|Volume 17 Number 1 January 2015||
Mark N. Posey
The song “Heaven Holds All to Me” was written by Tillit Sidney Teddlie (1885-1987), a native of Swan, TX. He was baptized into Christ by A.M. Shelton at Golden, Texas in August of 1903, and he composed the song in 1912 on an envelope with a pencil stub, both of which he carried in his helper's overalls while sitting under a hickory tree on his farm near Golden, north of Tyler, Texas. The Gospel Advocate Company copyrighted the song in 1932. It is probably brother Teddlie’s best-known Gospel song. During his lifetime, Teddlie was not only a songwriter and hymnbook publisher, but also he was a Gospel preacher for the churches of Christ.
“Heaven.” Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people (John 14:2). A little girl was taking an evening walk with her father. Wonderingly, she looked up at the stars and exclaimed, “Oh, Daddy, if the wrong side of heaven is so beautiful, what must the right side be!”
“Holds.” We speak of people, places and things that hold our attention. Heaven is the desire of all God’s people, or the desire that all God’s people should have. “They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly” (Hebrews11:16a). Living by faith is much easier when we remember that this world is not our home. Our desire for heaven describes a strong longing. Going to heaven means Christians are finally with their Lord.
“All.” The desire for heaven is boundless and ever expanding. “All”describes the scope of desire for heaven. Paul spoke of his “desire to depart and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). The desire for heaven should engulf and overwhelm every part of our Christian lives.
“Me.” The desire to go to heaven is personal. “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” (C.S. Lewis. Mere Christianity. New York, Macmillan, 1960, 119).
As a Christian, I can have blessed hope because Jesus died for me, rose again and ascended to heaven. Since Jesus is there waiting to come again and bring His people home, “Heaven Holds All To Me.”
Mark N. Posey
Worshipers fall into two categories: (1) Those that have a worshipful experience, and (2) Those that simply go through the motions. Worship is not ritual, but experiential. Worship that is spiritual and truth-based will exhilarate the heart and life of the person gathered with those of like precious faith. The Bible teaches us about true and spiritual worship. Let’s look at Isaiah 6.
Worship is an act of reverence (v. 1-2). Two extreme aspects of God are: (1) The transcendence of God (i.e., God is above and beyond anything earthly), and (2) The immanence of God (i.e., God is present in every part and moment of the created universe). Isaiah was overcome with God’s transcendence, and thus, worship begins with reverence.
Majesty: “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up” (v. 1). Greatness: “and the train of His robe filled the temple” (v. 1). Supremacy: “above it stood Seraphim” (v. 2). Holiness: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” (v. 3). Glory: “the whole earth is full of His glory” (v. 3).
Worship is an act of confession (v. 5). There is something about being in the presence of God that makes us aware of our own unworthiness (Luke 5:6-8). Isaiah came to this realization and exclaimed, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of Hosts.” Isaiah recognized that his guilt was genuine and so was the guilt of the people. Therefore, he confessed. The word “confess” is a compound word (homologeo) taken from (homo) “the same” and (logeo) “to speak or say.” Confession is an agreement with God. The broken spirit and contrite heart are the marks of the believing soul.
I am lost: “woe is me, for I am undone.” I am lost because I have sin: “I am a man of unclean lips.” I am among lost people: “I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.”
Worship is an act of grace (v. 6-7). Isaiah’s confession and contrition were met with God’s gracious provision of mercy as He promised in Isaiah 57:15. This is symbolic of what Christ has done for us. Through His death, our sins have been blotted out, and our guilt has departed. Isaiah is an excellent Old Testament illustration of the powerful principle taught in 1 John 1:9.
Worship is an act of faithful service (v. 8). Worship is the motivation to application; we must live what we love! Isaiah did not discuss his call with the Lord, as did Moses (Exodus 3:11-4:15) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-10), but he accepted the appointment and made himself available to his Master. Isaiah’s prompt response and surrender to the Lord’s call reminds us of two fishermen in the New Testament who also heard and surrendered (Matthew 4:17-19).
How do we prepare to meet God? We must cultivate the lifestyle presented in Romans 12:1!