Author Topic: Crosswalk.com--The Devotional  (Read 50101 times)

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Crosswalk.com--The Devotional
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2009, 07:10:10 am »
June 8, 2009

The Quest for Perfection
by Sarah Jennings, Crosswalk.com Family Editor

You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5: 48

The Scripture above is one most of us would read with some perplexity. As Christians we know we're sinners in need of a Savior. Every Sunday at church we thank God for His divine intervention through Christ's death on the cross.

Yet the very One sent to die for us seems to be asking us here to be that which we know we can't: perfect. Not just really, really good. But perfect in the way God is perfect.

Now if you're a perfectionist like me, you may already have your pen out to list all your weaknesses so you can strategize the best plan to eradicate them from your life.

This isn't a bad exercise, but I've often become easily frustrated and tired when I set out to perfect myself. That's precisely the problem with this approach -- it's all about me, myself, and I. An old friend of mine, in his quest to eliminate his selfish attitude, would often exclaim with much exasperation: "I keep trying to get rid of my selfishness but in the process of trying to improve myself, I end up focusing on my self all the time!"

It's hard to stifle a smile at his candor. It seems God has something better in mind for us than a glorified self-help program.

Perhaps the verse above is easier to understand when cast in a different light. Peter doesn't use the word "perfect" but instead calls believers to "holiness":

" ... but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct: since it is written 'you shall be holy, for I am holy.'" (1 Peter 1: 15 -- 16)

Holiness transcends what someone does (or doesn't do) and ties directly into who God is. As believers, we aren't necessarily called to be "perfect" by the world's standards, but instead to reflect God's nature to others. His goodness, truth, strength, and love.

The only way we can accurately reflect God to others is to strive daily to know God. To be in His presence. To meditate on His Word. Unlike the futile self-help approach, the more we focus on God, the less self-focused we become. And the more available we make ourselves to His transforming grace in our lives.

"Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self." ~ St. Francis of Assisi

Intersecting Faith & Life: Do something this week that requires you to "forget" yourself and your struggles. Serving those in need is usually a good way to do this.

Further Reading

2 Samuel 22: 31

Matthew 19: 21
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Crosswalk.com--The Devotional
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2009, 07:18:58 am »
June 9, 2009

Armor 'n Enemies
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.
Ephesians 6:13-19



Six pieces of armor. Five primarily defensive, one primarily offensive. And yet...

Have you ever used the chest-bumper of righteoueness on someone? How about the head-butter of salvation? The bludgeoner of faith? The shin-kicker of readiness?

Even the sword of the spirit has its proper purpose - to fight our enemies. Who are?

Other Christians? Unbelievers? Mean people?

While we humans can all be so hard on each other, no. One verse earlier, Paul tells us what we're fighting:

our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil (v. 12).

Quite convicting, really. Not only do I clearly go into many days without getting completely dressed, even when I do I'm mis-using my equipment, fighting in the dark, swinging blindly, or wounding with friendly fire.

I don't know about you, but for me, the elemental Bible verses I first learned as a youth (like today's verse) are the ones I need to continually reconsider, because they're the ones I tend to just believe without acting upon.

When times come - like these days we're in now - where there is fierce political thought and lines being drawn and opinions spouted as truth, including the opinion that there is no truth - it's just so easy to get drawn in before we remember to put on our armor or be trained in using it. When that happens, we tend to view our enemies as each other, and forget or deny that the war is still spiritual. And therefore more serious, more wearying, not less.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Get dressed this morning, and tomorrow morning. Once equipped, try emphasizing the defensive uses of most of the armor. Stand up for someone. Protect the reputation of another. Shelter someone in loving truth. Run quickly to someone in need. I pray you'll begin to survive your days much less scathed.

Further Reading

Romans 8:38
Fight or Flight? Weighing Your Instincts Against God's Word

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Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Crosswalk.com--The Devotional
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2009, 07:02:55 am »
June 10, 2009

Small Beginnings
by Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.com News & Culture Editor

"Does anyone dares despise this day of small beginnings? They'll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!"
Zechariah 4:10, The Message

David almost missed his calling.

