I love music. I drive my wife crazy a lot of times because we’ll be out for a nice walk and I’ll be prepping my favorite playlist on my phone and she’ll scold me for not just walking and taking in the natural world around us. My whole life has been built around music. Some of my fondest memories of my childhood were Saturday’s in the fall when my Dad would put on one of his favorite records, open the front door to let the cool autumn air fill the house, and I would be playing out in the yard listening to Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and, if we got our requests granted, a little old school MJ. My love for music multiplied as I gained teenage freedom at 16, had a job where I could go to the FYE every Tuesday and scoop up a new album, or a couple new singles, to bump in my whip.
My taste for music has changed drastically over the years. As I shared last Friday, my family and I are all-in on lifting up the name of Jesus every chance we get. Christian music is all we care for anymore. In the initial stage of moving to the Christian scene, we would falter back to mainstream every now and then. But not anymore. Not for me, at least. Nothing in popular culture, whether it’s rock, hip-hop, country, or pop, entertains me anymore. There’s too much excellent music in the Christian genre to listen to anything else. So, like last Friday, I am going to share some music today.
I love Spotify, they have always been good to me and were one of the better pioneers in streaming music. I hear a lot of good things about both Google and Apple’s streaming services, but Spotify has many great features and does an amazing job putting together playlists geared specifically for each listener. One playlist I follow every week is New Music Friday Christian (clever name…). I jumped the gun and shared one of the stronger singles released this week from Passion Music. Their new album drops in two weeks, so expect me to share a lot from this talented bunch. But after watching the video from their cover of Way Maker, I saw a young man I had almost forgot about. Sean Curran is a distinct voice within the Passion Worship team and he released a powerful album last year with some outstanding songs. Of them, Bigger Than I Thought was perhaps my favorite and I am sharing it below. This song is a perfect reminder of how often we forget that God is bigger than we can ever think, or imagine.
31”But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:31)
This quote from Jesus confused me for the longest time. Especially in the context which Jesus spoke it in chapter 10, where He has continued speaking against wealth after advising the young rich man to sell all his possessions and follow Jesus. Jesus says that for those who leave their homes, family and friends for Him and the Gospel, will receive a “hundred times” return-on-investment with gaining more brothers and sisters, homes, children, and fields. My understanding of the first will be last, and the last first is that those who follow Jesus first may be some of the last to enter the kingdom of Heaven, while those who come to know Christ last, will be the first to enter. In the Book of Matthew, Jesus relates this verse with the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, where a landowner pays the same wage to workers who worked all day and workers who were hired right at the end of the day. The workers who worked all day were frustrated that the landowner would pay them the same wage as those who were just working a few hours. The landowner’s response:
15”Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15)
I struggled with this concept for many years, because I could not grasp the thought that I could live a good life, or even those who live much holier lives than me (which would be easy, but I am referring to those who spend their entire life in ministry and serving God and others), after living a life of holiness someone who sins their entire life could come in and at the very end of their life, find the same salvation as those of us that were first. In my personal testimony that I have shared on the Testimonies page of commonsensereborn.com, I talk about the moment when I heard the Holy Spirit set me straight on this matter. And now, relating it to the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, I can easily see the truth of the Matthew 20:15:
“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my Grace? Or are you envious because of my generosity with forgiveness and grace?”-God
I was envious of God’s grace for a long time. Then one day it finally hit me: it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter how I felt about the generosity of God’s grace to the greatest of sinners because that was the gift Jesus gave to all of us, and it was not my gift to give. It was never my gift to give or pass judgement on in the first place. The second part of the truth in “the last will be first, and the first will be last” is that God celebrates salvation at any point in someone’s life. Of course, this is honest salvation. If a death row inmate finally gives his life to Christ in his final hours on this earth, that person will find the same grace afforded to all of us. But the depth of that grace is deeper than anything I will ever be able to comprehend. And I am okay with this truth now. I am so grateful that God is forgiving as He is, because of the life I have lived, the grace that should have never been afforded to me, is the grace that God freely and gladly gives. Praise the Lord.
Reading plan: Mark 12:28-44
Deeper reading plan: Deuteronomy 32, 33, and 34. Congratulations! If you have been reading since the first of the year you have now made it through the Torah! The hardest books of the Bible to read. It’s smooth sailing from here on out!
Prayer and meditation: continue to pray for your request from day 1 and pray that Jesus uses you to bring one person to know His grace today.
Fitness challenge: Week seven of our 7×14 challenge. 2 sets of 14, we’re going to speed the reps up again. Keep perfect form put push yourself to complete these sets quickly.
1. Standard push-up 2. Sit-up or crunches
3. Air squats 4. Hand-release push-up
5. Leg lifts 6. Lunges (7-each leg)
7. 4-count flutter kick