This is a parody of the famous Leonard Cohen song  Hallelujah. I dedicate it to all those whose Hallelujahs are cold or broken.

 
You know what lurks inside me, Lord
You know just why I feel a fraud
But through it all Your love is just as sure
My life is up and down, but when
I fall, You raise me up again
And all that I can do is pant: “My Saviour!”

Hallelujah
O my Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

My faith’s not strong, not doubtingproof
I fall too often, that’s the truth
The burden of my sin surely hides You
The world, the flesh: I fall apart
I stretch my hands out to Your heart
If I can only cling to You, my Saviour!

Hallelujah
O my Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

I know I’ve said this all before
I try again; I can’t do more
I surrender, I give up, I can’t stay true
You’d judge my life as such a farce
It’s certainly no victory march
As I stumble, and I fall before my Saviour

Hallelujah
Lift me, Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

From time to time it’s true, I find
Your words keep playing in my mind
But sometimes so faint: if I am far from You
Without Your voice, I’m so forlorn
But when I see the crown of thorns
I weep beneath the cross of Christ my Saviour

Hallelujah
Christ my Saviour
Hallelujah
Christ my Saviour

 

I know You came down from above
Your life, Your death: it all was love
You came to set us captives free in You
And on that cross Your blood You shed
Yet three days later from the dead
The Father raised You up: O Glorious Saviour!

Hallelujah
Glorious Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

So now from sin You set me free
Let Holy Spirit dwell in me
So I can live the way You want me to
And when the end of time has come
The battle fought, the victory song
Is glory to the Lamb, Christ my Saviour!

Hallelujah
Glorious Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

Hallelujah
Christ my Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

Link for Israeli Defence Force singing it in Hebrew. However, they sing 5 stanzas; I have 6; and one of the versions has 7!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtAMrRtuF_4

Below is a link to another parody of this song, but Christmas-themed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1OzT2NZQ6I

Advertisements

[This was written in the week leading up to Good Friday this year.]

From the Cross
a drop of blood falls,
spreads out, washes over
Jerusalem, Samaria, Asia Minor
Europe, Africa, the whole world.

Arms stretched out,
the Man, the Son, cries out
“Come and bathe; wash yourselves clean.”
The blood of the Lamb: in each drop
– an ocean of forgiveness and Life.

This is the text of the sermon delivered at my Mom’s Memorial Service on 28 June 2013. It was delivered by my son, Marcus, a Theology student. It was also the first “real” sermon he preached!It summarises our salvation.

You can look up the Biblical references by clicking on them.

 
The Battle Won: Standing by grace in the holy place

 
Reading from Psalm 24. http://biblehub.com/niv/psalms/24.htm
New Testament reading from Hebrews 12:18-29. http://biblehub.com/niv/hebrews/12.htm

 
[Prayer before sermon]
Father of mercies and God of all comfort, help us today to comprehend that we have a strong and certain hope in the midst of grief.  Lord, you have the words of eternal life [Jn 6:68]; where else shall we go?  We ask that your Holy Spirit who inspired these words of Scripture would give us understanding, that according to your great mercy we might know the living hope kept in heaven: imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.  In the name of Jesus, who is the Resurrection and the Life, Amen.

 
Dear friends and family, thank you for this opportunity to remember my grandmother with you and to take encouragement with you in a few precious truths from the Scriptures.  It is the paradox of a Christian’s death that ours is a joyful grief; for, as the Apostle Paul says, though we do grieve, we do not grieve as those who have no hope [1Thes 4:13].

 
The passage we read from the letter to the Hebrews speaks vividly of our great hope and comfort: Lilian Collins, my Gran, has come to Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the assembly of all who are enrolled in heaven.  Her name, together with the names of all who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, has been written there for all eternity.  She stands now, together with a great cloud of witnesses [Heb 12:1], in the very presence of the Father, God Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth and judge of all; and her standing place there has been secured by the blood of the victorious Lord Jesus Christ, who endured the scorn of the cross [Heb 12:2] to redeem all who would trust wholly in him, to the praise of his glorious grace.  That is why I have titled this message “The battle won: Standing by grace in the holy place.”  Yes, friends, the battle has been won, and she stands by grace in the holy place.

