Month: February 2016
“Jesus is My Help” – Words To Live By
“And I saw as it were . . . them that had gotten the victory . . . and they sing the song,” Revelation 15:2-3, KJV
Songs. Movements of the heart and soul. I don’t know how they come about. Do they start with words that won’t let the mind rest until the lyrics are expressed? Or, is it a tune, a melodious humming in one’s being that beckons to become more?
Songs come and go at any time and there’s one for every occasion. Most great songs come from one’s life experiences. Whether in good times or bad, happy or sad, the man inside calls for a tune to join the ceremony.
Songs express joy and times of rejoicing. A good song motivates one when it’s hard to push forward in life and lifts one out of times of sadness. We see the power of this type of inspiring music in 1 Samuel 16:23, when David played the harp before Saul and the evil spirit left him.
Music is no doubt powerful. The most precious and heartfelt songs come after times of hardship and struggles. When we have gone through the wringer of life, made it to the other side, and have squeezed out a heart that expresses gratefulness to God. Music that tells the world that yes, it was hard, but I made it to the other side. After crossing the Red Sea did not Miriam put a tambourine in her hand and say, “Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously,” (Exodus 15:21, KJV)?
In the book of Revelation, we see songs of deliverance going up before God. They had overcome “the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having harps of God,” (Rev. 15:2, KJV). And, what did they do? “They sing!” (Rev. 15:3, KJV). Their praise cannot be constrained any longer. They have never felt freer than when they had overcome. That kind of joy starts to seep out every crevice of one’s being until it pours over in song, releasing praise to God!
Music and songs are wrought throughout the Bible. The psalmist exhorts us to “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing,” (Ps. 100:1-2, KJV). When the Assyrians were prophesied to be destroyed, Isaiah 30:29 emphatically declares, “Ye shall have a song!” (KJV). When Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises, the earth quaked and prison doors were opened (Acts 16:25-26). After the Last Supper, “they had sung a hymn,” (Mk. 14:26, KJV). James said, “Is any merry? let him sing psalms,” (Ja. 5:13, KJV).
I don’t have the best voice but I have praise in my soul that I have to let out!
I’m shy in front of other people, but I’m living to please an audience of one! It doesn’t have to be in front of a crowd (yikes!). Praise can wring out of your spirit at any time and in any place.
Give your heart – your spirit – your soul permission to rejoice. God has been so good to us – so, Sing!
You are an overcomer also. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” (Rom. 8:37, KJV).
Those in Revelations had every right to sing, and so do you. Just sing! He’s worthy of it today!
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Words To Live By/Daily Verse: “The path of the just is as the shining light.” Proverbs 4:18
Words To Live By/Daily Motivation: Faith can move a mountain, but Love can move a soul!
DEVOTION – No Turning Back!
For the children of Israel there always seemed to a pull to return to bondage; to give themselves over to chains as opposed to freedom. It was almost as if they had a case of the “couldn’t help its.” For every little obstacle they faced they were soon ready to throw in the towel and return to what they formerly were. They spouted, “Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness,” (Exodus 14:12).
Lest we judge them too harshly perhaps we may need to rethink how oft we fight to stay where we were once comfortable. God stretches our faith, pulling us to follow Him through what seems to be desert wildernesses. His fulfilled plan is on the other side, yet to get there we have to venture out into the unknown territories where He calls us, step by step in our own walk of faith.
Alas, through the drudgery and turmoil of the march, that old familiar pull rears its ugly head once more and beckons us to stay in the comfortable; to stay where we know what each day will bring. But, we know that settling will never get us to the other side of the wilderness. Turning back will never propel us forward.
May we, through this day, venture forth where God is leading with a heart of faith that refuses to turn back.
To Cuss, or Not To Cuss?
“The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom . . . The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable. . .,” Proverbs 10:31-32, KJV
To cuss, or not to cuss? Is it really a question?
One of my pet peeves, for I have a few, is going into a public place such a store or a market, and being surrounded by filth (and, I don’t mean dirty floors). What I am talking about is employees that work for an establishment, standing around in groups, holding conversations so loud it’s annoying, but also spewing out speech that is reprehensible. It really irks me to no content. This is a place of business. There should be certain decorum for those that work there to follow. That kind of language and obscenities should not be expressed in loud groups in front of the customers.
One day it goaded me so that I literally left the store because I was so offended. What people do with their lives is their business. But, when they come to work, a place that services the public, they should be there for work and not to stand around “expressing themselves” to one another.
Okay, so we expect that kind of behavior from those who are outside of Christ, right? But, what of those who claim Christ as their Savior? Speech, to some seems like a little thing, but shouldn’t it also be above reproach? Should not our tongues be like honey instead of dripping with bitterness and filthiness? Shouldn’t the instrument that we praise God with be just as clean in our everyday life as it was during Sunday service? I believe so.
In our culture many don’t really observe the importance of speech. With much of our everyday conversation laced with slang and things of non-essential, we really don’t revere words the way we ought to. I think this is a downfall to all humankind.
