Finding Your Song – A Savior’s Love

I hate to admit it, but here goes my “man card,” I’m a sucker for love songs. When my high school friends rocked out to ACDC and Led Zeppelin I secretly preferred Lionel Richie and a few love songs from Journey. I believe in the depth of every human being is a quest to find a love song to heal the soul. We’ve been created for love-but a sinister serpent shouts out lies to distract us from the TRUE source of love.

King David’s life was a quest to fight through Goliath-like lies of the enemy so that he could encounter a love that goes beyond the natural into the heavenly realms. This love was revealed through a series of failures and sins rather than any heroic victory on the battlefield.

David, called “a man after God’s own heart,” has an unprecedented history of sin and compromise. A few examples are:

  • Out of fear David flees to the enemy, the Philistines and pretends to be insane rather than trusting God (1 Sam. 21:10ff).
  • Out of fear David flees to Moab for protection until confronted by a prophet to go back to Judah (1 Sam. 22:3-5).
  • David’s web of lies catch up with him in the ruble of Ziklag (1 Sam. 27,29,30).
  • David and Bathsheba, need I say more? (2 Sam. 11-12).
  • David’s pride overtakes him necessitates the need to count his fighting men, which leads to the blood of 70,000 people on David’s hands (1 Chron. 21).

Yet somehow in the midst of David’s great sin and failures he found the TRUE source of his love song. What a blessing to be singing them 3000 years later. David found a Savior. A Savior, he could continually run back to when his life was wrecked by willful sin. A Savior, who would not hold his sin against him but washed him white as snow for all eternity.

He sings about such a Savior in Psalm 32:

Blessed is the man whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.

He ends the song with victorious verses of praise and TRUE love:

… the LORD’s unfailing love surround the man who trusts in him. Rejoice in the LORD and be glad you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!t

Later, another notorious sinner would use these same verses to write one of the most powerful books in the Bible describing God’s Amazing Saving Grace. Take a look at what the apostle Paul had to say in Romans and particularly chapter 4:7-8.

Like David, each of our songs will only be sung when we encounter the unfathomable love of a saving Savior for pride-filled sinners like you and me.

This Friday and Sunday we celebrate that greatest act of TRUE love ever witnessed by mankind.  Jesus experienced a brutal and bloody death- only to be followed by a glorious breakthrough from the grave 3 days later! This amazing love declares the absolute manifestation of the Father’s love for His children.

Every sin, let me say it again, every sin has been paid for on the cross and buried for eternity in the grave.  THIS is the authentic love we have been grappled to find all our lives. This love heals our soul. This love makes us sons and daughters of the King, and with this love in our hearts we can’t stop singing His praise, just as our brother David found himself doing throughout the Psalms.

I pray this weekend that your heart can’t help but sing your own unique song, because the Loving Redeemer is ALIVE and has made His home in your heart!

Finding Your Song – Spirit Lead Me…

Growing up Africa was never on my radar. Yet for the last 17 years I can honestly say I think about it every day. As you can see from the picture above I’m writing this blog from the Southern tip of the African continent. Even this trip wasn’t on the radar a few weeks ago. The last few nights I have been connecting the dots in my journal after coming back from emotional days of ministry meetings and seeking the will of God. As I draw the lines from dot to dot a song is being arranged that goes way beyond anything I could have ever imagined or dreamed. As I listen to the wind outside rustling through the trees I’m reminded of the one who continues to write my song, The Holy Spirit!

I’m hear in Southern Africa because of mysterious ways of the Spirit. I have not always understood His placements of the notes in my song, even protesting at times. Yet as I ponder my past I realize He is the Master composer writing my life song according to the plans of my loving Father.

As a young teenage boy David encountered this powerful movement of the Holy Spirit upon his life as described in 1 Samuel 16:13:

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.

David had to learn to listen to the rhythm of the Spirit in order to stay in step with the Spirit’s beat. The Spiritual Battles we talked about last week were one of the means used to tune David’s ears to hear the voice of the Spirit. As David learned to surrender his spirit (Psalm 31:5) his will was being fused into the Father’s heart and He learned to follow. Jesus, David’s relative, showed us clearly how His song was glorious written by the Spirit’s control over His life:

I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does (John 5:19).

