When Weakness Appeals to Strength

A dear friend of mine, who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story:

Rising early one morning, he said,
I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry.
Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me,
I saw a young fawn making its way across,
and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well-nigh run.
Reaching the rails of the enclosure,
it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood.
A moment later two of the hounds came over,
when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs.
I lifted the little thing to my breast,
and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs.
I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not,
and should not capture that fawn
after its weakness had appealed to my strength.

So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God.
Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul,
until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God.

– A. C. Dixon quoted by E.M. Bounds, Prayer.

2 Chronicles 20:12b – “For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

A Worship Guide for Good Friday

Grieving on Good Friday

REFLECTIONS

O all ye who pass by, behold and see; man stole the fruit, but I must climb the tree; The tree of life to all, but only me:  Was ever grief like mine?

—  From the poem “The Sacrifice” by George Herbert

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?  Look around and see.  Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?”

— Lamentations 1:12

CALL TO WORSHIP  – Galatians 6:14

Leader: “The cross of Christ is the door to heaven, the key to paradise, the downfall of the devil, the uplifting of mankind, the consolation of our imprisonment, and the prize for our freedom. The cross of Christ is the safeguard of our faith, the assurance of our hope, and the throne of love. It is the sign of God’s mercy and the proof of forgiveness. The cross is the way to peace, joy, and righteousness in the kingdom of God. The way to victory over sin, despair, and death is through the cross of Jesus Christ.”

— Abbot Rupert of Deutz, ca. 1100 AD

People: Therefore, “may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified.”

SCRIPTURE READING #1 – John 18:1-11

With clubs and staves they seek me, as a thief, who am the Way and Truth,

The true relief; Most true to those, who are my greatest grief: Was ever grief like mine?

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

See, from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down:

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?

SCRIPTURE READING #2  – John 18:12-24

See, they lay hold on me, not with the hands—Of faith, but fury: yet at their commands

I suffer binding, who have loosed their bands:  Was ever grief like mine?

There is a Fountain

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains . . .

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away . . .

SCRIPTURE READING #3 – John 18:28-40

Then they accuse me of great blasphemy, That I presumed to be the Deity,

Who never thought that any robbery: Was ever grief like mine?

What Wondrous Love is This?

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!

What wondrous love is this, O my soul!

What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss

To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,

To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

SCRIPTURE READING #4 – John 19:1-9

The soldiers lead me to the Common Hall; There they deride me, they abuse me all:

Yet for twelve heavenly legions I could call: Was ever grief like mine?

Man of Sorrows,” What a Name!

“Man of sorrows!” what a name for the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!  Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood,
Sealed my pardon with His blood; Hallelujah, what a Savior!

SCRIPTURE READING #5 – John 19:10-16

Thus trimmed, forth they bring me to the rout, Who Crucify him, cry with one strong shout.

God holds his peace at man, and man cries out:  Was ever grief like mine?

O Sacred Head

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down;
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ‘Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

SCRIPTURE READING #6  – John 19:17-27

O all you who pass by, behold and see; Man stole the fruit, but I must climb the tree;

The tree of life to all, but only me:  Was ever grief like mine?

Tenebrae Hymn—Were You There?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh!  Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh!  Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

Oh!  Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

SCRIPTURE READING #7  – John 19:28-30

But now I die; now all is finished.  My woe, man’s weal: and now I bow my head.

Only let others say, when I am dead, Never was grief like mine.

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh!  Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

BENEDICTION

Father, into your hands we commit our spirits.  AMEN

– Adapted from Psalm 31:5

Family Discipleship – Commending What We Cherish

Here’s a brief outline with a few questions that I put together as a resource for our young parents. Click on the link below that contains a pdf file on:

Commending What We Cherish – Psalm 145

 

Family Discipleship – Passing the Baton of Faith

The most perilous moment in a relay race centers on the exchange of the baton from one runner to the next. This fitting metaphor perfectly describes parenting our children.

For a Christian parent, there is nothing more important than passing the baton of faith and teaching our children the praiseworthy works and powerful word of God.

