A Shocking Reversal

Not Guilty

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.

If there was ever anything worth singing about, and there certainly is, this would rank right at the top.  Though I was guilty in sin, Jesus, the BEST defense attorney EVER, earned my acquittal.  O, to sing of the triumphs of His grace, of which I certainly am one.  How about you?

Sin

I realize I may have influenced your answer with that heading, but I would still like you to do something.  Take a moment to do a little reflective self-assessment.  How were you doing before you surrendered your life to Jesus?  Can you remember what that felt like?  What are some words you would use to describe that state?

I am serious.  Take at least a few seconds and try to recall what was going on in your heart.

Finished yet?

Now, do you have those words in mind?  Were they words like these: hopeless, lost, dead, frustrated, afraid, alone, guilty?  Many who come to Christ lack an understanding of just how bad off they were, so they struggle through much of their Christian life trying to just do better, as if their new standing relied upon them.

The underlying problem is that most of the time most of don’t think we’re that bad.

But we are.  Or at least we were.

Not Guilty

The gavel has fallen and the final verdict on our sin has been passed.  Based solely on the merit of Christ’s finished work on the cross, on the day you stand before the Great Throne of Judgement our Father, the Judge, will be able to day, “I find the defendant NOT GUILTY.”  Not certain about the legal imagery here?  Consider how the writer of Hebrews puts it in 9:26b-28.

26now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— 28 so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

I imagine it this way.  So there I am at my sentencing.  Having heard the record of my sin read back to me, the Judge asks for my response. Fully aware that I have no reasonable defense, I take a deep breath and am about to throw myself on the mercy of the court, when Jesus reaches over and stops me.

My Accuser, Satan, having laid out an airtight case against me, sits back in his chair and waits to see what Jesus will say.  To my chagrin, He acknowledges the accuracy of every charge, but then offers the rebuttal to end all rebuttals by asking that my punishment be placed upon Him.  Justice is accomplished in my case because Jesus’ sacrificing Himself for me covers all my sin and sets me free.

Sets the Prisoner Free

Free

Fully and simultaneously aware of my sin and Jesus’ grace, I revel in the unmerited favor afforded to me.  I can still see the imprints of the long-worn shackles on my wrists and feet as I exit the proceedings.  It is not hard to imagine the weight of the sin I had long carried, nor the possibilities that exist now that I am free of it.  I run from its’ darkness and to the Lord’s light, thankful for my freedom.

Resonate

Does that rendering resonate within your heart?  It should.  It is the story of each of us who have placed our faith in the finished work of Christ, His blood shed on our behalf, to satisfy the righteousness of God.

We will take some time in the next blog, Foulest to Faultless, to consider the efficacy of Christ’s blood on our behalf, but for now will you just thank Him?  Thank Him for cancelling the power of sin.  Thank Him for setting you free, no longer sin’s prisoner.  Thank Him you get to sing His praise, until and then beyond the day when you will stand faultless before the Throne.

Happy Tuning!

Jesus, thank You cancelling the power of sin in my life.  Thank you for setting me free, by taking my punishment on Yourself.  I could never have earned my freedom, but You gave it to me anyway.  I want that realization to continue to transform my daily living and my praising. In Jesus name.  Amen.

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Video 3.3 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.

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.

Now we recount some of the reasons we want a thousand tongues to sing.  He breaks the power of sin, cancelled by His work on the cross, and our faith in it.  Thank Him.

He sets the prisoners free.  Take a moment and recall what your prison looked like, and felt like.  Give Him praise for setting you free.

It is imperative we acknowledge our wretchedness so we can revel in being made new.  Tell Him you were filthy with no way to get clean, nor even the desire to.

Availed here means to help or benefit.  Thank Jesus for helping you by applying the benefit of His blood to your sins and so enabling you to stand pure before our Holy God.

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.

Do Fears Have Ears?

Snake Charmer

Jesus! the Name that charms our fears,
  That bids our sorrows cease;
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
  ‘Tis life, and health, and peace.

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

Listen as you read.  This version is from Tyler Andrews.

Little strikes more fear in many people’s hearts than the very sight of a snake.  When they consider the prospect of sitting in front of one in at attempt to charm it like it is done in India, for example, their pulse increases, their palms become sweaty, and they all but pass out.  And for good reason.  Snakes can be very dangerous.

When we learn a little more about these street performers, we learn that for many of them the fangs have been removed, or the lips sewn shut.  Changes the game a bit.  But I am still pretty certain I remain uninterested in trying it.

