“The Same Love” is calling

From the very beginning, the Creator has been calling to us, drawing us into relationship with Him. He has shown us His love, again and again through human history. The Cross is the pinnacle of the call. He still calls today. We must repond to the loving call of God.
This is a great song by Paul Baloche, with a really creative video to go with it.
Enjoy. (It is the title track of his 2012 album by the same name).

 

THE SAME LOVE
You choose the humble and raise them high
You choose the weak and make them strong
You heal our brokenness inside
And give us life

The same love that set the captives free
The same love that opened eyes to see
Is calling us all by name
You are calling us all by name
The same God that spread the heavens wide
The same God that was crucified
Is calling us all by name
You are calling us all by name

You take the faithless one aside
And speak the words “You are mine”
You call the cynic and the proud
Come to me now
The same love that set the captives free
The same love that opened eyes to see
Is calling us all by name
You are calling us all by name
The same God that spread the heavens wide
The same God that was crucified
Is calling us all by name
You are calling us all by name

Oh oh…

You’re calling You’re calling
You’re calling us to the cross

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Romans 3:16 – Pursued by mercy not misery

“Destruction and misery always follow them.” Romans 3:16

We seem to be a little let down by Paul’s letter to the Romans in our great run of significant “Three Sixteen” verses. I have thought long and hard about what to write. I can’t really see this verse appearing on a pretty motivational poster, or embroidered on a wall hanging in your toilet! But the verse is significant none the less.

In context this verse is speaking about the fact that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are born sinners. We are under the power of sin, slaves to sin. The Jews are no better off. All humans are born into sin. We don’t understand, we are not righteous and we don’t seek God. In this section Paul has tied together several Old Testament verses (from Psalms and Isaiah 59) to make his case. In verse 15 Paul is speaking of the unrighteous who are swift to shed others’ blood; they rush into murder. And what follows this? Destruction and misery! They have no peace and no fear of the Lord.

What a wretched position to be in, and what a contrast to those of us who now do know the Lord and are resting in His righteousness. This grace is open to all in Christ, Jew or Greek, slave or free.

Psalm 23 paints a picture of the goodness and mercy that always follow and protect His sheep – we are not hounded destruction and misery. So if we know Christ, and know that we are IN Christ, this “miserable” 3:16 verse must give rise to celebration and thankfulness. It reminds us that this is what we have been rescued from, from being followed by destruction and misery. What terrible companions. What horrific pursuers! For me this evokes the mental image of a nightmare where you are relentlessly pursued by some unknown yet horrible creature. (I can vividly remember the first one of those I had about age five.)

Anyway, back to Romans. The destruction and misery that pursues unsaved sinners is exactly what Christ delivers us from. And this is not down to us. It is not by our desire or effort that we know the Lord. It is only by His immense grace. Praise be to Him for sending his goodness and mercy after us.
“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6) NLT

The LORD is my light and my salvation…(2)

An interesting way to think about “hiding God’s word” in our heart – and why it is important to do that. This blog “Singing in Babylon” is a good one; it’s all about Psalms, about how we, who are living in “Babylon”, as it were, can be encouraged by this ancient book of poetry/song. Enjoy!

Singing in Babylon

‘My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.’ Psalm 27:8.

Is it just a prejudice that comes with living in the 21st century that I have such difficulty thinking of David, living 3000 years ago, as a man so acutely self-aware in the presence of his LORD?

Even with the differences between us on a cultural level (David never drove a car or wore a suit and tie; he never had a ‘Facebook’ page or ‘blogged’ a single line, and his taste in music was so ‘Old Testament’) the similarity in his songs with what goes on in my heart when I am confronted by God amazes as well as comforts me.

Threatened with powerful enemies, this man whom the LORD described as one ‘after my own heart’ could look within himself, into his heart and find the way to meet…

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Other beings appreciate 7 notes

Tigger takes every opportunity to enjoy the 7 notes! Whenever someone plays the piano he jumps up to add his own contribution to the composition. Even when no one is around (like in the middle of the night, and yes, that proved quite a shock) he thinks it is a great time to belt out a new tune. These notes obviously provide comfort to beings other than mere humans! (Does anyone else have an animal that appreciates music?)
Proverbs 12:10 says A righteous man cares about his animal’s health, but even the merciful acts of the wicked are cruel.”
Perhaps one of the best things we can do for the health of our animals is play them some music, and even involve them in the composition.
Cats probably like Jazz best. I have tried the alto sax with our dog – it was not appreciated.
I do recall my dad’s dairy cows appreciated classical music at milking time (back in the days of hand milking).

Speaking of different musical genres, I just came across this clever clip – 16 musical genres in one song. Watch below if you don’t believe me.

Anyway, I hope there are no fleas in the piano.

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam, or maybe a firework?

“Jesus wants me for a sunbeam” was one of the first Sunday school songs I ever learned. (If you have never had the pleasure of singing it, try google.) It called us all to shine for Jesus each day, to please Him “at home, at school, at play”. I wonder if Katy Perry learned this song in Sunday school? Daughter of an evangelist/pastor in California, Katy Perry grew up as part of her parents’ ministry, singing in church from age 9 to 17. She grew up listening to gospel music and was not allowed to listen to secular songs. And despite her recent liftestyle choices and the song lyrics which shout about things that would deny the God of her childhood, His truth comes shining through (at times), possibly despite her intentions.

Perhaps you already know what I’m talking about? Perry’s song “Firework” is her self-confessed favourite from the album ‘Teenage Dream’ (2010). When you check out the lyrics you could be mistaken for thinking this was a song that called Christians to remember that they are a unique creation, called to “shine like stars” in the darkness of this generation. Here is a sampling of the lyrics:

Do you know that there’s still a chance for you, ‘Cause there’s a spark in you
You just gotta ignite the light, and let it shine, Just own the night like the 4th of July
‘Cause baby you’re a firework,
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh” As you shoot across the sky-y-y
Baby, you’re a firework, Come on, let your colours burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”, You’re gonna leave ’em all in “awe, awe, awe”
You don’t have to feel like a wasted space,
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds . . .

Perry says of this song: “Now, people are coming back and almost adopting it as their own anthem . . . I hope this could be one of those things where it’s like, ‘Yeah, I want to put my fist up and feel proud and feel strong. . . and I think ‘Firework’ … would be like the opus or my one song — if I had to pick a song to play — ’cause it has a great beat. But it also has a fantastic message.

God’s truth bleeds through this song, as it proclaims that we are unique beings, the intentional creation of a loving all-powerful Creator. Amen to that! But what she has needs to know is that our potential to “shine” comes from outside of us. It’s not “deep inside of you“, as Perry says, waiting for us to ignite it. Our “full potential” is realised when we make peace with God, through Christ, and He enters into our life. We become His children, heirs of the promise, co-heirs with Christ. He puts his Spirit in us, the “spark” which begins to restore us according to God’s original design. God’s spark is what makes us see our true worth, and changes the way we live our lives and interact with others, for their good. We can only shine out the likeness of His character if He is in us. We can shine out the family likeness only if our Father is God. Here is the way we are to “shine”:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” (Philippians 2:14-16)

If you are looking for a great ‘church’ song, produced by Sydney Anglicans which sums up the essence of this verse, try looking at EMU music for the song “The Light” by Nicky Chiswell (2000). It has been a real encouragement for many years in our church. Keep shining!