Sing

“I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness,” David expresses in Psalm 7:17, “and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High” (NASB).
After God parts the Red Sea, Moses responds with a song (Exodus 15). As Moses is preparing to ascend Mount Nebo to die, He admonishes the Israelites though a song (Deuteronomy 32). When the Israelites rout Sisera and the Canaanite army of king Jabin, Deborah and Barak compose a song (Judges 5).
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;” David exclaims in 2 Samuel 22:2-4 after being delivered from his enemies, “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, Thou dost save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; And I am saved from my enemies.”
“Therefore I will give thanks to Thee, O LORD, among the nations,” He concludes in verse 50, “and I will sing praises to Thy name.” (He expresses the same sentiment in Psalm 18:3 and 49.)
David sings as the ark of God is placed in the tent he has prepared for it (1 Chronicles 16).
The word “sing” appears nearly 100 times in the New American Standard Bible. Not surprisingly, 67 of those occurrences are in the Psalms.
Isaiah 42 points to the Messiah. “Sing to the LORD a new song,” verse 10 counsels, “sing His praise from the end of the earth!”
“Therefore I will give praise to Thee among the Gentiles,” Paul quotes David in Romans 15:9, “and I will sing to Thy name.”
“I will proclaim Thy name to my brethren,” Hebrews 2:12 says in another quote from David, “in the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise.”
Jesus and His disciples sing as they proceed from the upper room to the Mount of Olives just prior to His arrest and crucifixion (Matthew 26:30). Paul and Silas sing as they sit in a prison cell at midnight (Acts 16:25).
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:15 that we need to sing with the spirit and with the mind. James 5:13 encourages us to sing when we are cheerful.
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation,” the Holy Spirit instructs in Ephesians 5:18-21, “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; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,” Paul advises in Colossians 3:16 and 17, “with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Has God ever done anything for you? If so, you will want to glorify Him in song.

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At a Crossroad

We are at a crossroad. As we look at the world around us, we find problems spiraling out of control. We see a nation paralyzed by drugs, violence, dysfunctional families, sexual assault and child abuse and abductions. Pornography and abortion are no longer exceptions. They have become the rule. Those who abuse society are protected. Those who try to protect society are abused.
“Appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions,” was the hope of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
“For the support of this declaration,” the final paragraph of the document continued, “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
When the constitutional convention seemed doomed to collapse in the summer of 1787, Benjamin Franklin suggested that the group turn to prayer.
“In the beginning of the contest with Britain,” Franklin reminded the gathering, “when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Divine Providence…And have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?”
“We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings,” Franklin is quoted, “that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.”
The mood of the convention changed and the rest is history.
“God who gave us life gave us liberty,” Jefferson observed in a statement preserved on the Jefferson Memorial. “Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?
“Indeed,” Jefferson added, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
When Jefferson was on the committee to design a national seal, he proposed a scene of the Israelites being led by God through the wilderness.
“Our Constitution was designed only for a moral and religious people,” John Adams observed. “It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”
“We have staked the whole of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind to govern themselves, according to the Ten Commandments of God,” James Madison commented.
“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States,” George Washington stated in his inaugural address. “Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
“We ought to be no less persuaded,” the first president continued, “that the propitious smiles of heaven cannot be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained.
“The first and almost the only Book deserving of universal attention is the Bible,” John Quincy Adams stated.
“It is the duty of nations, as well as of men,” Abraham Lincoln commented, “to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”
“All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated through this Book,” Lincoln says of the Bible; “but for the Book we could not know right from wrong. All the things desirable to man are contained in it.”
Our founding fathers and great leaders understood it, didn’t they? When we set the Bible aside we are doomed to travel the wrong pathway.

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Moral Excellence

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. – 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NASB)

One of the Christian virtues listed here is “moral excellence” or “virtue.” The only place that Paul uses this particular word is in Philippians 4:8. Peter uses it three times (1 Peter 2:9 and 2 Peter 1:3,5). In 1 Peter 2:9 and 2 Peter 1:3 it is given as a characteristic of God. In the other two verses it is applied to us. Is it important that we develop moral excellence in our lives?
When our country was first being formed by groups such as the Puritans, society operated with a very deterministic atti¬tude. In other words, they believed that everything that hap¬pened was the direct result of God’s intervention and was there¬fore out of their control. Man was thought to be by nature evil. Although they were correct in focusing on salvation as the pur¬pose of life and on truth being found in the Bible, they had trouble grasping the roles of works and grace. And their belief left no room for the free will of each individual.
By the mid 1700s, however, we were entering the age of reason. According to this philosophy, God created the world but then left it to operate according to natural processes. The job of society was to understand these laws. Man could resolve all problems through reason. People were born neither good nor evil.
Our country was expanding during the mid-1800s. As the wilderness unfolded the emphasis turned to nature. This was the Romantic Age when people were seen as basically good. This philosophy ended abruptly with the Civil War. We weren’t as great as we thought we were.
Before long, we were building huge factories and our outlook changed once again. This was the Age of Realism. The purpose of life was not to be saved but rather to get through and understand what we could. Ideas were being shaped by Darwin, Marx and Freud. People were simply victims.
Most recently, we have been under the spell of existential¬ism. This philosophy holds that man is totally free and is responsible for his acts. There is no higher being or higher authority. If it is right for me, then it is right. Consequent¬ly, everything is relative. What may be wrong for you might be right for me. In this Postmodern Age, individuals are guided by situational ethics. There is no absolute truth.
Glenn Colley has an article in the July, 2010 issue of “The Spiritual Sword.” He suggests that, according to Romans 1, a person who takes a subjective view of morality experiences these results:
• He will give up his selflessness.
• He will give up his sense of reality.
• He will give up his wisdom.
• He will give up the object of true worship.
• He will give up his self-restraint.
• He will give up his sexual identity.
• He will give up his fear of hell.

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