God, I Need You

Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help.
(Psalm 28:2, NIV)

My God, I cry out to You from my smallness and darkness.
Help me, Lord.
Forgive my self-centeredness.
Take me to You.
Absorb my life into Yours.

I want You.
I feel the need in my heart and try to verbalize it
but don’t know how.

Come and take me, Creator Lord.
Come in and make me entirely love, eternal Savior.
Purify me in love,
not to please me,
but to please You wholly and entirely.

Swallow my smallness in Your greatness,
in Your length and depth and height.

Swallow my concerns in utter praise to You.
Swallow anxiety in thanksgiving.
Swallow wanting in giving.

Take me entirely into You, my Lord Jesus.

Father, we are so proud,
blind,
stubborn, and
small in this
wide universe of reality.
We search for You,
all the while we live and
move and
exist
entirely in You.

Hymn: Living Christ

Psalm 132

When we gather to worship God,
we are part of a grand and timeless procession,
coming before His throne,
celebrating His salvation.
What a reality!
This hymn is part of the Psalms of Ascents series on Psalms 120 – 134.
To download a pdf of the entire “Psalms of Ascents” series,
complete with companion devotional readings,
click here.

Recording
Printed Music

Join salvation’s great procession.
Join the timeless singing.
All who share His resurrection
Follow Christ their King.
Come join His children, called and cleansed,
Forever all His own,
Pure and holy, O how glorious,
Coming to His throne.

Follow Christ, and breathe His presence.
Share His holy glory.
Walk in Him, the Living Temple.
Taste eternity.
God’s every promise stands fulfilled.
Our destiny is sealed.
All His blessings, all His gifts are
Now in Christ revealed.

Jesus Christ, we join in worship,
Loving, serving, singing;
All our joy, Your greater glory,
Lamb and Priest and King.
Your holy name be hallowed here,
Your perfect will be done.
May Your Kingdom fill our world and
Heaven and earth be one!

by Ken Bible, © 2019 LNWhymns.com.

Face-to-face with the Living God

To You I lift up my eyes,
O You who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He is gracious to us.
(Psalm 123:1-2, NASB)

I remember clearly when I first trusted Jesus Christ. It was the last night of a revival in our local church with evangelist Rev. Jay Budd. All week a fear of hell had been building in my 10-year-old mind, but I was too shy to go forward during the altar call. So when we arrived home after church on that Sunday night, April 10, 1960, I went into my parents’ bedroom and told them I wanted to pray to become a Christian.

I still remember my burning desire not to lose the amazing new feeling that filled my heart.

But my deepest and most formative memory of that evening is my new awareness of the Living God. I had the sensation of Him standing right in front of me, looking straight into my eyes. The reality was stark and gripping. He filled my heart’s vision. I could not ignore Him or look past Him. But His look was not threatening. He was not angry with me. His look was love…nothing but love.

I think of that when I read the account of Paul’s conversion in Acts 9. Paul was making a career of trying to stamp out Christianity, and suddenly, in a moment in time, he turned around 180 degrees and became one of its most fervent advocates. Within a few days he was publicly contending for the truth he had violently opposed. The change did not happen through years of studying and thinking. Like me, he simply came face-to-face with the Living Christ. Few words were exchanged. The gripping reality of Jesus Christ transformed him completely in a moment in time, and he was never the same.

Like Paul, my life and ministry continues to be energized by the stark reality of Father God, revealed so vividly and personally in Jesus Christ. To my ears, so much of our Christian talk is about religion, and religion can be such a human thing. It pales before the Living God. He still fills my heart’s vision, as He did on that evening over 55 years ago. He draws me. He drives me. My relationship with Him shapes every aspect of my life. When He speaks, all other voices are just background noise. When He commands, my path is clear, regardless of opposition. My heart has room for nothing and no one else.

As with Noah, Abraham, Isaiah, and Paul, God Himself, in His person, makes all other considerations irrelevant. He is the Source and Center of all reality. He is all wisdom, all power, and all love. He calls, I answer. What else matters but Him?

We spend our lives
fearfully holding God at arm’s length,
not realizing that His only goal is
to fulfill us completely,
to make us happy,
loving,
wise,
fruitful,
glorious, and
at peace with Himself and all creation.

Hymn: Lord, May Our Thoughts Begin with You

Psalm 131

Here is a poignant picture of
God in His magnificent greatness and
us as His beloved children.
The tune, a beautiful Welsh lullaby, will be familiar to some.
Psalm 131 is part of the Psalms of Ascents series on Psalms 120 – 134.
To download a pdf of the entire “Psalms of Ascents” series,
complete with companion devotional readings,
click here.

Recording
Printed Music

You, Creator; I, Your creature.
You, almighty; I, but dust.
You, forever; I, a moment.
You, perfection, kind and just.
You are fullness; I am empty,
Self-importance set aside,
Foolish grasping, fruitless worry,
Proud delusions crucified.

Faithful Father, tender Mother,
Draw me closer, hold me near.
In Your presence, deep contentment;
All is quiet resting here.
Sweetly helpless, lacking nothing,
God so pure, so high, so far,
Quiet worship, simply being,
Knowing, trusting all You are.

by Ken Bible, © 2019 LNWhymns.com.

