Pastor Bryan Wolf of Hope Lutheran Church in Aurora, Colorado, reads Luther’s sermon on Jesus’ third prediction of His death and the healing of the blind man on the way into Jericho. This two part text has a two part sermon, the first on faith in God’s Word, and the second on persistence in prayer.
In forty minutes, you can hear Psalms 1-30. The whole Bible as read by Alexander Scourby is available on YouTube.
Of the 23 years of Christian radio programming I did, one of the favorite programs that sticks out in my mind was the interview I conducted with one of the editors of the Trinity Psalter, a book of metrical Psalms with accompanying CD’s by the Scottish Festival Choir.
The history of Psalm singing obviously goes thousands of years back in history, but Psalm singing was also a significant part of Christian worship until the 20th century did its damage. The singing of metrical Psalms has been an historic part of Reformed worship, while Lutheran worship tends to use Psalm chant in the liturgy. Whatever the musical settings, Psalm singing incorporates the inspired Word of God into public worship.
Younger generations are often clueless about hymn singing, many believing that gospel songs are actually hymns, and even those are fading in favor of contemporary choruses, or in the worst cases, secular rock songs. (I’m not kidding about that.) But if hymns are now largely unknown to large swathes of the Protestant world, Psalm singing is even less familiar. Old Hundredth, as it was called, used to be a staple in Christian worship, shortened to what some call the Doxology, and then largely forgotten.
I came across this gorgeous rendition of Old Hundredth (the metrical form of Psalm 100.) The music may be at Westminster Abbey in this particular clip, but as one musician put it at a Psalm workshop I attended, metrical Psalms can be sung with a simple piano or guitar, and Old Hundredth certainly used to be sung out in humble little churches as well as big churches all over the West.
Here are the words from the Psalter, sung by those whose trust is in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Psalm is ended, as always, with a metrical form of the ancient Greek words of the Gloria Patri.
All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.
The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His folk, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.
O enter then His gates with praise;
Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His Name always,
For it is seemly so to do.
For why? the Lord our God is good;
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.
To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
The God Whom Heaven and earth adore,
From men and from the angel host
Be praise and glory evermore.
Luke 8:26-39, “And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils for a long time, and wore no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What I have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and with fetters; and he broke the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
And Jesus asked him, saying, What is your name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. And there was there a herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would permit them to enter into them. And he permitted them. Then went the devils out of the man and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and show how great things God has done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had one for him.”
We are living in dark times. So many places in our world right now we see only the triumph of brokenness, ugliness, sadness, grief and evil. It has been 2000 years since your Son, Jesus Christ, walked the earth bringing the joyful message of healing and reconciliation with God, breaking through the darkness with His Eternal light and the forgiveness of sins. Remember us today, Father, who long to see your power manifested among us, who need to see that you still heal broken lives today, that you still intervene in complex circumstances and that you can still bring reconciliation and true change to hearts.
Thank you that you are still on the throne of Heaven and that you still hear the prayer of those with humble and contrite hearts who ask, like the tax collector in the Temple so long ago, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” We ask this not because of any merits of our own, but because of the perfect, faultless merits of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
These words are from today’s Streams in the Desert.
But no one says, ‘Where is God, my Creator, who gives songs in the night…“ (Job 35:10)
Do you have sleepless nights, tossing on the hot pillow, and watching for the first glint of dawn? Ask the Divine Spirit to enable you to fix your thoughts on God your Maker, and believe that He can fill those lonely, dreary hours with song.
Is yours the night of bereavement? Is it not often at such a time that God draws near, and assures the mourner that the Lord has need of the departed loved one, and called “the eager, earnest spirit to stand in the bright throng of the invisible, liberated, radiant, active, intent on some high mission”; and as the thought enters, is there not the beginning of a song?
Is yours the night of discouragement and fancied or actual failure? No one understands you, your friends reproach; but your Maker draws nigh, and gives you a song—a song of hope, the song which is harmonious with the strong, deep music of His providence. Be ready to sing the songs that your Maker gives.
“What then? Shall we sit idly down and say The night has come; it is no longer day?
Yet as the evening twilight fades away, The sky is filled with stars, invisible to day.”
The strength of the vessel can be demonstrated only by the hurricane, and the power of the Gospel can be fully shown only when the Christian is subjected to some fiery trial. If God would make manifest the fact that “He gives songs in the night,” He must first make it night.
Throughout church history, there have been those who set theology and Christian living in opposition to one another. Yet, this was not the way of Jesus or the Apostles. In this message, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson will affirm the value and importance not only of the study of theology but the application of what we study to our hearts. It will look to Paul as a model of one who combined profound theology and heartfelt doxology. Here is the message from Dr. Sinclair Ferguson.
I want to thank NASA personally for all it has done to underscore the truth of the Word of God. Like no other agency or organization, it offers constant photographic proof of the direct hand of God in creation.
Please take just a moment and see planet Earth from 11 billion miles away. That tiny dot is where we all live. Billions of us. NASA’s cameras provide something we arrogant humans desperately need—perspective! These verses came to mind when I saw the photos. King Nebuchadnezzar had spent years living like a wild beast as God’s judgment against him. Then, in Daniel 4:34-35, we see these words recorded:
“At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”
God’s written revelation to us explains how his creation sings of his power.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The statutes 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 for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
~ Psalm 19