Friday, January 30, 2015

Church devotion: Never on A Sunday - Psalm 40:4

Psalm 40:4    Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. 

            For some reason, this verse bothers me a lot. It makes me wonder about the present state of Christianity. Do we trust the LORD completely, or are we too proud to humble ourselves before Him? Have we turned aside from the truth and replaced Christ with false gods of ambition and wealth, success and celebrity? Are we in danger of losing our life-long faith to short-term moments? Are we captivated by fictional characters rather than being inspired by Biblical ones? Are we more in tune with ourselves than we actually are with God?

            In recent years, I've seen less people in church on Sunday mornings than ever before. Folks are more into playing and partying than praising God. Church is becoming irrelevant and unnecessary; belief in God is a personal thing anyway, so why disturb a good Sunday morning’s rest by sitting on a hard pew for over an hour? Going to a restaurant for Sunday brunch, where people are happy, makes much better sense than being among somber and solemn people who appear to be God’s frozen chosen. Life is for living! Get out of church and smell the roses! “Go and play,” not “go and pray” should be the motto of our lives!

            And then I read today’s verse and it reminds me that proud people usually end up following false gods. Those of us who still go to church go there, not because we are any better than anyone else, but because we recognize that we are imperfect and need to humble ourselves before the One who created us. We sit in church because we understand our weaknesses and seek forgiveness for our failings. We are not religious people; we are grateful people.

            Perhaps when our society has wearied itself of following after false gods, instant gratification, reality idols, cable shows, and meteoric celebrities, it will seek real life. I hope so, because there is something grander than greatness, better than beauty, and more fulfilling than fame, which can still be found in church on Sunday mornings. J

Questions for reflection

Am I as closely connected to God as I once was? Who moved?

Prayer:          Lord God of Life, we have wandered away from You and followed our own paths. We think that we know everything, but we forget that only You know everything. Forgive our foolish notions and protect us from making false gods. Lead us back to Your Kingdom. Bring us back to Your Church. In Christ’s Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is currently the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask a question about today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s latest Good Friday drawings. It’s called “Tattoo Master,” which is an ink drawing of Christ on the Cross, tattooed with lashes, blood, and bruises. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: Tattoo.

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