Posts tagged ‘singing’

Eating Every Day

Much of our everyday existence is filled with routine. While some things are only done occasionally, there are a whole host of things that we do on a daily basis that are so routine that we may not even realize that we do them. And that’s not always a bad thing, for there are spiritual and temporal habits that are healthy and should be second nature to us. What I want to talk about are the things we ought to do on a daily basis so that they become part of who we are, but that get relegated to one day a week or times of deep distress and spiritual need. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Colossians talked about some of those things.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:16, 17 NKJV)

The foundation for all of this, is letting the word of Christ dwell in you. But not just a sparingly, but richly. We need to have an overflowing abundance of the Word of God inside of us, so that it is always coloring whatever we do on a daily basis. Now I don’t care how good your preacher or teachers are, they cannot get this level of the Word into you, any more than you could sit down one day and eat enough physical food to nourish your body for the rest of the week! We have to hunger and thirst after spiritual food, and that happens when we go to the Word and take it in on a daily basis.

In the physical realm, there comes a point when someone is starving that they lose their appetite. In time, they become so weak that they lack the energy and will to eat. The same thing can happen spiritually if we do not feast in the Word of God. What is amazing about the Word of God is that the more you read it, the hungrier you get for it. We need to feast on the Word in order to grow and thrive.

as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, (I Peter 2:2 NKJV)

What will the result of an overflowing abundance of the Word of God be in our lives? We will begin to have the Word come to mind just when we need it, or when someone else needs it. We can be a resource to help others along the way. We also begin to see things from a scriptural perspective, which is good, because in the end, it only really matters what God thinks about things, not what our own opinions are.

Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. (Psalms 119:11)

If we continually feast on the Word, there can press on towards the time when whatever we say and do will be affected by what we have taken in from our consumption of the truths of God’s Word. Does that mean that we cannot do anything at all without chapter and verse to authorize it? Of course not. Try finding a verse that says to floss your teeth! But the point is that when we start to see the pattern, albeit through a glass darkly, of how God thinks and the principles that we should live by, we can slowly move to conform our daily lives into ones that honor God and our Savior Jesus Christ. We can start doing things “in His name”, for we are His ambassadors here on the earth.

The natural and continual by product of this type of living is a spirit of thanksgiving. Our gratitude will be another thing that permeates out thinking and our actions. In turn, that gratitude will spur us on to greater love and good works. Which will make us grateful, etc. it’s a continual upward spiral! But again, the foundation is a continual taking in of the Word. If we stop and depend on what we read in the past alone, we will grow weak, lose our spiritual appetite, and starve. We will also be ungrateful.

So the next time you pick up the table, try doing this: open it up, pray, and then as you begin to read say, “lets eat!” and spiritually chow down. After all, you have to be full before you can overflow.

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Our God Sings!

Throughout the Bible, those who serve God are encouraged to sing. Under the Mosaic Covenant, the psalmist wrote the following:

Praise the Lord!Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly!
… Let the godly exult in glory;let them sing for joy on their beds. (Psalm 149:1, 5 ESV)

In Ephesians 5 believers are instructed this way:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; (Ephesians 5:18-20 NASB)

But what about Jehovah God? Does He sing, too? According to Scripture, the answer is “yes”!

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)

Let’s take a look at what else this verse says about our God.
1. He is in our midst. While God is high and exalted, far above the heavens, He is also close to each of us. For those who will turn to Him, He is always just a step away. As Paul put it on Mars Hill in Athens, “He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ (Acts 17:27, 28 NASB)

2. Jehovah God is mighty, and He uses that might to save us. In the future, at the last day, God will mightily judge the world. But now, in this age, His efforts are directed toward salvation.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:17 NASB)

3. Jehovah God rejoices over us, is glad, and exults over us. This is characterized by gladness, love and loud singing! God is celebrating over those who accept His offer of salvation! At the judgment, those who are saved will be invited to “enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:23)
This is also why there is such rejoicing when a sinner repents. God and the angels literally have a celebration when someone is saved!

I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7 NKJV)

It is important to have a balanced view of God. He is not looking for reasons to condemn, nor is He grudgingly granting salvation. Ours is a God of joy, who is ecstatic about His children, and is overjoyed at the spiritual birth of every one that comes to Him. Let’s make His day and seek out those in need of His salvation. And then we can rejoice along with Him!

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The Jailhouse Rock

How would I react if faced with genuine persecution? I know how I hope I would react, but do any of us really know unless we are placed into that situation? I want to take a look at two men who experienced just that. Take a look over at Acts 16.
“The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.” (Acts 16:22-24 NASB)
Here we have Paul and Silas in ancient Philippi. They were God’s men, doing God’s work in God’s way. And the result? They are beaten with rods and shackled inside the deepest, darkest cell in the prison. What’s more, as a Roman citizen, Paul’s incarceration was illegal since he had not been tried! To add injury to insult, they were beaten with rods and received “many blows” to their bodies.

This punishment was particularly brutal. Rods were not designed to break bones, they were designed to bruise bones. From what I have heard and read, a bruised bone is excruciatingly painful and slow to heal. And with their fresh set of painful injuries, they were fastened down with metal stocks in complete darkness. So of course Paul and Silas had the reaction anyone would have in a situation like this. They began singing and praising God!

“But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;” (Acts 16:25 NASB)
Notice what time it was. Midnight! They had not been singing for a few minutes or seconds. They had been at it for an extended time, probably hours! And their music was not just affecting them, but the other prisoners as well. At a time like that, perhaps the words of Jesus were flooding their minds, as the recalled Him saying, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11, 12 NASB) So that is exactly what they did! And look at the effect their obedience had!
“and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.”(Acts 16:26, 27 NASB)
The first jailhouse rock and roll broke out and there was a great earthquake. But the effect was not exclusively for Paul and Silas. Their bold and joyous praises to God caused the other prisoners who had been listening to be set free, too! And later in the next few verses, it led to the salvation of the very man who had chosen the day before to send them to the armpit of the prison!
If Paul had asserted his rights as a Roman citizen, the jailer and his family might never have been saved.

What lessons can we glean from this account?
1. Doing God’s will, at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way does not mean we will never suffer.
2. The suffering and persecution we go through is nothing compared to the value of a soul!
3. The presence of pain is not the absence of God!
4. If you are surrounded by darkness, you can be a light.
4. Our obedience in the face of adversity will not only deliver us, but can be used by God to set others free, too!
5. Never underestimate the lengths God will go to in order to give someone a chance to hear the Gospel and see it lived out in you!
6. Next time you are singing praises to God, remember that there may be someone who can hear you that needs what we’ve got in Christ Jesus!

So don’t hold back. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad!

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