Family worship/devotions doesn’t have to be a herculean task. You can sing a verse or two of a hymn or praise song, read a short portion of Scripture, draw out one simple point of application, ask a question from a children’s catechism and have one or two kids pray. You can do this in five to ten minutes right before or after a meal. For most of us, it will be either breakfast or supper. I would urge you, like Bill Murray in “What About Bob?,” to take baby steps. You might try doing this once or twice a week if you’ve never done this with your family before.

One thing is for sure: A wise son makes a glad father, and it is in hearing and heeding the word of God that will make a son wise.

Click the link below for a brief guide you can download that will take you through Psalm 78:1-9 with some questions on Family Discipleship.

Passing the Baton of Faith

 

A Simple Prayer Learned from Grandmother Rose

I had the privilege of growing up in a town in eastern North Carolina sort of like Mayberry of Andy Griffith renown. My family lived in a big house on Main Street owned by my maternal grandmother. In fact, we not only lived in that house, we lived with her. Obviously, she had a huge impact on all of her grandchildren as the matriarch of our family.

I learned much from Grandma Rosie. One thing for sure is that she taught and modeled for us the importance of believing prayer. In fact, I learned the following prayer by washing my hands regularly in her downstairs bathroom.She cut it out from a devotional booklet and taped it on her mirror over her sink to remind her of what was most important in her life and what she needed to pray for all the people that she loved.

I came across this prayer this morning in my own devotional reading and it swept my memory right back to 512 Main Street in Bladenboro, NC and to a wonderful woman who cared enough for her children and grandchildren to bring them regularly before the throne room of grace.

“Thanks be to thee, Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which thou hast won for us,
For all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for us.
O most merciful redeemer, friend, and brother,
may we know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly,
day by day. Amen.

Richard of Chichester (1198-1253)

 

Give to the Winds Your Fears

In the seventeenth century Paul Gerhardt and his family had to flee Berlin because of his  convictions. As they fled, they stopped at an inn and tried to understand why God was allowing this to happen to them. Gerhardt’s wife was especially concerned about what might lie ahead for their young children.

Gerhardt read Psalm 37 to his family that night. You can imagine him slowing down around verse 16 and emphasizing these verses: “it is better tbe godly and have little than to be evil and possess much…The Lord takes care of the godly…They will survive through hard times.”

Apparently the psalm struck a chord with Mr. Gerhardt himself, because the next day, sitting underneath an apple tree, he wrote a hymn based on this same theme of trusting God in hard times. That evening two messengers came to Gerhardt and offered him refuge and a church position in nearby Merseberg.

This hymn Gerhardt wrote, “Give to the Winds Your Fears,” became popular in Germany, second only in fame to Luther’s “A Might Fortress Is Our God.” School children sang it as a graduation hymn, and in the United States, when the first Lutheran church was opened in Philadelphia in 1743, Gerhardt’s hymn was the first to be sung. Translations into English were made by John Wesley and others. It remains a solid testimony to God’s gracious provision in tough times.

– Taken from One Year Through the Psalms, William and Randy Petersen

Give to the Winds Thy Fears

1. Give to the winds thy fears; hope and be undismayed;
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears,
God will lift up, God will lift up, God will lift up thy head.

2. Through waves and clouds and storms, He gently clears thy ways;
Wait thou His time, so shall this night

Soon end in joy, soon end in joy, soon end in joyous day.

3. Leave to His sovereign sway to choose and to command;
So shalt thou, wondering, own His way,
How wise, how strong, how wise, how strong, how wise, how strong His hand!

4. Far, far above thy thought, His counsel shall appear,
When fully He the work hath wrought

That caused thy need, that caused thy need, that caused thy needless fear.

 

Trusting God When Life Hurts – Andrew Murray

 

Andrew Murray (minister)

Andrew Murray (minister) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

“He brought me here. It’s by His will I am in this very place.
In that fact I will rest. He will keep me here in His love and give me grace
to live as His child.  Then He will make the trial a blessing,
teaching me the lessons He intends for me to learn in His good time.
He will bring me out again how and when He knows.

 

So let me say: I am:
(a) here by God’s appointment;
(b) in His keeping;
(c) under his training;
(d) for His time.”

 

Amy Carmichael quoting Andrew Murray in her devotional book: Though the Mountains Shake, p. 12.