Shine Into Our Night

We are not what we should be
We haven’t sought what we should seek
We’ve seen Your glory, Lord, but looked away
Our hearts are bent, our eyes are dim
Our finest works are stained with sin
And emptiness has shadowed all our ways

Jesus Christ, shine into our night
Drive our dark away
Till Your glory fills our eyes
Jesus Christ, shine into our night
Bind us to Your cross, where we find life

Still we often go astray
We chase the world, forget Your grace
But You have never failed to bring us back
Reveal the depths of what You’ve done
The death You died, the vict’ry won
You made a way for us to know Your love

-Joel Sczebel, 

© 2011 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Discipleship of the Mundane – Part 4

Our lives do not culminate in a moment. We should not be hoping for one great photo shoot, because that is not what God is doing with us. Our lives are a story–they are interwoven with the next generation in a way that is impossible for us to understand.

Getting our sense of achievement and satisfaction out of cheerfully performing the tasks that are asked of us can so nothing but good in our lives. Seeing that God is asking something of you–and delighting in doing it for Him–brings the kind of peace with the mundane that can seem unattainable.

You are a Christian. This is Christian discipleship.

Why do you rejoice in making a dinner again? Because god rejoices in your doing it cheerfully, and doing it well. Why can you rejoice in cleaning the bathroom, doing the laundry, running the errands, making the beds? Because God delights in a willing and eager student.

Cheerfully embracing the mundane work in your life, diving into the challenges, working harder than you would think was possible at the little, at the trivial, at the boring–these are all ways to say,

“Use me Lord; I am your servant.”

-Rachel Jankovic, Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood (Cannon Press, 2012), 43-44.

Discipleship of the Mundane – Part 3

We don’t know the value of what we do. We can’t always see why God wants us to be doing these things, so we want to negotiate with Him. Lord, couldn’t you think of something better for me to do? Or worse, rather that complain to God, asking for Him to answer us, we complain to others.

We fuss at the children for being what they can’t help being.
We get dreamy to our [spouses], explaining yet again how repetitive our lives are.
We droop.
We make fun of our jobs to ourselves and to others.
We belittle our work,
We make much of the mindlessness of it,
And, not surprisingly, we then lose interest in it.

But imagine we could switch this attitude into a situation where we understand the value of repetition. Imagine we could see a young girl at the piano, practicing scales with a word class teacher. Imagine that instead of seeing that she was being taught the fundamentals of something amazing, she was mocking it.

Imagine she was complaining and moaning and drooping.
Imagine she wouldn’t try them.
Imagine she was hollering to anyone close enough about how unfulfilling and demeaning this work was, Or just sighing to herself continuously.
Imagine that she used as her main argument that she was above this kind of fiddly work because she was meant to be a concert pianist.

I would hope that we would all see the foolishness of this kind of attitude. Feeling above it all is simply a way of showing that it is actually above you.

We have far more than musical skills to gain by cheerfully practicing the scales that God asks us to do. He uses things like this to train us for other things. We wants to see us perfecting the work we are given, cheerfully and willingly practicing when we do not see all the value.

-Rachel Jankovic, Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood (Cannon Press, 2012), 41-42.

Discipleship of the Mundane – Part 2

Oftentimes [we] want [a calm, clean, simple life] for [our] real lives. We always want everything to look as if we have arrived, all the time. This is like focusing entirely on the victory moment.

Like a football player who never trains, but only practices his touchdown dance.
Like a woman who sets beautiful tables for a living but never feeds anyone.

Real life is messy because it is going somewhere. Things constantly need to be done because people are constantly growing. Repetition should not be discouraging to us, it should be challenging.

When we buy into this kind of idealism, we start seeing things as failures that are anything but.

Practice drills are not a waste of time.

Having another chance to work on things is not a sign of failure. Having room to improve is not something to be sad about, it is something that should encourage and inspire us.

God keeps giving me this to do, because this is what He wants me doing. If this is what He wants me doing, then I will do it with my whole being. He gave me the work; I will not back away from it and say it isn’t important. I will not sit on the sidelines of this drill and fuss about it.

The funny thing is that we know well that we learn through repetition.

We need to practice songs before we can sing them.
We need to try something over and over before we have mastered it.

We have accepted that part of being human. What we appear not to have accepted is the subject matter.

I don’t want to cook for the family again. I don’t want to do the laundry again. I don’t want to vacuum, to make a birthday cake, to blow a nose, to change a diaper, to pick up toys. I don’t want to practice this work that God gave me because, frankly, I’d rather not be good at it. Because, somewhere in there, we don’t like what God has called us to do.

-Rachel Jankovic, Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood (Cannon Press, 2012), 40-41.

Discipleship of the Mundane – Part 1

God likes for His people to be stretched, to be challenged, to be pushed. This is often seen in the fact that we almost never feel like we have things under control.

When we finally figure out how to handle one child, we have another.
When we think the house is running smoothly, we move.
When we feel especially comfortable, we may have to deal with a hard providence.

God does not want us to be stagnant, to sit still, to rest on the laurels of success. He has us in training–He is pushing us to grow, to learn, to confess, to rely on Him more, to give more to others, to work harder, to laugh more. This is Christian discipleship.

The hardest part of this is that we have trained ourselves to be people who think in snapshots. We look at a photo of a dreamy house–and extrapolate a whole dreamy life from that one picture.

