June 26 Devotional

This week’s message we’ll be backing up and covering what we didn’t cover last week! Luke 9:1-9:
And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen. Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.
This is the first time we see Jesus sending out his disciples as his ambassadors, charged with both representing him to the world and carrying out his ministry of healing. Think of how the disciples would have felt! They’d been with Jesus seeing him perform these miracles for a while now, and now it was their turn! Think back to when you got your driver’s license! Did you sense the immense privilege that came with that? You suddenly had the ability to go anywhere you wanted! At least as long as your parents would let you! This is a bit like what the disciples would have felt here. The training wheels were coming up and there was a new found freedom, a slight taste of what would be coming after Jesus’ resurrection. And even in the midst of their journey, Jesus would need to continue providing for them, as the only thing they were to take was the clothes on their backs. Talk about walking by faith! As they go on their way, Luke says they preached the gospel and healed. That’s a good description of what we’re called to today! We’re called to preach the gospel, and do our best to help take care of those within our sphere of influence. 
After giving us the story of the disciple’s first missionary journey, Luke then focuses in on one person’s response. Herod. Well, one of the Herods! This is during the time of the “Herodian dynasty” which was a bit like a soap opera! This is the same Herod who beheaded Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist in a fit of lustful exuberance. As Jesus’ fame spread, eventually word reaches Herod’s ears that there’s something unique about this Jesus guy. Some said that he was John raised from the dead, others thought Elijah had returned to usher in the new reign, or maybe even one of the other lowly prophets had come back. Because of this notoriety, John was intrigued enough to the point that he tried to go see Jesus. Some scholars think this is part of the reason Jesus crosses the Sea of Galilee in the next verse to go to Bethsaida. Either way, one thing for us to take away from this is the need for us to live lives that are different so that others will see our changed lives and ask questions about why we are the way we are (1 Peter 3:15). 
We’re going to go with a throwback song today with some old school Lecrae from my high school days! This song is called ‘Send Me’ you can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

June 24 Devotional

We’ll be continuing Hebrews today looking at Hebrews 3:7-19:
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
    and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
    they have not known my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
Continuing to build upon his theme here, the author is reminding us to hold fast to our hope in Christ. He begins by quoting from Psalm 95, which every Jew would have known! It served as the call to worship every Sabbath gathering the Jews met in the synagogues. This was the reminder to don’t just become numb or callous to God’s Word, instead take it in, meditate upon it, let it soak and saturate your entire life. The warning that served the nation of Israel is just as important for us today! Do not harden your hearts in response to God’s Word, do not put Him to the test, instead remember that God is perfectly just, and we should do our best to keep short accounts with Him. James picks up this idea in James 4:17 where he says “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” This is another way of saying the same thing the author of Hebrews is saying.
The author then uses this well known call to worship to exhort his congregation to not be like the people of God in the past! This is part of the reason we need to regularly gather together as God’s people! The author here is commanded us to “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ’today.’” That is, we should seek to be encouraging each other on in our faith, as the author of Hebrews reminds us later “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).  This is yet another reminder that when we are called as believers, we are called into a community. There are both individual and communal aspects to our salvation, and we cannot neglect either of them! We must do our best individually to follow Christ, but we cannot do it alone, we need to look for opportunities to encourage others to be obedient in their faith.
Today’s song is a Sovereign Grace song titled ’Not in Me’ you can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

June 22 Devotional

Happy Monday! We’ll be looking at Psalm 10 today:
Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
    let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
    and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
    all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times;
    your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
    as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
    throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
    under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages;
    in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
   he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
    he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
The helpless are crushed, sink down,
    and fall by his might.
He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
    he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
    forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God
    and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
    that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
    you have been the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
    call his wickedness to account till you find none.
The Lord is king forever and ever;
    the nations perish from his land.
O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
Do you find it funny that anytime a disaster strikes people begin to ask “where is God?” I distinctly remember September 12, 2001 when it seemed that every newspaper headline had that question as their lead article. This Psalm is asking that exact same question. But the author here has come to a different conclusion than The Beatles who said “When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” The Psalmist isn’t content to just “let it be” everything within him cries out for justice! He is asking God to uphold his promise to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Specifically, the Psalmist is comparing the way of the wicked. Many times it seems like they get away with their evil schemes! They seek to take advantage of the oppressed and marginalized and in the midst of that they are renouncing God. As D.A. Carson has said they have de-godded God himself, committing idolatry, putting themselves in the place of God.
But God doesn’t just sit back and let evildoers get away with it, and the Psalmist knows this to be true! So he begs God to arise and don’t forget those who are opposed and afflicted! God sees everything that takes place and will being people to justice. Those who have no one else to care for them can look to God as the perfect Heavenly Father to care for them in spite of the evildoers who are continually trying to take advantage of them. And that’s the hope we have in this life. The Psalmist says “The Lord is king forever and ever, the nations perish from his land.” Because God’s throne is unceasing and unfailing, we know our outcome is secure. No matter what evil is done to us on earth we know God will execute His perfect judgment at His perfect time when He returns to judge the living and the dead.
Today’s song is a cover song by the band The Digital Age called ‘Break Every Chain’ you can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

