One of my favorite songs from the “Praying for You” album. We are free in Jesus!
To pre-buy the new 5-song digital recording, “Seeing Deep”, go to: http://www.pledgemusic.com/seeingdeep
One of my favorite songs from the “Praying for You” album. We are free in Jesus!
To pre-buy the new 5-song digital recording, “Seeing Deep”, go to: http://www.pledgemusic.com/seeingdeep
“People cry out because of the excess of oppression, they cry out for help because of the power of the Mighty.”
“He delivers the afflicted by their afflictions, He reveals Himself to them by their suffering.”
Deep inside each of us in a need – most likely there are many needs within us. Some of the needs are hidden from our eyes and others control us, whether we are aware of it or not. Sometimes we are ashamed to admit our needs or hurts, but ultimately all of our longings cause us to in humility see our need of God.
It is in our raw time of need that we cry out to God. When everything is comfortable, we often do not feel compelled to ask God to help us with the basic aspects of life. In our independence we do not want to have to need God so much and fail to see that everything we are able to do is only His grace in our lives. We take for granted how much He has done for us and how many needs He has already met in our lives. In reality, I needed God only when I thought I needed Him – when times were challenging. But I need Him for every aspect of life.
God invites us to come to Him in our need. When we come to God, He examines us. We come wanting Him to give us something – maybe relief from suffering, but many times when we cry out to God for the affliction to stop, the affliction is the very tool He is using to heal us.
Sometimes we do not see or recognize our TRUE NEED. We come crying out to God and leave changed, perhaps seeing our need from a different perspective. We focus on the external, but God is wanting that hunger, that ache to open our eyes to see our need of HIM. More than anything this world has to offer, we were made for Him and He wants to meet all of our cares with Himself.
Lord, thank you that You know what our real needs are and in Your wisdom You use our needs to bring us to Yourself.
Psalm 51: 1-4
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your loyal love!
Because of your great compassion, wipe away my rebellious acts!
2 Wash away my wrongdoing! Cleanse me of my sin!
3 For I am aware of my rebellious acts; I am forever conscious of my sin.
4 Against you – you above all – I have sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight.
Enjoy this song, “Your Mercy” – a joyful reminder of what we have been forgiven of!
Tonight I am thinking of how much we all need Jesus. Not religion. Just Jesus. This world does not need a list of to do’s, but to see there is a God they need and Who is able to meet their every need.
You can still pre-buy or donate toward the Pledge Music campaign at: http://www.pledgemusic.com/seeingdeep. All new songs, all to draw us nearer to Him!
It will be a sign for you on your hand and a memorial on your forehead, so that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth, for with a mighty hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt. 17 When Pharaoh released the people, God did not lead them by the way to the land of the Philistines, although that was nearby, for God said, “Lest the people change their minds and return to Egypt when they experience war.”
“I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them. I will gain honor because of Pharaoh and because of all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” So this is what they did.
The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this desert to kill this whole assembly with hunger!” 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people will go out and gather the amount for each day, so that I may test them. Will they walk in my law or not?
With a mighty hand God delivered His people, yet three days after many miracles, including parting a sea, granting favor to the Israelites so they plundered their enemies and prophesying and fulfilling 10 plagues, they doubted God. They replaced the faith they had learned to have in God quickly with fear and doubted God’s goodness and character.
God’s people did not understand His purposes and looked at their circumstances of discomfort and misinterpreted them. A good God would never have them wonder if God would faithfully provide, would he? Why would He test them? Because He knew their tendency was toward the superficial. They wanted to be provided for, but did not expect that a relationship with God would mean they would have to go without to make them see their need of Him.
God knew them and their tendencies to go astray, but they were not acquainted with God’s nature. We often displace our own character flaws on others, but God has none. The LORD wanted them to know Him. He wanted even their enemies, the Egyptians, to know Him. He wanted them to learn to walk faithfully with Him.
The Israelites had forgotten their purpose. The main thing for them became their happiness. They became self-focused and disillusioned when trials came. They began to think that the grass was greener on the other side, but forgot that the other side was slavery. Suddenly the “feast” they used to eat while there was embellished to be something they missed.
We might think this happened only in Old Testament times, or with an unintelligent people who were ignorant of God’s plan, but we, too, are easily distracted and forget what we have been saved from. We forget our purpose, our mission.
We become enchanted by the world or begin to be lulled into thinking this world system and the here and now are the most important. Eternity hangs in the balance for all those around us, yet we are often preoccupied with worries of this world and distracted with trivial things.
