March – Week Twelve – Daily Devos

March 19th – “How Strong Is He?” 

[Bible reading: Numbers 28:16-29:40; Luke 3:23-38; Psalm 62:1-12; Proverbs 11:18-19]

“God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.” – Psalm 62:11

The wording “once” and “twice” is strange, but it is being used to emphasize that something has been repeated and therefore it is very significant. In this case it is the lesson to be learned that “power belongs to God“. The context is that the writer seems to be in a tough situation financially. He is being oppressed and taken from wrongfully. He has played with the idea of perhaps taking matters into his own hands and even turning into a thief himself (verse 10). However, his resolve is to simply wait and trust in the God who can provide for his needs and will ultimately be merciful to those who recognize that He alone is the One with all the real power.

How often I’ve considered taking things into my own hands when I don’t feel God is moving on my time-table. Like this writer, I have heard it said many times that “God is in control“, I know this in my brain, but often fail to truly recognize it in my heart. I’ve been taught that God is ‘omnipotent‘, which means “all-powerful“, but do I really believe it? Do I really believe that if I’ll wait and trust in Him, that I’ll be okay?

“Father, when I am stressed out and anxious about the things happening in my life, help me to remember all that I’ve been taught. Remind me that You are good, and that You are powerful. I am better off in Your care, than anywhere else. Thank You for loving and understanding me the way You do. I love You.” – Michael

 

March 20th – “Jesus’ Mission Statement” 

[Bible reading: Numbers 30:1-31:54; Luke 4:1-30; Psalm 63:1-11; Proverbs 11:20-21]

“So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.” – Luke 4:28-29

This tension filled moment took place on the Sabbath, where the townsfolk had gathered in the synagogue, and Jesus was given an opportunity to participate in the service. As an act of courtesy, the ruler of the synagogue invited Jesus to read the Scripture. It was common in Jesus’ day for synagogue officials to invite qualified visitors to read Scripture and make comments. When handed the sacred scroll. Jesus unrolled it to the writings of Isaiah and began to read the text He selected, Isaiah 61:1-2. Everyone in the synagogue understood that the words Jesus read were a description of the Messiah, but as He read, did they know the reading referred to Jesus? Did they know Jesus was revealing the desires of His own heart? Jesus then rolled up the sacred scroll and gave it to an attendant to be returned to its honored place. Then He sat down, which was the custom of someone who was about to deliver a sermon. That’s why the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him(Luke 4:20). Jesus began with a message no one had heard before. He said the reading from Isaiah, which everyone associated with the promised Messiah, was about Him. It was like His personal ‘mission statement’.

Now, when you look at that passage in Isaiah, you can see that Jesus was making a pretty radical proclamation! He was saying that God’s Spirit was on Him. He was saying that He had been anointed to bring hope and healing and grace to all, especially to those who needed it most: the poor, the prisoners, the blind, the oppressed. At first, people were won over by a sense of God’s grace. It says they were speaking well of Him.  You can picture the townspeople nodding at each other, and you can almost hear them saying, “That’s our boy! Amazing, isn’t it?” But they were also a little skeptical. “Is this not Joseph the carpenter’s son?” Who knew He had it in Him?”

Everything sounded well and fine, until Jesus mentioned that He was supposed to bring this hope and healing to everyone… even the bad guys! Now… do the math: “This Guy was claiming to be Messiah! Messiah was the ‘Sent One’ from God Almighty! God Almighty wasn’t supposed to be loving & kind to the bad guys! The crowd is now completely ticked off!” Notice how they went from “marveling at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” to being “filled with wrath” as they heard these things?

What caused the change? The people couldn’t begin to imagine that God Almighty was like that! They all felt that God should be exclusive, just like they were! They had God all figured out, and when Jesus came on the scene claiming to be sent from God, yet His mission statement was to show love and grace to all people, they couldn’t make that fit into their box. People still have wrong perceptions of God today, and they still put Him in a box that is made up of their wrong perceptions of what He’s really like.

“Father, sometimes I think I’ve got You all figured out, and then You surprise me! I love that! I love that You don’t fit into my little mold. You blow apart the preconceived ideas that I and many others have about You. For example; Just when I think You’re going to be super mad at me, You shower me with kindness and mercy. Thank You for bringing hope and healing and grace to those of us who needed it the most. I love You so very much!” – Michael

 

March 21st – “Nose Ring or Tongue Ring?” 

