Thursday, August 31, 2006

From whence this fear and unbelief

From whence this fear and unbelief,
If God, my Father, put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
Can He, the righteous Judge of men,
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was charged to Thee?

Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate'er Thy people owed;
How, then, can wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in God's righteousness
And sprinkled by Thy blood?

If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my place endured
The whole of wrath divine;
Payment God will not twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety's hand,
And then again at mine.

Turn, turn, then my soul, unto thy rest;
The merits of thy great High Priest
Speak peace and liberty;
Trust in His efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee.

The above poem was sent by one of our regular readers -- Amity. It was written by Augustus Montague Toplady. Toplady is best known "musically" for his poem "Rock of Ages, cleft for me", and theologically for his translation and editing of Jerome Zanchius' work "The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted". He was born November 4, 1740, and died August 11, 1778, at the young age of 38. Some sources credit Toplady with two verses of poetry often found with Philip Doddridge's "Grace, 'Tis a Charming Sound".

Grace first inscribed my name
In God’s eternal book;
'Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.

Grace taught my soul to pray
And made mine eyes o'erflow;
'Twas grace which kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Which is it?

"Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." -- I Timothy 2:4

"There is a twofold theological problem in this verse: the first aspect of the problem pertains to the will of God: the second aspect of the problem pertains to the universal term 'all' as it relates to the salvation of men (i.e., the extent of the atonement). Does God desire to save all mankind absolutely; that is, each and every individual? Or does God desire to save all mankind relatively; that is, all men without distinction of race, nationality, or social position, not all men without exception?" From An Exegetical Study of 1 Timothy 2:4 by
Gary D. Long

A comparison of ideas may be made by reading
The Saviour of All Men, by George Zeller and An Exegetical Study of 1Timothy 4:10, by Gary D. Long

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pride goeth before destruction

Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. - Isaiah 3: 10, 11

'When I was just a young boy I recall riding my bicycle in the street in front of my house. My dad was setting on the steps reading the paper or something. As I rode past I took my hands off the handlebars, set straight up on the seat, and yelled to my dad, “Hey look, no hands.” (You never did that did you?) So what do you think happened next? You probably guessed it. When I looked to my dad while showing off my new found skill I also caused the balance of things to go haywire. The next thing I knew, in just a split second the handlebars began to wobble back and forth and down I went. Fortunately for me I landed in a grassy area just off the side of the rode. My bike was fine; I was fine, even the yard I landed in did not suffer any damage. But what happened next sure crushed my ego. My dad sort of snickered and said “see what you get for showing off? You got just what you deserved.” Was my dad just being mean? No, he was trying to teach his son that showoffs often stumble over their own pride.'
Living in His Word, by Franklin Senters, August 15, 2006

Monday, August 28, 2006

There, but for the grace of God, go I

Have you ever heard or used the saying, "There, but for the grace of God, go I"? It's fairly common to hear someone, when seeing a person in worse condition than himself, make the statement.

Do you know the origin of the saying, and the circumstances in which it originated? For how many years do you think this has been passed down? Think about it and then click the link to Read about it in Wikipedia.

Friday, August 25, 2006


"Go ye therefore,and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." -- Matthew 28:19, 20

"The teaching Jesus commanded was not focused on attaining mental astuteness, but on gaining obedient Christlikeness." -- Larry E. Clements, Christian Education Bulletin, Sept-Nov 2006

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Glorious Lamb

"And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." -- Revelation 5:6-10

Behold the glories of the Lamb,
Amidst His Father’s throne;
Prepare new honors for His name,
And songs before unknown.

Let elders worship at His feet;
The church adore around;
With vials full of odors sweet,
And harps of sweeter sound.

He shall fulfill Thy great decrees;
The Son deserves it well;
Lo! In His hands the sovereign keys
Of heaven, and death, and hell.

Now to the Lamb that once was slain,
Be endless blessings paid;
Salvation, glory, joy remain
For ever on thy head.

Thou hast redeemed our souls with blood,
Hast set the prisoners free,
Hast made us kings and priests to God,
And we do reign with Thee.

-- By Isaac Watts

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Decease He Should Accomplish

“…and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem,” -- Luke 9: 31
"Should we ever treat lightly the death that our Lord Jesus accomplished at Jerusalem? He clearly did not consider it a light matter. To speak of Christ’s death in any other way than an accomplishment is to miss its very glory. He did not die as a martyr, but as the Substitute of sinners given Him from eternity by the Father -- John 17:3. His death was not a failure in any sense, but an execution of God’s justice upon Him of the penalty due His people, that God might be the just justifier of them upon His completion of the work. When was the work accomplished? Scripture says, ‘at Jerusalem.’ Do words matter? Then let us bow to the Word. Although purposed in eternity, and revealed through faith, it was ACCOMPLISHED at Jerusalem, Galatians 4:4.

