Category Archives: Devotion

“Serious” Listening Skills Needed

What I'm Listening To Now....

What I’m Listening To Now….

Lots of blogs talk about what the blogger is listening too “right now.”  I went through a phase a few years ago where I only listen to Shane and Shane, particularly their “Upstairs” CD which had me totally captured.  Since then it’s been kinda nominal as far as obsessively listening to certain music or musicians.

That’s actually a bit out of my character since I have been known to obsess about things in spurts.  I might be stuck in a “thing” for a while and then get bored and look for the next obsession to brood over.

Then a while back I watched a movie.  Nothing unusual about that since I watch lots of movies. It’s a great film and I would recomend it do anybody who enjoys history, pirates, and the commraderie of men.  The film was Master and Commander and the film score features Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach.

Now I’ve had Yo-Yo’s cello playing Bach Suites in my CD Player before the movie came out but something about the two of them together triggered a note in me and I’ve craved the music obsessively ever since; especially the prelude in G major.

I listened this morning again and found myself in such awe and amazement at the simplicity and complexity of the piece.  Bach was truly inspired.  There’s this dual sided kind of expression in the piece, with large intervals that speak to me of the contrast between what I want and what God wants for me.  A kind of struggle of the heart that I identify with.  Like Paul in Romans, willing but weak to perform good and deny the flesh.   And so, I am brought to tears as I listen and the more I listen the more I hear in the piece.  It’s only 2:22 minutes long and leaves me wanting more each time.  So, I put it on repeat in my iTunes and hide in the piece as the Lord speaks to me in every note ultimately, like the music, finding joy in the end.

Thank YOU LORD for the talent and gifts you bestowed on Johann Sebastian Bach.  I’m so glad that he acknowledged his life and music were a gift from you.

SDG – Soli Deo Gloria
J S Bach appended these initials at the end of each of his Cantatas scores.
  Soli Deo Gloria, to the Glory of God alone,
they signified his deep devotion and desire to serve God through his music. (ref)

SDG

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Filed under Check it Out!, Creative Worship, Devotion, Latest Music Binge, musician

Just A Glance

Photo: Bob Ybarra, Crested Pool, Yellowstone

Photo: Bob Ybarra, Crested Pool, Yellowstone

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;

Give ear, O God of Jacob!  Selah

O God, behold our shield,

And look upon the face of Your anointed.

For a day in Your courts

is better than a thousand.

I would rather be a doorkeeper

in the house of my God

Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;

The LORD will give grace and glory;

No good thing will He withhold

From those who walk uprightly.

Psalm 84:8-11

In a time of heartache King David longed to be in God’s presence crying out to God with a plea of desperation,

“O hear me, turn your ear, look, please, just look upon me.”

This was a most humble prayer.  He didn’t ask for much.  It was a simple prayer just to be acknowledged with the glance of God, even if for only a moment, for even a glance from God is enough. It is sufficient to satisfy the deepest longings of man.  God rewarded David by prospering his kingdom, honoring him in the written word and by granting him the desire of his heart… to be in His presence forever.  David’s prayer was rewarded with abundant grace!

O Lord, look upon us for your glance is enough

to satisfy our souls for eternity.  Amen

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The God who sees and hears…

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.    Psalm 34:15

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Good Reading

bks

I’m not a reader.  That is to say,  you wont find me by the fire devouring the latest releases.  I enjoy reading the Word of God and material that leads me into a deeper relationship with Him although I’m choosy within that topic.  

I believe that the Word of God is my best teacher on the subject of worship but I do love to glean, now and then, from those who have something especially meaty to say on the subject.

I have read several books on worship that I recomend highly:

  • Face Down/ Matt Redman
  • Living a Life of True Worship/ Kay Arthur
  • Planted by the Water/ Chris Falson
  • Worship and Music Ministry/ Rick Ryan, Dave Newton/Chuck Smith (out of print)
  • The Ultimate Priority/ John MacArthur, Jr.
  • Worship Rediscovering the Missing Jewel / Allen and Borror
  • Real Worship/ Wiersbe

I’d have to say that none and all of these are my favorite books on worship.  None, because I couldn’t just pick one and say that it’s the best.  All, because I believe that each one contributes something eternal and imparts a tremendous gift to the reader.

So,… what are some of the worship books in your library?


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Filed under Devotion, Lead Worship, Resources, Worship Education, Worship Leaders Speak

Giving Thanks

 

thlpr


Luke 17:14-16

So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. 

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,  and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 

 

Ten lepers went to the priests.  Ten lepers were healed on the way.  Only one leper returned to give thanks.  

Here is a contrast of two types of people.  Those who recognize they are in desperate need of God’s grace and mercy and those who take the gifts of God for granted.  

