“Newton had a ready pen, some imagination, deep feeling, a knowledge of Scripture, and an urgent motive.” What is your motivation as an artist?
This quote, found today on www.challies.com, prompted me to think and pray about what I do in music, particularly the music I write and arrange for the church. I think I have some imagination, but do I have a ready pen? What is the “urgent motive” I should have for exercising my pen and imagination? Is my knowledge of Scripture deep enough and heartfelt enough for it to saturate my creative offerings? Is my feeling deep and my burden great for others to know the beauty of God in Christ revealed?

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Ps. 108:3-4

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. (Psalms 77:11, 12 ESV)

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

“the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into His place to do for Him that which He has undertaken to do for us.” C. H. Spurgeon

Let present privilege awaken us to present duty, and now, while life lasts, let us spend and be spent for our sweet Lord Jesus – C.H. Spurgeon

“His Eye Is on the Sparrow”

My heart was encouraged and cheered as I read through the words of this hymn, written by Civilla Martin in 1904. As with many hymns, it distills truths from a variety of Scripture into a kind of systematic theology in song. May you be blessed by it, too.

1. Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, why should my heart be lonely and long for Heav’n and home, when Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

2. “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear, and resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears; tho’ by the path He leadeth but one step I may see: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know we watches me.

3. Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise, when songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him; from care He sets me free; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain: I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 “As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” Psalm 40:17 

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1

The pastor’s only two jobs are these: seeking to convince people under the dominion of sin, but who think they are not, that they *are* under condemnation. The second is convincing people who are *not* under the dominion of sin, but think that they are, that they are *free* in Christ. (free adaptation of John Owens, mentioned in a sermon by @timkellernyc)

From “Rhythms of Grace”

I’m being blessed and strengthened by the new book “Rhythms of Grace” by @mikecosper
Here’s what I’m pondering today (from the chapter entitled “Worship One, Two, Three”) –
“Worship scattered is the Spirit-filled life of the Christian in the world, and worship gathered is the meeting of God’s people to remember (the Gospel), encourage, and bless one another.”
He goes on to explain, “because we are united with God in Christ, our whole lives are now caught up in Jesus’ cosmic worship of the Father, and we once again participate in the glory-sharing life of God.” This is the essence of what Cosper calls “scattered worship.”
“Gathered worship” is “the work of the church — encouraging one another, and all the more as “the Day” approaches (see Heb. 10:23-25). The gathering of the church is one of the keys “for holding fast under the pressures of a broken world and the temptations to sin”
Cosper concludes this section with a great summary of the inter-connectedness of gathered and scattered worship:
“Gathered worship then feeds scattered worship, building up and equipping worshipers to live in the power and wonder of the gospel, able to persevere amid the trials that surround them. Likewise, scattered worship feeds gathered, as each worshiper brings his or her growth, suffering, and maturing faith to the gathering.” “Worship scattered and worship gathered go hand in hand, shaping and informing one another in the life of the worshiper. One without the other will inevitably be weakened.”

May, All the Year

Here is C.H. Spurgeon, bursting forth with joyful praise and prayer (in his book of devotions, “Morning and Evening”):

“When (Jesus) is with me it is May all the year round, and my soul goes forth to wash her happy face in the morning-dew of His grace, and to solace herself with the singing of the birds of His promises. Precious Lord Jesus, let me in very deed know the blessedness which dwells in abiding, unbroken fellowship with Thee.”