Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dev: Dec 1 - Isaiah 7:14

14 Therefore the Lord himself

will give you a sign:

The virgin will conceive and

give birth to a son, and

will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 7


Do you know where babies come from?


Well … they don’t come from virgins.


In Matthew 1, Joseph finds out that the virgin to whom he is betrothed is suddenly pregnant. “The virgin to whom …” No. The supposed virgin. If she’s pregnant, she surely hasn’t upheld the sacred honor of her virginity. That was Joseph’s conclusion. And it was logical.


To a good Jewish girl, virginity wasn’t just a nicety. Virginity wasn’t just a sweet cultural convention. Virginity was sacred. It was commanded by God.


For Joseph, to have a pregnant fiancĂ© was, first, a horrible betrayal. His heart was surely crushed. But it was more than just this. It was more than just “a good Jewish boy shouldn’t marry a bad Jewish girl.” To Joseph this was sacred. Mary’s pregnancy, he was certain, was a betrayal of all that was holy.


Do you know where babies come from? Joseph did. He knew they didn’t come from virgins. Therefore, he purposed to “dismiss her quietly” because he was “unwilling to expose her to public disgrace.”


And yet it was at that exact moment that an angel whispered in his ear. The angel whispered something about virgins conceiving and a child named Emmanuel.


And suddenly a dam broke in Joseph’s heart.


And it wasn’t Mary’s story that convinced him.


And I don’t believe that it was the angel that convinced Joseph– as frighteningly awesome as the angel’s presence must have been.


I’m convinced that what changed Joseph’s heart and mind was the testimony of the Word of God itself. Seven hundred years previous, God – through the prophet Isaiah – foretold that a virgin would give birth to Israel’s savior. Indeed, the Word of God foretold that this child would be called “Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’”


Mary’s testimony and the testimony of the angel confirmed the Kingdom’s greater truth and Joseph’s greater hope. God was real, and the Almighty, in passion and compassion, rescues his people.


It was said about Abraham that he “believed God, and God reckoned it to him as righteousness” (see Genesis 15:6 and Romans 4:4). Well, I believe that’s what happened to Joseph at that moment. He believe God and the revelation of God’s word, and not only was it reckoned to him as righteousness, but Josephs faith and integrity changed the course of history!


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who wonders how

his own faith and integrity

might change the world

(even if it’s just my family!)


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dev: Nov 30 - Genesis 3:14-15

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,

cursed are you among all animals
and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between

you and the woman, and

between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 3


With amazing specificity, the Old Testament prophesied about the life of the eventual Messiah, the long anticipated King.


Now, think about this … If one wanted to fake being the Messiah, one could align his life with some of the prophesies. He could do what the Messiah was supposed to do.


But did you know that two things are hard to fake? How you’re born and how you die!  


That’s why God focused most of the prophecies on the unfakable – the birth and death of Jesus the Messiah. (It’s hard to fake those things!)


Now, today, I’m not going to start with the most famous of these prophecies. (They’ll get more and more familiar as the days go on.)


Rather, I’m going to start simply with a lesser known – yet crucially important – prophecy from the opening pages of Scripture. Why? Because it shows that sending a Savior was God's plan from the very beginning!


In opening pages of Genesis, if you remember, the serpent (Satan) tempted Eve, and when Eve ate the forbidden fruit, sin entered the world. And with sin came consequences. Adam and Eve (and thus eventually all humanity) were kicked out of the Garden. Man now had to plow hard ground to plant and harvest and survive. Pain entered the world, even and especially in a woman’s childbirth.


But there was one more set of consequences. As our scripture verse for today proclaims, this judgment falls upon “the Father of Lies.” “The Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you … [from now on] upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat.’”


Satan, you see, viewed tricking humanity into sin as a victory. He toppled God’s treasure – humanity. But figuratively and literally, Satan and the serpent were made even lower than low – crawling on their belly, eating dust.


Now here’s the prophecy: God speaks of “enmity” and strife between Satan and humans. That’s the daily battle that all find ourselves stuck in. But think bigger than that: In the great cosmic war between good and evil, who will strike the fatal blow to Satan? Well, do you see the prophecy in this verse? The victor will be the “offspring” of “the woman.” So, while Satan “will strike his heel” (a painful wound), the human offspring (Jesus, born of Mary) “will strike [Satan’s] head” (a fatal blow).