 
My Gran desired that Psalm 24 be the text for her memorial, and I invite you to turn there with me, while keeping in mind this magnificent picture in Hebrews 12 of true worship of the true and living God.  Psalm 24 asks us two very direct questions.   This morning we will consider primarily the first question, which is at the heart of this psalm: “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who shall stand in his holy place?” [Psa 24:3]  I pray that we will receive further hope, comfort, and encouragement from the Lord as we understand the basis for our confidence that, more alive now than ever before, my Gran now experiences unending and unhindered joy in the very presence of God.  As the English minister and poet John Donne said, “No man ever saw God and lived.  And yet, I shall not live till I see God; and when I have seen him, I shall never die.”[John Donne, sermon XCV, on Job 19:26.]

 
Now, to give you just a little background, Psalm 24 is a song composed by King David, who was king of Israel around 3000 years ago.  It is a triumphant song which David wrote to commemorate the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant at Mount Zion in Jerusalem.[2 Sam 6]  This Ark of the Covenant (or promise) was a gold-plated wooden box, a little over a metre long, containing the Ten Commandments and other reminders of God’s just and providential care and guidance of his people, the Israelites.  Most importantly, it symbolised God himself dwelling among his people, his glory resting with them – even as in the Exodus God had rescued his people from Egypt and his presence and protection were symbolised by the pillar of cloud and of fire.  And when Israel went into battle, the Ark went before them, a picture that God himself was leading them and winning the victory for them.  So the arrival of the Ark at Mount Zion in Jerusalem was a momentous occasion – one of the highlights of the Old Testament – for it symbolised the very presence of God with his people, and his faithfulness to the promises he had made to them.

 
Psalm 24 begins by recognising God as the sovereign creator, ruler, and sustainer of all the universe, and especially of us, the people dwelling therein, whom he has created as distinct from the rest of creation to be in special relationship with him.  Therefore he alone is worthy of worship, worthy of praise and glory and honour.  It is the question of how we ought to worship God, of how we may enjoy his presence, which concerns us in this Psalm; and answering that question will give us confidence in our comfort today.

 
David asks, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who shall stand in his holy place?”  To ascend and stand before the Lord is to be in his holy, pure, perfect presence, to enjoy the fellowship with God for which we were created – that fellowship which Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden before they rebelled [Gen 3] against God’s good and just rule and sought to usurp his perfect moral authority; that fellowship which was broken because of their rebellion.  To be in God’s holy presence, worshipping him, is the highest privilege and the deepest joy of all, and the fulfilment of our most ardent longings.  As David exclaimed in another Psalm, “In your presence is fullness of joy”[Psa 16:11; cf. Psa 21:6.].  And we learn elsewhere that it was on this occasion commemorated in Psalm 24 that David danced before the Lord with all his might [2 Sam 6:14.], so great was his rejoicing at the prospect of being in the presence of the Lord.  That is the same joy we see in the celebration of Hebrews 12.  And that, dear friends, is the fullness of joy which my Gran now experiences, and this gives us comfort in the midst of our grief.

 
But the question, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who shall stand in his holy place?” is no matter of mere formality.  This is not a simple question of etiquette, about how to approach a state president or the Queen, of what to wear, what to say, when to bow or curtsey.  This is far more weighty, as the passage in Hebrews reminds us: “Our God is a consuming fire.”  And we will find unshakeable confidence for our comfort as we answer the question, “Who shall stand in his holy place?”

 
David answers this question, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”  But think for a moment of the implications of this.  The great King David himself committed adultery with Bathsheba, tried to cover up the resulting pregnancy, and finally had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, murdered.  He is hardly the kind of person of whom we might say, “He had clean hands.”  But to take it further, the Lord Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew [Mat 5:27-30; 21-22.] taught that adultery and murder were not simply matters committed by the hand.  Jesus said, if you’ll pardon the paraphrase, that adultery was not jumping into bed with the wrong woman: that was the result of adultery, which we have already committed in our hearts in every lustful glance.  Likewise, murder was not taking a stick and bashing someone over the head: that was the result of murder, which we have already committed in our hearts in every malicious thought.  Jesus’ teaching revealed that we are all at heart adulterers and murderers.  Not one of us has a pure heart, even if we might claim to have clean hands.  Who, then, shall ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who shall stand in his holy place?  Psalm 24 anticipates the answer that not one of us can qualify by virtue of our own righteousness, yet it holds out hope to all who acknowledge they have dirty hands and defiled hearts.