My husband didn't pull a Jonah and run in the opposite direction that God was leading. He simply had no exposure to the great needs in special education, and was passing that field by with no particular concern. In college, he had gravitated towards a teaching certification in social studies, and naturally assumed that was where God would use him. But that was before.

After graduation, his wonderful rapport with friendly human resource contacts had yet to turn into job offers, or even first interviews. We weren't worried though -- it was only May, and hiring often didn't happen until June. Or July. Or August. Or maybe even the first week of school... finally, we had to admit that there would be no full-time history position available that school year. It was full-time substituting or nothing.

Well, almost nothing. A middle school almost forty minutes away needed an assistant soccer coach, and offered to set him up regularly as a substitute if he accepted the job. With few options, he took the coaching position and its meager stipend. Meanwhile, gas prices were so high that he actually lost money every day that he couldn't also substitute, because he still had to make the trek for afternoon soccer practice.

That lasted most of the fall semester, before teachers for whom he had substituted told him about full-time position at the school. Except it wasn't a social studies position. It wasn't even a teaching position. It was an instructional aide position in a classroom for kids with mental disabilities.

It wasn't what he planned to do. It wasn't what he had trained to do. But at the moment, it fit the bill and provided some stability and consistency. We asked God to shut the door if this wasn't the right opportunity, but he didn't. So he walked through the door.

A few months -- and more than a few touching experiences -- down the road, David decided to get his masters in special education. He found openings waiting for him in the field. Mentors and administrators kept noting his easy manner in the classroom where so many adults felt awkward or dismissive. David realized he'd fallen in love with the kids. And he knew this was where he was called. The rest, well, it's life as we know it now.

Some might say we adopted a laissez faire approach to his job situation. We weren't incredibly picky about what the door led to -- if it was open, we just walked through it. A divine hand essentially shoved us in a particular direction, and we simply followed that direction until we ran into a wall. And at the wall, there was always another door opening to a new direction.

That's not to say I didn't drag my heels a little bit. In the beginning, only the fact that school had started let me accept that David would be substituting. He was "too good" for something so dismissive of his talents, I knew. The same went for the instructional aide position. He had a real teaching certificate, and I wanted to see him land a real job that he deserved. But David exhibited more wisdom throughout the process; throughout the upheaval, he kept reminding me to "curse not the day of small beginnings." And indeed, the day he took that assistant coaching position set us on a road we never would have discovered otherwise. 

One of the great principles of Christian living is this: "Whatever you do, work at it with your whole heart, as working for the Lord and not for men." Even the day of small beginnings translate into big opportunities to serve a great God. And from one small beginning, this great God can change the rest of your life. 

Intersecting Faith & Life: What menial tasks have landed in front of you? Our God can use even the barest circumstances to point us to great acts of love and service that reflect glory back on him.

Further Reading:

On the Threshold of Opportunity
When Plans Don't Go As Planned
Luke 16:10

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Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Crosswalk.com--The Devotional
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2009, 07:07:44 am »
June 11, 2009

The Redemptive Value of Facebook
by Mike Pohlman, Editor, Christianity.com 

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. --Matthew 5:14-16

Can Facebook be redemptive? In other words, can this social networking phenomenon be a means of helping Christians grow in grace? Can it be spiritually edifying? Can it promote godliness?

Yes.

My "yes," of course, is not without qualification. I realize Facebook can be used for banal, unhelpful purposes. (Carl Trueman, for example, offers a good critique of our Web 2.0 world.) But today God's grace was extended to me through the Internet; today Facebook was a blessing. Let me explain.

I was tagged in a friend's list of "25 Random Things About Me."* While I have yet to fill out one of these lists, I have enjoyed reading them. It is a good (and efficient) way to learn interesting things about a person. And these lists are all the more intriguing when you haven't kept up with someone for, say, twenty years.

