Scared Spaces – October 1, 2020

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. [7The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.] —Revelation 21:5-6 [7]

Excerpts of a sermon by Charles Spurgeon on Revelation 21:5 delivered on January 1, 1885

•    HOW PLEASED WE ARE with that which is new! Our children’s eyes sparkle when we talk of giving them a toy or a book which is called new; for our short-lived human nature loves that which has lately come, and is therefore like our own fleeting selves. In this respect, we are all children, for we eagerly demand the news of the day, and are all too apt to rush after the “many inventions” of the hour.

•    We ought not, as men in Christ Jesus, to be carried away by a childish love of novelty, for we worship a God who is ever the same, and of whose years there is no end. In some matters “the old is better.” There are certain things which are already so truly new, that to change them for anything else would be to lose old gold for new dross. The old, old gospel is the newest thing in the world; in its very essence it is forever good news. In the things of God the old is ever new, and if any man brings forward that which seems to be new doctrine and new truth, it is soon perceived that the new dogma is only worn-out heresy dexterously repaired, and the discovery in theology is the digging up of a carcass of error which had better have been left to rot in oblivion. In the great matter of truth and godliness, we may safely say, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

•    Yet, hope springs up at the first sound of such words as these from the lips of our risen and reigning Lord: “Behold, I make all things new.” It is fit that things so outworn and defiled should be laid aside, and better things fill their places.

•    If Jesus has not made us new already, let the new year cause us to think about the great and needful change of conversion; and if our Lord has begun to make us new, and we have somewhat entered into the new world wherein dwells righteousness, let us be persuaded by the season to press forward into the center of his new creation, that we may feel to the full all the power of his grace.

•    The words he speaks to us are truly divine. Listen,—”Behold, I make.” Who is the great I? Who but the eternal Son of God? “Behold, I make.” Who can make but God, the Maker of heaven and earth? It is his high prerogative to make and to destroy. “Behold, I make all things.” What a range of creating power is here! Nothing stands outside of that all-surrounding circle. “Behold, I make all things new.” What a splendor of almighty goodness shines out upon our souls! Lord, let us enter into this new universe of yours. Let us be new-created with the “all things.” In us also may men behold the marvels of your renewing love.

•    That near and dear relationship which is manifested in adoption and regeneration, binds the child of God to the great Father’s heart in such a way that he will never cast him off, nor suffer him to perish. I rejoice in the fact that we are no longer bond-slaves but sons. “Behold,” says Christ, “I make all things new.”

•    There has also been wrought in us by the work of the Holy Spirit a new life, with all the new feelings, and new desires, and new works which go therewith. The tree is made new, and the fruits are new in consequence. That same Spirit of God who taught us that we were ruined in our old estate, led us gently by the hand till we came to the New Covenant promise and looked to Jesus, and saw in him the full atonement for sin. Happy discovery for us; it was the kindling of new life in us. From the moment that we trusted in Jesus, a new life darted into our spirit. I am not going to say which is first, the new birth, or faith, or repentance. Nobody can tell which spoke of a wheel moves first; it moves as a whole. The moment the divine life comes into the heart we believe: the moment we believe the eternal life is there. We repent because we believe, and believe while we repent. The life that we live in the flesh is no longer according to the lusts of the world, but we live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us.

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. Do you doubt you are being made new in Christ Jesus? (vs. 5)
  2. Are you thirsty for Him? (vs. 6)
  3. Do you have the heritage referred to in this passage? (vs. 7)
    Come just as you are–turn today to Jesus, look to Him, believe Him, and He will make you new and fill you with the living water of the Holy Spirit; and all of the promises of God will be yours as His child in Christ Jesus.

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces – September 30, 2020

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”   —Revelation 21:4

The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 8 that the whole creation has been “subjected to futility” (vs 20). Even those who have the “first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly”(vs 23) under this futility. Our bodies groan with sickness and disease. Our eyes overflow with tears. Our souls plunge into mourning. Our hearts heave with pain. Day after day, we groan under the curse of creation and yet—- we do not groan “as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Our Fighter Verse was given to the groaning Bride of Christ so that she might persevere in hope as she awaits her wedding day.
On the night before the Bridegroom was crucified, Jesus makes it clear that the disciples were in for some serious groaning: “you will weep and lament, you will be sorrowful” (John 16:20); “…you have sorrow now” (John 16:21-22); “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).

