Devotion, Hymns

A New Song

I love to sing; however, I’m not a singer.

My childhood was cupped in music. At any given moment, someone in my house was singing, humming, chirping or crooning out some tune, made up or memorized. If we weren’t making music, we were listening to it, especially when Dad was home. He had speakers wired throughout the house (quite a feat for the 1980s), so the entire house buzzed with whatever new album he brought home.

Swiped from countryshowdown.com

Swiped from countryshowdown.com

In a house like ours, a song was not hard to find.

I have always carried music with me wherever I went. It has been my constant companion as well as emphasizing the important moments in my life. There has been a soundtrack for days that were filled with laughter and fun, vacations in the Georgian mountains, and getting ready for a date. There has been a soundtrack to everything I’ve done: taken history tests, getting a drink at the water fountain, doing dishes, and mowing the lawn. Songs take me back to life-altering moments: bitter breakups, birth of children, and the death of loved ones.

It’s an understood maxim that songs punctuate life.

When I became a Christian in my late 20s, it became obvious that, although they were useful at points in my life, the songs rolling around in my head were not meeting the needs of my new life.  My previous post, “He Placed Me on My Feet,” details how I gained self confidence when Jesus placed me on solid ground.

Now I needed a song to go with that new found confidence.

Jesus never fails. In Psalm 40:3 (NLT) “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”

Not only did He pick me up and set my feet solidly on good ground, but He also gave me a song.  Jesus didn’t wait for me to ask Him for something to sing, hum, or warble. He gave it to me to me like a friend giving my a tissue when I sniffle, or pen when I need to write something down, or a penny when I’m short in the checkout. He just gave it to me.

I don’t mean to diminish the song Christ gives as something insignificant, just the opposite. It seems like a small thing, but to the receiver, it is very important. It can be an encouragement, a day changer, a life saver.

He knew I needed it before I knew I needed it. To say I was between a rock and hard place when I cried out to Jesus is an understatement. I was at my rock bottom with no where to go except under the rock. Something deep within me told me that if I crawled under that rock, I would be hard pressed to come out (no pun intended, although it works well). The soundtrack playing in the back of my head wasn’t encouraging in the least. As I mentioned in “He Placed Me on My Feet”, Jesus let me see that there was hope, that hope gave me confidence in the future, and my new found confidence allowed me to stand on faith. In retrospect, it was all so small. I was looking just a few weeks, maybe months, ahead. That’s as far as my faith would let me go – a couple months. That is all I needed.

Jesus’ grace is sufficient for today. I set my sights on getting through the week by getting through each day. I knew if Jesus’ grace could cover me for just one day at a time, then He’d get me through the week.  That was my song: Jesus’ grace is sufficient for today, and that gives me hope, which gives confidence, and builds my faith. 

The tiny bit of Christian music I had was completely insufficient to help me, so I sang what I had. I crooned out a little ditty in the shower, in the car, at the sink, by the stove, and anywhere I felt I needed a boost. Jesus knew I needed a song before I did, and He gave it to me when He gave me hope.

My song was brand new and it came out of my circumstances. I had never sung a song like the one that Jesus gave me. I remember sing praise choruses and hymns in church and at church camp, but they never overflowed into my everyday life. Jesus gave me a new song, a song of praise and thanksgiving for hearing me, for rescuing me, for giving me hope.  All of this I have said before, but it was brand new to me. It can be brand new for you, too!

I will always have something to praise God for, because He saved me from myself. He saved me from a life that was controlled by me.  He saved me from being tied down to my simplistic, unfounded thinking. My new song is a praise to Jesus Christ! My praises are different than yours because my life is different than yours. Yes, the pit is miry old bugger that each one of us finds ourselves in, but at the same time, it is also a unique pit to each of us. We each find ourselves in the pit, but the details of that pit differ. When I sing “He took me out of the miry clay,” my miry clay has different ingredients than your miry clay, but it’s still miry and it still bogs us down. So although we all sing praises to Christ for lifting us out of that pit, our praises are new and unique because of the dirty details.

At first I wanted to hide my dirty details, but that’s not what Christ is about. Should we be sorry for the dirt? Yes, absolutely. Should we flaunt how dirty we were? No, absolutely not. Can we admit that we were dirty and, in the right context, talk about our dirt in reference to Christ’s saving grace and God’s loving mercy? YES and AMEN! Sometimes that is the only way others will get to see Jesus. It is through us, those that He has saved and transformed, that others will see that Jesus is real and put their trust in Him. I talk about my dirt, but I also give praise to Christ for what He, and only He, has done for, in, and through me. It’s a good thing to show how Jesus chipped your paint, and how He has repainted you.!

