Boldly I approach (The art of celebration)

“Let us therefore come boldly (with open hands) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:16 ~

By grace alone somehow I stand
where even angels fear to tread…
Invited by redeeming love,
before the throne of God above.

He pulls me close with nail-scarred hands
into His everlasting arms!

When condemnation grips my heart,
and satan tempts me to despair,
I hear the voice that scatters fear –
The Great I Am The Lord is here!

Oh praise the One Who fights for me
and shields my soul eternally!

Boldly I approach your throne…
Blameless now I’m running home!
By Your Blood I come,
welcomed as Your own…
into the arms of Majesty!

Behold the bright and risen Son:
more beauty than this world has known!
I’m face to face with Love Himself –
His perfect spotless righteousness!

Oh, a thousand years, a thousand tongues
are not enough to sing His praise!

Chorus

This is the art of celebration: (oh, joy in my heart)
knowing were free from condemnation! (I’m blameless now!)
Oh, praise the One, praise the One,
Who made an end to all my sins!

There is no condemnation in You,
we are blameless before Your throne!

Chorus

~ Written by: Gareth Gilkeson, Chris Llewellyn
Performed by: Rend Collective
Album: The Art of Celebration ~

It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!

Sunday
~Written and performed by: Tree63 ~

(Although we are now suffering in this temporal world, eternity and its glory is coming!)

Behind the Song:
“This song was originally titled “Friday (but Sunday is coming),” from the title of the well-known sermon and book by Tony Campolo. Its verses deal with the dark realities of our world, where the Friday of Jesus’ crucifixion acts as a metaphor for our experiences of those realities. As the Gospel stories clearly show, Friday happens, but Sunday is inevitable. Sunday is the resurrection, the day when all our meager hopes and wildest dreams come true, the day we as believers look forward to despite our present condition. This is a “hang in there” song; Sunday is not so far away!” – John Ellis (Tree 63)

Lyrics:
Nothing’s sacred, the days are cheap;
Truth is thin on the ground…
Still our prophets are crucified,
nobody believes: we’re stumbling…
It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!

Someone’s saying a prayer tonight
for hungry mouths to be filled.
Someone kneels in the dark somewhere,
and darkness is already crumbling…
It’s Friday, but Sunday comes!

Sunday – Hallelujah! – it’ s not so far, it’s not so far away…
Sunday – Hallelujah! – it’s not so far, it’s not so far away!

Broken promises, weary hearts,
but one promise remains:
Crucified, He will come again!
It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming;
It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!

Chorus

2 Corinthians 4:8-18
8  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  9  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  10  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  11  For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  12  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.  13  We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;  14  Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.  15  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.  16  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  18  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Glorious day

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises, (Luke 2:13)
one day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin: (Luke 1:26-38)
dwelt among men, my example is He. (John 1:14)
The Word became flesh and the light shined among us:
His glory revealed!

Living, He loved me (John 15:12)
Dying, He saved me; (Romans 5:9-10)
Buried, He carried my sins far away! (Micah 7:19, Isaiah 38:17)
Rising, He justified freely forever… (Romans 5:1)
One day He’s coming – (Acts 1:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day!

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain, (Luke 23:33)
one day, they nailed Him to die on a tree… (1 Peter 2:24)
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected, (Isaiah 53:3)
bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He! (1 Peter 1:18-19, Job 19:25)
The Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree…
(Matthew 8:2-3, Matthew 9:28-30, Matthew 20:32-34)
He took the nails for me! (Romans 5:8)

Chorus

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
one day the stone rolled away from the door… (John 20:1)
Then He arose over death He had conquered: (1 Corinthians 15:54 & 57)
now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore! (Hebrews 10:12, 1 Peter 3:22)
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
from rising again!

Chorus

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming; (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
One day the skies with His glories will shine! (Acts 1:11)
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine…

~ Written by:  Mark Hall & Michael Bleecker
Performed by:  Casting Crowns
Album:  Until the whole world hears ~

Romans 8

31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  32  He that spared not His Own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.  34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us.  35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  36  As it is written, “For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”  37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.  38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The God Who holds the stars…

My life is in His Hands
Isaiah 40

12  Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?  … 15  Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing.  (http://craigtowens.com/2009/04/22/gods-big-hands/)

Psalm 148

1  Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise Him in the heights.  2  Praise ye Him, all his angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts.  3  Praise ye Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars of light.  4  Praise Him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.  5  Let them praise the Name of the LORD: for He commanded, and they were created.  6  He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: He hath made a decree which shall not pass.  7  Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:  8  Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling His Word:  9  Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:  10  Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:  11  Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:  12  Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:  13  Let them praise the Name of the LORD: for His Name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven.  14  He also exalteth the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto Him. Praise ye the LORD.

For all that You have done

(Rend Collective’s beautiful adaptation to the traditional New Year’s song, “Auld Lang Syne”, with timeless hymn-style lyrics)

Your grace will never be forgot;
Your mercy all my life
Will be my source, forever song,
My story and my light.

