We heard from another girltalk reader Alice in response to Mom’s post. She shared with us her family’s hymn-singing tradition:
“Right after my first child (who is now 7 was born) I heard Joni Erickson Tada talk about how much hymns meant to her immediately after her accident. She recommended choosing “Life Hymns” for your children. So my husband and I have done just that. Each child (there are three living children) has their own hymn. We have chosen it before they were born and sing it to them the first time we hold them. We sing it each night before they go to bed – and before each nap. We make a special point to bring them into worship (until they are old enough for the entire service) when “their hymn” is being sung. My brother has sung each one’s hymn at their baptism. When we baptized our third child, her older brother and sister had learned her hymn as well (a wonderful byproduct of this family tradition) so they joined their uncle as he sang in the worship service. “Come Thou Fount” was chosen for our oldest, “Be Thou My Vision” for the middle child, and “Fairest Lord Jesus” for our third. In crisis, sadness, or joy, I find myself singing each child their hymn and taking much comfort in their songs. It is amazing to watch the older two – who also sing to the baby when she is upset. They always choose her hymn. The Lord’s grace and mercy is reminded to our family each day by these beautiful songs.”
What a wonderful legacy for her girls! I’m inspired (despite my not-so-great singing voice) to sing truth to my children and to teach them to sing to each other.
“I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 89:1
In response to yesterday’s post, Jennifer wrote to ask: “Do you or the girls have any recommendations of worship CD’s that you really enjoy for yourselves during the day? Along with that do you have any recommendations for children?”
Here are a few of our current favorites to help us and our kids sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Col. 3:16):
FOR ADULTS (although we like the kids cds too!)
Looked Upon by the Na Band
Psalms by Sovereign Grace Music
Redemption Songs by Jars of Clay
Upward: the Bob Kauflin Hymns Project
Deliberate Kids by Phil Joel
Awesome God by Sovereign Grace Music
Recently when my granddaughter, Caly, heard a snippet from the great hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Blessing,” she firmly announced: “That’s Pop-Pop’s song!”
Why does this little two-year-old think her grandpa is the sole possessor of that beloved song? It’s because when Pop-Pop is around, she is accustomed to hearing him belt out the refrain:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
He sings it fervently. He sings it often. It’s obvious that regularly singing the words to this hymn has become a useful way for him to focus his heart on the Savior in the daily fight with indwelling sin.
My husband is not the only who has a favorite hymn to help him fix his eyes on Jesus. I once read that “when Hudson Taylor was told about missionaries in his charge being in trouble, he was heard soon after whistling his favorite hymn, ‘Jesus I Am Resting.’”
Singing hymns or other songs of Scripture is a way to battle our sin, cast our cares, and make our souls happy in God. As it says in Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
I want to sing more, because this command to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is a means of grace to help me turn my heart to God in repentance, trust, gratitude and hope.
That’s why I love to hear CJ sing—not because of his extraordinary voice (Sorry, Dear, you are extraordinary in every other way!)—but because his singing reminds me to sing.
That’s what I hope this little post will do for you too: remind you to sing.
Compared to Sunday, Monday’s duties can often seem so unspiritual.
Yesterday I worshipped and received teaching at church, practiced hospitality, and had a delightful time of fellowship with new friends.
Today began at 4:45 am with a change of wet sheets. Then there was breakfast to make, a doctor to visit, a grocery store run, lost car keys to find, a splinter to extract, (lots of) correction to bring, and then lunch to prepare and clean up (er, well, it’s not actually cleaned up yet, but soon).
I’m not feeling particularly spiritual right now.
Apparently Sarah Edwards had a different (and more biblical) perspective of daily duties than I often do. When her daily business was done “as part of the service to God” Sarah noted, “it was found to be as good as prayer.”
If I truly “serve with joy and gladness” and for the glory of God, today’s work is as “spiritual” as yesterday’s worship.
“Oh how good…it is” Sarah exclaimed, “to work for God in the daytime, and at night to lie down under his smiles!”
That’s the kind of enthusiasm I should have for Monday’s chores! I must remember that I’m a forgiven sinner who now has the privilege of serving the Almighty God. And because of the perfect life and sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ, I can lie down tonight (in spite of my sin) under His gracious smiles.
How’s that for motivation to do the lunch dishes?
