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Sojourn Music just came out with the newest Album, Split Ep: Jamie Barnes – The Mercy Seat / Brooks Ritter – The War. I recently bought it and have been greatly enjoying the music and the lyrics found in this album.

The first song by Jamie Barnes is called “Approach My Soul, the Mercy Seat.” It is inspired by John Newton’s hymn, “Approach, My Soul, The Mercy Seat.” Sojourn Music has opened this song for free download as well.

_______________________

Approach my soul, the mercy seat
Where Holy One and helpless meet
There fall before my Judges’ feet
Thy promise is my only plea, O God

Send wings to lift the clutch of sin
You who dwell between the cherubim
From war without and fear within
Relieve the grief from the shoulders of crumbling men

O God—Pour out your mercy to me
My God, Oh what striking love to bleed.

Fashion my heart in your alchemy
With the brass to front the devil’s perjury
And surefire grace my Jesus speaks
I must. I will. I do believe. O Lord.

HT: Justin Taylor

Well…this is one way to “draw the foul.” I guess.

Lord, how can man preach thy eternal word?

He is a brittle crazy glass:

Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford

This glorious and transcendent place,

To be a window, through thy grace.

 

But when thou dost anneal in glass thy story,

Making thy life to shine within

The holy Preacher’s; then the light and glory

More rev’rend grows, and more doth win:

Which else shows watrish, bleak, and thin.

 

Doctrine and life, colours and lights, in one

When they combine and mingle, bring

A strong regard and awe: but speech alone

Doth vanish like a flaring thing,

And in the ear, not conscience ring.

~ George Herbert, The Complete English Works, 64-65

Before you take Christ as your example, you recognize and accept Him as God’s gift to you; so that when you see and hear Him in any of His work or suffering, you do not doubt but believe that He, Christ Himself, with such work or suffering of His, is most truely your very own, whereon you may rely as confidently as if you had done that work.

~Sidney Greidanus, Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, 119, quoted in Church Planter: The Man, The Meessage, The Mission by Darrin Patrick, p. 135.

The reality is that every example of obedience set froth by Christ for me to obey has already been accomplished perfectly by the same Christ. His acceptance is my acceptance! His victory is my victory!  His obedient life is not set before me as unobtainable wall to climb. Instead it is a call to live in the accomplishments of Him! He obtained the satisfaction and acceptance of the Father for me, what is there left to do but rejoice and glory in it?

Now, If we get this switched around, seeing first that Christ is our example, we are left to pursue holiness in ourselves. The love of the Father has to be obtained by ourselves. The defeat of sin has to happen by ourselves.

But, if we get the order correct, that our imitation of Christ is seen through our salvation by Christ, then our pursuit of holiness finds itself encapsulated by the gospel. We don’t have to obtain the love of the Father by our obedience, for that has already been obtained by Christ. The defeat of sin doesn’t have to be by our own strength, Christ has already vanquished sin and death.

Jesus Christ must be your savior before He is your example.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

With the resurrection of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, God has already set the future inexorably in motion;

The fact that the future has already begun with the coming of God himself (through Christ and the Spirit) means two crucial things for Paul: that the consummation is absolutely guaranteed, and that present existence is therefore altogether determined by this reality. That is, one’s life in the present is not conditioned or determined by present exigencies, but by the singular reality that God’s people belong to the future that has already come present. Marked by Christ’s death and resurrection and identified as God’s people by the gift of the Spirit, they live the life of the future in the present, determined by its values and perspective, no matter what their present circumstances.

~Gordon Fee, Paul’s Letter To The Philippians, p. 50-51

And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. (Numbers 21:5-9)

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15)

Because of Israel’s near constant rebellion against the Lord and their rejection of His gracious provisions, God sent “fiery serpents” among the people and many died. However, as a result of the people’s repentance and Moses’ intercession, God once again made provision for their salvation. He commanded Moses to “make a fiery serpent and set it on a standard.” He then promised that “everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.”

At first, it seems contrary to reason that “the cure was shaped in the likeness of that which wounded.” However, it provides a powerful picture of the cross. The Israelites were dying from the venom of the fiery serpents. Men die from the venom of their own sin. Moses was commanded to place the cause of death high upon a pole. God placed the cause of our death upon His own Son as He hung high upon a cross. He had come “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” and was“made to be sin on our behalf.” The Israelite who believed God and looked upon the brazen serpent would live. The man who believes God’s testimony concerning His Son and looks upon Him with faith will be saved. As it is written, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”

~Paul Washer, The Cross of Christ.

HT: Penned Pebbles

Close to a year ago I posted a video telling the story of Zac Smith. He was a fellow brother in Christ who died because of cancer, leaving a wife and three young children. His widowed wife gives a powerful testimony to the reality of suffering and the goodness of God seen in the hope He gives.

Here is the video from Zac before he died.

HT: Denny Burk

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:3-5)

Jesus was given all things into His hands by the Father. He had all authority and control over every molecule in the universe. “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17).

He had come from God. He existed as the second person of the trinity. Fully God in His being. “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:19), and “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3a).

And He was going back to God. He was going to endure all the pain of the cross for the joy set before Him. He was going to triumph over death to obtain unparalleled glory. He was raised to be seated at God’s  “right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:20-21).

And yet, this one took a towel to wash dirty feet.

Our Lord and Savior, with full knowledge of His his standing as the pre-existent, all sovereign, ruler of the universe, stooped down to serve sinners. And His actions of washing feet were just a foretaste of the service He was going to render to the unworthy! Jesus would not only take away dirt from feet, He would take away the sinners transgressions and chastisements by means of His own death on a cross.

Jesus’ greatness does not distant Him from the low and weak with dirty messed up lives. With full knowledge of His incomparable majesty He comes to us—to serve us.

C. J. Mahaney delivers a sermon warning those in theological training and those in ministry about the danger of pride and the need for humility

Great words from Ray Ortlund,

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  To him be the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”  1 Peter 5:10-11

And after you have suffered a little while.  Your suffering is real.  “A little while” does not trivialize it.  But suffering is not the rest of your story.  It will end, and soon – as measured by the actual, eternal grandeur of your life.

the God of all grace.  He has remedies, comforts and powers for every need, every occasion, every moment.

who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ.  As Lewis said, someday you will get in.  God himself has removed every barrier through Christ.

will himself.  Not mediated but directly and personally.  Not bare luck but his own loving involvement.

restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  Terms upon terms, because God has thought of everything.  Whatever you have lost he will restore.  However you are weak he will confirm, strengthen and establish you, so that you emerge whole, formidable, happy.

To him be the dominion forever and ever.  No one can ever overrule his purpose of grace, but only serve his purpose.

Amen.  Very few things in life deserve this absolute affirmation.  But here is one.

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