Home Altar: Week of June 13, 2021

by Sarah Henry

Sunday, June 13
EZEKIEL 17:22-24

God’s Kingdom Is a Mighty Cedar

A sprig into a cedar? Though we know it to be true, it is hard to imagine a small shoot actually becoming a great tree. How can something so small and seemingly insignificant become the stable place of rest for birds near and far? This prophecy, spoken to a defeated people in Babylon, stands as a hopeful reminder that God’s power is not revealed in obvious places and is not limited by the circumstances we face. Though the world breeds hopelessness, God’s kingdom is not swayed. It was not enough for Babylon to conquer the lands of God’s people. It was not enough for the Roman government to kill the Savior of the world. The kingdom of God rises in the face of defeat. And just like that cedar, God’s kingdom promises to provide a loving home for all people—near and far.

Sovereign God, help us see beyond the earthly powers that cloud your glory. May we see your vision and trust in your victory! AMEN.

Monday, June 14
1 SAMUEL 16:1-13

God’s Kingdom Is Holy Momentum

Tall Saul has fallen short as king of Israel. Though outwardly he filled the role of the people’s desire, he failed to remain faithful to the God who anointed him. And it’s this failure in faithfulness that places Samuel in a state of mourning. How could the people of Israel survive when their king was bent on selfishness?

But God reminds Samuel of something even more important. Though people in positions of authority may fail, God never does. Though people falter, God’s work continues. God’s victory is not restrained by human frailties; he transcends our shortcomings. Whether his instrument is David, Moses, or Paul, God empowers us even in our weakness. Why? Because holy momentum, vision, and heart—essential ingredients in God’s kingdom—is unstoppable.

Faithful God, we have seen your heart for generations. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. AMEN

Tuesday, June 15

In God’s Kingdom We Are Never Alone

This psalm was a battle song. You can almost feel strength and confidence taking shape on the page. God is here! He is moving and working on behalf of his people. No one would choose to face an intimidating army, but God’s people harbor a heavenly secret: God’s presence is more powerful than an encroaching foe.

Do you need this assurance today? The God of the universe stands with those who believe! No matter the battlefield or the size of your Goliath, know you are not alone.

Magnificent God, help us to believe in your power when the world leaves us feeling powerless. You are all we need. And we choose to believe that you are bigger than any forces of evil that surround us. AMEN.

Wednesday, June 16
PSALM 92:1-9

In God’s Kingdom We Remember

One of the most important practices of the early Israelites was remembering. Whether building altars as testaments to God’s movement on earth or retelling stories of God’s faithfulness, there is nothing quite like a cherished memory.

As humans, we are so quick to forget. Though God’s faithfulness can feel so real one moment, tomorrow brings new challenges that threaten to wipe the slate clean. So we sing, tell stories, build altars, and share moments that changed our lives forever.

What story do you need to remember today? How has God impacted your life? Remember, the God who saved you has been changing you ever since. And he’s only a prayer away.

God of Creation, forgive us for our limited memory. Lord, help us to remember what you have done for us. May your word remind us of who you are. AMEN

Thursday, June 17
PSALM 92:10-15

In God’s Kingdom His Victory Is Sure

It is easy to feel like the world is winning. When evil surrounds us like a storm, it’s almost impossible to see beyond the devastation. But here we have a song that reaches deeper than circumstance. It reminds us that God’s victory cannot be undermined.

This is what joy is. Joy is not a feeling but an assurance. We celebrate because we know who our God is. We sing because God has already won! We shout and proclaim the truth that there is nothing—shout “Nothing!”—greater than our God.

Take some time today to find that joy as you reflect on the victory of our amazing God!

God of victory, you are the reason we sing! You have not failed us yet. Thank you, Lord. AMEN.

Friday, June 18
MARK 4:26-34

God’s Kingdom Grows from the Smallest Seed

The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. Though seemingly insignificant at its origin, it will grow into the greatest kingdom the world has ever seen. It will offer peace beyond understanding. God will rule with a justice that cannot be corrupted. His throne will offer love and forgiveness to all who accept it. And all people, with their differences, will live together in harmony. This is who our God is. This is the kingdom of heaven.

And yet at its beginnings, even Jesus’s disciples had trouble understanding. So Jesus uses this powerful analogy to remind us that great things start in the smallest and most unassuming places. In the ways of the world, power invariably breeds lust for more. Yet we serve a God who made the world out of words, the human from the dirt. How much more can we expect when the God of the universe came to die? Yes, the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.

Savior God, may your kingdom come and may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. AMEN.

Saturday, June 19

In God’s Kingdom Everyone Belongs

I love the piece of truth in this passage. When we are transformed by Christ, it is not just ourselves but the world that changes with us. We no longer view our neighbors as strangers, but we see them as brothers and sisters created in the image of God. We no longer look at sin as simply personal—it is relational. We are no longer our own. We belong to God and to one another. God’s kingdom brings us together in ways the world can’t quite understand. God’s love works in and through us—moving our hearts toward justice, peace, and forgiveness. Sisters and brothers, may the love of God that led Jesus to the cross compel you to walk in his footsteps. Love one another, just as Christ loved us.

Loving God, thank you for loving us so deeply. Thank you for teaching us what it is to love without restraint. God, help us to love others as you have loved us. AMEN

About the Author: Sarah Henry

I am youth pastor at First Covenant Church in Oakland. I have been in youth ministry since my college days at North Park University under the tutelage of Jim Dekker and Ginny Olson. Youth ministry has been a call on my life since God filled my broken heart with hope at the tender age of 16. Since then, I’ve journeyed with amazing teens who are impacting the kingdom of God here and now! I now call Oakland my home although I was raised in the Midwest, entered adulthood in Chicago, and became a parent in Korea. All of these places and people have given me a greater understanding of the kingdom of God and a deeper passion to pursue that here on earth. Thank you for the chance to share!

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