Never Been A Moment

This week I’ve been thinking about the line between feelings and faith, and how this influences who we are and how we are.

During our Spiritual Depression Miniseries we said that we ought to interpret our lives based on the Bible, not interpret the Bible based on our lives. The problem with the latter is that our lives then become the ultimate test and truth of reality, rather than the Word of God. When this is the case, our lives can change, our feelings can change, and we end up being blown here and there by every wind of change, often multiple times a day. This then has the potential to change who we are, and how we are. 

Think of the person interpreting their life independently, all alone, not in relation to something that never changes.

What happens when they feel abandoned and their circumstances seem to support that feeling?

What happens when they feel lost and their circumstances seem to support that feeling?

What happens when they deal with loss?

What happens when they deal with tragedy?

If we rely on feelings over faith, it’s only a matter of time before we end up in a dark place.

There’s a part of this song that speaks to this so well,

There’s never been a moment
I was not held inside Your arms
There’s never been a day when You were not who You say You are

Despite what is going on around us, God never changes (Malachi 3.6, Hebrews 13.8). Because God never changes, His Word to us is solid, true, and lasting (Luke 21.33). So, when we might feel abandoned, lost, alone, or down, we can turn to the Word of God and know, for sure, that He is always there, always true, and always ready with an all consuming, heart pursuing, grace extending, never ending love.

This should define who we are, and how we are. 

Even Then

Most Thursday’s we have a devotional with a bit of music, and today we’ve got Even Then by Micah Tyler.

On the nights when the dark lasts a little bit longer
When the wind and the storm is a little bit stronger
When the fear in my heart dips a little bit deeper
When my faith to stand gets a little bit weaker

Where could I run to?
Where could I go?

There will be times in our lives when things get tough, when we experience periods where we think ‘Where are you Lord?’, when we have doubts of emotion and feel as if nothing will ever get any better. 

I read recently that when things are happening that we don’t understand, we must fall back on the things we do understand. When life gets rough and tough where do we run, where do we go?

Psalm 73 offers a very present help in times of need and trouble,

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

It should come as a great comfort to us that the Lord never lets go (John 10.28) of those who have turned to Him in faith. When the dark, stormy, fear-filled times come along, we have an ever present help in our times of need. We must turn first and foremost to the Word of God in times of trouble, not our own feelings, not someone else’s experience, the solid, tried, true, and tested Word of God. 

It is always good to start with the Bible, where there is explicit teaching on every condition…

D.Martin Lloyd-Jones

He is our refuge and strength, He is in our midst, He will help, He is with us.

We need only be still and know that the Lord of hosts is with us (Psalm 46).

I Will Boast

In Galatians 6 Paul is writing to say that people will ask you to do things in order to make them look good (vv.11-12), and that appearances are not to be boasted in, or gloried in, whether they are yours or someone else’s (v.13). Then he writes,

14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

This forms the basis of today’s Thursday Music, ‘I Will Boast’ by Chris Tomlin.

I will boast only in the cross

Where my Savior died for me

Nothing else, no other love,

Goes so far and runs so deep

Paul writes to the Romans that it is rare that anyone would die for a righteous man, yet sometimes people will give their life to save a good person. The love of God is proved to be on a whole other level when we see that whilst we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5.7-8). No other love goes so far for us, no other love runs so deep for us.

I will boast only in the cross

See His head, His hands, and feet

Scars of grace, scars that heal

He broke the curse and set me free

This looks back to that horrific scene on the cross where Jesus took upon Himself the punishment, shame, and consequence for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2.2). The head, hands, and feet of Jesus took the physical punishment we deserve, and He gave His life to offer us a new one (John 19.2, 1 Peter 2.24).

This is why Paul writes far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. The cross of Jesus is the only true, pure, unchanging, and right thing in our lives. Everything else is temporary and temporal, but the cross of Christ is the starting point for a wonderful, new, and everlasting life.

Brokenness Aside

This song by All Sons & Daughters has some deep truths in it for us. Let’s just look at the chorus.

‘Cause I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful

Often the point we all get to before we realise that we are in dire need of a Saviour is to realise that I am a sinner. We know that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3.23). We also know that God is a God of justice, a holy God, and must act on sin (Habakkuk 1.13). All this point to the fact that as sinners we are deserving of judgement. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6.23).

We often find ourselves caught up in words and tangled in lies. Maybe it’s words spoken in anger to our children. Maybe it’s words said in frustration to our spouse. Maybe it’s bending the truth into a lie to make ourselves look better at work. Maybe we lie to ourselves and say that ‘just once‘ is ok, ‘this time I’ll do it, next time I won’t‘. Whatever it is, we all fall short of the glory of God, and if it’s not one thing it’s another.

