JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 1

ADVENT WEEK ONE – HOPE

“Happy New Year! The Christian year begins with the season of Advent.”1 “Advent anticipates the ‘coming of Christ’ from three different perspectives: the physical nativity in Bethlehem, the reception of Christ in the heart of the believer, and the eschatological Second Coming.”2

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jer 33:14 ESV).

The Christian story is essentially one of daring hope, and we proclaim it boldly during Advent. All our senses tell us that God is not here, that the world is encompassed in darkness, cold, and pain. Yet we proclaim during this darkest, coldest time that He is here, tangibly born in the flesh, present with us still today.3

If you read the Bible cover to cover, you will discover there is a lot of waiting done by God’s people. Even though God made them wait, He didn’t allow them to wait without hope. He made covenants, anointings, and promises with his people while they waited, which gave them hope.4

“Hope, in the Bible, exists as a secure assurance, a trust placed in a trustworthy God. God has not failed us in the past, and therefore, if he claims he will do something in the future, we can have a hope that he will fulfill that claim.”5

“We aren’t alone in hope for an improved political climate. The Jewish people living more than two thousand years ago were hoping for the arrival of the Messiah to rescue them and bring about a just and peaceful kingdom.”6

Revelations initial recipients were living in two overlapping realities: their assurance in the sovereign reign and glorious return of Christ; and their earthly, everyday experience of waiting and suffering. Some two thousand years later, we still live amid these overlapping realities. Here, between Christ’s first coming and his glorious return, our lives may also feel like a mix of kingdom and confidence alongside waiting and suffering.7

“In this day and age, where evil abounds and all seems lost, we can also hope that the prophecies about Jesus’ second arrival to earth will also be fulfilled.”8

“[W]ait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:7-8 ESV).

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ENDNOTES

(1) In Hope Assured

            1. “Hope is a Verb: Salt’s Lectionary Commentary for Advent Week One,” 27 November 2018, Salt, 9 March 2021 https://www.saltproject.org/progressive-christian-blog/advent-week-one-lectionary-commentary.

            2. “Advent,” Wikipedia, Wikipedia, 9 March 2021 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent.

            3. Catherine McNiel, “Advent Week One: A Hope Made Sure,” 2 December 2019, Awana, 9 March 2021 https://www.awana.org/2019/12/02/advent-week-one-a-hope-made-sure/.

            4. Dori, “Advent Week 1 Hope: Family Devotional,” 1 December 2018, This Full Life 5, 9 March 2021 https://thisfulllife5.com/week-1-advent-family-devotional/.

            5. Hope Bolinger, “What is the Candle of Hope for Advent? Week 1,” 6 December 2019, Christianity, 9 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-candle-of-hope-for-advent-week-1.html.

            6. Matt Tullos, “Advent Devotional (Week 1): Faith,” 25 November 2015, Lifeway, 9 March 2021 https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/devotions-christmas-advent-week-one-faith.

            7. Kelli B. Trujillo, “Advent Week 1: He Will Come Again in Glory,” 29 November 2020, Christianity Today, 9 March 2021 https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/november-web-only/advent-week-1-he-will-come-again-in-glory.html.

            8. Hope Bolinger, “What is the Candle of Hope for Advent? Week 1,” 6 December 2019, Christianity.com, 9 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-candle-of-hope-for-advent-week-1.html.

            9. Robb Redman, “What is Advent?” 17 December 2020, Worship Leader, 9 March 2021 https://worshipleader.com/calendar/advent-day-19-with-steve-angrisano/.

            10. “. . . Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees”  (Romans 8:24 ESV)?

            11. Justin Holcomb, “What is Advent?” 6 November 2020, Christianity.com 9 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/christian-life/christmas/what-is-advent.html.

            12. Holcomb.

            13. Arthur S. Way, Letters of Paul, Hebrews and the Book of Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1926, 1981) 208.

            14. “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:33 ESV).

            15. Mark 13:33.

            16. Charles Wesley and Henry T. Smart, “Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending,” 1758, Hymnary, 9 March 2021 https://hymnary.org/text/lo_he_comes_with_clouds_descending_once.

