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Monthly Archives: January 2021

As the Deer

Sunday’s Song and Devotional: As the Deer

            Psalm 42:1 tells us, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.” Some of my favorite praise songs come straight out of scripture. Psalm 42 describes a hurting soul that is desperately thirsting for God, longing for Him and His presence within his life. All of us, from time to time, become physically thirsty. God created our bodies to have a natural longing for water because our bodies will not survive without it.

            In the same way, God created us to have a spiritual thirst for Him. Unfortunately, we all too often try to quench that thirst for everything but God. The false spiritual thirst-quenchers come in many forms, but they will all in like manner leave us spiritually thirsty and spiritually frustrated. Nothing will truly satisfy us but God Himself. Jesus said in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to hunger and thirst for God. Jesus said, “For they shall be satisfied.”

            If you are not spiritually thirsty today, it may be an indication that you are spiritually dead. If you are spiritually thirsty today, then the solution to your thirst is the same as the one who is spiritually dead-His name is Jesus. Jesus is the living water. Don’t try to replace Him with false spiritual thirst-quenchers that will only leave you spiritually dehydrated or dead. Seek Jesus and Jesus alone. Seek Him today.

            Just as this beautiful song reminds us of the truth of scripture, seek Jesus and Him alone.

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after Thee
You are all that my heart desire
And I long to worship You

You alone my strength my shield
To you alone that my spirit yield
You alone that my heart desire
And I long to worship You

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2021 in Devotional, Music

 

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Amazing Grace

Sunday’s Song and Devotional: Amazing Grace

            Whether it’s played on bagpipes, a piano, or a guitar, Amazing Grace is without question one of the most universally recognized melodies in the world today. It’s played at weddings and funerals and sang both somberly and with grand celebration. To me, it is one of the most beautiful melodies I’ve ever heard. But, it is much more than just another song with a beautiful melody. It is a song with a powerful message.

            Johnathan Newton published this wonderful hymn in 1779 while pastoring a church in London. Johnathan had not always been a pastor. In fact, in his younger days, he lived a very heathenistic life. Among many of the evils of his previous life, the one thing that haunted him the most was the fact that he was a former slave trader.

            After turning from his sins and trusting in Jesus as Savior, he struggled with how God could save someone so sinful. He finally came to the biblical conviction that God has more grace than we have sin. (Romans 5:20). This conviction gave him great peace and assurance.

            As a pastor and as an evangelist, I have commonly been asked how God can forgive exceedingly sinful people. The answer is grace. Grace is an undeserved favor or gift. The fact is all have sinned and are therefore worthy of God’s condemnation. It makes no difference if the sin is great or small. All sin is worthy of death and hell. That’s what makes God’s grace so amazing. Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

            Grace doesn’t give us a license to go on sinning; rather, it provides to those who have genuinely received it peace and assurance. We receive that grace only by placing our faith and trust in Jesus. (Ephesians 2:8-9). Have you received God’s saving grace? It truly is amazing!

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2021 in Devotional, Music

 

All Creatures of Our God and King

All Creatures of Our God and King

All Creatures of Our God and King

            In Revelation 19, when Jesus is about to return for His second coming, we find a powerful and majestic celebration with a four-fold hallelujah. The word hallelujah means to praise God. We also see at the triumphal entry of Christ a wonderful time of worship as the crowds called out to Jesus, “Hosanna to the highest, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Jesus was undoubtedly worthy of praise then. Though the crowds didn’t know it at the time, Jesus was going into Jerusalem to be the sin sacrifice for all mankind, for all who would put their faith in Him. Though we can only imagine now, think of how majestic it will be when all of the redeemed, along with all creation, praise Him at His second coming. I can’t wait.

            Though we can only read about the praise that took place at His first coming, all of the redeemed will praise Him at His second coming. Jesus is worthy of praise. In fact, Jesus told the Pharisees, if the crowds didn’t praise Him in His triumphal entry, the rocks will. (Luke 19:40). Despite all He has done for us, if we understand the true nature of who He is, we would know that He is worthy of praise.

            The words to this beautiful hymn were originally a poem. And though the poem dates back to the 12th century and was initially written in Latin, they are timeless and transcend all culture and language. Jesus is worthy of praise. He always has been, and He always will be.

