VIDEO Choirs of New Jerusalem

Nov 22, 2009

From R U Ready? album – Godfrey Birtill

You choirs of new Jerusalem,
Your sweetest notes employ,
Of Jesu’s victory to sing
In strains of holy joy.
For Judah’s Lion has burst His chains,
Crushing the serpent’s head;
And cries aloud through death’s domains
To wake the imprisoned dead.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Devouring depths of hell their prey
At His command restore;
His ransomed hosts pursue their way
Where Jesus goes before.
Triumphant in His glory now
To Him all power is given;
To Him in one communion bow
All saints in earth and heaven.

While we, His soldiers, praise our King,
His mercy we implore,
Within His palace bright to bring
And keep us evermore.
All glory to the Father be,
All glory to the Son,
All glory, Holy Ghost, to Thee,
While endless ages run.

St. Fulbert of Chartres (c 975-1028)
Adpt. and music Godfrey Birtill
© 2006 Thankyou Music

The Habit of Recognizing God’s Provision

…you may be partakers of the divine nature… —2 Peter 1:4

We are made “partakers of the divine nature,” receiving and sharing God’s own nature through His promises. Then we have to work that divine nature into our human nature by developing godly habits. The first habit to develop is the habit of recognizing God’s provision for us. We say, however, “Oh, I can’t afford it.” One of the worst lies is wrapped up in that statement. We talk as if our heavenly Father has cut us off without a penny! We think it is a sign of true humility to say at the end of the day, “Well, I just barely got by today, but it was a severe struggle.” And yet all of Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus! And He will reach to the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will only obey Him.

Does it really matter that our circumstances are difficult? Why shouldn’t they be! If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God’s riches from our lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges— always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives.

Before God becomes satisfied with us, He will take everything of our so-called wealth, until we learn that He is our Source; as the psalmist said, “All my springs are in You” (Psalm 87:7). If the majesty, grace, and power of God are not being exhibited in us, God holds us responsible. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you…may have an abundance…” (2 Corinthians 9:8)— then learn to lavish the grace of God on others, generously giving of yourself. Be marked and identified with God’s nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time.

by Oswald Chambers

The devil only holds what we leave in his hands

Roar lion
What does Satan own?

What does the devil control?

What does the enemy dominate?

Only what we leave in his wicked, pathetic little hands. Put another way: The devil only holds what we let him keep.

Our mission – our Great Commission – is to press the crown rights of King Jesus in every realm of His creation right here and now. By His grace-fueled Gospel we have been commanded and equipped to become and propagate disciples who will strive – all by His grace – to increasingly conform every area of their lives to His Nature as revealed in His Word, thus transforming everything that they touch into a more and more Christ-honoring area of life.


Judah’s Lion Has Burst His Chains

I love the hymn that proclaims the beautiful, cosmos-shaking, enemy-terrifying truth that “Judah’s lion has burst his chains”! Death could not contain Him and nothing can deny Him.

The serpent’s head has been crushed and the enemy is bleeding out before our eyes. Victory has been secured and is unfolding as that defeated enemy fades away.

Judah’s Lion has chosen His people by His grace through His Gospel and His Great Commission to make His victory ever clearer and clearer throughout His creation.

Art, math, law, economics, business, and education – they’re all His, along with everything else. We are here to make that plain, in word and application.

That’s our job…all by His grace, all for His glory, and all to our eternal benefit.

In-between yesterday’s From Post-Christian America to Post-America Christianity post and what will, Lord willing, be a Part 2 follow-up later this week, it seemed like a good time to pause, remind ourselves, and marinate in the important truth that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world (see: 1 John 4:4).

So it is that when we submit ourselves to God, we can effectively resist the devil, driving him from the field of battle. When the devil encounters a biblically obedient Christian, it is the devil, not the Christian, who is compelled to flight, retreat, and loss of ground (see: James 4:7).

How contrary is this to what most American Christians have been pitched and programmed to hide under when it comes to the relationship between the devil, Christians, and ground to be gained from (or lost to) the enemy here and now?

Consider the following passages:

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. ~ 1 John 4:2-6

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. ~ James 4:7

These are but samples from one of the great themes in Scripture – a theme that has been almost completely abandoned and forgotten by the professing Christian sub-culture in America. We have drifted (or, more appropriately, run) from this truth so hard for so long in America that today far more professing American “conservative” Christians are prone to mock this matchlessly empowering truth than they are to embrace it. (See also: Encouragement from Satan.)