But Jesus did not leave his disciples without hope. He makes it clear that their groaning would not endure: “you will weep and lament, you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20). “You have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

For all who are in Christ, groaning must ultimately give way to rejoicing; “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy (must) come with the morning” (Psalm 30:5); tears must ultimately cease to flow; pain must ultimately be swallowed up by pleasure, mourning must give way to exultation, death must give way to everlasting life. There is no grief, no pain, no sorrow, and no death that can hold us captive. They must all ultimately yield to the One who wipes away every tear. “The ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10).

By contrast, for those outside of Christ, every joy and every pleasure in this life will ultimately give way to everlasting sorrows in that place of everlasting groaning and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28).

Keeping the joy of Revelation 21:4 before us is the secret to enduring today’s groaning that was taught to us by the “founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Hebrews 12:2). Tears, death, mourning, crying, and pain are passing away. Let us, in hope, behold the day when Christ wipes it all away.

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. Are you “groaning” under the present circumstances of your life? If so, quote Revelation 21:4 and those specific circumstances to the list of what will be “no more” (“neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, nor cancer, nor fractured relationships, nor unemployment, etc.”). Then give thanks to God for the hope He gives us in our groaning.
  2. Consider people you know who are “groaning” and some practical ways you can groan with them and encourage those who are groaning?
  3. Where else in the Bible do we find Revelation 21:4 hope that reminds us that present troubles must give way to future joy?
    What do you most look forward to about God dwelling with us? How does that hope sustain you in the midst of hard times?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces – September 29, 2020

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” —Revelation 21:3

With.

It’s such a short, yet powerful word that kindles some of the deepest emotions of the human heart.

An engaged couple eagerly counts down the days until they can be “with” each other at last. A soldier fights against all odds in the hope he can get home to be “with” his family again. A grandmother longs for the next time she can be “with” her grandkids.

When we talk about being “with” someone, there are really two aspects to what we mean: presence and relationship. We use that word, “with,” to communicate both ideas. To want to be “with” someone, on one hand, means simply to want to be where they are, to be around them and enjoy their company. On the other hand, it can mean to be connected to someone in relationship, like when we say, “She’s best friends with her,” or when the celebrity tells the security guard, “He’s with me.”

We see both of these elements of “with-ness” in Revelation 21:3. There, the voice from the throne proclaims that God will be “with” his people in both senses of the word. We will forever enjoy both the glory of his presence and the goodness of relationship with him.

What makes this reality so stunning is that this “with-ness” is the merciful reversal of our former situation. See, while we were created to be in God’s presence, one of the tragic consequences of our sin was that God could no longer dwell “with” us. Isaiah 59:2 says, “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.” Were God to dwell “with” us, his holiness would consume us because of our sin.

But our separation wasn’t only spatial; it was also relational. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:12 that we were “separated from Christ…having no hope and without God in the world.” Let the bleakness of that statement land on you. We were without God. He was not our God, and we were not his people. God was not “with” us in either sense of the word.

But the bleakness of that word “without” only serves to heighten the beauty of the word “with” in our verse. Because in order for us to get to the “with” of Revelation 21:3, Jesus came to dwell “with” us as a man. And not merely to dwell with us; he also died for us. When Jesus died for us, our sins were nailed to the tree and we were crucified “with” him (Gal. 2:20), we were raised “with” him (Col. 3:1), and made alive “with” him (Eph. 2:5).

That’s what makes Revelation 21:3 so glorious. Because of Jesus, God can and will one day dwell “with” us! We will finally be “with” the One our souls long for, and in his presence we’ll find fullness of joy. He will be “with” us as our God, and we’ll be “with” him as his people.

So this Christmas let us celebrate the coming of Immanuel, “God with us,” and long for the day when he comes again to be finally and fully “with” us!

