Do You Have a Grace-filled Heart?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3.16

What does life look like when one allows the “word of Christ (to) dwell in (them) richly in all wisdom”? Can I suggest that some things in life will change? For example, when the “word of Christ” becomes a controlling truth in life, the way one thinks will change. We will no longer be obsessed with our own thoughts, but will rather have “the mind of Christ” (Philippians 2.5), which is certainly different than our own.

Once our thinking changes, then our behavior changes. Why? Because as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. People cannot see our thoughts. But they can see our behavior and when that behavior glorifies God, they see it. When that behavior does not glorify God, they see that as well. In addition to thinking and behavior, what else can be affected by “having the mind of Christ”? I submit to you that our attitude will change – toward life in general, toward other people, toward the circumstances that occur each day … the list could go on an on.

The remainder of the verse teaches us what the fruit of the word of Christ welling in us looks like. I know that some people say they don’t have a good voice for singing. It is not the voice that is all-important here but the attitude of joy that others can see. If my heart is filled with grace, that will be reflected in every other area of my life. What happens in my heart is up to me. I must either give God total control, partial control, or no control. Once “the word of Christ dwell(s) in you richly in all wisdom”, it is easy to give God total control. Just my thoughts …


Let’s SING About Him!

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. 3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” Psalm 95.1-3

One of the great benefits of reading the book of Psalms is that we get a consistent reminder of our responsibility to give praise to our God. Here in Psalm 95 we are instructed once again to “sing unto the Lord … ” We need to remember that music is the language of the soul. When we want to fully express the joy that is residing deep in our soul, music is a powerful way to do it. Many of our hymns allow us to do just that. For example, here are two verses of Isaac Watts’ great hymn “O God Our Help In Ages Past:

1 Our God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home:

2 Under the shadow of your throne
your saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is your arm alone,
and our defense is sure.

We have all heard a pastor or worship leader say something like, “If you can’t sing well, you can at least “make a joyful noise” to the Lord. But the psalmist continues: “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving … ” Giving thanks must certainly be the expression of one who is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and KNOWS it. How can we not be thankful after all the Lord has done for us?

Then in v. 3 we are reminded again: “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” May we never dare to question God’s greatness? He is not simply a god among many gods. He is THE God and beside Him there is none else: “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me:” (Isaiah 45.5) Just my thoughts …


From Where Does YOUR Strength Come?

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” Psalm 28.7

The words of the Psalmist speak great comfort and encouragement to me: “The LORD is my strength and my shield … ” I believe more than physical strength is implied here. I believe David is speaking about emotional and spiritual strength. If your life is anything like mine, you have experienced times when your emotions were out of control. While we are responsible to control our emotions, there are times when God’s help is what we need. Many times when we think that our faith is wavering, it is an emotional response and not a weakness in our faith.

We know that spiritual strength comes as we walk with the Lord in prayer and we feed ourselves through the reading of His Word. But again, circumstances and trials can come that attack our spiritual walk and we need the Lord again come to our aid.

When we think of Him as our shield, we are also reminded that we are under attack by the wicked one and we need more than we can provide for ourselves. A shield is used to defend us from Satan’s attacks (a weapon of defense), but we can also use it when we are moving forward and our enemy is trying to get us off the path.

This next phrase simply affirms our response to what God is doing for us: “ … my heart trusted in him, and I am helped … “ It is when we NEED to trust Him that our faith must be exercised, even when we feel weak in faith. David said, “I am helped …” God wants to help us as much as He wanted to help David. We are as important to God as David was.

What does it mean to “greatly rejoice”? It means we cannot contain our response to God’s faithfulness. We must share it with others. David concludes with, “with my song will I praise him.” A song is the music of the soul. It comes out naturally. It cannot be silenced. That is what David was experiencing. And you and I can experience it too. Just my thoughts …

Take the Journey from “M” to “J”!

“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; (12) To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.” Psalm 30.11-12

If we live long enough, each one of us enters a time of mourning, and when it comes, we wonder, “How long will this last? Will I ever get through this? Where is God in the midst of all my pain?” The psalmist David addresses those questions for us when he writes the words in these two verses. He shares with us what God did for him and we have no reason to think that God will not do the same for us. Look with me at David’s thoughts: (1) You have turned for me my mourning into dancing. The two extremes are just that – poles apart. God brought David THROUGH his mourning to place of BEING ABLE to dance as an expression of his joy. (2) God brought David THROUGH his “sackcloth” experience (an outward expression of mourning) to a place where his countenance REFLECTED gladness. The result of this journey with God from mourning to joy prompted him to write: “To the end that my glory may sing praise to You, and not be silent.” David did not lose his song, but discovered that he NEEDED to use his inward joy to praise the Lord.
Look at his conclusion, reached AFTER he had moved from mourning to joy: “O LORD my God, I WILL give thanks unto You FOREVER.” Instead of allowing his broken heart to turn him AWAY from God, he recognized God’s hand in bringing him to a place of emotional healing and he determined that from that time on in his life, he would “give thanks to (God) forever.” If you are reading this today, and you are in the midst of personal heartache, no matter the cause, just know that David’s God is your God too and He wants to do for you what He did for His servant David. Trust Him to do it! Just My Thoughts  …

Pastor Jerry

Let Your Heart Sing His Praise

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” Psalm 95.1

One of the things that I enjoy most is being able to sing. From an early age God has allowed me to be involved in the ministry of music. During my years of ministry I have known many of God’s children who say things like, “Man, I wish I could sing.” or “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.” But here is what I know, there is a place deep inside us where our HEARTS can sing a song of praise. Our public voices may not sound pleasing to us or others, but God loves the sound of a cheerful heart.

Even on our darkest days, we can find a song in our heart that will allow us to praise the Lord. All it takes for me to rejoice in Him is to (1) realize Who He is, (2) who I am when I am in His presence (and He is Omnipresent), (3) what He has done for me, and finally, (4) to think about the place He has prepared for me. On my darkest day (and we all have those from time to time), I can always find time and reason to rejoice. Let me encourage you today to be aware of His presence, to find some time, and discover at least ONE reason to praise Him and then, let your HEART sing His praise. You will be blessed and He will be praised and all the world around you will see that God DOES make a difference in our lives – even in our darkest moments! Just my thoughts …

Pastor Jerry