The particular list opened with this amazing declaration: "I would change nothing about my life!" 

How many people can say that about their life? It's one thing to say, "I love my life." Or, "I have a great life." Or, "I'm living the good life." But to say, "I would change nothing about my life"? That got my attention.

The list of "random" things proceeded with unmistakable joy.

24. "I am very happy."
18. "I am thrilled that I have gotten in touch with so many family members and friends on facebook."
14. "I have two dogs and a cat. I am not big on pets, so having them is a testament to how much I love my children."
13. "I don't feel that I could have a more wonderful husband."
12. "I have four children and wish I had more.....6 would have been nice!"
7. "A perfect day for me is spent with my husband and children."

Reading these things was inspiring as they spoke to my friend's deep love for her family. I smiled as I recalled how I used to play little league baseball and Pop Warner football with her husband. Now we both had four kids. More importantly, I found myself thinking about my wife and children and what a blessing they are to me. But then, as I continued down the list, I ran into these sobering statements:

6. "It is a good thing that my life will never be the way it was before I was diagnosed with cancer."
5. "My life will never be the way it was before I was diagnosed with cancer."

I didn't know my friend had been diagnosed with cancer. I paused to let it sink in. Cancer. That word has a way of arresting our attention like no other. And rarely, it seems, is gratitude accompanied with it. But here in a list of "25 Random Things" was the phrase, "It is a good thing...." How could my friend preface any mention of cancer with "It is a good thing"?

The answer came at the end of the list:

1. "The LORD is always #1."

This is the "thing" that makes all the difference in the universe. When the Lord is first in our lives then everything takes on new meaning--our marriages, parenthood, jobs, ministries, leisure time, and, yes, even cancer. We realize that nothing is truly "random." When we see our heavenly Father in His providence orchestrating all our days then we can say radical things like, "It is a good thing that my life will never be the way it was before I was diagnosed with cancer." In other words, God used cancer to help me.

In Matthew 5:16 Jesus says, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Tami's light is shining brightly today and I'm giving glory to God for it.


[*All references to my friend's "25 Random Things" used with permission.]

 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Crosswalk.com--The Devotional
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2009, 07:09:09 am »
June 12, 2009

You Are Not Alone
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:3-5

I came in late to the whole Lost phenomenon.

And now, as faithful followers await the sixth and final season of this popular television series, I have only just finished watching Season One. But there's still time to catch up, and that's just what I plan to do over the summer since I'm already hooked on this fascinating, mysterious story line and study of the human condition.

If you've not seen the show before (gasp!), the basic premise is that of a small group of people who have survived a plane crash and ended up on a mysterious (and, at first, seemingly deserted) island somewhere in the South Pacific. Because the plane lost contact with air traffic control before it went down (and had to go off course for some reason), officials are probably not looking for the plane in the area in which it crashed. And therefore, there's not a lot of reason to be hopeful as the situation seems bleak.

Some of the survivors are despondent. Some are bitter and have resigned themselves to living the rest of their lives on the island. Others are resilient and are making the best of the situation. And others are still hoping that they will be rescued soon.

In each episode, the onion is peeled back even further as more and more of the characters' backstories are revealed. And as I find out what was happening in their lives before they survived the crash, the more I understand why they are who they are on the island. 

Each character brings his or her own kind of suffering: father issues, troubled marriage, revenge, addiction, loss, deception or fear ... just to name a few. And each episode shows how the characters either work together to accomplish something good or drift apart due to their individual issues or circumstances. Everyone has a choice of how they will act or react. And there are consequences from which they and we, the viewers, can certainly learn.

Suffering and life on the island has brought out the worst and the best in these people. They can choose to feel abandoned and alone, to die in their surroundings, or they can fight to survive by whatever means possible.

As I watch, I've wondered how I would react should I be a plane-crash survivor who's now stuck on an island. Would I be bitter? Would I be hopeful? Would I hurt others? Would I feel alone? Or would the suffering help me to persevere, build character and produce hope?