[Bible reading: Numbers 32:1-33:39; Luke 4:31-5:11; Psalm 64:1-10; Proverbs 11:22]

“As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.” – Proverbs 11:22 

In Old Testament culture we must understand that a “swine” was an unclean animal. It didn’t matter how much you dressed it up, even if you were to put a solid gold nose-ring into it’s snout, it would still be unclean. Like the old saying, “You can’t put lipstick on a pig“, so too, you can’t make a swine beautiful with a nose-ring. This was a vivid picture the author was painting so that he could get his point across. The point is that a woman can be incredibly lovely on the outside, yet if she doesn’t have discretion, be ugly and flawed. The word “discretion” has two meanings: First, “the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information“. Second, “the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation“.

I don’t think this tidbit of wisdom only refers to “women”. Truthfully, any man or woman who can’t use their words wisely, should just be quiet. In the New Testament Book of James, chapter 3, we read much about the dangers of the ‘tongue’. James 3:6 declares, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell“. And James 1:6 states, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless“. I can consider myself a “religious” person, but if my words cause offense and hurt others, than I’m a joke.

“Father, guard my tongue today. Convict me of saying anything that might displease You. I want my words to reflect You to all I meet and talk with. I love You and I want to live like it and talk like it!” – Michael

 

March 22nd – “Touching

[Bible reading: Numbers 33:40-35:34; Luke 5:12-28; Psalm 65:1-13; Proverbs 11:23]

“Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ Immediately the leprosy left him.” – Luke 5:13

Today we don’t hear much about this disease called, ‘leprosy’. Actually, it is a yucky, horrible sickness that is a great picture to you and I of ‘sin’. Like sin, leprosy begins below the surface and then begins to spread and totally wipe out a person. It attacks the nervous system and actually takes away the ability to feel anything. I read where there have been accounts of folks with leprosy who have fallen asleep and wakened to find that there toes… or even their nose… had been chewed off by mice! Leprosy causes a person to lose all sensitivity.

Notice that Jesus didn’t tell this guy to go to some leper-hospital, or some “overcoming leprosy seminar”. He said, “You need to get rid of this stuff. You want to get rid of this stuff. So, guess what… you will be rid of this stuff!” Maybe that is what some of us need too? Maybe… if you are feeling sick with sin today…polluted by something you’ve been doing… affected negatively by some sin that has a grasp on your life – you too need to find out where Jesus is… and go to Him? You see, it’s when we see that we NEED to get rid of the sin… and when we truly WANT to get rid of the sin… that the Lord will say, “I’m willing, be cleansed”. I love how Jesus didn’t just SAY this, but it says that He reached out and TOUCHED him! This is something that you just DIDN’T do… you don’t touch someone with leprosy because of how highly contagious it was! This dude had probably not been touched by another human being in years because of the leprosy that riddled his body. But Jesus… touched him!

So too, Jesus doesn’t hold His nose and look away from you and me with disgust because of the sin we’ve been carrying. Others might do that… perhaps others HAVE done that to us… but I’m telling you right now… JESUS doesn’t do that. He is not irritated with your flaws, or put off by your sin… He loves you. He embraces you.

“Father once again I’m reminded that my calling is to not only LIKE You, but my calling is to BE like You. I too, do not want to hold my noses and look away from those who have messed up – not only because Jesus didn’t do it, but because I have taken a good, long look into the mirror and found that I’m pretty messed up too! I’ve cried out, “I need to be clean! I want to be clean!” And when I did that… I found a God who didn’t hold His nose and look away, but rather, reached out and embraced me…forgave me…loved me… redeemed me…made me feel awesome… and then said, “You WILL BE clean!” I love You, Lord!” – Michael

 

March 23rd – “Hung Up By Sin” 

[Bible reading: Numbers 36:1-13; Deuteronomy 1:1-46; Luke 5:29-6:11; Psalm 66:1-20; Proverbs 11:24-26]

“And the Lord heard the sound of your words, and was angry, and took an oath, saying, ‘Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the Lord.'” – Deuteronomy 1:34-37

God was upset. He was upset that His people, whom He had taken such good care of and come-through for on so many occasions, did not trust Him. Earlier in this chapter, verse 32, God said, “Yet, for all that, you did not believe the Lord your God“. God had heard their words of distrust in Him and so He swore that a whole generation would die in the wilderness, including Moses (verse 37). Only Caleb and Joshua the son of Nun (verse 38) were able to enter. Why? Because they followed the Lord wholeheartedly!

