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Turn Down for What - A Devotion

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Romans 1:16-17 (NLT)
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

I have a confession to make. When I am working out at the gym, I do not always listen to Christian music. It is not a guilty pleasure but more of the need for beat-driven music to motivate my feet to keep up with the elliptical machine. I have discovered that the beat of most secular music is perfect for running, stepping and moving but quick frankly is garbage for the mind. So I must be very selective in what I listen to because most of the time, I am oblivious to the words as most people are. We play the radio in the car, at work, in elevators so much in fact that it is the background noise is almost every situation. One popular song that I recently discovered is called “Turn Down for What”. If you don’t believe the Lord can speak through just about anything, then you may have forgotten about the little scenario of the donkey in the Old Testament. It’s crazy that this song only has three basic lines with no real clarity of meaning yet it is a hit sensation. Fire up that loud – another round of shots – turn down for what. There you have it in a nutshell. Now surround it with a pretty good beat and you have a hit. According to the Urban Dictionary, there is a meaning to the song. “Turned up” means being drunk. So the Lil’ Jon is asking, “Turn down for what” or why should I sober up. Now it makes a little more sense, but it makes me sad at the same time. Our generation has no voice that is calling it from the vile perversity of the things of this world to a waiting and watching Savior who can set them free. Who turned down the volume of the Good News of Jesus Christ? To allow hidden meanings of horrible lyrics to have our kids singing about things that will destroy their lives rather than building them up. In the midst of a crowded gym, trying to keep up with the spinning machine, my heart grew heavy. The church is silently allowing this world to change the heart and mind of its people while we quietly attend powerless services and meet in quaint home settings. We were not called to be religious but relentless in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What happened? I believe that there are three main factors that have muted the Body of Jesus Christ and stopped the Gospel from spreading around the world. People are afraid. They live in doubt which has them overcome by disbelief. It is a problem caused by a convoluted Gospel. When I was in high school many, many, (okay many) years ago, I attended a retreat. At this gathering, it was encouraged that we no longer listen to secular music citing backmasking and hidden messages. So when everyone got home they began smashing their record albums (see I told you that I was old). Back then the variety of contemporary Christian music was limited, and many churches feared it to be just as bad as the alternatives. I do not believe that as Christians that Jesus Christ has called us all back into bondage such as not living in the world. We are in the world but not of the world. The Holy Spirit gives us discernment. I allow my kids to choose music but encourage them to listen to the lyrics comparing them to Christ. This is not a call to boycott secular music but rather turn up the volume and preach the Good News to a world looking for an escape as clearly expressed in the music of today.

Acts 18:9-11 (NLT)
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the Word of God.

Why are we afraid to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in the world today? Why won’t we tell family, friends and co-workers how great our God really is? The primary reason for fear is the absence of faith. If we knew just how great, powerful and wonderful God really is and experienced His Presence in our life, we would have faith turned into confident hope. Confidence is the absence of fear based on truth. The more we try God and determine that He is faithful the more that we have to tell others about. If I asked you about your favorite political figure, you would immediately tell me. If I challenged your answer, you would be quick to defend him or her and give me a number of reasons why I should also vote for them in the coming election. But if I asked you about God – what would you say? Could you defend your faith or wave off the conversation in fear? The Lord told Paul, “Do not be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! I am with you…” Paul answered the call to turn up the volume, will you? The reason we are quick to defend our political position is because we have taken time to get to know the candidates. We have watched their governmental activity and where they stand on issues that are important to us making our choice. We place our confidence in these people to be our voice in Washington. Jesus Christ is our Voice in the Kingdom of God. He daily makes intercession to God on our behalf. We must decide to live fearlessly which means that we must be faithful.

2 Timothy 1:7-9 (NLT)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

I have discovered that it is important to know what comes before and after our favorite verses in the Bible and 2 Timothy 1:7 is no different. We love to claim the “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love and self-discipline,” but miss the real meaning and what it is for. “So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.” God has given you His Power, Love and Self-Discipline to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. God saved us to live a Holy Life so that not only will we experience the Grace found in Jesus Christ but to invite others to do the same. However, because of a lack of faith in God we put our expectation in people. To tell others about Jesus may cause rejection or worse abandonment. Faith in God says “I will never leave you or forsake you” making us fearless witnesses even if it does cost us a few friends who were really just acquaintances after all. There are people in other countries who die every day for sharing the Gospel. There are some folks in America who have died for professing Christ as well. What profit a man if he gains the world, but loses his soul? Jesus asked this very question. “Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:37-38)

Isaiah 42:13-16(NLT)
The LORD will march forth like a mighty hero; he will come out like a warrior, full of fury. He will shout his battle cry and crush all his enemies. He will say, “I have long been silent; yes, I have restrained myself. But now, like a woman in labor, I will cry and groan and pant. I will level the mountains and hills and blight all their greenery. I will turn the rivers into dry land and will dry up all the pools. I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.”

