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 Acts

The question for the ages

Acts 16: Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved?

Obviously, the two prisoners are harmless men. They’ve arrived in his European city and made friends with some of the nicest people in town. They like to talk religion and have some unusual ideas, but talking religion and having unusual ideas isn’t especially uncommon or damning. Still, their growing popularity gets the attention of some people who stand for the status quo and some more powerful people in town have decided enough is enough. To teach these outsiders a lesson they’ve been beaten and thrown in jail for the night. Once they’re released they’ll waste no time getting out of town, that’s for sure. Now, bloody and bruised they’re chained up like common criminals. Their behavior, though, isn’t like criminals or even people who’ve been beaten up. They’re singing! The jailer thinks these nice men are probably crazy. Still, there’s something about them that disturbs him to the core. Who is this Jesus they sing about anyway? Suddenly, an earthquake shakes the neighborhood. The jailer runs to the gate of the jail to find it open, swinging on it hinges. He’ll be held accountable for any escapes and surely his prisoners are gone by now. To save himself the public execution he prepares to kill himself and is about to fall on his sword when Paul cries out for him to stop, they’re still there. There’s a second earthquake, this time in the man’s heart. Whatever it is that these two singing prisoners have is what he wants. He asks a question for the ages: Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved?

Take Away: The wonderful thing is that there’s an answer to this question…the answer is “Jesus!”