Casting Crowns – “Awaken Me” (Devotional)

The prodigal son is definitely a theme in this record because it’s a theme in my life. It seems like every time I go to this story I see something new, because there are a lot of different people in this story. It’s not really the story of the prodigal son, it’s the story of two sons. The story when one son bought the lie that he could go free and have everything that was already his, but have it now. The lie that his life would be so much better. He bought the lie and he spent everything he had and found himself eating with the pigs. He found himself in the dirtiest place with the dirtiest things, and even found himself being envious of what the pigs had to eat. He had hit the bottom.

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Casting Crowns – “Nobody” (Devotional)

The song “Only Jesus” has a partner, bookends of sorts to the record, this song is called “Nobody.” When we think about our place in the world and understand why we’re here – there’s no one that knew their place better than John the Baptist. The guy was in the womb jumping up and down about Jesus. Before he was even born he was pointing to Jesus, and that’s all he did his whole life.

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Casting Crowns – “The Bridge” (Devotional)

My son Jaime had just turned 20, and for his birthday we took a trip to New York. We saw all the sites – had all the fun. We went and saw a concert, a very popular band with a huge crowd, and we had great seats. There was so much energy in the room and so much being said. I was surprised by how much positivity was in all the music. As the lead singer kept going, he began sharing a bit of his story. He said to the crowd in love, and I could see it on his face, “You feel that you’re broken, but you’re not,” he said, “You are not broken. You’re perfect just as you are.” The crowd roared – there was such a warm feeling in the room and all I could think was how beautiful that moment was, but it just wasn’t true.

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Vertical Worship – “God’s Valentine” Day Four (Devotional)

There’s something about love that inspires people to employ the language of the interminable, like “always and forever.”
Shakespeare’s Juliet told Romeo her love for him was “infinite.” Justin Bieber sings that he’s “never” leaving. Throughout the ages smitten lovers have penned poems to one another featuring terms like “boundless,” “deathless,” and “everlasting.”

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Vertical Worship – “God’s Valentine” Day Three (Devotional)

When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than freedom.
I wanted the freedom to stay up as late as I wanted. I wanted the freedom to watch the TV shows I wanted. And, of course, I wanted the freedom to eat as many cookies as I wanted.
As a kid, any imposed structure on my childish wants was nearly incomprehensible. My parents would try to explain, “Eating that many cookies is bad for you, Jonathan. You will get a stomach ache.”

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