 

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. What do you most look forward to about God dwelling with us? How does that hope sustain you in the midst of hard times?
  2. How does it encourage you to remember that God is with us even now by his Spirit? What difference does that truth make in your day-to-day life?
  3. What can you do this Advent season to stir up deeper longing in your heart for the Second Advent when God comes to dwell with us? How can you seek to tell others about this hope?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces- September 23, 2020

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. —1 Corinthians 15:51-52

There are many reasons that evil exists in the world. This post is not an extensive unpacking of all of those reasons though. This post centers around one question: does evil lead you to despair or to hope? When I say “evil,” I’m talking about the curse of sin that has affected everything. Everything bad in this world is a result of the curse of sin. Thousands of people die each day because of this curse.

Disability and disease are everywhere. Violence is commonplace. There is relational strife. Work is hard, and not always enjoyable. Our bodies get old and worn out. All of these things happen – not as a direct result of sin in every case – but because sin came into the world. But one thing that is sure and steady for the believer is hope. And what is our hope? 1 Corinthians 15:51-52:

“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall
all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last
trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised
imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

Our hope is this: everything that is broken now will be fixed in heaven. There is coming a day when everything that was once impacted by the curse of sin will be made new and perfect. All the violence, pain, and sin will become but a memory. One book earlier, in the epistle of Romans, Paul makes a connection for us between our suffering and our hope in Romans 8:22-25:

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the
pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we
ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as
we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For
who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we
wait for it with patience.”

Suffering exists, not that we would despair, but that we would hope.

Hope reminds us that the brokenness of this life is temporary, and there is coming a day when it will be no more. Now, we’re back at our original question: does evil (the curse of sin) lead you to despair or to hope? An earthly mindset might be given to despair, but a heavenly mindset will see through the pain to a hope-filled future.

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. Do you long for heaven? If not, what keeps you from longing for heaven?
  2. Where do you tend to look for hope apart from the hope of heaven? Have you found lasting hope there? Why or why not?
  3. How will you suffer differently if you are hoping in heaven versus if you are hoping elsewhere?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

 

 

Sacred Spaces- September 22, 2020

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

…he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. —1 John 4:4 

As a follower of Jesus Christ, God Himself takes up residence in you. You have nothing to fear for the One who is all powerful, all wise, and understands everything, is with you and in you. But let’s look for a moment at what it says before and after this part of the verse that we are memorizing this week.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.  —1 John 4:1-6 

There are many spirits in this world and they speak through people, in books and media. They expose us to ideas, thoughts, and beliefs that cause us to think things or even believe things that are not the TRUTH. Just because a spirit speaks to us, should we believe what it says? We are to test the spirits to see first and foremost where this spirit is from. According to this text, there is one test that must be asked to see if the words are from God. That question is, “What does it say about Jesus?”  The answer that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is indeed from God.

Should we fear these spirits that bring deception and lies? No! If you have confessed Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead on the third day and that He is seated in the heavenly place at the right hand of God the Father, then you have OVERCOME the spirits of the world and He, the Spirit of the Living God, has taken up residence in you–HE is GREATER than he who is in the world.

Because of Jesus’ work on the cross and in us, we can confidently say that we are from God and we have fellowship with others who are from God.

But this verse is not primarily about us. It is about God. He who is in us is the One who is greater. The focus is not on us but on Him, the truly “Greater One.”  There is no substitute for our God. He is the awesome One, there is no one who compares to Him. He is God and there is no other. He is the One that has all power over the one who takes up residence in this world. We have nothing to fear when we remember who God is and that He is in us.

This world is sometimes very confusing. But this world is temporary and we are only passing through it. The One who is in us is the Eternal One and He will win the final battle. So even when people won’t listen to us, someday they will know that what we have said about Jesus is true and He is greater than the one they chose to follow. Our prayer is that they, our friends and our enemies, will come to realize that there are opposing spirits in the world trying to get their attention, but there is One greater who is from God and secures our victory. May they come to know the Greater One that can live in them and is the Spirit of Truth.

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

1. If He who is in us is truly greater than he that is in this world what do we have to fear?
2. Name some of the great characteristics of our God. Write them down on a piece of paper or a card and post it on your refrigerator, or carry it with you today.

