A Thousand Tongues

O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing was used in a recent worship service I attended. It was one of the more than six thousand hymns written by Charles Wesley and was originally titled “For the Anniversary of One’s Conversion.” Part of any conversion experience is the realization that we are sinners, and we can’t stop sinning. The only remedy is a Savior, and Wesley recognizes and proclaims that truth in this well known hymn.

In May 1738, Charles Wesley was suffering from pleurisy, and during this time he was plagued with doubts about his faith. On May 21st, he attend a Bible study where he listened to a number of testimonies. He was deeply moved by this experience and considered it to be the moment that he turned to Christ.

Eleven years later, he wrote a 18 stanza poem about his conversion. It is thought to be inspired by Peter Bohler, an influential Moravian leader, who said “Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise Christ Jesus with all of them.”

For more hymns by Charles Wesley see these posts:

Jesus, Lover of My Soul


Alpha and Omega

“In the beginning . . .” some of most famous first words in literature.  Fittingly enough, these words are the start of the explanation of well . . . the first everything. The first light, the first water,  land, plant, star, creatures, and of course the first humans. And strange as it may seem to think of; the first creation of time itself was laid out as well. Because before God placed the stars in the sky there was eternity. An endless loop for an everlasting being.

However, we are not (in current state) Endless by any means. For us in this life everything has a beginning and must come to an end. From the very life within to the seasons and stages we experience. Time as a child, and student is limited. The season of parenting and nurturing your own children and of course as we age we come closer to realizing our mortality. Even nature has its seasons, it must obey the will of time also.

Yet, for believers, for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we have an escape. A great hope and certain comfort that our end here on earth (with our earthly bodies) is really a new beginning without end. Because  the fulfillment of God’s promise that he would send a Savior for His people; means that, as long as we believe in His Son Jesus Christ, we get to live with Him in heaven for eternity. Time no longer has a hold on us.

For as the last words of the Bible aptly states; ” . . . Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” That is the Only way our end is not hopeless, but eagerly awaited. So be it.

Submit to One Another?

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

Submit to one another?  Really?  In this country most of us do not want to be thought of as submissive.  Isn’t that another word for weak?  Dependent?  Pitiful?  Isn’t a submissive person just a doormat who allows themselves to be used?  Shouldn’t we avoid being labeled this way at all costs?  Stand up for our own rights?

Well, take another look.  It’s right there in the Bible under the title “Instructions for Christian households.”  Although this section is speaking specifically to husbands and wives, since the church is called “the household of God” it has a rightful place in the church family as well.

I admit that the thought of submitting used to bother me.  Over time, I’ve come to think differently.  Submission to one another doesn’t mean taking all sorts of abuse;  it doesn’t mean allowing another person to win every argument or make every decision.  What it does mean is this:  STOP BEING SELFISH.  Put the other person first and do what’s best for them.  Here’s a related verse from Philippians 2: 3-4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

This is certainly a heard teaching.  Our natural inclination is to be egotistical, to think first of our own well being.  However, notice why we Christians are to practice submission to one another:  out of reverence to Christ.  We’re not to submit because other people deserve our submission, or because we’re weaker or less valuable — we’re  to submit out of gratitude for what Christ did for us.  He put us, and our interests above His own.  He didn’t need to be tortured and die on a cross.  He’s God!  He submitted to that punishment, our punishment, so that we would be made righteous in the eyes of God.

The reality is, we can’t be strong, independent and perfect on our own.  We need a savior.  We need each other.  Let’s admit that and put one another first.  Christ did it for us.  We should do it for one another.


Who Are We Really?

I’ve found myself thinking about this blog post and feeling that I would like to avoid writing it.  ( I’m preparing a Sunday School lesson on Jonah, the prophet who tried to run away from God, and boy, can I identify).  However, the Holy Spirit keeps nudging me to put it out there, so here goes.

The Hunger Games

Have you read the book, or watched the movie,  The Hunger Games?  I bet almost everyone has.  It’s the story of a young girl, Katniss Everdeen, who through her abilities and virtue, triumphs over an evil government, and becomes a symbol of freedom that motivates others. It’s a story we all want to identify with, especially here in America.  That’s how we see ourselves, right? The land of the brave and the free?  Individualists who broke away from the control of England to establish a country where liberty is  guaranteed and everyone has an opportunity to work hard and succeed.  Hunger Games fits well with the story we tell ourselves about who we are and how we came to exist as a nation.  I suppose that’s okay as far as it goes.

Unfortunately what struck me, particularly when I saw the movie, was the thought that we’re not Katniss, we’re the people in the capital;  the people who are living an extravagant, gluttonous lifestyle, while outside our borders people starve.  Look up the statistics.  Did you know that 16% of the worlds’ population (this is pretty much the U.S., Europe and Japan) consume 80% of the natural resources?  Americans comprise 4% of the world population, but operate 1/3 of its’ cars and use 1/4 of its’ energy.

You may tell yourself that at least we’re not drafting people to compete in a murderous game for our entertainment.  Think again.  We haven’t quite gotten to that level, but we’re more than willing to view many “reality” shows that encourage conflict, lust and greed for our enjoyment.

Here’s the naked truth.  We live in the capital and we are those evil people.  We have no hope of isolating ourselves from sin, our own and that of society.  We don’t need a Katniss;  we need a savior.  Come Lord Jesus.