Lack of faith and trust in what God has spoken is sin. When I fail to listen and obey God’s Word, it is sin. All of these millions of people were unable to go into the awesome promised land because they were hung up in their sin. They had put their trust in their own military strength and prowess and when they compared their ‘strength’ to the enemy’s strength, they grew fearful. They didn’t trust that God was their strength, and that no amount of giants in the land would ever keep them from it if He was on their side.

“Father, forgive me when I get hung up by sin. I desire to be a man that trusts You and Your Word at all times. Some may put their trust in chariots, horses, armies, money, soldiers, guns, and their own strength, but I choose to put my trust in You alone. Your kingdom come, Your will be done! I love You!” – Michael

 

March 24th – “How To Find Leaders” 

[Bible reading: Deuteronomy 2:1-3:29; Luke 6:12-38; Psalm 67:1-7; Proverbs 11:27]

“Now it came to pass in those days that he went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called His disciples to Himself; and from them he chose twelve whom He also named apostles:” – Luke 6:12-13″ 

I find it interesting that Jesus spent a full night in prayer before He chose His twelve disciples. These were not only men that were going to be following Him, living with Him, watching Him, learning from Him and experiencing three years of life with Him. They were also going to be the future leaders of the church!

1 Timothy 5:22 states that we should “...not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure“. Many people want to be in leadership, however, those making the decisions about placing them into positions of leadership should not rush to do so. Today’s leaders in the church should learn this important lesson from Jesus: Before choosing leaders, pray. Pray a lot. If Jesus, the Son of God, needed to spend a complete night in prayer to His Father before making this incredibly important decision… perhaps we should do more than read a few resumes and call a couple of references?

“Father, choosing leaders is not easy. Finding those who will stand beside you in thick and in thin, and take ownership of the ministry You’ve called us to, is hard. Forgive me for when I’ve rushed into putting the wrong people into places of leadership. It’s always come back to bite me. I want to be a man that does not “lean on my own understanding”. Thank You for imparting wisdom to those who seek it. Please just remind me to seek it more often. I love You.” – Michael

 

March 25th –  “Hide and Seek

[Bible reading: Deuteronomy 4:1-49; Luke 6:39-7:10; Psalm 68:1-18; Proverbs 11:28]

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.” – Deuteronomy 4:29-31

This is a beautiful prophecy that will absolutely come true for the Jewish people, and not only for them, for you and me as well. You see, our history parallels the Jewish people’s history and so too does our future. The Jewish people turned away from the true and living God and became immersed in idolatry and materialism. Consequently, in 586 B.C., God allowed the Babylonians to invade and destroy Jerusalem, to burn the temple, and to carry God’s people to Babylon, where they were held captive for seventy years. After that time, the Spirit of God began to stir in the hearts of a small remnant of Jews who would rebuild the city of Jerusalem and, eventually, the temple. But as time passed, so radically did the nation again turn its back on God that they would actually cry out, concerning Jesus (God’s only Son), “Crucify Him! We have no king but Caesar“(John 19:15). Therefore, within forty years, in the year A.D. 70, the Romans invaded the city, destroyed the temple and killed one million Jews. When Hadrian became emperor of Rome, the persecution of the Jews intensified further. And as we know all too well, in World War II, the Jewish population was nearly obliterated by Hitler when he murdered over 6 million.

So too, all mankind has immersed ourselves in idolatry and materialism. And like the Jews of old, we too have found ourselves in captivity again and again because of our sin. At times, we can feel scattered and unsure of what is going on in our culture. We can feel as though we are drowning in the darkness that is all around us. But this promise from God is still true today! If we seek Him with all our heart and with all our soul, we will find Him! If we will turn to the Lord and obey His voice, we’ll find that He is still merciful and that He’ll never forsake us! This is the Good News of the Gospel message. I John 1:9 is still true; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness“.

