Thursday, April 30, 2009

It Is God Who Justifies - Romans 8:33

Behold the eternal security of the weakest believer in Jesus. The act of justification, once passed under the great seal of the resurrection of Christ, God can never revoke without denying Himself. Here is our safety. Here is the ground of our dauntless challenge, ‘Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God who justifies.’ What can I need more? What more can I ask?

If God, the God of spotless purity, the God of inflexible righteousness, justifies me, ‘who is he that condemns?’ 
Sin may condemn, but it is God that justifies
The law may alarm, but it is God that justifies
Satan may accuse, but it is God that justifies
Death may terrify, but it is God that justifies
‘If GOD is for us, who can be against us?’ Who will dare condemn the soul whom He justifies?

How gloriously will this truth shine forth in the great day of judgment! Every accuser will then be dumb. Every tongue will then be silent. Nothing shall be laid to the charge of God’s elect. GOD Himself shall pronounce them fully, and forever justified: ‘And those He justifies, He also glorifies.’

~Octavius Winslow, Morning Thoughts (emphasis mine)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Depth of Mercy

Depth of mercy! Can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear,
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
Grieved Him by a thousand falls.

I my Master have denied,
I afresh have crucified,
And profaned His hallowed Name,
Put Him to an open shame.

If I rightly read Thy heart,
If Thou all compassion art,
Bow Thine ear, in mercy bow,
Pardon and accept me now.

Jesus speaks, and pleads His blood!
He disarms the wrath of God;
Now my Father’s mercies move,
Justice lingers into love.

There for me the Savior stands,
Shows His wounds and spreads His hands.
God is love! I know, I feel;
Jesus weeps and loves me still.

~Charles Wesley - Depth of Mercy (more verses here!)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spurgeon on Sin

"She caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house." Genesis 39:12

In contending with certain sins, there remains no mode of victory except by running away quickly. He who would be safe from acts of evil must hasten away from occasions of it. A covenant must be made with our eyes not even to look upon the cause of temptation, for such sins only need a spark to begin with and a blaze follows in an instant!

Who would casually enter the leper's hut and sleep amid its horrible corruption? He alone who desires to be leprous himself would thus court contagion. If the sailor knew how to avoid a storm, he would do anything rather than run the risk of weathering it. Cautious pilots have no desire to try how near the quicksand they can sail, or how often they may touch a rock without springing a leak; their aim is to keep as nearly as possible in the midst of a safe channel.

This day I may be exposed to great peril; let me have wisdom to keep out of it and avoid it. The wings of a dove may be of more use to me than the jaws of a lion. I may be an apparent loser by declining evil company, but I had better leave my coat than lose my character! It is not needful that I should be rich, but it is imperative upon me to be pure. No ties of friendship, no chains of beauty, no flashings of talent, and no shafts of ridicule must turn me from the wise resolve to run from sin. I am to resist the devil and he will flee from me. But the lusts of the flesh I must flee or they will surely overcome me!

~C. H. Spurgeon

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Made Me Laugh...

Q: What do you call four bull fighters in quicksand?

A: Quatro sinko.

[Still laughing even as I type this...]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

J.C. Ryle - "As a Man..."

This entire quote is good--but I think my favorite part is: "He plunged into the waters Himself".

Christ saw us ruined by the fall, a world of poor, lost, ship-wrecked sinners. He saw and He pitied us; and in compliance with the everlasting counsels of the Eternal Trinity, He came down to the world, to suffer in our stead, and to save us.

He did not sit in heaven pitying us from a distance: He did not stand upon the shore and see the wreck, and behold poor drowning sinners struggling in vain to get to shore. He plunged into the waters Himself: He came off to the wreck and took part with us in our weakness and infirmity becoming a man to save our souls.

As man, He bore our sins and carried our transgressions; as man, He endured all that men can endure, and went through everything in man’s experience, sin only excepted; as man He lived; as man He went to the cross; as man He died. As man He shed His blood, in order that He might save us, poor shipwrecked sinners, and establish a communication between earth and heaven! As man He became a curse for us, in order that He might bridge the gulf, and make a way by which you and I might draw near to God with boldness, and have access to God without fear.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Billy Graham - "The Call"

I don't agree with everything Mr. Graham has said and done (especially in most recent years), yet it is obvious that the Spirit has used Him in dramatic (and everlasting) ways for the furtherance of the Kingdom.

Whether or not you agree with his "altar call" method, you cannot help but recognize that when he preaches the gospel, people respond.

