Home Altar: Week of June 20, 2021

by Tom Dierenfeld

Sunday, June 20
Job 38:1-11

The Transcendent Supremacy of God

“Hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf. You have been King of my glory, won’t you be my Prince of peace?” Those are the words of the late singer/songwriter Rich Mullins whose candid lyrics often remind me of David’s psalms. God is nearer than our next breath and simultaneously beyond our full comprehension. How can those realities coexist? We often think of God as either imminent or transcendent, but God is both at the same time. When the storm is raging, the Almighty calls out from the midst of it and says, “Brace yourself,” as a proclamation of endless authority over it all. God was, long before we ever were, and the gracious power of God, displayed in creation, demonstrated by the cross and resurrection, invites the saint, sinner, and shaking to trust and be delivered.

Lord, may we know your nearness in the midst of the storm and your endless authority over it all. Thank you for the peace that is ours in Christ as we walk by faith and trust in you. AMEN.

Monday, June 21
Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32

Circumstantial Gratitude

I’ll never forget the strange feeling I had as a child when I tried to comprehend the idea of eternity. In almost every facet of life, there is a beginning, middle, and end. Nothing really lasts forever, and we don’t have a context for something that has always been. The idea that something has always been and will last forever is simply otherworldly. But the love of God! The love of God has always existed by the presence of God and will last forever. Too often my gratitude extends only as far as what I perceive is going well circumstantially. But the love of God and God’s goodness have always been and will last forever! If only we will keep the eternal goodness and love of God in the forefront of our minds, then perhaps our thanksgiving will not be far behind.

Lord, may we always be people who recognize your goodness and love that endures forever, and be filled with thanks in all circumstances. AMEN.

Tuesday, June 22
Mark 4:35-41

Teacher, Don’t You Care?

There are times in life when we might feel Jesus doesn’t seem to care or be concerned with the danger we are facing. He seems uninterested at worst and sleepily aloof at best. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” we ask. The weight is too much and burden too great! This danger is too overwhelming, and we are nearly swamped.

Yet we remember the voice of the One who instructs the winds and the waves. He is the One who laid the earth’s foundation and told the waves, “This far you may come and no farther” (Job 38:11, NIV). Perhaps Jesus doesn’t seem concerned with our safety because we are with him in the middle of the squall. If God is with us, why are we afraid? Our peace is not dependent upon the absence of life’s storms but on trusting in the One who is greater still.

Lord over all, may we trust and believe that your power and presence are our source of life and peace, now and forevermore. AMEN.

Wednesday, June 23
1 SAMUEL 17:4-11, 32-37

Lions, Giants, and Bears, Oh My!

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a bear. I was attending family camp in northern Minnesota and while I was out walking one evening, a bear ran across the ballfield the opposite direction! There was plenty of distance between us and the bear wasn’t interested in me, but after I realized what happened, my heart was relieved! Life is full of fears, but fear unchallenged corrupts our hearts. God prepares us near the flock to be ready to fight on the battlefield. But our battles are won not on the basis of our aptitude, but rather in participation with the God who is with us and protects us. Where is the bear in your life? What giant are you facing today? Will you run and hide, or will you face that fear in the strength of the God who rescues shepherds from all kinds of danger?

Lord, deliver us from evil. Rescue us from the hands of oppression. May we walk confidently and face our fears in the strength of your Spirit. AMEN.

Thursday, June 24
1 SAMUEL 17:39-49

Underdogs and Out of Time

Some of my best memories from my childhood are of using my imagination while playing alone, creating some sort of competition. Whether it was racing toy cars, playing basketball, or battles in the sandbox with little green plastic army men, two things always happened: the underdogs always won, and it was a last-second victory. In this passage, Israel was backed into a corner—underdogs and out of time. But “it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’S” (v. 47). Are you the underdog while the clock is ticking down? Are the resources others have given you ill-fitting? Call out to the Lord Almighty and believe in God’s deliverance from the danger you’re facing. “This day the Lord will deliver” (v. 46)!

Our great God, we thank you that we rely not on the weapons of this world for our deliverance but on your sovereign hand of power that is unaffected by the predictions of people; help us trust your perfect timing. AMEN.

Friday, June 25
PSALM 18:1-3, 28-31

No Substitute for Jesus

I am always amazed at people who can innovate, invent, and find lastsecond solutions when typical resources are unavailable. One recent Saturday morning, we started making pancakes and realized we were out of eggs. My wife did a quick Google search and found a substitute: yogurt. I never would have guessed that would work, but the pancakes were delicious! In times of doubt, fear, worry, and danger, it’s tempting to believe that there’s another solution to our problems other than the strength, wisdom, and power of God. But there is no substitute. The Lord is our rock, fortress, shield, and salvation—who is the Rock except our God? There is no other. Peter asked it another way: “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (John 6:68). Cling to Christ alone for he is our only present and eternal hope; nothing else will do!

Lord Jesus, may we always believe and know that you are the holy One of God and that there is no other who gives life, peace, and salvation. AMEN.

Saturday, June 26
PSALM 9:9-20

The Counterintuitive Nature of the Gospel of God

The kingdom of God, where the last are first, the lost are found, the poor are rich, and the weak are made strong will never cease to amaze me. We often believe, based on the way the world works, that the rich, powerful, hardest working, and morally upright are the ones qualified to have good standing with God. Yet throughout the Scriptures, God listens to the cries of the downtrodden and laughs at the haughtiness of the proud and powerful. The conclusion is that the only qualification for receiving the rescue of God is confession of our own desperation. If we think we have no need, we’ll never ask. When we’re honest about our need, God meets us in it. Where are you desperate? Needy? What do you lack? Confess and cry out to the God who will never forget the needy and who is a refuge for the oppressed in times of trouble.

Lord, may we run to you as we continually recognize our need rather than depending on ourselves to be our own sufficiency. AMEN.

About the Author: Tom Dierenfeld

I’m the pastor of student ministries at LifeSpring Covenant Church in Loveland, Colorado. I graduated from North Park Theological Seminary with my MDiv in 2012 and was ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church in 2014. I’ve been married to my sweet wife, Celeste, for more than 10 years and we have two children, Marie (5) and Michael (3). I enjoy jogging and playing sports outside, smoking and eating BBQ, and spending time with friends and family. I’m passionate about seeing students know and love Jesus and hope to serve the church for many more years, to see the Great Commandment and Great Commission lived out faithfully, now and forever.

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