The Israelites thought God’s deliverance was all about them. They focused on their freedom or on the comforts they wanted. God’s purposes always run far deeper than ours. He chose us and wants to use us for His glory. He loves the world and does not want any to perish. God help us to keep the main thing the main thing . . . knowing Jesus and making Him known.
Lord, help us to remember daily Your promises and to fulfill the mission You have called us to. Help us to keep You at the center of our lives and your salvation as the main purpose of our lives.
1 Timothy 2:1-3
“First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior.”
As I prepare to conclude the Pledge Music campaign, where people can pre-buy the new music I will be producing this summer, I am giving away a song each day of this final week. Heavy on my heart is the need to pray for all people. For Christians and Jewish people persecuted in the world, for people in the recent earthquake in Nepal, for the lost and for the many needs we are burdened with. I hope this song, “Why Should I Pray?” from my CD, “Praying for You” is an encouragement to you today.
All for Jesus,
2 Corinthians 5:14-16, 18-21
14 “For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. 16 So then from now on we acknowledge no one from an outward human point of view. Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, now we do not know him in that way any longer. 17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away–look, what is new has come! 18 And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” 21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 6:4
But as God’s servants, we have commended ourselves in every way, with great endurance, in persecutions, in difficulties, with distresses, 5 in beatings, imprisonments, in riots, in troubles, in sleepless nights, in hunger, by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by benevolence, by the Holy Spirit, by genuine love, 7 by truthful teaching, by the power of God, with weapons of righteousness both for the right hand and the left, 8 through glory and dishonor, through slander and praise; regarded as imposters, and yet true.”
Relationships can be tricky – especially if we go by feelings. Offenses can run rampant in families, friendships and even the body of Christ. Wherever two or more are gathered, there can be conflict or hurt feelings. But in Christ, we who have been saved are new creatures and called to a different standard.
Likened to a soldier serving his country, we have been called as ambassadors for Christ and given a ministry of reconciliation. What a wonderful occupation – peacemakers. And yet in all honesty, there is not a lot of glamour or appreciation that comes from this position; rather, a lot of humble pie. But the joy of pleasing God far outweighs the bitter heart weighed down with unforgiveness, resentment or bitter envy.
When someone is uncharitable or unkind to us, it hurts, but what an opportunity to glorify God. If it is a Christian who is envious or bitter with us, God help us to see the individual as one whom God has forgiven. We cannot hold a grudge, no matter how justified we feel we may be, for we, too, have trespassed against God and been forgiven.
This ministry of reconciliation should consume our souls. We are on a mission from God to reconcile man back to a right relationship with God. And not just that, but with one another. God demonstrated relationship to us through His Son. We are called to relate to one another in humility and grace; embodied by Christ Himself, who we were enemies of and crucified, yet He did not count our sins against us.
At this present time, the “sufferings” of a Christian today in our country do not compare with those of the first generation of Christians in the New Testament. They armed themselves with being prepared to die to self, to endure hardship all for the glory of God. Their weapons were righteous – not self righteous, not for their own defense, but to win one soul to God.
Lord help us to not forget our calling and purpose or be distracted by controversies that just do not matter. We can pursue unity as far as it depends upon us and leave all matters up to God. Recently I saw a quote, which I had heard many years before in a sermon and it was such a fresh reminder of how to respond when people say things that are not true of ourselves. To paraphrase, the part of us that wants the truth to be told fights against someone spreading falsehood, yet, in reality, there are things which are true of us that are just as hideous as the lie being told.
God help us to just let it go. Let God straighten out any misperception and just be about the business of reconciliation as much as depends upon us. Reconciliation is not for the super religious; it is not for the religious at all; it is expected by all who profess Christ and who have received mercy, grace and reconciliation themselves.
Lord, we surrender to You and ask You to help us to be focused on Your purposes and glory, not our own. May zeal for Your salvation consume us and may we never tire of serving in this ministry of reconciliation.
Here is a gift to those of you who read my blog each week – a song called, “Reign in Me” from my CD, “Praying for You”. It received radio play in 11 states and still remains one of my favorite songs, leading me to surrender my heart again and again to God’s will. I hope it blesses you.
We are pre-selling my next music recording for the next 6 days, which will include worship songs as well as songs sharing testimony, including a Christian love song. You can pre-buy this recording or donate at: http://www.pledgemusic.com/seeingdeep.
Thank you for reading and listening!
1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t be impressed by his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
When Samuel was choosing the future King, he was led by God. Men tried to sway him to pick according to their own prejudice and preference, but Samuel sought God’s favor. People were shocked that David, a mere shepherd boy who played the harp was selected. He was the youngest, the least that anyone would have expected. It was, perhaps, politically incorrect.
