Devotional

I Will Sing

“I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 89:1)

Beloved,

            John Wesley was raised by his mother to love the Lord with all his heart and to sing praises to God. When Wesley was 21 years of age, he met a humble man who owned only one coat and lived in such impoverished conditions that he didn’t even own a bed. Although having nothing, this man was incredibly happy and filled with gratitude to God. Wesley, a brash and proud 21 year old, quipped about the man’s poverty, “And what else do you thank God for?”

            The man smiled and with a humble joyful spirit responded, “I thank Him that He has given me my life and being, a heart to love Him, and above all a constant desire to serve Him!” Wesley realized that this man knew the true meaning of thankfulness that he had not fully understood. Many years later Wesley himself was experiencing his own impoverished condition as he lay on his deathbed at 88 years old. Even though Wesley had nothing and was gasping for each breath, he began to sing, “I'll Praise My Maker While I've Breath.” Wesley understood that he could sing of the steadfast love of the Lord forever.

            Everyone will encounter an impoverished condition at some point during their lives. It may be financial loss, relational emptiness or the physical breakdown of our bodies, but regardless of our conditions, we can and should sing of the steadfast love of the Lord. God’s steadfast love has been proven time and time again. His unconditional love was ultimately seen in how while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We must learn to rejoice in the gift of God’s salvation which does not depend on prosperity, but was offered to us because of our impoverished condition. We were impoverished, but Christ has come to give us live and life more abundantly.

           Therefore let us sing of the steadfast love of the Lord forever. I love the words written by William Cowper, a man familiar with suffering, “When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave. Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sign thy power to save.” Beloved, we will always have a reason to sing!!

Draw Near to God

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
— James 4:8

Beloved,

Moses said to God that it was His presence that made them distinct in all the earth. If God’s presence did not go with them, Moses did not want to go. Do we want God’s presence? Do we believe that God’s presence makes us distinct in all the earth? Do we even want to be distinct from the world? It may be easy to answer yes to any of those questions, but what does our yes truly mean?

 

James gives a great promise saying, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” As come to God through Jesus Christ, the Almighty, Creator God comes to us. He dwells within us as individuals and dwells within as a corporate body. As the gathered church, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 3:16) We need God’s presence. It is not enough to say you want God’s presence. We must draw near to God through Jesus Christ so that He will draw near to us.

 

James tells us how we are to draw near to God. We draw near to God through repentance. We must cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. We must turn from sin and the ways of the world. We must put on the mind of Christ and be filled with the Spirit. We must humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand so that He will exalt us. As a church, I am praying that God brings us into a season of repentance and holy pursuit of His presence. We need to pray for God to meet with us. We need to study His Word. We need to fight sin and pursue true holiness. We need to love one another from a pure heart.

 

 

As I said Sunday morning, we are entering a critical time in the life of our church and I pray that we corporately humble ourselves in pursuit of God’s presence knowing that He will honor His Word and draw near to us. Do we want the presence of God? Are we willing to turn from sinful thoughts and selfish desires? Are we willing to cut out unhelpful activities and worldly pursuits? God has promised us His presence, if we draw near to Him in repentance. It is God’s presence that makes us distinct in all the earth. Therefore let us be distinct in all the earth by drawing near to God so He will draw near to us. What would happen to our church family if we all corporately redoubled our efforts to pursue the Lord? What if we all personally draw near God? What would our church become?