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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

He Lives!

He lives, he lives Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!
         The instant the Angel of the Lord rolled away from the tomb and Christ arose from the dead is the glorious moment! For the Resurrection of Jesus is the Crescendo of the Gospel!  This is the moment that when the Glory of the Lord revealed the power of God’s Love for you and me.  For over two thousand years we have known about the resurrection and Jesus Christ.  The Gospel is not something we do, it is something God did!
         We celebrate the birth of Jesus one day a year, and his resurrection one day a year.  Christmas is more than decorating, good feelings, presents, and great memories.  Easter is more than new clothes, coloring eggs, cute bunnies and Easter egg hunts.
         We celebrate Jesus each day with praise to Him, kindness and love to others, and with joy in our hearts.  Yes, He walks with me and talks with me daily.  Last Lord’s Day, these lyrics brought to me the immensity and grandeur of the words – He Lives!  Though we cannot comprehend such a mystery. Just a glimpse of You revealed - Is compelling us to singHoly, holy is the Lord God almighty, Worthy, worthy is Your name, All of Heaven joins the universe ever crying, Worthy, worthy is Your name.  (Vertical Worship)
         How can we be sure Jesus Lives? When the Angel of the Lord rolled away the stone of the tomb, it freed our everlasting Hope of Forgiveness of our sin for an Eternity.
         How can we praise God and find gladness in our hearts?  We can trust Him who holds our lives in His Hands, more than we will ever know.  Simple, right? How many things can go wrong? Old age, sickness, hurts, betrayal, or separation from those we love. Satan whispers, ‘Why worship a dead Jew?’
         While Pastor Alfred Ackley held a revival meeting in the 1930’s, a young man asked the same question. Pastor Ackley answered - “Jesus is alive, He came that we might be saved!”
         We often hear God is dead!  If God were dead, all life would cease! The stars would fall, the planets would drop out of their orbit, the earth with all its people would ricochet through space. The moon and sun would no longer have purpose to shine. Seeds would no longer sprout.  We would cease breathing as there would be no air, seas would slosh over land in waves!  Darkness and emptiness would prevail where once there was life.
         Philip Bliss, in 1875, was overcome with the glory and wonder of the resurrection and wrote a hymn, Hallelujah! What a Savior! The last two verses of this song attest to His Second Coming!
Lifted up was He to die; “It is finished!” was His cry; Now in Heav’n exalted high. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
When He comes, our glorious King, All His ransomed home to bring, Then anew His song we’ll sing: Hallelujah! What a Savior!
         On Easter Sunday, Pastor Ackley preached fervently – Jesus Lives!  He couldn’t say all he wanted in the sermon. The miraculous thoughts of the Resurrected Jesus spilled over the same evening. He penned the lyrics to He Lives, and added music.
This song was published in 1933.  It is still sung wherever people gather to worship Jesus:  
1 - I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living, whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.
2 - In all the world around me I see His loving care,
And tho’ my heart grows weary I never will despair;
I know that He is leading thro’ all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing will come at last
Romans 6:10 - When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.
Hebrews 7:25 - Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
I John 3:24 - Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.
Philippians 3:20 –  But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
         Psalm 66:8-9 - Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises.  Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling.
         Psalm 97:10-11 - You who love the Lord, hate evil!  He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked.  Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right.

*Alfred Ackley wrote more than fifteen hundred hymns including God Has Not Forgotten, I Am Coming Home, When Jesus Shall Appear, and There’s a New Day Dawning.  John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, awarded Alfred Ackley an honorary Doctor of Sacred Music degree.  He died July 3, 1960, in Los Angeles California.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Face to Face

Face to face I shall behold Him, far beyond the starry sky…Face to face in all His glory, I shall see Him by and by.  As I read these lyrics, I ponder the glory to be, when we are finally Home with our Lord.  For now, I am content to see Him in the angels He sends, the blessings He gives, and the prayers He answers. He tweaks my life in ways I do not see, to grow my faith Him continually.  And I learn daily to love as He loves me.
         Who wrote such lyrics giving me such anticipation of the Joy to Come. Carrie Ellis Breck, born in 1855, married a farmer and they had five daughters.  Although Carrie only had a primary education, she had a gift of writing poetic thoughts.  It is said she wrote three hundred seventy-five hymns, but a friend said it was more than twelve hundred hymns.
         She sent her poetry to musicians of the day, and sent this one to Grant Tuller, a musician who helped with revival meetings. At one meal, he was passed the container of jelly, almost empty.  Grant loved jelly, and he commented, “All for me?”. Suddenly he excused himself from the table and went to the piano to write a melody and a verse that came to him, All for Me.
         When morning came, he received a letter from Carrie E. Breck, containing her lyrics to Face to Face.  The year is 1898. Suddenly he realizes the melody he wrote the night before fits Carrie’s lyrics.  He never returned to his All for Me.
         They say God works in mysterious ways.  I Corinthians 12:6-7 says, God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.  A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
         Little did Carrie Breck nor Grant Tuller know, they were following God’s Plan. Face to Face would help many to live each day with anticipation of the coming of our Lord God.
         Visiting with someone, face to face, in 1898, across the miles, was impossible.  Yet in this day and age, we are in constant touch through voice, texts, social media, and through Skype and FaceTime.  Somehow even Skype and Face-time isn’t the same as face to face communication. 
         When I sang this song for my dear husband, blind and with dementia, he comments, “I don’t understand.”  When I explain, “It means ‘nose to nose’. We could continue our conversation about seeing Jesus – face to face.”
         Face to Face with someone who knows our heart is an awesome meeting.  There are no secrets. We will see Jesus, as a Child of God, with our sins forgiven. What a rejoicing there will be!
         The lyrics of this hymn shows the heart of Carrie, living in anticipation of what is to come. Stephen, about to be stoned, in Acts 7:55-56, tells us what he saw: But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”
         The following scriptures are ‘embedded’ in the lyrics of Face to Face. From the blog written by drhamrick, there are more details.
         Face to face—what will it be,   
Matthew 17:1-3 – Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.
         With the darkened veil between, But a blessed day is coming,
1 Corinthians 13:12 – 13 - Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.  Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
         When are banished grief and pain;
Revelation 21:4 -
 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever 
         Face to face—to see and know;
John 20:29 - Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”   “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.  Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
1 Peter 1:8 - You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.  The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

Holy, holy is the Lord God almighty - Worthy, worthy is Your Name - All of Heaven joins the universe ever crying Worthy, worthy is Your name!. (Worthy Worthy)


Lyrics of Face to Face….