Swiped from a Facebook friend.

Swiped from a Facebook friend.

 

Sing your new song loud and proud, my friend. It chips off more paint than you know.

If you need a new song, cry out to Jesus. He will give you one.

Let your song spread. Psalm 40:3

Let your song spread.
Psalm 40:3

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Devotion, Hymns

He Placed Me On My Feet

I try to read my Bible before I get out of bed in the morning. Before I am able to focus my eyes, I thank Jesus for trusting me with another day, I give control of the day back to Him, and ask that I can honor Him and make Him proud. Once my eyes focus, I read scripture from my Nook.

As I was praying this morning, the old hymn “He brought me out of the miry clay. He set my feet on the rock to stay. He puts a song in my heart today, a song of praise. Hallelujah!” came to mind. I did a quick keyword search (feet on rock), and Psalm 40:2 popped up.

Psalm 40: 2-3 (NLT) “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”

He set my feet on solid ground. That phrase stuck in my head.

I thought about the day I cried out to Jesus, the day Jesus chipped the first bit of paint from me:

He picked me up. Only broken things need to be picked up. Broken people cannot stand on their own. Broken lives cannot function on their own. In the broken mess that was sucking me under, Jesus reached down and picked me up. I didn’t have to crawl out. I couldn’t. I didn’t have to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I couldn’t. Jesus, because He loves and cares for me, picked me up.

But Jesus didn’t stop there. He placed me on my feet. Jesus made a point of placing me on my feet. He didn’t lay me on the ground or plop me in a chair. He stood me to my feet. In that act of placing me on my feet, Jesus gave me confidence. He gave me the little bit of faith I needed to see that there was still hope. Placing me on my feet, Jesus assured me that I could walk the road ahead of me. If the God of the Universe thought I could do it, who am I to second guess Him? Who am I to say “I can’t” when the King of kings, the Savior of the world, said that I can?

He placed my feet on a rock – solid ground. No longer did I have to wonder about my life. As long as I had my feet on the ground in which Jesus placed me (His love and wisdom), I could move about confidently. I no long had to grope around to find solid ground because Jesus placed me smack dab in the middle of solid ground. I could now move, and breathe, and be a confident me!  Finding that freedom wasn’t instantaneous, but with my feet firmly planted on solid ground, I now had the courage to be resolute. Jesus loved me so much that he wasn’t going to leave me to wander around looking for solid ground. He knew I couldn’t find it on my own, so He put me there and said, “Just follow Me and you will never fall into the sand again.” How did I know my feet were always on the solid ground? I didn’t, yet in small ways I did. If I had to talk myself into things, I wasn’t on solid ground, and I was more than likely headed toward the sand that would suck me back into the mire. If I was relying on my own understanding of things, I was headed for sand.  But, if I was reading, studying, meditating, and attempting to applying His Word, then I was most assuredly on solid ground.

This is where I want to stop for this post. I will talk about the new song He has placed in my heart at another time. Right now I want the enormity of this insightful little nugget to reach deep into my mind, heart, and soul and do its miraculous work.

The beauty of this Psalm is that it is not just for David, the writer, or only for me. This Psalm is for everyone, no matter who you are or where you are.

Jesus is waiting for you to cry out to Him. He wants to do for you what He’s done for me.

My prayer is that even with all your doubts and fears, you will yell to Jesus for rescue.

later,
SLM

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Devotion

I Will Lift Up My Eyes – Psalm 121:1-2

Scripture: Psalm 121:1-2 (AMP) “I will lift up my eyes to the hills [around Jerusalem, to sacred Mount Zion and Mount Moriah]. From whence shall my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Who made Heaven and Earth.”

Observation:  As the writer lifts up his head, his eyes lite on the hills around Jerusalem, Mt. Zion and Mt. Moriah.  These hills are very important to God’s people.   Setting his eyes on the hills brings forth memories of what God has done for him and his people in the past (Mt. Moriah) and of God’s promises for him and his people for the future (Mt. Zion). The writer already knows his help is not in the hills. The hills are just reminders of his Helper. His Helper/Rescuer is the Lord. The writer finishes the thought with a reminder of just what type of Helper the Lord is: He made Heaven and Earth. There is nothing He can’t do!

