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.
SONG:
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!
SONG:
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! 
 
SONG:
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. 
 
SONG:
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.
 
SONG:
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. 
 
SONG:
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.

May 25 Devotional

Happy Memorial Day! Despite it being weird to think that staying home isn’t as joyful this year as it normally is, I’m grateful to have time to remember and be grateful to live in a country where people have given their lives for us to celebrate the freedom we have.
 
Today we’ll be looking at Psalm 6:
 
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
    nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
    heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
    But you, O Lord—how long?
Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
    save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
    in Sheol who will give you praise?
I am weary with my moaning;
    every night I flood my bed with tears;
    I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
    it grows weak because of all my foes.
Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
    for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
    the Lord accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
    they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.
 
David in this Psalm is dealing with discipline. It’s reminiscent of Proverbs 3:12, “the lord disciplines those he loves.” God wants us to so be like Christ, that He will allow us to be tested often beyond what we think we can handle. In the midst of his despair, David cries out to God. When you’re frustrated, upset, stretched beyond what you can handle, where do you turn? Do you look to earthly things to satisfy? Those things will numb the pain for a little while, but then what? See the only thing that can handle our frustration, endure it, and provide an end to it is God. Charles Spurgeon said “I have learned to kiss the wave that threw me against the rock of ages.” No matter what difficulty we face we can choose to use it to cling closer to God. But notice how David complains to God. He appeals to his covenant faithfulness, his steadfast love. Now I don’t think God forgot that he was steadfast in his love. God doesn’t forget anything! David was the one who needed to be reminded that God would never abandon him. That’s why we need to sing songs that remind us of the truth of who God is! Think of the song ‘Your Grace Is Enough’ where the pre-chorus says, “So remember Your people, remember Your children, remember Your promise, oh God.” Do you think God needs to remember? No! We do! That’s why we sing these truths: to remind ourselves the truth of who God is!
 
The second half of this Psalm reminds us that even when God doesn’t test us, we have our own issues to deal with! Our emotions can make us a wreck, we can wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or we could even have other people tormenting us! Even in the midst of those difficulties we can still cry out to God who will hear us. We can also have confidence that at some point all our enemies will be put to shame. That may not be during our time on earth, but at some point we can be guaranteed that God will triumph over them! So put your hope and trust in God!
 
SONG:
One of my favorite singer/songwriters that I found out about in college was Jon McLaughlin. He’s a phenomenal piano player, and has recently released a piano album! Today’s song is the first one off that album called ‘Changing’ and as always you can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

May 22 Devotional

Sorry for the delay today! I spent most of the morning editing this week’s service video! Hope you’re all doing well and we’re holding your breath waiting for today’s devotional 🙂  Don’t forget! The service will be live at 10 AM on Sunday on YOUTUBE.
This week we’ll be studying Luke 8:4-21 together on Sunday! The text says:
 
And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
 
And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
 
“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
 
Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
 
I’m guessing many of you have read this parable before! It’s one of Jesus’ more well known stories. The primary character is the seed that is being sowed, and as Jesus tells us later in the story, that seed is God’s Word. God spreads his word seemingly indiscriminately any and everywhere he can. Despite the resistance of some of the soil, God continues spreading His seed there. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hard path, if there’s weed nearby, or if there’s rock, God will continue spreading His seed anywhere. Similarly, we should do our best to be indiscriminate in our sowing of God’s Word. But it’s not just in the sowing or sharing of God’s Word, it must go further than that to influence our lives. 
 
Jesus ends the explanation of the parable ends with the need to bear fruit. This is sharing God’s Word with others, but it’s also a changed life. The next parable is about a light. Light is useful for seeing (if you didn’t know!) If you have a light and then hide the light it’s useless! Jesus is saying that’s nonsensical. Instead, when we are the good soil and have allowed God’s Word to take root in our lives we must then become a light, an example to the watching world. Then, the culmination of all this is the last story with Jesus’ family. Jesus says that the point of hearing God’s Word, of shining as a light, is to be a part of his family, of his kingdom. This isn’t meant to diminish the significance of family, but instead to have different priorities. Your priority to God should far exceed your closest earthly connections. That’s what it means to hear God’s Word and do it!
 