From mountain top to valley low,
through laughter and through tears,
surely the goodness of my God
will follow all the years…

For all that You have done for us,
for every battle won,
we’ll raise a song to bless Your heart
for all that You have done!

You know our failures and regrets,
You always led us home;
Redemption’s arm has raised us up:
Our triumph in the storm…

(You’re faithful through the ages!)
Instrumental

In unity we’ll stand as one,
as family we’ll go…
Shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand
into the great unknown…

~ By:  Rend Collective
Album:  Campfire Christmas: Vol. 1 (2014) ~

Psalm 34

A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.

1  I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  2  My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.  3  O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His Name together.  4  I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.  5  They looked unto Him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.  6  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.  7  The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.  8  O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.  9  O fear the LORD, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him.  10  The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.  11  Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.  12  What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?  13  Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.  14  Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.  15  The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.  16  The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.  17  The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.  18  The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.  19  Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.  20  He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.  21  Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.  22  The LORD redeemeth the soul of His servants: and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.

Immeasurably more

More than all we ask, than all we seek
All our hopes and dreams – You are immeasurably more
Than we can know, than we can pray;
All our words can say – You are immeasurably more!

There’s nothing greater than Your loveYou’re more than we can imagine!
There’s nothing sweeter on this earthYou’re more than we can imagine!
Our hearts respond to who You are, it’s You, oh Lord, that we adore!
You are more, You are more, You’re more than we can imagine!
You are more, You are more, You’re more than we can imagine!

More than all our sin, than all our shame…
Stronger than the grave – You are immeasurably more!
I can’t help but sing, can’t help but praise!
My heart can not contain:  You are immeasurably more!

Chorus

No eye has seen, no ear has heard
What is coming, what is coming…
Never-ending joy, never-failing love…
You are coming, You are coming!
[x2]

Chorus

~ Written by: Rend Collective
Album: The Art of Celebration ~

Isaiah 64:4
“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him.”

1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

Ephesians 3:20-21
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

Your Grace still amazes me

My faithful Father, enduring Friend
Your tender mercy’s like a river with no end
It overwhelms me, covers my sin
Each time I come into Your presence
I stand in wonder once again

Your grace still amazes me 
Your love is still a mystery 
Each day I fall on my knees 
‘Cause Your grace still amazes me 
Your grace still amazes me

Oh, patient Saviour, You make me whole
You are the Author and the Healer of my soul
What can I give You, LORD, what can I say
I know there’s no way to repay You
Only to offer You my praise

It’s deeper, it’s wider
It’s stronger, it’s higher
It’s deeper, it’s wider
It’s stronger, it’s higher
than anything my eyes can see!

~ Philips Craig & Dean ~

Feathered Choir

One cannot really say it is a good and well-trained choir;
to sing the loudest is the aim to which they all aspire…
They disregard harmonic laws – sometimes they’re not in tune –
and yet they give a grand performance every afternoon.

The twitter of the sparrow and the robin’s chirpy note –
the harsh metallic squawking from the starling’s shining throat;
and from the elms the noisy rooks demand to have a part
(it’s certain they will never master singing as an art).

They all strike up a different theme;  they sing just what they please…
They trill and pipe and whistle from their choir-stalls in the trees…
And here’s a lesson to be learnt – it’s just occurred to me –
If birds can sing in winter-time – well then, why shouldn’t we?

~ Patience Strong, The quiet hour ~

Psalm 34
A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.  I will bless the LORD at all times:  His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  3  O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His Name together.

Psalm 100
A Psalm of praise.  Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  2  Serve the LORD with gladness:  come before His presence with singing.  3  Know ye that the LORD he is God:  it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves;  we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.  4  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise:  be thankful unto Him, and bless His Name.  5  For the LORD is good;  His mercy is everlasting;  and His truth endureth to all generations.

Heavenly Perspective

Colossians 3
1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  4  When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.

Hebrews 12
1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  3  For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

2 Corinthians 4
16  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  18  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.  (See also 2 Corinthians 5:7  “For we walk by faith, not by sight…”)

Hebrews 11
8  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  9  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  10  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God.
13  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  14  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.  15  And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  16  But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.

Hebrews 13
14  For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.  15  By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.

John 14
1  “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  2  In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  4  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”  5  Thomas saith unto Him, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”  6  Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”

2 Peter 3
11  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,  12  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  13  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Titus 2
11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  13  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  14  Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Romans 8
24  For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  25  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

1 Peter 2
19  For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.  20  For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps…

1 Peter 5
7  Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.  8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  9  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  10  But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Matthew 6
31  “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  32  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

1 Timothy 6
6  But godliness with contentment is great gain.  7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
17  Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;  18  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;  19  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Philippians 3
7  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  9  And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  10  That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death…

See also http://www.shepherd.to/heaven/contents/How_live.htm