Innocent

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Don’t send me away in anger
To the hell you’ve reserved
Don’t send me to fiery torment
Though that’s what I deserve
Don’t forget about your mercy
Please remember your love
I’m innocent in You, O Lord

For you declare me innocent
Hidden from the wrathful flood
You declare me innocent
By the Righteousness of God
You declare me innocent
Cleansed by priceless blood
I’m innocent in You, O Lord

Don’t count me among the wicked
Though I’m a hypocrite
Don’t see my pride, lust, or failures
Which I have to admit
Don’t forget undeserved kindness
Cause I’m clinging to it
I’m innocent in You, O Lord

Pardoned, my guilt is clear
Adopted, I’ve been brought near
Forgiven, no sin remains
Restored, with a heart that’s changed

Behind the lines

Psalm 26

Most High

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O LORD, Most High, in majesty,
What wonder?
What splendor?
What beauty meets our eyes?
In majesty,
In majesty, Most High.

O LORD, Most High, be exalted,
Hear our hearts,
Hear our songs,
Hear as our praises rise,
Be exalted,
Be exalted, Most High.

O LORD, Most High, You won’t be moved,
In wisdom,
In fairness,
In wrath Your justice flies.
You won’t be moved,
You won’t be moved, Most High.

O LORD, Most High, we praise Your Name,
For Your pow’r
For Your strength,
For Your grace and new life,
We praise Your Name,
We praise Your Name, Most High!

Behind the lines

In Psalm 21 the anointed king (David) sings to the King and rightly acknowledges the victory over His enemies belongs to the strength of the Most High. In the last verse (v13), he includes everyone so all the people can praise the Most High.

For when the king sings to the Most High King all the people rejoice and sing along.

O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices,
and in your salvation how greatly he exults!
(Psalm 21:1 ESV)

For the king trusts in the LORD,
and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
(Psalm 21:7 ESV)

Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength!
We will sing and praise your power.
(Psalm 21:13 ESV)

Stand

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I stand to praise You,
My tongue to sing Your Word,
I close – my eyes to worship.

My heart burns within me,
Voices of joy are raised,
Echoes – for Your glory.

Lips of sinners saved,
Our voices are raised…

Stand and praise Him all the nations,
Praise the King of Heaven,
Worthy is His name,
Worthy is His name,

Sing the song of our Salvation,
To the One who saved us,
Worthy is His name,
Worthy is His name.

I stand under Grace,
Freed from the wrath deserved,
I long – to see Your face.

When I will stand,
Before Your judgment throne,
I’ll kneel – like every man.

With hope in Christ alone,
Redeemed as His own…

Stand up and praise Him,
Stand up and praise Him,
Stand up and praise Him,
He is the Lord.

Behind the lines

Co-written with Shane Jackson.

My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes. My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. (Psalm 119:171-172 ESV)

Two Songs

audience-868074_1920Happy songs have grown silent,
Their melodies are lost,
Justice flows down in violence,
Like God’s wrath to the cross.

Judgment turns joy to mourning,
Voices cry with lament,
There’s a flood of fear falling,
A lyric of regret.

And the song goes on and on,
It goes on and on,
On and on.

But happy songs never cease,
From the stage near God’s throne,
Where thousands rise from their seats,
With the band called His Own.

For when His Own play their strings,
In chords of righteousness,
Undeserving voices sing,
Of Christ and holiness.

And the song goes on and on,
It goes on and on,
On and on.

God the Thunderer

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) wrote this hymn during a strong thunderstorm. The storm reminded him of the power of God and His coming judgment.

He titled it “God the thunderer; or, The last judgment and hell” and then added the following note:

[Made in a great sudden storm of thunder, August 20, 1697.]

Sing to the Lord, ye heav’nly hosts,
And thou, O earth, adore;
Let death and hell through all their coasts
Stand trembling at his power.

His sounding chariot shakes the sky,
He makes the clouds his throne;
There all his stores of lightning lie,
Till vengeance darts them down.

His nostrils breathe out fiery streams
And from his awful tongue
A sovereign voice divides the flames,
And thunder roars along.

Think, O my soul! the dreadful day,
When this incensed God
Shall rend the sky, and burn the sea,
And fling his wrath abroad.

What shall the wretch the sinner do?
He once defied the Lord;
But he shall dread the Thund’rer now,
And sink beneath his word.

Tempests of angry fire shall roll
To blast the rebel worm,
And beat upon his naked soul,
In one eternal storm.

Behind the lines

We often sing of God’s grace, mercy, and love, but we should also sing of His attributes of justice, holiness, and wrath. For when we clearly see the later three, it makes the first three all the sweeter.

Some of Watts most loved hymns are, “Joy to the World,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and “Alas! and Did my Savior Bleed.”

The Christian Classics Ethereal Library has made available a free PDF of the “Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts” and you can download it from their website. 

