VIDEO Our Two Great Treasures

 

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25

As Christians, we have two great treasure troves of devotional and theological richness—our Scriptures and our songs. The Scriptures are infallible; our hymns are fallible, but valuable. They are an endless source of joy for worshipers.

The Bible tells us to worship God with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19). When we do so, we’re tuning to a divine frequency. We are using the gift of music to enable our prayers, our praises, and our proclamations.

We enjoy new songs for their freshness and exuberance. But we appreciate the older hymns because they have stood the test of time and, have become lodged in our memory so we’ll have a lifelong internal collection of praises to reflect upon.

But everything must be based on the infallible Word of God. Some Christians keep a hymnal on their desk beside their Bibles. When you have the message of God and the music of God—you have a life of worship.

Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through music. Martin Luther


Song in the Night, Acts 16:25 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

How to Wait

Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. Psalm 27:7

Frustrated and disappointed with church, seventeen-year-old Trevor began a years-long quest for answers. But nothing he explored seemed to satisfy his longings or answer his questions.

His journey did draw him closer to his parents. Still, he had problems with Christianity. During one discussion, he exclaimed bitterly, “The Bible is full of empty promises.”

Another man faced disappointment and hardship that fueled his doubts. But as David fled from enemies who sought to kill him, his response was not to run from God but to praise Him. “Though war break out against me, even then I will be confident,” he sang (Psalm 27:3).

Yet David’s poem still hints at doubt. His cry, “Be merciful to me and answer me” (v. 7), sounds like a man with fears and questions. “Do not hide your face from me,” David pleaded. “Do not reject me or forsake me” (v. 9).

David didn’t let his doubts paralyze him, however. Even in those doubts, he declared, “I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (v. 13). Then he addressed his readers: you, me, and the Trevors of this world. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (v. 14).

We won’t find fast, simple answers to our huge questions. But we will find—when we wait for Him—a God who can be trusted.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Witnessing With the Right Attitude

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Sharing our faith is an important part of the Christian life—that is the way others come to know Jesus Christ. But how are we to communicate this good news? Often when the Lord opens a door for a spiritual conversation, we’re unsure what to say and wonder if our message will be rejected. What’s more, if the other person is a family member or coworker, we may worry that being forthright about our beliefs will strain the relationship.

When Paul came to the city of Corinth, He came “in weakness and in fear and in much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2:3). But his concern was for the people’s salvation—not for himself. He didn’t try to manipulate the Corinthians into receiving Christ as Savior, nor did he try to impress them with his knowledge and wisdom. He came in humility, fully relying on the Holy Spirit’s power to save lost souls.

That’s exactly how we should approach witnessing—by getting our mind off ourselves and trusting the Lord to use us in our fear and weakness. So let’s stop focusing on how we might be perceived or whether we’ll be rejected. Instead, remember that as we share the gospel, God will save those who are lost.

No Not I, but Christ

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

The second verse of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” continues by rightly identifying the focus of a believer’s affections. This song does not direct our affection to objects like the cross or the blood and so imply improper worship, but it clearly specifies the deity and work of Christ as paramount to us. We worship Him for who He is and what He has done and is doing on our behalf. His death makes all the difference to us.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

We know that “being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). What happened there? “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10).

Today we no longer have an obligation to render animal sacrifices to God for our sin, but we do need to offer something better than even our best. Scripture asks us to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1). We do not literally sacrifice ourselves to His blood, but we cherish and recognize that the shedding of His blood on the cross makes it all possible. JDM

Avoid The Dry Rot of Nonexpectation

And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

—Acts 6:7

 

The church is afflicted by dry rot. This is best explained when the psychology of nonexpectation takes over and spiritual rigidity sets in, which is an inability to visualize anything better, a lack of desire for improvement.

There are many who respond by arguing, “I know lots of evangelical churches that would like to grow, and they do their best to get the crowds in. They want to grow and have contests to make their Sunday school larger.” That is true, but they are trying to get people to come and share their rut. They want people to help them celebrate the rote and finally join in the rot. Because the Holy Spirit is not given a chance to work in our services, nobody is repenting, nobody is seeking God, nobody is spending a day in quiet waiting on God with open Bible seeking to mend his or her ways…. But more people for what? More people to come and repeat our dead services without feeling, without meaning, without wonder, without surprise? More people to join us in the bondage to the rote? For the most part, spiritual rigidity that cannot bend is too weak to know just how weak it is.   RRR008-009

Lord, not more people, but more of You. Let me wait upon You, keep me faithful, send Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

It’s A Choice

Choose you this day whom ye will serve….God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods.

—Joshua 24:15-16

 

 

It is the spark of God within a person that troubles him or her. That spark is placed within by the Spirit of God. Conviction. Longing. Desire. That spark within does not save. But that spark must be there to lead the person on to salvation.

Why is it that some men and women seem never to have any awareness of that spark from God? They may be nice people, nice neighbors, nice friends. But they live every day without any spark of discontent, without any spark of need for God….

God has made us with the right to make our own choices. We were not created to be robots. God made us in His own image, but with the right and the ability to choose. We are free moral agents.

When our first parents made the wrong choices, the human race became alienated from God. Since that time, every person has been faced with choices and decisions. MMG063-064

Happiness is nothing but that inward sweet delight, which will arise from the harmonious agreement between our wills and the will of God. JAS147

 

A Happy Religion

Psalm 34:1

A happy religion is an attractive one. The bulk of the people around us are unsatisfied and unhappy, if not positively miserable. Nothing impresses them like the appearance of a glad and happy spirit in others. When they see it, they are apt to ask for the secret of the gladness and wonder whether they could find the same joy themselves.

All genuine salvation results in happiness and joy in the Lord. This is the experience of all truly converted souls. The first feeling of the newborn child of God is to sing or shout the praises of his Savior. Who is there that has not, at such times, felt heart and soul in harmony with the poet Watts when he writes:

 

I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath,

And when my voice is lost in death

Praise shall employ my nobler powers.

My days of praise shall ne’er be past,

While life, or thought, or being last,

Or immortality endures.

 

Look at these two dear apostles, Paul and Silas, shut up in the deepest, darkest dungeon of the prison at Philippi. What a pitiable spectacle they present! Their feet are made fast in the stocks so that they can neither stand up nor lie down; and their poor backs are bleeding and smarting as the result of the scourging they received the day before.

How do they pass the weary hours? Let us listen. At midnight they burst out into prayer and praise—not a muttered, mumbled, melancholy sound, neither heard by man nor regarded by God. No, it is a glad song that rings out loud enough for all the prisoners to hear and, best of all, that reaches the ears of God.

To show His approval of this hallelujah kind of business, God caused an earthquake that shook the prison and liberated the prisoners. Then came the conversion of the jailor and the freedom of the Apostles, while thousands of people have been blessed through reading the story.

This joyful praise-God religion will help to keep depression, unbelief, and dissatisfaction away and will assist our growth in holiness.

William Booth, The Warrior’s Daily Portion