SONG:
Today’s song is by one of my favorite bands from high school (who also has one of the best drummers I’ve ever watched) called Mutemath, and the song is called ‘Control’ you can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

May 20 Devotional

Today we’ll be in Hebrews 2:5-9:
For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
    or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned him with glory and honor,
    putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
It’s important to note here that when the author says “It has been testified somewhere…” that the reason he doesn’t give chapter and verse is because the Scriptures they had access to were in scrolls. The scrolls were not labeled in easy to distinguish places so people would know he was quoting from the Old Testament, and may even be able to tell it where it was from, but they hadn’t broken the Bible down into chapters and verses the same way we have in our Bibles today. In fact, there’s even some debate as to where the verses are drawn up! My former Greek professor would sometimes joke that some verse markers were put in place because as William Whittingham was putting the verse markers in, his horse would jolt and he’d put it in the wrong spot! The verse numbers sometimes are (I’ve found!) detrimental to effectively tracing the flow of thought, so some Bibles have recently come out that remove those entirely (Places like Bibliotheca and the ESV Readers Bible). These have opened to me a whole new way of trying to read and faithfully interpret the Bible, and I’d encourage you to check them out! It’s also the reason I’ve been removing the verse numbers as I’ve sent out these devotionals the past few months!
As we saw in last week’s passage, the author has just finished reminding us to not drift away from our salvation. Now he moves on to comfort us, instead of being scared and operating out of fear, we can remember that God has given us dominion to oversee certain things and spheres of his creation. Looking at the larger context of what was quoted here, David is saying in Psalm 8: “What I look at the 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.” If you haven’t spent extra time outside during this quarantine something’s wrong with you!! I’m convinced that Colorado has the most beautiful sunsets in the world! Seeing the colors change from night to night, and the starts starting to poke out is awe-inspiring! Yet God cares more about us as humans than the rest of that creation.
The author then specifies his focus to Jesus. Jesus serves as the pinnacle of everything God created. Jesus serves both as the ultimate example for us, and the firstborn of the new creation order. Everything is under Jesus’ sovereign control. This is what we see in places like Colossians 1, everything is held together by Christ! However, this is key, we don’t see the full ramifications of that yet. The lion still eats the lamb instead of lying down with it! There’s still wars and rumors of wars. There’s still discord even among those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That’s why the author reminds us that we don’t see the spiritual reality taking place in the physical reality, yet. This is the inaugurated eschatology that  preached about a couple weeks ago! The Kingdom is here, being built, but we don’t see the full outworking of that yet. We see just a taste of it. As we sing in ‘Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery’ “What a foretaste of deliverance, how unwavering our hope!”
SONG:
I’m going to throw it back a bit to my upbringing here with an old Rich Mullins song that was released after he died called ‘My Deliverer.’ I would crank this song up every time I heard it on the radio! If memory serves me correctly I even copied it to a cassette tape so I could listen to it whenever I wanted! You can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

May 18 Devotional

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you had a good weekend and are looking forward to another week. We’ll be in Psalm 5 today:
 
Give ear to my words, O Lord;
    consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry,
    my King and my God,
    for to you do I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
    in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you[a] and watch.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
    evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
    you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
    the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
    will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
    in the fear of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies;
    make your way straight before me.
For there is no truth in their mouth;
    their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
    they flatter with their tongue.
Make them bear their guilt, O God;
    let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
    for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
    you cover him with favor as with a shield.
 
Once again, part of the reason the Psalms are so helpful for us today is because they cover so much of human emotion! David begins by begging God to hear him, to pay attention to him, to listen to his groans. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen in movies when people start to pray, but they have a tendency to use overly flowery language and end up sounding nothing like they normally do, which doesn’t do anything to bring us nearer to God! David asks God here to consider his groaning. Groaning isn’t easily interpreted or understood, but it’s enough for God to hear us and respond to us. Romans 8 reminds us that the Spirit helps interpret and translate even our groans to God. So do you groan out to God? 
 
However, there are things we still need to do! Look how God responds to those who do evil. It says God does not delight in wickedness, and even that he hates all evildoers. Have you ever thought that God hates people? The most commonly known and talked about characteristic of God today is that He is love. The problem is people have a very flawed definition of love! The fact that God is love means God gets to define what love is! And he does all throughout the Bible, in places like John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 13. Not only does God hate wickedness, but he also destroys those who speak lies. Speaking is important to God. He is a speaking God. He spoke to create us. He continues speaking to His people through His Word and through each other. That’s part of how we take refuge in God! So let’s continue looking to Him!
 
SONG:
Today’s song is a fun song by one of my favorite artists, Ben Rector. He’s released a song about the quarantine that’s a fun jam! It’s called ‘It Would Be You’ and you can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.