Posts tagged ‘Devotions’

September 13, 2012

God the Artist: Creative

“The heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array” (Genesis 2:1).

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

“Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22).

“When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3-4)

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth” (Psalm 19:1-6).

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13-16).

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

I’m kind of an astrophysics geek. I love planets, stars, constellations, galaxies, nebula, novas. One day earlier this year, as I was praising God for His immense creation, I heard Him say, “You are more valuable to me than all of that.”

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September 4, 2012

JEHOVAH

The past month has been a silent month for me. This blog has been silent, my Facebook account has been silent, I’ve been silent at church, and I’ve been silent at work. It has been incredibly liberating. I haven’t had the strain of article deadlines, haven’t had to deliberate whether or  not a status is productive, haven’t immersed myself in busy-ness that I’d falsely convinced myself was for God, haven’t striven for the spotlight at work. I have kind of just been … existing.
At first, scaling back was a real struggle. I wanted to be doing. As I settled down, thought, I began to realize how necessary this time was. Just my Maker and me.

The verse that I have been meditating on during this time is, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Have you ever really thought about that?

God is.

I love this definition: “God can be defined only by being, pure and simple … By concrete being, by absolute being, the ocean of all substantial being, independent of any cause, incapable of change, exceeding all duration, because He is infinite” (Catholic Encyclopedia).
JEHOVAH is God’s highest and holiest name, and it simply means, “I Am.” Often, we attach other titles to it. Titles like Jireh (“Provider”), Rapha (“Healer”), Rohi (“Shepherd”), Elohim (“Mighty One”), and Sabaoth (“Hosts”). In adding these things, important though they may be, we lose sight of the fact that before He is any of these things, God is just is.

A few years ago, I was reading through Ezekiel in my personal devotions and noted 43 variants of the following phrase: “Then they shall know that I am the LORD [JEHOVAH].” It’s a 48 chapter book. In Isaiah chapters 43-45 the name JEHOVAH appears 27 times. I think it must be important.

Think About It:

“You are My witnesses, says the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and beside me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:10-11 NKJV).

July 11, 2012

Enjoying God

How does it all get this way?

I’m tired.  I have zero energy to deal with anything beyond getting up and going to work, and many days, I don’t even feel like doing that.  I feel like a failure because I graduated almost eleven months ago and I still don’t have a job that pays my bills, even though I apply like crazy.  I was a part of an incredible community in college, and let me just tell you dear friends who are still in college, the post-grad road is pretty lonely.  And honestly, I’m slightly angry, because my life is so not going the way I planned. 

I know what you’re going to say (trust me, I’ve heard it before … a bajillion times). I shouldn’t be tired (Gal. 6:9). The joy of the Lord should be my strength (Neh. 8:10). I’m never really alone (Heb. 13:5). And God doesn’t promise me that life is going to go according to my plan (Is. 55:8). Yep, I know.

I think somewhere in the midst of the hustle and bustle of post-grad life, I’ve stopped enjoying.  I’ve stopped enjoying art – if I’m going to see or hear a piece of art, I’m always thinking in terms of FortyOne20 Ministries. I’ve stopped enjoying relationships – it’s hard for me to make time in my schedule for people, and then I feel guilty (and I think reasonably so) because it’s all about the people.  And, *collective gasp* I’ve really stopped enjoying my time with God. (I imagine you’re thinking that’s exactly where I went wrong. I’m not disagreeing).

It’s not just the whole thing where life isn’t going according to my plan, it’s that being obedient to God is (at least in my experience) hard and costly.  There is a song on the radio and part of it goes, “You and I embrace surrender,” and I seriously switch stations every time that comes up because who in the world embraces surrender? (Maybe you do. Good for you).

It happens this way because somewhere along the way I shifted my focus off of Jesus and onto what I want (but don’t have) or don’t want (but do have). The last time this happened to me, I was trying to hold on to what I was afraid to lose, and ended up losing it anyway. For me, the root of depression is either connected to covetousness (that focus on what I don’t have) or fear (a fixation on what I don’t want to lose).

I’ve heard a lot of “spiritual solutions” for depression. I’ve been told my whole life to just get over it, or to just be joyful, or to have a blessings journal (which is great to have regardless, but in this case, it has never really worked for me). BUT the only thing that has ever worked for me is enjoying God. Seriously.

Getting to that point where it’s just me and Him. Where I am dwelling on Him. And that’s the point of the FortyOne20 Ministries Devotions. Once a week I want to take from the overflow of what I’m learning about God and share it with you. It doesn’t specifically pertain to art necessarily, but I just want to be dwelling on God in the midst of article-writing or art-reviewing.

For this week I want to dwell on Jehovah Rapha – which means the Lord who heals, restores, and makes healthful.

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”  Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threwit into the water, and the water became fit to drink. There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test.  He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keepall his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseasesI brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who healsyou.” Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.

~Exodus 15:22-27

Our God is the One who turns bitter waters sweet, and brings us from desert to oasis.

A prayer for this week: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12).