Great individual voices and a capella’s tight harmonies of the Voices of Lee provide the vehicle for the liberating message of Romans 6:14-17:
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
Hope you enjoy the music and definitely connect with the message of the freedom we have through Christ!
By Cathy Horner
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you. (Ps.119:9-11, ESV)
Even as a small child, I was very aware of the presence of God. I remember those delicious afternoon nap times when I was 4, when you become increasingly drowsy and utterly aware of the steady beating of your heart. It was then that I would drift off to sleep totally convinced that my heartbeat was drawn from my Creator, who was very near. It was a Romans 1: 20 moment – a perception of God’s limitless, divine nature — within the soul of a child.
As I matured and became more aware of my personal rebellions against God, I was still aware of His presence, but more with a sense of fear and dread. I had been taught that He knew my every thought, word, and deed, and that my sin had put a barrier between myself and Him. I was afraid of His justly held wrath. What does this have to do with our passage? Bear with me.
It was not until I was a teenager that I realized that I knew of God but I did not know God. So I jumped into studying the Bible, God’s Word. I was blown away that God, the Heavenly Father, would send His Beloved Son to bear the wrath that I deserved so that I could be reconciled to Him. He loved me first, before I ever loved Him!! I surrendered my life to Him in faith, wanting to love Him in return. But how could I love someone I did not know?
At that point in our lives, God’s Word becomes intensely relevant. The Bible is God’s revelation of Who He is — of His divine nature as Creator, Redeemer, and Restorer. Therefore, I grow to know and reverence God by searching and studying the Scriptures. Within this passage in Psalms about the purifying effect of God’s Word, I find three essential truths it reveals about God (and consequently myself).
God is God and I am not.
He is the Creator of all things, the author of my physical life (Ps.139) and my spiritual life in Christ (Heb.12:1-2). That means that what He has to say – His Word – has authority over my life. It tells me that I am called to walk with Him in a way that reflects His glory – what verse 9 calls the “pure” way. Yet God, who knows all things, is aware that the remnants of my old sin nature would have me chasing after things that could darken and destroy my life and my witness. Therefore, His Word provides commands and precepts that set a guard around my life and heart, establishing boundaries for pure living. Since God knows all possible outcomes and consequences of my every word and deed, clearly His way is the wisest and best. The pure way offers my life protection, growth in spiritual understanding, and right relationships with others. Gloriously, Christ’s Spirit indwells me and will help me to guard my ways according to His Word. My boundaries actually free me to develop a deeper trust relationship with God.
My obedience is fueled by whole-hearted devotion to Him.
In verse 10, the psalmist gives us the key to obeying God – seeking Him with your whole heart. Because we are in Christ, we can have intimate relationship with the transcendent God who made all things and is enthroned above the heavens. When our hearts are whole-heartedly in search of His will and His ways, our benevolent “Abba” Father will support and guide us with His all-sufficient hand (2 Chronicles 16:9). If our love is only half-heartedly given because we also carry allegiance to other things in this world, verse 10 warns that we will tend to stray from His path.
Internalizing God’s Word keeps me from sinning against Him.
Finally, since God is everywhere present, verse 11 indicates that when we sin we are doing it in His face. Our sin is ultimately against Him. That stunning truth from the Word should be a check to any believer’s stubborn and willful heart, causing it to tremble in fear and reverence. The psalmist assures us that God’s Word – when stored up in our hearts –acts as a constant measuring rod to our thoughts, feelings, and decisions. It can deter us from sinning.
Thankfully, I have experienced this. When I’ve been tempted to participate in anything the Bible calls impure – drugs, sexual immorality, occult practices, defiling entertainment – God’s Word, memorized years ago, wells up within me: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). … Activity check.
Likewise, when my desire is to verbally lash out at someone, God’s Word whispers: “ Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Eph.4:29). … Tongue check.
When I am discouraged and feeling overlooked by God, He speaks to my heart: “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11). … Attitude check.