 
You have heard how my Gran did not want a eulogy at her memorial.  She did not presume to come to the table of our merciful Lord – nor, finally, to his throne in glory – trusting in her own righteousness, but in his manifold and great mercies.  Righteousness – that is, the ability to stand in the presence of the holy, holy, holy God without fear of judgement and condemnation – this righteousness is not earned, but rather received.  There are no good deeds we could ever do to merit the favour of God and so restore fellowship with him, because at the end of the day all our attempts at self-righteousness are like filthy rags [Isa 64:6.] before the holiness, the moral perfection, of God.  No, friends, the righteousness that saves is, as verse 5 says, “righteousness from the God of [our] salvation”.  It is righteousness not of our own doing, but of God’s gracious giving.

 
This is why we can be confident in this great comfort, friends, which we can have today that my Gran is in the joyous presence of the Lord.  We must not ask, “Was she enough of a saint to enter heaven and stand before God, the holy God of all the world?” – for she appears before the throne of God not clothed in her own good works, but in the righteousness that God has given to all who put their trust wholly in what Christ Jesus has done.

 
In the New Testament letter of James, which was one of my Gran’s favourites, James writes that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”[Jam 4:6.]  The proud are those who trust in their own resources for their salvation (their good works, rituals, a legacy, etc.), rather than trusting in God; they will be opposed and condemned by God as rebels against his just and perfect rule.  But the humble are those who realise that the project of self-salvation is futile. They acknowledge that they are indeed rebels against God and deserve his judgement, and they humbly cast themselves on his mercy, trusting wholly in what Christ has done.  God gives grace to the humble.

 
Think again of that Ark of the Covenant, whose arrival at Mount Zion in Jerusalem marked the occasion for this Psalm.  On top of the Ark was fashioned what was called the “mercy seat” or “atonement cover”, and it was there that God had said he would meet with Moses, Aaron, and the high priests [Exo 25:21-22].  They could come into the presence of God only if he were merciful to them, and only if their sins were atoned for, that is, paid for; otherwise, their own sinfulness would render them liable to his just judgement.  They could not approach trusting in their own righteousness, but only trusting in his faithfulness and mercy.  They did have to come in perfect righteousness – but that righteousness was not of themselves.  Instead, it was a righteousness given to them by God, by virtue of their trust in his promises, rather than their merits, and on the basis of the blood of a sacrifice sprinkled on the mercy seat to signify that another had died in their place, to atone for their sin [Lev16; Heb 9:5.].
Friends, in the letter to the Hebrews, from which we read earlier, we are also told that the Ark of the Covenant, all the temple furnishings, its sacrificial system, and its high priests, were a picture pointing prophetically forward to the coming Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He indeed manifested the presence of God, as the Gospel of John tells us: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”[Joh 1:14.]  He alone came with clean hands and a pure heart, not only to Mount Zion, but also to the Mount of Golgotha, to Calvary, to the cross.  There he was crucified as a perfect sacrifice in the place of all those who would trust in him.  By his death he paid the penalty for their sins, and by his resurrection he secured their eternal life with him in glory.

 
The letter to the Hebrews tells us again, “Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf….  He has appeared once for all … to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”[Heb 9:24-26.]  Because Christ stood in the place of judgement on our behalf, all who trust in him receive the righteousness of the God of their salvation, and may stand in the holy place, in the presence of God.  As the Apostle Paul puts it, “For our sake [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”[2 Cor 5:21.]  Those who trust in him are forgiven their sins, clothed in the righteousness of God, and reconciled to God, and will experience the fullness of joy in the presence of God for all eternity.  This is the basis of our confidence for our great comfort and joy today: not that my Gran was a good person, but that she trusted in the only good Saviour.

