Welcome back to “Friday Feature!” Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and enjoy today’s devotion! If you missed last week’s devotion, you can read it here!
Crystal Yates brings us today’s devotion titled, “Restoring Joy.” From an early age, singer-songwriter Crystal Yates knew she would be leading others in song. “I saw a husband and wife leading worship at my granny’s church when I was 5 years old, and I knew that’s who I wanted to be”, says Crystal. Heeding to that calling, Crystal Yates has made an indelible mark in the Christian music world, with songs she’s authored topping the charts and being recorded by artists such as Selah, Guy Penrod, Jason Crabb, Micah Tyler, Latin artist Julissa, and many many more. Many of her songs, such as “What Mercy Did For Me”, “You Are Emmanuel”, “I Got Saved”, are sung in congregations every Sunday at churches around the world, bringing back full circle the passion once ignited as a little girl. Crystal and her husband Will have been leading worship together since they met in college, and make their home in McKinney, TX. I’ve had the privilege of hearing Crystal sing with People and Songs in concert and have truly been blessed by her music!
The greatest moment of my life: that moment I gave all my sin and shame to Jesus and He gave me His love and mercy. The very moment I believed my heart experienced love and grace I have never felt before. Jesus literally saved me. It changed everything. I went from an 18 year old teen with pain, trauma, and no will to live to a cleansed, hope-filled, and on fire woman for God in the twinkling of an eye!
But, now, over 20 years later…some days, I forget. In the midst of the busy, the chaos, the work, raising children, ministry, being a wife, stress, loss, changes, pain, failures, when life calls for my undivided attention, and yes, now in a pandemic especially, I forget the joy I found when I experienced salvation in Christ for the first time.
I can forget when things are going great in life. I can forget when I get busy managing the blessings I have. I can even forget when I’m in the middle of “doing” in my worship leader role. Then, one of those storms of life will hit, I will have just hopped on the crazy train, and I am about to lose it. When my head is in my hands and I am “done” you know when we are just “done”. It is right there, every time, I will think of David and this psalm…
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
It is noted in the Bible that this particular Psalm of David was written after the prophet Nathan confronted David about His affair with Bathsheba. He responds in repentance and the part where he asks for the joy of the Lord’s salvation to be restored always sticks out in my mind.
It made me start thinking of how King David, being called a man after God’s own heart in the bible, responds by wanting to be filled with joy that comes from salvation. A man who ruled the kingdom had all the things women, gold, fame, fortune, but still with all things He wanted the joy that can only come from God. The God that gave him mercy and unfailing love. If He needs it. Then, it’s ok that I need it, that we need it.
Let me encourage you to take that moment. And because I lead worship I’m attaching a link to a song I co-wrote and sang on for you to just take a moment and let His joy that met you when He saved you invade your mind, your heart, and life. Let Him restore you, cleanse off the residue of a hard day, a rough week, a heavy year, and fill you with His mercy and goodness.
When we get to the moment we have reached the end of your rope, when our peace is disturbed, and the daily grind has us worn. We are enough, because He loves us, He saved us. We can rest there. May we never forget, my friends. Use praise and worship as a weapon to access the power that only comes by way of His Spirit. The joy of the Lord is our strength! Then, our salvation, our testimonies, and the blood that Jesus shed for us is victory!
I have heard it said from many leaders and teachers that as believers of Jesus we do not fight for victory…we fight from victory! After following Jesus for over 20 year walk the concept of praying and worshiping from victory resonates deep in my heart. The journey hasn’t been easy, it hasn’t been perfect, but Jesus is faithful. Even though there are things I’m still waiting on in Him, I still believe, and I wait expectantly. And when the going gets tough I pray that prayer of David in Psalm 51…restore to me the joy of my salvation!
His death on the cross redeemed us and His resurrection gives us life! Whatever you are walking through, take this moment and remember when the light of the world invaded your heart for the first time! When the merciful arms of a loving God reached down and gave you unconditional love. Remember when you believed in Christ you and you were given the gift of salvation and eternity in heaven where He Himself will wipe every one of your tears dry! May His joy flood your hearts in the mighty name of Jesus!
Here is “What Mercy Did For Me… a song I wrote at a camp with students, and I sing on alongside a couple of my favorite worship leaders Micah Tyler and Joshua Sherman. Take a moment and just thank God for His mercy!
Also, here’s a bit of my testimony here: https://youtu.be/1nUncBkSglQ