April 6, 2020
What in the world is going on? It seems like everything is falling apart, people around me have gone mad and toilet paper is stronger than the dollar. I feel like I've seen TV shows and movies that begin eerily similar to our current situation. Joking aside, it might be easy to get caught up wondering what the news will be tomorrow, if the grocery store will have enough food to feed your family, or what will happen to your job when this is all over. How are we supposed to be prepared for something that seems so chaotic?
As we read Psalm 18:30-36 we find reminders that feel especially important during a time like this. The first is that we have a God who is perfect and flawless (v30) and who stands firm as our rock (v31). In the midst of chaos, we are reminded that God is still perfect and unchanging. David is singing about that same truth after God demonstrated his steadfastness during one of his biggest trials. Then he reminds us of the ways God prepares us for times of trials. He gives us strength and keeps us secure (v32). Just like He prepared David for battle (v33-36) He prepares us to stand strong in our times of battle, whatever our battles look like. Lastly, as David sings this song to God, it's a reminder to not forget to connect to the heart of God... to sing to Him, cry out to Him and gives thanks for Him.
Spend some time today reflecting on who God has been in previous moments of chaos. Ask Him to prepare you for the road ahead. Praise Him for His faithfulness and for what you’re trusting Him to continue to do in your life.
April 3, 2020
For my faith, a single question cries out to me when I read Psalm 16: “Does your security depend on your circumstance, or does it come from somewhere else?” David cries out for God to keep him safe (v.1). Immediately following that cry, he proclaims, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing” (v.2). NO GOOD THING.
As I sit in my home, missing my friends, my family, and the deep sense of community I feel by physically gathering, those are the words that speak to my heart. So often, as an extreme extrovert, I feel most secure in gathering. When I can’t gather, that security has been stripped away. David reminds me, (and all of us), that our security does not come from the places where we often seek it. It doesn’t come from our family, our spouse, the health of our kids, or our ability to be together. Our security comes only from God.
In verse 5, David says, “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.” There’s the promise. Don’t miss it! God promises that HE will give us all that we need. HE will make us secure. No amount of negative news, very real threats, or mass fear can take away what God has chosen to give us. We are HIS. Belonging to Him means dwelling in safety. This does not mean that we won’t get sick or feel lonely. It does mean that we are never without hope. Rest easy. You are safe and unshakable (v. 8) because you are loved by the Father of the universe!
April 2, 2020
During this ever-changing season it can be hard to keep our hearts close to the Lord and excited about His work. It’s easy to find ourselves feeling socially distant from Him. Like the Psalmist in Psalm 42:5, we can find ourselves with a sluggish, “downcast” attitude towards the Lord and our relationship to Him. We even see that the Psalmist repeats the phrase in verse 11. We don't always choose this feeling but it comes and goes. If it happened to people who wrote the Scriptures, we shouldn’t be surprised when it happens to us.
But the Psalmist also models how to respond in moments like that. We should remember what the Lord has done, remember where and how He has worked in our lives, remember when we first saw the beauty and the glory of Christ. Only then, after "preaching" to ourselves (v 5), meditating on scripture, speaking honestly to Him (vs 9-10), and constantly(morning and evening) remembering the goodness of God, can we trust that our soul will be joyful and exuberant before the Lord again (v 11).
April 1, 2020
When life feels overwhelming, or it seems like the walls are closing in. When the pressure mounts, I find supernatural strength when I remember the Majesty of our God who is with us. When I remember that the God whose glory and power extend beyond the heavens (8:1), whose fingers made billions of stars and set the seemingly endless galaxy in place (8:3), is the One who is guiding me, a deep confidence grows in my heart that He will sustain me in the battle.
Even more, this Psalm reminds me that even though I am weak and infinitesimally small in comparison to his greatness (8:4), God is mindful of me! In fact, God has called me and equipped me in spite of my weakness, anxiety, and failures, to bring eternal hope and light to a world that is in crisis (8:2, 5-8). God’s majesty is revealed in how He continually uses the small and weak things of this world to do His infinite work.
