Monday, October 31, 2011

Relationship Addiction

Today’s Scripture: Hebrew 6:18b-19 

We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Word of Ministry

Have you ever thought about being addicted to love? It sounds like a good thing to be addicted to, but clinically speaking, it’s a problem.  

Relationship addicts live in a world of paradoxes that leaves them feeling as if they have no way out. They desperately want to get close to someone, but end up with a person whose problems make close­ness impossible. They seek security, but end up with someone who always leaves the back door open for a quick get-away.  

Relationship addicts crave unconditional love, but live in constant fear of abandonment if they don’t live up to their own impossible standards. They want to be free to love, but often trap themselves in a relationship by becoming pregnant or by weaving some other type of emotional spider web. Drowning in the whirlpool of their own emotions, they turn to a rescuer who cannot swim.  

When all is said and done, for healing to occur, if you’re a relation­ship addict, you’ll need to come to the end of your own strength and seek God’s help to resolve the hurts of the past and move to­ward a genuine focus on others. Without this, relationship addicts are doomed to a cycle of misery and futility. Remember, you can never fix what only God can fix.


God is more interested in your future and your relationships than you are.” - Billy Graham (1918-)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Living a life of ....

 ........ meaning and purpose

Today’s Scripture: Ecclesiastes 11:4

He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

Word of Ministry

I saw an interview on television awhile back about the poverty in some portions of our nation today. They were interviewing some people who have been born in poverty and have lived their entire lives with almost nothing to their name. 

It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. And as they interviewed these people, none of them seemed to have any goal or purpose in life. They asked one young man, “What are your dreams?  What is your purpose?” He replied, “I don’t know, just stay here.” 

So many people live like that today. They get up in the morning, slosh down some coffee, go to work, come back home, go to bed, and get up and do it over again. Then one day, they die without ever really living… only existing.

But God calls you and me to much more than just a routine. He calls us to live for something so much greater than ourselves and to experience real life in Him. But to do that, it means breaking out of the ordinary and taking risks for God.

Don’t just settle for the normal. Live with purpose. When you do, you’ll discover that life truly does have meaning beyond just existing!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Your Verse Five

Today’s Bible Verse Joshua 1:5

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.

Word of Ministry

Joshua 1:1-9 is one of the most often quoted, cited, and even commercialized of Old Testament texts; specifically verses six through nine. Here we find the Lord encouraging and emboldening Israel’s new leader using powerful phrases like, “Be strong and courageous,” and that he would “have good success wherever” he went. Joshua was to be a great man in Israel, blessed by God and exalted before the people (Joshua 3:7). But when we consider a man or woman of God’s prestige we should never forget about their verse five!

Here’s what I mean: Joshua’s greatness, like Moses’ before him, was to be a direct result of God’s constant presence.

Moses and Joshua may have each grown to be exceptional individuals in their own right, but it was God’s presence that made them great. It was God’s presence that molded them into becoming great leaders of men. 

God’s presence precedes greatness. God’s presence precedes effectiveness. And it’s God’s presence that precedes anything of eternal worth at all

Don’t fall for the trap of seeing men and women as great in and of themselves (or seeing yourself that way). Remember, it is by God’s presence and favor first that we can accomplish the work He has set before us. “Be strong and very courageous” is always preceded by a verse five; action is always made both possible and effective by God’s presence first. Check out Jeremiah 10:23….

Look for your verse five and remain focused on God’s presence in your life. My verse five is Jeremiah 29: 11-14 most people stop at verse 12 however the action to receive God’s favor is that we must seek after Him!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Today’s Scripture

Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5 

Word of Ministry

God knows the right thing to do for us—or to us. Here’s a story that illustrates this well:

A Norfolk-Southern train was traveling in Indiana. Suddenly the conductor spotted an object on the tracks. “That’s a baby!” he screamed.

Nineteen-month-old Emily Marshall had wandered away while her mom was planting flowers. The engineer hit the breaks, and the conductor raced along the ledge to the front of the engine. He then stretched out his leg and pushed Emily out of harm’s way. After¬wards, he jumped off the train and cradled Emily in his arms.

Emily had no idea why she had to endure a cut on the head and a swollen lip, but there was no other way to save her from an almost certain death.


Sometimes it’s that way in our lives. God nudges or bumps us to keep us from disaster that we don’t see or understand. But He’s right there to cradle us in His arms Grace when we need it.