Application: The psalmist reminds me to not look to things, people, or ideas to help me through or rescue me from the hardness of life.

Ephesians 6:12 says ” We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Therefore, I need a spiritual Helper – a helper not of this physical world (but who understands it) but of the spiritual world. I NEED JESUS!

The battle really isn’t about the situation in which I find myself. It’s about my soul and my living victoriously through the battle Christ has fought and won for me. I need to stop looking at the physical world for answers (“If I just had” type of thinking) and look to the Lord.  I can and should put “the hills” around me as a reminder of what God has done for me and what He promises to do, but I cannot look at the hills as my help. They are only reminders.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, that You have my back. I am so thankful that you and your angels are fighting the battles for me – battles I can’t possibly fight alone.  Holy Spirit, please remind me those battles that you have won for me, the times You have rescued me, and the times you have helped me. Thank you, Lord, for being faithful to this unfaithful human. I will keep Your mercies and loving kindnesses before me as a Mt. Moriah as I, at the same time, look to Mt. Zion to remind me of all the promises you have given me.  I love you, Jesus, and I give you my all.  Amen.

Something to consider:  Pinpoint a victory and a promise that Christ has given you, or select some from the Bible, and place it in your mind as a Mt. Moriah and Mt Zion.  When the challenges of life rear their heads, look to the hills not for your help, but as a reminder from where your help really does come.

What is your Mt. Moriah (past victory)?
What is your Mt. Zion (promised victory)?

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Devotion

Promise of New Life in Isaiah 60: 1, 18-22

Scripture: Isaiah 60:1 (AMP) “Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you; rise to a new life]! Shine – be radiant with the glory of the Lord; for your light is come, and the glory of the lord is risen upon you!”

Observation: In chapter 59, Isaiah explains that God sees Israel is lacking in righteousness. It grieves Him (59:1-15), but God promises to send the Messiah (v. 16-21) to rescue them from themselves. Chapter 60 is the dawn of a new day. The day everything changed.

There is a marked change in the reader’s life at the opening of chapter 60.  He or she went to sleep depressed, exhausted, and involuntarily submissive, but when he or she woke, everything had changed. The reader is to look and stand up to see how the Lord has changed his or her life.  The reader is told to shine and be radiant with light that has cut through his or her darkness.

Moving to verses 18-22, the Lord lists all the things that will be different for the reader:

      • No more violence in the land
      • No more devastation or destruction within the boarders
      • No more depending on the sun or moon for light the way
      • No more mourning

Instead, the reader is promised:

      • Salvation
      • Praise
      • the Lord will be the everlasting light
      • God will be his beauty and crown
      • that his people (descendents) will be uncompromisingly and consistently righteous
      • that God will secure them and prosper the reader’s descendents

Application: Thanks you, Jesus!

My house has been a war zone the past few years. I’ve been praying for peace and calmness for so long without seeing any results.

I started a Bible study about gentleness with my children, and they struggled with it.  Neither one of them took it seriously. My daughter thought it was silly, and my son was convinced nothing would change, but this scripture is a great promise to me!

God hears me and He will answer me. He is promising me that my family will not be hateful to one another and the mourning for a loving family will end. He will give me what I seek. I have to trust that as I continually teach my children to be gentle, loving and kind to each other that the Holy Spirit will change them. The Holy Spirit will change us.

God told Israel of His plans to totally alter their lives before He did it; therefore, they had a vision, a standard, a promise to look forward to. Likewise, I have a promise to look forward to and a standard for my family to live up to. I can now say with confidence that my family is righteous, and the standard for my children is right living.  I can now say with confidence that my children are God’s planting and will glorify Him, and I can hold that as a banner and standard for them.

What excites me the most is that if I allow the Holy Spirit to work, my children will go on and become thousands and a strong nation. I want my descendants to love Jesus with all their hearts and be “uncompromisingly and consistently” committed to Him.

Prayer: Thanks you, Jesus for showing me this promise. I know it wasn’t a coincident to read this portion of scripture while in the middle of this struggle. You are so good to me!  I will use this scripture as a reminder of what you not only want my family to be, but also what You have promised my family will be if I surrender all to You. Help me to stay focused on what You will make my family and not what it looks like right now. Help me, dear Jesus, to gently turn them away from the actions that cause chaos and destruction and toward the actions that bring peace, love and kindness to our home.

Thank you, Lord, for knowing what I need before I even know it. Everything I have been praying for, You have already provided. I only have to see it and live in it.   Amen.

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