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

 

 

Weekend Worship- September 20, 2020 / Culto de fin de semana- 20 de septiembre de 2020

Scripture Reading/Lectura bíblica:  Philippians 1:21-30 / Filipenses 1:21-30

27 Pase lo que pase, compórtense de una manera digna del evangelio de Cristo. De este modo, ya sea que vaya a verlos o que, estando ausente, solo tenga noticias de ustedes, sabré que siguen firmes en un mismo propósito, luchando unánimes por la fe del evangelio 28 y sin temor alguno a sus adversarios, lo cual es para ellos señal de destrucción. Para ustedes, en cambio, es señal de salvación, y esto proviene de Dios. 29 Porque a ustedes se les ha concedido no solo creer en Cristo, sino también sufrir por él, 30 pues sostienen la misma lucha que antes me vieron sostener, y que ahora saben que sigo sosteniendo.

Confession/Confesión:

We search for joy and meaning in our world. We look for it in our careers, our social circles, and along many of our paths in life. But these things are often fleeting, and our search is unsustainable. God forgive us for not seeking Your kingdom first. Remove those blinders that prevent us from seeing what You are doing in the world and in our lives. Help us to have our eyes focused only on You. May we seek the ultimate treasure which is Your salvation. Help us to trust that we are a forgiven people, who find joy in the assurance that we are Yours. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

Buscamos alegría y significado en nuestro mundo. Lo buscamos en nuestras carreras, en nuestros círculos sociales y en muchos de nuestros caminos en la vida. Pero estas cosas suelen ser fugaces y nuestra búsqueda es insostenible. Dios perdónanos por no buscar tu reino primero. Quita esas anteojeras que nos impiden ver lo que estás haciendo en el mundo y en nuestras vidas. Ayúdanos a tener nuestros ojos enfocados solo en ti. Que busquemos el tesoro supremo que es Tu salvación. Ayúdanos a confiar en que somos un pueblo perdonado, que encontramos gozo en la seguridad de que somos Tuyos. En el Nombre de Jesús oramos, Amén.

Pause for 2 Minutes of Silence/ Pausa por 2 minutos de silencio

 

 

 

A43: The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (2020) from A Sermon for Every Sunday on Vimeo.

 

Pause for 1 Minute of Silence/ Pausa por 1 minuto de silencio

The Our Father (slowly pray this)/El Padre Nuestro (reza lentamente esto)

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino, Hágase tu voluntad en la tierra, como en el cielo. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día. Y perdona nuestras ofensas, como perdonamos a los que nos ofenden. Y no nos dejes caer en la tentación, sino líbranos del maligno. Para ti es el reino, el poder y la gloria para siempre, Amén.

Espacios Sagrados 17 de septiembre de 2020

Silencio, quietud y centrado ante Dios (2 minutos)

Lectura bíblica y devocional:

El Salmo 84 fue escrito en un momento en que la morada de Dios con Su pueblo estaba en el templo, planeado por el rey David, construido por Salomón, el hijo de David, y ubicado en la ciudad de Jerusalén. El Templo de Salomón fue el centro de la vida espiritual de la nación de Israel y todos los seguidores de Jehová.

El templo era una estructura espectacular de hecho, pero lo que transformó este edificio hecho por el hombre en una potencia sobrenatural fue la gloria de Dios, que llenó el templo después de la oración de dedicación de Salomón.

Tan pronto como Salomón terminó su oración, descendió fuego del cielo y consumió el holocausto y los sacrificios, y la gloria del Señor llenó el templo (2 Crónicas 7: 1).

Al comienzo del Salmo 84, los hijos de Coré están peregrinando a Jerusalén con una canción en la boca. ¿Qué les hizo cantar? ¡El templo y su belleza (Salmo 84: 1)! ¡Seguro que sí! Pero experimentar esa belleza no fue el objetivo de su viaje. Los hijos de Coré cantaron:

Anhela mi alma, sí, desfallece los atrios del SEÑOR; mi corazón y mi carne cantan con gozo al Dios vivo (Salmo 84: 2).

Fue ese anhelo, ese deseo sediento de la presencia de Dios, lo que sostuvo e incluso alimentó su fuerza mientras realizaban su viaje a través del árido Valle de Baca. Cualesquiera que fueran las dificultades de su viaje, fue insignificante porque sabían …

Porque mejor es un día en tus atrios que mil en otros lugares (Salmo 84: 10a).

