Tag Archives: from eternity to here

Song for a Sunday: Himself

Sometimes one old hymn can say in very few words what an almost-three-year-old blog has been trying to say in over 700 posts.

A hymn of A. B. Simpson

Once it was the blessing,  Now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.
Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.

Once ’twas painful trying, Now ’tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost.
Once ’twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast;
Once ’twas constant drifting, Now my anchor’s cast.

Once ’twas busy planning, Now ’tis trustful prayer;
Once ’twas anxious caring, Now He has the care.
Once ’twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says;
Once ’twas constant asking, Now ’tis ceaseless praise.

Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me.
Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.

Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine;
Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.
Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;
And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the vail.

Albert Benjamin Simpson (1843-1919) wrote many poems and hymns and founded the Christian and Missionary Alliance

NOTE: I discovered this hymn at the end of Frank Viola’s amazing book, From Eternity to Here

Now Himself Alone…

“Everybody Oughta go to Sunday School…”

If you have ever been a pastor or paid local church employee or just a really good church-type person or the offspring of one of the above and have cut your teeth on the back of a pew and know every song in the hymnal by number and have a perfect-attendance Sunday School pin or church softball league trophy on your dresser, you are probably reeeeeeeeeally irritated at those people who rarely attend church.

And they probably reeeeeeeeeally tick you off when they tell you they can feel close to God while they are in the mountains fly-fishing or hiking a trail or sitting in a meadow watching elk.

I know I have been bothered by that in the past, you know, as a girl whose very first full sentence was, “I’m gonna go to church!”  And boy, did I!

And while I sometimes (often?) smugly sighed at people who said things like that  (“God is in the trees, God is in the sunshine”),  making a facial contortion that read: well, you just don’t have revelation about the local church-you are uncommitted, I can admit that I felt a little jealous that they got to sit by a lake while I handed out bulletins or filled in for a missing nursery worker or tried to unjam the copier for a Sunday School teacher who should-have-been-prepared-before-Sunday-morning-for-crying-out-loud!

God must find us all so amusing.

I love the local church because she is a crack-up.  But we have got so far to go in understanding how our local gatherings could serve the Bride and the Church (big “C”) and  bring joy to the heart of God.  We have the Bride scrubbing the floors of our Temples of Religiosity when she should be served and made ready by Friends of the Bridegroom.  We have just gotten this so backwards.

The question today.

So, I am reading this book by the poetic and dazzling-wordsmith, Frank Viola, From Eternity to Here, and today, in reading Chapter 14, “God’s Quest from Moses to Solomon,” as he parallels the Tabernacle of Moses with that of the Tabernacle of David during the 40 years when they were both “up and running” just 6 miles apart, but actual Presence of God was resting in the ark of the covenant in David’s little tent, I am hit between the eyes with this question:

Where MAY God go to FREELY express Himself?

Because that is where we are going to find Him, where He is able to freely express His heart, His plan, everything about who He is.

And, O God, may it be when  your people gather, wherever they gather to worship You.  May our local churches be places where the people can rejoice and sing and dance and enjoy Your smile and Your favor and Your Presence.  May it be where they can serve You and bring You glory and be part, with many many people, of building You a home.

But sadly, in looking back over even (or especially) my own life as a bona-fide, militant church attender, I can see so much of it was a practice equal to the worship at Gibeon when the ark wasn’t even there (from the book):

“Over in Gibeon, the Tabernacle of Moses stood.  On Mount Zion the Tabernacle of David stood…[At the Tabernacle of Moses] the priesthood of Israel is fully active.  The priests are sacrificing animals and slinging blood at the brazen altar.  They are marching through the religious program, passing out the bulletin, lighting the candles, ringing the bells, and following the liturgy.  But there’s one problem: there’s no ark.  God is not there.  Does this bother them?  Apparently not.  They continue on with the ritual.” 


I wanna be where He is.

And He is in the stars and the moon and the sun.  He is in the air I breathe.  I hear Him in the rushing river on the mountainside.  He walks with me in my own little garden in the cool of the day.  And I want to be in Him and Him in me.  And when I gather with His people on the streets or in our homes or in the hallways of a building on a Sunday morning, may we collectively BE a place where God may freely and creatively and joyously express Himself.

It’s time to walk the 6 miles, even if that is out of a time-honored, traditional institution like, say, Sunday School (this is NOT an anti-Sunday School post, btw) to be where the Presence is.  It really is.  How fruitless and sad to go through the motions without Him there…

www.thetentdenver.com …Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  David’s, humble, canvas tent: create the same welcome…

*Song, “Everybody Oughta Go to Sunday School.”  I actually grew up singing that both at home during our “family Altar time” and in Sunday School.  The second verse was “Everybody oughta stay for church.”  There were about 5 or 6 verses designed to help me know how to sling  my bloody sacrifices around.