-- Ken Wimer, Shreveport Grace Church Bulletin, August 19, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

This song's for you

In a blog comment a few days ago, I mentioned to Jim1927 about a Welsh song "As I Am". Jim, this song's for you! It is found in the 1897 "The Baptist Musical Treasure: a Baptist Welsh and English Hymn and Tune Book", or the Welsh title "Cor-drysor y Bedyddwyr".

I am the vilest sinner, As I Am, As I Am;
To Calvary I'll venture, As I Am.
There's not, within creation,
Such place for my condition
In seas of tribulation,
As I Am, As I Am;
I'll praise my Christ's redemption, As I Am.

The Lamb that died for sinners, I enjoy, I enjoy;
The gospel and its treasures, I enjoy.
Obedience to His precepts,
His promises and projects,
And Zion's festal banquests,
I enjoy, I enjoy;
Communing with His subjects, I enjoy.

Myfi'r pechadur pena', Fel yr wyf, Fel yr wyf;
Wynebaf i Galfaria, Fel yr wyf.
Nid oes o fewn i'r hollfyd,
Ond hwn i gadw bywyd;
Yn nghanol mor o adfyd,
Fel yr wyf, Fel yr wyf;
Mi ganaf gn f' Anwylyd, Fely yr wyf.

The tune in the book is a wonderful minor tune called "Twrgwyn", which in my not so informed opinion, seems to fall within the "Captain Kidd" type of songs. This old hymn book presents each tune in round notes on standard SATB staves, as well as the old tonic sol-fa notation, which represents the solfege syllables with the first letter of that syllable. I can copy that below and hope some of you might be able to kinda pick out the tune. This is for the benefit of some who might be curious as to how the melody might sound.

l:- m :m r :m d :l l :t d:- r :r m:- d:- m :m r :m d :l d :t l:- , m:- s :m L :L s :m m:- s :m L :L s :m ,
l:- m :m r :m d :l l :t d:- r :r m:- d:- m :m r :m d :l d :t l:-

The symbols represent time etc.. I capitalized the "L" to represent the octave. They appear to use a subscript "one" to represent the tonic, but I didn't know how to do that on here.

The notes simply move between half and quarters notes, starting on a full measure:
half note, eight quarter notes, half note, two quarter notes, half note, half note, eight quarter notes, half note; half note, six quarter notes, half note, six quarter notes; half note, eight quarter notes, half note, two quarter notes, half note, half note, eight quarter notes, half note.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Tommy Tomlinson 1916--2006

Tommy Tomlinson might not be well-known outside of East Texas, but he was a local radio fixture in Tyler for about 40 years. Many Sunday mornings I listened to his gospel music radio program before listening to Lassere Bradley's Baptist Bible Hour. Tommy was 89 years old and a retired teacher. His last program was Sunday, August 13, 2006 before his passing on Monday the 14th.

Tommy Tomlinson was born December 24, 1916 in Paris, TX and passed away Monday, August 14, 2006, in Tyler.

Services for Hugh C. "Tommy" Tomlinson, 89 of Tyler, were held on Thursday, August 17, 2006 at Marvin United Methodist Church. Burial followed in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Tyler, TX.
Partly based on Stewart Funeral Home online obituary

I think he always ended his program with "Good-bye, good luck and may the Good Lord smile upon you."

A Lord's Day Morning

"O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary." -- Psalm 63:1,2

Early, my God, without delay,
I haste to seek thy face;
My thirsty spirit faints away
Without thy cheering grace.

So pilgrims on the scorching sand,
Beneath a burning sky,
Long for a cooling stream at hand,
And they must drink or die.

The morning of a Lord's Day, by Isaac Watts, 1719; used in the Sacred Harp with the Justin Morgan tune "Montgomery" (p. 189)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Eternal Praise

"O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD." -- Psalm 117

From all that dwell below the skies,
Let the Creator’s praise arise;
Let the Redeemer’s Name be sung,
Through every land, by every tongue.

Eternal are Thy mercies, Lord;

Eternal truth attends Thy Word.
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
Till suns rise and set no more.

By Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David, 1719

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Glory in the cross

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." -- Galatians 6:14

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

-- By Isaac Watts from Hymns & Spiritual Songs, 1707; used with tune Newton, p. 242 in the Cooper Sacred Harp Book

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o’ertake me,

Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming

Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,

By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

-- From Hymns by John Bow­ring, 1825 and used with tune Peace & Joy by Paine Denson, p. 532 in the Denson Sacred Harp Book

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


"How God loved His people with an everlasting love, yet reckoned to them the sin of their federal head, the first Adam, explains God’s justice. How God loved His Son, yet reckoned to Him the sin of His elect, explains God’s grace. The justice of God and the grace of God met in the person & work of Christ finished on the cross." -- David Simpson, Powell, TN, Shreveport Grace Church Bulletin, July 16, 2006

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Word verification

Note to my regular readers: I have turned on "word verification" for comments because I had a "spammer" post what appeared to be an "automatic" comment. I think this should stop that kind of thing, and hope it's not too much of an inconvenience to the real people posting comments. Thanks.

How firm a foundation

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9
...who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Hebrews 6:18

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
...and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. Deuteronomy 33:25 

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness...For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 43:10,13

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee... Isaiah 43:2

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
...when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Isaiah 43:2
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness... 2 Corinthians 12:9

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5

From A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, by John Rippon, 1787; it has been attributed to various authors through the years. Quite popular, this hymn was sung at the funerals of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Robert E. Lee (and is the theme song of J. Vernon McGee's "Through the Bible" radio program). It is found with the tune Bellevue in the Sacred Harp on page 72.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Convention a success

The 151st anniversary of the East Texas Convention has come to an end, and we hope and believe we can honestly declare it a success. Singers were plentiful (so was the food) and they were in tune.

A big thank you is in order for all who helped make another session of the East Texas Sacred Harp Convention a huge success. We had visitors from about fourteen states, plus one young man from the country of Zambia. Many commented that they believed this was the largest crowd they'd seen at our convention, perhaps even more than for our special 150th anniversary session last year. We had the privilege of being the first Convention to debut the new 2006 Cooper book. I believe the singers will approve of the new songs that have been added to the book, as well as new typesetting and corrections. The revision committee has done a good job. Thanks to Alabama Sacred Harp Book Company friends for bringing the new books to the convention.

The Owen family's CD is fairly new and was available at the convention. This is great singing that everyone will want to have. At our Saturday night social, we had a screening of Matt and Erica Hinton's "Awake My Soul: the Story of the Sacred Harp". This was enjoyed by all present. Because we had such a good turnout, we barely had enough food for all. I think everyone got something, but the selection was thin for the last folks who came in. Maybe we just weren't optimistic enough! We'll hope to do better next year if you'll give us another chance.

We had an entirely new slate of officers -- as the new President said, "It wasn't a hostile takeover; we just couldn't run fast enough to catch them and they got away." The new President and arranging committee acquited themselves well during their very first term in office.

Thanks to all who brought food; to all who made donations; to all the volunteers; to all who helped in any way. AND especially to all who came to sing. Without you we wouldn't have a singing. We don't want to get like the school employee who said that the school would be a nice place to work if it weren't for the kids!

No kids = no school. No singers = no singing. Thank you, singers. Come back next year.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Once I had a glorious view

Oh, once I had a glorious view Of my redeeming Lord,
He said, "I'll be a God to you," And I believed His word.
But now I have a deeper stroke Than all my groanings are;
My God has me of late forsook; He's gone, I know not where.

Oh, what immortal joys I felt, On that celestial day,
When my hard heart began to melt, By love dissolved away!
By my complaint is bitter now, For all my joys are gone;
I've strayed! I'm left! I know not how; The light's from me withdrawn.

Once I could joy the saints to meet, To me they were most dear;
I then could stoop to wash their feet, And shed a joyful tear;
But now I meet them as the rest, And with them joyless stay;
My conversation's spiritless, Or else I've nought to say.

I once could mourn o'er dying men, And longed their souls to win;
I travailed for their poor children, And warned them of their sin;
But now my heart's so careless grown, Although they're drowned in vice,
My bowels o'er them cease to yearn -- My tears have left mine eyes.

I forward go in duty's way, But can't perceive Him there;
Then backward on the road I stray, But cannot find Him there;
On the left hand, where He doth work, Among the wicked crew,
And on the right I find Him not Among the favored few.

What shall I do? Shall I lie down And sink in deep despair?
Will He forever wear a frown, Nor hear my feeble prayer?
No; He will put His strength in me, He knows the way I've strolled,
And when I'm tried sufficiently I shall come forth as gold.
-- From the hymn book "Mercer's Cluster", and found with the tune Columbus on p. 67 of the Sacred Harp

1 Then Job answered and said, 2 Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. 3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! 4 I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. 6 Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me. 7 There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge. 8 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: 9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: 10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. -- Job 23:1-10

(Just wanted to make the comparison, rlv)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Is God sovereign over man's will?

