[CF Devotionals] 2005-05-26 - Deep Roots

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Phil 4:8 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, let your mind dwell on these things. (NASB)

There is currently a resurgence of hymns in Christian circles today. Some say that hymns are old and outdated. But to others like myself, these are old friends with amazing depth and tremendous power to inspire and revive a weary soul. It's not just the rumbling pipe organ, or the four part harmonies of the choir. I appreciate the efforts and contributions of those players. But the lyrics are the thing. Bear with me for just a minute and let me try to explain what I love about these phrases. This is short song is actually snippets from three choruses of three different great hymns.

What A Friend We Have In Jesus /
Old Rugged Cross / How Great Thou Art

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

And I'll cherish the old rugged cross
Til' my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou Art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou Art!

Written by Stuart K. Hine
Amy Grant - Legacy … Hymns & Faith
© 2002 Word/A&M Records

What a Friend we have in Jesus: This is a very simple statement that I imagine we can all agree on. But close your eyes and think for a minute about the hundreds of reasons He is this greatest of friends. All our sins and griefs to bear: Jesus took on the sin of the world at Calvary and destroyed the power of death and Hell. Without that unfathomable sacrifice, we would all be doomed to an eternity separated from the love of God. That alone would be torment enough. As if that were not enough to be grateful for, believers have the privilege of bringing and lay open whatever sins, failures, joys, sorrows, dreams and successes to Jesus in prayer. To have the honor of bowing, as a son or daughter, before the Creator of the Universe and know that He wants to hear what we have to say. To have Him tell us how much He loves us, is a privilege indeed. Prayer is one privilege that we do not exercise often enough. It is a gift that the riches of the whole world can not buy, and one that can never be taken away.

The Old Rugged Cross: The cross that Jesus suffered and died on is almost certainly disintegrated into dust by now. The author is not clinging to the wooden cross, but to the actions that Jesus took there: sacrifice, suffering, death, literally taking our place to save each one of us. The love of God for a fallen, rebellious and sinful race was put on display. Some might say it was put to the test, but the outcome was never in doubt. Creation vs. Creator. The enemy of our souls was dealt a devastating defeat as Jesus spoke, "It is finished." The work of the ages was completed. One day, the last of our accomplishments will be laid at the foot of that singular event of our salvation, and Jesus will place on our heads a crown of that salvation as He welcomes us into His eternal kingdom.

How Great Thou Art: This is another simple expression of a powerful thought. From time to time, we will catch a glimpse of the greatness and majesty of God. It can leave us in quiet awe or in speechless joy. The proclamation of the greatness of God, "How great Thou art!", coming from the heart of humility and thanks is often the by-product of the fundamental knowledge of an understanding of the weight of our own sin and debt owed that we could have never paid. And yet the debt that would have left us in the slave market or debtor's prison was freely paid in full with the blood of Christ. And the power of sin and death were crushed by the resurrection of the Lord.

Think about what is being said, and the potent truth contained in the lyrics. These hymns have stood from generation to generation because they have a timeless message of love, mercy and grace of the Savior for each one of us. Think on these things.

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com