            17. Wesley and Smart.

JESUS! In Word and Song

This week starts posts from a song book. The front pages started to post on Monday. Today they will continue and the songs will start Friday. (See BOOK in the main menu bar for more information.)

INTRODUCTION

My life’s purpose is that I may know CHRIST; that I may progressively become more deeply acquainted with Him. Therefore I determined to ponder His life as told in the scriptures more deliberately than ever before.

JESUS! In Word and Song, Vol. 1, addresses the history of JESUS’ time on earth. The subjects of the songs span the anticipation of His birth until Pentecost. The resources used were the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and Acts, chapters one and two, as well as comments about scripture by “the great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) before me.

The written page before each song contains material collected while researching the subject of the song. Each song and page of facts have footnotes where the words are not mine. These “Endnotes” are on the page after each song.

Used as a devotional the volumes, JESUS! In Word and Song Vol. 1 and 2, contain enough songs to meditate on one song and the companion page of information weekly for a year. This is a great help to preach the gospel to ourselves daily.

Songs are positioned in the book to align with the Church Calendar Year. More detailed information about the Calendar can be found in Appendix A. Appendix B lists songs according to subjects and includes scripture references.

JESUS! In Word and Song is also a resource for the church family; it’s well suited for corporate singing and study. It is appropriate for the worship service as well as Bible study and Sunday school.

The Bible’s use in public worship should be set in the context of songs and hymns and programs that are redolent with the substance of God’s holy word. Responsive readings can [also] be beneficial because they involve the congregation in voicing the sacred text.1

“Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them” (Ps 111:2 ESV).

1 ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 2575.

CONTENTS

1 In Hope Assured Advent week one–hope

2. Prince of Peace Advent week two–peace

3. Earth Receives Her CHRIST Advent week three–joy

4. GOD Came to Us Advent week four–love

5. Shepherds Rejoice The birth of CHRIST

6. Fully GOD, Fully Man JESUS is fully GOD, fully man

7. Linking Clay with the Divine Epiphany

8. JESUS CHRIST Submitted to Baptism The baptism of JESUS

9. Graced With SPIRIT The Son of man made holy

10. He Sat On the Steps JESUS at age twelve

11. Stop. Ask. For the SPIRIT JESUS Grew in Wisdom

12. JESUS Tempted The Temptation of JESUS

13. Shout for Joy The Compassion of JESUS

14. JESUS Teaches The Teachings of JESUS

15. JESUS, You Suffered The Sufferings of JESUS

16. The Jews Observed the Sabbath JESUS and the Sabbath

17. When the LORD Was With the Twelve JESUS Training His Disciples

18, CHRIST Inside of Me The LORD’s Supper

19. CHRIST Surren’dring All The Crucifixion

20. Have You Heard? The Resurrection

21. Energizing Fear The empty tomb

22. Thomas Was Gone Doubting Thomas

23. I Go Prepare a Place Preparing disciples for his death

24. Following His Lead The great commission

25. At the Temple Praising Disciples Waiting for the Promise

26. The Savior Lives No More to Die The Ascension

27. Abiding Miracle Pentecost

JESUS! In Word and Song

This week starts posts from a song book. The front pages will be posted in this blog today and Wednesday and the song posts will start Friday. (See BOOK in the main menu bar for more information.)

PREFACE

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Col 3:16 ESV).  

As with culture, present day Christian music continues to fluctuate. “In the lyrics of the songs we can detect a shift from an emphasis upon teaching doctrine.”1

[T]hough much of our truly wonderful contemporary music celebrates the greatness of God and His power to deliver us from brokenness, to ease our sorrows, and to drive away our fears there is little focus on the cause of our brokenness, sorrows, and fears—our sin.2

For more than a hundred years we’ve favored emotional, responsive-type songs over songs that magnify the nature, attributes, and works of God. We tend to favor devotion over doctrine. That order needs to be reversed, without losing either. We need more songs that help us think deeply about God and help us respond with wholehearted emotion.3  