Spend a few minutes asking God to help you find confidence in His majesty. Bring your anxieties, fears, and struggles to Him. With each one whisper the prayer, “God I trust you to walk me through this.” Then spend a few more minutes asking God to use what you have to offer to do the mighty work of bringing Christ-like love to others.
March 31, 2020
The first part of Psalm 84 has made its way into many of our songs. The last part often goes unnoticed. I particularly love verses 11-12 because they point me back to God’s presence and goodness. Charles Spurgeon touches on the significance of David’s use of the words “sun and shield” as a reminder of God’s presence to the people. No matter what the Israelites' circumstances were, David chose to reflect on God’s presence and goodness. We can see in Psalm 84 how David emphasizes the truth that God doesn’t withhold giving good to His people. Even when times seem hectic and uncertain – when we’re “longing” and “fainting” and “crying out,” the living God continues to give good. Our idea of “good” may look different from His, but we can trust that He always provides what is best in His perfect time. In the midst of our current circumstances, it is so easy to get distracted and forget God’s presence and goodness as we try to take hold of something we can’t control.
Take a moment to be still and reflect on one way God has reminded you of His presence this week. What are two ways He has been good to you during this time? Pray and thank God for His sovereignty and ask Him to remind you of the good things He is providing during this season.
Nursery/Special Events Director
March 30, 2020
One of the very first lessons my father taught me about the attributes of God was about His power. I was terrified of storms and especially thunder as a kid. In Psalm 29, we are witness to God's majestic power through the picture of a thunderstorm. (V. 3-9) His "voice" is described as glorious thunder which flashes forth flames of fire. The storm shakes the wilderness and makes whole countries leap like animals. The storm proves to hold power over big things and small things alike. (V. 9-11) As the storm moves across Israel, it passes over God's people in the temple and their response is only to cry out "Glory!" Even in something so powerful, the Lord is King! Verse 10 reminds us that the Lord sits enthroned as King forever. Nothing shakes Him. Not only that, verse 11 says the unshakeable God uses His power to give strength to his people, and to bless them with peace.
We must not forget how truly powerful the Lord is. Fear is a big part of worship, especially knowing that fear in the Lord brings peace. Things like thunderstorms, that shake our houses and light up the sky, are described as deeply personal by David, the very voice of God! I find myself moved to worship just thinking about how things that brought me great fear as a child now remind me of the One who continues to bring me great peace, whatever the storm.
March 27, 2020
Read Psalm 67
The author of Psalm 67 begins by asking God to bless him, be gracious to him, and to shine His face upon him (another way of saying "show favor"). Many of us would see it as selfish to ask God for this, but look the next two verses. They explain WHY the Psalmist is so insistent that God bless him. He asks for blessing so that “your saving power among all nations” would be known. So that people would praise Him. The author expects that every blessing God gives would not lead to pride but to a chance for those blessings to show how big and good God is.
So go ahead, spend some time asking God to bless you. But also take time to see all the blessings that God has already given, and continues to give each day. Take some time to think about your day and write down all the blessings that He has given you (Food to eat, family, a place to live, or a car to get to work). But don’t stop there, now go back and write next to it, how you can use each of these blessings to show how big and good God is. Maybe it’s having lunch with a neighbor you don’t know very well, giving someone a car ride who doesn’t have a car, or spending extra QUALITY time with your family during this time. God doesn’t bless us so that we can hoard the blessing. He blesses us so that we can bless others and make His name known to our neighbors and to the nations.
Associate Mobilization Director
March 26, 2020
Read Psalm 20
It is often true in my toughest seasons of life that I grow the most. God has a way of using the hard to get our attention about things that we are normally too busy, too distracted, or too comfortable to pay attention to. It is no secret that this is that kind of season for many of us. Our world seems out of control, our lives suddenly look drastically different, and things that we never knew to worry about have become our reality. In this season, Psalm 20 has been a challenge and an encouragement to me. All of Psalm 20 is a reminder to trust in the Lord but verse 7 stands out here. The Psalmist is drawing a distinction between what the rest of the world trusts in and what he trusts in. Chariots and horses were instruments of war. These were a mighty force on the battlefield. The presence of these weapons would often mean the difference between victory and defeat. The Psalmist states that he trusts in something (or Someone) completely different to win his battle.
