Radiant Devotionals

 

1 Corinthians 13

3/27/2020

As part of our response to this season of not gathering and in an attempt to further exhort and encourage discipleship, we would like you to join us in reading scripture “together”.

We are going to be sharing scripture verses in the coming weeks and we would like you all to be reading along with us. We want to encourage families to come under God’s Word together by reading and discussing these scriptures.

We plan on posting some questions to help facilitate some of these discussions, but we encourage you to dig deeper and facilitate conversations within your homes and/or over electronic communication.

To start us off, the first scripture we’d like everyone to be reading is 1 Corinthians 13. Yup, the “love” chapter. As an act of repentance, my wife and I are really seeking to not be angry with our kids. They imitate and reflect what they see and as such, are as big of jerks as we are! So, we are striving to learn and teach what love really looks like through these scripture verses.

As you read and pray, together or individually, here are some points and questions to meditate and reflect on:

– Break down each quality of love (i.e. What does it mean it be patient? What does it mean to not be irritable or resentful?) and ask what do they each mean and look like.

– Ask each other, what was significant?

– Reflect on and then confess anything you need to repent in in order to truly reflect these qualities.

As always, your elders are praying over you. Seek Christ, and He will make you radiant.

In Christ,

Kristjan Johnson

Psalm 91

3/25/2020

These are pretty scary times we’re living right now. This pandemic is spreading pretty quickly throughout the world community, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon. New York added just over 4,000 new cases today. Local, state, national, and global economies have all been crippled…except, of course, the toilet paper industry. People are dying. Every day, the death toll climbs higher and higher. Initially, what we thought was the common cold on steroids, has become a very real, very dangerous threat. But God’s people have faced threats before.

As April and I were talking the other day, we started talking about her favorite Psalm; Psalm 91. There is hope in the midst of all this chaos and uncertainty. God is on the side of his people. There are several places in the Bible where we get to see God directly interact with his people. When he tells Abraham “Come away with me,” and Abraham follows, we have the privilege of watching Abraham and God interact as friends. And we get to see God stand as Abraham’s protector and comforter.

Then there’s the story of Moses. Sometimes terrifying, always comforting, the view we get of God and Moses’s relatioship is one of beauty and intimacy. We get to see the power of intercessory prayer as Moses intercedes with God for the sake of the Church (Israel). Then we have the prophets. Book after book of the prophets are filled with God’s direct communication with his people. The point is this: God wants to be known. But it’s not enough for him to simply be known, afterall, even sinners know him, according to Romans 1, by the testimony of nature. It’s not enough simply to know he exists, but as Hebrews says, but to believe “that he rewards those who seek him.” (Heb 11:6)

All this coalesces in Psalm 91. In this Psalm, we have direct communication from God to his people, we have interaction between earth and heaven. We have a vivid self-disclosure of God. Not only does he want to be known, not only does he want to be known as a rewarder, but he wants to be known as more. Why? Because knowing him fully is our greatest good.

There are three observations I’d like us to make as we read this text. First, observe the posture of the author (Psalm 91:1-2). He names the Lord “The Most High,” inferring his own lowliness. He also names Him “The Almighty,” inferring his own weakness. Finally, the author claims God as his own refuge. He moves from telling people about God to believing his own message. Years later, Jesus comes on the scene and says “Abide in me.” Here we have “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” So the author’s posture here is really one of desperation. His very survival depends on abiding in God. What is your posture?

Next, observe the protection of God (Psalm 91:4-13). How is it described? Another name that we often forget to ascribe to God is that of Warrior. “The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.” (Exodus 15:3) God martials the hosts of heaven for the protection of his people. “He will command his angels concerning you.” So for us, God is a man of war. But this Psalm goes beyond that description. It is common knowledge in the Church that God is our Father, but here, the author makes God our Mother. The picture of a mother bird covering her babies with her wings, to hide them, to shelter them, to warm them, to comfort them.

Finally, observe the promises of God (Psalm 91:14-16). Here’s where we get direct communication from God to us. Since the “word of God is living” (Heb 4:12), this speaks to us now. This is a Divine message to us today, as real a conversation to us as it was to the author. Because we have claimed God as our refuge, because we have sought to “dwell in the shelter of the Most High,” God responds to us this way, “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him.” (Psalm 91:14)

God is unquestionably, unshakably for us. And we might get sick. “Should I receive good at the hand of God and not evil?” (Job 2:10) But as we recognize that all things pass through the sovereign hand of God, according to this Psalm, a conversation preserved for us, a direct conversation with the Most High, he has martialed the host of heaven concerning us, and ultimately bought us with the blood of his Son. And if Jesus calls us to abide in him, and since nobody can take us out of the Father’s hand, we remain secure “in the shadow of the Almighty.” Again, we may get sick, but “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him.”

Discussion:

  1. How do you think Jesus would have summed up this Psalm?
  2. How can we respond to the current crisis with this Psalm?
  3. How does this Psalm equip us to love our neighbors?

Encouragement:

I’m a huge fan of Shane and Shane, and as I was putting this together, I remembered two songs of theirs that serve to reinforce this Psalm. I’ve provided the links below.

Psalm 91: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9JfJw6Wf-4

Be Near: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4VgDdgfJgU

In Christ,

Caleb Larsen