Devotional on the Psalms

2019 – Belle Starr CoE – Lake Eufaula, OK

Real men sing together
Psalm 63 I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God.
I often picture David as the shepherd boy out tending his sheep in some tranquil pastoral setting. I see him playing his harp and composing songs of praise to God with only a congregation of sheep hearing his music. That, I think, is more myth than fact. I’ve recently read the psalm King David wrote after being confronted with his adultery with Bathsheba. Now, in the 63rd Psalm I find him out in the Judean wilderness, as he and his loyal band is on the run from his enemies. The setting is far from tranquil and his audience is not sheep, but warriors Can’t you imagine this rough and tumble fighting force gathering around the campfire to listen to their fearless leader play the harp and sing his latest composition to them. I think that’s exactly what happened! In this case, David’s song is one of transparent praise to God. He tells the Lord, “I can’t get enough of you,” proclaiming, “God — you’re my God.” As David and his rag-tag army sit around the campfire they sing, not “kum-ba-ya,” but “here I am to worship.” I don’t think I’d want to be the person who wanders into that camp to tell these warriors that it’s kind of sissy to sing such songs, and if I did, I’d probably want to have a current life insurance policy! Seriously, it’s nice to be reminded that real men can really worship.
Take Away: Heartfelt worship can be a very masculine endeavor.

Devotional on Joshua

2014 – Yosemite National Park

Come on guys, be a real man
Joshua 24: As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.
Here’s the most famous thing Joshua says and what a glorious declaration it is. He’s come to a decision and now he’s making a firm commitment to abide by that decision. While Joshua can’t control what others do Joshua knows what he and his family are going to do: they’re going to worship God. I know some might squirm a bit at Joshua’s including his family in his declaration of intent. Our Western culture says, “But Joshua, everyone has to make their own decision — you can’t just unilaterally speak for your family.” The fact of the matter is that, in his culture, he can do just that. He’s the leader of his family, and his worship of God isn’t built around a 21st century reading of John 3:16 anyway. In fact, while I know this concept can be abused, most families need the man of the house to stand up and say, “We’ll worship God.” Fathers and husbands need to show some leadership. Men need to make a commitment and to take action. I doubt that there are many wives who would be offended if their husband showed some of the manly leadership Joshua shows here. “Alright family, I’ve come to a decision: we’re going to worship God.”
Take Away: A man’s influence over his family is powerful.

Devotional on Revelation

The King is coming

Revelation 19: Blessed are those invited to the wedding Supper of the Lamb.

I think I have plenty of male company when I say I’ve always been vaguely uncomfortable with the “bride of the Lamb” language of the New Testament. Men see themselves as, well, “manly” and not as blushing brides. I’ve been helped with this discomfort, at least a bit, by the realization that it’s the Church as a whole that’s described as the bride of Christ, not followers of Jesus as individuals. We aren’t all “brides of Christ.” Together we’re “the bride of Christ.” Obviously, there’s no sexual component here anyway. Here in the latter part of his vision, John sees Jesus riding on a white horse finishing up the judgment of God upon the earth and preparing for the great celebration that’s about to come. His people, the Church, have stood faithful to him and now he’ll be united with them forever. The big feast that has been in the making for all these years is about to take place. Christ is about to claim his Church as a King who comes to claim his throne to the cheers of his loyal subjects. When I think about it this way, I’m reminded that there’s nothing “sissy” about it at all.

Take Away: It’s the Church that’s the bride of Christ and every believer is a part of that great number.