Home Altar: Week of June 27, 2021

by Brad Frost

Sunday, June 27
Psalm 130

Empty Records


I love library stacks. When I was an undergraduate history major, they were the most fascinating place, full of records and documents just waiting to be mined for some historical gem. These packed shelves are what come to mind when I read, “If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?” (v. 3, NIV). We all have our own shelves full of iniquities, and we are all too aware of what populates those shelves. God, however, is not. For as we confess, they are forgiven. God does not keep these records. On your shelf, there is nothing but a note saying, “Jesus was here.” After all, as the psalmist concludes, our hope is in the Lord, who will redeem us.

Redeemer God, thank you for hearing my confession, forgiving my sins, and wiping my record clean. Thank you for seeing me through Jesus. As my soul waits, may I find my hope in the Lord. AMEN.

Monday, June 28
LAMENTATIONS 3:22-33

Faithfulness, No Matter the Size


My wife and I love to travel. One of the subtle but stark differences we’ve noticed when we’re away from home, especially in Europe, is meal sizes. Each person’s portion is noticeably smaller than what we have come to expect in the U.S. It takes some getting used to, but it also gives us a good reason to stop into a cafe for a snack. In verse 24 of today’s reading, the author speaks aloud a truth that is both difficult and hopeful: “The LORD is my portion.” God will give us what we need, whether or not it is what we are used to. God always provides. Sometimes it is a feast, sometimes it is a snack to get us through to the next meal. Today, let us look for what God has provided, not what we are expecting, and trust that God will show up with what we need. For God is faithful.

Holy God, give me eyes to see and a heart to understand what my portion is for today. AMEN.

Tuesday, June 29
MARK 5:1-20

Surprise!


When we were first dating, my wife told me she liked surprises. I have since learned what she actually likes is a thoughtful plan, presented to her before any actions happen. She likes to know the plan. So I can empathize with the people who were so scared of the man Jesus healed in today’s passage. People often respond poorly to the unexpected.

Yet Jesus is nothing if not unexpected. So it will often be as we model our life after Christ’s that people we know and like will wonder what happened to us. Like the people in this story, they will either be drawn toward the expression of Christ within us, or be unable to process the transformation taking place in our lives. These things happened to Jesus; they will happen to us. So do not be discouraged, but trust God’s work in your life, as well as theirs.

Healer God, transform our lives so that we too can go tell everyone how much you have done for us. AMEN.

Wednesday, June 30
MARK 5:21-24, 35-43

Belief and Fear


“Don’t be afraid, just believe” is a statement I would generally classify as a pious platitude. It may sound nice, but in a moment of fear it does not help one iota. Yet Jesus says these words in today’s passage to someone experiencing the most intense fear humans can imagine. Upon a deeper look, we see that this statement is not an empty plea to “just believe” but rather communicates this underlying message: “Just believe in me.” Jesus is fully God; therefore he is love embodied. And as the Apostle John reminds us, “Love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18, NIV). In times of fear or trial, it is not the fact of our belief that matters but the Person upon whom our belief rests. Today, be reminded of Jesus’s great love, and allow that love to push away whatever fear you carry.

Loving God, when I am afraid it is hard to believe. Let your love break my fear, and help me to believe. AMEN.

Thursday, July 1
MARK 5:25-34

The Virtue of Slowing


I walk fast. It’s a habit from my days as a student, when I had limited time to get from one side of school to another. I imagine that I often appear to be in a hurry. (Many days, I admit, I am!) This story gives me reason to revaluate my hurry. Jesus, on his way to heal a dying girl, pauses to heal a suffering woman. There is a crowd around, but Jesus stopped for one person. It makes me wonder, what do I miss in my hurry? How many people have I walked by who were suffering, whom I could have at least looked in the eye and acknowledged their presence? Today, as you go, do not neglect to see the people who God has placed in your path. Do not be in such a hurry that you miss a chance to be Jesus to another on your way.

God who sees, slow me enough to notice the work of the Holy Spirit in the people with whom I interact. AMEN.

Friday, July 2
2 CORINTHIANS 8:7-15

How Much Is Too Much?


“It is okay for them to ask. It is okay for you to say no.” This conversation takes place regularly in the Frost home. It’s what comes to mind as I read today’s passage. I often feel that I want to give more but cannot. I know I am not alone in this. Paul’s words here are a reminder of what is important: We give what we have. Our attitude in giving, in any form, then takes the utmost importance. So give what you have cheerfully and generously. What you do not have, do not feel guilty for not giving! Let this simple reminder be an encouragement today: God will not ask for what you do not have, and God will provide whatever you need.

God who gives us our daily bread, provide what I need today, and allow me to give what I have with an attitude of grace. AMEN.

Saturday, July 3
PSALM 30

On Dancing for Joy


I have two left feet. I avoid dancing whenever I can. It is well outside of my experience to spontaneously break into dance. (It is doubly so if I am in a bad mood!) The psalms often speak of God’s joy this way, and in the close of Psalm 30, we see wailing turn to dancing and sackcloth to joy. You may or may not dance, but I do know that God wants to transform your life, such that even your wailing and sackcloth reflect joy in the Lord. This psalm is not always happy, but it is true to life. You may not be happy today and joy may feel far off but know this: God hears and God transforms. Rest in that promise today.

Lord, may you bless us with the knowledge that you hear, you heal, and you transform, that we may sing your praises forever. AMEN.

About the Author: Brad Frost

My wife, Jenna, and I are the co-lead pastors at Monadnock Covenant Church in Keene, New Hampshire. We have a three-year-old daughter and love to be outdoors with her. Camping is a family favorite. I also love to cook, especially bread, and read whenever I get an opportunity. I hope these reflections bless you in some way this week.

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