Approach My Soul, The Mercy Seat

This is a beautiful new song from Jamie Barnes of Sojourn Music. You can stream the entire album, which is comprised of two EPs, for free at Sojourn Music’s Bandcamp site.

Approach my soul, the mercy seat
Where Holy One and helpless meet
There fall before my Judges’ feet
Thy promise is my only plea, O God

Send wings to lift the clutch of sin
You who dwell between the cherubim
From war without and fear within
Relieve the grief from the shoulders of crumbling men

O God — Pour out your mercy to me
My God, Oh what striking love to bleed.

Fashion my heart in your alchemy
With the brass to front the devil’s perjury
And surefire grace my Jesus speaks
I must. I will. I do believe. O God.

O God — Pour out your mercy to me
My God, Oh what striking love to bleed.

Approach my soul, the mercy seat
Where Holy One and helpless meet
There fall before my Judges’ feet
Thy promise is my only plea, O God

—Jamie Barnes
Based on a hymn by John Newton

Via: Tony Reinke

America Quiet on Execution of Afghan Christian

More information on the status of Sayed Musa and the appalling silence from the American press.

Newspapers in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe have reported the story, but with, the exception of the Wall Street Journal and, of course, NRO, American outlets have not found it worthy of attention. The Journal reports that “Afghan officials have been unapologetic: ‘The sentence for a convert is death and there is no exception,’ said Jamal Khan, chief of staff at the Ministry of Justice. ‘They must be sentenced to death to serve as a lesson for others.’”

The U.S. government — reportedly including Secretary of State Clinton — and other governments have pushed for his release, but to no avail.

But the president has been silent, even as we fight a war that has among its goals the creation of a government that conforms to international human-rights standards.

An American president certainly needs to guard and shepherd his political capital, and should not speak out about every prisoner. But Musa himself has appealed to “President Brother Obama” to rescue him from his current jail. And when an obscure and aberrant Florida pastor, Terry Jones, threatened to burn a Koran, not only President Obama but much of his cabinet, as well as General Petraeus, weighed in on the matter.

If the actions of a Florida pastor who threatened to destroy a book holy to Muslims deserved public and presidential attention, then the actions of the Afghan government, ostensibly a ‘democratic’ ally, to destroy something holy to Christians, a human being made in the image of God, also deserve public and presidential attention.

—Paul Marshall
National Review Online

Via: National Review Online

Pray for Sayed Musa

Please pray for Sayed Musa, an Afghan man that converted from Islam to Christianity and is set to be hanged for that offense. The followiwng information was posted by Justin Taylor:

The Daily Mail and others are reporting on Said (or Sayed) Musa. Earlier I had posted a link to his letter from prison describing sexual and physical abuse. Here’s the new report:

An Afghan physiotherapist will be executed within three days for converting to Christianity.

Said Musa, 45, has been held for eight months in a Kabul prison were he claims he has been tortured and sexually abused by inmates and guards.

Mr Musa, who lost his left leg in a landmine explosion in the 1990s, has worked for the Red Cross for 15 years and helps to treat fellow amputees.

He was arrested in May last year as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy following a crackdown on Christians within Afghanistan.

He claims he was visited by a judge who told him he would be hanged within days unless he converted back to Islam.

But he remains defiant and said he would be willing to die for his faith.

He told the Sunday Times: ‘My body is theirs to do what they want with.’

You can also read the Compass Direct News report, which begins:

An Afghani amputee in prison for his Christian faith since May will face a judge this Sunday (Nov. 21) without legal representation or knowledge of the charges against him, according to local sources.

Denny Burk suggests that if you have Twitter, you post one of the following:

Mr. President, speak wisely and boldly, in private if necessary, for Said Musa, imprisoned in Kabul. http://dsr.gd/ezR3jW @BarackObama

Mr. President, please persuade the Afghan govt. not to execute our brother Said Musa. http://bit.ly/bQ5RLQ @BarackObama Prov. 24:10-12

Via: Justin Taylor

Come, Lord, and Tarry Not

Come, Lord, and tarry not;
Bring the long looked for day;
O why these years of waiting here,
These ages of decay?

Come, for Thy saints still wait;
Daily ascends their sigh;
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”;
Does Thou not hear the cry?

O come and make all things new!
Come and make all things new!
Build up this ruined earth
Come and make all things new.

Come, for creation groans,
Impatient of Thy stay,
Worn out with these long years of ill,
These ages of delay.

Come, for love waxes cold,
Its steps are faint and slow;
Faith now is lost in unbelief,
Hope’s lamp burns dim and low.

Come and make all things new;
Build up this ruined earth;
Restore our faded Paradise,
Creation’s second birth.

Come, and begin Thy reign
Of everlasting peace;
Come, take the kingdom to Thyself,
Great King of Righteousness.

—Horatius Bonar

Via: Trevin Wax

As The Wind Blows

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8).

Mark how striking is the figure. The wind bids defiance to man’s governing power. It is as sovereign in its influence as it is irresistible in its strength. We cannot command it, nor can we control it. It is alike out of our power to summon it, as it is to soothe it. It comes, we know not where; it goes, we know not where. “So is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

We do not say that the Spirit is not resisted – He is resisted, strongly and perseveringly. But He is not overpowered. All the enmity and carnality of the heart rises in direct opposition to Him; but, when bent upon a mission of love, when, in accordance with the eternal purpose, He comes to save, not all the powers on earth or in hell can effectually resist Him. Like the mighty force, He bears down all opposition, sweeps away every barrier, overcomes every difficulty, and the sinner, “made willing in the day of His power,” is brought to the feet of Jesus, there meekly and gratefully to sit, “clothed, and in his right mind.” Who can withstand the power of the Spirit? Whether He speaks in the “still small voice” of tender, persuasive love, or whether He comes in the “mighty rushing wind” of deep and overwhelming conviction, His influence is quenchless, His power is irresistible. He effectually works in those who believe.

