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: I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found

 

“I once was lost but now I’m found.

Was blind, but now I see.”

“Amazing Grace”

John Newton  (1779)

I first heard an a capella version of “Amazing Grace” by Meryl Streep at the end of the movie Silkwood (1983). I fell in love with it. I don’t know why.  I imagine the lyrics touched my soul in a way I couldn’t yet understand, not having converted to Christianity; besides which I was just a child.

I’m not sure why I waited this long to cover this song in the Hymn-Theology series, perhaps because the lyrics resonate with my testimony.  2013 marks my twenty-first year as a Christian and it is hard to believe that God has brought me so far from what was my statistical fate. Continue reading Hymn-Theology: I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found

“I Will Bless the Lord” from the CD “Come Away”

I Will Bless the Lord (CCLI #4570318)

ImageThe Lord gave me this song early in my writing career. Ben Camp, my piano teacher at the time, put the chords to this song, as he did to most of the songs on this CD.

Often we think we should praise the Lord when we feel good, but it is just the opposite. When we choose to worship, is when He fills us with His Spirit.

He is worthy of our praise and that is enough reason to worship. The Psalms are a good source of prayers and songs that David and the other Psalmists wrote to express themselves to the Lord. Whenever I am down, I turn to David, the worship leader of worship leaders.

Here is a video of the recorded version:

Continue reading “I Will Bless the Lord” from the CD “Come Away”

Hymn-Theology: Heir of Salvation, Purchase of God

Hymn Theology Square

Heir of Salvation, Purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, Washed in His Blood

“Blessed Assurance”

Fanny J. Crosby 1873 | Music by Phoebe P. Knapp.

Yes. Familiar tunes have a way of masking from our cognitive state the lyrics that contain the majority of the power of any well-known Christian song.

Blessed Assurance is both widely known and widely sung. Many people would hum the tune and, perhaps, recite the lyrics.

But mixing the word with faith, so to speak, is the job of the worship leader.  We are to sing these songs as if it were our very cry, our earnest prayer to God while inviting you to do the same.  We have to involve our emotions and our minds when we worship (Matthew 22:37).

Heir of Salvation

Our inheritance is a pretty amazing gift.  Salvation, and all that it entails, has been given to us. We didn’t earn it. This is mostly what separates us from other religions. We didn’t have a right to it. A right implies that we earned something. No, salvation is a gift. He adopted us so that we could be His heir. This is more than just mercy, it’s grace. Continue reading Hymn-Theology: Heir of Salvation, Purchase of God

Why Was I Ever Born? | A #CEBTour Post

CEB_BlogTourPost“Why was I ever born  when all I see is suffering and misery,  and my days are filled with shame?” Jeremiah 20:18

When adversity hits us, it may come as a shock, but when it continues and worsens, our faith faces the test.

I’m so glad that the God didn’t edit out the parts in the Bible where people questioned their lives, their calling, and their faith.  It validates our feelings as part of the normal human experience during our walk as a Christian.

Even though God had clearly told Jeremiah that he was born for a purpose (Jer 1:5), he had forgotten that during this time of suffering:

Cursed be the day in which I was born!
Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me!
Let the man be cursed
Who brought news to my father, saying,
“ A male child has been born to you!”
Making him very glad.  Jeremiah 20:14-15

Job had a similar reaction:

Perish the day I was born,
the night someone said,
“A boy has been conceived.”  Job 3:3

As many times as I have suffered in my life, and continue to do so in some regards, I appreciate and understand the sentiment.  Why?  Why was I even born? Why do I have to suffer?  Why do I have this shame? Continue reading Why Was I Ever Born? | A #CEBTour Post

Hymn-Theology Christmas Edition: Mercy Calls You, Break Your Chains

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you, break your chains

“Angels from The Realms of Glory” by James Montgomery (Music by Henry T. Smart)

This may be one of the most underwhelming (and underrated) Christmas hymns. I’ve heard it for years but the lyrics never grabbed me like they did last year. The second half of this stanza is so powerful:

Justice now revokes the sentence. Mercy calls you, break your chains.

Fairness. Justice. We often cry out for these valiant, noble causes. In fact, God calls us to “do justly and to love mercy” in Micah 6:8. Yet, what do we want for ourselves? Do we want justice? Do we want God to treat us fairly? Continue reading Hymn-Theology Christmas Edition: Mercy Calls You, Break Your Chains

Commit it to Memory and Consider Carefully | A #CEBTour Post

CEB_BlogTourPostMary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully.

Luke 2:19

How often to we flippantly blab things to one another without regard to wisdom and even discretion? Technology to tweet from our phones creates a casual atmosphere to vent, share things that could be private, or what-have-you without a single thought of the consequences.

Not Mary.  She showed wisdom and discernment in all phases of the miracle that would define her life.

She was given such an amazing, incredible prophesy (Luke 1:31-32).  She was to have a child by the Holy Spirit.  It would be hard to not tell everyone – yet people may have thought she was crazy and tried to stone her for adultery.

Notice that she didn’t tell the whole world.  She had wisdom; she went to her relative Elizabeth-someone she trusted, spiritually.  Too often we allow too many people the privilege of input in our walk with Jesus and with our daily lives.  This is a great example of using discernment, even with great news. Continue reading Commit it to Memory and Consider Carefully | A #CEBTour Post