His goodness like a fetter…

Villa Olmo view of the lake
Looking out from Casa Olmo, in Lake Como, Italy

At age 22, hymn writer Robert Robinson penned the words of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.  Written in old English, I didn’t at first understand every word (like what’s an Ebenezer?). At some point, I had to look up the meaning of fetter, because the song goes “let thy goodness like a fetter.” The noun fetter turns out to be synonymous with shackles, chains, or restraints. Now handcuffs usually don’t mean good news.  They paint a picture of  confinement, imprisonment or lack of freedom.

Ironically, the truth is I have found no greater freedom than that which I have received when God chose to bind my heart to Him through His Son Jesus. 1 John 4:19 says “He first loved us”. Psalm 139 speaks of how God has worked in us from the very beginning. Yes, he pursued us first and He continues to pursue our hearts that are prone to wander. No matter how many years we have been following Christ or where we have gone to serve Him, while we live in this broken world we remain prone to leave the God we love.  When gifts outweigh the Giver or pain becomes prolonged, we search for a different savior.  When God stays silent through our questions, or when He removes something or someone precious from our lives, our gaze drifts away in quiet resentment. I’m so glad He knows what we are made of, and that He rescues us from our selfish and stubborn ways. Thus it is a blessing and a true expression of His goodness when His grace takes the form of much needed shackles to bind our wandering hearts to Him.

Many Christians love Romans 8:38-39 where Paul declares that nothing and no one can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus! And there’s a reason we love it! It reassures us of the permanence and security of our union with Him. There’s absolutely nothing that can break that bond. (Now we can feel good about the shackles).  Let us thank Him for lovingly binding us to Himself. Let us pray with the psalmist, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 17:8

“Oh to grace, how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be. Let thy goodness, like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.”  (from Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Robert Robinson)

 

 

 

He is the True Vine, I need only to abide

  • Recently, I spent a weekend with a dear friend to meditate on and pray through one of our favorite passages in the New Testament – John 15:1-16. In verse 4 of this passage, Jesus says “Abide in me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” I love the union that is described here. What a privilege to hear Jesus Himself saying “Come and rest in me; lose yourself in me; let go of everything and cling to me.” When Christ gave us new life in Him, it was as though we were branches that were grafted into Him, the Vine. But wonderful as that may be, the even greater news is the “I in you” – that He himself now dwells in us. At that point, He does it all, we need only to remain in Him. Like the sap that comes from the vine and nourishes the branch, He Himself sustains us through His Word and His Spirit. This sustenance flows in one direction – from the vine to the branch. The branch does not and cannot nourish the vine.  In his book The True Vine, Andrew Murray writes: “The believer is called to, and it is his highest blessedness to enter upon, a life of entire and unceasing dependence upon Christ… what a life would come to us if we only consented to being branches!” And why does the Vine nourish the branch? Why does the Father, the Vinedresser, care to prune us? It is but for one reason – that the branch would bear fruit, much fruit, and more fruit. The branch is not meant to fatten itself or boast of its foliage. Its purpose is to bear fruit for the owner of the vineyard; a task it can never fulfill, apart from the vine.  This is a marvelous design that tells us God is not only wise but that He is also gracious. He desires our fruitfulness but not before providing the means, the Vine, Christ Himself. This is why we can believe that “his commands are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3b), and be grateful that his yoke is easy (Matt11:30a). This is why Paul said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13).  I pray for a heart that yields and rejoices in the arms of Jesus; a heart that never wants to be apart from Him. He did it all and He does it all. We need only to abide.
  • vineyard
    Vineyards of Geneva Ohio

Joy of my heart

Thanks for joining me! Through this blog, I would like to share my journey with Jesus. Yes, I am a follower of Christ and would like to encourage my fellow women to sink our roots of faith deeper in our Savior and Lord and rejoice in Him in our daily lives. My goal is not to make you readers feel connected with me, but to draw your eyes to the Author and Perfecter of our faith. This is not about me. This is about Him who knows me intimately yet loves me nonetheless.  This is about Him who is the joy of my heart.