The finger of God was on me all day—nothing else could have saved me.”

- Duke of Wellington (1769-1852)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spiritually Shortsighted

Today’s Scripture: Luke 16:19-31

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.


Word of Ministry

In Luke 16, Jesus told a story about a rich man who lived for himself and ignored God. After death, he experienced the consequences of his choices—eternal separation from the Lord.

Jesus described him as one who lived in luxury every day (v. 19), providing for himself the best that money could buy but giving little to the poor at his gate. It is important to realize that this man wasn’t judged harshly by God because of his wealth. The heavenly Father is not opposed to our success. Nor was the man separated from the Lord because of his lack of charity toward others. He did not deliberately harm others but, rather, overlooked those in need and focused on himself.

The rich man’s mistake was that he prepared everything for the body but nothing for the soul.

Our culture practices a similar style of living. Acquiring material riches and satisfying self is the primary pursuit of many in our world. Having what one wants seems to be the goal whether it’s a struggle to make ends meet or the bank account is overflowing.

Scripture says we were created to have a personal relationship with the Father through faith in His Son. The rich man ignored God and paid the ultimate price. Our eternal destiny depends on our decision about Christ.

Despite what our culture thinks, life is not about us. It’s about having a personal relationship with the Lord. Whoever accepts Christ’s gift of salvation will live eternally with Him in heaven. Those who reject God will go to hell. 

If you know any spiritually shortsighted people, pray that they will trust in Jesus.

“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood 

of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing 

but the blood of Jesus 

Oh! Precious is the flow That makes me white as 

snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”  
(A Great Hymn of the Church) 

However very true... For it is the blood of Christ that we need for our forgiveness, without the blood we have no forgiveness. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Spiritual Blessing

Ephesians 1:3-14

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed Don in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For God chose Don to be in Him before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in God’s sight. In love he predestined Don for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given to Don in the One He loves. In Him Don has redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on Don. With all wisdom and understanding, He made known to Don the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
 In Him Don was also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that Don, would first put his hope in Christ, might be for the praise of God’s glory. And Don also was included in Christ when Don heard the message of truth, the gospel of his salvation. When Don believed, he was marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing Don’s inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of His glory.


So I am sure by now you noticed this passage of scripture was changed. Yes but the only change was that I added my name and made this personal. As Christians with a right relationship with God, this was written for us. Even though Paul wrote this to the Church, it is very true for us today.

I would challenge you to rewrite this passage and put your name in the passage and then allow this blessing to go from your head to your heart.

Be loud for Christ; share your blessing with the lost. Knowing that in Christ you have incredible power. Do not be ashamed to share the “Good News”.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Displaying Christ’s righteousness to the world

Today’s Bible Verse

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
            my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
            he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
            and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10

Words of Ministry

Doesn’t it just annoy you when you’ve spent time getting ready for a nice event, put on your best clothes, fixed your hair just right, and without warning, you somehow get a stain on your nice clean clothes? It bugs me to no end!

Now, what’s funny is that if I’m outside working in the yard, I really don’t care if I get something on my clothes because I’m probably wearing stuff I care nothing about!

It’s amazing how when we are dressed in our best, we’re much more conscious of anything that might stain our clothes. And when we realize we’re robed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, we’re much more aware of the stain of sin in our lives.

When you come to faith in Christ, you’re robed with His perfect righteousness. But God doesn’t just give you new robes so you can go to heaven; He does it so you can show His righteousness to the world!
In Christ, you have been made fully righteous and clothed in His goodness. So live your life for Him by guarding yourself against sin and declaring His holiness to the world!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wonder, Awe, Majestic

Today’s Verse

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
(Psalm 8:1)

Devotion from Scriptures

This psalm was written as a song to be sung by God’s people. Imagine, if you will, living in a day before electricity as those who originally sang this verse did. Picture yourself, stretching out underneath a canopy of suspended lights at nighttime. The stars would have been breathtaking, overwhelming your eyes by their sheer number and collective intensity.

Most of us rarely have the opportunity to see the “heavens” outside of our modern city lights. But each night, David and the other psalmists would have the heavens open to them in unadulterated glory. They were well acquainted with the sky’s beauty, both the luminescent stars by night and the blazing sun by day, and yet, it was still written that God had set His glory “above” these astonishing heavens.. 

