Archive for Devotional with Hymn

Holy Week Devotional Resources

For many of us, Holy Week services are the most meaningful of the entire year. How can we celebrate its world-changing events without meeting together? Here is one tool that might prove useful to you and your people.

Click this link to download Holy Week Devotional Resources 2020. For each day of Holy Week, it provides:

  1. One or more scripture readings from the lectionary.
  2. A link to a devotional reflection.
  3. A link to a hymn. The hymn page includes a recording of the hymn — see the “Listen” link in the upper right-hand section of the page.

May God’s Spirit speak and bless you as you pause to consider all Christ did for you in His suffering, death, and resurrection.

Each of Us Is a Gift of Grace

To each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. . . . It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:7, 11-13, NIV)

Read the following passage about God’s judgment on His disobedient people, and imagine yourself living through this situation:

See now, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support . . . the hero and warrior, the judge and prophet, the soothsayer and elder, the captain of fifty and man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter. I will make boys their officials; mere children will govern them. People will oppress each other–man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the base against the honorable. (Isaiah 3:1-5, NIV)

Imagine any society with all its skilled people taken away: no leaders, no teachers, no doctors or dentists, no repair people or builders, no police officers or soldiers, no writers or performers, no cooks or crafts people or specialists of any kind.

Imagine a church with all its skills and talents gone.

That makes us realize how dependent we are on such gifts from God. It helps us see His grace reaching out through society, providing for our every need while drawing us together as a people. God is our complete support. We are totally dependent on Him for everything.

What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)

But He has also made us dependent on each other. The gifts that you have been given – material goods, abilities, or even inclinations – are not gifts to you but are God’s gifts to His people through you.

In Ephesians chapters 1 and 2, we hear about God’s great grace poured out through Jesus. In chapter 3 Paul talks about himself as a vessel of God’s grace. But here in Ephesians 4 he says that God pours out His goodness and love through each of us. He is pouring out His provision through you. He has entrusted a portion of His grace to you.

You are part of a beautiful pattern, like the waterways of the earth or the blood vessels of the body, bringing God’s life to every corner of our world, meeting every human need. And He is using human hands. He is using your hands!

Praise to our all-wise God for His goodness! Praise Him for teaching us the blessings of unity!

Each of us is the steward of a gift
designed to glorify God,
to show those around us
how good and loving He is.
Together,
what a beautiful picture of God we could paint!

Hymn: Through Me

A Broader Vision

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you. (Colossians 1:6, NIV)

Christians had gathered from all over the world to spend a week worshiping, talking, and learning together. And I had spent the entire week there in a publisher’s booth selling one particular product: our new hymnal. Every little feature of that product, every detail of the booth, was my life for those days.

Then on the last day, with lighter crowds, I wandered around a bit and saw some of the other exhibits. Right there across the aisle from me was the world missions area. Walking through, I got a glimpse of the desperate needs in so many world areas. I saw display after display of the world’s great cities, and I thought of all the needy millions crammed into each of them.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the details and mechanics of our own little area of ministry. And let’s be honest: at times our concerns revolve too much around how that ministry impacts our own interests. We forget the needs of people, which is the real reason the ministry exists.

With all that in mind, I was approached by a former missionary who was hosting the display. Seeing my name, he commented on a publication I had helped produce years before. He relayed how useful it had been in his work on the mission field.

As he spoke, I thought immediately of new projects I was working on. I realized that God would be able to use them to touch the lives of others, if I stayed focused on Him and on the needs of His people.

I came away with a desire to do a better job right where I am. I don’t need a broader field of service. I need a broader vision of His work here where He has placed me.

Our ministries are only a tiny part of the overall picture, but they matter. We need to stay faithful to Him and focused on Him with each task He places before us. Somewhere that task will make a difference in the lives of people. Somewhere are needs He intends to meet through us today.

God designed our individual spiritual gifts and
roles in the Church to be
small and specialized.
Yet He calls us to
a perspective on the Church that is
broad and all-encompassing,
taking in the entire eternal purpose of God.

Hymn: Beyond All Barriers

Stewardship

Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (1 Corinthians 4:1, NASB)

A while back I came across this interesting observation: before the year 1800, no product, no message, no idea could travel faster than a horse. Think about that for a moment. Geographic separation was an impenetrable barrier to quick communication. For we who enjoy instant communication with nearly anyone in the world, such a severe limitation is almost unimaginable. Cell phones, email, internet, jet planes – geographic separation is no longer an insoluble problem. But this has been reality for only a few seconds of our race’s history.

Consider what it was like for business owners in biblical times. Unless the owner lived within daily travel distance of his business – a handful of miles either by foot or by animal — he had to have someone on site to run his business for him. Travel and communication were too slow to allow the owner to have any say in the daily decisions. Absentee owners were common. They had to rely on a manager, a steward, someone they trusted completely to run their business as they wanted it run. The steward made all daily decisions on behalf of the owner. He was to best use the owner’s resources for the owner’s good.

That is the biblical concept of stewardship. God, the source of all that is, has entrusted some small portion of His property to us, His stewards. We are to manage His property as He would manage it.

For that reason, we must know God personally, thoroughly, intimately. How can we manage His property as He would manage it unless we know what is important to Him?

No business owner wants his or her precious resources wasted, and God is no different. But if you think penny-pinching and financial profit are the ultimate in biblical stewardship, you don’t know your Boss. He created all the physical universe with a word, out of nothing. He simply expressed His will, and the universe appeared.

Such a Being never runs short of resources. He has no need for more money. He could create such things with a word. If He needed them, He wouldn’t have to tell us.

So what is important to God? As His stewards, managing His resources as He wants them managed, we need to know. What does God want you to do with your resources?

