In the wonderful classic book by John Bunyan, "The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come", there is an episode where Christian and his companion, Hopeful, happen upon a peaceful place. They find green meadows surrounding crystal streams of clean, pure water. In this place, they find lush, fruit-bearing trees on either side of this River of Life. Here, the pilgrims take their rest. They come away for a time, from the troubles and the turbulent events of their arduous journey from the City of Destruction and from Vanity Fair, to the Celestial City, which is Jerusalem above, the eternal Mount Zion, the dwelling place of their glorious God and King.
The Great Jehovah, the LORD Jesus Christ, is their Guide. He knows their needs better than they themselves know them, and so, He brings them to this quiet place, where weary travelers may stop for a season and find comfort and refreshment in the verdant green, health-giving spot. The pilgrims marvel at the absence of enemies and alarms as they indulge, with grateful hearts, upon their great God's providence of food, medicinal substances for healing and the long expanses of sleep they may enjoy without fear of waking suddenly in the night to some horrendous circumstance that would disturb their slumbers.
All this, of course, is a parabolic glimpse into the life of the true child of God. We experience so many stormy blasts and furious calamities on our way to Heaven and to Home. But, our Faithful Brother and Friend, the LORD Jesus Christ, makes sure that we find peaceful rest and comfort from time to time, in perfect accordance with our soul's need. Once we are rejuvenated and encouraged, we go on, back out into the wilderness to struggle up the steep hill a few more miles. When discouragements, thirst and hungerings overtake us, He leads us back again to this place of repose by the crystal streams.
Some call it "The LORD's Prayer", but it's really the prayer our LORD Jesus taught His people to pray at all times. I praise God that He has said, "...your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him." Matthew 6:8. And following that, He lovingly tells me, "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven..." Here is the prayer our LORD has taught us to pray, set to a simple melody I have written for it. Believer, He KNOWS what ye have need of BEFORE you ask it!
Not sure what it means "to believe"? This is the Gospel: Before the world was formed, before time, in eternity past, in the council of the Triune God; the Father chose those souls that would be recipients of eternal life. He, in His Sovereign will, wisdom and power, chose a people He would love and commune with forever. These are called, "the Israel of God - Jacob's Chosen Race", in Scripture. No nationality on earth can claim this title. No group of people can take it to themselves by force, by works or by choice. The citizens of God's eternal "Jerusalem" are people chosen by God, a finite group of souls known only to the LORD Himself from every nation, tribe and tongue, drawn from every age as long as time shall be. God the Son, the LORD Jesus Christ, agreed to cleanse each one of these God-hating rebels of their sin in His Own blood, for sin must be put away before any soul may approach unto God. Christ agreed to offer up Himself before God as the perfect Sacrifice, the perfect Substitute for sin, on behalf of each soul named by the Father. And finally, God the Spirit comes to each elect soul with power through The WORD and declares, "You are Mine!" This is the miracle of regeneration of the soul. I hope you enjoy the music!
In today's flabby Christian culture, there are many grievous misunderstandings concerning most everything taught in Scripture - from the nature of God to the nature of man, from the nature of sin to the nature of salvation. The true religion of the Bible has been trodden underfoot by the most vile deceivers and gainsayers in all of history. It's shouted from pulpits and podiums, "GOD WILL BLESS THOSE THAT BLESS ISRAEL!" Church leaders and politicians join hands, calling for us all to obey what they tell us is a Bible mandate. But what do they mean? What are they really talking about? They mean that we are supposed to bless that tiny little nation over there in the Middle East, where the name of the LORD Jesus Christ is hated and reviled. HOW? By building more bombs, of course - more drones, more armaments, more stinger missiles and by submitting to more surveillance in our daily lives. We are told that by giving up our Constitutional rights of privacy and the freedom of speech, we will "BLESS ISRAEL". What utter foolishness! What criminal nonsense! What profound blasphemy against our Holy God and His Word.
The truth is, there's a propaganda racket going on. The enemy of God is at work in this world lying to sinful people who love lies. The whole world is being manipulated by devils who pose as political and religious leaders, who are building a global war machine of death and destruction that will exceed anything ever before seen on the earth.
No, God is speaking about another Israel and another Jerusalem in Psalm 137. There are only two nations known to God. One is "the kingdom of this world", inhabited by the unregenerate who are ruled over by Satan. The other is "the Kingdom of God", where sinners, chosen by God before all time, are washed in blood of the Lamb, the LORD Jesus Christ. The Israelites who dwell in this spiritual nation are, "the Israel of God".
So, what is the cross all about? And what does it mean to "GLORY IN THE CROSS"? The cross is a declaration that God has fully accomplished everything He set out to do. He has saved His people from their sin forever more. How? He took their place. The sin of God's elect people were laid on the LORD JESUS Christ. He suffered eternal hell on their behalf, being guilty in their place. And those chosen sinners take His place before God - perfectly just, perfectly righteous, without sin - the greatest "transfer of wealth" the world has ever known!