De verdad … ¿mil? Cogí mi bolígrafo y enumeré algunos de mis mejores días …

los días en que mi esposa dijo “sí” y luego “acepto”
el día en que nació mi primer hijo … y cuatro maravillosos días de adopción después de eso
días preciosos con aquellos que amo que están en la presencia de Jesús en este momento
días felices creciendo en una pequeña granja en el sur de Minnesota con padres increíbles
noches llenas de asombro empapándose de la belleza y la maravilla de las galaxias de arriba
muchos días disfrutando de la belleza de la creación: las majestuosas montañas Rocosas, el Parque Nacional Glacier, el área de canoas de Boundary Waters … y un viaje increíble desde Red Lodge, Montana a través del paso Beartooth hasta la entrada norte del Parque Nacional Yellowstone … solo para nombrar solo un pocos
He tenido algunos días maravillosos … y estoy agradecido con Dios por ellos, sin embargo, este versículo pone esos días en perspectiva. Todos mis mejores días combinados y todos tus mejores días combinados no se compararán con un día en Su presencia.

Se acerca un “único” día y una eternidad en el que experimentaremos

… Las riquezas inconmensurables de su gracia en su bondad para con nosotros en Cristo Jesús (Efesios 2: 7).

Al considerar el pasado glorioso de Dios que habita en el Templo de Salomón y el futuro alucinante de Dios que habita con Su pueblo (Apocalipsis 21: 3), recuerde que somos el templo de Dios debido a la obra suficiente de Jesucristo. . A su muerte, la cortina del templo se rasgó en dos, dándonos acceso directo al Padre a través de Jesús, para que podamos acercarnos con valentía al trono de la gracia.

¡Oh creyente, seamos aquellos de quienes se pueda decir: “Confiamos en el SEÑOR de los ejércitos”!

Porque el SEÑOR Dios es sol y escudo; el SEÑOR concede gracia y honra. No niega nada bueno a los que andan en integridad (Salmo 84:11).

… Mi corazón y mi carne cantan de gozo al Dios vivo (Salmo 84: 2).

Pregunta a considerar: qué palabra o frase se destaca para usted. ¿Qué podría decirte Dios?)

Reflexione sobre la bondad del Señor en sus “mejores” días.
¿Dios es menos bueno en sus días “no tan buenos” o “malos”?
¿Puedes comprender lo que les espera a quienes confían en la suficiencia de Jesús?
¿Estás buscando el trono de la gracia con regularidad?
Lea y considere el Salmo 23: 6, el Salmo 27: 4 y Juan 14: 2-3.

Oración: Concluir con el silencio (5 minutos)

El Padre Nuestro (reza lentamente esto)

Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino, Hágase tu voluntad en la tierra, como en el cielo. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día. Y perdona nuestras ofensas, como perdonamos a los que nos ofenden. Y no nos dejes caer en la tentación, sino líbranos del maligno. Para ti es el reino, el poder y la gloria para siempre, Amén.

Sacred Spaces – September 17, 2020

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. [12O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!] –Psalm 84:10-12

Psalm 84 was written at a time when the dwelling place of God with His people was in the temple—planned for by King David, built by David’s son Solomon, and located in the city of Jerusalem. Solomon’s Temple was the hub of spiritual life for the nation of Israel and all followers of Jehovah.

The Temple was a spectacular structure indeed, but what transformed this man-made building into a supernatural powerhouse was the glory of God, which filled the Temple after Solomon’s prayer of dedication.

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple (2 Chronicles 7:1).

As Psalm 84 opens, the sons of Korah are making their pilgrimage to Jerusalem with a song in their mouths. What caused them to sing? The Temple and its beauty (Psalm 84:1)! For sure it did! But experiencing that beauty was not the point of their journey. The sons of Korah sang,

My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God (Psalm 84:2).

It was that longing, that soul-thirsting desire for the presence of God, which sustained and even fueled their strength as they made their journey through the arid Valley of Baca. Whatever the difficulties of their journey, it was insignificant because they knew…

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere (Psalm 84:10a).