Yes, anger, lies, hatred, and deceit struck Jesus painfully on earth. He would be mocked and beaten. He was to be stripped and whipped. Crucifixion was his human trajectory. And the serpent thought that he had won the war. He hadn’t! And the empty tomb emptied Satan’s hope. His head was struck by a crushingly fatal blow.


Now, like a writhing leviathan, he’ll still wiggle and squirm and lash out while hopelessly injured. He’s dying. He’s not dead yet. Nevertheless, the victory has been won.


And page three of the Bible – Genesis 3, written about 1500 years before Jesus’ birth – prophesies the whole story of Scripture!


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who wants to invent

a Christmas dance.

Let’s call it, the Serpent Stomp!

By sharing the hope of Christmas,

with a dark and cynical world,

let’s stomp out Satan’s lies


How can we pray for you?

How can we pray for you

and your family this month?


Monday, November 28, 2016

Dev: Nov 29 - Deuteronomy 6:20-25

20 When your children

ask you in time to come,

“What is the meaning of

the decrees and the statutes …

that the Lord our God

has commanded you?”

21 then you shall say to your children,

“We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt,

but the Lord brought us out of Egypt

with a mighty hand … [and] …

25 if we diligently observe

this entire commandment

before the Lord our God,

as he has commanded us,

we will be in the right.”

Deuteronomy 6


Do you remember the old-fashioned Advent Calendars?


Our family used to have them when I was a kid. There would be twenty-five "windows" on this cardboard calendar, numbered 1-25. On each successive day of December, little hearts would countdown to Christmas by opening a “window.” And inside each window was a verse of Scripture, pointing us to the coming of Christ.


Well … this is my online Advent calendar for you! It’s part of our countdown to Christmas. It’s also part of our continuing focus on hope.


For the next several weeks, each of these Scripture passages and devotions will point us toward the hope that dawned in this darkened world through the coming of the Christ child. And we'll start this journey with prophecy!


Did you know that hundreds of years of prophecy pointed -- with specificity -- to the coming of Israel's long-promised Messiah?


Over the course of the coming months, we’ll refer back to understanding prophecy as a powerful tool in evangelism. Why is this so? Because while people may think they can explain away passages written after Jesus' death as just propaganda written by deceived and deceiving followers, it's harder to explain away prophecies written 1500 years before Jesus' birth! (Especially when they are so accurate and specific.)


So … like it was with my old Advent Calendars, we’re going to open a window each day and take a look at the prophecies that would portend the hope found in Jesus’ birth.


And here in the beginning of this part of the journey, I want to remind you of why we’re studying hope. Why? Because as the Apostle tells us – 1 Peter 3:15 – you are to be “always … ready to give a defense … for the hope that is in you.”




Our hope surely blesses us.


But in addition, God wants to use our hope to bless the world. In other words, we are called to share our hope and faith and joy with a cynical, disillusioned world. And we call that evangelism.


Now, too many Christians shy away from evangelism … which is why I turn back to the Advent Calendars. How many of us have shared our faith with a child?


In Deuteronomy 6, our lesson for today, God told parents to be prepared to “always be ready to give a defense … for the hope that is in you.” He said it like this. He said, “When your children ask you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of …”, essentially, all this stuff about God, then we are to share the stories of faith. Israel shared the stories about the Exodus and their freedom from Egypt. Christians are to share the stories about Jesus and our freedom from sin.


My parents did that with me – in part, by opening Advent Calendar windows for twenty-five consecutive December days. And I did it with my kids – in similar and different ways. And my children are already talking about how they will share their faith with their kids.


That’s evangelism! And it can be pretty simple. All we have to do is open a “window” and point others to something bigger than ourselves.


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who remembers

one Advent Calendar

being connected to candy –

open a window, get a treat

(We made sure that we

never missed a day!)



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dev: 11/27-28 - Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have

for you," declares the LORD,

"plans to prosper you

and not to harm you, plans

to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

This is many people's favorite verse!


But it's important to note that the Lord declared it first to a nation, not individuals like you and me. To Israel, mired in invasion and exile, these words restored hope. 


And it was needed because the Israelites were hopeless. They were conquered. Defeated. But God had "plans" for Israel. They were his people. They were called to be his witnesses. From them, the Messiah would come. That was God's plan. The Savior of the world would be a descendent of King David, from the line of Judah. 