The same Spirit poured out over David and who anointed Jesus with power and love at His Baptism lives in the hearts of His children. Therefore we too who share in Heavens supernatural love by the anointing of the Holy Spirit are daily being shown the Father’s Heart.

Many times He whispers but sometimes He has to shout to grab our attention. A few days ago I was with my friends Ray & Steve having a meeting with a ministry couple in a local coffee shop. When a lady came over to our table and began to speak into my ear a prophetic word from the Lord. I was startled to say the least, I stuttered out a “thank you” and she quickly walked away. Only the Spirit could have orchestrated her words to a total stranger from another country to say exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. Oh what a loving Father!!!

The Holy Spirit is writing your song and He is asking you to trust Him with it. He wants you to join Him as He is leading you to intimately know the Father’s Heart of love for you. His faithful love will write a song that glorifies His name in your life and brings you joy now and forever.

As I’m presently seating between two Oceans I have this chorus running through my spirit:

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” (Oceans, Hillsong United).

I would have never dreamed Africa would be part of my song, but oh what a Father who graciously leads by His Spirit. Today may the chorus above be your prayer – “Spirit lead me…”

Finding Your Song – Spiritual Battles

How is one’s life song composed? What events in life comprise the lyrics you are singing at this time?  For me the “notes” that have written my song were forged through countless spiritual battles. Battles where I experienced painful defeats and yet by grace battles I have somehow overcome.

Reflecting over David’s prolific history, I’d say his life could be summed up as a numerous notes filled with countless physical and spiritual battles in major and minor keys.  As a teen, young David is anointed from obscurity to be the next King of Israel.  After that he is called into the king’s court to play “praise music” because an evil spirit tormented Saul.  Wow, that’s a heck of a lot of pressure to put on young David-to fight evil with a harp and a song!

Next, David replaced his harp for a sling and killed Goliath-leading to a rousing victory over the Philistines and a beloved hero by the people.  Soon his success soured Saul and the evil eye of envy sent David fleeing for his life for the next several years.  Our Bible would be thinner had David not gone through the spiritual battles he did.  A huge chunk of the Psalms David sang were birthed in battles. 

As you reflect back on your own spiritual and physical battles, can you recognize how your Father used various situations to form your song? As much as I dislike pain and hardship for me or anyone else; I also know that pain and hardship have been one of my greatest teachers. An article describing Snowplow Parentsstated that today many parents act as snowplows for their kids, doing everything in their power to remove any obstacles that may stand in the way of their success. I wonder what kind of song the next generation will sing?

David’s life song is a series of physical and spiritual battles that forged his life. These battles taught him a most important truth in life- to TRUST in a TRUSTWORTHY FATHER GOD.

Almost every Psalm written by David express his trust in, as the Hebrew word expresses, the heced of God – God’s forever loving kindness!  This is beautifully illustrated in the most famous of all Psalms, Psalm 23.

I estimate David waited almost 20 years before the promise prophesied over him to become king came to be.  During those years on the run he learned to surrender both his “spirit” and his “time” into the hands of the LORD (Psalm 31:5,15).  Genealogies reveal that eventually Jesus showed up and HE is an example of true surrender on an ugly cross. Our Savior Jesus displayed ultimate trust in His Father in Heaven to raise Him up from the grave and make Him King of kings and LORD of lords. His song is transforming every square inch of the universe.

David, and later Jesus, showed us that there is a Father in Heaven who can be trusted even in the severest of battles you and I may face. Your song is written in the wilderness as you learn to trust in the forever loving kindness of your Father who will never let anyone snatch you or me out of His Sovereign hand (John 10:29).

Maybe you are facing a spiritual battle at the moment. I pray the Spirit will comfort you with the truth of a trustworthy Father who is writing a song of victory that will one day shout out to the world for His glory and your good!

Finding Your Song: One Thing!

Steak, maple bacon, homemade apple , a beautiful cabin by a river,  and studying God’s Word with a group of men,  it was an amazing weekend!  During our 3 days together we dove into the life of David and discovered why this worshiping, warrior who had been wounded by many sins was called a “man after God’s own heart,” (1 Samuel 13:14).  There is no one is Scripture given that honor and outside of Jesus there is no one who gets more press in the Bible than David.

