Don’t Forget

As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the baals and made baal berith their god. And the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side.

Judged 8:33

For the majority of my Christian life, I have spent almost all my time reading and being taught from the New Testament. I’ve never really looked at the Old Testament, but this semester I’ve been taking an Old Testament class in college and what I have learned from the Old Testament has been remarkable. It’s crazy how often I make the exact same mistakes as the Israelites. In the story of Gideon, God had just done an incredible mighty work to single-handedly defeat Israel’s enemies. But, as soon as Gideon dies they forget about God and worship other gods. How ridiculous is that?? God saves and delivers these people and they just turn around and worship other gods. I know for a fact people like you and I would never do that, right? We would never forget about all that God has done and worship man made gods. We might not build altars to other gods or give sacrifices in pagan temples, but how ofter do we manufacture Idols in our lives? How often do we give more affection, attention, and devotion to things other than God? God has delivered us for eternity. He has given his son as an eternal sacrifice and defeated sin and death forever on our behalf. The very least we could do is worship him and him alone and never forget Him.

Too Short

Today’s devotional is written by a very special guest! My 11-year-old sister sent me this devotional in a package and I couldn’t help but want to share it! What a great reminder that we will certainly fall short on our own, but God is always there to pick us up!!

 

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Adopted

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 3:1

A few years ago as a family we went out to adopt a dog or two from the pound. I was walking up and down the rows of cages with dogs on either side. Almost every single dog was up on the fence yapping or barking; all of them except for one. I almost missed her, but there was a gangly black lab looking puppy laying on her stomach silently right at the front of her cage. As I walked over she let me reach my fingers past the ‘no petting dogs in kennel’ sign to gently touch her nose. When we got to meet her as a family she promptly flopped onto her stomach so everyone could rub and scratch her. We adopted her that day, and now she plays fetch in our backyard, eats in our kitchen (her own food and ours), and sleeps in my bed (she’d tell you it was her bed if she could talk). She doesn’t just live at our house, she’s a part of our family because we adopted her. I shudder at the thought that if we hadn’t picked her up she probably would’ve been put down. You and I were in the exact same situation. We were alone and destined for death, but God didn’t leave us there. Not only did he save us and bring us into his house, but what kind of love he had that we should be called his children!!! How exciting is that??? If we trust in Jesus and make him Lord of our life we get to be adopted by God and called a part of his family and enjoy fellowship with Him, and that’s a truth we can’t be reminded of too often.

Waiting on the Sunrise

For God alone my soul waits in silence;

From him comes my salvation.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

My fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken

Psalm 62:1-2

This morning a few friends and I decided we would wake up early and try and watch the sunrise. We went out to a state park by around 6:15 because we didn’t want to miss any of the sunrise. We found a great place to watch what we hoped would be a beautiful sunrise and sat waiting. The sky was perfectly clear when we arrived, and you could still see thousands of stars twinkling in the sky. Somehow between the time when we could see the stars and when the sun was supposed to rise, clouds that covered the entire sky rolled in. We waited for more than half an hour in anticipation of the sun rising, but we never saw it. It was still fun, but it was kind of a bummer that we waited on the sun and it never showed up. Thankfully when we wait on God we never have to worry about him not showing up. God isn’t like people we rely on in this life who will fail us and let us down. God is ultimately reliable and we can trust that if we wait on him he will arrive in his perfect timing and providence even if how he arrives and provides isn’t exactly how we expect it or would plan it.

Shrimp and Grits

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst

John 6:34

One of the things from back home that I miss the most while I’m away for college is my mom’s cooking. Nothing compares to coming home from school or soccer practice or a long day and eating some home cooked food. My favorite food that my mom makes is undoubtedly shrimp and grits. It sounded a little weird to me at first, like shrimp and grits don’t seem like they belong together, but I promise you shrimp and grits were created specifically to be eaten together. The grits are all cheesy and garlic-ey and I’m sure there’s all kinds of good spices and fancy cooking stuff in there too that makes them so good. My mom’s shrimp and grits are so satisfying that I really think I could eat an entire bathtub full of that stuff. I’ve certainly tried to eat enough of them to never have to eat again, but for some reason no matter how much I eat I always wake up hungry the next morning. In John 6:34 Jesus explains that when we come to him we never have to hunger and thirst again. We don’t have to look for satisfaction in friends or in money or in popularity because we already have ultimate satisfaction in a relationship with Jesus that can never be topped. Nothing in this world will ever wholly satisfy us like an intimate growing relationship with Jesus.

Wake Boarding

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2

A couple summers ago I was learning how to wakeboard with a guy from my church who runs a water sports ministry. I had gotten to the point where I could consistently get up and ride in a straight line but every time I tried to turn and move at all I would immediately fall on my face. After about 3 or 4 times of falling flat on my face, Chris brought the boat around and told me he had figured out why I kept falling. “You’re looking down at the water”, he said. “You always end up heading towards what you look at. Look up and you’ll be fine.” The next time I focused on getting my eyes up as I rode and sure enough I didn’t fall on my face. Our Christian walk is the same way; if we let our eyes drop and focus on things on the Earth we’re sure to fail. Jesus endured the cross and the shame for us, so we ought to keep our eyes focused on him, and only him. As Christians, we should want to become progressively more like Jesus, but that’s only going to happen if our gaze is set on him. Remember, we’re always going to move towards what we look at most.