God chastised his people. He let a conquering enemy -- Babylon -- discipline them for Israel's wanton and unrepentant blasphemy. He allowed them to be carted away, humiliated, from their Promised Land. And yet ... he hadn't abandoned them. He had eternal, unchangeable "plans" for them. He would give them a hope and a future. They would return to the Promised Land. The Messiah -- the hope of the world -- would come from this redeemed people. 


Is this one of your favorite verse? (It's one of mine too.)


It shows God's heart. His desire is to give us a hope and a future. We may not see riches in this world, but our Lord's desire is to eternally prosper us. Like a good Father, be aware that he might have to chasten and discipline us a little first -- just like he did Israel. Frankly, we don't always grow unless and until our wayward hearts are reoriented toward heaven. But please trust that you have a God who blesses his children. 


And that's a glorious and golden hope. 


In Christ's Love,

a guy who wants

to be called "Israel"

(this world is my exile,

but I'm heading for

the Promised Land)


Friday, November 25, 2016

Dev: 11/25-26 - Psalm 33:20

We wait in hope for the Lord;

he is our help and our shield.

Psalm 33:20

Today is Black Friday. 

This day of shopping and sales historically put merchants in the black for the year. (Hence: Black Friday.) And from then on, everything else for merchants was joyful profit. 


I read a news story this morning in a Christian magazine. It was an older man remembering his father's wisdom when television came into their homes in the 1950s. People were saying, "Think of this mediums potential to educate and inform." The wise old man simply said, "That box is just being planted in homes to help companies sell more stuff."


He was prophetic. We've become more and more materialistic ever since the invention of television (whether we did it or not because of it).


And so we begin this mad rush Christmas asking whether this season will be about materials and possessions ... or whether we will "wait in hope for the Lord."


Hope obviously doesn't come through stuff. This holiday season may you find blessing, hope, and joy in richer faith and personal experiences with family. 


In Christ's Love,

a guy who will shop

for a few things,

but will most importantly

work to wait on the Lord

... and with hope

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dev: 11/23-24 - Romans 1:21

Because they knew God,

they glorified him as God

and they gave THANKS to him,

and their minds were enriched and

their wise hearts were lightened.

Romans 1:21

(kind of)

Have you heard that verse before? (Kind of, perhaps.)

As I searched for a verse to link
thanksgiving (our obvious national theme for today) and hope (our devotional theme for this season) I came across this verse. 

Its principle is simple: as we get to know God and grow in giving thanks to him, our minds are enriched and our hearts are lightened. 

In other words, as we get to know God and give thanks to him, what grows is blessings, hope, and joy. 


To say it even more simply, if you want more hope, give more thanks!


Wait! How'd I get this from this verse, let me explain ...

Thanksgiving is the key that unlocks more and more blessings from God. He is a joyful giver. He wants to bless us. But many of us choose to look at the glass half empty. He wants to bless us, but many of us are ungrateful stewards of what have … so why should or would he give us more.


How many of us whine? And covet? And demand more … rather than saying thanks for what we have? 


Today’s verse reminds us that when we learn to "give thanks in all circumstances" 1 Thes 5:18, we start to see God in all circumstances.


Obviously God is there in blessed times – often helping to orchestrate the blessing itself!


But do you look for God also in the trials and calamities? He’s there too! He’s comforting us. Encouraging us. Sometimes challenging us. He’s weeping alongside us. He’s also and often carrying us. And when we learn to "give thanks in all circumstances," we indeed start to see God in all circumstances. 

Indeed, that's when true hope truly begins to break into our lives. 

In Christ's Love,

a guy who re-wrote today's

Thanksgiving verse in a

bright and hopeful way.

But here's the original ...


For although they knew God,

they neither glorified him as God

nor gave thanks to him,

but their thinking became futile

and their foolish hearts

were darkened.

Romans 1:21

That’s isn’t as joyful,

but if it's true,

then the converse is true.

1) Re-read my bright re-translation,

2) give more thanks, and 3) have

a wonderful and safe holiday!



Monday, November 21, 2016

Dev: 11/22 - Romans 15:4

For everything that

was written in the past

was written to teach us,

so that through the endurance

taught in the Scriptures and

the encouragement they provide

we might have hope.