The crushed, dying serpent must laugh at – and greatly appreciate – such accommodating foolishness, which allows him to pretend and hold onto territory for just a little while longer.

The real world changing, supernatural power of the Gospel-fueled Great Commission is something that we desperately need to recover, which is why the enemies of Christ are so desperate to see it remain in its largely abandoned and forgotten state.

But those enemies are getting nervous.

They’re getting concerned.

Here and there in the culture – including the professing Christian sub-culture – enemies from within and outside of the church are becoming more and more desperate in their disparaging of the authority of Christ as King and those who would dare to proclaim and apply Christ’s comprehensive lordship right here and now in what they imagine and claim to be “the devil’s world”.

But it isn’t working.

His people, by His grace, are on the move.

The Gospel – the whole Gospel – in all of it’s supernatural life- and culture-transforming glory, will not be contained.

It will not be denied.

Because He will not be denied.

Judah’s lion has burst his chains.

Ascending Vapors

“He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.” (Psalm 135:7)

This striking verse is practically identical with Jeremiah 10:13 and Jeremiah 51:16, suggesting the possibility that the prophet Jeremiah may have written the otherwise anonymous Psalm 135. The two Jeremiah passages do preface this statement with the note that there is “a multitude of waters in the heavens” in connection with the processes described in the verse.

In any case, this thrice-mentioned mechanism beautifully summarized what we now call the hydrologic cycle, and it did so over 2,000 years before the cycle began to be understood by modern scientists. In order to provide rain to water the earth, there must be vapors ascending all over the earth (that is, evaporation from the world’s great oceans), winds then blowing from God’s unseen treasury (actually the global atmospheric circulation), and, finally, lightnings for (or “with”) the rain (electrical discharges associated with the condensation and coalescence of the particles of water vapor in the atmosphere). All of this repeatedly transports purified waters from the ocean back over the lands to fall as rain and snow, there finally to run off back to the oceans after performing their life-sustaining ministries on the lands. “Unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again” (Ecclesiastes 1:7).

Not only does this hydrologic cycle sustain physical life on Earth, but it also is a type of the spreading of God’s Word, giving spiritual life. “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, . . . So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please” (Isaiah 55:10-11). HMM

Preach To Make Them Sweat

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? —Acts 2:37

I preach to my congregation week after week. And I pray that I may be able to preach with such convicting power that my people will sweat! I do not want them to leave my services feeling good. The last thing I want to do is to give them some kind of religious tranquilizer—and let them go to hell in their relaxation.

The Christian church was designed to make sinners sweat. I have always believed that, and I still believe it. The messages preached in our churches should make backslidden Christians sweat. And if I achieve that objective when I preach, I thank God with all of my heart, no matter what people think of me.

Lord, help me to preach with boldness—not concerned with “what people think of me.” Amen.

Polite Society: “Religion Must Not Get Personal”

And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. Luke 24:11

I remind you that it is characteristic of the natural man to keep himself so busy with unimportant trifles that he is able to avoid settling the most important matters relating to life and existence.

Men and women will gather anywhere and everywhere to talk about every subject from the latest fashions on up to Plato and philosophy—up and down the scale! They talk about the necessity for peace. They may talk about the church and how it can be a bulwark against communism. None of these things are embarrassing subjects.

But the conversation all stops and the taboo of silence becomes effective when anyone dares to suggest that there are spiritual subjects of vital importance to our souls that ought to be discussed and considered. There seems to be an unwritten rule in polite society that if any religious subjects are to be discussed, it must be within the framework of theory—”never let it get personal!”

All the while, there is really only one thing that is of vital and lasting importance—the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ “was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Holy Spirit, All Divine

It is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 1 JOHN 5:6

I wonder if any Christian can ever show forth the transforming radiance of the love of God without a complete surrender to the indwelling Person of the Holy Spirit.

Surely that was in the mind of the songwriter, as he prayed and sang:

Holy Ghost, with light divine,
Shine upon this heart of mine;
Chase the shades of night away,
Turn my darkness into day.

Holy Spirit, all divine,
Dwell within this heart of mine;
Cast down every idol throne,
Reign supreme—and reign alone.

Our world is filled with hatred and conflict, violence and bloodshed. Through the plan of redemption, God has dealt graciously with this global problem of hatred in the hearts of men and women. He has sent the source of love and light and radiance to the human bosom; Paul himself testifying: “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).

Lord, may Your divine love minister through me to a hurting person today.