Really…a thousand? I grabbed my pen and listed a few of my top days…

  • the days my wife said “yes,” and then “I do”
  • the day my first son was born…and four wonderful adoption days after that
  • precious days with those I love who are in the presence of Jesus right now
  • joyful days growing up on a small farm in southern Minnesota with incredible parents
  • awed-filled nights soaking in the beauty and wonder of the galaxies above
  • many days enjoying the beauty of creation—the majestic Rocky mountains, Glacier National Park, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area…and an amazing drive from Red Lodge, Montana through the Beartooth Pass into the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park…just to name just a few

I’ve had some great days…and I am thankful to God for them, yet this verse puts those days into perspective. All of my best days combined, and all of your best days combined will not compare to one day in His presence.

A “one” day is coming, and an eternity to follow when we will experience

…the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7).

As you consider the glorious past of God dwelling in Solomon’s Temple, and the mind-blowing future of God dwelling with His people (Revelation 21:3), remember that we are the temple of God because of the all-sufficient work of Jesus Christ. Upon his death, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, giving us direct access to the Father through Jesus, so we can boldly approach the throne of grace.

Oh believer, let us be those of whom it can be said, “We trust in the LORD of hosts”!

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11).

…my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God (Psalm 84:2).

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. Reflect upon the goodness of the Lord in your “best” days.
  2. Is God any less good in your “not-so-good,” or “bad” days?
  3. Can you fathom what is in store for those trusting in the sufficiency of Jesus?
  4. Are you pursuing the throne of grace regularly?
  5. Read and consider Psalm 23:6, Psalm 27:4, and John 14:2-3.

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

 

 

SACRED SPACES – SEPTEMBER 15, 2020

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! —Psalm 79:9

God’s glory is the sum total of all His infinite perfections. God, being who He is and how He is, by necessity, does all that He does for the glory of His glory. Nothing exists that is more glorious than God’s glory, more precious than God’s glory, nor more deserving of love and praise than God in all His glory. So it makes sense that since God is perfect love, God must love perfectly with perfect love that which is perfectly worthy of perfect devotion, namely God’s glory.

It took me a while to understand the necessity of those conclusions and, admittedly, it took me even longer to grasp the application that truth requires: If God honors and loves and does all He does for the furtherance of His glory, then it is His glory, not me and my need, for which God primarily acts. God is not all about me. He is all about His glory. Take that, O proud ego of mine!

But here’s the glory of it. God’s pursuit of His glory includes me; it includes my spiritual and temporal well-being; it includes my joy! God’s satisfaction in His glory expands to include us and make us pursuers of His glory with Him, so that we might share in His satisfaction in His glory.

Which brings us to Psalm 79:9. Israel has been invaded and Jerusalem is in ruins. The invading army laid waste to the citizenry. Many are dead, their bodies left unburied, food for scavengers.
Israel is the butt of international jokes. God’s anger has been poured out on His wayward, covenant-breaking, faithless people. It is at this point Asaph pours out his plea: “Help us, O God
of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!”

The psalmist does not here appeal to God’s love or to His mercy, rather to God’s glory. He appeals to that which is most precious to God and most worthy of God’s attention. He does not base his appeal on himself, his need, his country, or the need of his people. He turns to God, rightly, and pleads for God’s glory. Help us for your glory. Deliver us for your glory. Atone for our sins, for your glory. Inherent in this faithful, desperate prayer is the desire for God to make Himself known as He truly is to those who observe Israel’s plight.

It is right to pray, to intercede for ourselves and for others, but what is the best motive for our requests? God’s glory. It is good to seek the Lord and desire His presence and power in our lives, but to what end? God’s glory! We might be tempted to think that God should act on our behalf on account of His love for us. How much better for us when we arrive at the understanding that there is no greater, nobler, perfect motive for God’s action than God’s glory. When we come to desire what God desires, the earth full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, then we are ready to have our prayers for help, deliverance, and forgiveness answered.

“Our Father, who art in heaven, . . . Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” for your glory.

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  • In this Fighter Verse, the psalmist gives us an example of making God’s glory the focus of his prayer. How would you make God’s glory the focus of your prayers?
  • Does the knowledge of God’s love for His glory change your motivation in loving others and doing good? How?
  • Seeing in Scripture that God acts for the sake of the glory of His name, is your joy and trust in Him increased?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.