Through the Narrow: Is a Nap in Order? – By Gina Cook

These past few months I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned some things about myself through quarantine, recovery from COVID-19, and watching what little news I could tolerate about all societal chaos. I realized more and more that resting is necessary. Spiritually resting in the Lord’s power and Word, of course, mentally resting from the onslaught of opinions and “news”, emotionally resting from the concerns and burdens we just love to bear and physically resting before we sicken ourselves unnecessarily.

As much as I have learned about my own issues with resting, especially spiritually, there is something else I’ve learned, something alarming I’ve noticed.  It’s the unrestrained, restless behavior of many of my professing sisters (brothers too).  Triggered and tossed about publicly, professing sisters are showcasing one of the reasons why we need to listen to God on verses such as these: 

“Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools.  Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.” Ecclesiastes 7:9-10

I get it, things are troubling.  We long for former days.  The stakes seem high now, the question marks are bigger and the lies are more abundant.  Pandemics are scary.  The world is increasingly hostile towards the ways of God and His people, more hostile towards any solid and wholesome way of life- more hostile towards anything decent.  It can make us restless and distracted.

These days, as a Christian, I tend to look at my social media feed with one eye open.  It’s tough to read.  As I feel my blood boil or angst start to set in, I’m often reminded of this:

“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:5-7

I also think of these verses:

Philippians 2:14-16: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” 

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8.

Before having the “rona” I admit I felt the anxiety of a deadly virus and also the confusion and doubt about whether or not it’s really that deadly. As everyone knows, the news is more confusing than it is clarifying. Although unsure of what to think, we sanitized, wore masks, and prayed they worked. Being we live with my in-laws my teenage daughter took leave from her public job so that she wouldn’t get the virus and bring it home to them. My husband and I stayed home. Our church shut its doors and did sermons online. We were dedicated to trying to keep the virus out of our home.

Then we got it.  

How?  Who really knows for sure?  The important thing is-God is in control, we are ok now, and we are grateful.  We did what we could, sensibly, and trusted the Lord through it all.  Trusting and resting in the Lord and His will is everything.  It’s the calm in the middle of the storm and the sure footing on solid rock.  

It’s easy to tell when one is fixated on the world and all that it broadcasts, when the world is influencing them to lose their peace.  Emotional rants, desperate pleas, frantic responses, fear-filled warnings, angry emoji’s on repeat, bowing to the world, name-calling, expressing with cuss words, guilt-tripping, focusing on temporary freedoms and comforts, making non-Christian people be either your enemy or a savior depending on their political position or beliefs on wearing masks and isolating.. and then the frequent ALL CAPS.  

There is a healthy amount of rest and ease we should seek.  We need to chill without becoming complacent or unconcerned.  We should call out sin and warn others of false teachings and dangerous movements but we can’t do any good being anxious or fearful, belligerent or insulting in the process.  There is far too much emotional manipulation from the world, we don’t need to join that party.

I understand the temptation.  For us Christians, there may be times ….

When our comforts are yanked from us or threatened, we cry for their return and preservation.

When the rebellious hearts of this world mock blessings, we get angry.  

When the lost of this world step on our flowers, we grumble and point.

When the foolish spew unrelenting mendacities around us, we drown them in truth until they plead for mercy. 

When the haters of this world want to revile and slander us, we are offended and we return the favor fiercely. 

We may ask, “Why is this happening? Where’s justice? What about our rights?  How can we continue on?”

What we should be asking is…what rights or comforts do we need now in order to live for eternity? Is my main focus supposed to be on health and national/personal freedom? Praying for those things is good and acceptable, focusing onand getting our hope from them – that’s a major problem.

My late grandfather used to say, “I only have the right to be thankful.”  I’m not sure he was even a believer but I do know his little phrase packs a biblical punch.  Do we really have the right to anything else? Think about it.  Do we understand who we actually are and what we really deserve?  Have you taken a close look at your own sinfulness?

Paul got it.  “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)

Jesus instructed the disciples, “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” (Luke 17:10)

Who has convinced you of anything otherwise?