Did Christ die "for all"? Yes! ALL that the Father had given to the Son before the world began are recipients of the gift of eternal life in the forgiveness of sin, as John 6:37 declares. The LORD Jesus came "to save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21), and He accomplished this great work with infinite precision and perfection. And so, every sinner, comprehending that they have been cleansed and purchased by the precious blood of the Lamb of God, will "GLORY IN THE CROSS". Every true believer, every blood-bought sinner, every soul saved from eternal hell and death receives this understanding by divine revelation of the Word by the Spirit of God. The LORD makes them to know, to surely know, that they have received a new heart and a new nature. Instead of hating and resenting God their Maker, they love and cherish God their Saviour. Yes, Galatians 6:14 is incomprehensibly vast! But this simple song is a small tribute to my Saviour. Enjoy the music!
Child of God, the LORD Jesus Christ will complete the work that He has begun in your soul, you can be sure of that! He will cause you to be separated from all the things of this earth and of this world that are vain, empty and fleeting. He will cause every elect soul to find comfort and rest in their Heavenly Father alone.
Oh yes, it's a most painful journey at times, but there are manifold comforts along the way. Don't be discouraged, dear one, as the LORD withholds from you the things that delight, enslave and destroy those who are strangers to His grace. He will not let you be satisfied with this life nor with the treasures of this world. He is Faithful to continually work in all things to bring you closer and closer to Himself, to Heaven and to the Eternal Kingdom of God. Trust Him! Trust your Saviour to bring you safely home to Mount Zion at last.
Each believer is a tender plant, nurtured and cared for by God alone. Though the whole world is a frightful wilderness where drought prevails, where wild beasts tear and devour, where the tender seedling of faith in Christ is prone to blight and disease, nonetheless, the LORD is faithful to protect and nurture each of His rare and exotic fruit-bearing plants in the garden of God. Each will be watered, each will grow and each will bring forth an abundant harvest of glorious fruit in the LORD's appointed hour. Each is a highly-prized trophy of grace to the Gardener of our souls. Each one is given grace to grow in accordance with His will, in His Own time and for His Own purpose.
Truly, God's grace will bring each soul through many trials, but as each growing season comes to a close, an abundant harvest is promised in the life of every tree planted by rivers of Living Water. The sowing, the watering and finally the great harvest - this is the work of God.
"I ASKED THE LORD THAT I MIGHT GROW" is Hymn No. 36 in Book III of John Newton's famous Olney Hymnal of 1779.
My new song is inspired by the Bible verse, Romans 8:1 - "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." I love to think about the manifold blessings of God to my soul in the death and resurrection of our LORD JESUS Christ. I am no longer a debtor - my debt has been paid. I am no longer a prisoner - Christ has set me free. I am no longer dead - I am alive forevermore. I am no longer in darkness - I walk in the Light of life. I am no longer God's enemy - I am at peace with God through the blood of the LORD JESUS Christ. I tried to express these divine truths in my song. I hope you enjoy the music!
The hymn poem I chose to set to music was written by one of John Newton's closest friends, a man named William Cowper (1731-1800), who was a member of Newton's congregation in Olney, England. Cowper wrote a number of hymn poems for Newton's Olney Hymnal of 1779. This is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy my new melody for this timeless sacred poem. It's based on the Scripture text in John 21:16.
I saw the full moon early this morning outside my window. As I studied it's bright, glowing face in the chilly winter air, I thought about a hymn John Newton had written about the moon. On the evening of July 30, 1776, a lunar eclipse inspired John Newton to write these words: "The moon in silver glory shone, and not a cloud in sight; when suddenly a shade began to intercept her light." John Newton was keenly aware that all of creation declares the glory of God and he perceived a parable to our hearts, likening the eclipse of the moon to the events surrounding the death of our LORD JESUS Christ, in the garden and at the cross. Newton wrote: "Thy people's guilt, a heavy load, when standing in their room, deprived Thee of the Light of God and filled Thy Soul with gloom."
Truly, when the LORD Jesus took upon Himself the full weight of His people's sin, His Own Light was gradually diminished until it was fully snuffed out. The Bible declares that darkness descended upon the whole earth for 3 hours as the Son of God labored and was crushed beneath a load of sin. He Himself descended into the lowest pit of hell to pay the debt of sin that was owed. But then, praise God, by divine decree, the Light of God was restored to Him when the penalty for sin was fully paid.
Praise God, death could not hold Him! He rose up from the grave on the third day and is alive forever more. He is full of power and might, moving by His Spirit to reveal these great truths to His people through the Word of God.
Beloved, the spectacle of a lunar eclipse is a sketch to us from the Hand of our Great Creator God. It is a token to us who love Him. The dark night of sin is passed away and being cleansed from our sin, we behold our LORD JESUS Christ in the Gospel of His grace. We see Him now by faith, but soon, very soon, we shall see Him "Face-to-face".
When you look at the moon, what comes to your mind concerning our Blessed Saviour and LORD?
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My name is Kathleen Vick and this channel is a showcase of my music. I write original hymns and new tunes for some of the great sacred poems of God's people, like John Newton, William Cowper and John Bunyan. My interest in music composition developed out of the many years I spent teaching piano. I loved writing music for my students and now at last, I have the luxury of writing sacred choral music for anyone who will take it up and sing it. Christ came to me in saving power, and so I tell of God