June 19 Devotional

Happy Juneteenth! We’ll be skipping ahead just a little bit in our sermon passage this week, and looking at the feeding of the 5,000 in Luke 9:10-17:
On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.
This takes place right after the disciples have gone on their first missionary journey apart from Jesus. He has sent them out to preach the good news and heal people, and they have just returned, so Jesus decides they need a break. But his notoriety is spreading so that break is not to be had! As soon as they get to their vacation destination they see a crowd in front of them. Thankfully Jesus is more patient than many of us, and he welcomes them and heals many of them. Because Jesus is a preacher, he preaches a long time! And the day gets away from him, so his disciples exhort him to send everyone away to find food and lodging. But Jesus turns this in to a teaching moment. So often as we read these passages we have a tendency to jump immediately to application to our lives today, but how do you think the disciples would have interpreted everything Jesus is doing? In John’s account of this he even explicitly says that Jesus is asking his disciples about this to test them. 
What conclusions do the disciples come up with? They see 2 options that are solely based on what they can do. Who do they forget to ask? JESUS! The guy who has given them more fish in one cast of the net than they’d ever caught before! Yet even despite them not asking him for help, he still answers their unrequested prayer. Once again, Jesus has proven that he is Jehovah Jireh the provider. Just as God has continually provided for his people throughout the entire Bible, He continues providing for them here. The question for us is: do we really believe that God will provide everything we need? Or do we presume upon Him and refuse to acknowledge our dependance and need for Him to continue providing everything we need? This is the heart of the gospel message! God has provided an over abundance to us through the death of His one and only Son. Do we see that?
Today’s song is by Citizens, one of my favorite bands writing slightly different songs for the church to sing! This song is called ‘Light of Your Grace’ and you can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

June 17 Devotional

We’ll be in Hebrews 3:1-6 today:
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
The author of Hebrews is continuing to build his case for the superiority of Jesus over all things. Moses was the prime example that all other Jews looked up to. In seminary, my Old Testament professor hammered this point home so strongly that it has stuck with me ever since. The question we were asked was: according to the Old Testament, who was the best prophet? At first glance you’d start thinking through Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, after all, they wrote the big books! Maybe it was Elijah who beat the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel? Maybe his successor Elisha who raised people from the dead? Nope! According to Deuteronomy 34:10-12, “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” So it would be pretty hard to top Moses, right? According to one tradition, Moses was lauded even higher than the angels! But Jesus’ prophetic role far exceeds even Moses! 
Moses’ role was temporary and earthly, while Jesus’ role is permanent and heavenly. As I was sermon prepping this week I was reminded of Jesus’ statement “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36) Yes, Moses served the heavenly kingdom, but he wasn’t the creator of all things! Think of some of the masterpieces you may have seen, perhaps Michaelangelo’s David statue. That is a magnificent piece of marble! But it doesn’t have a soul, nor was it created in the image of God like humans are. Similarly, Jesus built the house, Moses simply served in it! Jesus is the one that Moses pointed to, therefore we look to him as the perfect prophet! Jesus won’t ever get angry with us like Moses did with God’s people. We also see that Jesus is over all of God’s house as a son, not as a servant, like Moses was. If you’ve ever watched Downton Abbey you’ve seen the servant quarters. They weren’t given free access to the house like the children are! Yet at the same time, we are that house that God is building. We are that house that Moses pointed to, the house that is being built up with Christ as the head where we will one day be perfected and called to a heavenly home.
Today’s song is one normally associated with Christmas, but ties in to the rest of the year too! It’s called ‘Come Thou Long Expected Jesus’ and you can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

