VIDEO Sing to the Lord

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

It is hard to escape the melodies and lyrics of song on earth. The tunes and words differ according to cultural traditions, and with time new genres of song replace previous ones. But the truth remains: Music is the universal language of joy, storytelling, lament, praise, and emotion.

Anything that is so universal says something about its divine origin. Indeed, in the Bible all creation is pictured as singing songs of praise to God: humans, angels, and nature. It is no surprise that songs or singing is mentioned in two-thirds of the books of the Bible. For example, Ephesians 5:18-19: “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” The book of Psalms is considered to have been the hymnbook of Israel—150 poems centered around the Person of God Himself.

How big of a role does music, in praise of God, play in your life? Take advantage of all the many media options available to incorporate “spiritual songs” into your day.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun. John P. Rees


All of Me – Psalm 100 – Skip Heitzig

A House Undivided

Every city or household divided against itself will not stand. Matthew 12:25

On June 16, 1858, as the newly nominated Republican candidate for the US Senate from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech, which highlighted the tensions between various factions in America regarding slavery. It caused a stir among Lincoln’s friends and foes. Lincoln felt it was important to use the “house divided” figure of speech which Jesus used in Matthew 12:25 because it was widely known and simply expressed. He used this metaphor “so it would strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times.”

While a divided house can’t stand, the implied opposite can—an undivided house stands unified. In principle, that’s what the household of God is designed to be (Ephesians 2:19). Though made up of people from various backgrounds, together we’ve been reconciled to God (and each other) through Jesus’ death on the cross (vv. 14–16). In view of this truth (see Ephesians 3), Paul offers this instruction to believers in Jesus: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (4:3).

Today, when heightened tensions threaten to divide people who are otherwise united, such as our families and fellow believers, God can give the wisdom and strength needed to keep unity with one another through the help of the Spirit. This will cause us to be light in a dark, divided world.

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

How could God use you to be a “family peacemaker”? What Scripture passages could help you counter relational tension and fracture? 

Jesus, please grant me wisdom, courage, and strength to live in ways that demonstrate reconciliation with all people.

As A Father Has Compassion On His Children, So God Has Compassion On Me

One of the greatest problems in the church today is personal ambition on the part of ministers. The apostle Paul addressed this issue with the church at Philippi, saying:

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:1–3)

Those are very powerful words. Paul was not talking about superficial feelings. They go deep.

I have met many wonderful ministers, but the primary driving force of today’s church, as I see it, is ambition: ambition to build a bigger church, to hold a larger meeting, to put more names on the mailing list, or to make oneself known. Maybe I am being cynical, but, nevertheless, ambition seems to be a primary force in contemporary Christianity. However, Paul said:

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition.”

I have a question for those of you in the Lord’s service. It is, by extension, a question for everyone, for all believers are to be in the Lord’s service. By what are you moved? What prompts you to do the things you do? To speak the words you speak? To relate to people the way you do? Are you motivated by the love of God and by compassion? First John 4:7–8 exhorts us, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

Prayer Response

Thank You, Lord, that You care so much. I proclaim my desire to be motivated by the love of God and by compassion. As a father has compassion on his children, so God has compassion on me. Amen.

The Great Deceiver

When he lies, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. — John 8:44

Satan is a great deceiver. He first blinds his victims before he binds and leads them unto destruction. The great and mighty Samson discovered that. Before he could be bound and set to grinding in the prison house, he first was blinded. Gehazi saw only the shiny Syrian raiment; he didn’t see the leprous scars that would cover his face. Achan saw only the goodly Babylonian garments; he didn’t hear the execrations of the people and the lamentations of his wife and children or the crackling of the fires of the funeral pyre that would consume him and all of his. Judas saw only the glitter of silver; he did not see the darkness of remorse or the blackness of the pit into which he plunged.