Monday, April 20, 2009

In Tenderness He Sought Me

Last Wednesday we were driving to the chapel for prayer meeting when Chloe asked me an interesting question. She's learning to spell--and so occasionally she spells out the words that she knows when she's talking. The short conversation went something like this:

Chloe: "D-A-D, how do you spell 'Oh'"?

Intelligent-And-Expert-Speller-D-A-D: "Well, Chloe--usually the word is spelled O-H, but sometimes in the hymnbook--or in the Bible, you might find it just spelled 'O'.

It was quiet after that. I'm not sure if she was pondering the brevity of the word or trying to figure out how to use it in a sentence herself, but apparently her question was answered at least for the time being.

I'm not really sure what that has to do with this post--other than the word "Oh" is used repeatedly in the refrain. [Does anyone know the difference (technical or otherwise) between a refrain and a chorus? Anyway...when I woke up this morning--this old hymn was on my mind. I especially appreciate the lyrics: He whispered to assure me, “I’ve found thee, thou art Mine”!

In tenderness He sought me,
Weary and sick with sin;
And on His shoulders brought me
Back to His fold again.
While angels in His presence sang
Until the courts of Heaven rang.

Oh, the love that sought me!
Oh, the blood that bought me!
Oh, the grace that brought me to the fold,
Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold.

He washed the bleeding sin wounds,
And poured in oil and wine;
He whispered to assure me,
“I’ve found thee, thou art Mine”;
I never heard a sweeter voice;
It made my aching heart rejoice!

He pointed to the nail prints,
For me His blood was shed,
A mocking crown so thorny
Was placed upon His head;
I wondered what He saw in me,
To suffer such deep agony.

I’m sitting in His presence,
The sunshine of His face,
While with adoring wonder
His blessings I retrace.
It seems as if eternal days
Are far too short to sound His praise.

So while the hours are passing,
All now is perfect rest,
I’m waiting for the morning,
The brightest and the best,
When He will call us to His side,
To be with Him, His spotless bride.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

King of Love - Bob Jones University Singers and Orchestra

If you like traditional, conservative music head on over to and check out the great selection. You can purchase CDs the "old-fashioned" way, but many are also offered as MP3 downloads. 

I recently purchased the King of Love CD (via MP3 download) and have been listening to it ever since! The album features the Bob Jones University Singers and Orchestra performing a number of wonderful selections. My favorites (so far) are Be Thou My Vision, The Holy Heart, and the title track--The King of Love My Shepherd Is. Some of you will recognize the tune for that one as we used it on the "Finally Home" page for Frank Brown.

The arrangements are simply spectacular--Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness comes to mind, which beautifully blends two different tunes and (I believe) two different time signatures. Also the arrangement of Amazing Grace features a tune other than the traditional one. Try it--you'll like it!

I'll admit--I didn't really know choral arrangements were my thing until I found this CD. If they're not your thing--I also found a great barbershop quartet that I bookmarked for purchase at a later date!

At the risk of having this post run on a bit too long--I'm going to post the moving lyrics for the title track. Be encouraged, sheep of His pasture, our Good Shepherd--our King of Love is faithfully shepherding!

The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never,
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With Thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spread’st a table in my sight;
Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And O what transport of delight
From Thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise
Within Thy house forever.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Men Bent on Success - Warriors and Shepherds

Again, from Horatius Bonar's True Revival and the Men God Uses:
It  was  with  a  good  hope  of  success  that  they  first  undertook  the  awful  office  of the ministry, and to despair of this would have been shameful distrust of Him who had sent them forth, while  to  be  indifferent  to  it would  have  been  to  prove themselves nothing short of traitors to Him and to His cause. As warriors, they set their hearts on victory, and fought with the believing anticipation of triumph, under the guidance of such a Captain as their head. As shepherds, they could not sit idle on the mountain-side in the sunshine, or the  breeze, or  the  tempest, heedless  of their  straying, perishing,  bleating  flock.  They watched, gathered, guarded, fed the sheep committed to their care. 
Happy birthday, Dad. You are my hero and an example to me (and many) of a man that God uses. I love you.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Arise, My Love

If I had to select my favorite resurrection hymn, I'd pick Low in the Grave He Lay.

But if I was picking a favorite resurrection "song", I'd pick Arise, My Love by Newsong. I heard it first on this CD when I was much younger. If you prefer live recordings, Newsong has since recorded it on their Rescue CD. Also, The Acappella Company recorded an acappella (obviously) arrangement of it which I've also enjoyed.

The song never ceases to touch me--especially at the big crescendo when we hear "the grave could not hold the King."

