Category Archives: Devotional Thought

Devotional Thought Inspiration Justice Spiritual Practices What I'm Reading

“I Will Gather Still Others to Those I Have Already Gathered”

Isaiah 56:3-8

The Lord says:

Don’t let the immigrant who has joined with the Lord say,
“The Lord will exclude me from the people.”
And don’t let the eunuch say,
“I’m just a dry tree.”
The Lord says:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
choose what I desire,
and remain loyal to my covenant.
In my temple and courts, I will give them
a monument and a name better than sons and daughters.
I will give to them an enduring name
that won’t be removed.
The immigrants who have joined me,
serving me and loving my name, becoming my servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath without making it impure,
and those who hold fast to my covenant:
I will bring them to my holy mountain,
and bring them joy in my house of prayer.
I will accept their entirely burned offerings and sacrifices on my altar.
My house will be known as a house of prayer for all peoples,
says the Lord God,
who gathers Israel’s outcasts.
I will gather still others to those I have already gathered.

Devotional Thought Inspiration Theology

What If Adam and Eve Never Ate the Apple?

Think about guys...
Think about guys…

     For now, let’s not scrutinize the story. Let’s just accept it as it is. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, ate the fruit they were told not to, and a bunch of consequences issued forth: snakes lost their legs and became hated by people, women will have pain in child birth, the earth will be harsh and harder to farm, etc.

     But what if Adam and Eve never ate the apple? The story makes us imagine this “what if?” What if Adam and Eve lived on in blissful obedience? What if history marched on and no one disobeyed God? When I was kid, I used to imagine that world. I assumed it would be everyone in the Garden of Eden playing nude volleyball forever and ever. Makes sense.

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Devotional Thought Inspiration Music Spiritual Practices

Even the darkness will not be dark to You

Even the darkness will not be dark to you – psalm 139,12

I remember the first time I visited Carlsbad Caverns on a family vacation when I was a child. I remember going through a cave where we were going to experience absolute darkness, not a single photon to illuminate an uneven walkway or possible enemies lying in wait. We entered the sense altering cave. I clenched my dad’s jacket tighter. It was the only thing that I could be sure of in the darkness. Even though I was surrounded by people, holding on to my dad, I couldn’t help but feel worried. The darkness even made me feel — alone.

In Psalm 139, the writer is asking where can we go to get away from God. Where could we go that God’s presence wouldn’t be? If we went to heaven, God was there, if we went to the grave, God was there, if we fled across the sea to the corners of the earth, God’s hand would be there to hold us. Then the writer asks about the darkness. Even if the darkness is thrusted upon us, and we feel the dread and loneliness of the unknown, or even if we choose to hide in the darkness, hoping no one sees our pain or weakness, even then, God will be there. Even the darkness will not be dark to you – means that there is nowhere that God is unwilling to go for us. Even in the darkness, God sees the path out of the cave. Even there God sees us as we truly are, and God chooses to be with us. Know, today, that even when darkness closes in, God is with you, guiding you, loving you, and not afraid to go into the darkness for you.

Peace,

Ric Shewell

Below is a great song by Mike Crawford and His Secret Siblings. The song is Search Me, based on Psalm 139. Check it out and click the graphic to visit their site and listen to more music. Even the Darkness

Christian Culture Church Leadership Devotional Thought Inspiration Spiritual Practices

Christian Living is Like Improv Acting

 Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 12.15.19 PMThe second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND… to me, YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.

(Tina Fey, Bossypants)

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   I love stories. I love hearing about heroes, conflict, growth, redemption, victory, and love. I especially love hearing true stories, stories of peoples’ origins, struggles, and family. Stories are how we understand ourselves. When we describe ourselves to new acquaintances, we don’t describe our dimensions! We tell stories. Stories are how we understand our world, each other, and even things beyond our understanding.

     As Christians, we are a people of a particular story. It has a beginning, middle, and end, filled with dynamic and round read more »