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Category Archives: Devotional

Farther Along: Song and Devotional

Farther Along

            This beautiful hymn reminds us of the sovereignty of God. It also reminds us of how limited and frail we are. God is unlimited in every way, while we are limited in every way. God knows the beginning from the end. He knows every future ripple and every effect that wave will cause. Whether we will admit it or not, oftentimes, if not most times, we don’t even know what’s going on in the present.

            When times of trouble come our way, we will question, why am I going through this, where is God, did I do something wrong, is this God’s will? Truth be told, though the bible fills us in on what we need to know, we don’t have all of the answers right now. For this reason, the Christian lives by faith.

            We are to live by faith with Christ as our central focus. Just after we are told of many with great faith in Hebrews 11, we are told, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

            Those in Hebrews 11 didn’t know what all God had in store for them, but they knew that God had it all worked out. By faith, they stood on God’s promises and knew that God would work all things out. Romans 4 reminds us that though Abraham and Sarah were well advanced in years and had no children yet, Abraham believed God that he would be the father of many nations.

            When facing trials today, we to are called to live in faith, knowing that God will work it all out. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2021 in Devotional, Music, Uncategorized

 

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Down by the Riverside Song and Devotional

Down by the Riverside

            Here is another song that crosses the line between folk and spiritual. Metaphorically, it is talking about coming to Jesus and laying down your burdens. The Word of God tells us to cast our cares upon Jesus because He cares for us. (I Peter 5:7). What a great comfort it is to know first that Jesus cares for us, second that we can cast our cares upon Him, and third the fact that He is strong enough to handle them.

            The chorus of this wonderful song says I ain’t gonna study war no more. To study something is to focus on it and continually think about it. If we are still focused on our burdens and continually focused on them after we cast them on Jesus, did we truly give them to Him? By faith, we can, and should, cast every care on Jesus. And, by faith, we should stay focused on Jesus and not those burdens. If our burdens are big, He is almighty God, so He is more than able. If our burdens are small, He cares for us and still desires to take them. So, by faith, lay down that heavy load knowing that Jesus is there and that Jesus has this.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2021 in Devotional, Music, Uncategorized

 

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Will The Circle Be Unbroken: Song and Devotion

Will the Circle Be Unbroken

            On the one hand, this is a sorrowful song. It is about the death of a mother and describes the pain of seeing the undertaker take their mother away. On the other hand, this is a song worth rejoicing over. Why? Because of Jesus! Because of His death, burial, and His resurrection. Because of Jesus, the circle won’t be broken. In other words, those who place their faith in Jesus for salvation won’t stop living when their bodies die. Instead, they enter into eternal life.

            In the 11th chapter of John’s Gospel, we find two sisters who are very worried about their brother Lazarus who is deathly ill. They send for Jesus, but by the time Jesus arrives, he had already died. In fact, he had been in the tomb for four days. In other words, Lazarus was dead dead. Though he was dead dead, Jesus called him back to life.

Jesus told Lazarus’s sister, Martha, who just expressed her faith in Him, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies” (John 11:25). Though we or our loved ones may die physically, they will live eternally if their faith is in Jesus. Jesus didn’t defeat death by rising from the grave for Himself. He defeated death for the whosoever will call on the name of the Lord. Is your faith in Jesus today?

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2021 in Devotional, Music, Uncategorized

 

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Bound for Glory: Song and Devotional

Bound For Glory

            Some consider this to be a folk song, while others claim that it is a gospel or spiritual song. I say that it is both. The concept of a train bringing us to glory isn’t a biblical one and would line up more with the side of folk music. However, the truth of God’s word teaches that those who are saved are indeed bound for glory.

            A train won’t bring us to glory, but Jesus clearly taught in John 14 that He would come and take us to the Father’s house one day. We also won’t follow train tracks to get there. Instead, Jesus told us, that He is the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6). Our only means to heaven is Jesus.

            Most trains also require a ticket to get on board. Some tickets are pretty pricy as well. But, praise be to God, our ticket to glory has already been bought and paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ. If you haven’t put your faith and trust in Jesus for eternal life in glory, you better not wait. To use the metaphor, don’t miss the train, for it (He) is the only one.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2021 in Devotional, Music

 

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Blessed Assurance: Song and Devotional

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine, oh what a foretaste of glory divine. What a glorious truth! No doubt, the assurance of salvation is one of the greatest truths in all of the Word of God. As a pastor and evangelist, one of the questions I am asked most often is if one can be sure of their salvation. My answer is always, absolutely.

I John 5:13 states, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” We have the testimony of the Word of God that tells us who the true Jesus is and what He did to secure salvation for us, and how we receive that salvation.

Salvation is made available to us through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus through His death, burial, and resurrection. This is the gospel. (I Corinthians 15:3-4). We receive salvation by merely placing our faith in Jesus and the work He did on the cross. (Ephesians 2:8-9.) When we do that, we have the assurance in the word of God that He saves us. Once we have received salvation by placing our faith in Jesus, the bible tells us that “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:16.) So, yes, we can, and we should have the absolute assurance of salvation. And it truly is a blessed assurance.

If you are unsure of your salvation, or you are confused about what salvation is, by all means, let me know. I would love to see you have this blessed assurance as well. More importantly, God wants you to know.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2021 in Devotional, Music

 

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Because He Lives

Because He Lives

God sent His Son They called Him Jesus

He Came to love, heal and forgive    

He lived and died to buy my pardon

An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

            Can you think of a better opening verse to any song? This is the gospel. The Bible tells us that the gospel is of first importance. (I Corinthians 15:3). Apart from the gospel, we have no hope. But, as the chorus in this beautiful hymn reminds us, because He, Jesus, lives, I can face tomorrow. In every area of life, regardless of what life has in store, from birth all the way to death, I can face tomorrow because He lives.

            As I Corinthians 15 clearly teaches, the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. We are separated from God, bound for hell, and utterly hopeless and helpless because of our sin. But praise be to God, He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross as the penalty of our sin so whoever places their faith in Jesus is saved from their sins, put in right relationship with God, and will therefore spend eternity with Him forever in the glories of heaven.

            But know this, God didn’t save you from your sin to just one day bring you to heaven when you die. A significant part of the good news of the gospel is that the moment you believe on Jesus for salvation and are saved, Jesus comes to live in you, and you are in Him. And, He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us, for He is Faithful and True.

He is with us through the good times and the bad. He is with us to comfort, strengthen, encourage, teach, lead, motivate, empower, and give to us whatever we need to live out our lives for Him and through Him. You most certainly do not want to die without knowing Jesus as Lord and as Savior. But if you were to live a hundred years after your salvation, you don’t want to live even a second without Jesus. Indeed, because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2021 in Devotional, Music, Uncategorized

 

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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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