There are many that profess Christ but really find nothing wrong with a few choice words sprinkled here and there. They find no fault in a speech that is so far from the God they serve. The Bible tells us that God used His words to create the whole world and all that is in it. Yet, we see the tongue has having no real power over our lives. And, so, with a nod to secularism, many wade out into the waters of profanity.
If you are in Christ then what you say out of your mouth is more important then you know. According to Jesus, that which comes out of our mouths defiles us, Matthew 15:10-11. It makes us filthy and contaminated, reprehensible in the eyes of God, and it causes a whole lot of trouble. Proverbs 21:23 helps us by telling us, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles,” (KJV). Been getting into too much trouble lately? What have you been talking about?
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers,” (KJV). I don’t know about you, but I have never heard a curse word that “ministered grace.” And, it definitely doesn’t build anybody up.
Our mouths are tell-tale instruments that let people know where you are from and what you have in you. When Peter was in the process of denying Jesus, his speech identified him of where he belonged, Matthew 26:73. People can usually pick up on where you are from by how you talk. Trust me when I tell you this. My family is from the south with extraordinarily heavy accents. When they open their mouths to speak, you know they are not from around here.
When we open our mouths to speak, are we speaking with the wisdom of the just? Are we speaking that which is “acceptable?” Or, have we let the accents of this world take over our speech? Remember, people will know where you are from and to whom you belong to by the words that come out of your mouth.
Show the world a better way today. Give them a new accent with your speech. Withdraw from using that useless stuff and turn on the power that God has. “Minister grace unto the hearers.” To cuss, or not to cuss? It’s no longer a question!
What Would It Have Been Like? – “To See Dead Bones Live!”
Have you ever wondered what it would’ve been like to witness with your own eyes the events of the Bible? I have, and with that curiosity I let myself wonder “What Would It Have Been Like?” Care to travel with me today as I explore “To See Dead Bones Live!”
Can you imagine being there with God and Him turning to you to ask what is supposedly a simple but not so simple question? “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ez. 37:3, NKJV). “What? Did I hear Him right?” is what Ezekiel must have thought. “Can these bones live?” the question just rolled through his mind dumbfounding him. Awestruck, his response was as I believe mine would have been, “O Lord GOD, You know,” (Ez. 37:3, NKJV), while shrugging my shoulders all kinds of ways. At that point I believe Ezekiel was starting to realize in a whole new way the magnitude of God. Looking out over the valley and seeing the waste of what was once life and trying to imagine them alive, his response was to appeal to the sovereignty of God – “You know!”
“So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army,” Ezekiel 37:10, NKJV
If looking at a valley of dead bones isn’t enough to shake you, then what follows would have blown my mind! God does some pretty amazing things in the Bible and this by far has to be one of my favorite stories that display His sovereignty. It’s one thing to hear of people being brought back from the dead and it’s quite another to see the process with the naked eye. Think about it, what would it have been like?
Can you imagine being there with God and Him turning to you to ask what is supposedly a simple but not so simple question? “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ez. 37:3, NKJV). “What? Did I hear Him right?” is what Ezekiel must have…
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Devotion – Don’t Step Out of the Character of Christ!
“But He turned and rebuke them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of,’” Luke 9:55, NKJV
I think it’s safe to say that we have all experienced a time or two (or many more 🙂 ) of when we let the situation get the best of us. Here in this verse Jesus and His disciples were traveling and came to a town of the Samaritans. But, not everyone was excited to see Jesus and the Bible tells us that He was not received there.
In a moment of fleshly upheaval, Jesus disciples asked Him, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” (Luke 9:54, NKJV). Jesus was taken aback that they would be so quickly and willing ready to take the lives of some who did not support them that He rebuked their way of thinking. He said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of,” (Luke 9:55, NKJV). In other words, you are not operating in the spirit of who I am. You are not thinking like Me. They were not looking at people and the ministry the way He would.
Jesus set the record straight and said, “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them,” (Luke 9:56, NKJV). Jesus’ goal was to save people. His goal was to build up, not to tear down. Too often in our daily lives our anger and haste over a disappointing situation can cause us to want to act the opposite of the way Jesus would act, such as occurred here. But Christ declared His mission is always to save and those who want to do anything beside that are stepping out of the character of who He is.
We all have the responsibility to be mindful of the way we handle people and situations. Sometimes the situation can catch us off guard. Sometimes we let things get the best of us and we behave in the manner of these disciples. But if we are going to be examples of Christ we must try our best to think like He did and to view people like He did. Jesus always had the best interest of the people in mind. There were many of times when He could have just zapped them all and been done with it but that would not fulfill God’s plan for His life. God’s plan for His life was to save.
God’s plans for our lives are to show His salvation is real. If we want to fulfill God’s plan for our lives we have to learn to look at situations and people through the eyes of Christ. I am in no ways saying that it is always easy but it is a daily goal that we should work toward. We need to learn to exhibit the same patient and long suffering spirit Christ had. We need to learn to show His love off to the world and not be so ready to “consume” with our ire over a situation. Our goal is to work to stay in the character of Christ and not to step out of it.