Sweat and Blood

jesus-2437571_1920The cross would weigh as Jesus prayed,
In agony, “take this from me,”
Is there a way, some other way,
Sin can be paid?

It’s only by Your sweat and blood,
Holy, only Son of God,
It’s only by Your blood,
Only by Your blood,
For Calvary’s hill,
Was the Father’s will,
The Father’s will,
To shed Your blood.

Betrayer’s kiss on Righteousness,
Falsely accused, beaten and bruised,
There was no way, no other way,
Sin could be paid.

By sweat and blood and endless love,
You took Wrath’s cup and drank it up,
You are the way, the only way,
Our sins are paid.

Behind the lines

(Luke 22:39-48 ESV)

[39] And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. [40] And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” [41] And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, [42] saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” [43] And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. [44] And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. [45] And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, [46] and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

[47] While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, [48] but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Turn to the Cross

cross-1448946_1920Come look on the cross,
Put the world aside,
Turning our hearts and minds where,
His grace was applied.

Consider our sin,
The death we have earned,
Think of mercy and justice,
Until souls are stirred.

We turn to the cross,
Never the same,
Our sins are no more,
And praises we bring,
Our joy is the Lord,
And that’s why we sing,
That’s why we sing of the cross.

His body and blood,
The thorns on His brow,
Nails driven through Righteousness
And God’s wrath poured out.

Deliverer,
You are our Savior,
Forever.

Behind the lines

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2:24 ESV).

Have you been to the cross?

And Sing To Him

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We need not fear His judgment throne,
For Christ is our refuge song,
Send praises to the Righteous One,
And sing to Him.

Let the ends of the earth rejoice,
Come together with one voice,
Send praises to the Righteous One,
And sing to Him.

Sing of life to the Creator,
Sing of birth and a manger,
Sing of wrath on perfection,
Sing of the resurrection,

Those repentant, all who believe,
Who by grace have eyes to see,
Send praises to the Righteous One,
And Sing to Him.

Give glory to the name of the LORD,
He will return, His Word is sure,
Send praises to the Righteous One,
And sing to Him.

We need not fear His judgment throne,
For Christ is our refuge song…

Behind the lines

Isaiah 24 tells of great judgment on sinful creation where singing and music cease (v8-9) and temporal joy has grown dark (v11), but there is salvation for the saints and they begin to sing (v14-16a).

They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west.

Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD;
in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.

From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,
of glory to the Righteous One.
(Isaiah 24:14-16a ESV)

What a beautiful picture of God’s grace in the midst of judgment. For all who are in Christ need not fear His judgment because we are His and His alone. This great truth makes us sing and rejoice. But Isaiah, who sees the corruption, terror, and devastation all around is unable to join in at first. He says in v16b:

But I say, “I waste away,
I waste away. Woe is me!
For the traitors have betrayed,
with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.”
(Isaiah 24:14-16 ESV)

However, as we move on to Chapters 25 & 26, Isaiah reaffirms his confidence in the Sovereign and He is able to rejoice:

O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
(Isaiah 25:1 ESV)

He goes on to write, “let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation (v9).” And then in Chapter 26 he gives us a song that will be sung in the land which includes these famous verses:

You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.

Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
(Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV)

May we never forget this great salvation, especially in the midst of a sinful world facing devastating judgment. May He cause us to “send praises…And sing to Him.” Amen.

Man of Sorrows

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I’ve been hungry and alone,
Satan tempted me to sin,
Betrayed by a disciple,
And deserted by my friends.

I am a Man of Sorrows,
I’ve been acquainted with grief,
Falsely accused and sentenced,
To be crucified with thieves.

I understand great heartache,
I’ve experienced that pain,
Despised in my suffering,
I was spit upon in shame.

Forsaken by my Father,
He did not answer my cry,
My mother was looking on,
As the soldiers pierced my side.

I was beaten and bleeding,
Crushed for your iniquity,
The wounds I took brought healing,
Punishment to bring you peace.

I endured the Father’s wrath,
In anguish beyond degree,
But redeemed my beloved Bride,
Yes, I died to set you free.

Behind the lines

Romans 12:15 calls the Christian to weep with those who weep. Yet, we often cannot fully comprehend the grief of others affected by tragedy, abuse, illness, and the sudden and awful loss of life.

While we cannot fully sympathize with them, there is One who can and He is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Man of Sorrows and He alone can bring true healing. He has overcome evil and the grave with His first coming, and will one day come again to forever banish all evil, all suffering, all death, and all tears. To that we say, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

Meanwhile, Romans 12:9-21 also calls us to let our love be genuine and to abhor evil and hold fast to what is good. May we love one another with brotherly affection. May we rejoice in the hope we have in Christ, have patience in tribulation, and be constant in prayer. May we share the good news of Christ with others so they too can see evil and goodness through the lens of the cross.

He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:3-6 ESV).

Other verses: Matthew 27:27-30, Mark 15:34, John 19:26-27

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