Home Altar: Week of October 24, 2021

by Chris Logan

Sunday, October 24
Psalm 91:9-16

Perspective Matters


The house in which I grew up was set on a tough curve. Sitting in a car at the end of the driveway, one could not see around the hill to see if another car was coming, and hearing was almost as difficult. If we wanted to leave the driveway safely, it was often helpful to send someone across the street so they could see down the hill in both directions.

Our perspective matters.

We’re afforded one perspective in life: that of a mortal with five limited senses and the culture and circumstances in which we were born; these are chosen for us. Yet in today’s passage, a lot hinges on the word “if.” In that word is a choice that God has already freed us to make: will we make God our refuge, or not? Because God has the perspective of the person across the street from my driveway, God sees in both directions and can be our rescue and our salvation.

God, today I choose you as my refuge and strength. AMEN.

Monday, October 25
Job 42:1-6, 10-17

Trust Is a Gift


The book of Job in a nutshell: Satan challenges God with the idea that Job is only faithful because of how richly God had blessed Job. So God begins removing Job’s wealth—his riches, his family, everything. His wife and friends repeatedly try to determine how Job’s suffering is his own fault. After all, only those who are guilty must suffer, right? Job begins to believe them and challenges God. But then God speaks, and Job confesses and repents.

What could God have possibly said that caused one who is suffering to repent of his challenge? God showed Job God’s perspective. Job had never considered his wealth to be anything but a blessing for his own righteousness, but God reminded him that it was a gift from a God who could see what Job could not. “Job, I know you’re suffering right now, but you can still trust me.” And sure enough, Job’s fortune and family are restored in the end.

God, help me today to see your perspective, and that I can trust you. AMEN.

Tuesday, October 26
Psalm 126

Remembering


When times get hard, we have a tendency to get lost in our nostalgia. Watching my favorite movies or reading my favorite books is often much more comfortable than the struggles of the now.

Imagine if this was our habit at every stage of life. Imagine if a high school graduate said, “I miss the days of yore, when all I had to worry about was how much fun I got to have in kindergarten. Those were the best days!” Instead of looking forward to college or a new job, they’re stuck living in “easier” times.

Remembering—the act of reflecting on God’s faithfulness—is what prepares us to trust and then to step forward and receive whatever new thing God is doing. When life is hard, we must reflect on how God has been faithful, and allow that to shape our trust for what God is about to do in and through us next.

God, great is your faithfulness to me; help me to trust you more. AMEN.

Wednesday, October 27
Hebrews 7:23-28

Real


I love the ocean. As a kid, I had a ten-gallon fish tank with colorful gravel on the bottom, some plastic plants, and a little hollow ceramic log. In the tank were a number of varieties of tropical fish: platys, tetras, an angel fish, and of course, the obligatory bottom feeder with the sucker for a mouth.

But then I got to go scuba diving, and the fish tank was all but forgotten—suspended underwater with a clear view of coral and brightly colored fish for miles and a pod of dolphins swimming overhead will do that. No substitution compares to the real thing.

The writer of Hebrews is saying that a human priest is to Jesus the way that a fish tank is to diving the Hawaiian reef; one is like the other but only as a shadow. If the human priest was limited, it’s because he wasn’t the real thing. Only Jesus can be trusted to bring us to the Father.

God, help me to trust you today. AMEN.

Thursday, October 28
Mark 10:46-52

Persistence


As a kid, I loved building all sorts of new things beyond the instructions for my Legos, which meant that much of the time, most of the pieces I owned were mixed together in several large tubs. Finding the right piece could be a real chore that took a long time. It could be very easy to give up looking, but if I wanted my idea to come to life, it was important that I be persistent in searching until I found just the right piece.

I knew it was there; I just had to keep looking.

Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, wanted a better life. When he heard Jesus coming, he began to shout. The crowd told him to be quiet, but he only shouted louder. When Jesus told him to come, he abandoned his coat (used to collect his livelihood) and came. He persisted; and he was healed. His faith that Jesus could change everything, changed everything.

Jesus, help me be persistent in my devotion to you. AMEN.

Friday, October 29
Jeremiah 31:7-9

Anticipation


My wife and four kids and I went on a hike once—and got lost. In the woods. As it began to get dark, everyone’s anxiety began to grow, tempers began to flare, and tears began to flow. To keep us moving forward, we began to talk about what was coming when we got home. Won’t it be great to take our boots off? What kind of pizza should we order? Should we get wings too?

There’s beauty in the anticipation of waiting.

That’s especially true in situations like that of Israel. Jeremiah was writing in a time of lament when Israel had been overrun and all seemed lost. But Jeremiah’s words from God highlight how they still had something to look forward to, that they could expect God to be faithful and that joy would come. Yes, they will have to wait, but until that day, they could lean into the joy of anticipation. Hope is still alive.

God, help me to expect your goodness today. AMEN.

Saturday, October 30
Psalm 8

Value


One thing my church hears from me regularly is how much I love to kayak. I love to sit amidst the incredible beauty of creation and experience God’s peace in the rhythm of my paddle, the sound of the river, the colors of the trees and the birds. But every so often, my paddling leads me to reflect on the how the finest cameras money can buy don’t hold a candle to the abilities of the human eye; the best poets cannot capture the immensity of creation; no songwriter or painter or dancer has yet managed to portray both the vastness and the intimacy of the created world.

Here, the psalmist is struck by awe at creation and asks a powerful question: who are we that we are loved? The conclusion is simple but profound: we do not create our own value. God created us; thus, we have value. Thus, we are loved.

God, help me to experience your love for me today. AMEN.

About the Author: Chris Logan

Chris Logan 

I am a worship artist and ordained pastor serving at Bethany Covenant Church in Berlin, Connecticut. My passion is God’s kingdom here on earth, my calling is the formation of God’s gathered people through the arts. My wife, Liz, is also an artist, as are our four kids. I graduated from Asbury Seminary with an master’s degree in intercultural studies. I co-facilitate the Covenant Worship Artist Forum on Facebook and serve on the East Coast Conference Executive Committee. I’m a 5w6, INTJ, and a mac. It’s entirely possible I may be addicted to caramel lattes and good sci-fi, often together. I also enjoy photography and kayaking. And pizza—
I love pizza.

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