But His operation is as sovereign as it is mighty. He comes to whom He will; He comes when He will; He comes in the mode He will. He blows where He wills; we hear the sound, we see the effects; but how He works, why He works, and why in a particular way He works, He reveals not to mortals. Even so, O blessed and eternal Spirit, for so it seems good in Your sight.

—Octavius Winslow
Morning Thoughts

Via: Octavius Winslow

The Ministry of Reminding Myself

I am so glad that Pastor John Piper is back from his leave of absence. This post is a wonderful reminder to remember God’s promises…

One of the great enemies of hope is forgetting God’s promises. Reminding is a great ministry. Peter and Paul wrote for this reason (2 Peter 1:13; Romans 15:15).

The main reminder is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). But don’t be passive. You are responsible only for your own ministry of reminding. And the first one in need of reminding by you is you.

The mind has this great power: It can talk to itself by way of reminder. The mind can “call to mind.” For example, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases” (Lamentations 3:21–22).

If we don’t “call to mind” what God has said about himself and about us, we languish. O how I know this from painful experience! Don’t wallow in the mire of godless messages. I mean the messages in your own head. “I can’t . . .” “She won’t . . .” “They never . . .” “It has never worked . . .”

The point is not that these are true or false. Your mind will always find a way to make them true, unless you “call to mind” something greater. God is the God of the impossible. Reasoning your way out of an impossible situation is not as effective as reminding your way out of it.

Without reminding ourselves of the greatness and grace and power and wisdom of God, we sink into brutish pessimism. “I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you” (Psalms 73:22).

The great turn from despair to hope in Psalm 77 comes with these words: “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).

This is the great battle of my life. I assume yours too. The battle to remind! Myself. Then others.

—John Piper

Via: Desiring God Blog

Why We Should Believe in Jesus

The reason Jesus is essential to believe in is because there is a holy God who is infinitely just and infinitely loving. And in his justice he is angry at us because we have sinned against him. We have rejected him, we haven’t trusted him, we haven’t loved him as we ought, we have broken his commandments. All we have to do is list out, “Thou shall not steal, thou shall not lie, thou shall not lust or covet and shall love him only above all things,” and we’ve broken those and so wrath rests upon us. Jesus is the son of God sent into the world as the atonement, the sacrifice that bears our sins and that provides our righteousness. So that if there were no Christ we would only have guilt and judgment and condemnation and Hell from God.

But because Christ came and God sent him, in his love we can look away from ourselves. This is what faith means: we look away from ourselves, we cast ourselves on Christ for his mercy and we trust his death to be our punishment.

And we trust his righteousness to be imputed to us so that now in Christ, that is in relation to Christ, by faith, God looks upon us as having fulfilled his whole law, as having all of our sins forgiven, and being acceptable in the beloved Jesus Christ. So that now we have eternal joy, eternal glory.

So the practical answer, “Why believe in Jesus” is because it’s the only way to escape Hell, to know God, to have everlasting joy in the presence of God. And we believe it because it’s true.

—John Piper

Via: Desiring God Blog

On Being Brought from Africa to America

Pastor John Piper posted a fascinating article today on Phillis Wheatley, a young African woman living as a slave in Boston, who was the first black person in history to publish a book of poetry in English. This remarkable young woman was sold into slavery at eight years of age in 1761 and died at the age of 31 on December 5, 1784.

’Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin’d and join th’ angelic train.

—Phillis Wheatley
Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral

Via: Desiring God Blog

The Lord Our Righteousness

The poem was written by Reverend Robert Murray M’Cheyne on November 18, 1831. “Jehovah Tsidkenu” is a Hebrew phrase which is translated “The LORD our righteousness.”

I once was a stranger to grace and to God,
I knew not my danger, and felt not my load;
Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the tree,
Jehovah Tsidkenu was nothing to me.

I oft read with pleasure, to soothe or engage,
Isaiah’s wild measure and John’s simple page;
But e’en when they pictured the blood-sprinkled tree,
Jehovah Tsidkenu seem’d nothing to me.

Like tears from the daughters of Zion that roll,
I wept when the waters went over his soul
Yet thought not that my sins had nail’d to the tree,
Jehovah Tsidkenu — ’twas nothing to me.

When free grace awoke me, by light from on high,
Then legal fears shook me, I trembled to die;
No refuge, no safety in self could I see —
Jehovah Tsidkenu my Saviour must be.

My terrors all vanished before the sweet name;
My guilty fears banished, with boldness I came
To drink at the fountain, life-giving and free —
Jehovah Tsidkenu is all things to me.

Jehovah Tsidkenu! my treasure and boast,
Jehovah Tsidkenu! I ne’er can be lost;
In Thee I shall conquer by flood and by field —
My cable, my anchor, my breastplate and shield!

Even treading the valley, the shadow of death,
This “watchword” shall rally my faltering breath,
For while from life’s fever my God sets me free,
Jehovah Tsidkenu my death-song shall be.

—Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Via: Tolle Lege