June 15 Devotional

I’m back! Cara and I had a wonderful time together in Colorado Springs last week! Cara’s parents are in town so it was really nice to get away together! We’ll be taking a look at Psalm 9 today:
To the choirmaster: according to Muth-labben. A Psalm of David.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
    I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
When my enemies turn back,
    they stumble and perish before your presence.
For you have maintained my just cause;
    you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.
You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
    you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
    their cities you rooted out;
    the very memory of them has perished.
But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
    he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
    he judges the peoples with uprightness.
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!
    Tell among the peoples his deeds!
For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
    he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
Be gracious to me, O Lord!
    See my affliction from those who hate me,
    O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
that I may recount all your praises,
    that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
    I may rejoice in your salvation.
The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
    in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
    the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah
The wicked shall return to Sheol,
    all the nations that forget God.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
    and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.
Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;
    let the nations be judged before you!
Put them in fear, O Lord!
    Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah
David is here praising God. Some have called this Psalm the first Psalm of praise in this book! Notice all the ways David talks about praising God: give thanks, recount, be glad, exult, and sing praise. What’s unique about this Psalm is why David is praise God: for His justice. When is the last time you took time to praise God for his justice? When is the last time you marveled that because He is just, Jesus had to bear the penalty for your sin? David says “the enemy came to an end.” That’s who we used to be! Before we were saved, we were God’s enemies. Romans 8:7 says “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” We opposed to God by not recognizing Him as our Lord and Savior. As Hebrews 11:6 says “without faith it is impossible to please him.”
So in the midst of David asking God to be a righteous judge, he pauses to remind everyone to praise God. Doesn’t that seem a bit off to us? So often when I’m talking to people there’s such an emphasis on God’s love that there is little to no room left for God’s justice, yet even in the midst of God’s justice we are reminded to praise Him because He is just! He doesn’t allow people to continue on in their sin, nor does He leave as as we are. David even says that one of the ways God makes himself known is through his judgment (and then he pauses with a selah to remind everyone to think about that truth!). This is also a helpful reminder for us right now that we are called to do whatever we can to create justice in the world. Since God is just, and we have been tasked with representing God to the world, we need to do what we can to help others see and live out God’s justice on earth. And even though injustice will continue wreaking havoc in this world, we can  fully trust in God to bring about perfect justice when He comes back again!
Today’s song is by a group called The Brilliance with a song called ‘Make Us One’ you can listen on YOUTUBEor SPOTIFY.

June 8 Devotional

Happy Monday everyone! Just a quick heads up, Cara and I are taking some time to get away this week, so this will be this week’s only devotional! Today we’ll be looking at Psalm 8:
To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
This Psalm is a bit like coming out of a dark tunnel back into sunlight. The past couple weeks we’ve seen David pursued by enemies, distraught, at the end of his rope, and then coming after all of them is this majestic Psalm that revels how God is so much higher than anything in his creation! David begins by repeating a word “Lord” but in the Hebrew it’s 2 different words. So a more literal translation would be: “O Lord our King.” But notice as well the communal aspect to it. God the King isn’t just a statement of fact (although it is a fact) it’s a reminder that He is OUR king! And not only is He our King, but even His name is majestic throughout the whole earth. Think of the grandeur of what God has created. We are spoiled rotten in Colorado as all we have to do is look West and see the beautiful Rocky Mountains that people come out to vacation at all the time! And not just the mountains, but the sunsets are unbelievable! And each one of those are a masterpiece God has created to point us to Him. 
However incredible God’s creation is, the pinnacle is humanity. We looked at the way the author of Hebrews uses this passage to point to Christ in Hebrews 2, but I also want us to think about how amazing it is that God uses little things like us to carry out his sovereign plans. David says that “out of the mouth of babies and infants you have established strength.” How weird is that? The stuttering tongue of a toddler is how God establishes His power and might. The way one Pastor I heard described this is every way God communicates to us is like Him using baby talk. He condescends to us so that we can begin to see glimpses of Him. Even Moses couldn’t see Him completely, Moses just saw God’s back! Yet we today can come before Him with confidence because of what Christ has done! 
Today’s song is an older one that I used to sing at church! It’s called ‘Majesty’ and you can listen on YOUTUBEor SPOTIFY.

June 5 Devotional

Hello All! Pastor Jeff took a slight detour this week to address a contemporary issue looking at Ephesians 2:11-22:
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
With all the unrest and dissent taking place in our country we see some pretty big divides! This passage reminds us that racism is a sin, and is still an issue today just like it was an issue during the time the New Testament was being written. This passage reminds us that we as Christians have the only method of adequately bringing about reconciliation. Notice that Paul here says that Jesus “himself is our peace who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” The only way there can be lasting peace is through reconciling the vertical relationship: between humans and God. So often we focus on the horizontal relationships (with each other) instead of looking to the primary cause of every issue the afflicts humanity: sin between the creation and the Creator. 
We as Christians are the only people who can bring about lasting change. I love the word “reconciliation,” and Paul picks up that theme again in 2 Corinthians 5 where he writes, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Notice the vertical connection before we get to the horizontal connection. We must be reconciled to Christ before we can go about making reconciliation with the world around us. 
Throughout this discussion it’s important to remember that this is not a political issue, this is an issue rooted in the fact that we were created in the image of God, and as image bearers we must do whatever we can to support and honor fellow image bearers. To that end, the EFCA has written a couple helpful articles. The first is from our President, Kevin Kompelein titled ‘Once Again, Racism Necessitates a Response’ and my dad also wrote a helpful prayer of lament that I used for our prayer time during the service this week. I’d also encourage you to spend some time praying for our black brothers and sisters who regularly experience a different life than what many of us do. 
A helpful article I came across today also contains a playlist of songs. The article is titled ‘Making Peace: A Lament for Justice’ and you can listen to the Spotify playlist HERE.