Glorious Morning

“Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy…”

From William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 33

Update on Life.

It is a Monday, a glorious, beautiful Monday morning.  Heaven Fest is 5 days away.  Robbin and Jake’s wedding on Saturday was a delightful and joyful event, going off without a hitch.  There will surely be facebook pics posted soon, somewhere?…

My friend Pearl’s dad died Friday.  He had been ill for some time, but it is still never easy.  I only met him once or twice, but I know him through the big, loving family he raised, through his daughter, who is a woman to be praised.  He is whole now, and with the Lord, he has gained life.

The Great Outdoors.

Last week’s late afternoon or nighttime thunder showers have saturated our yard to a new level of green, it being August in the arid-Rocky-Mountain-region, and all.  Dave mowed and trimmed yesterday and I have spent the morning enjoying the bird-song, the gentle breeze and my time with the Lover of my soul, pulling a weed or two, harvesting a few tomatoes (leftover quesadilla with thick, juicy slices of red goodness for breakfast) and an armful of beets (to be roasted for dinner…I will try to enjoy them).  The upside-down tomato, now in its’ place for about 5 1/2 weeks is boasting 5 little spheres of future deliciousness.

Dwight Schrute on The Office: “First rule in roadside beet sales, put the most attractive beets on top. The ones that make you pull the car over and go “Wow, I need this beet right now.” Those are the money beets.”

I’m reading a provocative and poetic book.

From Eternity to Here – Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God by Frank Viola.  I started before family reunion and am just entering part two (about halfway through).  It is so good.  I have so little time, but I am enjoying it thoroughly everytime I open it.  Fresh revelation.  Resonating reminders.  Goooooooood stuff.  Join me?

O Happy Day!

Tim Hughes sings it this way:

“O what a glorious day

What a glorious way

That You have saved me!”

Turn it up, sing along.  Dance a little. 

It IS a glorious morning!…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Praise Him all day long!

Incomprehensible Love

Excerpted from From Eternity to Here~Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God by Frank Viola, Chapter 7: Fallen Yet Cherished

“…run to the Lord when you sin, not from Him.

…He saw your mistakes before you ever made them.  So He’s not surprised by them.  Nor did they prevent Him from choosing you to be His before you penetrated the womb of your mother.  In fact, distancing yourself from the Lord due to a

guilt headache and a condemnation hangover

hurts Him far more than the sin that created those feelings.  (Ponder that last sentance for a moment.)…Hiding from the Lord is a

spiritually-transmitted disease. 

It’s in our bloodstream and the marrow of our bones.  It began with the first man who hid Himself from God in shame (Gen. 3.8-10).  But just as He did with Adam, God clothed your nakedness.  Not with skins of animals, but with the righteousness of His own Son.  For this reason, the Lord invites you to love Him despite your fallenness.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  (2 Corinthians 5.21 NASV

You can chisel it in stone: the Lord’s love is given to you without strings or conditions…your good works (or lack thereof) do not affect His love for you…God loves you simpley because He chose you in His Son and  He loves His Son without condition.

He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31.3).

So take heart: you are some one that God so loves.  He has drawn you to Himself.  Whenever you turn to Him, you are ushered before the smiling face of a God whose heart beats with unfailing kindness. 

Are you overtaken with a sense of unworthiness?

Are you humbled with your own sinfulness?  Let me remind you.  When your  Lord hung on that bloody cross, He was in far worse condition than you or I could ever be in.  He was made to be sin (Isaiah 53.4, 2 Cor. 5.21)…the sins of the the worls – past, present, and future – were all laid upon Him, and He became sin personified.  And yet, the Father still loved Him.

All that to say, in the moment when you feel the most unworthy, you are the most welcome.

[Read: Hebrews 4.16; Ephesians 3.12; 1 John 1:9, 2:1-2; Revelation 12:10-11]

Consequently, if the “accuser of the brethern” accuses you or me of some sin, the Lord’s response is, ‘It’s too late!  I’ve already fallen in love with them.  It’s too late!  I’ve already graced them out of…my merciful nature.  It’s too late!  They are acquitted.  They are forgiven.  They are cleansed by My Son’s blood.’

This ought to move you.  This ought to impress you.  This ought to baffle and overwhelm you.

Oh, the unimaginable depth of the love of Christ.

What amazing love.  What flawless love.  What unshakeable love.  What irrevocable love.  This is the love with which your God loves you…”

When will I get it?…Jeanie