As marvelous as a brilliant sky of stars is, more marvelous still is their Maker. But how did David begin this song? “O LORD, our Lord”. He is ours; our God, our Lord, and the One who will welcome us home. It is one thing to appreciate and behold beauty from afar, but another matter entirely for it to be yours. Never distance yourself from Him who would have you draw near.

We were made His, and He has made Himself ours. Don’t squander the opportunity to draw close to His majesty.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The beauty of your redemption

Today’s Text: Colossians 1:13-14

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Words of Ministry

Do you know what that word redemption means? It’s an ancient word which means to buy back out of slavery or to pay a ransom for someone who is taken hostage or taken prisoner. It literally means an exchange that takes place—one for another.

Now in recent years, the world has become all too familiar with hostage situations and the requirement to pay a ransom in exchange for a life. And that is the word that God has given us in today’s passage to describe our salvation… that you and I have been redeemed in Christ; we have been liberated from the bondage of sin!

When Christ went to the cross, He made that exchange. He paid the ransom on your life to God the Father, who poured out His wrath on Jesus instead of pouring His wrath on you and me. And it’s that beautiful exchange that enables us to have eternal life by putting our faith in Christ.

In your sin, you’re held in bondage. But Christ has set you free. So as you live out your life as a Christian, always remember that you’ve been bought with the price of Jesus’ life and can live with God forever because of your wonderful redemption!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Wisdom of Right Relationships

Today’s Text: Hebrews 10:23-24

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.  Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

Words of Ministry

The subject of positive relationships is near to my heart because God has provided me with such good friends. These are the people who challenge me to do more for the Lord. My friends love me, but they certainly aren’t content to let me stay as I am! If they spot a sin in my life or see something I could do better, they say so.

Paul gave relationships a high priority too. The apostle surrounded himself with people who could help him achieve two things: fulfillment of his God-given mission and conformity to Christ likeness. While Paul was pouring himself into the lives of others, he was being built up and strengthened by his fellow believers. That, in brief, is the Lord’s plan for every one of His children.

What about you? Do you have certain relationships that motivate you to pursue God more fervently? It does matter whom we allow to influence our lives.

 The Father equips your brothers and sisters to invest in you—to encourage you, to pray for you, and to prod you toward a more complete faith—so that you are prepared to devote yourself to serving others. Good relationships with people who build each other up can help believers fulfill God’s plan for their lives.

The finest relationships are between people who want to see each other succeed in faith and therefore “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24). In other words, our best friends are those who love us as we are but never cease to challenge us to be better for the Lord.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Impact of Right Relationships

Today’s Text: Exodus 17:8-13

While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. 9 Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.”

Word of Ministry

The Lord laid out the plan for your life before the foundation of the world, and every day He guides you along the path marked with your name. He never intended that you walk it alone. Human beings are designed for relationship. By that, I certainly do mean that God Himself will help you. But in addition, He also provides men and women—fellow believers—to come alongside you as encouragers, mentors, friends, and co-laborers.

There isn’t a single biblical saint for whom pursuit of God was a successful solo venture. Consider Moses, for example—the human hero of Israel’s liberation, the recipient of the Ten Commandments, and the leader of the Israelites throughout their extended trip to the Promised Land. He sounds like a one-man show, but Moses had a network of friends and family providing wise counsel and necessary aid. He relied upon Aaron and Joshua in particular.

For the battle against Amalek, God designed a strategy that incorporated all three men. Moses sent Joshua to lead the troops while he raised his staff in honor to the Lord, who promised victory. When Moses’ endurance waned, Aaron and Hur held his arms aloft, lending their strength to support his mission. What a beautiful symbol of godly friendship.

Self-sufficiency is prized in the world, but it isn’t God’s design for His children. A group of people rightly connected can do so much more than a man or woman acting alone. Moses proved that. He was a wise and formidable leader, in part because he had the support and counsel of loyal friends.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Remembering God's Goodness

Today’s Text: Joshua 3:14-4:7

So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called… Verses 14-16a

When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe. Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.’” 4: 1-3


Words of Ministry

Some individuals have an amazing capacity to remember images or facts. Sadly, however, it's all too common for people to fail to recall the Lord's goodness to them.