 
We have not asked the second question Psalm 24 poses, though we’ve already seen the answer to it: “Who is this King of glory?”  Just as the Ark of the Covenant went before the nation of Israel to show that it was God himself who was mighty in battle on their behalf to conquer their enemies, so it is Christ Jesus who has fought on our behalf to conquer the great enemy, sin, and has risen victorious from the grave to show that death, too, is ultimately conquered.

 
The King of Glory is, indeed, none other than the risen and ascended Christ, the Lord, strong and mighty, mighty in battle over sin and death, who has ascended and entered into heaven itself – the only One with clean hands and a pure heart qualified to do so.  For him the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem are flung wide open to admit their King.  But this King of Glory, strong and mighty, will also carry all who trust in him, rather than in their own efforts, up the hill of the Lord, to stand in the holy place.  Our confidence, our comfort, our joy and encouragement rest in Christ alone, the King of Glory.  The battle is won, friends: stand (with my Gran) by grace in the holy place.

Parody: (Highway to the) Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins from sound track of Top Gun
[Christmas Day 2012]

Man out in the desert
Calling all to turn or burn
Washing in the Jordan
Get ready for the King’s own Son

Highway to Salvation’s Throne
Right up to the Saviour’s Throne

Lying in a stable,
Cradled in a bed of straw
And laid aside all glory
Taking on this life of ours

Highway to Salvation’s Throne.
(He’ll take you)
Right up to the Saviour’s Throne.

You’ll never get real free and clean
Till you get it from the Cross of Calvary
You never know what you can do
Until you take in the Blood He’s shed for you

Living for the Kingdom
Always where we yearn to be
The tougher the battle here
The more of His Grace there’ll be

Highway to the Salvation’s Throne.
(He’ll take you)
Right up to the Saviour’s Throne.

Highway to the Salvation’s Throne.

Highway to the Salvation’s Throne.
(He’ll take you)
Right up to the Saviour’s Throne.

References given below are from the New English Translation via The Word.
The English text used in the links is the New International. Version via Biblos Bible Suite. English not your language? Click the link; then click on the flag representing your language.

John 1:6    A man came, sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that everyone might believe through him.
To read excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/john/1.htm

John 1:19-28    Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed – he did not deny but confessed – “I am not the Christ!” So they asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not!” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No!” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Tell us so that we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John said, “I am the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”… “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not recognize, who is coming after me. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal”. These things happened in Bethany across the Jordan River where John was baptizing.
To read this excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/john/1.htm
To read quotation from Isaiah in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/isaiah/40.htm

Acts 4:12    And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.”
To read this excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/acts/4.htm

Rev 7:10    “Salvation belongs to our God, to the one seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
To read this excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/revelation/7.htm

Luke 1: 34f:    Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God.
To read this excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/luke/1.htm

Luke 2:7     And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
To read the excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/luke/2.htm

Philipp 2:8ff:    though he existed in the form of God, [Christ] did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!
To read the excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/philippians/2.htm

Rom 8:1    There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.
To read the excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/romans/8.htm

Gal 5:1         For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.
To read the excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/galatians/5.htm

Rom 6:8    Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
To read the excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/romans/6.htm

John 6:53-57    Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
To read the excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/john/6.htm

1 Cor 5:7b    For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
To read the excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/1_corinthians/5.htm

Rev 7:14    “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb!  For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple, and the one seated on the throne will shelter them. They will never go hungry or be thirsty again, and the sun will not beat down on them, nor any burning heat, because the Lamb in the middle of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
To read the excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/revelation/7.htm

Rev 12:11    But they overcame him [the Accuser = Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
To read the excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/revelation/12.htm

2 Cor 12:7    Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me – so that I would not become arrogant. I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
To read the excerpt in context click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/2_corinthians/12.htm

If you are unfamiliar with the original song (one of the songs from the film Top Gun), you can click the following link to listen (and watch) on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8rZWw9HE7o or with original lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fab0nsF1z2I

[This is a parody of Alphaville’s well-known (but somewhat riddle-like) Big in Japan. Because of my personality I have to remind myself that God is my ultimate security, not my bank, alarm system, not my burglar bars or ADT. A week or so ago I “confessed” to my God-sister that with all the driveway robberies in the area, I was becoming nervous of going out! As I remember, a day or so after that this parody “fell into place”, although I’d been wanting to write it for a while with very limited success.]