Life in the real world is really not all that different than on the island. You and I face trials and troubles in our everyday lives, too. We all carry baggage with us. But as believers, we know that we are not alone in our suffering. God is with us, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who is our Great Comforter and source of Truth (John 14:15-31).

Intersecting Faith & Life:  Remember that today. No matter how desolate your situation may feel, you are not lost and stranded on an island. And you are not alone in your suffering. God knows exactly where you are, and he is with you.

Further Reading

Psalm 34:17-19
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Romans 8:17-18



Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Crosswalk.com--The Devotional
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2009, 07:15:14 am »
June 15, 2009

Be Still
by Sarah Jennings, Crosswalk.com Family Editor

Be still and know that I am God. (Ps. 46: 10)

The affairs of God are accomplished little by little and almost imperceptibly. The Spirit of God is neither violent nor hasty. -- St Vincent de Paul

The past several weeks have been filled with jam-packed schedules, crowded airports, chattering children and blaring cell phone ring tones -- a never ending stream of noises, technology, and motion. It seems the older I get, the more those lazy summer days of childhood feel like fairy tales from another life.

If you're American, you're probably just as busy if not busier than I am right now. We're a country filled with activity. Studies show we're some of the most sleep-deprived people in the world. We work long hours, come home to more work (completed with the television blathering on in the background) before collapsing into bed to repeat the process again the next day.

Why do we live such frantic, hyper stimulated lives? Sometimes it's out of a sense of obligation -- we feel it's a sin to say "no" so we overextend ourselves trying to fill the roll of Savior for everyone around us. Sometimes our frenzied lives stem from a sense of inadequacy -- "If I work hard and accomplish such-and-such, I will have value." Sometimes it's a mode of escape -- burying ourselves in work or in a TV program keeps our minds off life's disappointments. And sometimes we've just lost sight of our priorities, defaulting to the heightened pace of the culture around us, unaware that we've let our down time slip away little by little.

Regardless of why we're living in the fast (and loud) lane, deep down we all know we need to get out of it. Our souls crave peace, stillness, and silence. And even if we can ignore the cries of our souls for awhile, our bodies demand it when they eventually wear out.

Why do we crave that stillness? It seems the "noise" of life is more often man-made than God-ordained. In Scripture we see that time and again, God calls us to find peace in Him, to lighten our burden with Him, to set aside our anxieties and meaningless business. We see God speak to the prophet Elijah through a "gentle whisper" and tell an anxious Martha that her sister Mary chose the "better" part when she abandoned household duties to sit at Jesus' feet. (Luke 10: 41-42)

After a long day of running here and there, I find myself longing to be peaceful Mary whose only job is to be with Christ. So how can we become more like Mary when the vast majority of us more closely resemble worried Martha? I love the opening Scripture verse -- it's so simple, it cuts through all the junk clanking around in my brain. Be still.

In the midst of the activity surrounding her, Mary made a simple choice. To sit and be still. You and I can make that simple choice too, even when life seems to be pressing on all sides. It may be awkward at first -- we may be tempted to grab for the remote or cut our time with God short. But by seeking stillness we are effectively saying, "Nothing else is as important to me as You at this moment, Lord." When I've spent time at our local Adoration chapel -- a place void of constant noise and movement -- I find I am never sitting in an empty room doing "nothing" but a place filled with God's presence and love, a place I can truly know God.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Visit a local chapel this week where you can sit, reflect and be alone with the Lord for one hour.

Further Reading

Luke 10: 38 -- 42

1 Kings 19
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Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Crosswalk.com--The Devotional
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2009, 07:34:37 am »
June, 2009

Only One Way to Achieve Patience
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
Ecclesiastes 7:8, NIV


Our senior pastor came into the room for a pre-arranged talk with all of us high school senior guys. He wanted to share something with us as we moved off into the next phases of our lives.

Out of all the applications and biblical wisdom at his disposal, what one topic was on his heart? What advice did he wish to impart above all?

