A New Song to Sing
January 21, 2021
"And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD."
Music has always been a powerful tool to express the sentiments of the heart. That is certainly true for the song writer, who composes from the experiences of life and reflects his mood in the tone of the melody and the tenor of the lyrics. But we who are avid listeners also reflect the sentiments of our heart in our selection of music for a given moment – the tendency toward lower-key, somber music when we are down or exhilarating, upbeat music when we are happy. Our music reflects what is going on in our hearts.
So, it should come as no surprise that, when the heart is changed, so, too, is the song that expresses its sentiments: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The next verse, in David’s Psalm of a renewed mindset (Psalm 40:3), shows the dramatic transformation that has taken place in the heart of someone who has been given new direction for life.
The Source of the Song – “And he hath put a new song in my mouth,…”
This is a continuation of a theme that flows through these first two verses – “he inclined;” “he heard;” “he brought;” “he hath put.” The restoration of the relationship between the Creator and His creation is His work. So, too, the ongoing work of transformation – a new direction to life; a new song in the mouth; etc. – is His work.
See also Psalm 33:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1.
The Subject of the Song – “…even praise unto our God:…”
If a song is the expression of the sentiments of the heart, what does that song “sound like” before one comes to Christ? It is self-absorbed (Isaiah 53:6) and opposed to truth (Jeremiah 17:9). But when a person develops a personal relationship with God, the “tone” of that song changes – from self-focus to God-focused praise
See also 1 Chronicles 16:23-33.
The Impact (Sway) of the Song – “…many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”
When a life is changed, from the inside out, it has an impact on those around him.
What does your song “sound like”? I am not asking you what you had playing on your radio, your CD player, or your digital music player this morning. Rather, what does the song of your life sound like? If you have a personal relationship with God, He is tuning the expression of the sentiments of your heart toward praising Him.
What will others hear, in your life, today?
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A New Path
January 14, 2021
"He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."
Last week, I challenged us to a new philosophy of life in 2021 – a mindset shaped by our understanding of God, as He reveals Himself in Scripture, not by our circumstances. I shared that this challenge would take us to Psalm 40, where David, who had confronted incredible challenges, chose to view those challenges through the lens of God’s unchanging character.
In the first verse, we see David coming to God in prayer with great expectation, because His is: (1) THE ATTENTIVE GOD, Who has a deep interest in what we have to say; and, (2) THE OMNISCIENT GOD, Whose answers to our prayers are exactly what are needed because He has the larger picture always in view.
As we move to verse two, we notice that David’s patient expectation is also rooted in the fact that God is in the ongoing work of changing our lives and giving us a new direction for living. But for that to take place, we need to get a clear picture of the depths of where we were, so that we can get a fuller understanding of how far God has taken us.
As we walk the days ahead, let us remember where we WERE – the “horrible pit” and the “miry clay.” But then, let us praise God for where we are, by His grace, because he “set my feet” and “established my goings.” You can be assured that He will continue to lead you through whatever rough waters may be ahead.
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January 7, 2021
"I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry."
As I have talked to people about the start of this new year, there tend to be two mindsets:
Do you notice something that those two philosophies have in common? Both mindsets are based on the person’s experiences – or anticipated experiences? In other words, “How I view this coming year will be determined by whether or not my experiences in 2021 are positive or negative.”
Looking ahead to this new year, I would like to challenge you to a different philosophy – a mindset that is not shaped by your circumstances, but rather formed by your understanding of God, as He reveals Himself in Scripture.
Even though Psalms 38 and 39 had been expressions of frustration with the circumstances in which David found himself, he kept coming back to a state of confident assurance – a place of peace. Psalm 40 gives us a glimpse into how that was possible.
David approached with anticipation because he worshipped…
Even with good intentions and dedicated listening, we do not always catch what someone else has to say. God is not just an attentive God. He is also…
Let me close this post by challenging you in two ways: (1) This Psalm can be such an encouragement, if we will allow its words to flow over our spirit and dominate our thinking. Would you join me in memorizing Psalm 40, in the weeks ahead? (2) As we get rolling into 2021, no matter what may happen this year, would you join me in committing to intentionally looking for God’s hand at work in our lives and seeking God’s face in all things – good and bad?
I am trusting and praying that we will see God’s mighty hand at work in our lives and in our world in 2021.
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Pressing Onward and Upward
December 31, 2020
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
How can I summarize 2020? It has been a year unlike anything I have ever experienced – personally or in ministry. I have picked up some new vocabulary – pandemic; Coronavirus; quarantine; etc. I have had to learn some new “skills” – preaching to a camara in an empty sanctuary; blogging; livestreaming; etc. I have gained insight into some new forms of communication – ZOOM; Google Meet; Facebook Live; etc. But, as unique as those elements are, they do not adequately sum up this year of challenges.
I would prefer, instead, to describe 2020 as the year of “learning the hard way.” And there are three Biblical lessons, summarized in the passage above, which I will take with me into 2021.
Are you looking forward to saying goodbye to 2020? I would encourage you to reflect on the lessons that God has taught you, through it all, and move into 2021 with faith and confidence – in His goodness; in His purpose; in His plan.
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
~ Job 23:8-10 ~
January / February Posts: