Tag Archive | praise

Praise, for kings will shut their mouths

Chris Powers at fullofeyes.com and on Patreon, recently created this illustration based on an Isaiah verse. We praise the Lord for all His ways, not just on Sundays but every day.

He was, and is, and is to come.

Illustrator and artist Chris Powers wrote:

Isaiah 52:15, “…he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.”

May it be so…..

Below you can read the string of thoughts from my journal that led me to this text in Isaiah and, eventually, to today’s picture.
_________________________

Surely there is at no time a divorce between the Son’s outer form or experience and His revelation of the Father. Surely, the Son is no less the perfect image and radiance of God’s glory when He is stripped and beaten than when He is transfigured in splendor. Surely, the face shining like the sun in full strength and the face marred beyond human recognition are both the face in which we see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God….and no less in one than in the other.

Or perhaps, in our present state, there is less we can see in one….in the face that shines like the sun, we can see nothing….our eyes are overwhelmed, our faces turn away and hide…….But when that same resplendence clothes itself with flesh…and submits that flesh to be beaten and torn and wounded in the place of enemies….then….then we know what we could not know before. Then we shut our mouths for wonder because that which had not been told to us, we can now see, and that which we had not heard, we understand….

kings

Think about what Paul said- “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you…”

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. (Colossians 1:3-5).

One of our pastors preached on Colossians last Sunday. He noted the above introduction in Paul’s letter. Paul prayed to Jesus in thanks for the saints.

Our pastor said, ‘What if we prayed like that? Instead of when we pray and getting straight to our petitions, or even instead of getting straight to thanking Jesus for what He’s given ourselves or done for us, we thank Him for our brethren?’

When was the last time I prayed in thanks for the saints around me, the saints around the world, the saints that have come before on whose works I rely? Hmmm, it’s been a while I think.

I am thankful for our elders. We have a Teaching Pastor, an Associate Pastor and two elders who lead us in preaching, confession time, prayers, and devotionals. They are Godly men, humble, and filled with a heart of love for Jesus and service to Him. I know I am blessed to be growing under such men, and I do thank Jesus for them. Therefore I say,

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.

We have a cadre of elder folks who are seasoned, mature, kind, doctrinally solid, and constant in their attendance, devotions, and service. They aren’t coasting, they take nothing for granted, and they are always willing to lead, teach, encourage, or just silently be present. Therefore I say,

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.

youths

Some of our members on a retreat. http://www.nacathens.org

In a most remarkable blessing, the largest demographic of members and attendees in our church are youngsters. These are youths aged from upper teens to mid twenties. The college crowd. Many are in undergraduate or graduate school in the area. Their eagerness and fervor is a boon to us elder folks. Their zeal to serve is refreshing. Most of all, they love Jesus and devour His word. Despite a heavy class load or demanding work schedule, they arise before dawn or stay well after dark to attend Bible groups. They faithfully attend church services. They drive 40 minutes and stay two hours just to seek advice from an older member. They happily jump in to serve by setting up or taking down, the drudge jobs. They love each other and they joyously submit to leadership. They are amazing. Therefore I say,

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.

Next time, I won’t lightly skim the intro to a letter, but as our elder preached, I’ll stop and truly ponder what the writer is saying. Paul dwelled on praise to Jesus for the brethren, and I want to adopt that same mindset in prayer by thanking Jesus for them both in my sphere and across the world.

Kay Cude Poetry: What Manner of Man is This?

Kay Cude poetry. Used with permission. Click to enlarge.

Artist’s statement:

After finishing this piece, the more I read and reread Mark 4:37-41 and Colossians 1:16-18, the more I was overcome with tears. The Holy Spirit is so faithful to teach, especially at times when I am too busy “doing things” for Christ (in my own effort). How many more readings of these verses will it take for me to attentively remember that Christ’s continuing patience with me, my fears and my sometimes feeble faith is unbelievably profound and so very merciful?

How many times has Scripture told me, told all believers, to pay attention to Christ and His Word, and to not allow the storms of battering and fearful trials or heartaches overwhelm us? That He is sufficient; that He will enable us to glorify Him in our lives; that He will supply us with the appropriate words needed at perilous times of persecution and impending death? Or to remember that all things are under His authority and that He is preeminent and sovereign and that he will supply us the wisdom and endurance to continue on? Or that His Holy Spirit sustains us!

I am so thankful, so grateful, that He knows the hearts of His redeemed so intimately, and so very thankful that He rescued me!

kay-cude-manner-of-man

 

 

Praise for the Light

Before I was saved I breathed in the air of common grace, grace that is filled with the creation knowledge of Him. It was poison to my lungs. I flopped around like a caught fish on the deck, breathing grace but longing for the murky waters to envelop me once again, the weeds wrapping around my head, because I loved the darkness. (cf Jonah 2:5b)

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19).

as it is written:

None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
(Romans 3:10)

And yet He loved me, a sinner, and set me upright, washed me, gave me common grace and and added saving grace to my soul.

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.(Romans 8:2).

After salvation I breathe in the sweetness of special grace, the savor of Jesus and His sanctifying work of atonement. The Light came.

The Gospel is not a man-made invention

This morning I was reading another prayer from my wonderful Valley of Vision book. These are Puritan prayers and devotions, collected into one volume by Editor Arthur Bennett and printed by The Banner of Truth Trust. It is a must-have for your bookshelf.

These prayers often stop me in my tracks with their convicting beauty, depth of spirit, and fervency of faith. Today’s prayer was the first prayer in the section “Redemption & Reconciliation”, and it’s called The Gospel Way. You can read the entire prayer here.

I was immediately struck by the first line.

BLESSED LORD JESUS,
No human mind could conceive or invent the gospel.

Think about this for a while.

Really think.

This one statement has enormous ramifications. Thoughts could erupt in a thousand different paths. For me, I clearly remember the years (decades) before I was saved. I remember being mightily puzzled by the Jesus people, their fixation on the blood (Ew, gross) and the communion bread/wafer they ate that was supposed to be the Lord’s body (Ew, grosser). I remember being confused by their joy even when they were diagnosed with a dread disease, why they so often and profusely thanked the Lord for anything and everything (Oh, get over it, I’d say), and why, oh why, has Christianity persevered all these thousands of years when other religions … didn’t?
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