Everyone loves singing. There’s something about it that liberates our spirits, making us feel as if we’re soaring on the music. What a glorious gift the Lord has given us!
Christians have an even deeper reason to appreciate this gift of singing because we have the privilege of singing praises to our God and King. And those who are blessed with the ability to gather with brothers and sisters in Christ understand the joy of mingling our voices with theirs to form a chorus of worship.
What a joy to know that, in eternity, our voices will join with all the redeemed to praise Jesus! Alleluia, Amen!
This week I had several severe episodes of anger. Usually, such behavior causes me to doubt that I was ever genuinely saved.
In one sense, our sins should lead us to examine ourselves. If we show absolutely no evidence that Christ is transforming us into His image, perhaps we really need to question our salvation.
But Satan often uses our occasional lapses into sin as an effort to discourage us. Once we attach salvation to our performance, we deny the very heart of the Gospel. Salvation comes exclusively from the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross.
Oh, how I needed God’s love and mercy 49 years ago, when His Holy Spirit spoke through Scripture to unmask me as a wretched sinner! His love and mercy assured me that Jesus paid for my sin on the cross. As a young Christian, I clung to the cross.
Oh, how I need God’s love and mercy now, as the Holy Spirit speaks through Scripture to unmask me as a wretched sinner! His love and mercy continue to remind me that Jesus paid for my sin on the cross. The older I grow as a Christian, the more I understand my need to cling to the cross.
Most of us have no idea of how extensive our sin is. Personally, I can understand it only by realizing that erasing it required nothing less than the innocent blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But I do know that I have absolutely no resources with which to atone for my sin. Any good that I might have done could never outweigh the ways that I have offended the thrice holy God. My debt towards Him is just too formidable.
Thankfully, Jesus is a merciful God Who took my debt upon Himself. He graciously paid the entire price of my sin, leaving me free to worship God with a clear conscience. Throughout eternity, I will praise Him for paying a debt that I never could have paid.
John wore his new black suit, and I wore a wedding gown that a friend had generously given me. Both of us had waited decades for this day, often despairing that marriage would pass us by. In less than two weeks, John would turn 53, and my 49th birthday would follow a few weeks after that.
So yes, we endured years of attending weddings. We rejoiced with friends and relatives as they took their vows, always wondering when — if — our turn would ever come. We agonized in prayer, wanting to accept singleness if that was God’s will, even as we begged Him to send us someone “to have and to hold.”
I chose Great Is Thy Faithfulness as one of the songs for our wedding because the Lord so faithfully brought us together and made marriage possible for two people who had been severely physically disabled since childhood. As we sang that hymn, I reflected on God’s goodness in bringing us to that church.
God may not answer all your prayers the way you want Him to. Last I checked, I neither have a puppy nor an apartment in downtown Boston. God’s faithfulness to you may look a great deal different than His faithfulness to me and John. But in whatever way best suits His purposes for you. He doesn’t play favorites. Great is His faithfulness to you, just as it has been great to me.
It’s good to face up to the severity of our sin. Sadly, few churches these days teach much about human depravity. Efforts to bolster self-esteem minimize any mention of sin in favor of emphasizing our righteousness in Christ. We nod in agreement that Jesus died for our sins, rarely seriously thinking of ourselves as sinners.
But those of us who actually do understand the depth of our wretchedness run the danger of not speaking enough about God’s grace. This failure is ironic, since our conviction of sin should enable us to have a deeper appreciation of His grace.
What could be more joyful than knowing that the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches even me? How can I resist praising His Name when I think about His grace being broader than the scope of my transgressions, making me God’s dear child? The matchless grace of Jesus fills me with such joy that I want to magnify the precious Name of Jesus!
In 2020, it’s harder than ever to remember that Jesus actually reigns over the earth. More and more people crumble under the discouragement that continues to spread over our globe. Even strong Christians struggle against fear and despair, grieving as our liberties get taken away from us.
At this difficult time, we must train ourselves to focus on the truth that Jesus still reigns over all the earth. From our perspective, He seems to have lost control, but in reality He is working everything out exactly as Scripture predicated He would. That means that we can rejoice in His sovereignty, secure in the knowledge that He hasn’t lost control of His creation.
Hymn writer Isaac Watts once wrote a hymn assuring God’s people of the Lord’s steady rulership over the world. One of the verses encourages Christians to dwell on His love with sweetest song. Perhaps 2020, precisely because of the negativity it imposes on everyone, provides believers with an opportune time to do just that.
More and more Christians can see where Western civilization is going. We see how our politicians exploit COVID-19 to influence America’s upcoming election, to control human behavior and to clamp down on churches. We shouldn’t really be surprised.
I’m only surprised that the LBGTQ agenda got replaced by COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter as catalysts for social revolution. So much for claiming any prophetic powers, right? Nevertheless, the battle against the Lord and His church has intensified markedly in the past five months. I don’t think any serious Christian can deny that fact.
Voting for people who hold conservative values will reflect our integrity, most assuredly. By all means, let’s use our right to vote as long as we still have it!
But we win the ultimate war by obediently following Christ. And He leads us through His Word, not through political means. When (not if) our politics fail, our eternal King will lead us through each battle His way, all the while teaching us to glorify and honor Him.
About 20 years ago, I developed an interest in genealogy. A cousin on Mom’s side of the family sent me some information going back to our grandmother’s grandfather, who came to America from Ireland in the mid 1800s.
As always when someone investigates their family history, there were things about my great-great-grandfather that disturbed me. Having settled in the South, for example, he fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War (Granny tried to get me to call it The War Between The States). I feel embarrassed that he fought for the side that wanted to preserve black slavery, but I can’t change my heritage.
There are things about my personal past that I can’t change my either. The 17 years of my life before Jesus brought me to salvation may have been characterized by socially acceptable sins like my fascination with the occult (which would have pleased my great-great-grandmother, by the way), but I still rebelled against the Lord. I was headed for hell.
Thankfully, Jesus circumvented my path of self-destruction, convincing me that He took my sin on Himself. As I look back on who I was before His Holy Spirit enabled me to trust in Him as my Savior, I feel even more embarrassed than I do about my great-great-grandfather. But remembering where I came from only increases my gratitude to the Lord. I love Him most when I remember how lost I was without Him.