Songs I find helpful: Christ Our Hope in Life and Death

 A song I find encouraging as I walk through life as both a reminder when I am low, struggling with the challenges, sorrows, and disappointments in life as well as a great reminder when I’m riding high, feeling great about my life circumstances and enjoying the many blessings that God bestows is “Christ My Hope in Life and Death” by Keith Getty, Matt Boswell, Jordan Kauflin, Matt Merker, and Matt Papa. You can find the official music video sung by Keith and Kristyn Getty here . If you’d like to see the lyrics and more on the background on how the song came to be, check out the official webpage for the song found on the Getty Music website here . The song is largely based on the first question of Heidelberg Catechism, an early catechism of the Reformation. Question: “What is your only comfort in life and in death? Answer: “That I am not my own but belong — body and soul in life and death — to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ...” (1 Cor 6:19-20; Rom 14:7-9; 1 Cor 3:23; Titus 2:14) (For

Songs I find helpful: He Will Hold Me Fast

I was introduced to “He Will Hold Me Fast” when I visited First Irving one Sunday while visiting my kids in Dallas (ok...they’re adults now, but they’re still my kids). As is my habit when I hear a new song I’ve never heard before, I listened and mulled on the words before I sang. (I know...I’m a worship leaders nightmare: “Just sing already!”)  Before I sing, which is an act of proclamation, confession, and affirmation, I want to know what I’m singing. And when I considered the words of “He Will Hold Me Fast” they impacted me deeply. Originally written by Ada Habershon back in 1908, it was updated and expanded on by Matt Merker in 2013. It is a confession and affirmation that even in moments of failing faith, even when sin prevails in my life (not just once but over and over), even when fear reigns over faith in my life, Christ will hold me fast; I and my salvation are utterly secure in Christ. It is not my loveliness but Christ’s love for me, it is not my faith but his faithfulne

Songs I Find Helpful: It was finished upon that cross

 Part of my devotional life is listening to songs I find helpful to my walk with Christ, helpful in transforming me into the image of my Savior. In an on-going series of posts, from time-to-time I will post songs that I find helpful in my walk with Christ, songs I find encouraging, songs I find that express my own struggles, songs that express my own longings, songs that express my own lament. Many of these songs are songs that we as a body sing together, confessing our own communal longings, desires, laments, and encouragements for God, for Christ, for the gospel, for His glory. As we approach Easter I wanted to share a new song from City Alight ( ): “It was finished upon that cross.” The song glories in the finished work of Christ on the cross “that we would be free from every plan of darkness, free to live and free to love.” It glories in and reflects upon the final of the seven sayings of Christ on the cross found in John 19:30, “It is fini

Knowing God: Chapter 21 - These Inward Trials

Chapter 21 of  Knowing God  focuses upon the normal Christian life and how God’s grace works to accomplish it. Two (2) Inaccurate Applications of the Gospel Dr. Packer notes there are two (2) dangerous “inaccurate application[s]” of the gospel that lead to a misunderstanding of what the normal Christian life is: Over-emphasizing the positive aspects of the Christian life leading one to believe the gospel brings a life of ease Over-emphasizing the “rough side” of the Christian life leading one to believe “that Christian living is for the most part grievous and gloomy.” Neither is healthy. But while the latter may lead one to a “surprise” that the Christian life is actually more joyous and pleasant than described, the prior is particularly “cruel” but not because of its motivation, for it is an “evangelical ministry” that is based in the “acceptance of the Bible as God’s Word” with the “ bring people to new birth and from there to lead them on into the fullest possible experience

Knowing God: Chapter 20 - Thou Our Guide

In chapter 20 of  Knowing God  we hear of how God guides us in knowing and doing His will in our lives. I find this tends to be one of the greatest struggles and perplexing aspects of life for many Christians. God’s Guidance: True and Real Dr. Packer first points out that divine guidance is a true and real thing that rests on two foundational facts: “first, the reality of God’s plan for us; second, the ability of God to communicate with us.” So logically and philosophically it makes sound sense to confidently believe that God does guide us. And as Dr. Packer notes, “wisdom in Scripture always means knowledge of the course of action that will please God and secure life.”   (cf. Prov 3:5-6; Jam 1:5; Rom 12:1-2) The Role of the Holy Spirit Further, “Christians have an in dwelling Instructor, the Holy Spirit” (1 Jn  2:20 , 27), who guides us such that “God seeks his glory in our lives, and he is glorified in us only when we obey his will.” As Psalm 23:3 notes, “he guides me in paths of rig

Knowing God: Chapter 19 - The Sons of God

Chapter 19 of  Knowing God  has a singular focus: to help us grasp adoption, what it means to be the sons and daughters of God. “What is a Christian?” Dr. Packer asks. “ who has God as Father,” he answers. It is the primary identity of who a Christian is, and should be the primary controlling thought of what it means to be a Christian. (Jn 1:12-13; Gal 4:4-5; Eph 1:5; 1 Jn 3:1-2) The Heart of the New Testament Adoption is the heart of the New Testament. The message of the New Testament can be focused in three words: “adoption through propitiation!” Where as in the Old Testament God’s covenant name with His people is “Yahweh” emphasizing His holiness, His separateness from them, in the New Testament “Father has now become his covenant name.” “…the stress of the New Testament is not on the difficulty and danger of drawing near to the holy God, but in the boldness and confidence with which believers may approach him: a boldness that springs directly from faith in Christ, and from th

Knowing God: Chapter 18 - The Heart of the Gospel

Chapter 18 of  Knowing God  is a rather lengthy chapter, and rightfully so, for its aim is that we would understand the very heart of the gospel. And its summarizing argument and conclusion is this:  the very heart of the gospel is propitiation , “the pacifying (satisfaction) of God’s wrath”, “the averting of God’s anger by an offering”, namely, the salvation of sinners from the wrath of God by the death of Christ (Rom 5:9). While there are numerous blessings that the gospel delivers to those who place their faith alone in Christ alone for salvation, the primary and most fundamental need and blessing is the averting of God’s righteous and personal wrath upon us for our rebellious sin against Him via the death of Christ on our behalf and, instead, having our relationship with God restored.  Dr. Packer notes three facts about propitiation:  Propitiation is the work of God himself.  It is  not  the work of man in any way. That is, it is entirely a work of grace. (1 Jn 4:7-9) Propitiation