Remember what the Lord said in Matthew 5:38-44? ““You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

Is that only after you ridicule and slander them first?  NO

I’m seeing Christian leaders stoke the fire of emotion, slowly turning the focus away from the Gospel and putting it on political wars, societal and cultural restructuring, making the church more sensitive to the world’s cries, or the rights we “just can’t afford to lose”.  

The disciples of Jesus yearned for Him to put an end to the corruption and persecution in their society.  They believed He would set things right at that time, politically.  Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”  He didn’t overturn the governments.  He focused rather on saving and bringing souls home to His heavenly kingdom.  That’s what He came for.

People surrounded Him constantly to be healed.  He in His grace healed several.  Yet He didn’t take away all sicknesses or even most of them.  It was never really about those things.  He kept the focus where the focus must be.  

“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:36-37.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”” Matthew 28: 19-20.

The more people hear the Gospel, the more people will be saved.  When people are saved their hearts are changed and they proclaim the Gospel to others.  Hope and joy are found.  Peace with God is given.  Lifestyles and families are impacted.  Love and respect is practiced and seen.  Most importantly, the Lord is glorified.

We read the Word and we are reminded we are to be unlike the world, to show the love of Christ, to die to self, to focus on Him and His promises and commands and that we are owed nothing from the Lord.  We have been given such blessing beyond measure, all undeserved. 

So why are many of my professing sisters having toddler fits all over social media as if they deserve blessing; as if they have rights to have what they want?  Why are they making many lost people look more held-together then they are?  Is it because, maybe, this world is where their hope really lies?  Is it because church leaders are leading them on to think such nonsense is the work of the Lord?  Do they understand what the Lord really wants?

If the Lord chooses not to answer our prayers or give us worldly comforts and freedoms, are we good with that?  Can you rest in His wisdom?  Can you look at the bigger eternal picture?

Sisters, let’s move on with the Gospel.  This world has no hope without the Gospel.  The work and the Word of the Lord change the hearts of people, not us, and definitely not our fits or anxiety.  

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2.

“If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? Romans 8:31b-33a

No one wants or should desire persecution or for freedom to end, yet to focus on those things as if Christ can’t be glorified or served in persecuted and oppressive situations is foolishness. Look at the world in Biblical times, when persecution, disease and death were daily sorrows. The Church still grew. God was glorified more and the people still found something to rejoice about. Can we still have joy in serving the Lord today?

And what do we do differently if every comfort in this world goes away?  Nothing.  

Love God.  Share the Word. Pray. Love others more than yourself, even your enemies.

As a mother of five, when my little children threw fits, became hysterical, refused to listen, screamed to have something, or became grumpy and snarky….discipline or a nap were in order.  They needed to think about what they were actually doing.  They needed to rest and collect themselves before they found themselves in more trouble.  

My Christian sisters, be an adult, a mature adult.  Grow in Christ and realize when you need to rest in His ways more and concern yourself with what concerns Him, not what you think concerns Him.  Study the Word to know.  Be thankful and have joy in your salvation.  Don’t grumble over the sins of others, share the Gospel instead.  Remember, the lost can’t have rest as we can.  They need salvation.  That should be more than enough to motivate us with the Gospel. 

““THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION

AND SAID, ‘THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, 

AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS’; 

AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, 

‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.’” (Hebrews 3:10-11)

If you can’t rest in the sovereignty of God, get a grip, be salt and light in a dark world and pick your battles wisely, then get off of social media, stop watching the world, surround yourself with more sound fellowship and teaching, and please get on your knees and in the Word.  

And maybe take a nap? Just not too long. There is much work to be done for the Lord.

