmed, and we all look with unveiled face upon His radiance and splendor, and are changed from glory to glory to look more and more like Him. Though we are simple, fragile pottery made of clay, He has written His Word on us and has filled us with the treasures of His light and understanding. Each of us is written on by God, filled with the unfading glory of God, and are storage vessels of God’s vast treasure. We contain the wealth of heaven, glow with God’s essence and are engraved by God’s finger.

No, we may not be the grandparents of a king nor may we be in the lineage of the Savior of the World, but we are all individually God’s masterpieces created for good works in Christ, and those good works don’t end when we hit a certain age or when we lose a spouse or when we are unemployed or when we think we have no purpose. Bitter Naomi who thought life was over had impacted a young woman, altering that young woman’s life forever. In spite of all of Naomi’s disappointments and disillusionment, Ruth had seen the one true and real God in Naomi, and because of this, Ruth abandoned everything to follow Naomi and her God. Naomi still had purpose even when she thought she didn’t. Naomi thought she was too old, but she wasn’t. Naomi had given up, but God hadn’t.

Let us not limit God! For, indeed, no matter how broken we are, no matter how disappointed we are, no matter how flawed we are, no matter how old we are, no matter if our families are Christian or not, no matter how the rains of life have left us rusted and the strings of our piano broken, God has chosen to write upon us, to light us up with His glory, to stash His treasure into these vessels of clay, and to play His celestial music through our broken chords.