…And Love

Love the Lord

Glory to God, and praise and love,
Be ever, ever given;
By saints below and saints above,
The Church in earth and heaven.

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Listen as you read.  This is a nice instrumental version.

We are focusing in every one of these Tunings on loving God with our hearts.  Giving glory to God and praising Him seem pretty straightforward right?  I mean, the words seem to communicate pretty clearly what I need to do.  I need to give glory and praise to God, not only with my lips but with my life as well.  And I need to do this because He is worthy of said glory and praise.  But what about LOVE?

Loving God

Ok, I need to love God.  I am down with that.  But exactly how do I do that.  Pretty quickly simply telling God I love Him seems to fall way short of what my response to His love for me truly needs to be.  Instead, this kind of love implies that we are giving of ourselves.  [If you want to think more about love, here’s a great article about love at Crosswalk.com, “What Is Love? – Meaning & Biblical Understanding of the Word” by Meg Bucher]  This also brings it in line with the other two concepts, we give Him glory and praise, so to give Him love requires us to give of ourselves.

What I want to encourage you to consider is, “What would that kind of love look like in my life?”  I think a great place to begin is Jesus’ explanation, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)  This takes the nebulous concept of love and immediately makes it at least a bit clearer.

Loving My Neighbor

Allow me to give you but one example.  Jesus commanded us to love the Lord, and immediately followed it with a second commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Mark 12:31)  When you understand that your neighbor is not just the person who lives next door, but instead anyone around you that needs help, then it becomes obvious you will have no shortage of opportunities to love Jesus, as you love your neighbor.

Some are more obvious and appropriate for some than others, but consider these.

  • A person with a flat tire alongside the road.
  • The young couple who has just welcomed their second child into their home and is feeling overwhelmed.
  • Your child when you can tell something is bothering them.
  • The co-worker whose car is in the shop and needs a ride to work.
  • Insert the one that has already come to your mind here__________

This is one of the ways we love God, by giving ourselves away, just like Jesus did on the cross.

The Empty Box

Checking Off Your List

Now before you go looking for these things to do so you can check them off your list, allow me to caution you.  First, do not just dutifully love your neighbor.  Put your heart into it.  Look for ways to give yourself away, not simply obey the command.  This makes a world of difference to the person you are loving, and also to God.

Second, notice the unchecked box in the image.  It is meant to represent the opportunities around you of which you have not yet taken advantage.  And do you know what happens when you do check off that box? You realize there is another unchecked one below it, representing the never-ending opportunities to love others.

Never-Ending

And I do mean never-ending.  Did you notice the second line repetition of the word ever?  When a writer repeats a word, they are drawing special, special attention to something.  Here the emphasis is on the eternal scope of our adoration.  I am not certain what our eternal loving will look like, but I do believe there will be a communal aspect to our forever worship.  I believe this will certainly involve giving ourselves away to others as we give glory, praise and love to God.  That starts now, and continues on forever.  Thanks be to God.

We will think about that a little more in our next Thoughts.  Until then, be resonant.

Happy Tuning!

Jesus, thank You for loving me and modeling for me how to give myself away.  I want to give you glory and praise, so I know I need to continue to look for ways to love others.  Help me to see those opportunities and then give me courage to walk into them.    In Jesus name.  Amen.

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Subscribers and Free Members, enjoy this video log!  Everyone else, the transcript below.

Video 3.5 Transcript

Welcome to Tuesday Tunings at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s tune our hearts.

Glory to God, and praise and love
 Be ever, ever giv’n
By saints below and saints above,
 The church in earth and heav’n.

Glory and praise appear pretty straightforward, particularly because they seem word driven. But love immediately implies action. Ask God to show you how to do all three today.

When songwriters repeat a word we should really pay attention. Here, it is putting emphasis on the scope of our adoration, ever, ever. He is worthy of us doing this now, and forever.

But not just us, all the saints on earth, joining all the saints who have already gone before us and are in His presence in heaven. Thank him for the opportunity to continue your worship when this life is over.

Your saving faith makes you His child and a part of the church. If you have one you attend, thank him and pray for it. If you do not, ask him to lead you to one, so you may experience now a taste of what is forever yours.

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has surfaced in your heart, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then we will sing once more.

Sing

Take the awareness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

A Thousand Tongues, and Then Some

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the world abroad
The honors of Thy name.