He began by asking us to envision where we'd be in five, 10, 20 years. I'm just now coming up on that 20th year; I'm amazed at how differently some things have turned out, and how similar to my goals other things are. But that's not the point.

Our pastor next told us that the one thing we ought to pursue more than any other was... not holiness, not righteousness, not prayer... but patience. "Boys, raise your hand if you want to be a man of patience."

Okay, sure. Sounds good. Patience, yeah, that could be helpful to me. Hand up.

"Great. I'll tell you what, boys, can I pray with you now? But be aware, only agree with me in this prayer if you mean it, if you really want patience. Because do you know what it takes to develop patience? Problems. Only problems - and the way you react to them and trust God through them - can develop patience. Do you understand? So that's what I'm going to ask God for right now, that He'll bring you all problems. Are you ready?"

Sure. Why not?

Oh boy. Looking back, the last 20 years haven't exactly been hell on earth, but they've sure been full of their share of problems. Right at this moment, I've got one that's forcing me to wait... and wait... and wait for an answer. I feel shamed when I go through a study about Abraham and how long he waited and waited for God to fulfill a direct promise, because I can't imagine waiting any longer than I already have. The only reason I continue to do so is because of the patience and wisdom I've built up having passed through earlier problems and trials, the outcomes of which inform me to keep waiting.

What's the moral here? Be careful what you pray for? Hmmm... maybe... but I think I prefer the lesson in today's verse, that patience (trusting God's way and waiting on His promise) is better than pride (my idea of the best way). To me, it's really eye-opening to think of those two concepts - patience and pride - as the opposites of each other. It suggests patience is akin to humility, and pride the brother of instant gratification. And I guess that makes sense. But why is patience better? Especially in this day and age when so much is there for the taking? When the respected thing to do is reach out and go for it? What had my pastor so convinced that doing the opposite was the most important lesson for sending young men out into the world?

Honestly I haven't completely figured that out yet. Appropriately, it's something I'm willing to be patient to gain the wisdom of. But I suspect it has something to do with that pesky old verse from James:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).

Only problems can bring patience; only trials can test faith and make it real. Only endurance can lead to completion.

And when I am complete, I will lack nothing. At which time I apparently will have superceded even patience, as what would there be to wait for if I lack nothing?

It sounds almost mystical, almost unachievable, at least until the end of my life / when I meet God. Until then, I simply pray that the experience of each problem and the eventual result will steel me into calm, patient submission to God's perfect timing.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Are you willing to pray a problem into your life? Why or why not? 

Further Reading

Afraid God Will Give You Patience?
Pursue Patience

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Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Crosswalk.com--The Devotional
« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2009, 07:11:16 am »
June 17, 2009

Remembering Heroes of the Faith
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV

We're a people who love to celebrate each other--especially those we consider "heroes."

Just look around you, 'cause you probably don't live too far away from some sort of Hall of Fame. There's the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn.  Further north in Boston, Mass, you'll find The Robot Hall of Fame. The Snowmobile Hall of Fame is located in St. Germain, Wis., and then The National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame has its home in Bonner Springs, Kans.

Now, granted, we can't honor or remember every "hero" who ever walked Planet Earth. But you'll probably agree that there is one group of heroes that believers in Christ should certainly celebrate:  heroes of the faith. 

Starting in God's Word, we know that Jesus is our ultimate hero. He is the "author" and "perfecter" of our faith. All thirty-three years of his earthly ministry give us a wonderful example of how to live, and we share in the joy of his place on an eternal throne. 

There are also a great number of individuals who came before Christ and are cited for their examples in the "hall of faith" passage in Hebrews, chapter 11: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab and others. 

These Old Testament heroes did not live to experience the resurrection and the life of Christ. But they kept their focus on God and His promises to them.  Heroes who lived since the fulfillment of the Messiah have contributed significantly to the church and the cause of Christ. 

