Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: psalm (page 1 of 2)

YouTubevotional: Fair and Square

YouTubevotionals are designed to be used in personal devotion time, with small groups, youth groups, or Sunday school classes. To see other YouTubevotionals, click here

Introduction

We have heard the phrase, “fair and square,” and “cheaters never prosper.” We usually hear them in the context of sports or in education.  Remember playing a pickup game of baseball in the backyard and someone, maybe you, telling your friends that something was “fair and square?”

It can speak to a sense of justice and integrity.

In the Mickey Mouse short below, Mickey is faced with the challenge of cheating (like everyone else) or being faithful to the spirit of fair play.

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Guest Post: Trust in God’s Promise

by Michelle Hettmann

washing_3262c-2Read Psalm 118:19-29.

This past fall, I studied abroad in Lugano, Switzerland, and Adigrat, Ethiopia. I was so blessed to have the opportunity to set foot in over 10 countries and experience glimpses of life in communities all over Europe and parts of eastern Africa. Being abroad was a wonderful experience, but also a challenging one. I was away from my friends and family for four months while they were here doing life together. I felt loneliness and sadness in the midst of the adventure. It was the biggest test of my faith and trust in God that I’ve experienced in my life.

While the experience wasn’t always easy, I experienced God in ways that I probably wouldn’t have if I wasn’t in that situation.

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Guest Post: Finding Silence

by Rev. Deacon Lisa McGehee

washing_3262c-2“Be still and know I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

Animals have an uncanny knack for reading the moods and habits of their human companions. My cat Pippin knows the precise moment when I wake up in the morning. As my eyes open he is jumps on the bed for his morning head rub. His brother Twitter is my quiet-time and reading partner. The more I settle into the quiet, the closer he snuggles beside me. That’s what happens when we enter into silence, we snuggle closer to God and we realize how close God is to us.

The BBC TV series The Big Silence tells the story of 5 people invited to learn how to incorporate silence into their lives. During the nine day retreat the only time they were able to speak out loud was during daily meetings with a spiritual guide and when they created their video log that shared the ups and downs the participants experienced during this extreme introduction to silence.

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Guest Post: One-Upmanship

by Brock Weigel

washing_3262c-2Read Psalm 31: 9-16

“For my life is spent with sorrow and my years with sighing; my strength has failed because of my iniquity, and my body has wasted away.” (Psalm 31: 10)

While playing basketball, the goal is to get the ball through the hoop as many times as possible. When I play, however, that goal is not on my mind. Instead of maneuvering the ball, my goal is one-upping the other team, or showing off for spectators. I care as little for the ball going through the hoop as plugging a lamp into an electrical socket. The task itself seems mundane when you remove the context. My joy in basketball is not in the ball, but in the victory.

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Guest Post: Hope in the Darkness

by Lauren Wright

washing_3262c-2Read Psalm 31:9-16.

When I was in 4th grade, I desperately wanted a guinea pig for Christmas. Being the clever child that I was, I decided that I would name my guinea pig “Hope,” because it was what I “hoped” I got for Christmas. Clearly I didn’t think this through, because I ended up with a male guinea pig named Hope…! At the time, I thought that hope meant wanting something badly. I thought that hope was about wishing and dreaming.

This passage really speaks to the true meanings of hope and trust. The psalmist illustrates the dichotomy of trust and hope with rejection and despair. This passage begins with descriptions of the pain and suffering that the psalmist is facing. Phrases like ‘I am the scorn of my adversaries, the horror of all my neighbors’ speak to this rejection from all in the community, and the isolation and loneliness that follows.

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Guest Post: God’s Love Endures Forever

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By Taylor Sherwood

In middle and high school, youth group was a huge part of my life.  I attended as many bible studies and youth group related activities as I could, and spent countless Sunday evenings in the youth basement forming a close relationship with God while creating memories with some of my best friends at the same time. At the end-of-year youth group picnic my senior year, I remember thinking that things would never be the same. I’m now 26 years old and I often find myself missing those meaningful youth group memories.

Somewhere between high school, college, and becoming an adult, the amount of time I spend with God seems to have steadily decreased since my teenage years. When I reflect on why this has happened, it seems partly due to the increase of responsibilities that come along with being an adult, but also the lack of structure in my schedule. Youth group allowed for me to clear my schedule every week during the same days and times to spend in worship. I finally realized last year that I seem to struggle with committing to bible study courses now as an adult.

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Guest Post: Embodying the Gospel

by Brett Witcher

washing_3262c-2Read John 2:13-22

January 21, 2013 was one of the most difficult days of my life. It was one of those cold, dreary days where all you can see is gray and it feels as if you will never escape the wind that persistently cuts like a knife. Around 11:00am, dressed in my gray suit, I stood—nervous and unsure if I could get through the next few minutes—before a crowd of family and friends and began officiating the funeral of my mentor, my best friend, and my grandpa, J.C. Witcher. It’s difficult to remember exactly what was said as I tried to tell stories that reflected the life of one of the most compassionate people I had ever met. The thing I do remember sharing is the greatest lesson J.C. taught me. While he was devout in practicing the disciplines (especially prayer and reading scripture), the one thing grandpa always embodied was the truth and understanding that to follow the way of Jesus means a continual overturning of tables in our lives, so that our love for God and people can be renewed and deepened again and again. If our rules, customs, and traditions cause us to exclude or fear another person then maybe we need to rethink and redefine the meaning.

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Guest Post: The Song the Song Birds Sing

by Heather Wray

washing_3262c-2Read Psalm 19.

My great grandmother was a woman who loved God’s creation. Once she asked me while we sat in her sunroom eating poptarts, “Heather, do you know what song the birds are singing?” I glanced at the birds outside her window, they were dancing around her feeder and I had no clue what she was asking me. I listened to their noisy chirping and thought my Gee Gee was hearing things.

I looked at her and I answered as intelligently as possible saying “I think they must be talking about their territory or something Gee Gee.” She smiled and placed her hand on mine, “No,” she leaned in closer “no, they’re singing about God and praising him in song.”

Even though creation cannot speak we know that the rocks will cry out in praise to God. The Psalmist tells us “the sky proclaims God’s handiwork,” such a simple idea but I wonder when was the last time you or I marveled at the sky? When was the last time you or I gazed upon the heavens and thanked God for the beauty that is the sun, or the moon, or the stars? When was the last time you or I heard birds chirping and thought they were singing songs of praise?

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Guest Post: “I’m sorry. How Can I Help?”

by Rev. Lyndsie Blakely

washing_3262c-2“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be shamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me for your goodness’ sake, O Lord! Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.” (Psalm 25:1-10)

My two-year-old son has a new favorite show called “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” which is a spin off from “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” It does a fantastic job of teaching morals and life lessons using little jingles that are sung over and over throughout the episode.

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Guest Post: Extend Mercy

By Rev. Jacob Sahms

washing_3262c-2Read Psalm 51:1-7.

Mercy. It’s not a word we hear frequently in today’s society. Judgment? Fairness? Crime and punishment?

Those terms are more comfortable in our black and white worlds. But in Psalm 51, David knows he needs mercy, even though he doesn’t deserve it, because the prophet Nathan pointed it out to him. He couldn’t see his sin on his own, but his ‘friend’ helped him recognize what he had done. In reality, David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed (2 Samuel 11). That’s why he’s here, begging for God to forgive him.

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