Fresh Views of Timeless Truth

For the next two weeks, take a fresh look at the glorious book of Ephesians with this free pdf download. It will stretch your mind, heart, and life to receive all God has provided for us in Christ.

It is part of a brand-new series, Fresh Views of Timeless Truth. Each volume provides readings, prayers, scripture, and recorded hymns on a focused topic.

Links:
Free pdf of Ephesians
Complete list of available volumes in Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

Earth Crawlers

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
Scarcely have they been planted,
Scarcely have they been sown,
Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth,
But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
And the storm carries them away like stubble.
(Isaiah 40:21-24, NASB)

We were staying in Mackinaw City, on the shore of Lake Huron. Looking out over the waters, to the left was a beautiful view of the Mackinac Bridge.

From that distance, the vehicles seemed to be just creeping across the bridge. It reminded me of Genesis 1:24 where it talks about the “creeping things” God created on earth. From a higher perspective, our human race is among those creatures creeping across the surface of this tiny planet. How small and lowly we are! Only the image of our Creator makes us special. And how little we value that image, so arrogantly discarded long ago.

We crawl across the surface of this speck of dust, small, earthbound, in the grip of space and time. We are so small in mind that we mock the possibility of any reality beyond our own.

It reminds me how foolish we are to live for the glory that comes from our fellow earth crawlers. We were created for so much more! Father, raise my eyes. Lift my heart to crave the glory that comes only from You, the Eternal God of all truth, beauty, light, and life. You call me to be Your own child, holy in You, complete in You, forever one with You. Lord, help me to long for nothing else!

Father, we small, weak, short-lived creatures
puff ourselves up and
prance across this little stage,
pretending we are in charge,
pretending we are invincible.
How foolish we must look to You!
Sovereign God, You are our Father.
We trust in You.

Hymn: Hungry for God

Psalm 130: “From These Depths, O Lord”

This hymn helps us come to God
openly confessing our neediness for Him.
It is part of the Psalms of Ascents series on Psalms 120 – 134.
To download a pdf of the entire “Psalms of Ascents” series,
complete with companion devotional readings,
click here.

Recording
Printed Music

From these depths, O Lord,
Hear my cry to You:
Holy God, have mercy on my weakness and my need!

Proud and selfish thoughts,
Cold, uncaring ways–
Holy God, have mercy on my weakness and my need!

Refrain
Father,
Maker,
Mighty Redeemer,
Loving God, forgive me for the foolish heart You see!

Lord, I look to You.
As a child I come.
Holy God, have mercy on my weakness and my need!

From these depths, O Lord,

Hear my song to You:
Holy God, I praise You for unfailing love to me!

by Ken Bible, © 2008 LNWhymns.com.

Fearing the Father

Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever! (Deuteronomy 5:29, NASB)

What does it mean to fear God? From scripture, it seems that fearing God is something other than being terrified of Him, and something more than simply respecting Him.

Whenever you want to understand God’s will for our lives, look to the example of Jesus. This is how Isaiah described Him over 700 years before His birth:

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And He will delight in the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2-3a, NASB)

Read the gospels, look at Jesus’ life, and you’ll see what it means to fear God. Jesus responded to His Father wholeheartedly, completely, constantly. He trusted Him. He revered Him. He obeyed Him. He lived for His Father alone. For Jesus, His Father was the ultimate reality, the ultimate source, the ultimate goal.

In short, Jesus treated God as God. That is what it means to fear God. That is what the Old Testament refers to when it repeatedly says:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
(Proverbs 9:10, NASB. See also Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 15:33)

Jesus taught His disciples not to fear evil, or persecution, or Satan, or death. There is only one thing in all creation that God’s children need to fear:

“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has the authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5, NASB)

If we fear the Father as Jesus did, if we treat Him as God, if we trust that He is all-powerful, all-wise, and all-loving, why should we ever be anxious or fearful about anything that life or death can hold?

God has given us the freedom to
fear only Him.

Hymn: High and Holy Sovereign God

Psalm 129

We sing this confident hymn of faith
in the face of evil’s threats.
It is set to a fresh tune
but is also singable to a familiar tune.
The hymn is part of the Psalms of Ascents series on Psalms 120 – 134.
To download a pdf of the entire “Psalms of Ascents” series,
complete with companion devotional readings,
click here.

Recording
Printed Music

Oppressed, pursued by deadly evil,
My God, I turn to You today.
You always help me when I ask You.
You always save me when I pray.

Though evil’s threat is ever-present
And works to draw my heart away,
You never leave me to my weakness.
Your Spirit helps me to obey.

Alluring lies and vain distractions,
The Devil’s words are all untrue.
He has no power to love or bless me.
He has no power to follow through.

His every threat and every promise
Will come to nothing in the end.
Eternal love and all its blessings
Are Yours alone, my God, my friend!

by Ken Bible, © 2019 LNWhymns.com.

Fresh Views of Timeless Truth

For the next two weeks, reflect on God’s promises of a New Creation with this free pdf download. God has already begun this renewal in you, and in His time it will engulf all creation! New Creation will help root this glorious hope in your heart, mind, and life.

It is part of a brand-new series, Fresh Views of Timeless Truth. Each volume provides readings, prayers, scripture, and recorded hymns on a focused topic.

Links:
Free pdf of New Creation
Complete list of available volumes in Fresh Views of Timeless Truths