Love

Based on the Song of Solomon,
this hymn paints a picture of the
passionate,
eager,
self-giving nature of love –
the love that is expressed most fully in
the love of God.

Recording
Printed Music

Love is heaven’s garden
Where endless glories grow;
Love, the highest pleasure
That human hearts can know.
Hear its haunting music,
Though gentle as a dove,
Filling all creation,
For God Himself is love.

Lovers crave each other
With quenchless, deep desire.
Love is boundless longing,
An all-consuming fire.
Love is gnawing hunger
To hold that one alone.
With that burning hunger
God yearns for all His own.

Love delights in beauty
That only love can see,
Thirsting for the heaven
Of all that love can be.
Love is total giving
By joyful, eager choice,
Seeking, waiting, longing,
And listening for that voice.

by Ken Bible, © 2019 LNWhymns.com.

Psalms of Christ

Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

For the next two weeks, reflect on Jesus Messiah as foretold in the Psalms with Psalms of Christ. This free pdf consists of scripture, prayers, reflections, and new hymns based on thirteen Psalms that portray key aspects of Jesus’ life, death, and eternal ministry.

It is part of the new series, Fresh Views of Timeless Truth, focused reflections on key topics.

LINKS:
Free pdf of Psalms of Christ
Complete list of available volumes in Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

Hindered by Unbelief

[Jesus] came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Is not this the carpenter’s son?”…And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:54-55, 58, NASB)

Jesus, how often have You longed to do wonderful things among us,
but You were not able because of our unbelief?

How often have we, Your own people,
hindered You by our lack of faith?

Lord, what wonderful works would You do in my life
if I were only willing to trust You more simply and constantly,
in the face of each concern?

Jesus, You are my Lord.
You are Messiah.
You are Mighty God.
You are my Savior,
my Redeemer,
my Holiness,
my Rock,
my Life.

Help me to trust You step-by-step.
Work Your beautiful, loving, perfect will in me.

Faith, not reason,
is God’s chosen pathway to
relationship with Himself.
He is not seeking people
smart enough to perceive Him.
He is seeking people
humble enough to trust Him.

Hymn: Beyond Myself

Christ Is Shining in You

Based directly on Ephesians 5:8-14,
this contemporary hymn inspires us to
walk in the beautiful light of
the Living Christ.

Recording
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Refrain:
Awake from your sleep!
Arise from the dead,
For Christ is shining in you!
Your darkness is past,
Your morning is come,
For Christ is shining in you!

Come learn what pleases God,
And love what pleases God.
Come live what pleases God.
Come and walk in the light of the Lord!

The fruit of light is joy.
The fruit of light is peace.
The fruit of light is hope.
Come and walk in the light of the Lord!

by Ken Bible, © 2000 LNWhymns.com.

Empty Glory

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

The original word translated above as “vain conceit” literally means “empty glory.” It contrasts with God’s glory, which is the glow of His presence — God showing himself in all of His beauty, power, and goodness. The Scriptures teach that we share in His glory through His Spirit in us.

We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV)

This is our true glory: Christ living in us, showing the glow of His presence, His beauty, power, and goodness through us.

But Satan will tempt us to settle for “empty glory.” According to the Greek lexicon, it is “empty” in the sense of being “without content, without basis, without truth; without profit; foolish, senseless.” That’s an accurate description of the self-centered glory we tend to seek. It’s an accurate description of selfish pride.

Pride comes in a variety of styles and colors; you can find one to fit your own personality. My personal choice is humble pride. It is soft-spoken, tastefully adorned in understatement. It does not boast or even posture. It just meditates on self. It dreams about self. Like all forms of pride, the inner vision that drives it is not God or truth, but self-glorification.

Selfish pride is like lust: in the dark privacy of our hearts, it can stimulate and energize. But when it is brought to the light and exposed in public, it is easily seen as a ridiculous lie. What had puffed us up now makes us hide and choke in shame. Its glory is empty glory — without content, without basis in truth, foolish, senseless.

When Satan tempts you to savor this empty glory, see it as the cheap imitation it is. Turn away from it and embrace your true glory, the presence of God himself with you and in you.

When I turn away from myself and look to God, it’s as if someone has opened the windows of my mind and heart. Now the sun is shining, and the air is fresh. Other people float into my heart on the breeze. I pray for them and love them, and in the process I love and worship Christ all the more.

Prayer and praise shed the light of truth on who we are. They keep life in perspective. They liberate us from the smallness of pride into the wide-open wonder of God’s love.

He is with you now and always. Don’t let Satan distract you from Him. Discover and enjoy the wonder of the Living Christ.

Father,
though I am nothing in myself,
in You I am
eternal,
holy, and
glorious.
I rejoice in the wonder of
living in You!

Hymn: Knowing the Father in the Son

Rich in Christ

Some of the finest hymn tunes in all the world were
written by the Welsh, and
here is a gem you may not have heard.
The text celebrates the
unsearchable riches that are ours in
Jesus Christ.

Recording
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Comfort calls with all its pleasures,
Love of money with its lies.
All will leave us empty-hearted.
None can ever satisfy.

Refrain:
Living Christ, our joy, our treasure!
Love and life forever new!
In Your presence, deep contentment;
We are rich, O Lord, in You.