Above is an article written by Gina Cook, Gina and Tami write Through the Narrow here at Tulips & Honey Hub. They’ll be posting articles every other Tuesday. Both are published authors, you can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here. We’re blessed to have them apart of our team, and pray their writing will be as edifying to you as it is to us. – Lauren Hereford

Hymns from the Past – Deep Are the Wounds Which Sin Hath Made: By Anne Steele

Continuing with our highlighted hymnist today, we’ve selected another beautiful Anne Steele hymn for you. What hope does man have on this earth to find forgiveness of our sins? There is no hope, no savior of mankind to be found in science, or philosophy, or even the religions of this world. Salvation comes by one way, one road, one narrow path that few find. Christ alone is the only answer, the only way to the Father is through the Son. Repent of your sins, and put your faith in Jesus Christ alone. For the wages of sin is death, yet the gift of God is eternal life. What love is this that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us? This grace is truly amazing! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

1 Deep are the wounds which sin hath made;
Where shall the sinner find a cure?
In vain, alas, is nature’s aid,
The work exceeds all nature’s power.
2 Sin, like a raging fever, reigns
With fatal strength in every part;
The dire contagion fills the veins,
And spreads its poison to the heart.
3 And can no sovereign balm be found?
And is no kind physician nigh,
To ease the pain and heal the wound,
Ere life and hop forever fly?
4 There is a great physician near,
Look up. O fainting soul, and live;
See, in his heavenly smiles appear
Such ease as nature cannot give!
5 See in the Savior’s dying blood
Life, health, and bliss abundant flow!
‘Tis only this dear sacred flood
Can cleanse the heart, and heal its woe.
6 Sin throws in vain its pointed dart,
For here a sovereign cure is found;
A cordial for a fainting heart,
A balm for every painful wound.

And Did the Holy and the Just – Anne Steele

As I mentioned last Sunday, dear friends, I wanted to spend some time highlighting Anne Steele’s hymns. Today is another one from her, and while it was never as popular as the last, it’s just as beautiful and God glorifying. I hope these words bless you, as they blessed me, and that you all have a sweet day of fellowship. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

1 And did the holy and the just,
The sovereign of the skies,
Stoop down to wretchedness and dust,
That guilty man might rise?

2 Yes, the Redeemer left his throne–
His radiant throne on high–
Surprising mercy! love unknown!
To suffer, bleed, and die.

3 To dwell with misery here below,
The Saviour left the skies,
And sank to wretchedness and woe,
That worthless man might rise.

4 He took the dying traitor’s place,
And suffered in his stead:
For sinful man–oh, wondrous grace!
For sinful man he bled.

5 O Lord, what heavenly wonders dwell
In thine atoning blood!
By this are sinners saved from hell,
And rebels brought to God.

When I Survey Life’s Varied Scene – Anne Steele

I hope this finds you all doing well, dear ones. I’m so excited to discuss the sister who wrote this hymn. Anne Steele (1717-1778) published this hymn in 1760, although it was written much earlier in her life. There are two version of this song, the short one and the long one. I find both to be absolutely, breathtakingly, encouraging. You see, beloved, Anne was an invalid, and it’s been long believed that she had malaria. Still it’s said that she was lively, joyful, and always interested in a discussion of theology. She wrote this hymn after her fiancé died, drowning on the day they were to marry. Although she was proposed to by another hymn writer later in her life, she remained unmarried. This hymn was written at a time when trusting Gods sovereignty must have been difficult. I hope this blesses you as much as it blessed Becca and I.

Anne Steele Hymn by Becca Barner

When I Survey Life’s Varied Scene

I. When I survey life’s varied scene,
Amid the darkest hours,
Sweet rays of comfort shine between,
And thorns are mix’d with flowers.

II. Lord, teach me to adore thy hand,
From whence my comforts flow;
And let me in this desert land
A glimpse of Canaan know.

III. Is health and ease my happy share?
O may I bless my God;
Thy kindness let my songs declare,
And spread thy praise abroad.

IV. While such delightful gifts as these,
Are kindly dealt to me,
Be all my hours of health and ease
Devoted, Lord, to thee.

V. In griefs and pains thy sacred word,
(Dear solace of my soul!)
Celestial comforts can afford,
And all their pow’r control.

VI. When present suff’rings pain my heart,
Or future terrors rise,
And light and hope almost depart
From these dejected eyes,

VII. Thy pow’rful word supports my hope,
Sweet cordial of the mind!
And bears my fainting spirit up,
And bids me wait resign’d.

VIII. And O, whate’er of earthly bliss
Thy sov’reign hand denies,
Accepted at thy throne of grace,
Let this petition rise:

IX. “Give me a calm, a thankful heart,
From ev’ry murmur free;
The blessings of thy grace impart,
And let me live to thee.”

