The Power Of Song

“I will sing about the Lord’s faithful love forever; I will proclaim Your faithfulness to all generations with my mouth.” -Psalm 89:1

Singing has an impact on one’s life and perspective. Singing of God’s faithful love will change everything. It causes me to focus on His faithful love instead of my feelings, or the situation, or myself. Singing lifts me in praise. It changes my attitude, reminds me of Biblical truth and promises to claim. It gives God the praise He deserves from me. It encourages and gives entry to, a further ministry of the Spirit to our spirit. It blesses, transforms, conforms. It offers a touch point to not only give glory, but experience the glory of God.

And though my voice can no longer sing as it once did, God is still honored by my participating, and all the things that happen when praising God in song are still true for me even when my voice cracks, or cannot hit the note my mind knows to hit. For singing of His faithfulness is about the heart, mind and will. Singing is about obedience to His will, and following the path to the richness of His presence.

Singing is also a means of sharing with other generations, both younger and older, the goodness of God. It is a testimony, a reminder of God’s faithful love to us whether we are faithful or not. It lays a foundation in the heart for those difficult times that are sure to come in the future. Sing! Not only for myself, but for others as well.

JT

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The smallest Biggest Step You Can Make For Jesus

“Next to him, Amasiah son of Zichri, the volunteer of the Lord, and 200,000 brave warriors with him.” -2 Chronicles 17:16

 

In a list of army commanders this man alone is listed with a special note. And, this man alone is described in a way that caused a significant difference in those under him. At first read, you might pass quickly over it. It really doesn’t seem all that important. His notoriety was that he was “the volunteer of the Lord.” Were not all the other men in the army volunteers? Were there not other followers of the Lord who volunteered to serve Him? Yet he is distinguished! If it needed doing Amasiah volunteered. If given the opportunity, he volunteered. If it was something uncomfortable for him, he still volunteered.

And what was the impact on others? His men were “brave warriors.” None of the other army commanders are noted to have troops under them that were “brave warriors” – only Amasiah. The man who volunteers no matter how hard the job raises up people who will be brave warriors. The man or woman who volunteers even when it is inconvenient will draw brave warriors around them. The person who volunteers in areas that greatly stretch their abilities, not fearing failure, will inspire people to be brave warriors.

Which begs the question: Am I living, are you living like “the volunteer of the Lord?” What kind of people are we inspiring? People who are living bravely for the cause of Christ or just nice people? When we are too tired, too busy, have too much on our plate to volunteer for the Lord, then we ought not be surprised that the Christians around us are merely bench warmers. How are you living for Jesus? You see, as odd as it sounds, volunteers produce warriors.

Papa, make me a greater volunteer of the Lord; make me a brave warrior for your cause so that others will make the hard choice to be a brave warrior for the Lord.

JT

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The 90 Day Challenge Day 90 – Come Along With Me…

“Both the Spirit and the bride say, Come! Anyone who hears should say, Come! And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift.” -Revelation 22:17

An invitation by someone can change our lives in big and small ways. Often an invitation brings unexpected and positive changes to our lives. I was invited to come and build a boat. That invitation has led to not just the building of a boat, but to other woodworking projects since then ( and the acquisition of a number of woodworking tools). An invitation to come over to “play games” has resulted in lifelong friendships that span time and distance. An invitation to look into online cycling has provided me a safe means of recuperating after two surgeries this summer.

Revelation closes with emphasizing the importance of inviting others, of simply saying “come.” The invitation to come is not just our words. It contains the power of the Spirit of God saying “come.” Every time we share Christ with others, we can be sure the Spirit is saying “come” through us and beyond us. The “bride” says “Come.” The church, believers who have heard the invitation themselves and responded to it invites others to come. Because the Spirit is in us and leads and speaks, we invite others to come. We invite others because we heard the invitation.

Please notes the order in this verse. The thirsty are invited to come after the Spirit, the church, and individuals who have been invited say “come.” People become thirsty for Jesus as the invitation is made. As the Spirit invites them to come, as the church invites them to come, as individual believers invite people to come – people become thirsty. And their thirst enables them to hear and make a choice.

The call, then, on my life (your life) is to invite people to come. I/we can be assured the Spirit has already been speaking to the person, and will be speaking through us to invite them to come. It is our invitation in conjunction with the Spirit and other believers (the bride) that enables people to become thirsty and respond. So, what am I (you) doing to invite others to come? What am I (you) doing to assist the church to invite others to come and enjoy the gift of life in Christ? What is one small step I can take in this direction today, or this week? A simple invitation to help with a project or go to a ball game or to play cards can become the entry point to invite them to come…

Father, give me opportunities today to invite someone to come, knowing Your Spirit has been inviting them long before this moment.

JT

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The 90 Day Challenge Day 89 – Putting The Pieces Together

“All things have been entrusted to me, by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.” -Matthew 11:27

Perhaps you have heard or said it: “I found God”, or “ I found Christ as Savior.” However, the truth is we did not find God. He was revealed to us through the Son. Jesus enabled me/you to see Jesus as Lord and Savior in order to believe in Him. He is the force, the means by which we came to salvation.

The good news is even coming to Christ as Savior is a work of the grace of God. There is nothing I have done to be saved. Even coming to an understanding of who Jesus is, and my need of Him happened, not because I was so perceptive, but because Jesus wanted me to see Him for who He is.

It reminds me that everything about being a Christian is grace. Understanding who Jesus is – a work of grace. Believing in Jesus – a work of grace. Growing in Jesus – a work of grace. Living for Jesus – a work of grace. Being convicted of sin – a work of grace. Coming to Him to ask for forgiveness – a work of grace. God working in, around, and through my life – a work of grace. Being a Christian isn’t about my effort (though it takes effort), it is about the grace of Jesus leading, supplying, enabling, and empowering me to live the Christian life. “Oh to grace how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be…”

Father, thank you for choosing to reveal yourself to me and your ongoing revealing of yourself in my life.