Those who come find all they’re seeking.
All who knock are welcomed in.
Come and feast on satisfaction.
Come and find yourself in Him.

by Ken Bible, © 2004, 2020 LNWhymns.com.

A Servant’s Prayers

Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

For the next two weeks, reflect on what it means to be a servant of God with A Servant’s Prayers. This free pdf consists of prayers and new hymns for public or personal worship.

It is part of the new series, Fresh Views of Timeless Truth, focused reflections on key topics.

LINKS:
Free pdf of A Servant’s Prayers
Complete list of available volumes in Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

Miracles?

“The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19, NASB)

Some find Jesus’ miracles hard to believe. To them, the Gospel accounts sound like fantasy or myth, or at least superstitious exaggeration.

But look at the incredible natural wonders all around you. Our world overflows with miracles we would never believe if we didn’t see them for ourselves, or if scientists didn’t assure us they were so. Couldn’t the Being who created all this also easily do the miracles of Jesus?

Jesus turned six large jars of water into wine (John 2:1-11). But the Creator does that on the vine every day.

Jesus healed many people sick with various illnesses and conditions. But that’s a small thing to the Creator. He designed each of our bodies to continually heal themselves. Right now your body is healing and restoring itself in thousands of ways without you even being conscious of it.

Jesus calmed a raging storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:23-27). But picture our globe from the Creator’s point of view, with storms stirring and subsiding constantly around the world. To calm one storm is nothing for Him.

Perhaps the hardest miracle for us to accept is raising the dead. Jesus raised a widow’s only son (Luke 7:11-16), a twelve-year-old girl (Luke 8:41-56), and His friend Lazarus after he had been dead four days (John 11:1-45). Finally Jesus himself was raised from the dead.

All myths?

The Creator brought human life into being from the “dust of the earth”, that is, from the natural elements found on this planet. Now that’s a miracle! Could not such a One also resuscitate life whenever He chooses?

Look at a garden on a bitter day in winter. If we knew nothing of seasons, would we ever believe that same garden just a few weeks later, in the full bloom of spring?

Look at what rain can do to a desert that seems utterly barren. It is transformed to a garden of life – life unimagined just hours before.

Tiny seeds, seemingly dry and hardened, will blossom to life when conditions are right. In Japan, a single seed was excavated from an ancient settlement about two thousand years old. The seed was planted, watered, and brought to life. Further, it apparently proved to be a type of magnolia thought to be extinct for a thousand years.

Look around. Is it logical to believe that the One who created all this could not have done what Jesus did? Is it logical to impose human limitations on a Being who can speak a universe out of nothing?

The more we learn of our world, the more we recognize in Jesus the same power, the same astonishing wisdom, the same tender, intimate love.

That is what amazes me most about Jesus’ miracles – not what He did, but how He did it. He didn’t heal as we might expect a “god” to heal. He didn’t heal from a distance. He wasn’t detached or “professional” or condescending. He was moved with compassion. He gave of himself in deep love. He healed face-to-face, not just with absolute power but with a personal touch and a gentle word.

He loves us. The God of all the universe loves us. That is the miracle.

The disciples discovered that
limited resources and
the forces of nature
were no challenge for their Master.
Which of your challenges are
no challenge for Him?

Hymn: See the Father Walk among Us

Psalm 71

Psalm 71 is the prayer of an
older person.
This hymn expresses the
vulnerability and
poignant faith of
that timeless psalm.
Do you know any older persons
who might find this hymn
meaningful?

Recording
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You have been my strength,
Everlasting Father.
You were there to cradle me and soothe my infant cry.
Now that I am old,
Gripped by growing weakness,
Hold me ever closer, O my joy, my hope, my song,
God, my joy, my song!

In the face of fear,
With this body failing,
I am growing stronger as I trust You need by need.
Fill each day with praise!
Flood them all with singing!
May my every word and deed be always only You,
Always, only You!

Everlasting God,
Faithful, ever faithful,
Grace and truth and tenderness are always who You are.
You are all my hope,
You, my living promise:
Soon this seed will blossom into everlasting life,
Rich and endless life.

by Ken Bible, © 2017, 2019 LNWhymns.com.

God in Christ in Us

[God] said, “You cannot see My face,
for no man can see Me and live!”

But:

The Word became flesh, and
dwelt among us, and
we saw His glory,
glory as of the only begotten from the Father,
full of grace and truth.
(Exodus 33:20; John 1:14, NASB)

Father, I see Your holy beauty in Jesus Christ.
Though He is fully human,
He is fully,
perfectly,
gloriously You.

Father, You have given us His Spirit,
so display Him through us,
His Church.
When the world sees us, may they glimpse
His holy heart and
His holy life.
May they sense both
His divinity and
His beautiful humanity.
May they feel
His compassion,
His gentle patience, and
His generous heart.
May they taste
His joy,
His deep peace, and
His flaming passion for You.

Through us,
may they come to know Christ;
and through Christ,
may they come to know You.

In Your service, Father,
when I focus on
my plans and
my glory,
I shrink Your glorious purposes
to the size of
my self-centered heart.
When I lose myself in
Your plans and
Your glory,
I become part of a purpose that is
greater and grander
than this whole world.
Wash away all my ambitions, Father,
but the ambition for
Your glory,
Your Kingdom, and
Your will.

Hymn: God in Christ in Us