The ocean is one of the places I feel most moved to an understanding of God’s vastness, His perfection. Sadly, according to what I understand of Revelation, there won’t be a sea in heaven. The salt of the water preserves death: there will no longer be death. And the ocean, though beautiful and wild, is also terrifying in its great unknowns. It’s historically been a source of fear for humans (ever seen an old map with sea monsters out there in the deep?)…partly because it claims so many lives in its unpredictability, its hugeness. But I’ll enjoy it here while I can… That’s where I am this week! So here’s a little musical postcard from the seaside.
Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United … Interestingly, the lead guy sounds sort of like Leeland, but it’s not him (I checked). But in the future, if you’re ever looking for music that is Christ-centered but spans all different musical styles, Hillsong (just Hillsong, Live, United, Young & Free, etc.) is a great place to start. Going to their early albums will get you more of an 80s/90s praise-and-worship style but later albums, both live and in studio, are thrilling musical experiences. Beyond rhythms and strums, the lyrical spirit of these albums never fails to center me on Who God is. This song focuses on His holiness and, as a consequence of the gospel touching our hearts, our desire to be like Him. Philippians 2 provides a perfect context for our worship. Paul writes: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
“And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.“
As a result of verses 5-11 (Jesus’s humility unto death and His innate holiness), Paul urges believers to continue to seek to be like Him. He has called us to be holy, and only by looking to Him (“Jesus, there’s no one beside You” // “It’s all because of You, Jesus”) can we begin to change.
Your Love Never Fails by Jesus Culture is an old favorite, one I’ve known for years now. Jesus Culture didn’t actually write this song, but after they rerecorded it, this song took off in centers of worship across the United States. I think what’s so popular about this song is that not only is it rockin’ musically, the words strike a nerve in the hearts of many Americans. Love from people, especially in a society as selfish as ours, is conditional. Many of us could list specific painful experiences where important people in our lives failed us. They were not constant, they were not faithful, they would not fight to work for our good.
God, on the other hand, remains the same. 2 Timothy 2:13 — He remains faithful, even if we believers are faithless, for He cannot deny Who He is. Psalm 102: 27 — But You [God] remain the same… Countless verses beyond these describe God’s continued nature of faithfulness and love toward us. We who believe in God often go our own ways: the world is enticing, other people sound way smarter than the Word of God, we want to fit in… but despite all of that, God stays as He is. And in the end, many of us return to Him, knowing all the more fully how true and amazing He is. Why waste the years? I want to rejoice in the truth of His greatness and goodness towards us now.
Please take a moment to pray with me… Thank You, God, for Your endless and unfailing love. I pray that anyone reading right now, particularly someone who has walked away from You, will realize Your faithfulness to them, despite their unfaithfulness. Turn our hearts back to You, that we may rejoice in Who You are and we may in turn love the world with Your endless and eternally faithful love. Thank You for Jesus, who by dying, bought us out of sin, and by rising again, gave us this promise: that though there is pain in the earthly night we endure now, there will be joy in that eternal morning. That day we see You face to face.
See you very very soon!