Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Through It All...

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

What a wonderful admonition from the Apostle Paul! Might it be the earnest expectation, and fervent labor of every genuine believer to have "the word of Christ" dwelling in us "richly in all wisdom!" However, it is the second part of this deep well of wisdom that I wish to pursue: Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

As I examined this verse my heart was immediately taken to the night the Lord saw fit to begin a work of grace in my heart. Some many years ago, in the midst of a horrible Winter storm I wandered into First Baptist Church in Irvine, Kentucky on a Sunday evening. I wasn't sure what to expect or what would happen, and then I was completely overwhelmed by the Spirit of God! It was not when Pastor Sherl Thomas began his stirring sermon on our Lord's death and resurrection. Rather, violent conviction began when they opened the service with a hymn, "How Great Thou Art!" I well recall feeling so small, so sinful, and so wicked as God's people lifted their hearts and voices to heaven to praise the Great God of all creation. By the time Pastor Thomas began preaching, I was more than ready to hear a message of redemption for my wicked estate.

Thinking of the many great hymns that God has used to influence me, I often think of Trust and Obey. What truthful, and powerful instruction is found in this great hymn! "Trust and obey. For there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey." How often I have needed to be reminded that my disobedience was causing the discontent and sorrow in my heart. Then upon hearing these words I'm reminded that joy returns when I turn from wickedness and pursue righteousness with all my heart!

One of my favorite hymns is "Grace Greater than all our Sin." I love and cling to the words, "Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace. Freely bestowed on all who believe." How often I've struggled with those things left behind, and have needed the reminder of God's everlasting love and grace.

How could I fail to mention the great hymn of our Christian testimony, "Amazing Grace." That first stanza revealing the truth of our initial experience with God's amazing saving grace. Now I'm currently living the third stanza, "Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come. Twas grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home." And oh how we long for the conclusion of our salvation when "we've no less days to sing His praise than when we first begun."

My favorite modern hymn writer is Andrae Crouch. I absolutely love "Through It All" and in moments of uncertainty and struggle, I often drift toward that great hymn for encouragement and reminder. Soon and Very Soon, The Blood Will Never Loose It's Power, To God Be The Glory... So many powerful and encouraging hymns from Andrae Crouch!

In closing, I thought I'd share one of my favorite hymns. I pray it encourage you as it has me!