As we sign off this weekend, we are watching Hurricane Ike make landfall. Several years ago, Dr. Albert Mohler answered the questions “Why would God allow hurricanes?” and “How should we pray?” His comments are instructive for us tonight:
“Perhaps we should pray as Jesus taught us, praying that the Father’s will would be done, that all persons would be spared harm, and that Christians would respond in the aftermath of disaster with a clear Christian witness of care, assistance, and witness. We should pray that any ‘natural’ disaster would be an opportunity for Christian witness to the supernatural Gospel, and for Christian reflection on the beauty of the Savior.”
Amen. May we all pray for God’s will to be done and His mercy to be upon all those in the path of Hurricane Ike.
Nicole for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” Psalms 46:1-5
My baby girl is 9 days old today and as of this morning’s doctor’s visit, weighing in at 8lbs 8oz.
I really cannot write another word without thanking all of you for your prayers and kind e-mails! They were such an encouragement to me.
I have been completely overwhelmed by God’s kindness to me in the birth of my MJ. He graciously answered my prayers for no c-section. My recovery has been completely different from Caly’s as I have regained my strength much more quickly and have not battled those baby blues like I did the first time around. The world of two kids has proved less challenging for me than one. And though I know that there will be difficult days to come, I’m enjoying the Lord’s gift of a smooth start. I have been spoiled by my husband, mom, sisters and mother-in-law. They have taken super great care of me and my girlies. Love y’all lots!
Here are some of the first pics of MJ girl. She was very cooperative during her photo session.
On his blog today CJ recalls where we were on the morning of 9/11:
September 11, 2001 was, for me, memorable. It marked the first morning of a very special trip with my wife to the quaint town of Chatham on Cape Cod. Carolyn and I had just finished breakfast at the Wayside Inn and were eager to begin this relaxing and romantic day together. And the day could not have been more inviting.
But while preparing to pay for breakfast, I noticed a gathering of people in the adjoining bar area, studying a television screen. Curious, I took a place among them and learned what they already knew: Two jet airplanes had crashed into the World Trade Center towers, both the apparent attacks of terrorists.
We made our way back to our hotel room stunned and perplexed by the images we had briefly viewed. Just yesterday we had flown into Logan International Airport in Boston, now the airport of origin for the two flights that slammed into the towers.
What about you? he goes on to ask:
Do you remember what you were thinking and feeling as you watched horrific replay after horrific replay of the commercial jets crashing into the World Trade Center towers? How about when you learned that Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon and Flight 93 crashed into a Pennsylvania field? And if that wasn’t incomprehensible enough, do you remember what you were thinking and feeling as you watched replay after replay of the towers rumbling, collapsing, and disappearing from the New York city skyline?
In this article (intended to help pastors lead through crisis situations) he also reminds all of us what is most important to remember in a crisis: the sovereignty of God.
For the Christian, there is no greater comfort in a crisis than to be reminded and reassured of the sovereignty of God. But the common temptation and tendency in the midst of crisis is to forget or doubt God’s sovereignty. In the immediate unsettling emotional effect of a national crisis, we are tempted by sins of fear, worry, and unbelief. We are confused and perplexed. How can we reconcile God’s sovereignty, goodness, and wisdom with the looping video clips of events like 9/11?
Crisis has a way of rudely reminding us of mystery—the mystery of providence, evil, sin, and suffering. And these mysteries won’t be solved by more reading and study. D.A. Carson writes:
The mystery of providence defies our attempt to tame it by reason. I do not mean it is illogical; I mean that we do not know enough to be able to unpack it and domesticate it. Perhaps we may gauge how content we are to live with our limitations by assessing whether we are comfortable in joining the biblical writers in utterances that mock our frankly idolatrous devotion to our own capacity to understand.
There will always be an element of mystery in relation to our comprehension of God and his purpose. And especially in crisis. There will always be secret things we are incapable of understanding in our sinfulness and finitude (Deuteronomy 29:29). We must…become comfortable with—and appropriately humbled by—mystery.
But it’s not all mystery. God does not simply leave us paralyzed by the mysterious. In Scripture God has revealed his character, his purpose, and—most importantly—the work of his Son on the cross. These provide us with more than sufficient certainty and comfort in the midst of the most mysterious and perplexing crisis and suffering. God doesn’t reveal to me all I want to know; but he has revealed all I need to know. In crisis situations I must resist the temptation of devoting time and energy to trying to figure out what is clearly beyond my comprehension, and instead devote myself to what is clearly revealed in Scripture about the sovereignty and purpose of God. This will have a transforming effect on my soul.
