He Is All That We Need

Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.

He is inward strength and protection. He is the guidance and protection coming through the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Outwardly, He protects us as the shield of our souls and is the loving and protective Father of His treasured and chosen children.

His idea of helping us might look a little bit different or come in the form of something or someone we least expect. Regardless, He can be trusted to be the best help we need.

How do we develop trust? Up close and over time through a personal relationship with Jesus and with the brothers and sisters in Christ that surround us as His witnesses.

In your life maybe it is: That friend in small group that helps you understand the scriptures and how they apply to your life; the person you can share your deepest prayer needs and struggles with; or, that worship leader at weekend service that belts out lyrics that sound like God is speaking directly to you.

When we choose to trust our entire life, being, circumstance, and future to the Creator of the universe, we experience His power. We see the transformation and renewal of our minds and hearts. We can be just like the woman at the well, who had a first-hand encounter with the all-knowing and loving Christ in the flesh. She ran and told people about her experience with Jesus—and others believed. She told her story of the encounter, praising Him just by telling of who He was in that moment. She praised Him through her acts of obedience and thanksgiving.

Trust and joy go hand in hand. We all feel the battle for inner joy because we all face daily struggles. Today, we can choose to trust that the inward joy of knowing Jesus is all that we need. We can choose to have a grateful heart because we know that our God upholds us with His glorious right hand and is worthy of all praise; even in the storms.

AwesomeMix-Devo-11-30Prayer: Father God, thank You for your goodness and for the first-hand encounters with You that I get to share with others. Help me to be the light on the hill so that others will hear of You and will put their trust in You with praise and thanksgiving. Today, help me to remember that I have true joy in all circumstances and that You are with and for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Could Worship Replace A Vice in Your Life?

Ephesians 5:19
“addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,”

In the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Paul encourages a few specific things leading up to today’s passage about music in the church. He says:

  1. Walk carefully.
  2. Make the best use of time because the days are evil.
  3. Don’t be foolish and instead understand what the Lord’s will is.
  4. Don’t get drunk, which is a waste of time and unwise.

Then he drops into the main point of verse 19: worship together as a way to give thanks to God. We are made to worship God. We’re instructed to use various forms of music (old songs, new songs, and other music that edifies one another). As long as it orderly and honors God, it is acceptable and worthwhile.

What else is he saying here? As we look at the preceding ideas before verse 19, we see that he is offering up congregational worship as a good use of the time we are given. The logic follows that getting drunk is an example of a bad use of the time we are given, which has its consequences and does not effectively enrich our souls. This verse does not argue against alcohol itself, but it does seem to imply that worshiping God with fellow believers is a much better way to lift one’s spirits. Alcohol is the example presented, but there are many things that we do to self-medicate when we should be turning to God for our emotional fulfillment.

AwesomeMix-Devo-11-29Thought for the day: Do you drink too much? Are there areas in your life where you are not careful, or where you are wasting time? Maybe you tend to gossip with your friends, eat too much, or binge-watch Netflix on the weekends. Maybe there is a habit you do in secret that you would not want others to know about. Could God be asking you to give up that “thing” and replace it with musical worship offered to Jesus in community with your fellow believers?

This week give it a try. Give up a vice that is holding you back and replace it with worship. Get alone with God and listen to music, sing a worship song with your family at home, and go to service. Worship God daily and ask him to fill that void that is left by what you are abstaining from doing.

Prayer: Father God, give me eyes to see the things that I worship in place of You. Help me to replace the wasteful and foolish things I turn to with songs and gratitude expressed to You. As I turn and glorify You this week, please fill my heart with peace and Joy. May You receive all the glory. Amen!

The Joyful Noise of Worship

Psalms 95:1
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

There is something so compelling about honest, enthusiastic worship. Watch elementary-age students as they worship with hand motions, loud voices, and jumping. They are not worried about how they sound—they are making a “joyful noise” to their God. When worship is authentic, it is contagious. We want to join in and praise God with everything that is in us.

The phrase “joyful noise” is also found in other Psalms. If you have ever heard me sing, you probably think that this phrase is in the Bible just for me. Maybe you feel the same way about your own singing. The good news is, God knows this and still says, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord.” We are invited to worship God with our lives, not just our voices.

God has called us to worship Him with whatever gifts He has given us. Many of us do have beautiful voices or talent to use instruments to praise God. Others have the gift of encouraging words or the means to help those in difficult circumstances. Everything we do should show our praise for Jesus and the salvation He has so freely given us. When we realize the wondrous things God has done in our lives, we can make a “joyful noise” and share the good news of His salvation with everyone around us.

AwesomeMix-Devo-11-28Thought for the day: What gifts has God given you? How are you using them? Are you using them to bring glory to God? Have you entered into a life of worship? You can start today.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to worship You with everything I am. Help me to see my life as a life of worship for what You have done in my life. Thank You Jesus. Amen.

Justice Will Prevail

Psalm 101:1
I will sing of your love and justice;
    to you, Lord, I will sing praise.