Jesus, the Fear Charmer

When I first head these words years ago, I think I mistakenly thought the phrase here was “calms our fears” which actually also makes sense.   But frankly it is not nearly as profound as the statement that Jesus charms, or controls, our fears.  The meaning here implies to control or achieve as if by magic.  While Jesus uses no magic when He deals with our fears, there is absolutely something supernatural that occurs.  It is a powerful image, this one of Jesus being in control of our fears as they raise their terrible heads in our lives.  Reminds me of the disciples in the midst of the storm…

Jesus Calms the Storm

Mark 4:35-41 tells of the storm that was inducing fear in the disciples.  The threat was so real they thought they might lose their lives, but Jesus had slept through it all.  What an interesting commentary on His apparent lack of concern.  How we often mistake Jesus’ lack of intervention for lack of care, when He might be simply waiting for us to ask.

When the disciples finally wake Him and ask Him if He cares, not to calm the storm mind you, Jesus charms, or calms, the storm with “Peace!  Be Still!”  Wow!  Do you believe that happened?  Do you believe Jesus can speak with the same authority into your lives?  Or are you quietly convinced He does not care about the situation you are in the middle of, or the fear it is evoking in you?

Jesus cares and He wants to convince you of that.  Ask Him to speak “Peace! Be Still!” over the snake/fear that is raising it’s head in your life.  His statement may have a more profound effect on your heart that the situation, but either way, He will charm that fear.  What’s stopping you from asking?  Thankfully, Jesus often does wait for us to ask, but simply has compassion on us, like the widow who had lost her son in Luke 7:11-17.

Jesus Encounters Funeral Procession

Jesus the Sorrow “Ceaser”

Not Caeser, but Ceaser.  Yes, I made that up, but you see what I did there don’t you?  Jesus is an autocrat, having absolute power over even our sorrows, but rather than demanding they cease, He sometimes bids them to cease by inviting us into a different response as He demonstrates His ability to cease their cause.

In the Luke passage above, Jesus comes across a funeral procession.  The dead man is the only son of the widow in the passage.  When Jesus sees her, He has compassion on her, and invites her, “Do not weep” before He has done anything to change the circumstance.

Do you ever wonder how much time passes between the line of Scripture sometimes?  The very next line tells us “Then Jesus…”  The time between “Do not weep” and “Then Jesus…” is an unknown.  Inject yourself into that gap, because truth be told, you have actually found yourself there many times without knowing it.

Jesus Raises the Widows’ Son

Jesus was speaking “Do not weep” into your soul, He was bidding your sorrows to cease.  There are seemingly competing definitions of “bid”, with one being command, and another invite.  I believe both were active in those moments for you, for me, for the widow.  Jesus was commanding sorrow to cease, and inviting her, and us, into that reality in our experience.  I do not think she needed much convincing as her son sat up and she held his face tenderly in her hands.

What sorrows is Jesus bidding to cease for you today?  Do you need convincing?  Thank Him that there are times when you do not even ask, and He is already bidding.

Do Fears, or Sorrows, Have Ears?

Did you know that even though snakes can sense sound, they lack the outer ear that would allow them to hear the music of the charmer?  Instead they follow the movements of instrument and charmer considering them a threat, and responding to them as a predator.  Fears and sorrows do not have ears either.  Instead they follow the direction of the Jesus, and respond to Him as One with power over them.  With that in mind, let them respond accordingly, and you determine to do the same.  

You have the advantage of being able to hear the name of Jesus.  Let it be music in your ears.  Music which stills fears and sorrows delivers life and health and peace.

Jesus, charm my fears and bids my sorrows cease, until the music of Your matchless name ushers a wave of life and health and peace into my beleaguered soul.  Help me to realize You have already accomplished all this and I simply need to believe.  

Joyful Thinking!

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

Podcast 3.2 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.

Jesus! the Name that charms our fears,

Matthew 8:26ESV

And (Jesus) said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

The disciples found themselves in a storm that was threatening to swamp their little boat, all the while Jesus was asleep.  When they woke Him, He spoke to the winds and they obeyed. What storm are you facing today that you need to see Jesus calm?  Will you give Him your fears to charm?

  That bids our sorrows cease;

Luke 7:13ESV

And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

Jesus spoke these words to a widow whose only son has just died.  Might seem strange if we did not read the next lines which tell us Jesus raises her son back to life.  He still has that kind of authority today. In our sorrows, He invites us to trust Him and His purposes.  What sorrows might Jesus be inviting you to cease today?

‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,

Mark 2:17ESV

…Jesus…said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

And how glad we are that He did!  So glad that it is as if His name were actually music in our ears.  Can you remember the first time you understood the significance of Jesus name’ and all that it accomplishes?  Give Him praise for making a house call so you, sin sick as you were, could have your heart healed.

  ‘Tis life, and health, and peace.

John 16:33ESV

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Peace is not the absence of fear or sorrow, peace is the presence of God. He is with us and in His name we find everything we need. Thank Jesus that you can find life and health and peace in Him even when the things in your world may be sick and dying and troubled.

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.

Jesus! the Name that charms our fears,
  That bids our sorrows cease;
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
  ‘Tis life, and health, and peace.

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

Music to My Ears

Music to Our Ears|Jesus

Jesus! the Name that charms our fears,
  That bids our sorrows cease;
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
  ‘Tis life, and health, and peace.

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

Listen as you read.  This version is from Tyler Andrews.

Not long after beginning my journey with Jesus, a dear friend introduced me to this stanza.  We injected it into another song we were writing and I personalized it as I sang, “‘Tis music in this sinner’s ears”, and as much as that was true back then, it is even moreso now.

Music to One’s Ears

You are probably familiar with that saying which essentially describes something that is pleasant or gratifying to hear or discover.  A quick search reveals this concept dates back at least as far as Shakespeare, but regardless of the origin, I believe it is safe to say that nothing across all of history is so pleasant or gratifying to hear or discover as the name of Jesus, when rightly understood.  Musicians, or music lovers in general, can appreciate this phrase because of the way their souls have been moved while making or enjoying music.

Jean Valjean sings over Marius
  • Can you remember a time when your soul was stirred by a piece of music?  Whether there were words or just an instrumental line, you were moved deeply within your being.  Something happened as you heard the combination of notes that resonated deeply within you.  For me, as a tenor, one such piece is “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables, especially the last note.
  • Can you remember a time when your soul was stirred by the name of Jesus?  Whether in a piece of music, as you read Scripture, or heard a teaching, you were moved deeply within your being.  Something happened as you heard the sound of His name and it resonated deeply within you.  Think of one of those times,

But this phrase is not lost on non-musicians either.  Many are familiar not only with this expression but the feeling of hearing something that brings delight to the soul.  All that said, it is a masterful use of a familiar turn of words, especially as it applies to the music of the unparalleled name of Jesus.

Saying it is unparalleled is not just a powerful statement to make a point here.  I am simply reiterating what the  Scripture clearly declares.  This is maybe nowhere more clear than in Philippians 2:9-11.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (ESV)

There is coming a day when every creature and all creation will bow before Jesus.  For those who have come to the incredible knowledge the Jesus is Lord, and have surrendered to that knowledge, His name is “music to their ears”.

But this is not only because it has stirred us deeply…

Life and Health and Peace

Interesting sequence of words in this last line.  It seems like the opposite of the natural order, but after some consideration really make sense.  Jesus’ name is actually the source of Life. Health and Peace flow from it.

First, He said this in John 14:6.   “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Pretty bold and exclusive statement, but when you are God you can get away with such declarations, especially because it is the truth.  Notice Jesus did not say He was a life, or simply life, but THE life.

Suffering Servant

Out of that reality flows the next paradoxical proclamation.  His name is health, and it was His death that creates the paradox.  There are a number of different Scriptures that speak specifically to this character of God in general and Jesus in particular.  But allow me to draw attention to Isaiah 53:5.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Speaking here of the Suffering Servant that was to come, Isaiah says his wounds will heal us.   Jesus is that Suffering Servant and His sacrificial death accomplished our healing.  But did you notice the other of our words Isaiah mentioned?

Peace.  The punishment that He suffered brought us peace.  What He was about to endure, that which Isaiah had prophesied  centuries before, validated these words from John 14:27.

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

So my question to help you tune today is, “Are you inviting the power of His name into your life regularly?”  Whether lifting it in a song, or simply in prayer or conversation, are you allowing it to voice in your life?  We will think about those first two lines in the next post on Thursday, but until then give the name of Jesus some expression in your life.  Subscribers, you can just play the vlog below for one such opportunity.

Happy Tuning!

Jesus, Your name is music to my ears!  Help me to speak it more often so that I create some opportunity for you to usher Your life and health and peace into my living.  Forgive me for not giving you more access to my lips and ears.  Help me to help others know You today.  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!