Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Charles Wesley just blew me away!

In my search for the lyrics to "Soldiers of Christ Arise", I found this beautiful nugget of poetry. Little did I know when we sing this hymn in worship, we only touch on 5 of a potential 24 stanzas of this amazing piece of art. My hopes in my search was to add some of these lyrics to a paper I was writing about on courage. As I began reading the parts unfamiliar to me, I began reading them to the tune of this song. And guess what? The music goes perfectly with every line. Soldiers, give it a try!

Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son
Strong in the Lord of hosts, and in His mighty power,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror.

Stand then in His great might, with all His strength endued,
But take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God;
That, having all things done, and all your conflicts passed,
Ye may o'ercome through Christ alone and stand entire at last.

Stand then against your foes, in close and firm array;
Legions of wily fiends oppose throughout the evil day;
But meet the sons of night, and mock their vain design,
Armed in the arms of heavenly light, of righteousness divine.

Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul,
Take every virtue, every grace, and fortify the whole;
Indissolubly joined, to battle all proceed;
But arm yourselves with all the mind that was in Christ, your Head.

But, above all, lay hold on faith's victorious shield;
Armed with that adamant and gold, be sure to win the field:
If faith surround your heart, Satan shall be subdued,
Repelled his every fiery dart, and quenched with Jesu's blood.

Jesus hath died for you! What can His love withstand?
Believe, hold fast your shield, and who shall pluck you from His hand?
Believe that Jesus reigns; all power to Him is giv'n:
Believe, till freed from sin's remains; believe yourselves to Heav'n.

To keep your armor bright, attend with constant care,
Still walking in your Captain's sight, and watching unto prayer.
Ready for all alarms, steadfastly set your face,
And always exercise your arms, and use your every grace.

Pray without ceasing, pray, your Captain gives the word;
His summons cheerfully obey and call upon the Lord;
To God your every want in instant prayer display,
Pray always; pray and never faint; pray, without ceasing, pray!

In fellowship alone, to God with faith draw near;
Approach His courts, besiege His throne with all the powers of prayer:
Go to His temple, go, nor from His altar move;
Let every house His worship know, and every heart His love.

To God your spirits dart, your souls in words declare,
Or groan, to Him Who reads the heart, the unutterable prayer:
His mercy now implore, and now show forth His praise,
In shouts, or silent awe, adore His miracles of grace.

Pour out your souls to God, and bow them with your knees,
And spread your hearts and hands abroad, and pray for Zion's peace;
Your guides and brethren bear for ever on your mind;
Extend the arms of mighty prayer, ingrasping all mankind.

From strength to strength go on, wrestle and fight and pray,
Tread all the powers of darkness down and win the well fought day.
Still let the Spirit cry in all His soldiers, 'Come!'
'Til Christ the Lord descends from high and takes the conquerors home

Monday, January 19, 2009

Make Mention of Him!

"I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us..." Isaiah 63:7.

As I 'punch out' this post for my Ministry Technology class, I'm reminded by this text of how little I make mention of my God. I sit here at my dining room table (my school desk until July 2010) wondering just how have I represented my Lord to the world around me. Have you ever been asked by a stranger, "How are you doing"? What is your response? What do you really want to say? I remember working for a Captain at my last duty assignment in the Air Force who always answered that question with "better than I deserve". He was a wonderful man to work with and never once treated me with the air of authority since I was an enlisted subordinate. He often talked of and praised Jesus when possible. He was not ashamed of who he represented.

As I look around my house, I can't help but praise God for the blessings I have. Why does He pour out His lovingkinesses to me? Here I am an inconsistent, rebellious (at times) child of God who finds himself worrying more often than living joyously because of my redemption by the blood of Christ. I appreciate Paul's attitude throughout the book of Acts. What really amazes me is where his mind is even during the shipwreck on his way to Rome. From what I see, there are 276 prisoners who endured 14 days of starvation. Paul encourages them through notifying them they will survive this trial and by feeding them. In front of all 276 men he gives thanks to God in the presence of all (Acts 27:35)! What an example of steadfastness Paul is. May we all follow in the footsteps of this leader that boldly lived and represented his Savior well.

God is the fountain whence
Ten thousand blessings flow;
To Him my life, my health, and friends,
And every good, I owe.

The comforts He affords
Are neither few nor small;
He is the source of fresh delights,
My portion and my all.

He fills my heart with joy,
My lips attunes for praise;
And to His glory I’ll devote
The remnant of my days.

~Benjamin Beddome, 1817