Archive for November, 2011

He Took My Sins Away (Hymn)

He Took My Sins Away
Margaret J. Harris (1903)

I came to Jesus, weary, worn, and sad.
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
And now His love has made my heart so glad,
He took my sins away.

Refrain

He took my sins away, He took my sins away,
And keeps me singing every day!
I’m so glad He took my sins away,
He took my sins away.

The load of sin was more than I could bear.
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
And now on Him I roll my ev’ry care,
He took my sins away.

Refrain

No condemnation have I in my heart,
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
His perfect peace He did to me impart,
He took my sins away.

Refrain

If you will come to Jesus Christ today,
He’ll take your sins away, He’ll take your sins away,
And keep you happy in His love each day,
He’ll take your sins away.

Refrain

Just the title of this hymn makes me want to sing.  What a blessed thought that “He took my sins away.”  The load of sin is truly more than any of us can bear, but thankfully, He takes our sin away!  That is something that we should be singing and talking about – if any will come to Jesus, He will take their sin away, too!

“I Have Loved You…”

The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.  I have loved you, saith the LORD.  Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us?

Malachi 1:1-2a

The audacity of some people is amazing.  We see stories in the news sometimes that just make us shake our heads and wonder what in the world people are thinking (or if they are thinking at all).  We are continually shocked by the arrogance people and by their wilful blindness to the truth.  And, usually, when we shocked by other people, we can look deeply into our own lives and find some of the same non-thinking arrogance and wilful blindness to the truth right there within us.

The Lord tells the Israelites through the prophet Malachi that “I have loved you.”  That is a true statement.  Look at the history of the nation of Israel from the beginning of the Old Testament.  It is the story of a people who were loved by God.  God delivered them time and time again.  He helped them, He gave them a land flowing with milk and honey, He drove out their enemies before them, and He blessing them to abundance.  They then rejected Him time and time again.  These rejections were followed by chastening.  And every time the nation of Israel turned back to the Lord, He forgave them and started blessing them again.  The entire Old Testament is, in fact, a testament to God’s love for His people.

And yet, in this verse, they had the audacity to say “Wherein hast thou loved us?”  They could easily look back and see that their entire history as a nation was God’s love for them.  But they turned a blind eye to that truth and asked God when and where He had loved them.  That is a terrible thing.  But before we attack them too much for their attitude, what about us?

God has obviously loved us.  But how often do we start doubting that every time anything bad happens to us?  How often do we start murmuring and questioning His love when we go through something difficult?  God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us.  There is no greater love than that.  Let us never forget or even entertain the slightest doubt that God loves us.

The Lord Shall Be King

And the LORD shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

Zechariah 14:9

Many of the prophecies found in the books of the Old Testament prophets deal with the future second coming of the Lord and His literal, earthly reign.  It’s nice sometimes to sit back and think about what a great thing that will be.  Think about the Lord Jesus Himself ruling and being the King.  He will be King over all of the Earth.  That will be a wonderful day.  There will be no more corruption in high offices because Jesus will be the King.  There will be no more lying politicians because Jesus will be King.  There will be no more unjust judgment because Jesus will be totally in charge.  What a great world that will be.

The verse also says that, in that day, there shall be one Lord.  There are many false gods and false “lords” running around today.  In fact, there are probably more people in the world today who believe in false gods than believe in the one true God.  In fact, there are many people who try to put themselves in the position of “lord.”  But not in that day.  In that day, there will be one Lord, the Lord Jesus.  Everyone will know that He is Lord.  There will be no doubts and no questions.  Can you imagine a world in which everyone knows the name of the Jesus and in which nobody questions the fact that He is indeed the Lord?

Sometimes looking around at our current world can get demoralizing.  It is then that we should stop looking around and start looking up.  Jesus is coming again!  That is our “blessed hope.”  There is coming a wonderful day!

