Matthew 21:12-17 – An Angry Jesus

Read Matthew 21:12-17

The steeple of Emanuel African Methodist Church, Charleston, SC

Have you ever arrived home only to find your dog had chewed up the couch or destroyed your favorite pair of shoes? We’ve all seen pictures of children covered in flour sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor or having made a clown face on their younger sibling with mom’s favorite lipstick. What would be your reaction to the unexpected?

Perhaps you could keep your cool. Perhaps you would blow up in anger. In today’s reading Jesus made his way to the temple. That’s nothing particularly surprising. However, when Jesus saw how the Temple had been transformed into something he was not expecting, he came unglued. Jesus got mad. You might say he had a bit of a tantrum.

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Hebrews 9:1-10 – Worship Traditions

Read Hebrews 9:1-10

It’s good to see where our worship practices began. It helps to understand why certain pieces of furniture are placed in churches where they are. But we also realize these are from the “first covenant.” We have been reading about the New Covenant God has with his people. The traditions ascribed to the first covenant can thereby be set aside.

Are you like me, asking, “Where is the Ark of the Covenant now?” After a brief discussion with Bible scholar husband, David, I learned there isn’t a concrete answer. One would assume that when the temple was demolished by the Babylons the Ark was also destroyed. One could also speculate that a high priest of the time had the Ark hidden and preserved. There is no mention of the Ark in Scripture after the temple was destroyed. As you know, the temple was rebuilt only to be destroyed again after the time of Jesus. It has never been rebuilt although some Jews hold on to that hope. Continue reading “Hebrews 9:1-10 – Worship Traditions”

Psalm 138 – Assurance

Read Psalm 138

When I read this psalm, I told myself that I wanted to see if I could sum it up in one word for the title. Assurance is what came to me in an instant. Read the psalm again and write in the comments what word came to your mind.

David is giving us a great example of how we praise and bless our God. With thanks, singing praise, bowing down, prayer. When is the last time you bowed down or got on your knees during your time with God?

There are some really great worship songs that talk of that total surrender. Here’s one of my favorites. Click here.

We can boldly come before our God knowing he is there and listening. He deserves our undivided attention.  How do you get yourself to a place of such reverence? Does it take a while to feel connected and as one with your Savior?

Let’s take a look at using David’s example here in this psalm as our prayer outline or guide. We start out by giving thanks. Coming with a grateful heart is always pleasing to God. Bow down, kneel, sing praise, pray, whatever it takes to close out distractions.

Then, the psalmist looks to others, perhaps this is where we pray for others, use good examples from the faithful to draw us deeper into our admiration.

Finally, once in total communion  with God, affirm God for all the good he has done and is doing in your life. Give him your troubles and concerns. Trust him to make all things right as he sees fit for you.

My favorite verse in this psalm is verse 8. “The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” Take a moment to resonate with that promise and assurance. God will work things out for us. I am confident that even when we take the wrong turn, he is there to help us find a new way. 

Like GPS will redirect and recalculate when you miss a turn, so our God, in an even greater way, helps us get back on track. Have you gotten off track during your life? Do you ever wonder what would have happened if….? Trust that God has given you a beautiful “Plan B”. He has for me!

Let’s pray. Thank you Lord for being there to walk with me. When I take the wrong turn, thank you for finding me and getting me back on course (or helping me chart a new course). I love to sing your praises and lift your name on high. May my life be a shining example of your grace today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 122 – Be Glad

Read Psalm 122

I like how David starts this psalm, I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” He was glad. When is the last time you felt “glad” about something?

David’s heart was so in tune with God. The very thought of going to God’s house, in this case the temple in Jerusalem, made him glad. He was happy to go. Do we have that same excitement about going to worship in our own church? If not, what is holding us back from unleashing pure joy at being in God’s presence?

Did you notice his word choice here, “let us go”, not just “go”. That would seem to infer the privilege of being able to worship our God. That is a freedom we often take for granted. Many people around the world do not have that freedom to be open about their allegiance to Jesus. You may even know someone that is currently hiding their faith. How they must wish they were able to go and worship publicly. That would certainly make them glad.

We often lose sight of what is important. It is not so much the “where” we worship, but it is certainly about the “who”. Who are we worshiping? What does our worship look like? Have we lost that joy that comes with the privilege of being in God’s presence together with other believers? Search your heart today for a true answer to these questions.

Let’s pray. Lord, you are a mighty God. It is such a privilege to know you and sing praise to you. I do get giddy when it’s time to lead worship. To feel your spirit coursing through my veins is a feeling of contentment and joy I can’t put into words. It is the perfect time of communion with you, our hearts are as one. I thank you for letting me have those times and look forward to the next opportunity. I pray for those who do not know you. May my life be such a reflection of you that those lost souls see you and can be rescued by you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.