From 200 miles above Earth, Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and commander of the International Space Station, joined in song with a group of students in a studio on Earth. Together they performed “Is Somebody Singing,” co-written by Hadfield and Ed Robertson.
One phrase of the song caught my attention: “You can’t make out borders from up here.” Although we humans draw many lines to separate ourselves from one another—national, ethnic, ideological—the song reminded me that God doesn’t see such distinctions. The important thing to God is that we love Him and each other (Mark 12:30-31).
Like a loving father, God wants His family united. We cannot accomplish what God has for us to do if we refuse to be reconciled with one another. In His most impassioned prayer, on the night before He was crucified, Jesus pleaded with God to unite His followers: “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us” (John 17:21).
Singing illustrates unity as we agree on the lyrics, chords, and rhythms. Singing can also promote unity as it binds us together in peace, proclaims God’s power through praise, and demonstrates God’s glory to the world.
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace. —Wesley
From: Streams in the Desert
I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me (Acts 27:25).
I went to America some years ago with the captain of a steamer, who was a very devoted Christian. When off the coast of Newfoundland he said to me, “The last time I crossed here, five weeks ago, something happened which revolutionized the whole of my Christian life. We had George Mueller of Bristol on board. I had been on the bridge twenty-four hours and never left it. George Mueller came to me, and said, ‘Captain I have come to tell you that I must be in Quebec Saturday afternoon.’ ‘It is impossible,’ I said. ‘Very well, if your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way. I have never broken an engagement for fifty-seven years. Let us go down into the chart-room and pray.'”
“I looked at that man of God, and thought to myself, ‘What lunatic asylum can that man have come from? I never heard of such a thing as this.’ ‘Mr. Mueller,’ I said, ‘do you know how dense this fog is?’ ‘No,’ he replied, ‘my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God, who controls every circumstance of my life.'”
“He knelt down and prayed one of the most simple prayers, and when he had finished I was going to pray; but he put his hand on my shoulder, and told me not to pray. ‘First, you do not believe He will answer; and second I BELIEVE HE HAS, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it.'”
“I looked at him, and he said, ‘Captain, I have known my Lord for fifty-seven years, and there has never been a single day that I have failed to get audience with the King. Get up, Captain and open the door, and you will find the fog gone.’ I got up, and the fog was indeed gone. On Saturday afternoon, George Mueller was in Quebec for his engagement.”
If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine,
In the sweetness of our Lord.
Doing What Is Right
From: Through The Bible
2 Chronicles 26:4-5, 16 (NIV) 4He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success… 16But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
If you read yesterday’s devotion you will be wondering about verse 4. How could the author say that Amaziah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD? Perhaps the Old Testament authors knew more about grace than we give them credit. Many of the kings did terrible acts and yet were called right in the eyes of the LORD. The only way to really reconcile this is that the grace of God covered their sins because they had given their lives to God. This should encourage us that though we have backslidden at times, the grace of God covers ALL our sin. The stories of these kings are so much like the lives of Christians today. At a memorial service we hear the very same thing that the author writes here. Every person has failures and shortcomings but to what or Whom did they commit their soul?
There is a cycle of testing in the lives of most Christians that is similar to the one Uzziah experienced. When they commit themselves to obeying God and serving Him, they find their lives are blessed in many ways, including physical abundance. Here is where the testing becomes more difficult and the refinement more intense. We can go the way of Uzziah and become prideful, thinking our blessings are the result of our efforts and skills, or we can go the way of David, who humbled himself and realized that without God he was nothing. Both of these kings were credited as doing what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but one finished with a powerful testimony of repentance and restoration. The other, Uzziah, ended his life isolated and in shame. Much of the fruit of our actions is seen in this life, especially at the end of life. The prideful are then powerless, and those that flocked around them while they held power desert them. The humble, however, even though powerless, will be surrounded with the lives of those they have blessed.
Consider: Which will you be?
Romans 10:8-10 (NIV) 8But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
In chapters 9 and 10 of Romans, the Apostle Paul is describing his intense desire to see Jews come to believe in Jesus as their Messiah. He goes on to describe the problem they are having. In trying to obtain righteousness by keeping the Law, they are stuck in an impossible effort. To be righteous through the Law is only possible if you keep all the Law, and none but Christ has ever been able to do that. But there is another righteousness that is found within the pages of the Law. It is the righteousness that comes from trusting in God. Paul quotes the prophet Joel as saying, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (vs 13)
In the passage for today, he sums up what the stories in the Law teach us. They show us that when Messiah comes, we need to trust in Him for our righteousness. Then, you will confess that righteousness is not from you but from the One who is your redemption. To confess Jesus is Master over all and believe that God raised Him from the dead is to place your hope entirely in Him. This is the only way to be saved.
What you believe in your heart cannot help but come from your lips. When you believe enough to confess, you will know you are saved. He becomes Lord of your mouth and reputation today. He does not merely remain an intellectual idea that you ascend to that gives you entrance into heaven, but He is your Master. You recognize that He is Master over all. You declare it in your conversations. When He is your King, you have entered the Kingdom.
Consider: Have you believed in your heart and confessed with your mouth? If so, you have the righteousness of Christ credited to your account. You are saved. If not, why not? Choose to do so now?