Posted by: rcottrill | July 1, 2019

I Want to Be Like Jesus

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1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Thomas Obediah Chisholm (b. July 29, 1866; d. Feb. 29, 1960)
Music: David Livingstone Ives (b. _____, 1921)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Thomas Chisholm born, died) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal (Thomas Chisholm)
Hymnary.org

Note: Mr. Chisholm became a school teacher at the age of sixteen, then a newspaper editor, and he became a pastor for a short time (before ill health led to his resignation). But it’s as the author of hundreds of hymns that we know him today.

Note also that Chisholme died on February 29th, one of the few hymn writers who were born or died on that leap year day. Because 2010 was not a leap year, when the Almanac portion of this blog was written, I included articles for that date at the bottom of the page on February 28th.

Desire. The dictionary says to desire something is to wish for, long for, crave, or want it, often for our own enjoyment or satisfaction. The term seems to have come, centuries ago, from the phrase de sidere, meaning from the stars. Perhaps this indicated a belief in astrology, looking to the heavens to see what fate, or good luck would come.

We have many desires. Some seem to be good and worthy. We have a desire for financial stability, and the safety of our children. But because of the sinfulness of the human heart, we may also crave things that are bad, or harmful to us. When greed or lust come into play, our desires have taken a wrong turn.

And are there ever neutral desires–ones that are neither good nor bad? Possibly. There are at least ones that seem relatively inconsequential. But we don’t always know what the final outcome will be of the desires that result in a multitude of choices and decisions each day.

More importantly we need to think about this: what is our greatest desire? What’s the one that sets the direction of our lives, the one that influences and guides the lesser desires of our days? It’s possible to say of this overarching desire that, rather than us having it, it has us. It grips us. It flavours all we do, either with sweetness or bitterness, depending on what it is. Hatred or jealousy toward some individual can do the former, and wholesome love can do the latter.

In the Bible, some form of the word desire is used over 200 times. The first reference provides a negative example. The devil (in the guise of a serpent) contradicted God’s warning about not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge (Gen. 2:17; 3:4-5), and the Bible says, “When the woman [Eve] saw that the tree was…desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate (Gen. 3:6). It effect, they were saying God had lied to them, and Satan was speaking the truth.

Overwhelmingly, on the positive side, we see the people of God desiring to know Him, and to live to please Him.

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You” (Ps. 73:25).

“O Lord, we have waited for You; the desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You” (Isa. 26:8).

In the New Testament, this becomes a desire to know Christ, to serve Him, and to follow His example in both character and conduct (Phil. 3:7-11). Paul says:

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain…having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:21, 23).

“One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

Understandably, this deep spiritual craving has entered our hymnody. There’s James Rowe’s, “Earthly pleasures vainly call me; I would be like Jesus.” And Johnson Oatman’s “Shining for Jesus everywhere I go.” But it’s to a lovely hymn by Thomas Chisholm that we turn here. I Want to Be Like Jesus presents the ruling desire of his long life.

1) I have one deep, supreme desire,
That I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire,
That I may be like Jesus.
I want my heart His throne to be,
So that a watching world may see
His likeness shining forth in me.
I want to be like Jesus.

4) O perfect life of Christ, my Lord!
I want to be like Jesus.
My recompense and my reward,
That I may be like Jesus.
His Spirit fill my hung’ring soul,
His power all my life control;
My deepest prayer, my highest goal,
That I may be like Jesus.

Questions:
1) What is the quality you most admire in the Lord Jesus?

2) What are some practical ways this can be revealed in your own life?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Thomas Chisholm born, died) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal (Thomas Chisholm)
Hymnary.org


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