My Only Hope

I love the lyrics of My Only Hope as recorded by Caedmon’s Call on their album Back Home.

Depth of mercy can there be
Mercy still reserved for me
Can my God, your wrath forbear
Me the chief of sinners, spare

Chorus
It’s my only hope
You’re my only hope
It’s my only hope of Heaven
At the cross forgiven

I have long withstood your grace
Long provoked you to your face
Would not harken to your calls
Grieved you by a thousand falls

There for me the Savior stands
Shows his wounds and spreads His hands
Face to face before the Son
And like Isaiah I’m undone

Depth of mercy, vast and free
So much deeper than the sea
God of love, you heard my cry
Now into your open arms I fly

More Wonderful

Here are the lyrics of More Than Wonderful as recorded by Aaron Shust on his album, Anything Worth Saying. These words capture the beauty of worship, the wonder of God, the faithfulness of God in our time of trial or even disobedience, and the assurance of God’s guidance. You can purchase and download the song here.

God of unending grace, I come to You on my face
I need to hear You speak to me, won’t You make me new right now
God of omnipotent power, visit us in this hour
And may we leave here changed because we’ve met with You, God

You’ve been more wonderful to me than I could have ever imagined
You’ve shown more love than I could show in a thousand years
And although it seems at times like it all means nothing to me
You gotta know that I love You
You gotta know that I need You

God of wisdom and love, settle down from above
Give us all a taste of what Your Holy Spirit can do
Time and time again we’ve betrayed, but our debt’s already been paid
And all that leaves me wanting is to live for you, God

When the world crashes down around me
I know You’ll be there to pull me out from the rubble
When my enemy surrounds and I call on your name
You1ll be there to deliver me from my troubled soul

Rescue me from all my selfish ways
and thoughts and deeds and plans
Lead me in the everlasting way
and I will follow you there

A Hymn from Wesley

O Thou who camest from above
The pure celestial fire to impart,
Kindle a flame of sacred love
On the mean altar of my heart!

There let it for Thy glory burn
With inextinguishable blaze,
And trembling to its source return
In humble prayer and fervent praise.

Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire
To work and speak and think for Thee;
Still let me guard the holy fire,
And still stir up Thy gift in me.

Ready for all Thy perfect will,
My acts of faith and love repeat,
Till death Thine endless mercies seal,
And make my sacrifice complete.

God’s Mercy

This morning I had my CD player on shuffle. As I cooled down from a refreshing run, walking around the house and drinking a bottle of ice-cold water, I was stopped in my tracks by some lyrics that have stopped me cold numerous times through the years.

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

My prayer is that the longer I remain caught in His love, the wider the mercy will grow in my heart.

(These lyrics are from Rich Mullins song The Love of God from his Never Picture Perfect CD released in 1989.)

The Wreckless Raging Fury

This morning I had Rich Mullins’ 1989 release Never Picture Perfect in the shuffle mix on my CD player. When song number 8, “the love of God”came on, the words stopped me in my tracks, much as they did the first time I heard them more than 16 years ago.

“There’s a wildness in God’s mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the wreckless raging fury
That they call the love of God”

Today, I am praying for some wildness in my mercy.

Good News Lost

How sad it is to lose all hope.

A forty three year old man who lived just south of London recently committed suicide. The man had received intensive treatment for testicular cancer. He lost hope and hanged himself. What compounds the sadness of this story is what the patient didn’t know. His cancer treatment was successful – his body was cancer free.

He lost hope and slipped into despair because he never heard the good news. Doctors suspect that because the patient had recently changed doctors, there was a mix-up that resulted in his never getting the all-clear letter. The hope-bringing good news was never communicated.

How sad, even tragic it is when the Good News gets lost.

So many people in this world have lost hope and slipped into despair. They wonder if there is any purpose for their existence and whether they should carry on with their lives. A few choose to end their lives. Many more just continue living a life of hopeless despair. And it’s all so unnecessary.

There is hope. But there has been a mix-up and the word isn’t getting out. Churches get sidetracked arguing with one another over peripheral matters and so never get around to spreading the message of hope. Christians are so busy entertaining one another they forget about those who are despairing for lack of hope. How many people have never heard the Good News? Oh for worship that compels us to take hope to the world (see lyrics below).

Jesus is Good News — spread the hope!

Take to the World
(Recorded by Derek Webb
on his album She Must and Shall go Free — words and music by Aaron Tate)

go in peace to love and to serve
let your ears ring long with what you have heard
and may the bread on your tongue
leave a trail of crumbs
to lead the hungry back to the place that you are from

(chorus)
and take to the world this love, hope and faith
take to the world this rare, relentless grace
and like the three in one
know you must become what you want to save
‘cause that’s still the way
He takes to the world

go, and go far
take light deep in the dark
believe what’s true
He uses all, even you
may the bread on your tongue
leave a trail of crumbs
to lead the hungry back to the place that you are from

(chorus)
and take to the world this love, hope and faith
take to the world this rare, relentless grace
and like the three in one
know you must become what you want to save
‘cause that’s still the way
He takes to the world

As Good Friends Do

Last week as I helped prepare songs for our evening praise and worship time I noticed something interesting about the lyrics of My God and I.

First, let me say I have been blessed by this song through the years. I remember singing My God and I when in chapel at Memphis Harding Academy back in the early seventies. What a beautiful picture of fellowship and intimacy with God. Walking. Talking. Clasping hands. Voices ringing with laughter.

But last week I noticed that at some point the lyrics had been changed. Remember that line: “My God and I will go for aye together, we’ll walk and talk as good friends should and do.” The original (as I understand it) words were these: “My God and I will go for aye together, we’ll walk and talk and jest as good friends do.”

Jest. Jesting with God — being playful, amusing, or frolicing. That word just takes this friendship with God concept to a whole new level. What a blessing: to be God’s friend!

  • Before their sin Adam and Eve enjoyed walking with God in the garden (Genesis 3:8-10).
  • Moses and God would speak face to face, like friends (Exodus 33:12)
  • 3 times Abraham is called God’s friend (2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23)

Through the years I have learned that My God and I does more than paint a sweet picture of fellowship. It accurately portrays what life in Jesus, walking with God, is really like. The bond. The closeness. The friendship. The security.

“This earth will pass, and with it common trifles, but God and I will go unendingly.”