“Father, I thank You that “If we are faithless, You remain faithful; because You cannot deny Yourself” (2 Timothy 2:13). Help me not repeat, over and over, all the sins of those who’ve gone before me. Help me not to be consumed with materialism, like so many others in my culture. Remind me to not ‘idolize’ anyone or anything else, other than You.  I love You.” – Michael

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They’re Playing Our Song

Have you ever had ‘a song’? My wife and my ‘song’ is Phil Collins’ “Groovy Kind of Love”. We can be walking through a grocery store and hear that song come on… and she’ll look at me and say, “They’re playing our song!” and we’ll literally stop, right there, and slow dance. My kids love this!

I think that Jesus had a song. Because it’s the Christmas season I want to share a quick Bible study with you. In Luke chapter 1… we read what has been historically called the ‘Magnificat’ – Mary’s Song. This is the song that the mother of Jesus sang, while He was still in her womb. This is a song that I believe impacted His life big time.

A man by the name of Jack Kornfield, (not at all a professing “Christian”) recounts in his book How, Then, Shall We Live?” the custom of one African tribe. He says that in this tribe, when a woman decides to have a child, she goes and sits alone under a tree, and she listens. She listens until she hears the song of the child who wants to come. Once she hears the song, she returns to the man who will be the child’s father and teaches the song to him. When they make love to conceive the child, they sing the song to call the child to them. When the woman is pregnant, she teaches the child’s song to the midwives and old women of the village so that when the birth time arrives, the people surrounding the mother sing the song to welcome the child among them. Then as the child grows up, the other villagers learn the song. If the child falls or hurts his knee someone picks him up and sings the song. When the child does something wonderful, the people of the village sing this song. When the child goes through the rites of puberty and becomes an adult, the villagers sing the song. It goes this way through life. At a wedding, the songs of both husband and wife are sung together. Finally, when this child grows old, and lies in bed ready to die, all the villagers know the song, and they sing it for the last time.

That, to me, is a very beautiful thought; The idea that each person in that village has their own, special, very individual and personal, song… a song they carry with them throughout their lives. Reading that, I began to think about Jesus, and the song of HIS life. I remembered that Mary, during her nine month pregnancy, did indeed sing to Jesus?

When Kelli was pregnant with our children, at night… every night, we’d read and sing and talk to her belly. She had read that that was important, and so it’s something that we did. When our first son, Conor, was born there were some immediate concerns. The doctors didn’t have time to let me cut his cord; they quickly cut it and rushed him out of the room and into a smaller room where they checked him out. It was after a few moments of him screaming at the top of his little lungs that they asked if I would want to cut the chord. I was so nervous and happy and scared… I began to talk and say ‘yes, I’d love to’. As soon as Conor heard my voice, not the voices of all the nurses and doctors talking, he stopped crying! He even slightly turned his head… and stopped crying! It was as though he recognized my voice. All that time talking, praying, and singing to him… had caused him to know me!

Look at Luke 1:46-55 and read this incredible song that Mary sang, while Jesus was in her womb:

Luke 1:46-47   NKJV

46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

Our souls are the part of us that relates to this world… it is our thoughts and emotions. Our spirit is the part of us that relates to God – the part that will live forever and ever. So what Mary is saying here is that “because my spirit has related to God – rejoiced in what He has done for me, I make a choice to magnify and worship the Lord”. Super cool. Because oftentimes we will come into a church service like this, with stuff on our minds… and, if we’re honest, we simply don’t feel like worshipping. But God is looking for those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth… and worship has NOTHING to do with how we feel… it has everything to do with what God has done for us!

Luke 1:48-55   NKJV

48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

When you read this song of praise it’s easy to see why Mary is so revered. Truly, she is a pretty neat young woman. I mean, she is totally humble, but at the same time she recognizes that “all generations will call me blessed”. Now obviously, some people throughout history have revered her a bit too much…to the point of praying to her and even worshipping her. This is not what she meant to happen! I’ve always found it interesting that the last recorded words we have from this amazing woman were those she spoke to the servants at the wedding in Cana of Galilee:

John 2:5 – “His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’”

You see, Mary was a special lady… blessed by God, for sure, to be chosen… but even she directed others to her Son… she knew that JESUS was the One to listen to… to GO to.