Psalm 101 was written by David. This is the same David who, as a young shepherd boy, defeated the giant named Goliath using nothing but a smooth stone and a sling. Throughout his life David was dealt injustice. A jealous king tried to murder him, he was thrown out of power on multiple occasions, and his own son betrayed him.

But David was far from perfect. There were times when he was the one dealing injustice to others. One of the most notable examples is when he committed adultery with the wife of one of his closest companions, only to later have him murdered to cover up the affair.

Injustice seemed to follow David wherever he went. Yet in this Psalm, David sings the praise of God’s justice. How can we sing of God’s justice in a world so full of injustice?

“Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,
    but those who are righteous will go free.” – Proverbs 11:21

The reality is every wrong ever done by us or to us will be punished. Either we will face that punishment ourselves or Jesus will take that punishment for us. But either way, every wrong will be punished and justice will prevail.

AwesomeMix-Devo-11-27Prayer: God thank You for your justice. Thank You for accounting for every wrong ever done in this world. Even when I can’t see it, I trust that You will have the final word against all evil. Thank You for Your love and grace to take the punishment that I deserve on Yourself. Amen.

Spreading the Good News

Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The early church faced its share of challenges. Both the established religious leaders of Israel and the oppressive political decision makers of Rome wanted the movement of the early church stopped.

How could this relatively small group of Jesus followers stand against such overwhelming power?

They did it with truth, generosity, love, and gratitude toward God.

For thousands of years, individuals, communities, and nations have attempted to stop the spread of the gospel—the good news of Jesus’ rescue—only to fail every time. Truth beats lies. Generosity beats greed. Love beats indifference. Gratitude ignites worship. Even in the midst of trials, the movement of the church can’t be stopped.

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

The church is not a building that you sit in, it is a movement that you choose to be a part of to help people meet, know, and follow Jesus.

AwesomeMix-Devo-11-26Thought for the day: How can you choose to be the church today? Perhaps it is in one of the areas of truth, generosity, love, or gratitude.

Prayer: Father, thank You for using your church to spread the good news of Jesus to me. Help me to be the church and to carry that message to the next generation. Amen.

Worship in Spirit and Truth

John 4:24
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

There have been moments I’ve sat in church during worship and the lyrics tipped out of my mouth without much thought or connection to the meaning behind them. Just like so many other aspects of my hurried life, I was simply going through the motions. My words and my posture looked a whole lot like worship, but my heart was doing its own thing.

Real worship has little to do with outward expression and everything to do with aligning our hearts to God’s. We can’t worship what we don’t know. The music can be truly inspired and the lyrics can be sincere, but our heart must be actively participating for it to be true worship.

This verse in John took place at a well where Jesus had encountered a Samaritan woman. She had an unsavory reputation and couldn’t understand why Jesus, a Jew, was engaging her in conversation. Jesus invited her to a relationship with God the Father, offering what he called Living Water that could truly satisfy her soul. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t Jewish. It didn’t matter that she had a promiscuous background. What mattered was God’s love for her. No matter where she’d been, what she’d done, or what had been done to her, she was eligible for God’s love. This was a radically new idea made possible only by the person of Jesus.

Jesus invited her to receive God’s love and immediately invited her to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

AwesomeMix-Devo-11-23Prayer: Father, I want to worship You in spirit and in truth. Quiet my soul so I can focus on You. Show me more of Your character and goodness so I can worship You more sincerely. Amen.

God Sings Over Us

Zepheniah 3:17
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

God sings over you and me. He rejoices with shouts of joy.

This scripture is in the Old Testament, long before Jesus came onto the scene in human form. It promises of the Savior to come, and that He has a plan to restore us into right relationship with our Heavenly Father. Through Jesus we are no longer rebuked or separated from the love of God, not because of anything we have done but through who He is and what He has done.

God sings. If His voice is powerful enough to speak the entire universe and all that it contains into existence, imagine His singing. God’s voice is so big that it can only be measured by heaven’s standards.

He speaks in and throughout creation: the quiet lullaby of the breeze through the trees, the soft sounds of a singing bird, or the sound that the wings of a hummingbird make when they go about their day. Think about the booming sound of the waves crashing in the ocean, the thunder in the skies during a storm, or the glacier as it calves into the ocean. His voice is everywhere.

It is a blessing to quiet ourselves to hear His voice and to know and believe that He sings and rejoices over us. He rejoices because we turned our lives over to His care and control and through Jesus are restored to Him forever into eternity. All we have to do is receive that gift and imagine God belting out His favorite worship song with joy and love in His heart.

Maybe in your faith walk you made the choice to receive that gift. The question might be for you: Are you listening for His song or are you humming your own tune? Are you still able to hear His voice?

AwesomeMix-Devo-11-22Thought for the day: Salvation and relationship with God is a gift. We cannot earn it. Are you attempting to earn His love and grace through works and performance or are you serving Him to love Him back?

Prayer: Father God, thank You that You model love, rejoicing, and joy for us. Thank You that You made a way for us to know and be close to You. I want to love You, the giver of the blessings, more than the blessings. Help me to love You and others in Your name and to sing the song You want me to sing. In Jesus’ name, amen