Archive

Archive for May, 2011

The Sustaining Spirit

May 31st, 2011

All of this I have told you, so that you will not fall away.”

John 16:1

 

The Lord knows that we are susceptible to doubts and fears. Just as a burning ember removed from the fire quickly cools, when we are left alone we lose our spiritual fervency. This is why the individual believer needs the church fellowship, and this is why the entire church fellowship needs the sustaining presence of the Spirit.

 

Specifically, the teaching of John 14-16 that the Lord gave his disciples would sustain them during the time His body was in the tomb, and during the ten days between His Ascension and the Coming of the Spirit. He told them these things that would happen to them later through the Spirit’s presence within and among them, so that they would not lose heart and fall away. Yet the words also explain another important function of the Spirit, that the Spirit sustains the people of God in their witness, in their life, and in their community.

 

We are mere flesh and blood, members of the race of Adam of whom God said, “The imaginations of their hearts run to evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). The image of God that was stamped across the human race at creation has become so twisted and marred that often it is hardly recognizable. How can we follow Christ in ourselves? How can we learn of His truth in our heart of hearts? How can we provide a witness that will bring others into the fellowship of faith? How can we remain faithful when others fall away, when persecution or rejection comes, and when the problems of life seem to swallow us up?  

 

God had a plan from the beginning, that His Spirit would abide within us to sustain us in all of these areas. What a Friend and Counselor we have in Him! There will not be a single road we walk down in life without His presence, never a room we enter without Him being with us, never a temptation to come to us except that He is there, never a discouragement that He cannot lift from our hearts. He sustains us in our love for Him, for the Spirit bears witness in our hearts that we are His children. He enlivens our prayers, gives us hope in darkness, makes the bright days still brighter, opens our minds to understand and our hearts to receive.

 

As followers of Christ, we are more than just ourselves. We are sustained by His Spirit. Circumstances are no longer overwhelming for us, for God is within us and will enable us to stand.

 

Prayer:

 

Thank You, Lord, for Your sustaining presence in our lives. We give You the praise the the glory for our faith and our witness. Teach us to stand in Your strength and love, and not in our own efforts in the flesh. Amen.

 

 

Evening Devotionals , ,

Sing to the Lord

May 30th, 2011

Sing unto the Lord…

Psalm 147:7

 

Do you have a song you sing to the Lord?

 

The most beautiful sound that can be made by the human voice is song. Birds sing to one another for various reasons – staking out their territory, affirming community, warning of danger, or seeking a mate. Some animals erupt into mournful groans when upset by pain or loss. But humans alone are capable of lifting hearts and voices to heaven to sing to the Lord.

 

All our gifts to God should be consistent with our recognition of His greatness and character, as well as the nature of His grace-gifts to us. We love Him in return to His love for us, so our songs, like every other expression of love to Him, come from the realization of who He is. Due to this our songs need to have great variety, from songs that reflect His awesome holiness and majestic power, to those that reflect His goodness and tenderness, to those that reflect His wisdom and the beauty of His plan and purpose.

 

He is the God for all seasons of life as well, so our songs should take into account the variety of real-life backgrounds amid which we discover Him and His truth. Above all they are Christ-centered, for in Him is all the wisdom and knowledge of God and the center piece of His unfolding plan for the world.  

 

But a song is also a personal expression of awe, wonder, gratitude, holy desire, faith, commitment, love, and hope. Music touches us like nothing else, and though different levels of ability and interest exist among people, it is rare to find anyone who does not appreciate the beauty and expressive quality of music. The song sung to God is the tune of personal faith that likewise encourages more faith in others. It is not a platform to display our musical ability, but an opportunity to lead others to express their faith in God.   

 

Many things threaten to steal our song from us – weak faith, trouble, loss, worry, sin, conflicts, threats, difficulty – but the song of faith to God originates in His heart, not ours, and, therefore, rises above life’s challenges. When things seem the darkest, then we especially need a song of love and hope.

 

Have you let the world steal your song of praise? Stop to say, Thank You, to the Lord, and sing a song of praise to Him.

 

Above our meager mounds of earth’s accumulations

Above the empty thoughts of our imaginations

Amid the work and toil of human tribulations

Stands God in Triune majesty agelessly the same.

 

The single soul the world ignores He holds close and dear.

The expanse of stars and galaxies He calls by name.

Yet in humble faith of human hearts He finds delight

And places in our hearts His song of joy and triumph.

 

 Prayer:

 

Lord, thank You for Your grace and mercy. Open our minds to understand, and open our hearts to believe and sing to You songs that reflect the joy and faith You have placed in our hearts. Amen.

 

 

Evening Devotionals , ,