Sunday, May 22, 2011

Christ, Or Else I Die

Taken from the Gadsby Hymnal # 737
Words - William Hammond, 1719-1783
Music - Drew Holcomb, 2004

Gracious Lord, incline thy ear;
My requests vouchsafe to hear;
Hear my never-ceasing cry;
Give me Christ, or else I die.

Wealth and honor I disdain,
Earthly comforts, Lord are vain;
These can never satisfy:
Give me Christ, or else I die.

All unholy and unclean,
I am nothing else but sin;
On thy mercy I rely;
Give me Christ, or else I die.

Thou dost freely save the lost;
In thy grace alone I trust.
With my earnest suit comply;
Give me Christ, or else I die.

Thou dost promise to forgive
All who in thy Son believe;
Lord, I know thou canst not lie;
Give me Christ, or else I die.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Over Death

Adapted from “Hymn 17” by Isaac Watts
Written by Jesse Eubanks, Neil Robins and Joel Gerdis

I long for an overcoming faith
To cheer my dying hour
To triumph over the monster death
And all his frightful powers

Joyful, with all the strength I have
My trembling lips should sing:
“Where is your boast of victory grave?
And where is the monster’s sting?”

If sin be pardoned and secure
Death has no sting beside
The law gives sin its damning power
But Christ my ransom died


So let us praise the God of victory
Immortal hope for mortal flesh
So let us praise the God of victory
Who makes us conquerors of death


Thursday, May 19, 2011


As I live around so many different cultures, I am beginning to see even more of a reality I have always known was there, but never gave much thought. Expectations. Every culture and, even within a culture, every person is different in how they expect people to behave. I forget that even in the United States there are different expectations depending on where you live. It is these expectations that seem to have such a huge influence on how we perceive others. The culture I have learned the most about recently is the Iraqi culture. (I love learning about cultures and am always fascinated by the little and sometimes big differences in them.) One of the first things we learned is the door is always open and you will get food and drink if you ask for it or not. In their culture this is expected. Though we offer refreshments to our guests if someone refuses we take them at their word and do not get anything for them. Not the case in Iraq. I also learned from one of their cultural classes that there are some cultures where you refuse several times before accepting the offer, so that just because they may refuse does not mean they do not want anything, you just have to ask a few more times. Interesting! (at least I think it is).
I say all of that to help us realize that it is our expectations that, many times, cause rifts between well meaning people. In the US I hear a lot, "well she's not a good friend because she did/did not do this or that". I confess I too am guilty of such statements. But recently I have begun to evaluate this thoughts and feelings and realizing that just because someone failed to do something I was expecting does not make them a bad friend, they just did not know I was expecting them to do that. We fail to communicate our expectations and then get upset when they are not met.
So what do we do? If it's friendship that we're frustrated with, do those things you would expect your friends to do. If it's hospitality, be the hostess you want others to be. Tell people when you expect something but be understanding if they truly cannot do what you are asking. It really comes down to the golden rule and taking the attention off of ourselves. We are told clearly in Scripture that we are to love others as ourselves and to put others before ourselves. Though this looks different depending on the situation at hand, we are to seek God and be the example He wants us to be.
I would also evaluate your expectations. Are you expecting too much? Are you being selfish? Do your expectations line up with Christ likeness or with what you see has human standards? It can be difficult to tell at times, so again we must seek God's guidance. For example, it is reasonable for me to expect my children to obey the rules as God expects us to obey His commands, but to expect that your friend call you every day and talk 30 minutes is a bit overboard. Some may have that kind of time, but is it glorifying to God?
Like so many things, I wish it were so cut and dry, but the reality is we live in a fallen world where we are surrounded by expectations of all kinds and we must learn how to follow God's plan without compromise. When we fail we need to apologize and ask forgiveness then seek to continue on with being Christlike as He guides us by His Holy Spirit.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sanctification through Children

