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Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Debtor to Mercy Alone

A hymn I have not heard for ages is the title of this blog. The lyrics can be found here:

This is a great hymn. It speaks of our relationship with God - a covenant that God has made with us, an eternal covenant based on and centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus has removed the terrors of God, failure, and death from us.

The work which His goodness began,
The arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is yea and amen,
And never was forfeited yet.

God's promise to us will be completed. Not because of anything that we have done, but because HE guarantees it. Salvation is HIS work, not ours.

Things future, nor things that are now,
Not all things below nor above
Can make Him His purpose forego,
Or sever my soul from His love.

Because our salvation and glorification are God's work, and even his priority, He will not abandon that purpose. The image in this last stanza is especially precious.

My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains
In marks of indelible grace.

We are, as it were, engraved on the very palms of the hands of God himself. The palms of the hands are very sensitive, and in view of their owner. The palms of the hands are a place that you may gaze when engaged in deep thought. We are central to the thoughts and the life of God.

Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heaven.

And lastly, we are as safe and secure in the love of God as if we were in heaven itself.

Not all the old hymns are great, but they are often full of theology and truth that we miss and that we could use. They taught as well as praised.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

True joys, simple joys

When I was a teenager, I didn't like John Denver's music. It was probably because everyone else did, and I was a bit of a rebel. As an adult, I have come to like many of his songs. One of my favorites is "It's good to be back home again." You can find a recording of the song with beautiful pictures and the lyrics at

Our family listened to this song several times as we went to California two years ago. What struck me about the song is the celebration of home life and the simple joys of life.

There's a fire softly burnin', supper's on the stove,
It's the light in your eyes that makes him warm.

Hey, it's good to be back home again.
Sometimes this old farm,
feels like a long-lost friend.
Yes! Hey, it's good to be back home again.

Oh, the time that I can lay
this tired old body down,
And feel your fingers feather soft upon me.
The kisses that I live for,
The love that lights my way,
The happiness that livin' with you brings me.

It's the joys of love between people, satisfaction in a job well done, a well prepared meal, a sunset or sunrise and so on that fill our lives with joy and happiness. Or these things should. If we spend our lives waiting for the "big joys" - the trip to Europe, the new house, retirement then we will miss the great satisfactions that God has placed in our lives. And the "big joys" may never come. My father always wanted to take our entire family to Europe. I am the only one who has made it there. But they enjoy their lives, the travel that they have been able to do, and the service for others that God has given them to do. Others wait their whole lives to enjoy their golden years only to find that finances or health don't allow them to do what they had hoped. I'm not saying that the "big joys" don't have a place in life, but that we shouldn't spend our time waiting for them to enjoy life.

So, check out the words to the song. Bless God for the simple joys that he has placed in your life and enjoy them. Enjoy the "big joys," but don't spend all your time waiting for them.
There's a fire soft

Monday, February 16, 2009

2009 Stimulus & Presidents' Day

From a blog I follow,
The current financial crisis would, economists tell us, have eventually resolved itself on its own. If Washington gave us a nation and Lincoln preserved the Union, then Obama has rendered future generations of Americans mere serfs, born with a vast debt the moment they first draw breath.

Change and hope, indeed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Greed or improvement?

Several months ago before the financial meltdown, I was thinking about what drives our economy. Many people believe that it is greed. While human greed is a factor, (and has been a huge factor in the crisis we are currently in), I believe that capitalism is better described as being driven by the desire for improvement.

We all desire to improve our lives - to live in more comfort and convenience. We want to be able to do things that we could not do before. My desire for a computer with more memory, for example, isn't greed, but a desire for a better tool.

Doctors try to improve medical techniques so that the quality of their medical care will improve. Engineers look for better materials and ways of building and designing so that their products will be safer, more efficient or be done in new and interesting ways.

These are only a few examples. There is a financial reward for all of these efforts, as well. Or at least there is the hope for that reward. When the financial reward is realized, the lives of those who have earned the reward is improved.

There is a fine line between the desire for improvement and greed and I'm not sure where it is. It may well depend on the individual and how God has directed that person.

The desire for improvement is part of our creativity as human beings, part of our being made in the image of God. From this, can we conclude that a form of capitalism is more in tune with our being made in the image of God than other economic systems?

I await your comments.