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Listen as you read.  This version features the tune that is more often used in the UK.

All the World

What a wonderful world!  But a world that desperately needs to hear the name of Jesus.  And not only the world in general, but all the people of the world; every nation, tribe, people and tongue.  Revelation 7:9 gives us a glimpse of the future when our mission is complete describing the scene this way.

A Great Multitude from Every Nation

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

Bringing that day about is going to require an incredible amount of work.  The awareness of that ignites this beautiful and powerful prayer. Having every language represented at that final celebration is our Lord’s desire.  Being a part of making it happen is our privilege and responsibility.

Hello Wordle

Every Language

If we want to truly spread through all the earth abroad the honors of the name of Jesus, and we certainly should, we are going to need the ability to speak in the heart language of all the people on the planet.  Learning to say “Hello” is a start, but it is going to take a lot more than that.  To communicate such important news, and to do so in a way that communicates deeply God’s love to every tribe, and nation and language, we must learn and use every language.  Just how daunting a task is this?

In 1911 (11th edition) Encyclopedia Britannica implies a figure of around 1,000 languages.  It is interesting to think Wesley, as best as he knew, could have been asking for enough different languages (1000 tongues) to be able to cover every soul on the planet, ensuring they could hear the name of Jesus and His Good News in their native tongue.  That estimate has continued to grow steadily over the last hundred years and now sits at over 6,900 distinct languages.  So you see pretty quickly it is a good idea for God’s people to ask for His assistance on this one.

Compelled

If the honors of the name of Jesus were not enough to compel us, and they certainly are, there is another motivation for the prayer.  Jesus issued the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If you are going to make disciples, not just converts, you are going to have to walk along with someone for some time.  Teaching someone to observe all that Jesus has commanded us does not happen overnight, or with a handbook of local phrases.  It will require a tremendous investment.

What’s Your Part?

For years I have thought of my part of the Great Commission in terms of four words:

  • Pray
  • Give
  • Go
  • Send

Each of them is self-explanatory.  Each of us must find some combination of these different pursuits as we respond to Jesus’ command to “make disciples”.  I like the other words this image adds.

  • Learn – we must understand that we are called to do this.
  • Welcome – the nations have come to our neighborhoods, so we may not need another language after all.
  • Mobilize – we each must be engaged, even as we set to engage others.

It is such a daunting task, it can immobilize us.  But when we look at it as our shared endeavor, with one another and God, it becomes more manageable.  None of us could ever accomplish it on our own, even if we had a thousand tongues, but together we can hasten that day pictured in Revelation 7:9.  What is your part?

Holy Spirit, show me what my part is in spreading the honors of the name of Jesus.  Inspire me to embrace that part and empower me to do it.  Help me to sing praises, but also to live them out daily, and to find my little part in this huge task.  IN Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen

Joyful Thinking!

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EVERYONE, enjoy this podcast and the transcript below!

Podcast 3.4 Transcript

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s think about this.

My gracious Master and my God,

Ephesians 2:10 ESV

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Acknowledging Him as Master implies not only that He is in charge, but also that it is likely He has work for us to do.  This Scripture bears that our plainly. Our Master and our God graciously invites us to be His, and to do good works. Ask Him what He has for you to do today.

 Assist me to proclaim,

John 14:26 ESV

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Here Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit, our Helper, will indeed assist us in our efforts to speak the marvelous mysteries of our God and His Kingdom. We can ask with confidence when we already know our Lord has promised to answer.  Ask for that help now, and then again any time you need it.

To spread through all the earth abroad

Matthew 28:18-19a ESV

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,

Again we find ourselves asking for something the Lord has commanded us and given us the authority to do.  While we should be a part of this work locally, we must find some expression of it globally as well. After all, how else we will have a thousand tongues to sing.  Ask Jesus to show you how to be a part of raising up a thousand tongues to sing, and more.

 The honors of Thy Name.

Matthew 28:19b-20 ESV / 9 helpful votes

…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus’ Great Commission continues with a focus on His name, and the teaching that flow from it, before concluding with the promise of His presence.  And what a promise it is. If we have any hope of being a part of something that has been changing the world for 2,000 years, we will absolutely need His presence.  Thank Him that He has promised it to us before we even begin.