X. “Let the sweet hope that thou art mine,
My path of life attend;
Thy presence through my journey shine,
And bless its happy end.”

Today the shortened version of this hymn, entitled Father, Whate’er of Earthly Bliss, is more often in use. Both are beautiful, although I’m partial to the longer version. I couldn’t find the longer version being song, so here’s a choir singing the shorter version.

This is the Day That the Lord Hath Made – Issac Watts

There are times when the strain of this sinful world threatens to overwhelm me, dear ones. When things are being written that make me wonder how professing Christians could think it was acceptable. When Christians in other countries are being imprisoned and martyred. When lies are being told, and hatred is masked by manipulation. When the walls are closing in, and there’s nothing I can do about any of these things. I had a conversation with a brother-in-Christ recently, we were talking about commentaries and I mentioned how I had hoped to find more time for reading them. He gave me wonderful advice, he said that he stops in his study of Scripture and prays. It refocuses him, and makes his time in Gods Word sweeter.

I felt like Christian in Doubting Castle, the key to escape was in his pocket the whole time. The answers to my inability to fix these issues was here all the time, prayer. This causes me to want to praise and worship, to shout out my thanksgivings to God! What mercy is this? What kindness? A wretch like me, sinful , weak, impatient, and in a daily battle with the flesh, can come before the thrice holy God, before His throne, to pray to Him? I can’t even get ahold of my own state Senator but I can go before the King of Kings? Truly this God we serve is worthy of all praise, and honor, and glory! I hope this hymn blesses you, as its blessed me, and as always beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

This is the day the Lord has made;
He calls the hours His own;
let heav’n rejoice, let earth be glad,
and praise surround the throne.

Today he rose and left the dead,
and Satan’s empire fell;
today the saints His triumphs spread,
and all His wonders tell.

Hosanna to th’anointed King,
to David’s holy Son.
help us, O LORD, descend and bring
salvation from Your throne.

Blest be the Lord, who comes to us
with messages of grace;
who comes, in God His Father’s name,
to save our sinful race.

How Great Thou Art – By Carl Boberg

Hello wonderful HumbleBees,

Today, we have an awesome hymn, “How Great Thou Art.” We sang this recently at my church and have really been enjoying finding different versions of this song by different artist Below I am adding one of them that I think you all might like. I am also adding a Psalm I kept seeing while looking up about this particular hymn.  Psalm 145:3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. Praying this small reminder will bless you all today. 

Happy Sunday Y’all,

Becca Barner

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXQpDDcrN-w

 


 Hello again, dear ones, I hope this finds you all doing well! I’m so thankful Becca found this hymn for us today, and created such beautiful graphics to go alongside it. I wanted to write a quick bit of history for this hymn, as I found it quite interesting. Carl Boberg wrote “How Great Thou Art” in 1885 and when Stuart Hine translated it to English he added a couple lines himself. Popularized during the Billy Graham “crusades” it ranks second here in America, following Amazing Grace as the most beloved hymn. This particular hymn is based on Deuteronomy 33:26, “There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty.” Does your church sing hymns, modern songs, a mixture of both? Which one do you prefer? I hope you have a blessed day of fellowship, as always, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.


How Great Thou Art

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder

Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing

Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in

That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing

He bled and died to take away my sin

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation

And lead me home, what joy shall fill my heart

Then I shall bow with humble adoration

And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art

I Sing the Almighty Power of God – Issac Watts

New year, dear ones, but back to digging through old hymns I’ve never heard before. Aided today by Becca’s beautiful graphics, we bring you another Isaac Watts hymn. There’s an important distinction I hope we can all remember today, between praising God through worship, and singing catchy songs. The man centered drivel we find on modern “Christian” radio stations is the latter, what we are required to bring before the Lord is the first. What I love about the old hymns is their focus on glorifying the only one who ought to receive glory, God. I hope this will bless you, and as always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

We sing the mighty power of God 
that made the mountains rise, 
that spread the flowing seas abroad 
and built the lofty skies. 
We sing the wisdom that ordained 
the sun to rule the day; 
the moon shines full at his command, 
and all the stars obey. 

