Our Strength And Song – So Sow

music sheet
Our Strength And Song

The Lord shall reign forever and ever. —Exodus 15:18

Often called “The March King,” composer and band director John Philip Sousa created music that has been played by bands around the world for more than a hundred years. As Loras John Schissel, music historian and conductor of the Virginia Grand Military Band, said, “Sousa is to marches what Beethoven is to symphonies.” Sousa understood the power of music to motivate, encourage, and inspire people.

In Old Testament times, the people of Israel were often inspired to compose and sing songs to celebrate God’s help during times of need. When the Lord saved His people from certain destruction by Pharaoh’s army, “Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord . . . ‘I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation’ ” (Ex. 15:1-2).

Music has the power to lift our spirits by reminding us of God’s faithfulness in the past. When we’re discouraged, we can sing songs and hymns that raise our eyes from the challenging circumstances we face to see the power and presence of the Lord. We are reminded that He is our strength, our song, and our salvation.

Trust in Him, ye saints, forever—
He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force nor guile can sever
Those He loves from Him. —Kelly

Songs of praise raise our eyes to see God’s faithfulness.

By David C. McCasland

So Sow

He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6

Once when Rosalind Goforth grew discouraged with her missionary work in China, she wrote the words of 2 Corinthians 9:6 on the blackboard in her home and she looked at them daily. “This promise remained constantly before me,” she later said, “an ever-present incentive to sow bountifully the Gospel seed…even though it often seemed the seed was being cast on stony ground. The day came, however, when my beloved husband and I were permitted to see bountiful harvests of souls reaped for our Master in that region.” Indeed, the crowds at Jonathan’s rallies sometimes numbered 25,000, a multitude unheard of in Chinese evangelism. Multitudes came to Christ during their career, and fifty Chinese converts became ministers or evangelists.

We have a large assortment of seed to sow—our Gospel witness, Gospel literature, our testimonies, our tithes and offerings, our acts of kindness and charity. The Bible promises that those who sow faithfully will reap a harvest. We can only reap if we sow.

So what Gospel seed can you sow today?

He who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. Saint Basil (330-379)

Recommended Reading: Galatians 6:6-10

Our Responsibility to Rest

Psalms 37:1-8

Today’s passage promises, “[God] will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalms 37:4). But it also names three requirements for that promise: We must delight in the Lord, we should trust in His plan, and we need to rest in Him. Resting in the Lord is one of the hardest tasks we must undertake.

Resting may sound easy, but it requires supernatural courage, since in our human weakness, we tend to fret. Worry turns our minds away from delight and trust in the Lord. The three requirements are interrelated. We must enjoy spending time with God in order to learn to trust Him and commit to His way; our trust is absolutely essential to resting in Him; and we must be willing to rest in order to truly delight in Him.

Patiently waiting for the Lord to act is one of the supreme tests of our spiritual maturity. The stronger our desire is, the shorter our delay fuse. Sometimes we may desperately want to give God a timetable, but genuine, restorative rest occurs on His schedule. Only He understands every circumstance and knows the precise moment when answering our prayer will yield maximum benefit. We risk reaping disappointment, pain, and loss whenever we push ahead of His divine timeline.

Before you get out of bed each day, say a prayer like this one: Father, I want to thank You for giving me the desires of my heart. Today, I am going to delight myself in You, commit everything to You, and rest in the knowledge that You have everything under control. And I will wait for Your perfect timing. If you follow the guidance of Psalms 37, God will richly bless you.

Pilgrims on the Earth

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” (Hebrews 11:13-14)

This is the heart-touching testimony of the great “heroes of faith” of Hebrews 11. The experiences of all these godly men and women of the past are outlined as an example for us as we pass through the years of our own “pilgrimage” on the earth. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us . . . run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

There is another group who also gave their own lives, and the testimony of our text seems appropriate for them as well. Once a year, on Memorial Day, we remember in a special way those who died in defense of our own country. They had seen its promises and embraced them and were willing to die for them. Many of those were also Christians, and they loved their country, especially because of its unique Christian heritage and its freedom to practice and propagate their faith.

One of these was this writer’s younger brother, who died in the jungles of Burma as a young pilot flying the famous “Hump” into China during World War II. Before his death, he had given a faithful Christian witness to many of his buddies as he ran his own race with patience. Many readers of these lines no doubt remember their own friends and loved ones who likewise offered up their lives for God and country.

As we remember them, we surely must remember, with even greater love and appreciation, the One who made the greatest sacrifice of all, “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). HMM

Preach the Person of God

He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. —Romans 4:20-21

My faith does not rest on God’s promises. My faith rests upon God’s character. Faith must rest in confidence upon the One who made the promises….

When I think of the angels who veil their faces before the God who cannot lie, I wonder why every preacher in North America does not begin preaching about God—and nothing else. What would happen if every preacher just preached about the person and character of God for an entire year—who He is, His attributes, His perfection, His being, the kind of a God He is and why we love Him and why we should trust Him? I tell you, God would soon fill the whole horizon, the entire world. Faith would spring up like grass by the water courses. Then let a man get up and preach the promises of God and the whole congregation would join in chorus: “We can claim the promises; look who made them!” This is the confidence; this is the boldness.

Lord, begin with me. I commit myself today to knowing You more fully and preaching and teaching Your person and character as the foundation of faith. Let confidence and boldness be my testimony. Amen.

God’s Plain, Good People: Always a Benediction

For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people were added unto the Lord. Acts 11:24

We ought to thank God for the examples in the Bible of so many men who were good—even though they were not considered great!

We are grateful not that they failed to achieve greatness but that by the grace of God they managed to acquire plain goodness.

These men move quietly enough across the pages of the Bible, but where they walk there is pleasant weather and good companionship. Such was Isaac, who was the son of a great father and the father of a great son, but who himself never rose above mediocrity. Such were Boaz the ancestor of King David, Joseph the husband of Mary, and Barnabas the son of consolation.

Every pastor knows this kind—the plain people who have nothing to recommend them but their deep devotion to their Lord and the fruit of the Spirit which they all unconsciously display. These are the first to come forward when there is work to be done and the last to go home when there is prayer to be made.

Their presence is a benediction wherever they go. They have no greatness to draw to them the admiring eyes of carnal men but are content to be good men and full of the Holy Ghost!

When they die they leave behind them a fragrance of Christ that lingers long after the cheap celebrities of the day are forgotten.

We extend this tribute to Christian brothers and sisters in spite of the fact that in our world there is not supposed to be anything dramatic in faithfulness or newsworthy in goodness!

Bragging About God

That God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion. 1 PETER 4:11

Basic beliefs about the Person and the nature of God have changed so much that there are among us now men and women who find it easy to brag about the benefits they receive from God—without ever a thought or a desire to know the true meaning of worship!

I have immediate reactions to such an extreme misunderstanding of the true nature of a holy and sovereign God, for I believe that the very last thing God desires is to have shallow-minded and worldly Christians bragging about Him.

Beyond that, it does not seem to be very well recognized that God’s highest desire is that every one of His believing children should so love and so adore Him that we are continually in His presence, in spirit and in truth.

Something wonderful and miraculous and life changing takes place within the human soul when Jesus Christ is invited in to take His rightful place. That is what God anticipated when He wrought the plan of salvation. He intended to make worshipers out of rebels; to restore the place of worship which our first parents knew when they were created!

Lord, this morning I want to give You first place in my life all over again. It’s all about You, Lord. You deserve all my worship.