Romans 15:4


In our pursuit of a definition for hope, we've said that we need to focus upward and forward. 


If we want to discover hope, we need to look upward to God -- to his promises, power, and provision -- rather than downward at our broken world's divisions, sin, and strife. 


We also need to look forward. Our todays may be filled with pain and trials, but there will come a day when there will be no more mourning or crying or pain and death will be no more. We look upward, because our hope is in heaven. 


Third, today's passage says we must look inward ...




I say that jokingly. We don't look inside ourselves for hope. Sure, it takes a little internal fortitude to weather some of life's challenges, but often when we "need" to rely on ourselves the most is when we're at our very weakest -- we're sick, we're dying, we're grieving, we've lost our job, the money is not coming in, our spouse has left us, we're angry and depressed. When we're at our weakest the folly of relying on ourselves is fully revealed. 


So ... what do I mean that we need to look inward? 


Read today's verse. We need to look IN the Scriptures. This is God's voice. And we need to learn to hear it BEFORE the trials come upon us ... because they will come. 


In one short verse, the Apostle Paul tells us that IN the Scriptures we will find several blessings ...


·         First, "everything that was written in the past was written to teach us." If you want to navigate this world more wisely, if you want to stay out of many of the trips and traps, if you want to discover the path that points to the Savior, look IN the Book of Life. 


·         If you want do discover how to withstand the trials and persecutions that you may have to endure, study the "endurance" of the prophets and apostles. Study the love and "endurance" modeled by Jesus himself! That a second promise found here: "through the endurance taught in the Scriptures ... we might have hope."


·         Finally, "through ... the encouragement ... the Scriptures ... provide we might have hope." If you want to find encouragement and fortitude, don't look inside yourself (which is often weakest, precisely when you need yourself most). Rather keep reading scripture. When you find a passage that inspires you, write it down. Memorize it. Or easier still ... join a choir or listen to Christian radio. Did you know that a huge percentage of Christian songs have Scripture at their refrain. You're singing hope, joy, comfort, and encouragement!


In Christ's Love,

a guy who looks IN and finds

truth and encouragement

in verses like Romans 15:4

(and by the way, truth in a world 

of lies is true encouragement!)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dev: Nov 21 - Isaiah 40:31

But those who hope in the LORD

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

So far we've learned two things about hope. 

The first is that hope looks upward. It focuses beyond our earthly horizon. It yearns for God's plans, God's power, and God's provision. Upward!

Second, hope focuses forward. Hope obviously doesn't focus backward. The past is past. Rather, we hope for the future. Christian hope, indeed, focuses on our future in heaven when there will be no more mourning or crying or pain. Hope yearns for Christ to come again gloriously and for the eternal victory to begin!

And what is the fruit of this forward and upward looking hope? Today's lesson tells us:

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. The trials of this earth batter us, wound us, seek to crush us. Hope gives us strength. And when we quit focusing helplessly on this earth, hope links us to the supernatural strength that comes from the Lord. 

What is the fruit of hope? The prophet tells us that those who trust in the Lord will soar on wings like eagles. Forward and upward, right?

They will run and not grow weary. Why? Well, remember how Jesus said, "Come to me, all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" (Mt 11:28)? When we come to God, when we trust and hope in the Lord, we rely on God's provision and not our own. And that's the strength of hope that comes from the Lord. 

Finally it says, they will walk and not be faint. When we hope, we pick ourselves up again. We start walking again. We start moving forward again. And God is ahead of us, not behind us. Our future - God's future for us - is ahead of us. And when we start hoping, we start walking toward his power, purpose, and provision. 


In Christ's Love,

a guy who if he

was allowed to pick

a superpower would

probably choose to fly

(Gracious God, lift me up

on wings like eagles!)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Dev: Nov 19-20 - 1 Thessalonians 4:13

Brothers and sisters,

we do not want you

to be uninformed about

those who sleep in death,

so that you do not grieve like

the rest, who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13


When someone is shy and bashful, where do they look? 




It's cute when a child does it. When a little boy meets a pretty girl, what does he do? He usually looks down at his shoes! And his feet are usually pigeon-toed and digging at the dirt. It's cute look for a kid. 


But looking downward is not a cute look for an adult. Indeed, let's move beyond childhood bashfulness to the real reasons most adults look down -- discouragement and defeat. This world is hard. 


