SING MORE

Re:Verse passage – Ephesians 5:18-19 (day two) 

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

I am a doctor. My grandmother would hasten to add, “just not the kind that can help people.” However, today, I think I can help. If I could give one prescription to just about everyone I know, it would be: SING MORE. Feeling down, not a problem: SING. Feeling great, excellent: SING. Everything in between, I’ve got you covered: SING.

I don’t want to be flippant, but I take scripture to be completely true, and this isn’t a suggestion. God has designed a release valve for us, and it is wise that we avail ourselves of it. It is cathartic and healthy. it builds community, and it follows the example of Jesus (Matthew 26:30). Every age, every stage, this is for you. This is one of the signs that we are a Holy Spirit-filled people. Our singing should overflow from our heart’s condition. Stop believing the lie that you can’t, or that you shouldn’t, or it is for others. Scripture does not affirm that. Sing More. Sing at home, sing at the office, sing at the gym, and by all means sing at church.

Be Angry

Re:Verse passage – Ephesians 4:25-32 (day two) 

Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, vs. 26

Time for confession. How many of you have the second part of verse 26 memorized, but did not know the first part? Both parts of this verse work well together, and the following verse is a caution when this advice is not followed. Unhealthy, un-dealt with anger is an invitation for the deceiver to work sin into your heart.

Be angry – that doesn’t seem like something you would read in the New Testament. We particularly struggle with this verse because we see so little application of what it says. In 2020 anger invariably means sin. It manifests in violence, abuse, neglect, inappropriate language. As a society we do not process these feelings in a healthy biblical manner. If we recognize injustice, or unrighteousness, or sin around us we have cause to feel angry. It is what happens next that we, as believers, must not look like our society. Paul offers solutions, forgive and remember your forgiveness, don’t speak words that will escalate the problem, show grace where possible.

Blessed Assurance

Re:Verse passage – Ephesians 1:13-14 (day two)

 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Of the many things that the Holy Spirit does in and through us, it also acts as assurance of our salvation. When you experience the power of the Spirit in your life, make sure to thank God for that reminder of that seal on your heart. The Spirit is powerfully active in the world, but is also personal. The way it intercedes for your in your prayer life is a reminder of God’s promise of hope. When you are given the words to witness that you never thought you could put together, it is a gift and a reminder of his working in your walk. The Holy Spirit is only available to those who know Jesus as savior, and as such should serve as a confident assurance.

Measuring Faith

Re:Verse passage – Romans 14:17-19 (day two)

for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Vs. 17

How do you measure your faith? Do you look for a quantifiable measure that gives you comfort that you are on the right path? Do this, do that, eat this, don’t eat that. It is human nature to want to have some measuring stick to guide our journey. It is one of the reasons the law played such a large part of church history. The believers in Rome must have known this struggle all too well. Although it gives us a sense of peace to have a checklist, it is not the nature and character of the Holy Spirit. Righteousness, peace, and joy are harder to quantify, but are the essential markers for our spiritual growth. Try to explain it less, and live it more. You will certainly know the difference.

Even in Our Weakness

Re:Verse passage – Romans 8:26-27 (day two)

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

There is so much to consider when discussing the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The disciples at Pentecost were filled with the Spirit and able to boldly proclaim the truth of Jesus in every language. It was monumental in the establishment of the early church. Boldness is one of the characteristics that we often associate with the Spirit’s work. The disciples were already accustomed to telling others about Jesus’ life and work, but the Spirit enabled them to proclaim with a newfound authority.

The Spirit also works in our weaknesses. Areas of our lives where we are not confident, or even where our brokenness is most pronounced. A life lived in the Spirit is one that accepts that those areas can be used to glorify God. If you are redeemed, you are fully redeemed, even those areas where the only way you can grow is by the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knows our every weakness (by the Holy Spirit) take it to the Lord in prayer.

A Spirit-filled Life

Re:Verse passage – Romans 8:5-11 (day two) For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. vs. 5

In the next verse Paul will go on to describe a life lived in the Spirit is evidenced by abundant life and peace. If this were the only time that Paul spoke about a Spirit-filled life, it would be enough, but in his letter to the church in Galatia he provides further evidence of someone whose mind is set on the Spirit. He says that their life will be filled with things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Gal. 5:22-23). There is no law against such things. How cool is that? Stop and take stock of your walk with Christ right now. Can you sense those spiritual fruit in your life? Are other thoughts or actions crowding out the ability for you to walk with a Spirit-filled focus? God has promised us these things as another barometer of our faith journey. Continue to ask for the Spirit to remove all other things that take away from His perfect plan for you.

Requirements Fulfilled

Re:Verse passage – Romans 8:1-4 (day two) He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us vs. 3b-4a

In my collegiate experience I had the wonderful opportunity to pursue my academic studies through three degrees at three different institutions. One of the things that made each experience unique was the stage of life I was in at the time. During my undergraduate degree there was very little sense of urgency or responsibility to get through. My Master’s was different because I had rent to pay and other bills that were new to me. During my doctorate I entered with a family and had to give up my teaching career to begin my studies, therefore no income.

This shift in life also changed how I viewed the requirements that were needed to complete my degrees. During my doctorate, in particular, I was always aware of how every class would fulfill what needed to be done. I always knew how many more classes I would need to fulfill the requirement and thus earn the degree.

God gave us the law so that we could always know the requirements needed to honor him fully, but there was a catch. We could never, on our own, meet the minimum. Our fallen state brings us up short every. Over the years sacrifices, rituals, and ceremonies were instituted to fill the gap. And then came Jesus. He, and He alone, had the necessary ability to fulfill the requirement once and for all. He has done it for you. Have you thanked him for what He has done; for all those requirements that He has fulfilled that you never could have done on your own? Why not thank him now.

You WILL Receive

Re:Verse passage – Acts 1:8 (day two) but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Do you ever feel that you’ve been given an assignment that you are not equipped to complete? That is not the picture that this scripture paints for us. The promise is that you will receive power from the Holy Spirit. Our assignment includes a power that does not come from our own device. We cannot manufacture the work of the Spirit, but we are also powerless if we act without it. Take great comfort from this promise. I am indeed unequal to this Kingdom-sized task that the Lord has put before me, but we have been promised a comforter, and advocate, a Spirit that empowers Kingdom-sized results.

I Have Seen

Re:Verse passage – John 1:29-34 (day two) I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God. vs 34

John’s words are the essence of evangelism. You may not be able to speak in huge theological terms, although study of theology is beneficial. You may not be able to quote every element of church doctrine, although a familiarity  with what your church believes is helpful. Your knowledge of scripture may be developmental at best, keep developing. What you do have is a personal relationship with Jesus. This is what you are called to share. In your conversations recognize that you are still learning, but never shy from your duty to tell people what you do know. Testify to what you have seen, how you have seen him work, who Jesus is to you. These things can not be taken from you.

Seek to Destroy

Re:Verse passage – Mark 11:11-19 (day two) 

The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. vs. 18

The chief priests were likely angry at Jesus for the extremely public rebuke that he gave them, but look at their response. They began to seek a way to destroy him. Let’s be honest, we are the same. I doubt you would actively seek to destroy someone who challenges, chastises, or rebukes you, but we do it in our hearts. How many times, when challenged, do you begin to harden your heart towards the person and miss the message? Being corrected is hard, and we live in a world that does not value humility. It is far easier to lash out, to assassinate the other’s character rather than take an honest look at what brought about the correction in the first place. Jesus won’t always turn over tables, but you can bet he will challenge your sin nature. How will you react? How will this inform how you treat others?