VIDEO The Gift of Song – Serve the Lord with Gladness

The Gift of Song

Serve [worship] the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Psalm 100:2

Look in most modern church hymnals, at the bottom of every page, and you’ll see two notations: “Lyrics by . . . “ and “Music by . . . .” Said another way, most hymns begin as poems (lyrics), which are then set to music later, often by a different person. The Bible is filled with poetry of many different kinds—praise, prophecy, lament, confession. The largest collection is the book we know officially as Psalms and unofficially as “Israel’s Hymnal.”

But there are other songs as well, some specifically associated with the birth of Jesus. Mary recited a song of praise for the blessing of being Jesus’ mother (Luke 1:46-55). Zacharias sang a song at the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:67-79). The angels announced the birth of Jesus in song (Luke 2:14). Simeon sang a song of prophecy when the baby Jesus was brought to the temple (Luke 2:29-32). We continue the tradition of songs at Christmas with numerous carols extolling the coming of Christ into the world.

Lyrics and music are heavenly gifts (Revelation 5:9-13). What better time and reason than Christmas to lift our voices in worship and praise?


Serve the Lord with Gladness Psalm 100:2 First Word Video Blog, Episode 39

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Heaven’s Love Song

We love him because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

In 1936, songwriter Billy Hill released a popular hit song titled “The Glory of Love.” Before long a nation was singing about the joy of doing even little things out of love for one another. Fifty years later, lyricist Peter Cetera wrote a more romantic song with a similar title. He imagined two people living forever, knowing together they did it all—for the glory of love.

Revelation, the last book in the Bible, describes a new love song that will someday lift the voices of everyone in heaven and earth (Revelation 5:9, 13). The music begins, however, in a minor key of mourning. John, our narrator, cries, seeing no answer to all that has gone wrong with the world (vv. 3–4). But his mood brightens and the music builds to a crescendo (vv. 12–13) as John learns the real glory and story of love. Soon he hears all creation praising the powerful Lion-King of Judah (v. 5), who has won the hearts of His subjects by lovingly sacrificing Himself, like a Lamb, for our rescue (v. 13).

In the most moving lyrics ever sung, we see why even simple acts of kindness rise on the wings of a song. The glory we sing about reflects the heart of our God. We sing about Him because He gave us our song.

Father, please help us to see that even the smallest acts of love and kindness can remind us of Your love for us.

In what ways can you thank God today through simple acts of kindness?

By Mart DeHaan 

INSIGHT

A repeated word in today’s passage is worthy (vv. 2, 4, 9, 12), which is used to describe Jesus. But what does worthy mean? While a dictionary definition is helpful, the passage itself defines it. First, Jesus is worthy because He has triumphed (v. 5) and can therefore open the scroll and break the seals. But John goes on to describe how He has triumphed. Jesus is worthy because He has triumphed by being slain and purchasing people with His blood (v. 9).

J.R. Hudberg

Words of Our Mouth

James 3:1-12

Have you ever considered what a wonderful gift speech is? When God created us, He gave us a voice and a language so we could communicate. With our tongues we can praise and glorify God, teach His Word, pray, and express encouragement and loving devotion to one another.

However, our voices also have the power to hurt. It often starts with something small, like a thoughtless comment that can snowball, causing unforeseen damage. At times we may express our opinion in a critical way, which tears the other person down. Or out of curiosity, we might ask a question or make a suggestion that sows seeds of doubt and distrust, thereby damaging another person’s reputation.

Scripture calls this gossip, and God has strong words to say about those who engage in it. They separate close friends, betray confidences, and stir dissension. Most alarming of all is the fact that the Greek word for a malicious gossip is diabolos, which is also translated “devil.” When we use our words to tear others down, we are acting like the devil rather than like Jesus Christ.

God takes our words very seriously, and so should we. Jesus said, “The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matt. 12:34). Therefore, what we need is a heart transformation, and the only one who can do that is God.

Since gossip is the opposite of love, ask the Lord to give you His love for others so you can be someone who protects reputations, covers sins, and blesses others with your words.

Scars of Sin

“But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.” (Judges 16:21) 

The sad end of mighty Samson, who once had been so greatly energized and utilized by the Lord, is also an allegory and a grave warning to every Christian. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15).

