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Posts tagged "Hopelessly Devoted"

Hopelessly Devoted: The Conviction of Things Not Seen (Hebrews Chapter Eleven Verse One)

Hopelessly Devoted: The Conviction of Things Not Seen (Hebrews Chapter Eleven Verse One)

This morning’s devotion was written by David Zahl for The Mockingbird Devotional. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, NASB) When you look at your career, your marriage, your health—do you spend more time thinking about what you don’t have than what you do? Even […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Psalm Chapter Thirty-Four Verse Eighteen

This morning’s devotion was written by David Zahl in The Mockingbird Devotional. (Note, if you haven’t read David’s guest column in The Washington Post from this past weekend, visit here to do so.)

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18, NIV)

There are many, many great songs about broken hearts. One of the greatest has to be Jimmy Ruffin’s 1966 hit, “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?” The record is as close to perfection as pop music can get: a powerful lyric married to an irresistible melody, delivered with feeling in just under three minutes. Pure Motown gold.

The song captures something powerful in its vivid description of brokenheartedness: “I walk in shadows, searching for light, cold and alone, no comfort in sight, hoping and praying for someone to care, always moving and going nowhere”. Most of us can point to a time when these words felt true for us, when we were hurt so badly that we thought we would never heal. The end of a romantic relationship is the most common culprit, but there are plenty of others. The death of a loved one, the disappointment of a dream, even the wrong candidate winning an election—and the list goes on.

Sadly, heartbreaking experiences tend to be definitive. They leave their mark whether we like it or not. I am reminded of a friend who broke up with his college sweetheart almost ten years ago. He confessed to me recently that he still thinks about it every day and wonders if the majority of his subsequent relationships have been an attempt to mitigate that pain. He can’t seem to “get over it” because he cannot mend his own heart.

A broken heart is characterized by need. The psalmist reminds us here that God meets us in that place of need. He does not shun people who have been hurt. He does not reject those who have been rejected or disappoint those who have been disappointed. Thanks be to God, He is close to them and saves them.

Hopelessly Devoted: Nehemiah Chapter Six Verses Eight and Nine

This devotion was written by Simeon Zahl, from The Mockingbird Devotional.

Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.” For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands. (Nehemiah 6:8-9, ESV)

The mind is a master illusionist. It is possible to spend our whole lives shadowboxing with unrealities we have “invented out of our own minds.” Nothing seems more real than the rejection we perceive in an oddly raised eyebrow, an inopportune yawn, the scowl of a stranger. The mind can spin an epic tale of misunderstanding and betrayal out of the smallest and most meaningless experience. In that sense it is immensely creative. But it is a dull sort of creativity, because it so often manufactures the same boring story of our fears, our aspirations, and our anxieties. There is no reality here. “No such things as you say have been done.” Our heart races—“Did she look at me? Or is she avoiding me?”—but only because our minds have fooled our bodies into thinking something real is happening.

True work of our hands is an antidote to such projection. There is freedom in performing the task that has been given each day. The picture of Nehemiah building a very un-illusory wall is a picture of freedom. It is a freedom that can only be granted from without, but it is a true freedom.

Lord, strengthen our hands, and save us from our unrealities.

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Nine Verses Fourteen Through Twenty-Nine

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Nine Verses Fourteen Through Twenty-Nine

This morning’s devotion, “An Honest Prayer for Faith,” was written by Larry Parsley. It’s taken from his new devotional, An Easy Stroll Through a Short Gospel: Meditations on Mark, available through Mockingbird’s online bookstore and Amazon. “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do […]

For Unto [Every Type] Is Born a Savior

For Unto [Every Type] Is Born a Savior

This one comes to us from Clayton Hornback. These days it seems you can throw a rock and hit a self-professed Enneagram guru. For those of you living under a rock, the Enneagram is a personality profile made up of nine different “Types.” Each person’s primary personality falls somewhere from 1 to 9. For the […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Seven Verses Thirty-One to Thirty-Six

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Seven Verses Thirty-One to Thirty-Six

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put […]

Hopelessly Devoted: On Muscular Christianity

Hopelessly Devoted: On Muscular Christianity

Grateful to start the week with this reflection from Alex Chapota: Like many people in ministry, I receive a lot of Christian-related forwards via Facebook and WhatsApp messenger. Friends usually expect me to comment or even forward these messages onward. Plenty of them are insightful and even inspirational. Other times they kick off a debate, […]

Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Chapter One Verse Eighteen

Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Chapter One Verse Eighteen

From The Mockingbird Devotional, today’s entry was written by Matt Johnson. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18, ESV) You’ve heard the spiel. It’s practically a Christian summer camp mantra: you have a […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Chapter Seven Verses One Through Three

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-3, NIV)

I find obedience to this command to be very elusive in my life. It’s tricky, and I can never quite get the hang of it. Sin truly lies waiting to ambush us…and the worst assault is our blindness to what we’re indulging. So often, I find myself judging people before I even realize what I’m doing. In the moment, it just seems like normal assessment and observation. I think I’m seeing the real, flesh-and-blood, image-bearing person…but I’m really viewing a perverted caricature I have created in my mind. For me, that individual’s faults have literally become who they finally are. It’s so unconscious most of the time… Yet sometimes I know what I’m doing but can’t stop…

I’ve heard it said that unbelief is the sin beneath all sins/sinning. I want to argue then that self-justification is the pleasure beneath all pleasures. There is something intoxicating and pacifying about that moment when I look at my neighbor and feel in my heart, ‘I’m glad I’m not like that…’ It’s pacifying, but not satisfying. The only satisfaction we can find is the satisfaction of the law which Jesus accomplished for us.

How do I resolve this tension? I don’t want to judge, but I do. I want to see the real person in front of me, but I can’t. Thanks be to God: Christ incarnate literally embodied and fulfilled ‘judge not’ (see John 8:11). Christ crucified was judged with a harsher measure than we judge one another. You were crucified with Him. You are hidden in Him. You were judged and found innocent…therefore the record of not judging your brother is perpetually and eternally yours. Even while you secretly thank God you are not like others…the Spirit graciously reminds you, you are like His Son.

Hopelessly Devoted: Second Corinthians Chapter One Verse Twenty

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

– 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV)

The Bible declares that “the body of sin has been destroyed…. God has condemned sin in the flesh.” We don’t have to fear the Old Adam anymore…even though we still see and experience his residual phantom manifestations.

Sin has no eternal consequence anymore. Do we still sin? Of course. Do we still wrestle with sin? Yes. Does sin still have mundane experiential implications? Absolutely. But our sure confidence is in the gift of the leading of the Holy Spirit: the verdict of “no condemnation.” By his grace, through faith, we trust that we are clean, we are righteous, we are washed, we are justified…despite what the apparent evidence in our lives says.

Daily life damns us. Life consistently says “failed.” Grace faithfully says “forgiven.” Life always says “no.” God always says “enough”…because He has given us his ultimate and eternal “yes” in Jesus.

Hopelessly Devoted: James Chapter One Verse Nineteen

Hopelessly Devoted: James Chapter One Verse Nineteen

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” – James 1:19 (NIV)   In the verse we are considering this morning, we don’t ultimately have a prescription of how we must live, but rather a description of whom God has made […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Seven Verses Fourteen Through Fifteen and Verses Twenty-One Through Twenty-Three

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Seven Verses Fourteen Through Fifteen and Verses Twenty-One Through Twenty-Three

This morning’s devotion was written by Todd Brewer.  Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them… For it is from within, out of a […]