JT

Readings for Day 90: Psalm 145,Isaiah 60, Isaiah 65, Revelation 22

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The 90 Day Challenge Day 88 – Hell, A Place Of Ashes

“For indeed, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and everyone who commits wickedness WILL BECOME STUBBLE. The coming day WILL CONSUME them, says the Lord of hosts, NOT LEAVING THEM ROOT OR BRANCHES.” -Malachi 4:1

One’s view of hell does matter. This is of particular importance to me since I have both family and friends, now dead, who – to my knowledge never received Christ as Savior. How do you cope with that, besides just not thinking about it? And, from where do we draw our view of hell?

Yes, hell is the ultimate terrible. It is a place of suffering that is based on what we have done individually, but is the suffering forever conscious torment? And, how can that be fair, especially if one believes we go to our reward or punishment at death? Personally, I believe our view of hell starts with gaining a biblical understanding of the nature of man – mortal or immortal (but there is not the space for that discussion here. I will leave you to that study.).

The above verse refers to the judgment of those without Christ. They are referred to as becoming “stubble”, being “consumed”, and “long leaving them root or branch.” All of these descriptions depict hell as a place of burning…. until burned up. Is it horrible? To be sure. Since there is punishment it is horrible. And I cannot fathom the suffering of removal from all existence ever, “shut out from the presence of the Lord” as the Scripture says. But thee is some measure of comfort for us as believers that the suffering of lost friends and family is eternal in consequence rather than eternal conscious torment. It is still a grief, but measured.

I know, I am going against the grain of many theological constructs on the teaching of hell. My only thing is – look at what all of Scripture says on the subject, then make your determination.

This view, also creates an urgency to share Christ with others. This life is the only time people have to put their trust in Christ. There is no purgatory, no praying them in, no opportunity to choose Christ after they die. And hell is not going to be a place to be with all my partying friends. It is destruction, or as Revelation describes it “the second death.”

Father, may the reality of hell further compel my/our urgency to share Jesus with those around us sooner rather than later.

JT

Readings for Day 89: Revelation 14, Matthew 11, Luke 12

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The 90 Day Challenge Day 87 – Delightful Choices

“I will destine you for the sword, and all of you will kneel down to be slaughtered, because I called and you did not answer, I spoke and you did not hear; you did what was evil in my sight AND CHOSE WHAT I DID NOT DELIGHT IN.” – Isaiah 65:12

We all make choices, every day. The choices we make fall into one of two categories: either we choose what God delights in or we do not. We make choices based on what God delights in, or we make choices based on what human nature (ourself or significant others) delights in. The above verse refers to people who did not make choices based on what God delights in. They ignored the Spirit of God when He spoke to them. They “did not answer” when God spoke. And this led to something worse. Once we ignore God leading and speaking to us eventually we will no longer hear Him. His speaking becomes more faint. When we choose to delight in what God delights in, we seek Him and listen for His voice. And, when we listen for Him we then respond and follow. All this leads me to a series of questions to be sure I focus on living for what He delights in and not just what I delight in…

Am I choosing what God delights in physically, emotionally, mentally, sexually?

Am I choosing what God delights in regarding my serving the Lord, and how I participate in the church God has placed me?

Am I choosing what God delights in as it pertains to my family?

Am I choosing what God delights in as it pertains to my social life?

Am I choosing what God delights in as it pertains to my education and or career?

Am I choosing what God delights in as it pertains to my finances?

Am I choosing what God delights in as it pertains to my spiritual growth?

Am I choosing what God delights in as it pertains to my health?

Am I choosing what God delights in, or something else?

Father, give me eyes to discern between my delight and Your delight in every choice I make.

JT

Readings for Day 88: Malachi 4, Matthew 3, Matthew 13

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The 90 Day Challenge Day 86 – Finding Strength In Grace

“You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” -2 Timothy 2:1

What makes someone live strong? There are those who are driven by anger. Their “strength” is in their rage. There are those who live strong by determination. But living strong can’t last no matter how much will power we muster because sooner or later we are weak, or fail, or fail.

Following Jesus isn’t about will power but grace. Following Jesus isn’t about living from success to success but grace. The strength to continue living for Jesus depends on what Jesus has done for me/you that I can never do for myself. My ability to live strong no matter what life throws at me is because of grace; grace that forgives, grace the enables me to go on, grace that empowers me though undeserving in and of myself. My place of strength is the grace of Jesus.

It is just like the old hymn says…

“Wonderful grace of Jesus

Greater than all my sin

How shall my tongue describe it?

Where shall its praise begin?

Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free

For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me!

(Chorus)

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus

Deeper than the mighty rolling sea

Higher than the mountains

Sparkling like a fountain

All sufficient grace for even me

Broader than the scope of my transgression

Greater far than all my sin and shame

O magnify the precious name of Jesus

Praise His name!

Wonderful grace of Jesus

Reaching to all the lost

By it I have been pardoned

Saved to the uttermost

Chains have been torn asunder, giving me liberty

For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me!

(Chorus)

Wonderful grace of Jesus

Reaching the most defiled

By its transforming power

Making him God’s dear child

Purchasing peace and pardon for all eternity

For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me

(Chorus)

Father, I choose to live strong by Your grace rather than my will power to enjoy the freedom and strength Your grace alone can give.

JT

Readings for Day 87: 1 Corinthians 6, 2 Peter 3, Isaiah 65

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