Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgments are like the great deep;
you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
Shepherds spent an incredible amount of time with their sheep. The shepherd’s voice led the sheep to food. Their voice called out for those sheep who had wondered off. It was the shepherd’s voice that kept the flock together so that they would be safe from danger. The shepherds almost never left their flocks, except when they would secure them in pens, often with other flocks of sheep. When the shepherd opened the gate to the pen and called their sheep, their flock would follow. Jesus understood the relationship between a shepherded and the sheep…
Bruce Bochy was the skipper of the San Francisco Giants for the 2012 Major League Season. Like all baseball seasons, it was a long one. The Giants played 162 regular season games that year. They played an additional 16 games in the post season (178 total). They traveled from coast to coast on multiple occasions. It was a grueling schedule that took its toll on the team. By October, the team was tired from the long and difficult season. Thankfully, they did not run out of gas before they made it to the World Series that year. Bruce Bochy’s club swept the Detroit Tigers in four games to win their second World Series in three years. This was an accomplishment worthy of celebration! On October 31st people from all over lined a two-mile parade route to cheer the champions. Players, coaches, and owners were driven down the parade route in convertible cars so they could celebrate with their fans. It was during this parade that the unexpected happened…
The desire to connect with God can be a deep source of stress in our lives. We struggle to know that God is close. We worry that we are unable to connect because of our own shortcomings. We look for new ways to connect, but the truth is God is with us. In Matthew 11, Jesus encounters the disciples of John the Baptist. It is immediately following John’s arrest. They bring Jesus questions from John, and Jesus praises him. He then sends answers back to John…
Have you ever been awake at night, worried about something that might happen the next day or the next week? Have you ever been exhausted from worry, unable to fully control a situation? Worry is an all-too-common phenomena that causes fear, loss of productivity, and exhaustion, among other things. Jesus understood the pain that worry can cause a person in life…
Most of us have travel stories to tell. Most of my stories involve my kids when they were growing up and we would take summer vacations together. I remember one trip when my youngest girls were maybe ten. The first leg of the trip took us to Kansas City where we took the kids to Worlds of Fun and a Royals baseball game. It was lots of fun. My wife, Kelly and I had just married, and we had actually used part of a wedding gift certificate to buy the girls some new pillows. We took them on the trip figuring the girls could enjoy them instead of some of the rock-hard pillows in certain hotels. After a few days, we left Kansas City and headed to Branson for some time on the water at Table Rock Lake. When we got to our lodging at Branson, we quickly noticed the pillows were nowhere to be found…
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
The Story of Cain and Abel is filled with daily struggles. Both Cain and Abel work hard. They wanted to please God. Cain especially struggled with anger, jealousy and selfishness. Cain worked in the fields, growing crops. Able managed animals, working hard to increase his flocks. Each understood that giving a portion of their crops or flocks to God was the right thing to do. After Cain’s crops had been harvested, he brought a small offering to God. Around the same time, Abel selected “Fat portions from the firstborn of his flock.” Abel’s offering pleased God, but Cain’s offering did not find favor with God. Cain made several decisions that led to the tragedy of the death of his brother. Most notably, Cain forgot his duty to others.
For most of us, time at the lake is a relaxing getaway from the business of life. For Peter, the lake was life. He was a fisherman who grew up on the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Most likely he learned his trade from his father. He spent his days and nights fishing and selling fish to the community. The lake was work for Peter. The lake was the only life Peter had ever really known. When Jesus approached Peter, and his brother Andrew, his invitation to follow would truly disrupt their lives…