Wounding the Saviour

And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?  Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

Zechariah 13:6

And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.  And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.  And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Luke 61-62

I know that I wrote about this verse (Zechariah 13:6) last Saturday, but I just can’t get away from it and the thought that it contains.  In the future, someone will see Jesus and will ask Him about the wounds in His hands.  He will reply that they are “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”  He was betrayed by His own people.  And, as Christians, that is what we do when we take our eyes off of Him and sin.

Peter knew all too well the pain that this type of failure would bring.  He is the one who bragged that He would stand by the Lord Jesus to the end.  And, just as Jesus had said, Peter had vehemently denied even knowing Him three times before the night was over.  Jesus didn’t need to scold Peter.  He didn’t need to punish him severely.  All He needed to do was look at Peter.  That look brought to Peter the realization that He had denied the Lord and that he had wounded Him.  The deepest and most painful wounds are often those emotional wounds inflicted by those closest to us.

Peter felt the pain of wounding His Lord, and “went out and wept bitterly.”  When we fail the Lord, how does it effect us?  Have we ever “gone out and wept bitterly” over our own sin?  This is a convicting thought to me and thinking about it makes me want to work even harder to avoid any sin that would “wound the Saviour.”

All Together, Now!

Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

Psalm 148:7-13

The theme of Psalm 148 is praising the Lord.  After reading these verses, I am not exactly sure how all of this works, but it is interesting to think about and it does present a challenge for us to praise His name.

Look at all of the things that are told to praise Him in these verses: dragons, deeps, fire, hail, snow, vapour, stormy wind, mountains, hills, fruitful trees, cedars, beasts, cattle, creeping things, fowls, Kings, all people, princes, judges, young men, maidens, old men, and children.

Those are the groups of people and things that are told to be praising the Lord.  I think that we can all find ourselves somewhere in that list.  I’m not exactly sure how this all works.  I don’t know exactly how hills and mountains and winds can praise the Lord, but apparently they can.  I’m also not exactly sure how beasts and cattle can praise the Lord, but they can.  I do know that the Bible says that the whole creation “groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22)  The fact that we can not understand hills and mountains and animals praising the Lord might have something to do with the curse of sin on the earth.  I don’t fully understand it, but I do believe it!

This brings me to one simple point.  A mountain is an inanimate object and it is supposed to be praising the Lord.  How much more should we, who know the Lord and who have mouths and tongues and vocal chords, be praising the Lord?  How convicting is it that an animal could somehow praise the Lord when we won’t?  Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen!

He Commanded, They Were Created

Praise ye the LORD.  Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.  Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.  Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.  Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.  Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.

Psalm 148:1-5

Sometimes you have to read passages like this one to get a little perspective.  In the daily grind of life, it is sometimes easy to forget to praise the Lord.  It’s easy to lose sight of the God that we serve.  Then we read verses like these that remind us to praise Him.  This passage starts with a simple command for us to praise Him.  It then lists some different places that we should be praising Him and different things that should be doing the praising.

Those things are all good, but the phrase that stood out to me was the one at the end of the fifth verse: “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.”  We should be praising the Lord because, if nothing else, He created us.  He is able to speak things into existence.  He spoke everything into existence.  It’s easy to forget those things.  It’s easy to forget that, without the command of God, we would not exist.  Our very existence should be reason enough to praise Him.  Without the command of God, nothing that we know or enjoy would exist.

He commanded.  Everything was created.  Thinking on those facts should get us in a “praising mood.”

Despising Your Neighbor

He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Proverbs 14:21

We all know that we shouldn’t despise other people.  No matter who they are or what they have done, we are not supposed to hate or despise people.  This verse zeroes in on not despising our neighbors.  I think that, while it obviously does apply to our actual “neighbor – the person who lives next to us, it also would apply to anyone that we come in contact with.  I would apply the term “neighbor” to anyone that we are around consistently.  And you know what?  Those are often the easiest people to start to despise.  Of course, God knows this and so included a specific warning for us.