Hope, we've been saying, involves looking up -- looking up to the God who comforts and provides. 


Hope also involves looking forward. As we learned yesterday, we can be transformed by hope when we look forward to Christ's glorious return. Why? Because that ushers in the eternal age of no more mourning or crying or pain, where the throne of God will be among mortals. 


Yes, this world is hard, but quit staring at your feet! That was yesterday's message! 


Look upward.


Look forward. 


Yes, that was yesterday's message. And it's today's message too! We don't have to grieve just like the rest of this shoe-gazing world -- pigeon-toed and grinding our toes in the dirt. 


That's precisely what the Apostle says in today's  verse -- "Don't be uninformed and grieve like the rest. Rather focus on the best!" 


Focus upward. 


Focus forward. 


Death does not have the final world. 


Indeed, death is the gate to victory!


Yes, we'll still grieve. This world is hard and the Apostle admits precisely that. He's saying essentially, "Of course you'll grieve. I just don't want you to grieve like the rest of the world that has no hope." 


It's what everyone who grieves a major loss eventually tells me: "I don't know how people do it without God/faith/hope/the church."


Hope has the power to transform us. So keep focusing upward. And forward. 


In Christ's Love,

a guy who's traded in

his little boy shoes

that used to bashfully

dig at the dirt


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dev: Nov 18 - Titus 2:13

we wait for the blessed hope –

the appearing of the glory

of our great God and Savior,

Jesus Christ

Titus 2:13

We're still looking for a full and rich Christian definition of hope. (Indeed, I trust that “hope” is big and richer than any simple catch-phrases we can come up, don't you think? Indeed, hope is probably as big as God himself!)

And what today's passage tells us is that hope is in the future. 

Now … that's probably no big surprise to anyone. (Duh! Right?) We all know that we don't hope backward! We can't say, for example, that we hope that when we wake up tomorrow that the past will have changed and that Hitler didn't kill six million Jews after all. I certainly free to wish many things didn't happen in the past. But wanting to change the past is not hope. 


The past, of course, is past. Hope points instead to changed future, a better future. True hope points, as we said yesterday, to God's plans, God's promises, God's future. 


So what is God's future?

Today's verse doesn't tell what's ahead for you tomorrow. It tells what's ahead for you in ten thousand tomorrows. It is saying, "there will come a day when Christ will appear in glory."


And that's our ultimate hope. (Say that with me: Ultimate Hope.)


Yes, I can and should hope for God's will to occur 24 hours from now. God desires to bless his children. Daily! And yet God has also given us free will. 


·         Therefore, unless Christ comes tonight like a thief in the night, tomorrow you and I will sin, and we will reject God's loving desire for us. 

·         Tomorrow someone will also sin against you and they will stall God's loving desire for your life.

·         There will be wars and rumors of wars. Why? Because of free will ... and its twin, called sin. 

·         Tomorrow loved ones will die. Why? Because death is the inevitable consequence of our free will and our rebellion. 


Can I hope that all this pain goes away? Sure … but only if you use a secular definition of hope (as in: a wish). A Christian definition of hope, however, aligns with God's purposes, and our free will is obviously a high enough value in God's kingdom that a) he allows free will and rebellion and b) he loves us enough to come and die to set us free from the consequences that our free will and rebellion wreak. 


So ... can I hope that all this pain goes away? Well ... let me revise my last answer. Yes, you can hope -- indeed, you can be confident -- that all this pain will go away! When? When our Savior appears in glory!


There will come a time when the Lord will wipe every tear from our eyes. As it says in Revelation 21, there will be a glorious day when death will be no more, when mourning and crying and pain will be no more. 


That's what we long for. 


That's what we hope for. 


Day-by-day, we'll occasionally get glimpses of heaven on earth. But because of sin, we'll get glimpses of hell on earth too. When persecutions come, when loved ones are dying, when the battlefront nears your door (which it is for Christians in ISIS ravaged territory today), will you hope for earthly solutions? (Of course!) But when those earthly solutions don't seem to arrive frequently enough on this sin-stained planet, will you choose to start hoping for something bigger? 


Hope is pointing forward (not backward). It is trusting that no matter what this world throws at us, God has a plan to bless us in the end. And until we adopt that ultimate hope, we will inevitably face times when we're unable to face the present. 