All this may get us down, all this may leave us feeling hopeless. Is our conclusion going to be Romans 6.23? But, as sinful as we are, Jesus is even more righteous. As deceiving as we are, He is even more pure and holy. As irrational and unpredictable as we are, He is unchanging (Malachi 3.6, Hebrews 13.8).

Whilst we are not to use this as an excuse to do what we want (Romans 6.1-2), we are to take comfort and encouragement that Jesus is a Saviour and He takes brokenness aside and makes it beautiful.

Rather than taking our anger, frustration, guilt, shame, tiredness, inconsistencies, and apprehension out on those closest to us, there is only One place to take it. 

Take all of this, and any other burdens you are carrying, to Jesus and watch Him take brokenness aside

Our God

Today for our music devotional we’ll look at Our God by Chris Tomlin.

Water You turned into wine
Opened the eyes of the blind
There’s no one like you
None like you
Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s No one like you
None like you
The first verse points to miracles of Jesus (John 2.1-11, 9.1-7). When we see miracles in the Bible we are supposed to react with awe, with wonder, with amazement, with thoughts like There’s no one like you, none like you
Jesus is so often described as the light of the world, a term He referred to Himself with in John 8.12. When this light shines into our lives, when we begin to live in this life, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5.17), and we begin to be transformed (Romans 12.2) from the inside out, little by little into the image of God’s beloved Son. 
The chorus is a triumphant declaration that we can all benefit from saying and singing. Reminding ourselves of foundational truths about God such as this is never a bad thing, and to offer these truths up as worship is also in line with what worship should be.
God is great (Jeremiah 10.6), God is strong (Proverbs 18.10), God is so far higher than anyone or anything else (Isaiah 55.8-9), God is a God of healing, both physical and spiritual (Psalm 147.3), and He is truly awesome in power (Psalm 147.5).
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
Then what can stand against?
Singing Scripture is always good, worshiping with Scripture is always good, and Romans 8.31 is a great Scripture to sing.
Paul asks the question that we sing here, and he is absolutely right, if God is for us, what can stand against? 
The if is taken care of by faith in Jesus.
God is for those who have faith in Jesus.

Psalm 34 (Taste and See)

Today for Thursday Music, Psalm 34 (Taste and See). This version is sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and features Shane and Shane

Really simply, this is what worship should be like, this is what worship is about. The word worship comes from the idea that we give worth to whom it is due. As believers, we would assert the truth that God alone is worthy of worship (1 Chronicles 16.25, Psalm 96.4-5, 2 Samuel 22.4, Philippians 2.9-11, Hebrews 1.6, Psalm 29.1-2). Worship should be about giving God His due glory, not singing songs about ourselves. Much Christian music is good for reminding ourselves who we are in Christ, but worship, at the core, should look like this.

Much of this song is straight out of the Psalm,

I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11 Come, O children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is there who desires life
    and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
    and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
    not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
    none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

What a wonderful declaration for us to take into the day – magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!

This Psalm encourages us to draw near to God when things are not going well (vv.18-22), and we are told that none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

So, no matter what we are going through, whether good (vv.4-5) or bad (v.6), thick or thin, we are encouraged to bless the Lord at all times, letting His praise be continually in our mouths.

What a wonderful example of a true worship song, enjoy it now and take it into your day!

How Great Is Our God

Today for our Thursday Music devotional, How Great Is Our God by Chris Tomlin.

The splendor of a King, clothed in majesty
Let all the Earth rejoice, all the Earth rejoice
He wraps himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice
How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

The first verse and chorus here are magnifying the name of the Lord and communicating the truths of Psalm 104.2, Isaiah 66.2, and Nahum 1.5.

The chorus sings the wonderful truth that our God is great, and Chronicles 2.5 tells us that our God is greater than all gods.

Age to age He stands, and time is in His hands
Beginning and the end, beginning and the end
The Godhead Three in One, Father, Spirit, Son
The Lion and the Lamb, the Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
You are worthy of all praise
My heart will sing how great is our God

Revelation 21.6 and 22.13 tell us that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. There was never a time that our great God did not exist, and there will never be a time when our great God will not exist. 

What great encouragement and comfort that brings us. No matter what we are going through, no matter what we are facing, we can take it to one who has always been, will always be, someone so permanent, stable, not going anywhere, a rock that is higher and stronger than us.

The idea of the Godhead three in One, can be found as far back as Genesis 1.1 wherein we see a Hebrew plural word used in the singular to convey the fact that God is three distinct persons but One.

Enjoy this song, worshiping the name above all names (Philippians 2.9), and let our hearts sing how great is our God.