June 3 Devotional

We’re continuing our series looking at Hebrews as we take a look today at Hebrews 2:10-18:
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
And again,
“I will put my trust in him.”
And again,
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
This passage reminds us that (once again) that Jesus is better than everything! Now, there are some passages in Hebrews that are difficult for us to understand today! This is one of them! One of the primary doctrines of God is his aseity that means He is lacking in nothing. So how can Jesus be “made perfect” through his suffering, if He lacks nothing? That’s a great question! What the author is reminding us here is that while Jesus lacks nothing, He has now experienced the full gamut of suffering. In fact, far greater suffering than any of us will ever have to experience because he bore on his back the sins of the entire world! And this is true because we’re all now sons and daughters of God, we all have the same source, that is God. Now the amazing thing about that is that because of this new familial relationship, Jesus will call us his brothers and sisters! I love the way C.S. Lewis said it: “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”
We then see part of the reason Jesus calls us brothers and sisters: we share in the same flesh and blood. God himself entered into his creation as a human. This is reminding us that Jesus didn’t seem to be human, he literally was flesh and blood. This is why he could encourage doubting Thomas to feel the holes in his arms and side. He really existed in space and time. We also see the wonderful reminder that Jesus is on our side. He is not only the perfect high priest who has made the once for all sacrifice of His life, he also is able to relate to our experiences when we suffer and encourage us to remain faithful in the midst of that. But his suffering far exceeds any of ours! Think of a time when you’ve been tempted. Does the temptation increase or decrease in strength over time? If you don’t give in right away it gets MUCH harder! Now think of Jesus who never gave in! He experienced FAR greater temptation than we ever will, but He did so perfectly.
Today’s song is one of my more recent favorites called ‘My Worth Is Not In What I Own’ by Graham Kendrick. The last verse has a line that says “Two wonders here that I confess: my worth and my unworthiness.” What a wonderful explanation of the gospel message! You can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

June 1 Devotional

Hello All! Sorry for my lack of emails last week, we were busy trying to get everything sorted out as we look forward to meeting in person again, so that took up a majority of my time last week! I hope you’re all still doing well and staying healthy! We’ll be in Psalm 7 today: 
A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning the words of Cush, a Benjaminite.
O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;
    save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
lest like a lion they tear my soul apart,
    rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.
O Lord my God, if I have done this,
    if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my friend with evil
    or plundered my enemy without cause,
let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
    and let him trample my life to the ground
    and lay my glory in the dust. Selah
Arise, O Lord, in your anger;
    lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
    awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you;
    over it return on high.
The Lord judges the peoples;
    judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
    and according to the integrity that is in me.
Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
    and may you establish the righteous—
you who test the minds and hearts,
    O righteous God!
My shield is with God,
    who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
    and a God who feels indignation every day.
If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword;
    he has bent and readied his bow;
he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,
    making his arrows fiery shafts.
Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
    and is pregnant with mischief
    and gives birth to lies.
He makes a pit, digging it out,
    and falls into the hole that he has made.
His mischief returns upon his own head,
    and on his own skull his violence descends.
I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
    and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.
This is another instance of David being chased and pursued by an enemy who is intent on killing him. This has led him to do some serious self examination and self reflection. Notice at the beginning where and how David looks for comfort: he places his refuge in God. Now, that doesn’t mean inaction on David’s part, on the country, he is continually fleeing from his enemies and doing whatever he can to remain alive. But his ultimate hope and comfort is found in God, not in anything built by human hands. Notice also the self examination he does. He says “If I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands,” meaning he is questioning what he has done to lead to his accusations. I think many times for us we miss this piece during our difficulties. As we saw in Luke just a few weeks ago, we need to look at the log in our own eyes before we look at the speck in someone else’s eye. 
But David also doesn’t look for consolation here and now. He knows that even if he dies, God will avenge him. This eschatological hope gives us a reason to endure whatever this world throws at us. God is a righteous judge who will hold everyone accountable for how they lived. But at the same time, we are called to be ministers of reconciliation and pray for and do our best to bring about God’s peace right here and right now. So even when we look around us and see the world falling apart we can still praise the name of the Lord. 
Today’s song is called ‘A Christian’s Daily Prayer’ which is one I was introduced to at a conference a couple years ago. It’s a wonderful song to make a prayer with your morning devotions that walks through the various stages of life and asking for strength to remain faithful. You can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.