In Christ's Love,

a guy whose life changed

when he adopted the outlook

that it's always a good day

to go to heaven

(when a friend taught this to me,

suddenly I quit worrying as much)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dev: Nov 17 - Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is being sure

of what we hope for and

certain of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

So what is hope? 

It could be said -- and rightly so -- that today's verse is about faith (and on another day, we can talk about what this powerful verse teaches us about faith). But today, let's focus on what this verse teaches us about hope.

According to secular definitions, hope is a feeling, an expectation, a desire for some potential thing to happen. 

In secular terms, hope is almost an adventure in possibilities and impossibilities. It is wishing for something that is not to become something that is. 

Biblical hope is something different. Today's verse uses two different words to describe faith and hope. It speaks of "being sure." 


It earthly, worldly terms, I can hope that something might occur, but I can't be sure. Spiritually, however, I can be certain that all things are possible with God. 


Let me say that a different way, because this is important … "Being sure" doesn't mean that I'm confident that my every wish will occur. Of course not! Rather, it means I can "be sure" that God can (and will) make happen what truly needs to happen. Thus our godly desires can always be a reality with God.


Therefore … Christian hope is not hoping is not that our own wishes come true. Rather, we're hoping that our desires begin to align with God's desires. (Read that last sentence again and again until it begins to sink in.) When we begin to desire what God desires, that is when we can begin to "be sure" that all things will work together for good for those who love God.


Does that make sense? Christian hope is not hoping for our own wishes and desires. It's hoping that we begin to align ourselves with God's desires. Thus, Christian hope is the end of "my will be done," and it is, rather, hoping for "thy will be done."


With God, I'm not relying on coincidence. And that’s why is can “be sure.”


My hope doesn't change God. Rather, when I align my heart to God, my hope changes me.


In Christ's Love,

a guy who hopes

to hope

what God hopes

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dev: Nov 16 - 1 Chronicles 29:15

For we are aliens and transients

before you, as were all our ancestors;

our days on the earth are like a shadow,

and there is no hope.

1 Chronicles 29:15


I've been fascinated by how this word hope is used chronologically at the beginning of the Bible. 


·         It's used first in Ruth 1:12, with Naomi saying sadly that there is "[no] hope for me." (She's looking hopelessly for earthly solutions, rather than hopefully up to the Lord.)


·         The second time that "hope" occurs is in 2 Kings 6:33 when the king of Israel implies that he used hope in the Lord, but with all the trials on earth, "why should I hope in the Lord any longer?” (He too is looking hopelessly for earthly solutions, rather than hopefully up to the Lord.)

·         The third occurrence, 1 Chronicles 29:15, sounds utterly hopeless too. Looking down at this things of this earth, King David says, "For we are aliens and transients before you ... Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope."

Here’s the context … David's days are numbered. He was the transient shadow who was about to pass away (and pass the mantle of leadership to his son Solomon). Are his concluding words, "There is no hope"?

Only if he was only looking down!


David, you see, was also looking up. For those of us who have the tendency to look earthwardwe’ll all get to come the realization of this verse: "15 For we are aliens and transients before you ... Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope." That in a sense is our truth, our reality. 


But David also surrounds this sentence with words that draw his listeners (including us) upward, instead of down. 


He points heavenward and sings, "10 Blessed are you, O Lord ... 11 Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty ... 12 Riches and honor come from you ... In your hand are power and might." 


And then, because he's still looking up, King David then turns humble, “14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to make this freewill offering? For all things come from you ...” And that’s where our verse for today fits in. “14 Who am I … 15 we are [but] aliens and transients before you ... our days on the earth are like a shadow, and [on our own] there is no hope. 16 [But] Lord our God, all this abundance ... comes from your hand and is all your own."


Do you see the humble power in David's prayer? Do you see the source of hope? On our own, we are but transient shadows. But hope comes from looking up!


It comes from praising.


It comes from trusting.


It comes from recognizing God's pattern of care and blessing throughout our lives in past times … and applying that to today in trust and hope. 

In Christ's Love,

a guy who wants to

finish this devotion like

David finished this prayer:

"17 I know, my God, that

you search the heart, and

take pleasure in uprightness ...

18 Lord ... direct ... forever

... the hearts of your people

... toward you.