Hymn-Theology – Thou My Great Father

Thou my great Father, and I thy true son, Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.” ~  English Methodist version, 1964, “Be Thou My Vision

Sometimes we forget that becoming a Christian is more than acknowledging the existence of God or believing that Jesus is our Savior.

“Thou my great Father”

When we become a Christian we become part of a family.

So many struggle with loneliness. Will a husband solve that? Will a child cure that longing? To whom do we belong? God puts the lonely in families.

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” Psalm 68:5-6

This is one of the benefits of the church life. We come together, worship together, serve together, learn together. We pray together, counsel one another, and speak to each other in psalms and hymns. We lift one another up.

“speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” Ephesians 5:19

“Thou in me dwelling”

He dwells in us – Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col 1:27).

We are one with him and He with us. Just as Jesus prayed,

“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:22-23

When we are one with Him, we are one with each other. We have a Great Father. We have sonship! There is so much to encourage us just in these two lines.

For Thought & Discussion:

  • What are your thoughts about this stanza?
  • Can you think of any other hymns or songs with similar themes?
  • See also:
  • Are there any other verses that back up this hymn theologically?
  • Have you used this song lately?  Have you explained it?

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Why is Easter Important?

Easter is the celebration of the resurrection after the death (Good Friday) and burial of Jesus, the Christ.

I don’t write to the unconverted. I don’t believe anyone can be convinced.

But if you need encouragement today, please continue.

Good Friday

Good Friday (some people think He died on Thursday, but I’ll leave this to the apologetics crew) is when Jesus died in our place.

Sin has a cost. We like to focus on the love of God but seldom consider the cost of sin. Furthermore, when we do focus on the love of God we forget that it was His love that motivated Him to die.

Our Sin

The Bible teaches us that all of us have sinned.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Whether it sounds appealing to our modern view, there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. In the context of the Bible, and His laws (rules) that He set up (it’s His world, after all), this cannot be bypassed or hacked.

“And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22

If you want to read the legal case set against us, try reading the Book of Romans. Paul does a good job laying out the case for all things “New Testament.” Suffice it, for the sake of this blog post, to say, that we are sinners, needing redemption, and only the blood of Christ (fully man yet fully God) would be acceptable. Continue reading Why is Easter Important?

Hymn-Theology – Whatever My Lot

 

“Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

It Is Well with My Soul by Horatio Spafford and Philip Bliss.

Ah, the emotional power and connection of Hymns. The story of hardship, heartache, and loss is sure to break your heart. Was he the only one to suffer? No. But he didn’t blame God.

Joseph, Job, even Jesus all suffered without cause.

How many people have you known who, after adversity, say,

“I tried prayer; it didn’t work.”

I believe part of the universal love and appeal of this hymn is that we all do suffer. Christianity isn’t a “get out of jail free” card. It doesn’t exempt us from the sufferings of the world. In fact, Jesus tells us that there will be tribulation in this world, but in Him we have peace.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Continue reading Hymn-Theology – Whatever My Lot

Grace Be With You: Colossians 4:16-18

Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen. ‭Colossians‬ ‭4‬:‭16-18

This letter (epistle) to the church of Colossee (and to the church of Laodiceans and to us) ends with “Grace be with you.” It began with

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Col 1:1b

Grace, unmerited favor, comes to us after we’ve made peace with God, not that it was our work because we know “He himself is our Peace.” from Ephesians 2:14. Yet, we have to acknowledge the end of the war with God – that’s peace.

Take heed to the ministry.

We need God’s Grace, and His Presence to be with us to fulfill our ministry. It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun. I’ve experienced church breakups and ministry splits. I’ve seen people get divorced and leave the church. And when people leave the Lord, sometimes they leave you, too.

Remember my chains.

There are many Christians in this world and throughout history who have not had it as easy as the American church. Though we are ridiculed, sued, and downcast, we have yet to be thrown in prison, have our homes taken from us, been beaten or tortured, or killed simply because of our faith.

Grace be with you.

The one who believes they earned salvation doesn’t need grace. The rest of us know we need it.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

There is no better benediction than “grace be with you.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Philemon 1:25

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. ” Romans 16:24

“Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Galatians 6:18

Questions for Further Thought:

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Final Greetings: Colossians 4:7-15

Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here. Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.  Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.” Colossians 4:7-15

There’s a joke that goes around in the church life, especially if you’ve ever spent time on staff.

“Ministry would be great if it weren’t for the people.”

We laugh because people can be problems and people have problems. But ministry is just a fancy-pants word that means “service.” If there are no people, there is no one to serve.

Pastor Brian Wood used to say:

“Ministry is people.”

He is right.

People come and people go. I’ve been serving since 1996 and I’ve seen almost all there is to see. People who you thought were faithful have left like Demas. People who you had no confidence in like Mark (Acts 15:37-39) became invaluable (2 Timothy 4:11). Continue reading Final Greetings: Colossians 4:7-15

Walk in Wisdom: Colossians 4:5-6

“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:5-6

Walking in wisdom is our call but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The world wants us to walk in its direction, be concerned with its issues. Candidly, more and more even here in America we face ridicule or lawsuits for expressing our beliefs. But I digress.

Paul says to “walk in wisdom toward those who are outside.” Who’s outside? It’s safe to say the people outside are not inside. In this context, he is referring to the church and the world outside of the church: the secular world.

Redeem the Time

Something that has been used but has some value can be redeemed like recycling aluminum cans or plastic bottles. Time is one of the only unsustainable resources we have. Time cannot be manufactured. Rather, it must be spent wisely. Be wise in how you spend your time and with whom. There are many warnings in the Book of Proverbs about foolish versus wise behavior. Continue reading Walk in Wisdom: Colossians 4:5-6

Meanwhile Praying For Us: Colossians 4:3-4


“meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:3-4 

The life of a Christian worker is not a safe, cushy life. No, it’s quite the opposite. We don’t seem to market it that way. Even I thought it would be like Disneyland – “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

As a Christian for over 20 years, having served in several ministries since 1996, I have suffered in every way save physical harm. Many overseas missionaries face threats to their health, belongings, and even their lives.

One of the things we should pray for is that the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit prospers.

Pray that God Would Open a Door

Not everyone’s heart is open. In Acts it says that God opened the heart of Lydia. In Ephesians Paul prays that the “eyes of our hearts would be enlightened.” (Eph 1:18)

“Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”  Acts 16:14

Continue reading Meanwhile Praying For Us: Colossians 4:3-4