Rock of Ages
by Augustus Toplady
(tune: "New City Fellowship" by James Ward - what a tune! Maybe you can find it on the internet. Otherwise, someday when you're with us, we'll sing it for you.)
(stanzas 2 and 3)
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone!
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to Thy fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die!
from The Book Of Psalms For Singing(tune: Woodworth / "Just As I Am")
The man allowed to occupy the secret place of God Most High
Shall with Almighty God abide, and in His shadow safely hide.
I therefore of the LORD will say, "He is my refuge and my stay;
My citadel of strength is He - My God in Whom my trust shall be."
For He shall with His watchful care preserve thee from the fowler's snare;
Yes, He shall be thy sure defense against the deadly pestilence.
His outspread pinions shall thee hide; beneath His wings shalt thou confide.
His faithfulness shall ever be a shield and buckler unto thee.
It was a day of rich teaching, gospel preaching, warm fellowship,
and bountiful Thanksgiving- style food!!
Twice the profound grace-exalting words of Rock of Ages were brought to our attention: first, while watching the Amazing Grace DVD (www.theapologeticsgroup.com - only $13.50!!) and then while listening to Don Piper preach (here for weekend seminars for our elders and deacons. Tim interned under him in Seattle before coming to Fresno). Christ's Kingdom surely advances with this kind of preaching. It's what the church is called to.
After our meal together (about 70 of us, I think!), we sang from Psalm 91 at the request of Debra Goehring (who serves daily at her husband's side as Lou Goehrig's disease - a "deadly pestilence," for sure! - ravages his body). What a reminder of our true source of safety and strength.
I've prayed for increased confidence in our only True Source of salvation, safety, and strength. I ask for it for Tim, who surely feels the weight of being an under-shepherd in his calling as pastor and husband and father. I've prayed for it recently for our children, as they mature and face the uncertainties of their futures with accompanying challenges, fears, and disappointments. And I pray it for myself as I walk alongside my husband and children and all those who are a part of our lives. I want to be their encourager - one who points them to Christ - and yet so often I need the reminder MYSELF.
Which is why days like today - filled with truth-saturated teaching and preaching - are so important.