The deception can be very small at first. At Stone Mountain in Decatur, Georgia, there is a warning railing that keeps sightseers from getting anywhere near the edge of that great rock. So gradually does it slope downward that if one were to get within 75 or 100 feet of the edge, he would already find himself slipping toward the precipice and would be unable to recover himself. With no way to stop, he would continue to slide downward until he plunged over the edge to his death hundreds of feet below. Sin, like this same slippery slope, pulls us down into things that we never expected we would do.

Question to ponder: How can we be alert to the deceptiveness of temptation?

Coddled or Crucified?

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.Romans 6:6

The spiritual giants of old would not take their religion the easy way nor offer unto God that which cost them nothing. They sought not comfort but holiness, and the pages of history are still wet with their blood and their tears.

We now live in softer times. Woe unto us, for we have become adept in the art of comforting ourselves without power….Those who will justify themselves in that kind of dodging are not likely to be much affected by anything I can say or write….

But to those who will hear I would say with all the urgency at my command: Though the cross of Christ has been beautified by the poet and the artist, the avid seeker after God is likely to find it the same savage implement of destruction it was in the days of old. The way of the cross is still the pain-wracked path to spiritual power and fruitfulness.

So do not seek to hide from it. Do not accept an easy way. Do not allow yourself to be patted to sleep in a comfortable church, void of power and barren of fruit. TET083-084

Let [the cross] slay you utterly. Seek God. Seek to be holy and fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. TET084

The Irreducible Minimum

For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in Him.2 Corinthians 1:20

It is time to face some very personal and pointed questions. Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God, divinely and uniquely inspired and reliable in all it affirms? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born of a virgin, and the only way to God? Do you believe that He was crucified for your sins, raised again on the third day, and is now sitting on the right hand of God?

I could go on raising more questions, but the ones I have mentioned are what I consider to be the irreducible minimum of Christianity. In other words, these are the basic truths of the gospel, and if you don’t take your stand on these truths, then you cannot call yourself a Christian.

This is what is meant by having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace—that you are ready to stand for the authority of Scripture, the deity of Christ, His substitutionary death, His resurrection from the dead, and His return to earth in power and glory.

Do you know where you stand on these matters? Are you sure of your spiritual position? How can you fight the enemy if you do not know what you believe? As I write, some of the daily newspapers here in Britain are calling on church leaders to give a spiritual lead. But many of our leaders do not have a high view of Scripture. How can they give a lead when they don’t know where they are going? They don’t know where they stand, and no one else knows either.

Prayer

O Father, Your Word promises to be a lamp to our feet and a light for our path. Bring those whose feet are slipping and sliding in the faith back to an unshakable confidence in Your gospel. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

Further Study

2Pt 1; Col 2:7; 1Co 3:11

Why are we given so many great and precious promises?

What should our foundation be?

Life and Light

Life was in Him,

and that life was the light of men.—John 1:4

When Jesus came to a world that was in bondage to darkness and dead in its sin, He came as light and life. His light dispelled sin’s darkness wherever He went, for the forces of evil could not withstand Him. The life He brought was abundant and free, available to all who were dead in their sin. (Eph. 2:1; John 10:10).

If you are a Christian, Jesus lives in you, and His light is within you. Christians are called to dispel darkness (Eph. 5:11). The light of Christ ought to shine so brightly through you that those practicing darkness are uncomfortable when they are around you. The light within you should dispel darkness from the lives of your friends, coworkers, and family members.

The fullness of life found in Christ dwells within you as a Christian (Col. 1:27). The life that Jesus offers is available to others through you. Don’t discount what you have to give to those who are hurting. Christ’s life within you is more than sufficient to meet every human need. When people encounter you, they encounter Christ within you. You do not know all the answers, but you have Someone within you who does! You will not carry the burden of the needs of others. Christ will. Be aware that just as many resisted Jesus, so there will be those who resist the truth that you offer (John 1:11). Be thankful, however, that God chooses to express Himself through you, giving light and life to those around you.