{September 6, 2020}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

ROOTED: Encountering God Through Hope

By Grant Houske

Over the course of one week last October, I had the audacity to do all of these things: attend a Chiefs football game, fly to Oregon, stay in a hotel, actually shake peoples’ hands, and eat many dinners in an actual real restaurant. Can you believe it?! I mean who in their right mind would do such things? I know, by today’s standards, that sounds insane. It is odd to see how quickly and strangely norms have changed over the course of seven months or so. 

Hopefully, I have not offended any readers with my satirical attempt at humor to poke fun at our world today. I fully understand and sympathize with the issues we are dealing with in 2020. If I have, I apologize and sympathize because I know I have longed for how it used to be; to just think about the simplicities we sometimes took for granted. As we close this series with the idea of Hope, I think Psalm 139 is such a great and tangible way to use as direction for us to deal with our very uncertain future! Collectively and individually, we all have been through so many difficulties and frustrations this year. Everything from COVID, to racial injustices, to family disputes, to no Big 10 college football this Fall, the ultimate heartbreak! The phrase, “the hits just keep on coming” has never rung truer!

Michelle spoke today about David and how he lived this ongoing dual life with such a struggle. He constantly tried so hard, and was a man after God’s own heart, yet failed so miserably at times through bad decisions, selfishness, greed, and sin. All the events of 2020 that have happened and ones that are sure to come, can be like what David experienced. We long to be good and faithful servants, but sometimes, after that last hit, the straw that broke the camel’s back, it all just seems to be too much.

Amid despair, how do we choose hope? How do we live from a place of confidence? Do we fix, flee, fight or fret? Can you name your strategy? Honestly, I think in some way we tend to incorporate all of them into our lives. But how do we truly get past despair and find true hope? We pray.  We fix our eyes on Jesus and we cling to His promises. Even when all hope seems lost. We never let go and we simply, desperately, say the name . . . Jesus. When everything else fails, we know that He is our ultimate example of love, truth, mercy, and grace. Even as unbelievable as it seems, that is all we need to do. 

My hope and prayer for us is that we can look back on this year and be proud of the fact that in spite of the constant difficulties, we never wavered in our faith! That Jesus is our ultimate example and we, as good and faithful servants, follow that forever.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

Jeremiah 29:11

 

{sunday 9.6.20}

Read Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29:11

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Read Psalm 139, and count the times that David declares the hard, the frustrating, the anger inducing stuff of life. Read again, and count the times he declares what he knows about God, what is good and true about God. If you wrote a Psalm about the hard and the good in your life, what would it say? Consider taking a few moments to pen your own version of Psalm 139. If God’s promise is true (it is), and his word can be trusted (it can), how do you discover his plan to give you hope, to prosper and not harm you, and to provide in your future?

 

{bible reading plan: psalms}

By Allison Antrim

The Journey online videos have been discontinued at this time. Check out this great video overview of Psalms from our friends at The Bible Reading Project!

 

{monday 9.7.20}

Read Psalm 24

Read, Ponder, Pray: What a picture of Christ’s return to Earth in this psalm, so many years before his first visit to us! David begins by reminding the reader that “the earth is the LORD’s, and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it” (v. 1, NASB). And he ends with an image of a king returning from victorious battle into his beloved city. When the psalm turns towards the king’s arrival in v. 7, I love how the doors are anthropomorphized, or given human characteristics. I can picture the large and weathered gates of a city, sagging a little from the weight of the responsibility to protect the people within. The King has been gone a long time, but now he has returned. The King of glory, the one mighty in battle, commander of hosts, has returned to claim his rightful place over the whole world. As the voice in the poem calls them to “lift up your heads . . . and be lifted up, that the King of glory may come in” (v. 7 and 9), I see them straightening on their hinges just as the King pushes them open and strides back into his city. It’s a gentle reminder to me, as the day of Christ’s return hasn’t happened yet, to straighten up again and call Christ king over my heart and my life. Where can you let Him reign in your heart and mind this week?

 

{tuesday 9.8.20}

Read Psalm 25

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This psalm is tender and timeless as it expresses a heartfelt plea for help. I myself have begged the Lord for some of the things David asks for throughout this psalm, like  “do not let me be ashamed; do not let my enemies exult over me” (v. 2, NASB), “make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me your paths” (v. 4); “Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions” (v. 7), and “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted” (v. 16). The language David uses is so informal, so honest, like a child talking to his father. It reminds me how much God loves us and that His ear is always turned toward our cries for Him. If you are weighed down with troubles like the ones David expresses here, take heart. This psalm is for you, to pray when you can hardly find the words to talk to God about what you need. How can you pray this psalm for your life this week?

 

{wednesday 9.9.20}

Read Psalm 26

Observe, Reflect, Apply: It is interesting to me that Psalm 26, a prayer of vindication and confidence in one’s righteousness, comes after Psalm 25, a prayer of repentance and confidence in one’s sinfulness. Perhaps it shows how, in the ebb and flow of daily life, there will be times in which we are confident we are following God’s ways and times in which we know we have failed to do so. This psalm is for the times when we know we are obeying God, especially when we stay away from those who are wicked, who deceive others and pervert justice. I love how in verses 6-8 and 11, David heads to the temple, to church, to reaffirm his commitment to walking in God’s ways. Praise and thanksgiving, at the altar and among the congregation, seems to strengthen his intent to be righteous. How does time spent with God’s people and worshiping God strengthen your intent for the week ahead?

 

{thursday 9.10.20}

Read Psalm 27

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This is one of my favorite Psalms, and I consider verse 1 to be my “life verse.” In this verse in the NIV, David calls God 3 things: his light, his salvation, and his stronghold. I can see the whole journey to faith and following God captured in those three things. God is our light, to shine in our darkness and show us who He is. Then He is our salvation, the only way to draw near to God and be freed from the tyranny of sin. Finally, He is our stronghold, to protect us from the enemy as we sojourn here on earth. The psalm continues to show David’s unwavering trust in God to protect him, and David expresses how much his heart longs to be in God’s beautiful presence. At the end we find two verses that ring especially true during this season, in which so much fear, unrest, anger, and sorrow hang thick in the air. Although it can be hard to have hope, I agree with David that “I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (v. 13-14, NIV). What would it look like for you to “be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” this week?

 

{friday 9.11.20}

Read Psalm 28

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Psalm 28 is a call for justice. It begins by David begging God to listen and respond to his requests. I love the raw honesty of David’s language in verse 1; we know from the rest of the Bible that God does listen to our prayers, but there have been times in my life when I have doubted that He does, and even felt like I was getting silence from God when I prayed to Him. It’s a comfort to see that even David, the man after God’s own heart, prayed earnestly that God would both listen and respond to him. After this, David delivers a sobering description of the “wicked.” These are people who are two-faced toward their neighbors, who do evil deeds, and don’t care at all about the LORD or what He has done. David urges God to “repay them for what their hands have done and bring back on them what they deserve” (v. 4, NIV). Finally, David declares that God has indeed heard his cry for mercy, and reminds the reader that God is so many things to the one who believes in Him: our strength and our shield, a fortress of salvation, and our shepherd. What justice do you long to see in your life and our world? How can you pray this psalm this week?

 

{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources).

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get a free Bible for your phone, tablet, and computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

 

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© 2020 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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