We see calm, clean, simple.
We see a life without trouble, without endless piles of shoes by the door.

We imagine that everything that happens there is calm, clean, and simple. We want that for ourselves–a life that could be summed up in one little picture of happiness.

The problem with pictures is that they have no direction. They have no goals. There are no obstacles in the life of a photograph. And that is the reason they are so appealing. We look at them and yearn for a life with no growth, a life of arrival.

But God did not create as creatures of arrival. He made us to need to eat all the time. He made us to need to sleep at regular and long intervals. He made us to need to need to breathe constantly.

You never look at the pictures of a beautiful living room and picture yourself in it sleep-deprived with a bad headache and needing to go to the bathroom. You do not envision the Cape Cod getaway as the place the whole family would get the stomach flu.

-Rachel Jankovic, Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood (Cannon Press, 2012), 39-40.

I Will Glory in My Redeemer

I will glory in my Redeemer
Whose priceless blood has ransomed me
Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails
And hung Him on that judgment tree
I will glory in my Redeemer
Who crushed the power of sin and death
My only Savior before the holy Judge
The Lamb who is my righteousness
The Lamb who is my righteousness

I will glory in my Redeemer
My life He bought, my love He owns
I have no longings for another
I’m satisfied in Him alone
I will glory in my Redeemer
His faithfulness my standing place
Though foes are mighty and rush upon me
My feet are firm, held by His grace
My feet are firm, held by His grace

I will glory in my Redeemer
Who carries me on eagles’ wings
He crowns my life with lovingkindness
His triumph song I’ll ever sing
I will glory in my Redeemer
Who waits for me at gates of gold
And when He calls me, it will be paradise
His face forever to behold
His face forever to behold

-Steve Cook, Vikki Cook, 

© 2000 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)

Enoch’s Piety and Translation

Eternal God, our wondering souls
Admire Thy matchless grace;
That Thou wilt walk, that thou wilt dwell,
With Adam’s worthless race.
 
O lead me to that happy path,
Where I my God may meet;
Tho’ hosts of foes begird it round,
Tho’ briars wound my feet.
 
Cheer’d with Thy converse, I can trace
The desert with delight
Thro’ all the gloom one smile of Thine
Can dissipate the night.
 
Nor shall I thro’ eternal days
A restless pilgrim roam;
Thy hand, that now directs my course,
Shall soon convey me home.
 
I ask not Enoch’s rapt’rous flight
To realms of heav’nly day;
Nor seek Elijah’s fiery steeds
To bear this flesh away.
 
Joyful my spirit will content
To drop its mortal load;
And hail the sharpest pangs of death,
That break its ways to God. 

Enoch’s Piety and Translation (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5)

-Philip Doddridge, Published 1755.  Republished in The Hymns of Philip Doddridge, compiled by Graham C. Ashworth. Reformation Heritage Books, 2010. (hymn 1)

Joy in the Morning

When darkness falls
Temptations call
And all around me seems undone
You hear my pleas
Supply my needs
And tell me of Your wondrous love

You are the joy in my morning
You’re my song of praise
Just like the new day dawning
Flooding my world with grace

Though trials come
And every one
Can take me further from Your truth
You calm my fears
Dry all my tears
And draw me closer, Lord, to You

In You there’s no shadow of turning
Constant in all Your ways
You’re growing my faith
And I’m learning to lean
On You all of my days

-Peter Gagnon, 

© 2008 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music/Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)

Rejoicing in Our Covenant Engagements to God

O happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.

O happy bond, that seals my vows
To Him Who merits all my love!
Let cheerful anthems fill His house,
While to that sacred shrine I move.

’Tis done: the great transaction’s done!
I am the Lord’s and He is mine;
He drew me, and I followed on;
Charmed to confess the voice divine.

Now rest, my long divided heart,
Fixed on this blissful center, rest.
Here have I found a nobler part;
Here heavenly pleasures fill my breast.

High heaven, that heard the solemn vow,
That vow renewed shall daily hear,
Till in life’s latest hour I bow
And bless in death a bond so dear.

-Philip Doddridge, Published 1755.  Republished in The Hymns of Philip Doddridge, compiled by Graham C. Ashworth. Reformation Heritage Books, 2010. (hymn 23)

Do Not I Love Thee

Do not I love Thee, O my Lord?
Behold my heart and see;
And turn each cursed idol out,
That dares to rival Thee.

Do not I love Thee, O my Lord?
Then let me nothing love;
Dead be my heart to every joy,
When Jesus cannot move.

Is not Thy Name melodious still
To mine attentive ear?
Doth not each pulse with pleasure bound
My Savior’s voice to hear?

Hast Thou a lamb in all Thy flock
I would disdain to feed?
Hast Thou a foe, before whose face
I fear Thy cause to plead?

Would not mine ardent spirit vie
With angels round the throne,
To execute Thy sacred will,
And make Thy glory known?

Would not my heart pour forth its blood
In honor of Thy Name?
And challenge the cold hand of death
To damp th’immortal flame?

Thou know’st I love Thee, dearest Lord,
But O, I long to soar
Far from the sphere of mortal joys,
And learn to love Thee more!

 

-Philip Doddridge, Published 1755.  Republished in The Hymns of Philip Doddridge, compiled by Graham C. Ashworth. Reformation Heritage Books, 2010.