What is your favorite resurrection hymn or song? Let me know in the comments

Arise, My Love

Not a word was heard at the tomb that day.
Just shuffling of soldiers feet as they guarded the grave.
One day, two days, three days had past.
Could it be that Jesus breathed his last?

Could it be that his Father had forsaken him?
Turned his back on His Son, dispising our sin.
All hell seemed to whisper, "Just forget it, He's dead."
Then the Father looked down to His Son and said..

Arise, My Love.
Arise, My Love.
The grave no longer has a hold on You
No more death's sting
No more suffering
Arise...Arise...My Love.

The Earth trembled and the tomb began to shake,
and like lightening from Heaven,
The stone was rolled away.
And like dead men the guards they all stood there in fright
As the power of love displayed its might

Suddenly a melody filled the air
Riding wings of wind, it was everywhere
The words all creation had been longing to hear.
The sweet sound of victory, so loud and clear. (CHORUS)

Sin, where are your shackles?
Death, where is your sting?
Hell has been defeated.
The grave could not hold the King. (CHORUS)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Holy Heart

The Holy Heart

The Holy Heart was broken,
Sent from the Father’s side.
The Son of God forsaken,
the holy sacrifice.

For me He was forsaken, for me He died alone.
My sin forever taken, that I might be His own.

The Holy Heart was stricken,
Abandoned and alone.
He bore the world’s affliction;
He bore it as His own.

And when my heart is broken,
Torn by my sin and pride.
The Son of God now risen
Will draw me to His side.


Thursday, April 9, 2009


Arguably one of Handel's most well-known compositions, the Hallelujah Chorus of the Messiah was first performed in the spring of 1742.

This arrangement by Anthony Burger was performed just months before his untimely death in 2006 at the age of 44.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Conquering Now and Still To Conquer

Conquering now and still to conquer, rideth a King in His might;
Leading the host of all the faithful into the midst of the fight;
See them with courage advancing, clad in their brilliant array,
Shouting the Name of their Leader, hear them exultingly say:

Not to the strong is the battle,
Not to the swift is the race,
Yet to the true and the faithful
Vict’ry is promised through grace.

Conquering now and still to conquer, who is this wonderful King?
Whence are the armies which He leadeth, while of His glory they sing?
He is our Lord and Redeemer, Savior and Monarch divine;
They are the stars that forever bright in His kingdom shall shine.

Conquering now and still to conquer, Jesus, Thou Ruler of all,
Thrones and their scepters all shall perish, crowns and their splendor shall fall,
Yet shall the armies Thou leadest, faithful and true to the last,
Find in Thy mansions eternal rest, when their warfare is past.

Look what we saw out our window this morning . . .

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Some Perspective on 3.5M Sandbags

As always, first click is on me...after that, you're on your own.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Two-Year-Old and a Taco

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves--worth a 1,000 words, you know! :)

I Wonder If He Ever Got Out

Alright, Katie--here it is.

So, Lois, Katie and I were looking for someplace to park last Thursday at the FargoDome. We were attempting to do our civic duty (or better).

The parking lot was packed full of other "do-gooders"--which is good...except for this guy who apparently had never parked in a parking lot before!

I suppose it is possible (though I think highly unlikely) that whoever owns this little SUV was the first person in the row--and due to the snow didn't realize which way the parking space were arranged.

I suppose it is also possible (though again, I think highly unlikely) that ALL OF THE REST OF US were wrong--in which case, I'd be happy to apologize to the owner for any laughing that ensued the moment we saw his parking job.

I still giggle just a little when I look at the pictures.

Lydia's Date with Dad

We had an interesting early morning at the Martinson house last Sunday. At some point during the "crack-of-dawn" hours, Chloe came in to our room complaining of a stomach ache. We put her into our bed with a bucket and plenty of towels "just in case".

A bit later, but still long before we should have been even thinking about getting up, Sam came into our room and said that he was so hungry. I told him that he couldn't be hungry, that it was the middle of the night, and that he really should just go back to bed and wait until morning.

Well, on his way back to bed we heard "it"--and upon flying out of our bed, we saw "it"...and "it" wasn't pretty. I said, "Sam, go to the toilet, go to the toilet". He did. But forgot to lift the lid. Again, not pretty. I'll spare the details--because it really was pretty gross...but the bottom line is that vom"it" was e v e r y w h e r e!

We threw him in the shower and started the clean-up process...which took us basically almost right up to the time when we should have been thinking about getting up!

All of this led up to the point of this post--that being that since Sam and Chloe were sick, Lydia and I went out for a lovely (though quick) breakfast together at McDonalds before meeting at the chapel.