So let no excuse stop you! Internalizing God’s Word is important to your spiritual health. Write a pertinent verse out on a card. Put it where you will see it and can repeat it frequently – your car’s dash, your kitchen window, your mirror, your desk. Meditate upon it, memorize it, store it in your heart. God’s Word is powerfully active, either restraining your feet, reminding your heart, or re-training your thoughts. Allow His Word do all it is meant to do within you.
Well, the time has come! Tomorrow I am looking for lots of people willing to pray for me. After two and a half years of PhD course work, I take my written Comps from 9:00 – 4:00 tomorrow. Next Friday I sit for the oral defense portion. In weakness His power is made known…so I am really ready to see that! Been preparing and look forward to it, but I’m still nervous! So pray for recall, clarity of expression and peace as I answer two essay type questions, each taking three hours. SDG! Thanks to all who will pray! Very grateful!
The captivating melody of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has made it a favorite resulting in thousands of covers by all kinds of musicians. Somehow the bizarre confusion of Bible stories gets overlooked because the chorus says, “Hallelujah,” which means “praise the Lord.”
A couple of years ago, several videos appeared in which the words were re-written to reflect Biblical truth, some of which still appear on Youtube (however, some are muted due to copyright issues).
On the Russian version of the the TV show, “The Voice Kids,” four young musicians present a rewritten version you may well enjoy. The melody is indeed beautiful, their harmonies extraordinary, and even though the translation is rough, it does succeed in turning the song into one of genuine, honest praise to the Lord. Lots of other seem to like it as well since it has over 8 million hits on Youtube!
Hope you enjoy!
Today a new article appeared on the website of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. As we approach May 4, the National Day of Prayer, I had the opportunity to write a brief blog post on prayer. Hope it encourages you to take the initiative to become bolder and more imaginative in how to trust the Lord in your prayer life!
Click on the title or image below to be linked to the article. Thanks!
Leaving a godly legacy…what a glorious part of our calling to follow Christ! As a dad, I understand what it feels like to see your kids investing themselves in the work of the kingdom. In this worship video, my young friend Mack Brock, son of my long-time ministry buddy, Don Brock, points an arena of worshipers to the resurrected King of Glory!
In his worship leader role with Elevate Worship, Mack influences thousands each week in live settings to worship the Lord Jesus. Then, through videos like this one, millions more bow down to the King and join their voices in praise. As of this posting, over 7 million people have viewed this video!
I am so thankful to have known Mack since he was a very little boy. Now I get to join his parents with delight watch the Lord use him in a powerful way! Praise God for this talented, Christ-centered and committed young man! And thank you Don and Mary for growing him up in the Lord!!
Note: You may have to skip over an ad at the beginning to get right to the video!
Monday was a perfect day to visit the NC Zoo near Asheboro! Thousands of students on Spring Break agreed. Not only was the weather a delight but the animals seem to have made a unanimous decision to make appearances (except for the black bear)! Never have I been to a zoo when all the animals were out and active!
Take a look at a sampling of the photos from the trip.
This week the International Missions Board published an article I wrote on how a church can become more intentional about developing a culture of disciple-making. The focus addressed the global aspect of that culture but certainly pertains to local emphases as well.
Here is the link. Let me know what you think!
Sometimes the Lord calls your attention to something special. Four times in the past week I have heard the following song, three times in worship services and once on YouTube. This great worship song by Brooke (Fraser) Ligertwood and Ben Fielding strikes at the heart with its reminder that Jesus is altogether lovely, worthy of praise
The psalmist says, “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple” (Psalm 27:4). The very name of Jesus awakens that desire to see Him in His glorious beauty and then to reflect on the wonder in what we see!
So watch, listen and enjoy as Brooke herself leads a worshiping people to sing with her.
This morning, my good friend James White gave the keynote address at the annual MLK breakfast out at the Sheraton Imperial in the Triangle. I’ve been before to this breakfast meeting several times but not in recent years.