In light of the human tendency to forget, today's verses offer a good example for us to follow. God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt and safely through the divided Red Sea. Now, He miraculously provided another dry path by piling up the Jordan's waters in an enormous heap upstream. The Lord knew that the people were about to enter Jericho, and that by His power, they would overcome the city. How compassionate to encourage them with a tangible illustration of His strength prior to such a battle.

But God also knew how easily they had forgotten Him. We do the same today; when the Lord works in obvious ways, it is easy to trust Him. But as time goes on, we drift toward self-reliance until we are reminded of our need for Him and repent. So in His love, the Father had a plan to help His loved ones recall the miracle at the river. He asked them to create an altar of 12 stones, representing each tribe of Israel that had passed safely through the waters. This way, they would have a tangible reminder of divine rescue.

When it comes to blessings, do you tend to be forgetful? If so, try to create reminders of God's faithfulness. Some people journal; others write key words on stones and leave them in noticeable places. Whatever you do, make sure you have a way to remember the Lord's involvement in your life.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Winning in Warfare

Today’s Text: 1Timothy 1:18

Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles.

Words of Ministry

After September 11, 2001, our country declared war against terrorism. Initially, this effort monopolized headlines and kept many of us glued to the television. Ten years later, there is far less publicity about the struggle, but we are far from experiencing international peace.

These are trying, uncertain times—and not just on a global scale. As believers, we face warfare constantly, wrestling with sin and its consequences. Continually at a crossroads, we are faced with a decision: Will we follow Jesus or let the pressures of life turn our loyalty elsewhere?

In any war—whether renewed tensions in the Middle East or our own spiritual battle—there are several actions essential for victory. Today, we will focus on the first tactic: knowing our Enemy and the way he operates. In his desire to draw us away from the Lord, the Devil attempts to bring doubt, sin, guilt, and destruction to our lives. He deceives, divides, and destroys.

Christians must stay alert with regard to the Enemy. When we are reading the Word, praying, and spending time with other believers, good protection is in place. By memorizing Scripture, we have truth in our hearts to shield us against deception. In addition, we can tell Satan to flee in the name of Christ (Mark 16:17; Luke 10:17).

Are you in a vulnerable position where the Adversary has easy access? Make sure your life is firm upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Unless you purposefully stay close to Him, the Devil will draw you away from God. Be like a branch that stays attached to the vine so that victory is yours.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What Will People Say When .....

....They Leave Your Service Tomorrow?

What should be the goal of our preaching and singing together on Sunday mornings?

Should preachers try to have the clearest, most engaging, entertaining message they can? Should the worship team seek to have the coolest arrangement, the most passionate singing, the most exciting sound?

These things are not necessarily bad in themselves, but they are not the goal of our Sunday mornings. Jonathan Leeman shares this great illustration in his book, Reverberation:

A group of American Christians in the nineteenth century planned to visit London for a week. Their friends, excited for the opportunity, encouraged them to go hear two of London’s famous preachers and bring back a report. On Sunday morning after their arrival, the Americans attended Joseph Parker’s church. They discovered that his reputation for eloquent oratory was well deserved. One exclaimed after the service, “I do declare, it must be said, for there is no doubt, that Joseph Parker is the greatest preacher that ever there was!”

The group wanted to return in the evening to hear Parker again, but they remembered that their friends would ask them about another preacher named Charles Spurgeon. So on Sunday evening, they attended the Metropolitan Tabernacle, where Spurgeon was preaching. The group was not prepared for what they heard, and as they departed, one of them again spoke up, “I do declare, it must be said, for there is no doubt, that Jesus Christ is the greatest Savior that ever there was!”

Here is the goal of our preaching and singing together on Sunday mornings: That we proclaim Jesus Christ, our glorious Savior and all He has done for us, and urge everyone to respond to Him appropriately.

When people leave our churches tomorrow, may they not say, “What moving worship, what a great worship band, what an incredible preacher, or what a cool building,” but may they say, “What an incredible Savior!” 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Grace That Makes People Flinch

For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge.  I will pay them back.” He also said, “The Lord will judge his own people.” Hebrews 10:28-30

Seven-year-old Kathleen Edward is dying from Huntington’s disease, the same disease that killed her mother, Laura, at age 24. 

Unfortunately for Kathleen, though, her coming death wasn't enough to end a long-standing feud that a neighbor couple had with her now-deceased mother. 

(The feud apparently started when Laura Edward failed to return a text message about a children’s birthday party in a timely manner.) 