The guy that cuts us off in traffic or the clerk that gives us back the wrong change might irritate us, but we aren’t likely to start “despising” them.  Our families can sometimes make us very angry or very sad, but again, usually we don’t despise them.  But those people that we are around every day.  Those are the people we have to be careful with.  The people we work with – we see them not working hard and still being promoted.  We get annoyed and those little annoyances begin to grow over time.  The people we live around.  We see their new cars and fancy things and find ourselves getting jealous.  Sometimes we see their failures and begin to swell up with pride in ourselves.  We might start to look down on them.

All of these things are wrong.  “He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth…”  That is a simple statement.  There are no exceptions given.  Our neighbors are sometimes easy to despise.  That doesn’t mean it’s right.  The next time we are around our “neighbors” and the little irritations start to add up, we would be wise to remember this verse.

He Owns the Cattle (Hymn)

He Owns the Cattle
John W. Peterson

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
The wealth in every mine,
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
The sun and stars that shine,
Wonderful riches more than tongue can tell
He is my Father so they’re mine as well
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
I know that He will care for me.

It’s something that we might not often think about, but the truth is that God does own everything and He tells us this many times in the Bible.  I’m fairly sure that there is a second verse to this song, but I couldn’t find the words to it, so we will just go with one verse, which is a good one.  I like the thought that, in light of the fact that He owns everything, He will surely care for me!

Wounded in the House of My Friends

And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?  Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

Zechariah 14:6

To me, this is one of the saddest verses in the Bible.  It is a prophetic verse dealing with the Jews as a nation, but I think that we can apply it several ways.  The question that He is asked and the answer that He gives are pointed and convicting.  They should make us think and they should make us even more thankful for His grace and His mercy.

The question is simply this: “What are these wounds in thine hands?”  That is a simple enough question.  They see that He has been wounded in His hands and, not knowing Him well enough, they are curious as to where He got those wounds.  His answer as to where those wounds in His hands came from is almost haunting and rings a tone of conviction still today:

“Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”

He didn’t go into great detail.  He responded with a simple and perfectly fitting response.  While I was obviously not physically there as part of the mob that cried “crucify him!” “crucify him!,” two thousand years later, I can still feel the sting of that sentence.  I can see Him going to the cross with my sin.  While I may not have physically crucified Him, it was my guilt and sin that crucified Him.  Jesus is the “friend of sinners.”  He “came unto his own, and his own received him not.”  He came to His own people, and they crucified Him.  He was wounded in the house of His friends.

To make further application to us today, how often have we “wounded” Him?  How often have we sinned and grieved Him?  While we didn’t physically put the nails through His hands, could He say of us “I was wounded in the house of my friends?”  Let us think of this verse the next time we are tempted to sin.  What a convicting thought.

The King is Coming

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Zechariah 9:9

This verse is a great picture of the Lord.  It is a great prophecy of Jesus.  It gives us hope and tells us a few things about the Saviour.  It tells the people to “rejoice greatly.”  Not just “rejoice,” but “rejoice greatly.”  That is for us.  We should be rejoicing greatly!  Why?

“Thy king cometh unto thee…”  Our King is coming.  If there is no other reason in the entire world that we should be rejoicing greatly, this one still stands.  We have a “blessed hope.”  We are looking for the imminent return of our King!  What a glorious day that will be and what a reason to rejoice greatly.

Do we need another reason to rejoice greatly?  How about this: When the King comes, “he is just, and having salvation.”  The Bible tells us that He is just and the justifier.  He pardons us and justifies us.  In Him is our salvation.  All of these things are in Him and He is coming!

As exciting as those things are, this verse is primarily prophetic, dealing with His first coming.  He did come to the Earth lowly, and He did ride on a donkey instead of a regal horse.  It’s great to find these prophecies and see just how literally they came to pass.  It gives us an even greater confidence that those prophecies which still lie in the future will also come to pass.

All of these wonderful things are found in one verse in a book that is often overlooked.  The Bible truly is an amazing book.  The King is coming and is bringing salvation with Him!