"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1st John 4:10-12)
No matter what our daily trials are, we may face them with calm assurance that we are not alone. Others may mock us, deceive us, leave us stranded, and disappoint us in a thousand ways; but, we may be sure that the love which enabled Jesus to place Himself on the cross, is sufficient to sustain us through anything we face today. Amen and amen.
Ephesians 5:15-17 warns us to be very careful how we live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil - not to be foolish, but to understand the Lord's will. Verses 18-20 then tell us:
"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Many of us have read or heard this scripture since childhood; but, do we really grasp its meaning? Everyone will immediately agree that we understand the first part: "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery…" But, how about the next few words: "Instead, be filled with the Spirit."
Instead? In place of wine… fill yourself with the Spirit. Why do people drink? Many drink to forget or because they're depressed or anxious. Some drink when they're scared or worried about their circumstances. This scripture tell us that if we're filled with the Spirit, we won't need the wine when tribulations occur. Rather than being controlled by wine (or any other worldly force), the Christian is to be filled with the Spirit so that instead of trying to control ourselves, we are controlled by the Holy Spirit.
When we "speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" we are ministering to each other. The Old Testament psalms (psalmois) are psalms sung with stringed instruments such as harps. Hymns (hymnois) are praises composed by Christians. Spiritual Songs implies that these songs are restricted to sacred subjects including praises of God, exhortations and prophecies. Contrast that with the songs sung by those filled with wine - songs of the world. So, we're not only ministering to each other; but, our singing is also a means of worshiping the Lord.
"Sing and make music in your heart" - don't just sing with your lips, but sing from your heart, from your spirit - "Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything." When you sing, sing songs of praise and thanksgiving. Thank Him from your heart. As you minister to others in song, join them in thanking our Lord for everything.
And finally, when you sing and praise the Lord our God; when you offer Him thanks in the form of songs from the heart, do so "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Before we believed we were not very careful how we lived - not as wise but as unwise, not making the most of every opportunity - we were asleep and dead in the Lord's eyes. Now we are awake, filled with His spirit, filled with songs of praise and thanksgiving, and walking in His light.
"…Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
- Philippians 2:5
Since God is righteous, to enter into His presence, we must be righteous too. Not possible... unless, we receive that righteousness as a FREE GIFT from Jesus Christ, who lived a perfectly righteous life, then, on the cross He identified with our unrighteousness. HE TOOK OUR PLACE! Bore our sin, paid our penalty, died our death!
GospeLines Prayer:O, my precious Father, bless me now with Your perfect love. Empower this imperfect me to live in perfect harmony with Thee, that I may know righteousness, too. Amen and amen
"Helplessness is no stranger to Christians. It's one of Satan's favorite tricks to remind us when things go wrong just how vulnerable we are and how dependent we become. Maybe you are facing a situation now which has you feeling helpless and hopeless. I want you to know that you are not alone. Given enough time everyone is placed in that uncomfortable position."
This is an excerpt from "A Steadfast Heart." This devotional was written by our own Dr. Tommy and was published on May 17 of this year. The following is a (slightly edited) response to this devotional that we received from one of our readers. We wanted to share this with you because this is where we live. And, because… God is good.
That's what I've been feeling; helpless and frightened. And each time I cry and hurt, I give it up to the Lord in prayer and feel at peace. It doesn't take away the hurt but I think I understand why. I need to know this pain; I need to understand it. It hurts but it makes me stronger.
I was thinking just this morning, that all this praying means I have faith, and I'm seeking comfort and peace. But, does all this crying mean that I have no faith and no trust in God? Then I thought about Mary. She cried too knowing what her son would be going through. Did she have no faith in God either? No, that wasn't it. She was just being a mother. She was feeling her pain as any mother would. She didn't lose faith or trust in God. She was just feeling what any mother would be feeling when her child is hurting or in pain.
And then I thought some more. Many parents have been calling me with the same concerns as I have. We've shed tears because our babies are leaving us for the first time, so far away and for so long and it felt good to be in good company. And I know in a day or two, I'll be fine counting the days until I see her again. But the thing that got to me was how blessed I am to be going through all these tears and all this pain. You see, there are many that are leaving on this trip, dying to get away from home. And while they aren't crying or feeling any pain, I know in my heart their mothers must be feeling ten times worse than I do. To know that their children don't want to be home; to know they can't share their pain, talk to their children and comforted them; this unspoken pain has got to hurt worse than what I'm feeling now. So, with these tears, God has shown me just how blessed I am.
My daughter started crying last night. She said she was scared and nervous but excited and thrilled at the same time. She hugged me so tight that I just melted in her arms. I felt so loved and so did she. And we grew from that.
Then she said she was feeling like a weak soldier. I told her the brave soldier goes on to perform their duty with all the fears in the world but their faith in God is what carries them through it all. And we prayed. We thanked God for this wonderful opportunity and then as is usually our mode... we said thanks for trusting us but next time don't give us so much to handle... We laughed…
She leaves today and I'm dragging my feet. I haven't slept because I know what's coming. But once I leave her at the airport, God will become her pilot. God will be her protector and God will take care of me too. And if that ugly person, the evil one, you know, that word I hate to use... the enemy comes to visit me again and again to try and get me to believe otherwise, I'll just smile. Because I know in my heart he'll never understand what I'm going through. He'll never understand love. And I'll leave the rest to God.
She'll be on the plane at 5:00. I'll say a prayer for her safe flight and arrival. I know God will take care of the rest.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, Help us to remember that for every mountaintop, there are valleys... and, it's in the valleys we grow. Amen and amen.
≈ Devotional for Friday: August 25, 2006
A new day has dawned! Behold the handiwork of our awesome God once more.
Standing outside my office I was amused at the swirling leaves mixed with debris, twisting tornado-like through the parking lot. I smiled as the whirlwind danced its way from car to car, effortlessly shaking antennas on this cloudless autumn day. When it stopped, a lady who was sitting in her car rolled her window down long enough to shout my direction, 'Isn't God a trip!'
GospeLines Prayer:“In all things give thanks to the Almighty, for he IS an awesome God.” Thank you, Father, for displaying your omniscience through nature. You really are a TRIP! Amen and amen.