There is nothing unusual there, right? We all occasionally feel slighted by others’ behaviors, yes? 

These neighbors, though, took their grudge to some disgusting extremes. After Laura Edward’s death, for example, the neighbor wife posted doctored photos of the dying 7-year-old on her Facebook page. One picture featured little Kathleen in the arms of a grim reaper and another displayed Kathleen’s face as part of a skull and crossbones. 

They also hitched a coffin to a pick-up truck and parked it on the street in front of the dying girl’s house (they have since claimed it was a Halloween decoration). As you can imagine, after the news story aired, everybody involved started reaping what they sowed. The adult bullies started getting death wishes of their own, their house got egged, and the public started calling them “lousy excuses for humans” and saying they wished to meet them “in a dark alley.” (And those were the nicest comments.) 

In fact, since a local news channel covered the feud, the bullying woman has been arrested for assaulting another neighbor and two of her children have been sent to live with their father. Reporters, of course, flew to these stories of the woman’s demise like vultures to a dying carcass while much of the public celebrated the bone-picking. 

On the other hand, the outpouring of grace for little Kathleen Edward was monumental. Thousands of people attended a rally organized via Facebook in her support. And a local toy storeowner–who reported being bullied as a child–gave Kathleen a shopping spree as a show of care and apology for her mistreatment. 

I don’t know about you, but if you’re anything like those who watched the video and read the end of the story they had a sort of sick satisfaction. Like good, everyone got what was coming to them. 

But you know what? Part of me is aware that my reaction, despite being defensive of a little girl, is still lacking. After all, feeling grace for the innocent, dying little girl is go-to-grace. It’s good and noble and right. But at the same time, it’s the easy end of the grace spectrum. The kind of compassion even the cutthroats among us can muster. 

You know what big, deep, larger-than-life grace does? It finds mercy and understanding and encouragement for the vicious adult bully on the other end of the grace spectrum, too. 

Real grace finds a way to feel the same thing for that hurting, messed up neighbor lady as it does for the little girl. 

Truly transformative grace is so inclusive, so everybody-in, that it makes the general public flinch at who it lets inside. 

I’m not there yet, but the older I get, the more I hope to make people flinch at the kind of grace that comes out of me. You? 

Did you flinch at the idea of grace for the aggressor? How would you have responded to this neighbor?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Creating a Three-Word Testimony

Creating a Three-Word Testimony

What makes your testimony an effective way to share the gospel?

It’s YOUR story.

•    edited by you,

•    filtered by you,

•    qualified by you,

•    told by you.

You can tell it anywhere.

It includes how YOU came to Christ, and how THEY can come to Christ also.

How can you craft your personal testimony beginning with only three words?! It’s easy.

Choose your first word to describe your life, feelings, situation, thoughts, etc. before you placed your faith in Christ.

Consider one of these:

Angry, Independent, Manipulative, Miserable,

 Hopeless, Empty, Addicted, Aimless, Restless,

 Striving, Confused, Insecure…

The words I chose for myself here is Rejected.

Choose your second word to describe how you came to place your faith in Christ. When you get to this point, it’s important to include a clear presentation of the gospel, which I have done in my story below.

Consider one of these:

Creation, Studied, Concert, Grew, Bible, Friend, 
Trouble, Observation, Evangelist, Spouse, Loved

The word I chose for myself here is Awakened.

Finally, choose your third word to describe your life, feelings, situation, thoughts, etc. now that you have placed your faith in Christ.

Consider one of these:

Approachable, Peaceful, Generous, Loving, Brave,

 Caring, Teacher Mentor, Servant, Elder, Hopeful,

 Compassionate, Confident..

The word I chose for myself here is Assured.

Once you have your three words, you’re ready to come up with one to two sentences for each word. Just provide a brief explanation of how each word relates to your story.

Here are the sentences I came up with for my 
3-word testimony:

Although I believed in the existence of a God and even knew the story of Jesus, I didn’t fully understand how it all fit together. I was unsure about the nature and character of Jesus as God and how He loved me, and had provided a way for me to be reconciled to the very Creator of the universe! No rejection just acceptance was found in Him.

Through a series of conversations with my Youth Pastor, as well as exposure to some Christian music with meaningful lyrics, I came to understand Jesus as savior. I was awakened to the reality that Christ died for my sins and rose from the dead. And that God loved me just as I was.

