Found In You Devotional - Day 1

I’m sitting here on a ship, somewhere in the Caribbean, while I write this devotional. Fourth deck outside. I can hear faint music in the background, waves crashing against the ship, while the smell of burning tobacco fills my nostrils. This deck, on the port side, is designated the smoking section, and I sat here on purpose. That’s right, on purpose. Now, I don’t smoke myself (I have asthma…I’d die!) but I love the smell! I love it even more than the smell of coffee or my wife’s perfume or pie in the oven. I’m one of those weirdos who actually has a tobacco-scented candle. Now, I’ve thought a lot about why I love this smell so much, and I’m positive it comes down to this: It triggers a memory that I will never forget.

For some people it might be the smell of your mom’s clothes, or Christmas, or Mammy's fried chicken. For me, the smell of smoke takes me back to my first real concert with my dad. He took me to see one of my favorite music groups, Three Dog Night. It was this group that changed the trajectory of my life! The first time I heard them I knew that I would do whatever it took to devote my life to music. It may sound silly, but I finally had a little bit of purpose in my life. I was just a kid, and I didn’t find out the reason for such a strong pull to music until much later in life.

So, you might be thinking, “Okay Chad, what does the smell of smoke and music have to do with a devotional?” And I would have to say that for the Christian believer, it is everything! It’s remembering that moment in which something inside of me changed forever. I believe that at that concert, God was putting something in my heart. I didn’t know that I would be called to ministry through music years later. And without that event I wonder if I would be the same man, doing the same things I’m doing today. So when I smell that wonderful smoke I take a big sniff and remember. 

I tell our worship team all the time that our job is to help stir others’ affection for Christ through music. One of the big things we do is sing songs of remembrance. That is exactly what our song "Found in You" is. The message of the song is, “I was lost and dead in sin but then God found me and gave me life, meaning, and an identity.” So, just like a smell that can trigger a memory, music can be a means of remembering also. Whether it’s an old familiar song, a familiar melody, or a brand new song (with the same old message), we gather together to sing, and we gather together to remember in our worship services. It's actually super cool when we remember who we used to be and think about how much our great God has done to save us, to be with us, and to know that He loves us with a never-ending love. If we were to stop and really think about it, it should take our breath away.

Let’s look at a Biblical example of this in Exodus 15.1-4:
Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:
I will sing to the Lord,
    for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
    he has hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior;
    the Lord is his name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his army
    he has hurled into the sea.
The best of Pharaoh’s officers
    are drowned in the Red Sea.

Wow, so Moses and the Israelites’ first response to God is to sing Him praise and retell the story. And now, we have used this story and song to remember that our God is a God of Salvation and has been for thousands of years. It’s a good practice to put yourself in the shoes of the Israelites. Their story parallels our own walk with God, and you don’t have to read too much further to see that they forgot what He had done. They forgot who they were with and they started wishing they were enslaved again. I’d like to think that they sang that song more than once (at least a few times during their 40-year stay in the desert).

Think about the times in your life when you returned to your old ways of living. Life gets busy or hard, and our focus shifts off of a Christ-centered life and onto the immediate things we are going through. However, practicing a life of remembrance keeps the heart focused on what truly matters-- that God is at the center of our lives, and we worship Him for who He is. What He does is one way He reveals who He is. Our God saves. He saved the world from sin and shame through the precious blood of Jesus that was shed on our behalf. He took our place on the cross. When the Father looked upon His son hanging on the cross, He saw everything sinful you have done or thought and every sin that has been committed against you. The Father allowed the relationship between Him and His son to be broken for you and for me.

The Bible tells us, in 2 Corinthians 5.21, that He became sin who knew no sin so we might become the righteousness of God. So, here are a few questions and a challenge for you (and honestly, me too) to think about today. My hope is that you would find time to reflect and maybe even put your thoughts down in writing. No matter how long you’ve been a believer in Jesus, it’s important to remember what he has done for you.

Questions:
Can you remember the last time you gave God praise for something in your life? 
What things in your life (whether they are good things or destructive things) have kept your focus from being on your relationship with God?
How does it make you feel to stop and think about the steadfast love of God?
Can you remember the last time you thanked God and praised Him for your salvation?

Challenge:
Take time everyday this week to remember something about what God has done.
Come into a worship service with a heart that is prepared to remember--maybe it’s an answered prayer, maybe salvation, maybe protection, maybe it’s the way He let you feel His love.

Prayer: 
Father, thank you for your work in my life. I thank you, and I praise you for the gift of life you have given me through the work of your Son, Jesus, on the cross. God I recognize that without you, I am nothing and all that I do amounts to nothing if you’re not in it. Would you jog my memory? Would you recharge my heart with affections toward you? Please give me the strength to live in your will through your Holy Spirit. I love you and I want to love you for the rest of my life. Help me live a life of remembrance. Amen.