Each one of us has known a hero of the faith, whether in our families, at our churches in our schools or in our communities. Today, All Saints Day, is set apart as a time to remember these heroes and consider how their lives contributed to the cause of Christ. It is an important holiday in the Christian year that we would all do well in celebrating.

The first general observance was ordered by Pope Gregory IV in 837. After the Reformation, Protestant churches celebrated All Saints Day by interpreting the New Testament usage of "saints" as all believers and celebrated unity of the entire Church on this day. 

Will you take time to remember these saints and heroes of the faith and learn from their examples today?

Intersecting Faith & Life: Think of the departed saints and those who have been meaningful to you: family members, teachers, leaders, mentors, pastors, biblical characters or others. Share with someone about a "hero of the faith" and how he or she has made an impact in your life.

Further Reading

Hebrews 11:1-40
Redefining Heroism
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Crosswalk.com--The Devotional
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2009, 07:02:00 am »
June 18, 2009

Dark Closets
by Fred Alberti, Crosswalk.com Director of Social Media

He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts.
1 Corinthians 4:5b


I recently helped with cleaning out the downstairs rooms of our church. We found all sorts of stuff in those rooms... we found electric wheelchairs, Vacation Bible School material from 5 years ago, pictures, a sofa... stuff that people didn't know how to take care of. So they just put it somewhere so that it couldn't be seen... somewhere that it could be forgotten about.

We sometimes do this with things in our own lives. We do things we know we shouldn't do so we hide them in the closets of our hearts... someplace where we won't have to deal with them anymore.

Maybe it is something someone said or did to us that hurt us. We hide it.

Maybe it is a line in a tax return. We've already received our refund so there is no need to do anything else... We hide it.

But is it really hidden?

Our verse today tells us that the Lord will bring to light the things we've hidden in the darkness.

How about it?

Are the dark closets of your heart bursting at the hinges?

Intersecting Faith & Life: Take some time to do some closet searching this week.

Further Reading

Hebrews 4:12-13
Search Me, Lord

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Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Crosswalk.com--The Devotional
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2009, 07:56:50 am »
June 19, 2009

Child-Like Trust in the Lord
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor

O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
Psalm 131:1-2, NAS

This song, like most of the Psalms, was written by David - the man who would be Israel's greatest king. Is David who comes to mind when you think of someone "not involved in great matters" (kingdom conflicts, maybe)? Or unbothered by "things too difficult" (slaying a giant, anyone)? No, to me, this doesn't really sound like David. Doesn't really sound like me most of the time either.
 
Let's take a quick look at three things that stand out about this little Psalm:
 
1) Attitude. David's "heart" - his inner being, his spirit, is not proud... of things he's done, of where he's been and where he's going... but neither is he beating himself up. He is just... content.
 
2) Appetite. David's "eyes" - his senses - are not haughty. He's not seeking to please them. He doesn't have the look of arrogance. He knows Whose he is, and that his needs are met not of himself. He is not restless to feed like an infant, he is not stalking around asking to eat out of boredom like my 2-year-old.
 
3) Aptitude. David places the responsibility for this peaceful state upon himself. Not circumstances, not achievements, not even on God. "Surely I have quieted my soul," he says.
 
All together, this is what trust looks like, and why it brings such soothing peace. Jesus said we must have faith like children to come to Him. Apparently, trust is also best exemplified in little ones. David's "talk" is of not being proud; his "walk" then backs it up by what he "involves" (or doesn't involve) himself in. This doesn't mean God hasn't given him - or you - important stuff to get done, just that David has "declared himself free from excessive ambition" (Ryrie study notes). To sing not of self, to seek not to fill the senses, to seek the will only to be quiet before God - that is trust. A "weaned child" knows instinctively where to find it. By extension, and through the example of "the man after God's own heart," so do we.

Intersecting Faith & Life: "Involve" yourself in a small, humble matter today - perhaps a child's squabble, creating a meal, or going for a walk - and see if you can compose your soul.

Further Reading

Matthew 18:4-5
When Old Men Trust, by Calvin Miller

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Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!