We have received something wonderful and undeserved from the Lord, a precious gift, the sweetness of justification that has cleansed us, making us presentable before the God of the universe.  We can be like the nine who went on their way, about their business.  Or, we can choose to be like the one who recognized the work of Christ and returned to Him, glorifying God with praise and thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving, we have the privilege of taking the time to stop and turn our faces to God, glorifying Him and giving praise and thanksgiving for all His wonderful work in our lives….  for the precious and wonderful gift of His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

SDG

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Worship Leaders Speak: Brushing-up on Devotion

There are several pictures I get in my mind when I think of someone who has a devotional life.  Someone who rises early (before the sun and the kids) to pray and read from a little book that has each day prepared with a scripture reading and a commentary on the reading. (A devotional)

Someone who reads through his or her Bible every year.  Someone with stacks of Devotionals on their nightstand.  Someone who always has an open bible on his or her coffee or dining table.

The question I ask myself is, “do these descriptions define what it means to have a devotional life?”  And,  “Can we have a wrong perception of what it means to have a devotional life?”

Devotion defined: de·vo·tion   noun

  1.  deep love and commitment
  2.  great dedication and loyalty
  3.  strong enthusiasm and admiration for somebody or something
  4.  fervent religious or spiritual feeling (formal)
  5.  the act of devoting something or being devoted to a particular purpose
  6.  prayers or other religious observances, especially somebody’s private prayers or observances

 

I would like to answer a few questions in the next few paragraphs.  Questions like: What does it mean to have a devotional life?  Do all Christians have a devotional life?  Who in Scripture exemplified someone with a devotional life?  How can you/I have a successful devotional life?

1.)  What does it mean to have a devotional life?  

 Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus recounts the greatest commandment:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, 

  • All your emotions given to God
  • All your affections given to God

with all your soul, 

  • All your being
  • All your life; breath; physical being.

and with all your mind

  • All your way of thinking
  • All your understanding
  • All your intellect
  • All your imagination

2.) Do all Christians have a devotional life?

2Co 11:3*  But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

It is possible to believe that doing acts of devotion are in and of themselves the devotional life.  Many have gotten caught up in thinking that reading their bibles or devotionals and praying at a certain time in the day makes devoted Christians.  On the contrary, it is because we are devoted to Christ that we read our Bibles and pray.

3.) Who in Scripture exemplified someone with a devotional life?

2Ki 20:3*  “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth   (mind)  and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight (soul or being).” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

1Ch 29:3  King David   “Moreover, because I have set my affection  (heart)  on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver: (being)

If we examine the lives of persons in scripture we will find either those who followed the Greatest Commandment or didn’t follow it.

Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and the patriarchs, Joshua, Rahab, Ruth, Joseph and his brothers, Jonah and The prophets, Job, Samson, The disciples, Judas Iscariot, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary and Martha and Lazarus, Paul and the Apostles, Titus and Timothy, James the brother of Jesus, And the list goes on and on……

In each case these were either successful in their walk with God or not.  Those that were devoted experienced a close walk with God and the peace that comes with it.  Those that struggled in their devotion were markedly either failures or just squeezed by.

4.) How can you / I have a successful devotional life?

1Ch 28:9  “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.

1Ti 4:13* Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.  Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Here’s a few things that will help strengthen devotion to God.

  • Devote yourself to Know God
  • Know God’s character and attributes
  • Know God’s voice
  • By prayer and reading 
  • Devote yourself to Serve God
  • Give yourself to God
  • Keep God’s Words
  • Devote yourself to Seek God
  • Study God’s Words

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El Roi

 

Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. …….Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, Have I also here seen Him who sees me? see Gen16:7-14

The Hebrew word for found refers to finding someone or something that is lost or misplaced. Certainly Hagar must have felt both lost or misplaced. Alone in a barren desert wilderness, pregnant with a child because of another person’s willful desire…but she was not alone and the Angel of the Lord found her. This is where He often finds many of us – alone and in the wilderness. But rest assured He will find you. And He knows all about our past as well as our future. Even though He asked Hagar where she had come from and where she was going, He already knew the answers and yet He still cared to comfort her in her affliction.

Shur means wall so in a sense Hagar had her back against the wall as we commonly say when we find ourselves in difficult, stressful circumstances.

There is no wilderness we can flee to and be out of the sight of God. For the sinner this truth brings terror. For the saint walking in the light this truth brings great peace from knowing He is there and that he has seen the wrong others have committed against us and that He will avenge the wrong. Our call is to forgive those who have wronged us. We don’t know from the text if Hagar forgave Sarai, but we do know that this is God’s will for the righteous.

Hagar ran away from Sarai but ran into God. How many of us running away from some oppressive situation, some bad memory, some unfair treatment, etc, have run into God? The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble and He knows those who take refuge in Him. Nahum1:7

Do you need to run to Him and take refuge in the Strong Tower of His name El Roi right now? Then run for you won’t be disappointed. The adversity you are experiencing may not necessarily be assuaged (even as Hagar had to return to the setting of prior harsh treatment) but in your adversity you can take confidence that El Roi sees and He will send comfort in the affliction.

 

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off
.
Ps 139:1- 2

special thanks to Kay Arthur and precept minstries

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