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has come to your mind, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then I will read our text once more.

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the world abroad
The honors of Thy name.

Take the mindfulness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

Help Needed: To Proclaim

mygodis-gracious-rectangle-1200x800My gracious Master and my God,
  Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the world abroad
  The honors of Thy name.

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Listen as you read.  This version is features the tune that is more often used in the UK.

There is such a different energy in this version which features a tune less common in the US.  I think it really matches this stanza.  That is true whether you see this as a prayer or a statement.

Statement or Prayer

I keep re-reading this and keep coming up with the same two possibilities.  At first, I think this is a statement.  My Gracious Master and my God assist me.  To do what?  To proclaim.  Yes and Amen! God does assist us to proclaim His name.  If He did not, we could not possibly adequately spread the honors of His name to the entire earth.  It seems like a statement.

That is until you understand it with the last verse, which by the way is what each line of a hymn stanza is actually called.  “The honors of Thy name.”  Up to this point it seems like it could be statement declaring that God actually does help us.  This resonates with us because He does.  However, I believe this last line makes it a prayer.

Vertical versus Horizontal
Vertical versus Horizontal

Why is this important?  Because most of the other stanzas are actually horizontal.  They are directed from one worshipper to another, or at least another prospective worshipper.  This stanza is unusual in the context of this hymn because it is directed vertically.  It is sung directly to God, making an appeal for His assistance.  The vertical direction is important because in it we may learn a valuable lesson.

Help Me, Jesus!

If we are going to have any  real hope of proclaiming the glory of our God, we are going to need His help!  This represents the key tuning element for this installment.  Seems simple and straightforward, but let me ask you what at first may seem like a simple question.  When was the last time you prayed and asked God to assist you in telling the world about Him?  Of course this is not limited to praising Him in song, but I also do not believe it excludes help with that.

Directions for Singing

And Charles Wesley’s brother John offered some help from His perspective which he intended would illicit better signing.  His seven principles were written for a particular volume of hymns, but many can be applied in a broader context.  That is certainly true of this one.

4. Sing Lustily – and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half-dead or half-asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sang the songs of Satan.

ouchOuch!  That is a strong indictment to lift up energetic voices in praises.  If we sang the songs of Satan without shame, certainly we should sing the songs of Jesus entirely free of shame.

So how are you doing with that?  Do you sing lustily?  If not, why not?  When was the last time you asked God specifically to help you sing?  Have you ever asked Him?

Tune your heart to sing His praise, by asking Him to assist You spread through all the earth abroad the honors of His name.  And then, make haste to find a group of worshippers to which to lend Your newly loosed tongue.

Happy Tuning!

Jesus, thank You for Your willingness to assist me in proclaiming You name.  Forgive me for not asking sooner or more often.  I confess I need Your help to do this and so I am asking.   Help me, Jesus, to proclaim Your name, when I am singing, and when I am not.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

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Please comment below and share if you have found this helpful in your journey of being more resonant.

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Subscribers, enjoy this video log!

Video 3.4 Transcript

Welcome to Tuesday Tunings at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s tune our hearts.

My gracious Master and my God,
  Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the world abroad
  The honors of Thy name.

We may be quick to acknowledge him as God, but what about Master? Maybe because it implies there are things He has for us to do?  May His grace compel us to serve. Ask him what he wants you to do today.

Whatever He asks you to do will almost undoubtedly serve this purpose, to proclaim who He is. Ask Him for His assistance to do that.

We are commanded to make an impact beyond our local proclamation’s. Giving, praying, going, and sending, as we advance His Kingdom to the ends of the earth.  Are you involved in these pursuits?

There is no other name worthy of the honor due the name of Jesus. Thank Him that you get to be one of those who make that known.

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has surfaced in your heart, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then we will sing once more.

Sing

Take the awareness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

 

Foulest to Faultless

His blood

He breaks the power of cancell’d sin,
  He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
  His blood avail’d for me.

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Listen as you read.  This version is by Kaleb Brasse.

The foulest?  Really?

Yep

The prisoner on the cross beside Him is a great example.  Can you see the reflection of Jesus in that drop of blood?  And how about that prisoner of the cross to the right?  Do you recall the story?  Jesus was crucified between two criminals.

