THE CALL | Mark 4:30–32 [ESV]
“With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
PRAYER | Valley of Vision Journeying On
Lord of the cloud and fire,
I am a stranger, with a stranger’s indifference; My hands hold a pilgrim’s staff, My march is Zionward, My eyes are toward the coming of the Lord, My heart is in thy hands without reserve.
Thou hast created it, redeemed it, renewed it, captured it, conquered it.
Keep from it every opposing foe, crush in it every rebel lust, mortify every treacherous passion, annihilate every earthborn desire.
All faculties of my being vibrate to thy touch; I love thee with soul, mind, body, strength, might, spirit, affection, will, desire, intellect, understanding.
Thou art the very perfection of all perfections; All intellect is derived from thee; My scanty rivulets flow from thy unfathomable fountain.
Compared with thee the sun is darkness, all beauty deformity, all wisdom folly, the best goodness faulty.
Thou art worthy of an adoration greater than my dull heart can yield; Invigorate my love that it may rise worthily to thee, tightly entwine itself round thee, be allured by thee.
Then shall my walk be endless praise.
MEDITATION | Jeremiah 29:4–7 [ESV]
“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
SING: Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father
And to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning
Is now and ever shall be world without end
Read Psalm 65
2nd Reading: Psalm 64
(Ps 65:12) "The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy."
I'm writing some of these devotions while on vacation in Disney World. My mother took my family there for a mid-winter vacation. If I had planned better they would have been done in advance, but I actually don't mind being forced to think about Scripture while on vacation.
For the most part, I think that Disney is pretty cool. It is thoroughly secular, with no reference to God, which is disappointing. But, at its best it is a testament to human creativity and determination. Walt Disney cared about the smallest details of the park and that approach to excellence can be inspiring. The illusion of fantasy worlds is so meticulously maintained, that sometimes it is hard to distinguish pretend from real. While walking through the park one night, we were awed by a pink sky sunset. Half jokingly I remarked, "Pretty amazing that Disney can color the sky that way."
The truth about Disney World, and all human creations, is that even at our best we are just rearranging the good things of God's created world. In doing so, we show that we are made in the image of our creator. But we cannot make creation out of nothing, we can only cultivate the stuff that is already there. When human creation is in harmony with God, our efforts help to point us back to the creator.
Psalm 65 has a particular emphasis on God as creator and shows how his created world is meant to direct our attention back to his power, his wisdom, and his creativity. Not only did God design and make it all, he also upholds it by his power. God established the mountains (v. 6.) He governs the chaos of the seas and the chaos of all people (v.7.) Each morning and evening is meant to be a cause for joyous praise (v.8.) God continues to water the earth and uphold his creation (v.9-10.) The pastures, the hills, the meadows and valleys (v.12-13) are full of all kinds of wonderful created things -plants, animals, minerals, etc. Not only do they direct our praise to God, but the creation itself will "shout and sing together for joy (v.13.)" While we can appreciate the excellence of human creativity, God's work of creation not only towers over the best of our human endeavors, his work of creation is the only reason any of it exists to begin with. Let's join with creation in offering praise in celebration of the creator! (Matt Koerber)
The Sacred Harp singing tradition is a form of Christian worship that uses a particular kind of music theory. It emerged as the New World blended poor immigrant and slave cultures together. Originally created to teach illiterate people to read music in New England, it quickly spread across the country and took deep roots in the South. Musically, it breaks a lot of "rules" in traditional Western theory, but it follows the "rule" of the ear. Instead of typical music notation, Sacred Hard uses shape-notes that are easily recognizable and reflect the melodic intuitions of folk music. Over time, worshipers would gather in a square and sing toward one another with the goal to sing as loudly as possible. As one worshiper explained in this documentary, "If you can hear your neighbor singing, you're not singing loud enough!" Sacred Harp is a rich tradition of worship and has greatly influenced modern hymnody with writers like Isaac Watts and Joseph Hart. Our first setting of Psalm 126 uses the tune of Wayfaring Stranger, which captures the sojourning spirit of not just Psalm 126, but all the Psalms of Ascents as well. Here is a performance of the traditional setting of Wayfaring Stranger. At a traditional singing event, singers use a version of solfege to frame the song before singing the lyrics.
FRIDAY-MEMORIZE | Psalm 126
- Spend time memorizing the words of the Psalm as best you can -
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever,
Matthew 9:37–38 [ESV]
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
City Reformed Presbyterian Church
The 90 Days project is a collaborative effort of many church leaders. Matt Koerber and Daniel Snoke have taken lead roles, with others helping to write daily devotionals.