How would we answer?

"What is the point of praying to God, asking Him to intercede in people's affairs, if He cannot transgress man's free will? Why ask God to fatten an anorexic young girl since He would have to violate her free will to do so? Why pray for a young teenager who is pregnant out of wedlock to be deterred from getting an abortion if that is what she has set her mind to do? Why pray for a missionary's safety while he's ministering to bring the gospel to violent tribesmen if this would violate their free will?"

-- from "Not that Sovereign" by Patch Blakey (via Hoyt Sparks)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Song in the Night

"Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life." Psalm 42:8

The apostle Paul said, "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." (Rom 14:8) What a great comfort such a thought is to the true children of GOD! That man who has been indwelt by the SPIRIT of GOD has only a secondary interest in this world even though he must occupy that place which the LORD has given him until such time as his course is finished and the LORD sees fit to bring him to his long home. (see Eccl.12:5) GOD shall be with HIS people in the time of their death just as surely as HE will be with them in the life which they now live. (see Ps.116:15) If that is true then it is also true that no matter “what gloomy lines are writ for me, or what bright scenes may rise” (Isaac Watts) the LORD has purposed them all for the good of HIS own sons and daughters.
GRACE GAZETTE, Volume IV Issue 28; by Mike McInnis

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Could be true

When the new doctor began attending church services, the minister was delighted. It wasn't long before they were helping each other in their work -- the minister referring people to the doctor and the doctor referring people to the minister. One person referred by the doctor came with a note prescribing that he obtain tapes so he could listen to the minister's last four sermons. The minister was most pleased -- until he discovered the patient's problem. He had insomnia!

-- Unknown, from SoutherNews, August 2006

Monday, August 07, 2006

One more reminder

This weekend will see the 151st anniversary of the East Texas Sacred Harp Convention.

The Convention will meet (d.v) on Saturday August 12th and Sunday August 13th. We will start at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The main events of Saturday and Sunday are singing, more singing and eating bar-b-q. On Saturday night we will have a social for visiting singers at the First Baptist Church. This will include a viewing of
Awake My Soul. "'Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp' is the first feature documentary about Sacred Harp singing. Matt and Erica Hinton spent 7 years documenting this yet largely unknown art form."

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fountain of bliss

Thou Fountain of bliss, Thy smile I entreat;
O'erwhelm'd with distress I mourn at Thy feet;
The joy of salvation, when shall it be mine?
The high consultation of friendship divine!

Awakened to see the depth of my fall,
For mercy on Thee I earnestly call;
'Tis Thine the lost sinner to save and renew;
Faith's mighty Beginner and Finisher too.

Thy Spirit alone repentance implants,
And gives me to groan at feeling my wants;
'Midst all my dejection, dear Lord, I can trace
Some marks of election, some tokens of grace.

Thou will not despise a sinner distressed;
All-kind and all-wise, Thy season is best.
To Thy sovereign pleasure resigned I would be,
And tarry Thy leisure, and hope still in Thee.

by Augustus Toplady, author of "Rock of Ages"

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Plexiglas preaching 4

Lastly, from John MacArthur "...listing the negative effects of the superficial brand of preaching that is so rife in modern evangelicalism.

"It puts the responsibility on the preacher to change people with his cleverness. Preachers who pursue the modern approach to ministry must think they have the power to change people. That, too, is a frightening expression of pride. We preachers can’t save people, and we can’t sanctify them. We can’t change people with our insights, our cleverness, by entertaining them or by appealing to their human whims and wishes and ambitions. There’s only One who can change sinners. That’s God, and He does it by His Spirit through the Word."

Plexiglas Preaching, by John MacArthur

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Plexiglas preaching 3

More of John MacArthur "...listing the negative effects of the superficial brand of preaching that is so rife in modern evangelicalism..."

"It prevents the preacher from fully developing the mind of Christ. Pastors are supposed to be undershepherds of Christ. Too many modern preachers are so bent on understanding the culture that they develop the mind of the culture and not the mind of Christ. They start to think like the world, and not like the Savior. Frankly, the nuances of worldly culture are virtually irrelevant to me. I want to know the mind of Christ and bring that to bear on the culture, no matter what culture I may be ministering to. If I’m going to stand up in a pulpit and be a representative of Jesus Christ, I want to know how He thinks—and that must be my message to His people too. The only way to know and proclaim the mind of Christ is by being faithful to study and preach His Word. What happens to preachers who obsess about cultural 'relevancy' is that they become worldly, not godly."

Plexiglas Preaching, by John MacArthur