“[W]hen we don’t major on objective truth, our songs can quickly drift into emotionalism and self-absorption.”4 “[B]eing moved emotionally is different from being changed spiritually.”5 “[T]here is no authentic worship of God without a right knowledge of God.”6

Singing God’s Word can include more than reciting specific verses in song. If the Word of Christ is going to ‘dwell in [us] richly’ we need songs that explain, clarify, and expound on what God’s Word says. We need songs that have substantive, theologically rich, biblically faithful lyrics.7

This 2-volume book is a recounting of the historical facts spanning the time period GOD revealed His final word to mankind through His Son. With less scriptural emphasis in our churches now days, JESUS! In Word and Song is a resource to present Christian doctrine and highlight those facts in song.

“Corporate worship [should have] a teaching function through the lyrics of its songs.”8 “God wants our worship to be intelligent and informed. He wants to stretch our minds to the limits as we consider the greatness of his being and the wonder of his works.”9 “True worship is always a response to God’s Word.10

GOD’s Word is never changing. The truth in these songs is never changing. In this changing and more and more changing world GOD has to stay the hearts of His people. It’s all up to GOD, but these songs and written pages are one method He has opportunity to use to keep His never changing Word in our hearts.

“Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD” (Psalm 102:18 ESV).

ENDNOTES

Preface

            1. Peter Dilley, “Pete Ward – Selling Worship,” 13 February 2008, Cross Rhythms, 26 January 2021 https://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/products/Pete_Ward/Selling_Worship/20168/.

            2. Doug Newton, Just Ask, Vol 2 (Greenville, IL: Mary’s Place Publishing, 2015) 127.

            3. Bob Kauflin, Worship Matters (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008) 168.

            4. Kauflin, 101.

            5. Kauflin, 30.

            6. Kauflin, 28.

            7. Kauflin, 92.

            8. ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 2299.

9. Bob Kauflin, Worship Matters (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008) 166.

            10. Kauflin, 91.

JESUS! In Word and Song

I have written a book.

Today’s popular Christian songs favor lyrics that are “me” centered and music that stirs the emotions instead of magnifying the Triune GOD. This book changes that.

Vol. 1 addresses the history of JESUS’ time on earth. The subjects of the songs follow the Church Calendar spanning the anticipation of His birth (Advent) until Pentecost.

Vol. 2 contains songs that emerged with the study of JESUS’ heavenly life described by the Apostles’ writings in the Epistles. It spans the time of His Ascension up to the start of Advent. The song lyrics accentuate the Biblical facts found in the page of prose before each song and also follow the Church Calendar.

With less scriptural emphasis in our churches now days, JESUS! In Word and Song is a resource to teach essential Christian doctrine and highlight those facts in song. The book contains 53 songs and 53 pages of information. Target audience is church and worship leaders, Sunday school and Bible study leaders, and anyone who desires a devotional containing music.

See “BOOK” in the main menu bar above for more facts, downloads, and ordering information.

PRAISE IN AFFLICTION

“Christians can rejoice even in the deepest distress. Although trouble may surround them, they still sing; and , like many birds, they sing best in their cages. Trouble does not necessarily bring consolation with it to the believer, but the presence of the Son of God in the fiery furnace with him fills his heart with joy” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, July 2nd AM).

“If the afflictions we experience have a blessed end—our sanctification (Heb 12:11)—shouldn’t we learn to become thankful for them? Rather than simply enduring them with a stiff upper lip, we should be praising God that he did not leave us to ourselves” John Calvin (ref#164, March 26th).

He Keeps Me Singing

There’s within my heart a melody,

Jesus whispers sweet and low,

Fear not, I am with thee,

Peace be still, In all of life’s ebb and flow.

All my life was wrecked by sin and strife,

Discord filled my heart with pain,

Jesus swept across the broken strings,

Stirred the slumbering chords again.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus—Sweetest name I know,

Fills my every longing, Keeps me singing as I go.

Luther Burgess Bridgers (hymnary.org).