God never wants material things from us
for their own sake.
He can create those with a word.
When He lends to us and urges us to give of it,
He is teaching us to trust Him and
to share in His generosity.
He is drawing us into His love,
His freedom, and
His abundance.
He is drawing us into Himself.

Hymn: My Life Is Not My Own

Divine Coincidence

“Speak, for Your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10, NASB)

Have you discovered that Almighty God wants to take part in your daily work? Here’s one example from my own experience.

Matching a hymn text with the right tune can be tricky, painstaking business. But years ago I began receiving tune ideas from the Lord. Sometimes I would hear an original tune in my head. Other times I would feel prompted toward a folk or classical tune in one of my sources. I would set the tune aside in my “pending” pile, put it out of my mind, and go on with my work.

Then within days the Lord would give me a lyric idea separately, from my Bible study or from an audio book I was listening to. Sometimes it happened the other way around. The text idea would come first, then the tune.

What was amazing was how often I’d find the perfect match for the text or tune there near the top of my “pending” file. I had forgotten about the first one until the second showed up and I went looking for a mate. The two had come to me entirely separately, though in the same time frame.

At first, I considered it mere coincidence. But it began to happen so regularly that I coined a term for it: divine coincidence.

But it wasn’t just texts and tunes that came together so marvelously. Often a thought or scripture would come to me from my daily reading or listening that was exactly what I needed for some current writing endeavor. I hadn’t gone looking for it. It just jumped out at me.

Some would explain such phenomenon as the subconscious working of the mind. And I can’t claim to explain all the workings of this amazing brain the Lord has given us.

But God regularly uses divine coincidence to remind me that He deeply, personally, constantly cares about my daily activities. My work is His work, and He doesn’t abandon me to it. He works beside me all day, every day. The Spirit of the sovereign, almighty, universal God works through me. He will work through you as well. How wonderful is that!

Father, all our work is Your work. Keep us open. Keep us listening. Keep us dependent on You.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21, NASB)

Father, though I am small,
weak, and
O so brief,
You are almighty,
all-wise, and
all-loving.
As I trust You,
You accomplish Your beautiful purpose
through me.

Hymn: God’s Mysterious Ways

Rejoice

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! (Philippians 3:1, NIV)

Rejoicing is joy that is dancing.
Rejoicing is faith as it sings.

Every time I turn to You, Lord,
joy rises in me.
You call me to joy.
You call me to be deep-down happy in every situation –
not because the situation is pleasing,
but because You are God and
You are always good.

You want me to rejoice in You!
When I do, I can rejoice always and
with all my heart.

Lord, I rejoice in You this morning
in the face of Satan’s temptations to anxiety and discouragement.
I rejoice that Your work is going forward right now,
in spite of all I see.
Praise to You, my God!

I rejoice that You are faithful to me every moment and that
Your Spirit never leaves me,
not for a second.

I rejoice that my whole family and every person I love is
in Your hands.

And Lord, I rejoice in the privilege of knowing You.
To know You is to trust You.
To trust You is to love You.
And to love You is to take pleasure in You and
rejoice in You continually.

Thank You, my Father!
Thank You for all that You are!

Hymn: Joy in Your Presence

All You Are

Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
(Psalm 84:12)

Father, so much of my daily life is still untouched by
the truth of all You are.
You are
perfect wisdom,
perfect power, and
perfect love,
yet too often I think and act as if You are
limited and unreliable.

O my Father, I long to live in full response to all You are.
As I worship,
teach me,
remind me,
shape me,
draw me.
Fill my faith with all Your magnificence.

Father,
You are the center of all reality.
Everything revolves around You.
May it be so in my life.
Help me see everything—
every resource,
every task,
every problem—
only in relationship to You.

Hymn: High and Holy Sovereign God

God of Endless Abundance

My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19, NASB)

God of endless abundance,
God of glad, unbounded giving,
You have made me
Your child,
Your heir.
I am rich beyond measure
in You.

Father, help me turn my back on everything
that distracts me from You.
Help me flee from
all anxious grasping,
all foolish desires, and
all self-glory.

Instead, help me wholeheartedly embrace
generosity,
contentment,
humility,
gratitude, and
joyful, self-giving love.

Father, You are the one eternal God.
Help me love You
with all my heart,
with all that I am and
all that I hold.

Father,
You are all-in-all.
I am always
complete and
sufficient in You.

Hymn: God Alone

Today in Your Care

Sovereign God,
You dwell in eternity,
unmoved by time.
Your promises,
Your purposes,
Your burning love are
always now,
always sure,
always undiminished.

Today
I am in Your tender care.
Here in You,
nothing is forgotten,
nothing ignored,
nothing overlooked,
nothing left to chance.
Your purpose is never threatened.
You suffer no surprises and
no setbacks.
You are not bound
by the present or the past,
by norms or impossibilities.

Within me is
pain,
sorrow,
weakness, and
uncertainty.
But You have hidden me in Yourself.
I am completely,
eternally,
untouchably safe in You.

The Eternal I AM,
the Source of All,
is my shepherd.
I lack nothing.

Hymn: Be Still, My Child

An Adventure of Faith

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. (Psalm 25:10, NIV)

God, You are God.
Your ways are always loving.
Your ways are always wise.
The way You lead me is always the best way.

So, Lord, help me to trust You boldly and gladly.
I will not shrink from tasks to which You have called me.
I will accept them as an adventure of faith,
as a chance to discover more about You,
to experience
Your guiding,
Your power,
Your blessing and providing;
as a chance to glorify You.

Lord, I accept this challenge
as an adventure of faith.

Father, it frightens us
when You send us out with
no support and no resource
but Your promise.
But those experiences bind us to You
and prove that
You are who You say You are and
will do all You say You will do.

Hymn: The Upward Call