Family Worship

We continue to be in a state of change in family worship time in our home.  The differing ages of our children (with a couple other things) has made getting into what I would call a comfortable rhythm difficult.

However, recently we have begun working our way through a family Bible that we’ve merely dipped into in the past (click the pic for more info) ::

So far, the kids have really loved it.  But the great thing about it is how much it has affected me as well. Take last night for example.

We were reading from the story of Jacob and Esau.  The reading turned from the narrative, to interacting with the story.  It asked, “Why would God bless Jacob?”  (after all, consider what he had done in this story).  From the reading ::

Why would God do that? we wonder, especially when it turns out that Jacob was a liar and a cheater. (This incident with his blind old father is not the only example of Jacob’s cheating; in fact, one meaning of his very name is “cheater.”)

The reason God chose Jacob is this: God chooses which people will receive his blessings and, when he does so, he always chooses because of his grace alone, and for no other reason.  God does not choose people because he knows they will be godly people or because he can see that they will love him.

God chooses sinners because he is a God of grace, giving people good things they do not deserve. (emphasis mine)

That last line is worth the price of this book (which doesn’t mean that now you’ve read it, you shouldn’t buy this book! Please, for your family, buy this book)

Sitting between Ezra (6) and Nehemiah (3), reading this, tears filled my eyes.

You see, I need to constantly hear of the grace of God.  It is quite easy for me to spend an inordinate amount of time recalling all the ways in which I have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God.  This is, in part, right and good.  I must be aware of my sin and repent of it; but I can’t stop there.  I need to move further, into the realities of forgiveness and reconciliation and relationship once more.  Namely, into the realm of the grace of God.

When I linger too long over my sin, it moves me to despair.  It makes me think that God could not choose one such as I.  I don’t deserve it.  How could it be?

By grace, that’s how.  That’s precisely the point.  God chooses me because of his grace.  He gives me good things – love, joy, forgiveness, eternal life, the gift of the Spirit – that I don’t, nor ever will, deserve. Marvelous grace!

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

And Can It Be?, Charles Wesley, 1738

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