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Friday, October 24, 2014

Faith in Future Grace

"Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him..." - Psalm 91:14

The Psalmists knew that past grace, provision, and power has been enough for him (91:1-13), and would continue to be in the future. We "abide in the shadow of the Almighty" (91:2) Psalm 91:14-16 is God's response to his faith.  "I will deliver...I will answer you...I will satisfy." God promised future grace. In light of past grace, he trusted future grace.  Faith in future grace lead him not only to hold fast to the Lord, but to hold fast "in love." The rock solid foundation of "hold fast in love" faith is thankfulness for past grace with expectation of future grace.
Trust God's grace, it was enough yesterday, will be enough for you today, and for the endless ages to come.

Below are two videos to consider as well:

I am deeply indebted to John Piper's ministry in my life.  This concept of "Faith in Future Grace" was first revealed to me by him.  Check out the video below for more:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Broken Sufficiency

"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere." - 2 Cor. 2:14

God, in the gospel of Christ, has conquered us and broken us that we might "spread the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere."  God saves us that we might speak of Him to others.

We are "Christ's aroma to God," God's beloved ones in Christ, among those who are perishing and those who have life (2:15).  The fragrance doesn't change, the recipient does. "to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life." (2:16)  Some will see your witness and reject it out right, others will see your witness and be sanctified.  "Who is sufficient for these things?" Who is sufficient for the witness of Christ?  Only those who have been honestly broken by God to speak for God.  Be broken today.  In Christ, only a broken jar can release a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. - 2 Cor. 2:17

Monday, October 13, 2014

5 Reasons Christians Should Sing and Sing Often

This is a photo from my church choir at Christmas.
I’m sure we’ve all met those people who “just don’t sing” at church.  Whether due to their lack of vocal ability, shy personality, or (supposed) unfamiliarity with the songs; I have heard tons of excuses for why people do not want to sing in church.  While, certainly singing is not a requirement for being a Christian (faith in Christ alone is!) we find that singing is right at the heart of our faith.

1) Jesus was a “singing person.”  Jesus was all about singing!  One example of this is found in the Last Supper He shared with His disciples.  After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.- Matthew 26:30.  Jesus does this during a crucial moment in His ministry.  He is sharing what would be His last supper with His disciples before the cross, but He also is instituting an ordinance for His church!  This was a moment to be cherished and remembered and what does Jesus do?  SING!  This raises so many questions I wish we could know!  What vocal range was Jesus?  What song did He sing?  Was this spontaneous or planned?  What we can know is that singing was used as a part of the celebration and was a part of the Son of God’s preparation to suffer.  This bring us to number 2….

2) Singing helps us endure suffering  We can also draw the conclusion that Jesus was a singer because of how much He seemed to cherished God’s inspired song book: the Psalms.  We find that 14 times in the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus quotes the Psalms (ESV Study Bible, pg.2609-2610).  One of the most profound moment we find is when Jesus is on the cross, and of all He could declare, He quotes lyrics to Psalm 22 (Matthew 26:45-46).  In Jesus darkest hour He found comfort in songs overflowing with Holy Spirit inspiration.  As Jesus Christ was bearing out sin, He had a song in His head.  Should not songs of truth be a bedrock for us in the midst of suffering?

3) Singing is a means of fighting temptation.  Once again, in the ministry of Jesus we find another example of Jesus singing.   Jesus, when faced with temptation found power in Holy Spirit inspired Torah and Psaltery.  In Matthew 4 Satan actually tempts Jesus through misquoting Psalm 91, but, He knew Psalm 91 and counteracted with a quote from Deuteronomy.  A song was a means by which Jesus overcame temptation, how much more for us?  Yes, we have the Psalms, but the truth of Scriptures can be communicated via the songs we sing corporately.  Gospel saturated songs have sin conquering power.  In the midst of heavy temptation I often find myself singing, “When Satan tempts me to despair, And tells me of the guilt within, Upward I look and see Him there, Who made an end of all my sin.”  If Jesus fought temptation through singing God’s truth, how much more should we?

4) We will sing in Heaven

Corporate worship is an earthly shadow of a Heavenly reality (Hebrews 9-10), so when we sing we are mimicking (and joining in with) the choir off Heaven!  Revelation 5 pulls back the veil and we hear that the Gospel truth is declared even by glorified saints, And they sang a new song, saying ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.’” (Rev. 5:9)  Heaven will be far to glorious to want to hold back due to being “shy.”  Worship will not be cold or dead in Heaven.  In fact, many may think we are Charismatic (this coming from a non-Charismatic!).

Certainly we are going more than sing for all eternity, the next verse says we will be reigning as well, but this passage and many others make clear that much of the joy of Heavenly is going to be found in expressing our salvation in song.  Song is not sinful, but in fact even in the garden was expressed by God’s image bearers to express delight (Gen. 2:23).  Singing is at the core of what it means to be human.  Even God Himself expressed his delight in song, which is why we need not fear singing to Him…

5) Because God’s singing over us will always be louder than our singing to Him

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zech. 3:17 (ESV)

The glorious news is that God does not accept us because we sing well, or because we sing loud, but God sings over us because of His great love for us in Christ.  Christ died that God might sing.  Sing over sinners.  Delight over you.  You.  In the gospel, God sings a song over you.  Even on our “best” worship days, the singing of God over His people will always be louder than a congregation in chorus together.  That, my friends, is good news.  News good enough to sing about.