During this season, many of us have found that our chariots are broken and our horses have run away. The things we used to find hope in are gone, or different, in a big way. The security that money or a job brings; the rest that comes during a break from kids; the ability to control our schedule; the fulfillment that comes from being productive; the peace of mind that comes with predictability. As you go throughout your day today, ask yourself, what have I been trusting in apart from Jesus? In what parts of my life has my hope been in things other than Him? Is there a better way to win this battle?
March 25, 2020
Read Psalm 107
I love that this passage begins with a thankful heart and a reminder that God is good and His love endures… not just for the day , but FOREVER…
In these unprecedented days, I do sometimes find myself feeling like I am wandering in a desert wasteland, but that’s the last place I want to be. I know deep down that I am hungry and thirsty for HIM and the things of Him, but I have to ask myself daily: "Am I crying out to Him or am I clinging to what the world says right now?" The world will certainly NOT deliver me from distress…in fact, it will contribute to that lost, homeless, wandering feeling. A desert is dry and barren…no thanks!
This passage is a great example of a time when God’s people cried out to Him in their trouble and He delivered them from their distress. It says He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. That sentence speaks to my heart right now. I think God is saying to all of us, "Let me lead you in a way that is simple & clear to a place where your heart (and your whole city) can settle. No extras, no fuss; more time with Him, more time to focus on what is essential and important….that is what settled looks like! I believe this is how He will satisfy my hunger and thirst with good things. His good things! Turning my desert into lush land full of His good things. The things that matter. Things that will satisfy my hunger and thirst. The essential and the important!
I want to remind myself each and every day how blessed I am for His unfailing love and all of the wonderful things He is doing in me, around me, and through me!
Women's Ministry & Special Events
March 24, 2020
Read Psalm 36
After you’ve been cooped up in your house for a while, it feels nice to go outside and be in nature. Isn’t it funny how we don’t notice how amazing nature is until we’ve been inside in our home for days? I encourage you to read Psalm 36:5-9 while you are outside. Be reminded that God’s love is bigger and grander than what our eyes can even see, that His righteousness is as steady as the highest mountain, and that His justice is as deep as the ocean.
In this season of life, take refuge in God and His promises. God has created all that we can see and even things we can’t see. He is powerful, He is in control, He is just and righteous. Stop trying to control what you can’t control. When you feel down, hurt, angry, sad, or even confused; run towards God and He will give you refuge.
Jesus wants to give us life and life to the full, but we must stay connected to Him. We find a “river of delights” and a “fountain of life” when we go to Jesus. In our prayers. In our praise. In reading His Word. In taking up our cross and following Jesus, we find true life. When His priorities become our priorities, we see the light. Today, let’s give to God what He has power of, and let’s choose to enjoy the unfailing love of our God. Especially if it has been a little while since we paused to appreciate it!
March 23, 2020
Read Psalm 4
Seasons of uncertainty feel especially daunting when you’re wondering if God hears (4:1), and when others are looking to you for help and hope (4:6). In Psalm 4, David makes the critical decision during a season of uncertainty to lead himself first. He chooses to grab ahold of what he knows is true (4:3) so that he’s prepared to live and lead with expectant hope during uncertain times (4:7-8). I especially love in verse 6, how David is committed to a perspective that says “The seeds we plant during this season will reap a harvest in the next season. And the vines we are tending today will produce a vintage we will enjoy long into the future.” Then he commits to rest easy – literally to “Sleep in shalom” (4:8) as a real-time reflection of His trust in an ever-present God who is at work holding all things together.
Spend a few moments asking God to let you lead yourself well during this season. To rest in Him and to let you invest every moment wisely. So that the seeds you plant today will bear fruit that fills you with joy when this season finally comes to an end.