For more on God’s sovereignty in suffering we recommend—
How Long O Lord? By DA Carson
When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor
With the changing of the seasons come the new fall fashions. As we stand in front of the dressing room mirror or our closet at home, John Calvin, the great reformer, has two questions for us. In short, he wonders, what do our clothes say about our relationship to God?
“Where is our gratefulness toward God for our clothing if in the sumptuousness of our apparel we both admire ourselves and despise others, if with its elegance and glitter we prepare ourselves for shameless conduct?”
“Where is our recognition of God if our minds be fixed upon the splendor of our apparel? For many so enslave all their senses to delights that the mind lies overwhelmed.” (HT: Justin Taylor)
If other words, what brazen ungratefulness is expressed if we proudly admire ourselves for the clothing God has provided, if we dress to attract the attention and admiration of others instead of drawing their attention to God, and worst of all, if we dress to “allure men sexually?” What kind of “thank you” is this to God for His good gift of attractive, comfortable, and warm clothing?
And how can our minds be fixed upon the goodness and the glory of God if they are consumed with thoughts of what we wear? If we are preoccupied with the latest fashions, which (like the grass) will be here today and gone tomorrow, how can we worship and love the eternal Savior with all our minds?
Sobering questions as we consider fall fashions. I am convicted.
There is nothing special about today. It is not a holiday. It’s not my birthday or wedding anniversary. I am not celebrating any particular milestone in my life. It’s simply another ordinary day, filled with the usual commonplace tasks: cooking, cleaning, laundry, caring for the needs of my family….
And yet author Samuel Ward has reminded me that though ordinary, this day should be like a holiday, a celebration. I should have a Christmas-like spirit on this rainy September day, because, as Mr. Ward writes:
“It is sad to see a Christian pursuing joy in coarse and earthly pleasures when he has more noble and angelical delights, second only in degree and manner of enjoyment to heaven itself. Our faith takes us to the third heaven. We roll and tumble our souls in beds of roses, that is, our meditations of justification, sanctification, and salvation through Christ. No day should pass without these enjoyments. Should not our soul have her due drinks, breakfasts, meals, snacks, and desserts, as well as our body? Cannot such meditations make pleasant work of our daily tasks? They would make time pass by like a boat with full wind and tide, needing no oars. They would make all of our days like holidays and celebrations.” (HT: Tony Reinke)
As we “roll and tumble our souls in beds of roses, that is, our meditations of justification, sanctification, and salvation through Christ,” it makes pleasant work of our daily tasks and turns the most ordinary days into holidays.
Won’t you celebrate with me today?
I made a new resolution recently. It’s a good idea I’ve known about for a long time but never consistently put into practice. (Sadly, it’s one of many!) I’m purposing to review the Sunday message in my Monday quiet time.
My mom made this point (in a post I can’t find at the moment): If our pastor, whom God has called and gifted to preach, spends many hours studying God’s Word to share it with us, shouldn’t we be humble and diligent to review and apply that truth?
Our Senior Pastor here at Sovereign Grace Church, Mark Mullery, is an exceptional expositor of Scripture, as are the other men who regularly fill the pulpit (you’ll forgive my bias if I tell you my husband is my favorite?). Sunday after Sunday I am instructed, convicted, and encouraged only to forget what I heard by Monday morning. I want that to change. I want to extract the full benefit from the weekly preaching of God’s Word.
So this morning I reviewed my notes from yesterday’s sermon. My dad happened to be the visiting preacher and he spoke from Psalm 42 on “Speaking to Yourself.”
“In the Psalms,” he explained (quoting David Powlison), “God meets you where you are.” Then he made the potentially audacious claim that “The truth in this Psalm, if applied, can dramatically change your life” It’s true. That’s why I’m trying to apply it today.
I bet a lot of great sermons were preached all over the world yesterday. I wish I could have heard them all. But let me encourage you to review the notes from your pastor’s sermon. And if you have extra time, listen to “Speaking to Yourself.”
Let’s take full advantage of the preaching of God’s Word.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” Ps. 19:7-11