I want to throw a thought your way that, perhaps, you’ve never considered: I believe that Mary had a major impact on the life of Jesus. Of course, Jesus was ultimately the Son of God, but God chose for this particular woman to be His mother, to be the one that would have that place in His life during his growing up years. Why? Perhaps it was because His mother’s influence was something that would help shape His life and ministry… beginning with the words that she spoke and sang over Him in the womb!

She sings of how God would use her Son to;

  • “show mercy to generation after generation” 50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.
  •  “scatter the proud, because of the thoughts of their hearts” 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
  • “topple the mighty from their thrones” 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones
  • “exalt the lowly” 52 And exalted the lowly.
  • “satisfy the hungry” 53 He has filled the hungry with good things

Some of these thoughts should ring a bell for those of us who are familiar with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ…

The very first recorded sermon Jesus ever preached, He stood up in the local synagogue, grabbed the Scroll of Isaiah and read; Luke 4:16-21

“Spirit of the Lord is upon Me”
“He has anointed Me”

                “to preach the Gospel to the poor”

                “to heal the broken hearted”

                “to proclaim liberty to the captives”

                “recovery of sight to the blind”

                “to set at liberty those who are oppressed”

                “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord”

Probably His most famous sermon ever was what we call The Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5, where He declared;

“the poor in Spirit are the ones who are blessed” (vs 3)

                “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed”(vs 6)

                “those who show mercy… blessed” (vs 7)

His most famous miracles were probably when He physically fed thousands who were hungry… just like His mother’s song spoke of… that He’d fill the hungry with good things. And the times He exalted the lowly by bringing sight to the blind, eating & hanging out with sinners, and touching lepers.

As He hung on the Cross, He said seven specific statements that included:

  • Extending grace to a sinner being murdered for his crimes by declaring that the guy would be forgiven and freed from the captivity of sin that very day and be with Him “in Paradise”.
  • Declaring It is finished– speaking of the price being paid for redemption – the forgiveness of the sins of the world – freedom of the oppressed and captives of sins!
  • Take care of My mother – a woman who without a living husband would need to be cared for, especially during a terrific grieving process.

As a matter of fact, I’d suggest that if you do a careful study of the seven letters that Jesus commands John to write to the seven churches of Revelation, you’ll find the very same themes He was known for throughout His life and ministry;

  • God wants to show mercy to generation after generation
  • God will scatter the proud, because of the thoughts of their hearts
  • God will exalt the lowly
  • God will satisfy those who are hungry… for HIM – even come in and dine with them in intimate relationship.

What’s my point? What if Mary’s famous song, the song she sang while He was still in her womb – was not only ‘prophetic’… but was something that would help shape and mold her Son’s life and ministry? What if Jesus’ song, like the song of the villagers I mentioned earlier, was something that was sung over Him from before He was born, during His life here, and even afterwards to this very day?

And when I think of that ‘song’…

…the ‘Jesus Song’…

…do I really know it…

… and am I truly singing it?

If there were a “song” that defined my life… your life… what would it be?

Jesus’ song was one that exalted the poor and lowly

…it sang of God’s amazing grace and incredible mercy to all generations

…it truly satisfied people’s deepest hunger.

What’s the song of my life doing?

  • Is it a buddy-beer-drinking song that talks about all the good ‘ol friends I have in low places?
  • Is it a romantic love song that speaks only of my relationship with my wife? “Groovy Kind Of Love…”
  • Is it an annoying little commercial ‘diddy’ that speaks of nothing more than my materialistic concerns… and materialistic stuff?  “Every kiss begins with ‘K’…”

If your life were put to music… what would YOUR song be?

Livin’ On A Prayer…take my hand and we’ll make it I swear…”

Very Superstitious… the writing’s on the wall”

And I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Lookin’ For

You’re So Vain… you probably think this song is about you!”

Or is the song of our lives… WAY MORE THAN THAT? What if this Christmas we decided to make the song of our lives… the song of the LambJesus’ Song?