Hopeless sinner’s heart
While temptations fly around inside my head, I chase the wind
I had no illusions
That I’d ever satisfy the righteousness that You demand
You did what You did for me
Plain as history I see
You’ve restored my life and soul again;
That’s why You became a man.
I will hold onto your hand  always
It’s better to be safe in your hands.

“Yes, you’re safe in my hands, all right
Safe in my hands; hold tight
Safe in my hands and I’ll hold tight on to you
Safe in my hands, all right, pray and I’ll keep by your side
Things are better when you’re safe in my hands,
When you’re safe in my hands.”

Cover for my naked sin
Pardon for the wretched twisted man I know that I have been
I shall cling tight  onto You
I shall never swap  my faith in You for vain & novel things
You did what you did for me
Plain as history; now I see!
That’s why You became a man
I will hold onto Your hand  always
It’s better to be safe in Your hands

“Yes, you’re safe in my hands, all right
Safe in my hands; hold tight
Safe in my hands and I’ll hold tight on to you
Safe in my hands, all right ,pray and I’ll keep by your side
Things are better when you’re safe in my hands,
When you’re safe in my hands.”

Hold tight
Safe in His hands; all right
Safe in His hands; yes, He’ll hold tight on to you
Safe in His hands, all right, pray and He’ll keep by your side
Things are better when you’re safe in His hands,
Are you safe in His hands?

Are you safe in His hands?  Hold tight
Safe in His hands; all right
Safe in His hands; yes, He’ll hold tight on to you
Safe in His hands, all right, stay and He’ll keep by your side
Things are better when you’re safe in His hands,
I am safe in His hands!

Quoted verses from ESV; references NIV

Psalm 46: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

To read this verse in its context: click the following link:
http://niv.scripturetext.com/psalms/46.htm

Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. … Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

To read this verse in its context: click the following link:
http://niv.scripturetext.com/psalms/23.htm

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

To read this verse in its context: click the following link:
http://niv.scripturetext.com/psalms/34.htm

Isaiah 43: 1–3 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God,  the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.

To read this verse in its context: click the following link:
http://niv.scripturetext.com/isaiah/43.htm

Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, [Jesus] became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

To read this verse in its context: click the following link: http://niv.scripturetext.com/hebrews/5.htm

John 3:16–17 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

To read this verse in its context: click the following link:
http://niv.scripturetext.com/john/3.htm
Galatians 1:4 …. the Lord Jesus Christ,who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.

To read this verse in its context: click the following link:
niv.scripturetext.com/galations/1.htm

Acts 4:12
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

To read this verse in its context: click the following link:
http://niv.scripturetext.com/acts/4.htm

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

To read this verse in its context: click the following link:
http://niv.scripturetext.com/isaiah/1.htm

Rev 7:14
I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

To read this verse in its context: click the following link:
http://niv.scripturetext.com/revelation/7.htm

If you are unfamiliar with the original song, you can click the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyGqk3Uac_Y

This is a parody of the iconic REM song: Losing my religion. On Resurrection Sunday 2011 I could not resist the irony. We have not found a religion; we have a Saviour who has found us in our darkness and taken us into the light of His Presence.


Oh Lord, you suffered
Yes, dying for me
And I was guilty
The lengths that you have gone to
Incarnate, crucified
Oh yes it was my sin:
You took it on

That’s me in my darkness
That’s me in the Son’s light
Finding your forgiveness
Trying to keep up your Law
And I know that I can’t do it
Jesus, You have done it all
There’s nothing I can add
I know that you died for me
I know that you rose for me
I know your death has set us free

Every minute
Of every waking hour I’m
Choosing to confess you
Trying to keep your word
Live according to your Truth
Oh yes you’ve done it all
You’ve set me free

Consider this
Consider this:
The Cross of Calvary
Consider this:
The death that brought me
To my knees, saved
And the Grace You’ve given
Stands guarding me now
And You have done it all
I know that you died for me
I know that you rose for me
I know your death has set us free

Sacrificed your life
That was all your love

That’s me in my darkness
That’s me in the Son’s light
Finding your forgiveness
Trying to keep up your law
And I know that I can’t do it
Jesus, You have done it all
There’s nothing I can add
I know that you died for me
I know that you rose for me
I know your death has set us free

Sacrificed your life
That was all your love

Your blood poured out
Your life poured out
That was all your love
All your love

Just your love


Romans 5:8f God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath.