The people qualified Samuel’s choice: “but he’s taking care of the flock . . .” – not someone God would choose, would He? David might not have been esteemed as a leader in man’s eyes, but to God, who knew his heart, David was the perfect choice. Confidence in appearance never lasts, but character endures long past looks, wealth or popularity have faded. Waiting for God’s best requires patience, trust and obedience in God, not fear of man.
It is a humbling thing putting ourselves before man, whether it be to step out in ministry, to share what God has done, or to lead in some fashion. We will be tested in those times to develop character and sometimes in our own hometown we will not be endorsed. Like David, people around us know we are imperfect. They may hold a perception of us that we cannot affect. The true moment of freedom comes when we realize that we do not have to.
None of us wants to be misunderstood, but it is a fact of life. People have their perceptions formed on the surface in the chalice of opinion, gossip, envy, or experience. Whether or not there is truth behind that perception often doesn’t matter, as the power of emotion can be stronger and people are often fed opinions by the peecee police in an attempt to control outcomes. But the humility of reserving judgment before tearing down another brother or sister is rare and needed today.
To form a viewpoint on another person without attempting to know their heart is prideful and demonic. It is also folly to trust in what someone or something appears to be, only to be let down. Discernment comes through prayer and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
These same patterns of judgment and jealousy are in the body of Christ today. They were also present in the time of Christ. Jesus’ own disciples questioned the motives of other followers of Christ casting out demons in Jesus’ name. A competitive spirit was quickly quelled by the Master, though, who saw all working together for the glory of God.
Are we a David, being chosen for a work, or the older brother, scorning someone else who is seeking to work for the kingdom of God? In either station, may we recognize we are nothing apart from Christ. We are all unqualified to serve the King of kings. Therefore no jealousy is permitted and no pride, either, in whatever position we are in.
Blind trust in someone can bring devastation, but we have to be willing enough to be vulnerable and not allow ourselves to become embittered and believe the worst in others, either. We all need grace and need to believe we are capable of being better tomorrow than we were today – no matter what the appearance suggests.
Lord, we answer to you alone. Thank You for calling each of us for Your glory. We are so needful, yet You use us. Help us to not fear man, but to serve you faithfully. May we also not discourage another because of a weakness we see in them, either.
Exodus 9: 1-7; 11
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Release my people that they may serve me! 2 For if you refuse to release them and continue holding them, 3 then the hand of the Lord will surely bring a very terrible plague on your livestock in the field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. 4 But the Lord will distinguish between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, and nothing will die of all that the Israelites have. 5 The Lord set an appointed time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” 6 And the Lord did this on the next day; all the livestock of the Egyptians died, but of the Israelites’ livestock not one died. 7 Pharaoh sent representatives to investigate, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of Israel had died. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, and he did not release the people. 11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians.
“11 You allowed men to ride over our heads; we passed through fire and water, but you brought us out into a wide open place. 12 You allowed men to ride over our heads; we passed through fire and water, but you brought us out into a wide open place. 13 I will enter your temple with burnt sacrifices; I will fulfill the vows I made to you.”
Throughout time, the story of God’s mighty deliverance of His people from the Egyptians has captivated many. The thing we often forget though, is that deliverance costs. The Israelites suffered along with the Egyptians for the first few plagues and thereafter from the resentment the Egyptians poured out on them as retribution for their own judgment.
The rain falls on the good and bad, and the righteous and unrighteous alike will be tested – with one key difference. The testing by God on one of His children has the potential to yield a bountiful harvest and has eternal purposes. For the unsaved, God is hoping the testing will cause them to turn toward Him, but often testing yields punishment and exasperation for an unbeliever who does not understand the heart of God.
For those who fear the LORD, there is protection and a purpose in all hardship endured under the sun. It makes me smile to consider that the magicians, who were so smug at being able to duplicate God’s miracles initially, then were suddenly covered in boils and recognizing the finger of God. Not enough to repent and recognize their need for salvation, but humbled, nonetheless, in the presence of a Holy God.
God will be glorified in our moments of testing and of victory. Knowing that nothing is in vain in Jesus gives encouragement when the testing seems lengthy. He is at work. Even when it seems like the enemy is advancing, God knows the end.
God is so good in all of His purposes. He longs to bring us to a place of abundance, but not if our character is not prepared first. Of far greater worth is our heart than our comfort, even if it means we suffer for a little while. In due time, we will reap a harvest, and it will be beautiful.
Lord, thank you for patiently loving us and carrying us through life’s adversities and triumphs. We need, You, Lord. Help us to not resist testing but embrace the lessons learned and submit our souls to You in the process.
Countdown – 10 days left for our Pledge campaign – http://www.pledgemusic.com/seeingdeep