Perhaps you have seen the message of the gospel on a sign at a sporting event that say, “Jesus Saves” or maybe on an old country road painted on the side of a barn “Jesus is Coming Back.” Did you get the message? Jesus is coming back. This is a true and valid statement whether or not we choose to believe this is a personal choice. I believe that He is coming back and have decided that I must strive to live in preparation for that day. I do not doubt that He will return for the righteous. Like many other believers, this does not exempt me from the temptations of life including doubting the Lord from time to time. When our son got cancer that pretty much changed for me. As doctors and medicine have proven no match for the disease in his body, I know that Jesus Christ is our only hope. It will require all my faith in God to make it through this test. Not because God requires all my faith but because doubt separates me from God. When I doubt I choose something else as worthy of my confidence removing my situation from His Hands. He will not force me to hand over my problems but waits patiently for me to surrender every worry and burden to His Loving Care. As doubt diminishes in my life, I find that confidence in God begins to rise up and as a result it has become a lot easier to share Jesus with other people. He has become credible in my life as faith turns to confidence. The more confident that I become in the Lord the more likely I am to share the good news. It is not strained but matter of fact which is believable to the listener. Some think I am crazy, overboard and maybe even a Jesus-Freak. Maybe I am? But all I know is this “I was once blind, but now I can see!” (John 9:25) I have put my trust in the Lord and He has not failed me. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 1:17) What better way to share the Gospel than when we can personally testify to His Goodness, Mercy and Love? Preaching the Good News with our life will turn up the volume of the church dramatically in the world in which we live. Living by faith demonstrates confidence in our right standing with God enough to maintain it. As God heals, delivers, renews and restores our life filling us with unspeakable joy even in the midst of tragic circumstances, this is the God people want to get to know. This is the One who they will look for. He is the One who they seek!

Revelation 12:10-11 (NLT)
Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.

Are you tired of being drug around by your emotions? Are you exhausted and powerless against the circumstances in your life? Are you a Child of God? Have you been covered by the Blood of the Lamb? If so, the only thing missing is your testimony. We defeat the enemy every single time we trust God and have faith in Jesus Christ. It is a blow against his initiative to lead people blindly away from righteousness back into sin. The Power to overcome disbelief lies in the Blood of the Lamb partnered with our testimony. Our testimony relates our personal experience with the Lord. It is the message of when we trusted the Lord and He came through in more ways than one. (He always does.)

1 John 5:5-9 (NLT)
And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross—not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. So we have these three witnesses—the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree. Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son.” (1 John 5:5-9)

I promise you right now that if I walked into any church and played the song, “Turn Down for What”. Every person under the age of thirty would probably jump to their feet, clap or at least crack a smile because they are familiar with the song and its beat. For some it may take them back to the party they attended last night, or a recent outing with friends. These are the same people that refuse to stand on their feet, clap, lift their hands and usher in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. See the music makes them feel good, but they have not fully experienced the life-changing Love and Power of God firsthand. We must learn to believe. We must find a way to trust the Lord exchanging fear for faith and doubt for confident hope. We must have a new attitude about sharing the Love of God demonstrated through Jesus Christ. “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)

Isaiah 52:6-8 (NLT)
“But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them. How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation,
the news that the God of Israel reigns! The watchmen shout and sing with joy, for before their very eyes they see the LORD returning to Jerusalem.”

God shows His Messengers the Power of His Name. If you will be His Voice, you will experience His Victory. God does everything for His Glory. If you are willing to tell others what the Lord has done for you, watch out. He will overflow your life with His Goodness and Favor because it is not returning void but productive. It is our job to tell others the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are missionaries no matter who we are or what our other profession is. Jesus is coming back and wants to take as many people as He can with Him to His Kingdom. You play a major role in securing souls. He has promised you overcoming power by His Blood and the Word of our Testimony. Our testimony is all the great things God has done for us. Nobody can do for you what the Lord will do to every part of our life surrendered to His Power for the Glory of His Namesake. Our son has had cancer four times in less than three years undergoing chemotherapy three times and now is on his fifth relapse and fourth round of chemotherapy yet his blood resembles that of someone who has never had cancer or chemo. With each dose, the resurrection Power of God through Jesus Christ in every cell causes it to recover so quickly that it has the doctor attention. It is that phenomenal. Maybe you are thinking yes, but he has had cancer four times. Yes, but the Lord has healed him four times. Our faith in God is stronger than it has ever been before. His Hand of Provision more evident than we have ever experienced. I cannot begin to tell you the ways that the Lord has revealed His Love, Mercy and Grace in our life throughout this ordeal and His Favor to match. My heart breaks with each diagnosis. His Comfort restores my joy each morning. My mind races to win over fear. God gives me something in His Word to hold on to that proves credible each time. I cannot begin to tell you what faith in God has done for us through our son’s battle against cancer. We would never have survived without Him! This is our testimony. I have no problem telling you or anyone else how Good and Great Our God is, but I did before it all happened. I was turned down just like so many others. I hate that our son has had to go through so much but he has endured and will to the very end. The Power of God is alive in him and working through him to the Glory of God. Somebody needs to shout! ”But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:13-14) The Blood of the Lamb and your testimony create the Resurrection Power in our life every day. If we would only strive to turn up the volume and use our voices to proclaim the Good News we have been given – I believe the Power of God would come back to our churches giving us a reason to turn it up louder and louder until His Kingdom comes!

Psalm 30:11-12 (NLT)
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!

Psalm 96:1-3 (NLT)
Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! Sing to the LORD; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.

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