            This beautiful hymn is a call to worship for all creatures of our God and King, to lift up your voice and let us sing alleluia. In other words, everyone and everything needs to sing and praise God. Again, He is worthy! He was worthy of being praised before He laid down the foundations of this earth, He was worthy to be praised before He breathed life into Adam, He was worthy to be praised before He shed His blood on the cross, He was worthy to be praised before He became the chief cornerstone of the church, He is worthy to be praised by all today, and He will be praised for all eternity.

            Will you praise Him today? (Psalm 148:1-6). Will you be a part of the redeemed? (Revelation 20:15). (Romans 10:9-10).

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2021 in Devotional, Music

 

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Are You Washed in the Blood

Are You Washed in the Blood

Sunday’s Song and Devotional: Are You Washed in the Blood

Are You Washed in the Blood is a song full of questions rooted in the main question, are you washed in the blood. Though it asks this question in many forms, the ultimate goal is asking the question as to whether or not an individual has been saved from their sins through the saving and redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

            What do we need to be forgiven of? We need to be forgiven of our sins, and the bible teaches us that we have all sinned. (Romans 3:23). The bible also teaches us that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23). If we were to die in our sins without being forgiven, we would have to pay the wages of those sins for all eternity in death, in hell. But, praise God, that Jesus went to the cross to pay the wages of sin for us. Ephesians 1:7 tells us, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”

            Since life is in the blood, blood is the required offering for the atonement of sin. (Leviticus 17:11). Since Jesus was sinless, He, and He alone, is acceptable to be the sin sacrifice. Therefore, the only means to salvation is placing our faith in Jesus and His finished work on the cross. And the good news is, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

You are a part of the whoever! Isn’t that something to give God praise and glory for? Apart from Jesus’ finished work on the cross through the shedding of His blood, the world would be hopelessly lost and eternally condemned to hell. So, give God the praise, honor, and glory He deserves for His work of salvation and His invitation to the whole world for that salvation. If you have not accepted God’s gift of salvation, put your faith and trust in Jesus today by asking Him to forgive you of your sins and by inviting Him into your life as Lord and Savior. When you pray, believe that God will hear you, and believe that God will answer you by saving you from your sins. That’s the very reason He went to the cross.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2021 in Devotional

 

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Higher Ground

Higher Ground

Sunday’s Song and Devotion: Higher Ground

The end goal of this beautiful hymn is summed up in the line, “My prayer my aim is higher ground.” What higher ground is the hymnist speaking of? Spirituality, of course. Not only is that the end goal of this wonderful hymn, but it should also be the end goal of every Christian. We need to understand that there isn’t a point of stagnancy within a Christians walk with Jesus. Either we are growing closer to Jesus or, we are slipping further away.  

            Peter tells us that, “Newborn babes long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (I Peter 2:2). The newborn babe is the new believer in Christ. He is telling us that if one has indeed tasted of the kindness of Jesus Christ through salvation, they will have a longing for the pure milk of the word, which is the Word of God. As a result of fulfilling that thirst for God’s Word, the newborn babe will grow in respect to their salvation.

            Notice that the hymnist wrote, “my aim is higher ground.” The reality is if you aren’t aiming for anything, you aren’t going to hit anything. If you aren’t aiming to grow in your walk with Jesus and find that higher ground, then you certainly won’t find it. If you aren’t making plans and setting goals, you most certainly will not fulfill them nor achieve them.

            During this time of year, many are thinking about setting goals or making resolutions. If your prayer and your aim is higher spiritual ground this year, might I suggest starting with the pure milk of the word? Though the Bible serves many purposes, one clear purpose, as stated by Peter, is that you grow in respect to salvation. In other words, you will grow in your walk with Christ; you will reach higher ground.

            Set your aim, your goal, at reading and studying the Bible every day. There are many Bible reading plans you can find online. Once you do that find a Bible-believing church with a Bible-preaching pastor and allow him to feed you a full course meal of God’s Word. Lastly, get plugged in to a Sunday School class or Bible study group. Don’t go to a social gathering they call Bible study, but one where they will genuinely break open the Bible and feed you the bread of life.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2021 in Devotional

 

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