Endless Apps

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

   for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods,

   for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,

   for his steadfast love endures forever

Psalm 136:1-3

I think there are some places on this planet that are more holy than others. Today’s story is about one of those places: T.G.I.Fridays. The other day I was talking to a friend and he mentioned the best news I’ve heard in a long time. Apparently T.G.I.Fridays is having this sweet deal where you go and pay ten dollars and you get endless appetizers. So, of course, that very night my friends and I had to make a trip. Seven of us piled into two cars and made the trip to T.G.I.Fridays. We all ate rounds and rounds of mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, and potato skins until we were about to burst. I heard several guys talking about how they couldn’t even sleep on their stomachs that night because they were so full. By my estimation that seems like a pretty successful night. While we were at the restaurant it felt like the appetizers were never going to stop, our waitress was constantly coming to our table asking if we were ready for our next round. Unfortunately, we always knew that eventually we were going to get full or T.G.I.F was going to close or run out of food. Even though the appetizers were called endless we all realistically knew they would have an end. Thankfully God’s steadfast love is even more endless than endless appetizers at T.G.I.Fridays. God’s love for us is eternal. He loved us before we were even born and will love until the end of time. No height or depth or anything in this world or not of this world can ever stop God from loving us, and that’s something that I have found incredibly encouraging.

Lil Dribblers

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

   my soul thirsts for you;

my flesh faints for you,

   as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1

This past fall I got the opportunity to “coach” 5 and 6-year-olds playing soccer in the town I go to college in a league called the “Lil Dribblers.” I would use the term “coaching” loosely, because “coaching” kids that age is really just another word for herding. Responsibilities routinely consisted of being a jungle gym for the kids not playing to climb on, or target for kids to kick a ball at for fun. I wouldn’t trade the time I got to spend with those kids for the world, it was amazing. When I think back to it one thing I remember is how the games looked. It didn’t look much like a soccer game many times. While the kids certainly had fun, every game had the same look: one ball traveling around with 8-10 kids trailing it in a herd. It was incredibly entertaining to watch how the kids all chased the ball together no matter where it went. While this isn’t the best strategy for soccer, it’s a great strategy for our Christian walk. In this Psalm, David explains that God is all he is chasing after and that God is the only thing that satisfies and sustains him. God is so great that he should be our only focus. We don’t need to look around to see where everyone else is at or listen to what everyone else always has to say. All we have to do is pretend we’re the five-year-olds and God is the ball and chase after him and only him.

Tall Buildings

The Lord is great in Zion;

   he is exalted over all the peoples.

Let them praise your great and awesome name!

   Holy is he!

Psalm 99:2-3

I’m not from a huge city with skyscrapers or anything, so anytime I go to a really big city I find it really cool to look at the huge buildings. I’ve always wondered how in the world they build buildings that are that tall. I’ve always been amazed by buildings so big that when you stand right underneath them and look up the top isn’t even visible. I was talking to a friend the other day about just how big God is. He was explaining about how he feels like even when he says the best words he has to praise God he feels like he’s shrinking God. I hadn’t ever thought about that, but it really is impossible for us to describe God without putting him in a box he doesn’t fit in. Our God is too huge, his love to unfathomable, his holiness too perfect for us to ever be able to describe. We’ll never have good enough words, we’ll never be able to look on God and completely understand him. Sometimes, when we’re looking at something so big, so great, and so beautiful, all we can do is be in awe.

Made in the Image

So God created man his own image, in the image of GOD he created him; male and female he created them

Genesis 1:27

Last fall me and some friends decided to make a trip to Indianapolis to catch an NBA basketball game. We got a great deal on some tickets and decided to make a day out of it. We road tripped to Indy and started walking around the city. As the time for the game to start got closer some of the guys went ahead to the stadium and a few of us kept wandering around the city. After about a half hour we stumbled onto a cool looking building with a statue outside. When we went inside we saw a small two story building with all types of sculptures and paintings lining the walls. The owner of what we came to find out was a private art gallery came out of his office and showed us some of the pieces. The whole gallery was pretty cool (see picture for proof)image1-3 but what was most amazing was the prices of some of the pieces. Some of the pieces that seemed pretty ordinary to me had prices close to 100,000 dollars! I don’t know a ton about art, but what I gathered from reading what was on one of the expensive pieces was that the artist who created it was well renowned. The work had great value because of whose fingerprints were on it. We were created by the all-powerful God of the universe, and his fingerprint is on us. Because of the greatness of the one who created us we have inherent value. That means that every person we meet has immeasurable value because of who made them. If we all remembered that a little more I bet we could do a better job of loving God and loving our neighbor.

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