Rom 3:23ff for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

2 Cor 5:21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

Rom 10:9 if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Galations 2:16 we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

Philippians 2:6 (Christ Jesus) though he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, ​​​​​​​but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature.

1 Peter 2:24 By his wounds you were healed.

1 Peter 2:9 …so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

1 John 2:1 Jesus Christ the righteous One,4and he himself is the atoning sacrifice1 for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.2

1 John 4:15 If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God.

Hebrews 10:10 By his will we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Parody: REM: Man on the Moon
4April 2011

Cost of the dollar, and the stock exchange: yeah, yeah; yeah, yeah
Juju Malema in another rage: yeah, yeah; yeah, yeah
Economics, petrol, and profit and loss: yeah, yeah; yeah, yeah
Why is this world in such a great mess? yeah, yeah; yeah, yeah
So let’s snort cocaine and let’s hit the booze: yeah, yeah; yeah, yeah
See you tomorrow if tomorrow comes: yeah, yeah; yeah, yeah

But, brother, have you heard about God’s Son?
Tell me: are you locked in yourself?
Hey, brother, are you living on Prozac?
Yeah, and isn’t this world fun?
If you believe   the Man they put on the Cross, Man on the Cross
If you believe, then your salvation is ready; there’s no extra cost

Feeling that life has no meaning at all: yeah, yeah; yeah, yeah
Dragging your past like a chain and a ball: yeah, yeah; yeah, yeah
Clutching at straws and gasping for breath: yeah, yeah; yeah, yeah
Struggling along and feeling like death: yeah, yeah; yeah, yeah

But, sister, have you heard about God’s Son?
Tell me: do you know what He’s done?
Do you know that He loves you no matter what –
what you’ve done!
If you believe the Man they put on the Cross, Man on the Cross
If you believe, then your salvation is ready; there’s no extra cost;
No extra cost!

No hope for the future, and no help for the past: yeah,yeah; yeah, yeah
You pop all the pills, but good feelings don’t last: yeah,yeah; yeah, yeah
Dead leaves are driven this way and that: yeah,yeah; yeah, yeah
No going forward; there’s no going back: yeah,yeah; yeah, yeah

But, brother, have you heard about God’s Son
Tell me: do you know what He’s done?
Do you know that He died and rose again
He conquered death!
If you believe the Man they put on the Cross, Man on the Cross
If you believe, then your salvation is ready; there’s no extra cost;
No extra cost!

Hope for the future; and there’s help for past: Jesus, Jesus
Our God’s in control and His kingdom will last: it will; it will
So we’ll place our trust and our future in Him: Jesus, Jesus
He’s the beginning and He is the end: Jesus, Jesus

So, brothers, we’ve heard about God’s Son
And, yes, we know what He’s done
We know that He died and He rose again:
There’s hope for all!
If we believe the One they put on the Cross, Man on the Cross
If we believe, then our salvation is ready; he’s paid the cost;
He’s paid the cost!

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Please note: The reference to Prozac is not a jibe at people who use Prozac (Fluoxetine, an antidepressant of the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) type) or any other antidepressant.

A person taking anti-depressants prescribed by a competent medical practitioner should never feel guilty about it. Many have something akin to what Paul referred to as a “thorn in the flesh”(2 Corinthians 12:7 “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited”).

No Christian should condemn any other Christian for taking prescribed medication: no-one is spiritually better for not taking such medication, nor spiritually worse for taking it: We have all fallen short and we all need God’s grace, and it’s available for all. We all need God’s forgiveness. We all need to be covered by His Blood.

Nevertheless, the only real forgiveness comes from God and the only real comfort comes from God:

2 Corinthians 1 3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” Those who dwell in the Valley of Shadows can be recipients of God’s comfort, and can – and should – comfort others.