Satan knows our individual weaknesses and tempts us accordingly. Many Christians have fallen into sin through some Delilah, but probably many more have fallen into sin through pride, or covetousness, or compromise, or apathy.

First, sin blinds. We are commanded to grow in Christ, adding to our initial faith the attributes of virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7). Otherwise, “he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:9).

Then, sin binds. It may not be with chains, as with Samson, but unconfessed sin quickly enslaves its practitioners. “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2 Peter 2:19).

Finally, sin grinds. Instead of the promised freedom from restraint, a sinful life soon becomes a “grind,” tedious and tasteless, like “the dog turned to his own vomit again” (2 Peter 2:22).

Samson did return to God again before his death, but he was still blind, and bound, and grinding. God forgives, but the effects of sin are not easily removed. How much better it would be never to yield to the temptation at all. HMM

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God

1 John 5

1 John 5:1

Dost thou believe in Jesus? Dost thou love thy Lord? Then thou art born again.

1 John 5:2, 3

Obedience proves the truth of. faith, especially obedience to the command which bids us love. It is idle to talk of being saved if we are not living unto God.

1 John 5:4, 5

Faith, then, is the sure evidence of the new birth, and if we believe in the Lord Jesus we are born again, and shall overcome the world.

1 John 5:6

Cleansing from the power of sin, and delivering from its guilt.

1 John 5:7, 8

Instead of all other heavenly signs, the church has for her standing miracles the energetic work of the Holy Ghost, the purifying influence of the gospel, and the peace-giving energy of the atonement. If there be no power of the Holy Ghost, no sanctification, and no pardon of sin, our religion is a delusion; but if these be facts, and they certainly are, our faith has solid grounds.

1 John 5:9-13

You do believe, but you may believe yet more. “Lord, increase our faith,” is no needless prayer.

1 John 5:14, 15

Answers to prayer are a powerful establishment of faith. The God who has an ear for our prayers is no fiction.

1 John 5:16-18

Whatever the unpardonable sin may be, the child of God shall be kept from it. We need not curiously inquire what that dark crime may be; it will be better to follow our Lord, and we shall be preserved from it.

 

For ever here my rest shall be

Close to thy bleeding side;

This all my hope and all my plea—

For me the Saviour died.

 

Th’ atonement of thy blood apply

Till faith to sight improve;

Till hope in full fruition die,

And all my soul be love.

 

It Will Better Farther on

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

Truth that is not experienced is no better than error, and may be fully as dangerous.

Remember that the scribes who sat in Moses’ seat were not the victims of error; they were the victims of failure to experience the truth they taught!

We should see that one of the greatest foes of the Christian is religious complacency. The man who believes that he has “arrived” will not go any further; and the present neat habit of quoting a text to prove we have arrived may be a dangerous one if in truth we have no actual inward experience of the text.

The great saints of the past have all had yearning hearts. Their longing after God all but consumed them; it propelled them onward and upward to heights toward which less ardent Christians look with languid eye and entertain no hope of reaching.

May we offer this word of exhortation: pray on, fight on, sing on! Press on into the deep things of God. Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will!

 

Nothing Old

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” Rev. 21:5

Glory be to His name! All things need making new, for they are sadly battered and worn by sin. It is time that the old vesture was rolled up and laid aside, and that creation put on her Sunday suit. But no one else can make all things new except the Lord who made them at the first; for it needs as much power to make out of evil as to make out of nothing. Our Lord Jesus has undertaken the task, and He is fully competent for the performance of it. Already He has commenced His labor, and for centuries He has persevered in making new the hearts of men, and the order of society. By-and-by He will make new the whole constitution of human government, and human nature shall be changed by His grace; and there shall come a day when the body shall be made new, and raised like unto His glorious body.

What a joy to belong to a kingdom in which everything is being made new by the power of its King! We are not dying out: we are hastening on to a more glorious life. Despite the opposition of the powers of evil, our glorious Lord Jesus is accomplishing His purpose, and making us, and all things about us, “new,” and as full of beauty as when they first came from the hand of the Lord.

 

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