I want to spend a few weeks with you uncovering why I believe David’s life matters for us today and why I believe our Father is looking for a new generations of David’s who will rock our world with the glory of God.

As I was pouring over David’s life for the retreat the Spirit highlighted a pattern that was used to forge David’s heart into one that glorified God and infused David with heavens joy.

God placed a Song in David heart and shaped it by Spiritual Battles that brought David face to face with His Savior.  As his Song matured over trying seasons of life it developed David into a Sanctuary of Praise that transformed a nation and would eventual bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth through the “Root and the offspring of David,” Jesus Christ (Rev. 22:16).

As I shared with the men this weekend, God has placed a song in your heart.  It is your unique story with a rhythm and chorus that is called to be sung in our world for the Father’s glory and your joy.

David and your song began in the Father’s heart before you were born (Psalm 139:13-16).  The melody takes shape many times in private seasons of loneliness and pain.  For David it was as a forgotten child watching helpless sheep on the hills of Bethlehem.  It was in these early years of David’s life that the Spirit led him to see through the physical into the spiritual and encounter a world of love that set his heart ablaze with song.

It was in these desert times of being pushed aside by family that David found His Father and his focus would be forever changed.  His passion became God’s beautiful presence as sung in Psalm 27:4;

“One thing I ask of the LORD this is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and seek him in his temple.”

This “One thing” fueled David’s song and formed his heart after His Father’s.  You have a song to sing to the world and it must flow from an encounter with the glorious goodness and love of your Father in Heaven.  Look at the song your life is singing today.  How is it being formed, has pain and sin been used to help write your song, and is it creating within you a passion for One Thing?  I challenge you to open up your Bibles to the life of David, to His songs in the Psalms, and come with me on a journey to find your song that you have been uniquely called to sing for His glory and your joy!

A Prayer for A fine!

Blog written by Ray Haakonsen:

I was privileged to be part of  the recent visit by an Oceans team from various States to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. We had just attended a blessed church service and lunch at Ooh La la in Maseru town and were excitedly on our way to a ground breaking ceremony at the Church of the Good Shepherd property up on the escarpment.

An enthusiastic traffic officer pulled our van over for a minor misdemeanor, gladly ignoring the numerous local vehicles which had done the same. The driver (Neels) stepped out to speak with the traffic officer but after 10 minutes, had still not returned.

Admittedly in a rather agitated state I also climbed out to see what was taking time as we were expected at the ground breaking. On approaching the 3 officers now involved, I was informed our driver had been arrested and the officer told me he would be transporting him to jail to face charges in court the next day! I felt a peace overcome me as I entered conversation with the 2 officers now present. Once identifying us as a Christian group on our way to the Church of the Good Shepherd and that we were in Lesotho to share the love of God the Father with the Basotho, the Officer who had pulled us over said to me “What about me?”, to which I responded “What about you?”.

He asked how the Father can help him and I asked in return,  if I could pray for him. He immediately agreed and I prayed a short (we were running late 😉) prayer of Father’s blessing over him. On completion of the prayer the 2nd officer walked over to me and asked if I could pray for him as well. He said he had a young son at home who was deaf. I honestly felt the Spirit urge me to pray for healing for the son and peace for the Dad, which I did. After this prayer both officers thanked me and Neels our driver witnessed this all, as did some of our group in the van.

The Spirit of God was with us as Jesus promised He would be in John 16:7 and the Father again showed, should we step out in His Name, the Spirit, who is inside of us, will indeed give us the words to say to those who crave His love. We dont need to be “Spiritual giants” (is there such a thing), but followers of Christ, with a simple faith in an All powerful God, to see His glory brought to this earth as it is in Heaven! We should wait expectantly for His Spirit to interrupt as on our daily journeys…His plan is better than ours 🙏

The end result of this Divine intervention, Neels freed from arrest, a fine traded for 2 prayers, and 2 seeking officers and a van load of us simple believers witnessing God still at work today.

Hallelujah! He is a good good Father.