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Let’s Sing!: “The Lord is My Salvation”

If our trek through Genesis is teaching us anything it must be this: there is no salvation in man, only in the Lord. The title of this past Sunday’s sermon, “The Lord Remembered Noah,” captures the heart of Genesis 6–9, and the anchor of our hope.

To encourage you during the week and to help us all sing better on Sundays, from time to time I’ll highlight a song here on the blog. 

With this theme of the Lord’s salvation in mind, we’ve been singing a new song over the past few weeks, “The Lord is My Salvation.” 


1. The grace of God has reached for me,
And pulled me from the raging sea.
And I am safe on this solid ground:
The Lord is my salvation.

2. I will not fear when darkness falls,
His strength will help me scale these walls.
I’ll see the dawn of the rising sun:
The Lord is my salvation.

Who is like the Lord our God?
Strong to save, faithful in love.
My debt is paid and the vict’ry won;
The Lord is my salvation.

3. My hope is hidden in the Lord,
He flow’rs each promise of His Word.
When winter fades I know spring will come:
The Lord is my salvation.

4. In times of waiting, times of need,
When I know loss, when I am weak.
I know His grace will renew these days:
The Lord is my salvation.

5. And when I reach my final day,
He will not leave me in the grave.
But I will rise, He will call me home:
The Lord is my salvation.

Glory be to God the Father,
Glory be to God, the Son,
Glory be to God, the Spirit;
The Lord is our salvation.
The Lord is our salvation.


Words and music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Nathan Nockels, and Jonas Myrin, ©2016 Getty Music Publishing.



What it Means to Walk with God

What it Means to Walk with God

In Sunday’s sermon from Genesis 4–6:8, “East of Eden,” we considered two ways to live outside the garden. We are not terribly surprised to discover the wandering way of Cain and the subsequent descent and spread of sin. We are caught off guard, however, by the record of Enoch, who “walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (5:24). Banished from God’s presence, there is nevertheless hope of a walk with God; that is, friendship with God.

Allen Ross, in his commentary, Creation and Blessing, quotes this century-old yet timeless reflection on this important little phrase:

The phrase is full of meaning. Enoch walked with God because he was His friend and liked His company, because he was going in the same direction as God, and had no desire for anything but what lay in God’s path.

We walk with God, and when he is in all our thoughts; not because we consciously think of him at all times, but because he is naturally suggested to us by all we think of; as when any person or plan or idea has become important to us, no matter what we think of, our thought is always found recurring to this favorite object, so with the godly man everything has connection with God and must be ruled by that connection. When some change in his circumstances is thought of, he has first of all to determine how the proposed change will effect his connection with God—will his conscience be equally clear, will he be able to live on the same friendly terms with God and so forth. When he falls into sin he cannot rest till he has resumed his place at God’s side and walks again with him.

This is the general nature of walking with God; it is a persistent endeavor to hold all our life open to God’s inspection and in conformity to his will; a readiness to give up what we find does cause any misunderstanding between us and God; a feeling of loneliness if we have not some satisfaction in our efforts at holding fellowship with God, a cold and desolate feeling when we are conscious of doing something that displeases him. This walking with God necessarily tells on the whole life and character. As you instinctively avoid subjects which you know will jar upon the feelings of our friend, as you naturally endeavor to suit yourself to your company, so when the consciousness of God’s presence begins to have some weight with you, you are found instinctively endeavoring to please him, repressing the thoughts you know he disapproves, and endeavoring to educate such dispositions as reflect his own nature.

It is easy then to understand how we may practically walk with God–it is to open to him all our purposes and hopes, to seek his judgment on our scheme of life and idea of happiness—it is to be on thoroughly friendly terms with God …. Things were not made ready to Enoch. In evil days, with much to mislead him, with everything to oppose him, he had by faith and diligent seeking, as the Epistle to the Hebrews says, to cleave to the path on which God walked, often left in darkness, often thrown off the track, often listening but unable to hear the footfall of God or to hear his own name called upon, receiving no signs, but still diligently seeking the god he knew would lead him only to good.

For more reflection on the subject of friendship with God (and how it transforms our relationships), read, “The Great Friend,” the last chapter in Drew Hunter’s, Made for Friendship: The Relationship That Halves Our Sorrows and Doubles Our Joys. Yes, that’s my brother. In this project of recovering biblical friendship, he explores the incredible privilege that is our friendship with God.

On Scripture Memory, Part 2: Some Encouragements and Exhortations

On Scripture Memory, Part 2: Some Encouragements and Exhortations

On January 6, Pastor Abe Stratton delivered the book of Hebrews from memory, in a sermon titled, “Looking to Jesus.” In Part 1, Abe discussed observations and benefits from memorizing a large portion of Scripture. In this second and final guest-post, Abe shares with us some encouragements and exhortations related to Scripture memory. 


In this post I’d like to encourage and exhort you to step out in faith, to memorize a section of Scripture that is larger than you think you can handle. Why? Because the rewards are great and eternal!