Now I am assured that through my trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation, I have an unbroken relationship with the very God who created the universe and everything in it. This relationship is for eternity, and my life with Him will not end when my time on earth does.

3 words…

1-2 sentences per word…

3-6 sentences to tell your story

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The First Song in the Bible

The first song in the Bible is the Song of Moses, found in Exodus 15. We know the story: Israel has been living as slaves for 400 years when God sends a deliverer; through a series of incredible miracles and plagues, culminating with the death of the Passover lamb, the Egyptian king (Pharaoh) relents and let’s God’s people go.

The Israelites leave Egypt and slavery with “high hand” the Bible says. They were celebrating the victory of God, and for a brief moment, everything looked good. Before too long they’d marched to something of a dead end though, Migdol on one side, Pi-hahiroth on the other, and the Red Sea straight ahead. And on the horizon behind them they could see dust clouds rising from oncoming chariots and the hard hearted Egyptian king and his army.

The people complain and prepare to kill their leader, Moses, but Moses stretches out his hand. Psalm 114 describes the scene and says “The sea looked and fled.” Psalm 77 says “The waters saw you O God, and were in anguish.” What an awesome image: the waters running off in fear, dividing to the left and right, to let the King of Glory pass.

In Exodus 14 we see Israel walk through the divided sea, from death into life. The Apostle Paul talked about this in, 1 Corinthians 10, saying this is a picture of a baptism. Just like Israel, we too are saved from our oppressor and captivity by the death of the Passover Lamb–Jesus the Christ–and, like them, we part the waters in baptism as a sign of moving out of death, and into life and out of bondage into freedom.

Exodus 15 then is Moses’ worshipful response to that experience. They sing this glorious song; look at some of these lyrics:

V1 I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; the horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.

V2 The Lord is my strength and song, He has become my salvation; this is my God, I will praise Him.

V3 The Lord is a warrior, the Lord is His Name.

V6 Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power

V11 Who is like You among the gods, O Lord? Who is like You, Majestic in Holiness, Awesome in Praises, Working Wonders?

V13 In your loving kindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; in your strength You have guided them to your holy habitation.

And then Moses wraps up his song with a summary statement. After everything Moses has seen and experienced, see his final lyric. Note that it’s just as true for us today as it was for Moses thousands of years ago:

V18 The Lord shall reign forever and ever.

I hope that in reading this that you might rise in confident boldness, calling on God as the Mighty Warrior that He is. May you find shelter behind His Shield, Strength beneath His Sword, and Victory in Every Battle.

Finale Thought

The Song of Moses is the first song in the Bible. Remarkably, it’s also one of the last. In Revelation 15 we read about a worship set in Heaven; it says they sung two songs: The Song of the Lamb, and the Song of Moses.

Get this: Heaven is still singing the Song of Moses. Apparently, God really loves this song. Not only that, think about this: the worship of heaven is impacted by the worship of earth. The lofty angels in heaven are singing songs written by lowly man on earth.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Giving Jesus First Place

Today’s Text: Philippians 2:9-11

Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Ministry from the Scriptures

When Christ has first place in our lives, we will experience many blessings. These include a . . .

Quiet spirit… As we turn our attention to the Lord and meditate on His Word, He “leads us beside quiet waters,” where we find rest for our soul (Ps. 23:2).
 The Holy Spirit will help us shut out the “noise” of worldly distractions so He can provide assurance of our Father’s love and support. With a quieted heart and mind, we will be able to discern what God is saying to us.

Stronger faith… Studying the Scriptures will enlarge our view of God and give us insight and direction. Reading how the Lord has helped others, we will gain confidence that He is at our side, enabling us to meet life’s demands. Our faith will grow as we follow His direction and watch how He works on our behalf.

Purified heart… Like a mirror, the Bible reflects back to us who we truly are and reveals where we need to change. When we confess our sin, God promises to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Prepared mind… We don’t know what’s in our tomorrows, but God does. He wants to prepare us for the future—both the joyous times and the hard ones. Through the Holy Spirit’s ministry, we will be equipped for whatever life brings (2 Peter 1:3).

Paul’s life demonstrates what it means to give Jesus first place. Because the apostle made Christ the Lord of his life (Gal. 2:20), he knew joy amidst trials and received the strength to face turmoil and difficulty. These blessings will also be ours when we make relationship with Jesus our highest goal.