My God, My Portion, and My Love
Words: Isaac Watts
My God, my Portion, and my Love,
My everlasting All,
I’ve none but Thee in heaven above,
Or on this earthly ball.
What empty things are all the skies,
And this inferior clod!
There’s nothing here deserves my joys,
There’s nothing like my God.
In vain the bright, the burning sun
Scatters his feeble light;
‘Tis Thy sweet beams create my noon;
If Thou withdraw ’tis night.
And whilst upon my restless bed,
Among the shades I roll,
If my Redeemer shows His head,
‘Tis morning with my soul.
To thee I owe my wealth, and friends,
And health, and safe abode:
Thanks to Thy Name for meaner things:
But they are not my God.
How vain a toy is glittering wealth,
If once compared to Thee;
Or what’s my safety, or my health,
Or all my friends to me?
Were I possessor of the earth,
And called the stars my own,
Without Thy graces and Thyself,
I were a wretch undone.
Let others stretch their arms like seas,
And grasp in all the shore;
Grant me the visits of Thy grace,
And I desire no more.
This week’s hymn of the week is “My God, My Portion, and My Love’ by Isaac Watts (1719). This is a wonderful hymn in which the writer has a deep realization of how precious God is, to the point that he would let go of everything else so that he could have only Him. I hope that in our respective places where we may find ourselves this week, we can take time to consider our God, how precious and valuable He is, and make conscious decisions to choose Him and allow Him to have the first place in our hearts and lives. I hope that we can be like Paul, who counted all things as loss, as well as suffering the loss of all things so that he could gain Christ and be found in Him (Philippians 3:7-9).
Verse 3 is so sweet in that it puts many of the things that are important to us in perspective: we owe everything to the Lord. He graciously gives us so many things; He perfectly and sovereignly takes care of each and every need that we have. But the writer does not confuse any of these gifts with the Giver, as He is worth more than all of our safety, health, friendships, and any other earthly riches. We can give thanks to God for everything He gives and arranges for us, but the most valuable thing to have is God Himself.
I really like the end of verse 4. The hymn ends with the thought that I cannot force anyone to choose the kind of life they live. ‘Let others stretch their arms like seas to grasp in all the shore.’ Other people can reach for so many different things. But I choose to seek the ‘visits of Thy grace’ and nothing more. I have tasted the sweetness of the visits of His grace. The Lord’s presence, His mercy, His love, His person are so much abundantly better than everything else I could ask for.
Brothers, sisters, friends, I can exhort you to choose the best in life, I can beg and plead (and I sincerely do beg and plead that you would choose to follow Christ with your whole heart and life!), but ultimately the decision is yours. I cannot force you. No one else can force you. Oddly enough, as omnipotent and mighty as the Lord is, He will not force you; He waits for you to freely choose Him. What will you choose? I will tell you all that I, by the Lord’s grace, mercy, and sovereign aid, I just want to choose Christ with my whole life, I want nothing but Christ, and the ‘visits of His grace.’ It is my earnest hope that you also will chose Him too and enjoy the unspeakable and matchless treasure that our God is.
May the Lord open our eyes this week to see Him in all His peerless worth and glory, and may He give us all grace that we may love Him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and choose Him for all our days. Amen.
— Ian K
My Hope Is Built
Words: Edward Mote
Music: William Batchelder Bradbury
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
In Him, my righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
There are so many lines in this hymn that are taken almost directly out of the Bible. The first line of the chorus (after which, the writer, Edward Mote, originally named this hymn – “The Solid Rock”) has its roots in a number of Bible references, such as the “living stone” found in 1 Peter 2:4. The other lines in the chorus could also refer to Jesus’s parable about building your house on “the rock” found in Matthew 7:24-27. But my favorite subject in this hymn is the constant reference to hope, particularly in Verse 2. “When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.” That last phrase is almost a direct quote out of Hebrews 6:19-20 which reads, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
The veil that is referred to in both verse 2 of this hymn and in Hebrews is referring to the Holy of Holies within the Old Testament tabernacle. This was the only place where God’s real, divine presence could be found and it was protected deep within the tabernacle, closed off by a heavy curtain, or veil. Only one person was allowed to go into this inner sanctum, the high priest, and he could only enter one day out of the year. He would go in to convene with the Almighty God and to intercede both for himself and for the whole nation of Israel. But once Jesus came to earth, died, and resurrected, this opened the way to the Living God. Now we have a way to be in the presence of God Himself, like the high priests in the Old Testament, except now there is no restriction on being in His presence! We can commune with God every day, every hour, and even every minute!
This is our hope! This is what brings us through any darkness, any trial, any hardship. This hope is what allowed Abraham to become the father of many nations, even though his age and Sarah’s age made it seem like a hopeless situation (Romans 4:18). This kind of hope is what carried Paul and most of the other Apostles through great trials and eventually death for the sake of the gospel (Acts 26:6). This godly kind of hope is not like worldly hope, or rather it is not like the way we often use the word “hope.” We might say, “I hope the weather is sunny tomorrow,” or “I hope that I get a new car soon.” But we have no certainty in the things we are hoping for when we say things like that. However, with God’s hope, there is absolute certainty! Romans 5:5 says, “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” This kind of hope is something you can base your whole life upon; with this hope you will find your life’s purpose and destiny. Like the Hebrews verse said, it is an “anchor for the soul.” It brings us behind the veil, into the very presence of God! So no matter what you are going through, whatever “high and stormy gale” you may be encountering, we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast!
— Julian T.
Before the Throne of God Above (for the Lord’s Table meeting)
Words: C. L. Bancroft
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea;
A great High Priest, whose Name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heav’n He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart;
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me;
To look on Him and pardon me.
Behold Him there, the risen Lamb!
My perfect, spotless Righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace;
One in Himself, I cannot die;
My soul is purchased by His blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God;
With Christ, my Savior and my God.
Song: The Wise Man Built His House
“The House of God”
Message given by Rex Beck for April 26, 2020
Genesis 28:1-5, 10-22
Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. 2Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. 3God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!” 5Thus Isaac sent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.
10Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
18So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”
1 Peter 2:4-5
4As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;