I’m not saying “Mary’s Song” should be our song… I’m talking about Jesus’ song… the song of the LAMB! The truth is… One day we’ll be singing it anyway… why not start singing it now

Revelation 15:2-3 – NKJV And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. Check out what they are doingThey sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:

What exactly is this: SONG OF THE LAMB??? Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!

Better yet… what if we made the song of our lives not just the song of the Lamb… but the Lamb Himself? What if Jesus, Himself could be the very core of who we are… the Song of our hearts? I wonder if that would… catch on? Have you ever had someone sing a song and it just got stuck in your head… and all day long you were singing that song? What if the song of our lives… the song of the Lamb… became contagious? Where others began to sing it too?

A couple of years ago, videos began to pop up on the Internet of a lone, shirtless dancer in the midst of an open sloping field at the 2009 Sasquatch Festival in eastern Washington. The video begins with one guy doing an improvised dance to the song “Unstoppable.” Though his form is jerky, his lack of inhibition is striking. I apologize for the lack of quality of this video clip, but check out what happens in this 3 minute video…

After a period of dancing alone, the shirtless dancing guy is joined by a brave dancing partner who syncs his own unique movements with the lone dancer. Before you know it, more and more people rush to join in the dance. In just three minutes it’s a dance party, and a movement is born.

In first-century Palestine, a similar movement was born. A solitary man from the fields of Galilee began to dance of life to a brand new SONG… so different and unique, so daring and innovative, that most at first could only stare in amazement, wondering who this astonishing Human could be. He was joined first by Peter and Andrew, next by Philip and Nathaniel. Then one by one, more and more excited followers began to join Him. “Come and see!” was the invitation. Jesus’ disciples came, saw, and followed the life-giving dance to the incredible Song of the ages, until dancer and dance became one.

Our concert of praise

To Jesus we raise,

And all the night long

Continue the new evangelical SONG:

We dance to the fame

Of Jesus’ name,

The joy it imparts

Is heaven begun in our musical hearts.

                                                                                                                 – Charles Wesley*

 

What does this dancing guy on a hillside have to do with following Jesus? A lot more than you think.

When I look a little closer at that crazy, weird video… I’m reminded of something. It reminds me of a crowd a long time ago… on another hillside… passing out loaves and fishes. Jesus set the story in motion, but His disciples passed the food. If they hadn’t, the crowd wouldn’t have eaten – or been fed.

Like all life’s decisions, to get something moving it must begin with a singular motion, then someone passes the motion, and the motion goes forward. The Song of the Lamb may start with an unconventional and unique way of moving. But the truth is, without someone to stand up and join in – to be the first singer – no true movement will be born.

If we all have a song that is resonating through our lives, then whose song do you feel moving with the rhythms of your body? Those singing the song of Christ… feel the Jesus way, share the Jesus truth, and live the Jesus life. And they pass the Song of the Lamb on to others.

So who is that first singer? Who is that risk taker willing to stand beside that unexpected innovator and be a singing fool? Would it be you? Would you lay down your coat and get up and actually let your very life sing for Jesus? In front of everybody else? Knowing you’d be following a way of living different from everyone else, knowing you’d be taking on a new identity as a mover and a shaker, knowing your newest Friend may well alienate you from the rest?

Someone who realizes that the Song of our lives… is actually the Person of Jesus Christ…

is a way paver,

a true disciple,

and a life sharer.

They choose a way to go even when no one else is going there. They know that to sing from the soul means to embody the Song itself.

We are the followers. HE is the Song, feel the rhythm, pass the motion, make some music. Get up and dance… because they’re playing our Song.

This Christmas – let us not just strive to keep “Christ” in “CHRISTmas”… but may we strive to keep the Christ in US!

May we keep “CHRIST Jesus” as the song of our hearts. 

 

* Charles Wesley, Hymns for the Watch-night, Hymn 17, “Innocent Diversions,” in Hymns and Sacred Poems, vol. 2, pt. 1 (Bristol, UK: Farley, 1749), 141. Available online at Duke Divinity School Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition, downloadable PDF updated 30 September 2010, http://divinity.duke.edu/initiatives-centers/scwt/wesley-texts/charles-wesley

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