The other day I viewed part of a pastor’s message which encouraged believers to be responsible for their spiritual health. He was concerned that believers were being too reliant on their weekly visit to their local church and then blaming the church for not feeding them spiritually. He reminded his listeners that if they were not being satisfied in their spiritual lives, then maybe that was simply the result of their not taking personal responsibility for times of spiritual nourishment the other six days of the week.
“Many of His saints looked upon Him from the gloom of dungeons and from the martyr's flames; yet they never uttered an ill word of Him, but died extolling His surpassing charms. To keep our gaze on the Lord Jesus is noble and pleasant employment. Is it not unspeakably delightful to view the Savior in all His works and to perceive Him matchless in each? To shift the kaleidoscope, as it were, and to find fresh combinations of matchless grace? In the manger and in eternity, on the cross and on His throne, in the garden and in His kingdom, among thieves or in the midst of cherubim, He is everywhere glorious in His beauty.
“Examine carefully every little act of His life and every trait of His character, and He is as lovely in the minute as in the majestic. Judge Him as you will, you cannot censure; weigh Him as you please, and He will not be found wanting. Eternity shall not discover the shadow of a spot in our Beloved, but rather as ages revolve, His hidden glories will shine with even more inconceivable splendor, and His unutterable loveliness will continually ravish all celestial minds."
Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright (c) 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth For Life with written permission.
Yes. He is...
A beautiful musical meditation; questions and affirmations - the essence of meditation before our Savior. Now that Easter is over for another year, may the reminders of the reality of our faith move us forward in faith, deeper in trust, and higher in praise.
During my Bible study today at the First Church of Panera, I found an old hymn that I had never heard. I'll put it here since I don't have a hymnal in my library that contains the words and music - and I can't read music.
Here's the hymn:
And here's the tune:
Worship should be the desire of every believer's heart and the duty of every believer's mind. I've long thought of the importance of worship - how it is not something we switch on and switch off on one day a week, but how it is something that should be as natural and as responsive as breathing or eating.
And it is a response, as this quote says. It is not just an occasion or an event that one attends. It is what we do when the Spirit impresses upon our spirit the beauty, the wonder, and the richness of the person of God and the reminders of what we have and who we are which are the result of God's love and care.
Thoughts of His strength and His might - worship.
Thoughts of His concern and His willingness to guide us - worship.
Thoughts of His majesty in the beauty of a sunrise, or the tapestry of His making as the sun sets - worship.
Every sigh we make, every tear that falls, every song that is sung in response to His presence in our lives - worship.
Oh heavenly Father - may your people love You and live for you in an attitude of worship. An attitude that is a natural response and a desired response with every breath we take, every thought we have, every act we perform. As your Word proclaims: "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)
I was standing by the toaster oven preparing some breakfast when this song came across the radio:
It's a wonderful hymn, and some great words. But the final line of the bridge started me thinking:
"Jesus we will be faithful till You meet us
Give us Your courage as we finish
We want to hear well done"
And the thought entered into my mind - "What if I don't hear Jesus say to me 'Well done'?"
So I went looking for an answer, and found it at Got Questions, one of my favorite Bible study sites. Essentially it is a matter of doing the things that God has asked me to do - being faithful in the little; making them daily chores, and doing them with delight in order to glorify Him.
I have much to do.
Tim Challies featured a hymn written by Luther and called it "The Best Worship Song You Don't Sing."
And he's right... These are the types of hymns I love -- words that drip with meaning and cause a worshiper to ponder about the truths they present. But sadly, hymns such as this are rarely if ever sung in contemporary church settings.
A message from the chancellor of Dallas Seminary, my alma mater, on the opportunities of growth during times of misfortune.
Let me counsel every true servant of Christ to “examine his own heart” frequently and carefully as to his state before God. This is a practice which is useful at all times: it is especially desirable at the present day. When the great plague of London was at its height people [noticed] the least symptoms that appeared on their bodies in a way that they never remarked them before. A spot here, or a spot there, which in time of health men thought nothing of, received close attention when the plague was decimating families, and striking down one after another! So it ought to be with ourselves, in the times in which we live. We ought to watch our hearts with double watchfulness. We ought to give more time to meditation, self-examination, and reflection. It is a hurrying, bustling age: if we would be kept from falling, we must make time for being frequently alone with God.
J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)
So I switched over to Netflix and looked for something entertaining. After a couple of misses, I clicked on a movie called Lion - and found myself thinking about things like "love" and "being lost" and "finding home".
"Why is this powerful, majestic, forest-stripping, lightning-bolt voice so hard for us to hear? How does it radically transform the environment, yet fall ever-so-subtly on our ears? Perhaps we’re listening with the wrong ears. God’s voice is an intense and immensely powerful force, rather than a series of sound waves. Perhaps He issues loud commands to nature’s obedient instruments but whispers His love and guidance to those whose spirits can choose and must relate to Him by faith. Perhaps if He dictated everything to us clearly and decisively, it would be the end of a relationship and the beginning of rote servitude — a condition for which He did not design us. Regardless, we need to understand that the voice we strain to hear isn’t weak. Just one word from God can change any situation at any moment. He may whisper to us, gently guide us, tell us about His plans for us, and counsel us in the midst of our circumstances, but when He issues a command, it’s done. We must never mistake His quietness for reluctance or weakness. We can depend on the power of His voice — even when we aren’t hearing it clearly."
Tiegreen, Chris (2014-09-01). The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional: 365 Days of Intimate Communication with God (p. 16). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
Like the fire in the night
Like the ocean parted wide
Like the grave empty inside
You will see He still does
Lord, You make all things new
You bring hope alive in our hearts
And cause our Spirits to be born again.
Thank you for this new year
For all the potential it holds.
Come and kindle in us
A mighty flame
So that in our time, many will see the wonders of God
And live forever to praise Your glorious name.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
(Psalm 51: 10-12 ESV)
Cravings — we all have them. There’s the classic appetite dualism of “Sweet vs. Savory” ― the yearning for sugar or salt. Then there is my crucial morning quest for caffeine disguised in a hot and oh, so delightful cup of coffee.
Cravings can go much deeper. Deep desires compel us to search for something or someone to quench the unyielding thirsts of our souls. The elusive quest has many labels. Acceptance, love, respect. High on the list, for nations and individuals, is peace. Civil war, ethnic conflicts, domestic violence, and divorce all create a growing hunger for peace. A famous entertainer quipped, “I would give my fortune for a moment of peace.”
Is it possible that God placed these universal desires in us to compel us to seek Him? Saint Augustine seemed to be convinced when he prayed, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Think of it for a moment: Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He told His followers, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). We can seek peace from other sources ― a walk in the woods, through strong friendships, and in the places we live — but the ultimate lasting peace does not come through circumstances. God’s peace is rooted in His unchanging character. Develop a craving for it, and He will satisfy you.
Jesus, thank you that you came to give the gift of peace to me and each person everywhere. You are truly the Prince of Peace. I invite you to transform my heart, soul, and mind with your peace. Amen.
I have always enjoyed the musical ministry of Steven Curtis Chapman. But it has been 25 years since that amazing introduction was first heard - and the world was reminded that the life God gives us in an adventure "...like no other..."
This is the 25th anniversary rendition of "The Great Adventure"...