“You will yet climb Jacob’s ladder with the angels and behold Him who sits at the top of it—your covenant God. You will yet, amid the splendors of eternity, forget the trials of time—or only remember them to bless the God who led you through them and worked your lasting good by them. Come and sing in the midst of tribulation. Rejoice even while you are passing through the furnace of affliction. Make the wilderness blossom like the rose. Cause the desert to ring with your exulting joys. These light afflictions will soon be over; then, forever with the Lord, your bliss will never diminish” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, July 21st PM).

INWARD TRIALS

“[O]ur mind never rises seriously to desire and aspire after the future, until it has learned to despise the present life” John Calvin (ref#113, p465).

Prayer Answered by Crosses

I asked the Lord that I might grow

In faith, and love, and every grace;

Might more of His salvation know,

And seek, more earnestly, His face.

‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray,

And He, I trust, has answered prayer!

But it has been in such a way,

As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,

At once He’d answer my request;

And by His love’s constraining pow’r,

Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel

The hidden evils of my heart;

And let the angry pow’rs of hell

Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed

Intent to aggravate my woe;

Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,

Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this , I trembling cried,

Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?

“‘Tis in this way, the Lord replied,

I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,

From self, and pride, to see thee free;

And break thy schemes of earthly joy,

That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”               John Newton (hymnary.org)

“[I]t is no small profit to be robbed of our blind selflove so that we become fully aware of our weakness” John Calvin (ref#313, p50).

ADVANTAGES OF COMBAT

“’There can be no victory where there is no combat” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p118).

“[T]he spiritual government of Christ is so opposed. It limits the course of the will and casts a bridle on its wanderings. Everything natural resists what opposed it. Carnal men would like to bring Christ and the flesh together, and could be content, with some reservation, to submit to Christ. But Christ will be no underling to any base affection, and therefore where there is allowance of ourselves in any sinful lust, it is a sign the keys were never given up to Christ to rule us. It is no sign of a good condition to find all quiet with no opposition” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p119-120).

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls” (Heb 12:1-3 MSG)!

“God’s way is not to take us out of the difficulties and trials, not to avoid them. His way is to enable us and to strengthen us, so that we can go through them with heads erect and undefeated, more than conquerors in them and over them. [Y]ou are fulfilling the glory of God even as you go through a trial” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, March 16th).

“Plead with Him earnestly, and either He will remove the affliction, or remove the impatience” Thomas Watson (ref#333, p239).

“[W]e ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom 8:23 ESV).

“This groaning is universal among the saints. It is not the groan of murmuring or complaint; it is the note of desire rather than of distress” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Dec 4th PM).

“Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight” (Ps 119:143 ESV). “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words” (Ps 119:147 ESV).

“Faith triumphs in trial. When reason is thrust into the inner prison, with her feet secured in the stocks, faith makes the dungeon walls ring with her joyful notes. Faith pulls the black mask from the face of trouble and discovers the angel underneath” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 12th PM).

WEANED FROM OUR OWN WILLS

“While we have such a depraved nature, and live in such a polluted world; while the roots of pride, vanity, self-dependence, self-seeking, are so strong within us, we need a variety of sharp dispensations to keep us from forgetting ourselves, and from cleaving to the dust” John Newton (ref#322, p187).

“Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness” (Isa 10:22 ESV).

“It is indeed natural to us to wish and to plan, and it is merciful in the Lord to disappoint our plans and to cross our wishes. For we cannot be safe, much less happy, but in proportion as we are weaned from our own wills, and made simply desirous of being directed by his guidance. This truth (when we are enlightened by his word) is sufficiently familiar to the judgment; but we seldom learn to reduce it into practice, without being trained awhile in the school of disappointment. The schemes we form look so plausible and convenient, that when they are broken we are ready to say, What a pity! We try again, and with no better success: we are grieved, and perhaps angry, and plan out another, and so on: at length, in a course of time, experience and observation begin to convince us, that we are not more able than we are worthy to choose aright for ourselves” John Newton (ref#322, p187-188).