1. Memorize for the long-haul.

Set a goal (e.g. memorizing a book of the Bible), and then stick with it. You don’t have to be in a hurry; you don’t even have to set a deadline. The purpose is to meditate on the very words of God and incorporate them into life, not finish by a certain date. This mindset also guards you against holding onto your plan too tightly. It can be easy to cherish your plan of memorization instead of cherishing God’s Word. Let the Word be what is most important to you.

It took me 2.5 years to memorize Hebrews, and I remember thinking at the outset, “I’m going to stick with this no matter how long it takes.” But frankly, I didn’t anticipate how long it would take. Sometimes plunging into something without scoping it out to the nth degree can save a lot of anxiety or despair at the size of the goal.

2. Persevere through hard days. 

Work at it even when your mind is distracted and your body is tired. There were days when I felt as if my memorization time was not doing any good. It seemed as though I was working through the same set of words over and over, yet they weren’t finding a place in my head (or in my heart). However, I believe there is value to washing ourselves with the Word even when we don’t think it’s doing much good. The Word of God is alive and powerful, and the Holy Spirit wields His sword in ways we cannot always see or sense. There is also value to “sweating” in memorization. Let’s be honest: it’s hard work. As with physical exercise, there are days when you don’t want to or don’t feel like doing it. However, the effort, the strain, the labor is part of our imperfect human experience, and our God rewards His children who persevere in obedience to Him. So, “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Gal. 6:9)

3. Memorize strategically.

There are two Memorize for yourself. Where is your view of God deficient? What are you struggling with? What do you need? I chose to begin memorizing Hebrews because I saw that I had a deficient view of how the Old Testament and the New Testament are connected. From what I knew of Hebrews, it seemed to be the best book to ingest in order to better understand the continuity and discontinuity between the testaments.

With that in mind, here’s a caution: memorize through the Word. I am not completely against memorizing individual verses on a topic (e.g. individual verses on purity or the tongue). However, memorizing through a longer portion of Scripture makes you understand God’s thinking surrounding specific verses that we often pull out of their context. Also, memorizing long portions of Scripture changes you. God may actually use seemingly unrelated texts of Scripture to change you in that area of struggle (e.g. purity or the tongue). Simply filling your mind with the written Word and reveling in the Living Word (Christ) turn you from the idols which capture your attention.

In addition to memorizing for yourself, memorize different genres of Scripture. I think it is helpful to go back and forth between the Old Testament and New Testament. My pattern in memorization is to alternate between an Old Testament book and a New Testament book. This, I think, gives me a better overall exposure to the entirety of God’s Word. I don’t think it is wise to memorize only passages of Scripture that “I like.” It is necessary to memorize Scripture which stretches me and expands my view of God.

4. Find a quiet, undisturbed location.

This will help you stay focused. You can speak as loudly as you want, and you don’t have to be afraid of what people will think. Your mind will begin to get into a routine; it recognizes when you’re going to the same place for the same purpose. I realized this when I worked on my memorization outside of my normal location; it was more challenging to focus.

5. Share your experiences with others.

You could be the catalyst which the Spirit will use to push others to cherish and memorize the Word. Frankly, writing this blog post and talking to others about my experiences in memorizing Hebrews haven’t always been easy. At times I felt like it was bragging to share these thoughts; however, if I can serve other brothers and sisters and encourage them to meditate on the life-giving Word, then I cannot keep my mouth shut.

6. Memorizing the Word is an undervalued, under-practiced, and untapped treasure.

In my interaction with many believers I believe that the Word is not a priority to them. This is evidenced in personal decisions or conclusions which are contrary to the Scripture but which we easily justify. If our minds are to be made new, if our bodies are to be holy and ready to meet our Savior, if we are to be a people zealous for good works, if the Gospel is going to be precious to us, if our Savior is going to be more attractive than anything else, then His Word must be dwelling richly in our minds. And I know of no better way for it to dwell richly in your mind than for you to memorize it!

We Have a Confession to Make

We Have a Confession to Make

In Sunday’s sermon from Genesis 3, “Did God Actually Say?,” we watched sin enter the world through Adam’s attempt to dethrone God. We watched God drive the first human couple out of his presence, but not without the promise of One who would crush the head of the serpent.

It is difficult to name a more relevant chapter for any of us. We have in this account an embarrassingly honest portrayal of the inner workings of sin in our hearts, and hope for the day when sin won’t be a problem for us anymore.

One take-away for the Christian is to learn how not to confess our sins.

Adam is our bad example, avoiding the matter and finally saying, “I ate,” but only after blaming both his wife and God (Gen. 3:12). As those who have put off the “old self,” let us confess sin straightforwardly (Eph. 4:22–24).

This is not easy, but we find help in texts such as Psalm 51 or Psalm 32. We also find help from saints who have gone before us. Here’s a good example of a prayer to help us pray from The Book of Common Prayer (1662).

Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind In Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

Personal and corporate confession sin—genuine, straightforward, heartfelt confession—is basic to the vitality and healthy of any gospel church. As we confess our sins to God, let us do so with thankfulness for God’s grace in Christ, which is greater than the sin we confess.