Saturday, May 18, 2013

Christ's Blood Set Me Free

My head was upraised
My neck stiff and arrogant
The world was my home
Self sat comfortably on the throne
I went with the flow
Canoed the murky river

Yet Someone called my name
It was an odd voice
I heard it once before
When a gospel salesman came to my door
A salesman not greedy for the stuff of this earth
His heart was an open door
But I stiffened

This second time I turned to listen
The voice came through a gospel singer
He sang and spoke of freedom

I ran to the cross
Exchanged the chains that engulfed me
For a crown

Jesus saved me
Not through an effort of my own
But through His sacrifice alone

Now I climb the mountain
Swim against the tide
Now I choose to bring the gospel far and wide

Grace is the Banner over me
Christ’s blood set me free

Sunday, May 12, 2013

With Songs of Joy

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully and shout for joy. Psalm 33:3 NIV (2011)

Among other things, David was a musician. An accomplished songwriter and skillful harpist, David sung his songs of praise in the countryside while tending his father's sheep. Some must have heard his melodic offerings to God. Why else would his name be mentioned in a meeting of king Saul's advisors. They were looking for a minstrel. Someone to play the harp to ease Saul's troubled mind. They sent for David and his music brought temporary relief to king Saul's darkened mind. David brought beautiful music to the king coupled with the Spirit's power.

We are to set a guard over our hearts. Music can be an influence for good or for evil in our lives. I play guitar, write songs, and sing. I am a music lover. Almost all of the music I listen to is Christian in nature. Christian music lifts me, it encourages me, leads me to praise my Maker, and propels me to think on things above. I am not saying that all other music is evil. I do believe, however, that some music is damaging to our spiritual and emotional lives. I also believe that the majority of the music we listen to should glorify the One who is the Author of anointed song.

Lucifer led the angelic choir in heaven long before the earth was born. The Scriptures describe him as having musical instruments built into his body. He was a beautiful anointed creature until iniquity was found in him. Lucifer rebelled against God. Because of his prideful heart, he was cast out of heaven along with a third of the angelic beings, who also rebelled. Lucifer or Satan is a real being and he is still highly skilled in music. I believe he works through some of the secular artists of our day drawing men, women, and children away from our Heavenly Father.

The highest purpose for music is to draw God's people to praise and worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let's allow our Lord to fill us with His song of praise. It does not matter if we can carry a tune. It matters only that our hearts are in tune with the One who sings over us with songs of joy.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ministering with a Pure Heart

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

While praying the other day, a thought came to my mind.  It went something like this, “Success in Christian service is measured not by the largeness of your ministry but by the depth of your heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7 says that man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at our hearts.  If we have pure hearts, our ministry to others will be untainted and effective.  But if our hearts are not in tune with God’s Spirit and God’s word our ministry to others – no matter how “successful” – will not please our Master.
The Scripture says that David was a man after God’s heart.  He had a big heart for God.  The Lord told Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel among Jesse’s sons.  The Lord had Samuel pass by all seven of David’s brothers.  The young lad was not even invited to the event – he was watching over his family’s herd of sheep.  Samuel asked for David and anointed him to be king.  Though David had many failures in his life, his tender heart for God made him the greatest king Israel ever had.  Acts 13:36 says, “For David after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers….”  David served his own generation by the will of God.  This tells me that David’s life ultimately pleased God.  

I also want to live a life that pleases God and I am sure you do too.  I know that the Lord desires that we bear much fruit.  It is, of course, better that we reach many people rather than a few, but is the quality of our ministry that matters most to the Father. 
Let’s be diligent to guard our hearts while we believe the Lord for a greater impact in ministry.  Let’s keep our relationship with Jesus sweet and intimate.  When we keep this as the first thing in our lives, God will see fit to trust us with greater influence in ministry.   If the root is good, the branches will flourish.

Dear Father God,
Help me to guard my heart with all diligence.  Teach me to worship, pray, and feed on your word daily.  Shine your light on anything in my heart that is not right.  Let me minister to others with a pure heart.  Thank you for using me in a mighty way for your glory.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.