You can read the entire account in Luke 23:32-42, but let me draw your attention to the one who rebuked the other for taunting Jesus.  He acknowledged he was being punished justly, getting back what he deserved for the things he had done, while Jesus was innocent.  Then He pleads for mercy, an important concept to grasp when we think about His blood, because it is what keeps us from getting what we deserve.

He requests mercy simply by asking,  “Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom.”  Luke 11:42  After the other criminal ridicules Him for appearing to be powerless to help Himself, the other acknowledges His kingly authority.  He may have been among the foulest, but Jesus promises to make Him flawless by saying, “…today you will be with me in paradise.”

Doesn’t seem fair does it?  A criminal about to die asks for mercy and receives it.  He has no opportunity to earn it, or somehow improve his standing.  It is offered without merit, and solely based on confidence in the One he is asking.

Adolf Hitler

For Comparison

When it comes to our salvation, that seems more fair, right?  I mean, I am not a criminal, and even if you have broken a few laws, you are certainly not guilty of doing anything that would justify being crucified – a terrible, agonizingly slow death, done publicly for the purpose of humiliation.  Maybe you do have a long list of misdemeanors, to go along with your felonies, but at least you are not Adolf Hitler or Charles Manson, right?

There is a problem with this comparison game though.  It simply does not work.  Why? There are no gradients of imperfection.  Anything that is not perfect is equally as imperfect as every other imperfect thing.  So we are all in the same position.  Imperfect, longing to be perfect.  Foul, and needing to be clean.  But this is no news to Jesus.

Good News

Knowing full well none of us possessed the capacity to get clean, Jesus came to provide a way.  As He sat and shared the last meal with His disciples before His crucifixion, Jesus said, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”  Matthew 26:28 Remission is the cancellation of a debt, charge, or penalty.  Jesus knew He was about to shed His blood so the power of sin could be cancelled and we could be set free. 

When even the foulest among us acknowledges the power of His blood to cleanse us, everything changes.  We are forgiven.  Made clean.  Wesley declares “His blood avail’d for me”, which simply means it helped or benefitted me.  Though that is accurate, it seems like a gross understatement.  At the same time, it is a fact.  His blood did help me, and everyone else who ever asked, or will.

It makes me think of this powerful quote of Corrie Ten Boom.  “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”  You can not be so foul that you get beyond God’s ability to make you clean.  Think about it.  He cancels sin and its power.  He set the prisoner free.  His blood cleanses the Foulest among us, which is really good news because not one of us is very far off from that moniker.  In its place He gives us a new title, Faultless.  Thanks be to God for His deep, deep love.

Jesus, when I think of Your blood shed for me, I am humbled.  I did not deserve it yet You freely gave it.  Aware of how unworthy I am, there have been moments when I have struggled to believe Your blood could help me.  Forgive me Lord for ever doubting that You could make me clean.  I do believe, and that believe leads me to praise You again today, for my new standing and my new title.  Thank you Jesus!

Joyful Thinking!

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Subscribers enjoy this podcast! Everyone else, the transcript below.

Podcast 3.3 Transcript

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s think about this.

He breaks the power of cancell’d sin,

Hebrews 2:17 ESV

Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Propitiation is to atone.  He atoned for sins, making us at one with God, having formerly been separated by our sin.  Jesus did this when He willingly laid down his perfect life. Praise Jesus for breaking the power of sin.

  He sets the prisoner free;

Isaiah 61:1 ESV

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Jesus read these words in the synagogue as He began His ministry, and pronounced they were fulfilled.  Do you see yourself in this list: Poor, brokenhearted, captive, imprisoned? Thank Jesus that He was anointed to change our circumstances.

His blood can make the foulest clean,

Ephesians 2:13 ESV 

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Jesus taught he who has been forgiven much, loves much.  Paul called himself the foremost among sinners. Do you remember how “far off” you were?  Ponder that for a moment, and then thank Jesus for cleansing you with His blood so you could be brought near.

  His blood avail’d for me.

Romans 5:9 ESV

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

Availed means to help or benefit.  What an understatement in describing what Jesus’ blood did for us.  Justification has been explained as being made “just-as-if” you had never sinned.  I needed a lot of help to look like that, and you did too. Thank Jesus.

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has come to your mind, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then I will read our text once more.

He breaks the power of cancell’d sin,
  He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
  His blood avail’d for me.

Take the mindfulness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.