How amazing children are! Right now I seem to marvel everyday at what Jamey is learning and doing. I also marvel at how much it is growing, teaching and stretching me. I am starting to understand that one of the biggest purposes of God giving children is to teach us more about His character. With children, if you do not grow in Christ likeness, then you become miserable. I see this battle in me all of the time. Do I follow Christ's pattern of love, discipline, grace and mercy or do I fall into self and do what I want to do or what seems easiest? It's a daily battle and struggle to raise a child. Only by the grace of God can I even begin to hope to raise my children in His likeness. I know they are created in His image and He wants them to follow in the path of Christ. I also know they are sinful, fallen just like me. How much more evident my sin is now that I am teaching my children. I must stop and think all the time, what am I teaching my children?! Though I must I find that I don't. Then I must go back and ask forgiveness not only from God but from my children who are not seeing Christ in me. This is the hard part. To humble yourself before your child and say, "I'm a sinner too! I know I messed up here. Please forgive this human of a mother you have." Though they are young and do not fully understand the words, I can see that they understand the motions. It is amazing how much children can see, know and understand without knowing full language. We think they must know how to communicate everything in order to fully communicate, but this is not true! They see and feel the emotions you portray and share with them. They know when you are saying one thing and doing another. Sometimes it seems my children are smarter than I, not because of intelligence, but because they see without it. God has given me a great responsibility that I am so unworthy of having, but He has given it to me nonetheless. And now with a third on the way! I must confess that though I am joyful that God has chosen to given our family another life, I have questioned the wisdom. But then I remember that the wisdom of God may seem like foolishness to men. God is continually growing me as He grows my family. Thanks be to God that He does this! That He knows my weakness, my sin, my inability and still gives me the responsibility and charge to raise the next generation, I pray, of believers. I am no where close to perfect. I stumble everyday! But I know that God is still guiding, directing, molding and making me every step of the way.

It's been 10 months and I've already learned so much! What will the next 4 years hold?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Remember Me (Prayer of Hannah)

By Jamie Barnes

Remember me, Oh God - In my affliction
Your daughters call upon your name
I’m not full of new wine, but Holy Spirit
Tossed in the wake of my shame

If you read the lips of this silent prayer
Favor your servant, my aim to bear
No razor shall come to a single hair of our young - of our young

Let the joy that lives in me leap in your proximity
Oh mothers of Israel behold the son
Who has opened the womb of the barren
You have opened the womb of the barren.
You have opened the womb

Remember me, Oh God
In my condition
Your daughters call upon your name
We do not fear the snow
We’re draped in scarlet
Hued by the blood of the lamb.

May we raise our children to call us blessed
and bathe them with tongues of righteousness
as we will claim them back from the jackal's breast
We will claim them back. We will claim them back.

Two songs in one day! I meant to post this on Mother's Day as it was written for the occasion by one of our music leaders at Sojourn.
You can go to this link to hear the song and get a chord sheet as well as learn more about it!

We Are Changed

adapted from Hymn 95 by Isaac Watts

Not any government on earth no law that God has given
No will of man no blood no birth can raise a soul to Heaven
The sovereign will of God alone prepares the heirs of grace
Born in the image of His son a chosen holy race.

It’s through Your Spirit
Through Your sacrificial Son.

We are changed, no longer in chains
Once were enslaved but the Son has come
And conquered the grave, so we are changed.
We are changed not by the things we’ve arranged
Not by the work our hands have done
It’s through Your Son that we are changed.

Our quickened souls awake and rise from sin and shame and death.
On heavenly things we fix our eyes His praise employs our breath.

Not any government on earth no law that God has given
No will of man no blood no birth can raise a soul to Heaven.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Your Power Rest On Me

Written by Joel Gerdis and Neil Robins

Let me hear my Savior say
“Your strength shall return”
Then I’ll rejoice in my weakness
As I lean on your grace.
As I lean on your grace.

May your power rest on me.
You are strong when I am weak
I can bear all things when temptation springs
For you sustain me all my days

Let me know my Savior’s face
Let my hope be secure
Then I’ll rejoice in my weakness
As I lean on your grace
As I lean on your grace


Once from the Lord withdrawn
I thought that I could live my life alone
Leaving the solid ground
I sank beneath His wisdom
The harder I tried to climb The closer I was to find how great is my weakness


Though the trial still goes on
Your grace will be my song
For I can bear all things when temptation springs
For you sustain me all my days