We sing the goodness of the Lord 
that filled the earth with food; 
he formed the creatures with his word 
and then pronounced them good. 
Lord, how your wonders are displayed, 
where’er we turn our eyes, 
if we survey the ground we tread 
or gaze upon the skies. 

There’s not a plant or flower below 
but makes your glories known, 
and clouds arise and tempests blow 
by order from your throne; 
while all that borrows life from you 
is ever in your care, 
and everywhere that we can be, 
you, God, are present there. 

Songs of Sovereign Grace – By Irvin Mack

This, dear ones, is a simple and beautiful hymn written by Irvin Mack. Mostly, I enjoy the very complicated hymns with long and deep lines. But from time to time, ones like this catch my eye. I hope that it blesses you, as it blessed me. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Let the voice of praising
Come from all the race,
All our songs upraising
Songs of Sovereign Grace.

Songs of Sovereign Grace,
Songs of Sovereign Grace,
Soon we’ll sing up yonder
Songs of Sovereign Grace.

We shall soon behold Him,
See Him face to face,
Then we’ll sing the sweeter,
Songs of Sovereign Grace.

Songs of Sovereign Grace,
Songs of Sovereign Grace,
Soon we’ll sing up yonder
Songs of Sovereign Grace.

When we seek to enter
That most holy place
We will come rejoicing,
Saved by Sovereign Grace.

Saved by Sovereign Grace,
Saved by Sovereign Grace,
Soon we’ll sing up yonder
Saved by Sovereign Grace.

A Very Cliche Christmas Hymn

I know, I know, I usually dig deep into the varied hymnal books of the past and find the most random song to share with you. I find that I have become predictable in this Sunday post. So, I’m throwing you all a curveball, and picking a very cliche Christmas hymn, Silent Night. When I was little everything was chaotic, there was no stability in our home. But one thing that was always a source of comfort was the Christmas tree. My mom would let us drown that thing in tinsel without hesitation, and I would sleep on the couch each night falling asleep to the glittering tree and Silent Night.

This song was all the theology my little heart had, but it was enough to convince my childlike mind that God was real and Jesus had come to earth all those years ago. Even as a false convert, I later sang this hymn to Kayliegh as if it were a lullaby. This is the last Christmas hymn I’ll be sharing this year. We’re heading into 2020, can you believe that? I hope this is a blessing to you all as it is to me. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Silent night! Holy night! 
All is calm, all is bright 
’round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mild, 
sleep in heavenly peace, 
sleep in heavenly peace. 

Silent night! Holy night! 
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar,
heav’nly hosts sing alleluia;
Christ, the Savior, is born! 
Christ, the Savior, is born! 

Silent night! Holy night! 
Son of God, love’s pure light,
radiant beams from thy holy face,
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, 
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Silent night! Holy night!
wondrous star, lend thy light;
with the angels let us sing
alleluias to our King;
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

Christmas Hymns – Hail, Thou Long Expected Jesus

The modern version of this Charles Wesley hymn is titled Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, but I like the old version better. When I consider that God the Son condescended to become man, to live here on earth among His own creation, my mind feels like it’s being stretched too far. I can’t comprehend this type of love. We went to a Christmas town yesterday, a cold front moved in and it was way colder then expected. Wind chills at -11. I hate being uncomfortable, even for the few minutes we stood outside to watch the parade. Christ left the glories of heaven, He entered His creation, He lived a perfect life, He died an excruciatingly painful death having our sins poured out on Him by the Father. All of this willingly, all of this for wretches like me. What love is this, that while I was yet a sinner Christ died for me? This is why we celebrate the incarnation, the greatest gift ever given.

Hail, thou long expected Jesus, 
Born to set thy people free! 
From our sins and fears release us. 
Let us find our rest in thee. 

Israel’s strength and consolation, 
Hope of all the saints, thou art 
Long desir’d of every nation, 
Joy of every waiting heart. 

Born thy people to deliver. 
Born a child, yet God our King, 
Born to reign in us for ever. 
Now thy gracious kingdom bring.

https://youtu.be/vRAFQCOkjgE