Sunday, August 30, 2009

Alive in Him - By Bud Hance

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

The final verse of Charles Wesley's "And Can it Be That I Should Gain?" provides a fitting climax to all that has gone before:

No condemnation now I dread,
Jesus, with all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th'eternal throne,
And claim the crown, thru Christ, my own.

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1). "Who is he that condemneth?" Not Christ! "It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" (v. 34).

As in our text, we are now alive through Christ's work on the cross. This gives us a standing far beyond our comprehension. "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him" (Colossians 2:9-10). The song calls Him our "living Head," and so He is. Peter calls Him a "living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious. . . . The same is made the head of the corner" (1 Peter 2:4-7).

In response to His love, we "put off concerning the former conversion |way of living| of the old man . . . And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24). Dressed in His righteousness, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day" (2 Timothy 4:8).

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fridays and "Creation Sings!!" Exhibit

Wow! This week went fast. Which is good in some ways. Just wish the evenings and weekends would go alittle slower. Although I enjoy my full time job, I enjoy the weekends where I get to be more creative. Happy Friday and I hope you have a great weekend.

I am off work today to get a few things done around the house and a few errands finished. Sometimes it takes more than a Saturday to get things finished.

Speaking of Saturdays, I will be hanging my first exhibit "Creation Sings!!" at Convergence: A Creative Community of Faith in Alexandria, VA, tomorrow morning. The exhibit opens on Tuesday, Sept. 1 and runs through Wed., Sept. 30. I will have around 15 prints framed and on display. The exhibit is intended to feature the beauty of nature and how it sings everyday. We are just too busy to catch the beauty of it's song as we rush through our busy schedules. I know, for myself, there has been too many occasions lately where I just didn't stop to enjoy. And, even, several occasions that I wished I had my camera on me. Anyway, the exhibit will feature birds, landscapes, and flowers.

Happy Friday. Come out and see "Creation Sings!" September 1-3o, 2009. Details at and

Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Friday!

Yeah!!!! It's Friday once again. I love Fridays, end of a work week, get 2 days to catch up on things at home and relax.

It's supposed to rain most of Saturday, but that's fine as we need it. My flower gardens are really starting to look sad despite my efforts to water them regularly.

I am hoping for a rainy day so I can work on my upcoming gallery. My work will be featured at the Gallery at Convergence, 1801 N. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA for the month of September. The exhibit is titled "Creation Sings!!" meant to bring out the beauty of nature's song it sings everyday whether we are listening or not.

On September 13, 3-5 p.m., will be the Artist Reception. This should be a lot of fun as I will be hosting an audio visual presentation, "A Journey Through Nature's Song", which will feature an overview of my work by projecting images on screens with pianist Mary Dart accompanying. Mary Dart has been an encourager of my art since I started out in 2006. I met her as she is the pianist for Ox Hill Baptist Church in Chantilly, VA, which is where I attend.

If it rains tomorrow, that'll make it easier for me to stay inside and work on upcoming shows. I love the outdoors so much that it is really difficult to stay inside and do these things on a beautiful hot, muggy, humid Summer Saturday.
This image was taken as a storm was coming in. I was working in the yard, had my camera handy and caught the image. I enjoy taking photographs of clouds, storms coming in and the aftermath, such as rainbows.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Chains Fell Off - By Bud Hance

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." (1 Peter 2:9)

The fourth verse of Charles Wesley's great hymn "And Can It Be That I Should Gain?" compares Peter's miraculous deliverance from prison with a sinner's deliverance from bondage to sin. "Peter was sleeping, . . . bound with two chains. . . . And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: . . . And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him . . . follow me" (Acts 12:6-8).

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quick'ning ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light:
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

The Bible teaches that before being delivered, "ye were the servants of sin i.e., in bondage to sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18). We were powerless to gain freedom on our own.

But "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6), bringing freedom and life. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened i.e., made alive by the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18). "And you, being dead in your sins . . . hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses" (Colossians 2:13). If He has done all this for us, how can we do less than follow Him?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

His Mercy Found Me by Bud Hance

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8)

The third verse of the hymn which has drawn our attention, "And Can It Be That I Should Gain?," sets the stage for the implementation of His majestic plan.

He left His father's throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace!
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race;
T'is mercy all! Immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!

The plan involved the death of God the Son. The Creator dying for the creation. The righteous Judge taking on Himself the penalty of the condemned. The rejected Holy One becoming sin on behalf of the true sinner. The convicted ones, powerless to alter the situation, simply receiving the offered grace through faith (see our text).

First, God had to take on Himself the nature of the condemned, live a guiltless life so that He could die as a substitutionary sacrifice. To do so, God the Son had to leave His Father's throne. And, although "being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God i.e., was willing to give up his kingly status: But made himself of no reputation literally, 'emptied himself', and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: . . . and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:6-8).

Adam had rebelled against his Creator's authority, and all of mankind suffered. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12), yet Christ's work on the cross changed all that. "For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many" (v. 15). Amazing love!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Immortal Dies! - By Bud Hance

"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." (1 Timothy 1:17)

The second verse of (often left out of the hymnal) "And Can It Be That I Should Gain?" poses and solves a great mystery:

T'is mystery all! the immortal dies!
Who can explain this strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries,
To sound the depths of love divine;
T'is mercy all! Let earth adore!
Let angel minds inquire no more.

Our text reminds us that God is immortal. And yet, "Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3) to bring us salvation. If this astounds us (and it should), we can take solace in that we are not alone. "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things . . . which things the angels desire to look into" (1 Peter 1:10-12).

Think of it! The Creator, the Author of life, has died to offer eternal life to His creation, for "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23), and the "wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). He died, so that we don't have to die! This grand plan remains beyond our full grasp, as it always was to the prophets and the angels. I could not live, had He not died!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Can it Be? - By Bud Hance

"Christ also suffered for us. . . . Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:21-24)

Those who love good church music have come to love Charles Wesley's commitment to and knowledge of his Savior and the Scriptures, for he wove into his music and poetry deep insights which challenge and thrill us even today. One of his hymns, "And Can It Be That I Should Gain?," has unfortunately been abridged in modern hymnals. The original five verses are expressed:

And can it be that I should gain,
An interest in the Savior's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him, to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That thou, my God, should'st die for me?

Even the Old Testament saints wondered why God loves man so. "What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?" (Job 7:17). The New Testament contains many similar expressions of wonder. "Behold, what manner of love literally 'what a different kind of love' the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1). "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. . . . And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (Romans 5:8-11).

The point is we were desperate sinners deserving His wrath. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love i.e., 'amazing love' wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)" (Ephesians 2:4-5).