“[I]n the list of your griefs there is a saving clause. Somehow He will deliver you, and somewhere He will provide for you. If men do not feed you, ravens will’ if the earth does not yield wheat, heaven will drop manna. He can make your source of distress the channel of delight” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, May 21st PM).

The Doubting Soul’s Soliloquy

O could I lift this heart of mine

Above these creature things,

I’d fly, and leave this world below,

As though on eagle’s wings.

[But ah! I feel no love at all,

Can neither praise nor pray;

O would the Lord but shine again,

And turn this night to day!]

But whither can I go to lodge

My sorrow and complaint?

Unless the Lord is pleased to shine,

I mope, I grieve, I faint.

I find my striving all in vain,

Unless my Lord is near;

My heart is hard; I’m such a wretch—

Can neither love nor fear.

I ask my soul this question then,

For here I would begin:

O do I feel a want of Christ

To save me from my sin?

The souls redeemed by precious blood

Are taught this lesson well;

‘Tis not of him that wills or runs,

But Christ who saves from hell.      

            D. Herbert (ref#224, song#676).

GOD COMFORTS THE DISCONSOLATE

“God comforts the disconsolate—he has an infinite counterbalance of consolation, joy, and hope. Does He wound? It is to heal. Does He cause deep sorrow? It is to turn that sorrow into a deeper joy. Does He empty? It is to fill. Does He cast down? It is to lift up again. Such is the love that moves Him, such is the wisdom that guides him, and such too is the purpose secured in the Lord’s disciplinary conduct with His people” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 17th).

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. It is true that we often cannot see the connection between the adversity and God’s purpose. It should be enough for us however, to know that He sees the connection and the end result He intends” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p233).

“[T]he principle of true devotion is that God alone is the Guide and Ruler of all prosperity and adversity, and that he is never in undue haste, but that he distributes all good and evil with the most equal justice Ps 79:13” John Calvin (ref#313, p44).

“Jesus is the great physician. [A]ll his commands are meant to make us well and happy. If they have some painful side effects, that is not because the doctor is unkind or unwise. It is because the disease is so bad that severe medicines may be required. Every command from Jesus is meant for our good” John Piper (ref#220, p241).

“[S]aints thrive most internally, when they are most externally afflicted. Afflictions lift up the soul to more rich, clear, and full enjoyments of God. ‘Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her’ (Hos 2:14), or rather, as the Hebrew has it, ‘I will earnestly or vehemently speak to her heart.’ God makes afflictions to be but inlets to the soul’s more sweet and full enjoyment of His blessed self” Thomas Brooks (ref#225, Dec 17th).

“I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder” (2 Tim 4:1-2 MSG). “[A]ccept the hard times along with the good” (2 Tim 4:3-5 MSG). “[H]e’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming” (2 Tim 4:6-8 MSG).

“Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. [E]verything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die” (Phil 1:18-21 MSG).

BAD YIELDS GOOD

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” Romans 8:28 The range of this privilege is boundless. ‘All things’ under the righteous government of God must necessarily work out for good. ‘Thou art good, and doest good’ (Ps 119:68)” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 28th).

“We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instaed of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and Your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part” (2 Cor 1:8-11 MSG).

“During my self-defense not even one person appeared in court, taking his stand at my side [b]ut the Lord took His stand at my side to render all the assistance I needed and clothed me with strength, in order that through me the public proclamation might be heralded abroad in full measure. And I was drawn to His side out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will draw me to himself away from every pernicious work actively opposed to that which is good, and will keep me safe and sound for His kingdom, the heavenly one, to whom be the glory forever and forever” (2 Tim 4:16-18 Wuest).

“[W]ho can compute the good, the real, the permanent good that results from the trying dispensations of God and from the corrections of a Father’s love? The things that appear to war against the believer, unfolding their divine mission, turn out rather for the promotion of his best welfare and his highest interest” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 29th).

Chosen in the furnace of affliction

To his church, his joy, and treasure,

Every trial works for good;

They are dealt in weight and measure,

Yet how little understood!

J. Kent (ref#224, song#758).

“[R]eceive the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thes 1:6 ESV).