A vision of heaven
Now I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. And the one sitting on the horse was named Faithful and True. For he judges fairly and then goes to war. His eyes were bright like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him, and only he knew what it meant. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God.
Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne; Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but is own. Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee, and hail Him as they matchless King through all eternity.
Crown Him with Many Crowns
Matthew Bridges became a convert to Roman Catholicism at the age of forty-eight and published this hymn three years later under the title “The Song of the Seraphs.” Godfrey Thring, an Anglican clergyman, added several stanzas to the hymn about thirty years later, with Bridges’s approval. So a Roman Catholic layman and an Anglican cleric, who probably never met, were coauthors of a hymn about heaven, where Christians of every tribe and tongue, as well as of every denomination, will crown Him Lord of all.
One of the aspects that Godfrey Thring felt was missing in the original was a stanza on the Resurrection, and so it was added. “His glories now we sing who died and rose on high, who died, eternal life to bring, and lives, that death may die.”
Adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995), entry for May 16.
Digging Deeper: This week (Tuesday) marked the release of the The Rapture , the last of three prequel stories to the Left Behind series.
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House
God helps those who help the poor
Can the poor be happy?
God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is given to you. God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied.
Have you ever met someone who said, “I really do not want to be happy. Happiness might be okay for some people, but it’s really not for me”? Neither have I. That’s because deep down inside, we all want to be happy.
In what we know as the Beatitudes, Jesus described how we can be “blessed,” which means “happy.”
What did Jesus mean when he said the poor would be happy? Does poverty make us more spiritual and wealth make us less so? Are we to believe that the fewer possessions we have, the more godly we become?
No, He doesn’t mean that at all. The first beatitude simply promises the person who has nothing that possessions are not what matter most in life. What really matters is what lasts for eternity — and possessions don’t.
The problem with those who own a bunch of stuff is that they tend to become preoccupied with it.
Our Lord emphasized four essentials for true happiness: faith in God, love toward others, honesty with ourselves, and obedience toward God. Jesus is telling us, “Don’t envy those who make spiritual compromises. Though you may not be rich in this world’s eyes, you have true riches. And I promise you this: You’ll be the happy one.”
God is always calling us back to him
Have you ever rebelled against God?
“My wayward children,” says the Lord, “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.”
“When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and you stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.”
“Create in me a new heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me… Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.”
The rebel rejects the expectations, rules, and power of the organization or individual holding authority.
Rebellion can be good, as when we rebel against unjust or sinful societal pressure.
Rebellion is like a great tug-of-war; the authority figure holds one end of the rope while the rebel pulls on the other. The picture changes dramatically if we imagine the rebel’s feet being mired in quicksand. Such is rebellion against God. God pulls on the rope, not to ruin our lives, but to lead us toward safe footing.
From the TouchPoint Bible with commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 1257 For more on this week’s topic, check this Tyndale resource:
The Prodigal Brother by Sue Thompson (2005)
The whole earth will hear
Homesick for God
The woman left her water jar beside the well and went back to the village and told everyone, “Come and meet a man who told me everything I ever did! Can this be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.
How many people have you made homesick for God?
The Samaritan woman was so amazed by Jesus and his revelations about who he was and about the secrets of her heart and life that she forgot her water jar — the very reason she’d come to the well — and rushed back to the village to tell others about the “man” she had met. Up and down the streets she shared the good news about Jesus, for she had seen the Lord, the Messiah! Having received the living water, a perpetual spring within her that gave her eternal life (v. 14), she wanted others to know him too. So the people began streaming from the village to see him, eager to meet this incredible man who told people the secrets of their hearts.
Sharing with others what Jesus had done in us and for us stirs up interest in those who don’t know him. His revelation in our lives draws to him people who desire to have him work in their lives as he does in ours. With whom could you share the Good News today? Ask the Lord to make you sensitive to his working in the lives of others, and be ready to share the hope that’s within you.
LORD, forgive me for times when my excitement over knowing you has waned. I want others to know you and experience your work in their lives. Use me to spread the Good News. I pray that I will be so amazed by what you reveal to me today that I won’t hesitate to share my hope with those who don’t yet know you.
Adapted from The One Year® Book of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller, Tyndale House Publishers (2003), entry for May 5.
God has wonderful plans for your life
How do I know which way to go?
Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
Pay attention and grow wise, for I am giving you good guidance. Don’t turn away from my teaching.
I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths. If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won’t limp or stumble as you run.
Sometimes we’re faced with several options, and we don’t know which way to go. In Psalm 25, David asked God for guidance. Perhaps he remembered when, as a shepherd boy, he had to show the right path to his sheep who were wandering away. Just as he knew which path would lead to safety for his sheep, God knew the path that would lead to everlasting life. Just as those sheep that looked to him for direction were in the least danger, so David knew he needed to look to God for direction.
Today, God still leads us by his truth — his written Word and his Spirit, which helps us to understand it. Are you not sure which path to take? Pray as David did and read what God has already said in his written Word. He will show the right road to follow.
Our prayers bring us into God’s presence
How is your prayer life?
The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness. The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
Then Saul said, “Let’s chase the Philistines all night and destroy every last one of them.” His men replied, “We’ll do whatever you think is best.” But the priest said, “Let’s ask God first.”
The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray.
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.
About this week’s promise
The most universally practiced yet least understood of human experiences, prayer is one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. Its simplest definition is communication with God. Yet so often we approach prayer like a one-way telephone conversation, forgetting that God also wants to speak to us. Prayer appears nearly on every page of the Bible as the very essence of a faith relationship with the living God.