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Friday, 31 May 2013

Building on a good foundation.

After this afternoon's Thanksgiving Service for an elderly member of Wishaw Baptist Church who died last week, and whose mortal remains had earlier been cremated, one of the other ladies of more mature years commented to her companion: "It's always good to have the old hymns".  At least I hope that that was what she meant!  However, as she was looking at me at the time, I did wonder if she was referring to some old "hims"!!

This evening, I received a 'quiz' from the pastor - groups of letters that were the first letters of the words of the first line of the songs (aka hymns) that we expect to be singing on Sunday morning, at the worship service.  JE; BSFTPOTLTHOIH; to give the shortest and the longest!

So, I've been thinking hymns.  Augustus Toplady was saved when he attended a small evangelistic meeting in a barn in a rural district of Ireland.  The preacher was an illiterate layman, with neither training nor eloquence (cf. I Cor.2:1), but he pointed the young man to the Rock on Whom he could stand securely, and in Whom he could find peace and forgiveness - that spiritual Rock Who is Jesus, the Christ (I Cor.10:4).

Having his feet established on this solid foundation, the young Toplady studied for full-time ministry, seeking to attain to "... be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ." (Eph 4:13; NLT).  Sadly, his zeal and effort put too much strain on a body that was already frail, and he contracted tuberculosis (or 'consumption' as it was then known) - a veritable death sentence in the 18th century.  His faith, however, never faltered, and it was during his illness that he wrote the words of the hymn for which he was to become famous - "Rock of Ages".  Toplady died when he was only 38 years of age, but the words he wrote live on, and continue to bring comfort to many (as do a lot of the 'old' hymns!).

God's Word has many references to the Rock, and to the need for each of us to build upon that solid foundation.  What we are to build is not a pyramid of the acts of the sinful nature (Gal.5:19-21), but a temple of the Fruit if the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23).  We are also to be constantly watchful that the 'building blocks' do not get mixed up; that our faith, and our walk, are constantly brought under the searching gaze of God the Holy Spirit; that we repent of those natural inclinations that would cause us to stumble, and fall.

Then we may have confidence that, on that Day that will bring all things to light, what we have built will survive, we will receive our reward, and Jesus will be glorified (see I Cor.3:10-15).

"Rock of Ages, cleft for me; let me hide myself in Thee.
 Let the water and the blood, from Thy wounded side which flowed
 Be, of sin, the double cure - cleanse me from its guilt and power."

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