April 15, 2021

No Match for God

Those who love your Name may exult in you.
Psalm 5:11
The fifth psalm is a song of struggle. The psalmist's convictions are strong, but they are under constant challenge. The person of faith must, it seems, put up with a great deal of resentment. Whether through gossip or violence (there seems to be no distinction between the two in this psalm), the deceitful are bent on destruction.

Yet the psalmist knows who they and whose they are. Their opponents may triumph for an hour or a day, but they are no match for God. Indeed, the struggle isn't even a personal one, but has been taken on for the sake of all the faithful. 

April 14, 2021

God Remembers Us

The Lord had made them joyful.
Ezra 6:22
Having to wait too long is what we might call a first world problem. It's something Americans love to complain about. When we have to wait too long in traffic, in a line at the grocery store, for our number to be called at the DMV, on hold with customer service, we consider it the height of torture. And when we share our experiences of waiting, we might get sympathy from our listeners. But more likely, our account will elicit stories about how long other people had to wait under the same or different circumstances. 

One of the worst aspects of waiting is the feeling that we're not important, or even that we've been forgotten.

April 13, 2021

Now... but Not Yet

O Jerusalem, wash your heart clean of wickedness so that you may be saved. How long shall your evil schemes lodge within you?
Jeremiah 4:14
To repent is quite simple. Repentance is simply a change of heart, or a change of direction. But sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult. For too often, we know the right, but our hearts are too attached to the wrong.

And so I want to spend less time talking about today's scripture, and more time praying it...

Bear fruits worthy of repentance. 
 Luke 3:8
Prayer to help think about today's devotion:

April 12, 2021

Kindom Passport

And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them.
Jeremiah 33:9
I just checked my passport. It expires two months from tomorrow. So I suppose I'd better get on that. My passport is what tells the world that I'm an American. My driver's license tells everybody I live in Ohio. And my birth certificate makes it known that I am a native Kentuckian. "And there's another country," as the British patriotic song says: "We may not count her armies, we may not see her King; her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering."

Though I am as true as I'm able to be to the country where I was born and the community in which I live, I must ever remind myself that my true allegiance is pledged to the kindom of God.

April 11, 2021

Easter 2 Worship

Today's theme was Doubting Thomas (John 20:19-29). Songs included O Sons and Daughters, Let us Sing, and I Come to the Garden Alone (In the Garden). We also heard Surely the Presence of the Lord Is in This Place on mountain dulcimer. We very quietly sang Go Now in Peace at the end.

Here's the video:

Great God, My Treasure

If riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
Psalm 62:10
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us a way to picture our blessings and our values and priorities. He gave us the treasure chest. And so let's place that image in our mind's eye today. In opening our chest, does it squeak, a creak, or a groan? The noise it makes in our minds might tell us how often we open our treasure chest. And however often we open it might indicate how often we share what’s in there, or whether it’s something that we openly admit we treasure, or something we idolize only in secret. 

April 10, 2021

Expendability

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent.
Psalm 71:9
This pandemic has revealed something about our culture that I think many people already knew. I remember chatting with a senior citizen after church a few years ago and mentioning how frustrating it was that my mother wasn't getting the healthcare I thought she deserved. The woman commented that this was the norm for people over 70. I have thought of that conversation many times since then, realizing more with each passing year how true her words were.

And then came covid. Despite the indisputable evidence that senior citizens were at more risk of hospitalization and death than just about everybody else, much of the general public and many elected officials enthusiastically advocated for doing away with all measures that would protect them from the virus.

April 9, 2021

Can We Be Lost?

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1
For most of my life, I had a land-line. Even after I got a cell phone, I maintained a phone number that was tied to my home. Now, I just have a mobile number, and the only time I miss it is when I've misplaced my phone somewhere in the house. With a land-line, I could usually solve this problem by calling my cell number and listening for the ring to reveal where the phone was hiding. But now I'm forced to search for it the old-fashioned way. My cell phone, of course, isn't the only thing I ever lose. I think the worst is when I can't find my keys. Without them, of course, I can't leave the house: How could I get back in? How could I start my car?