Self. Stars. Significance.

A – O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

B – You have set your glory
above the heavens.
C – From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

D – When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
E – what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
E’ – You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

D’ – You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
C’ – all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
B’ – the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

A’ – O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

It’s always fun whenever I am reading a passage and I find a chiasm. I get a little giddy like a school girl and start metaphorically jumping for joy! I borrowed the outline of the chiasm from a website online. I guess the chiasm here was a little obvious, seeing as the Psalm is bracketed with the phrase on the majesty of God – But I’m going to take the credit this time, k?

It’s been a year since I’ve been in the Bahamas. Last July, a group of us from school went for three weeks to minister and run a kid’s camp. It was exhausting! All day we were planning games, adventures, swimming, and playing. I just remember getting to the end of the day and being ready to relax. A few of us, after the kids went to their tents, would go up onto the roof of the shack we called a kitchen, and we would stare at the stars.

The stars there were phenomenal – not that they were different stars than what everyone else sees. But being on a deserted island with no electricity and being around islands that also have no electricity meant that at night there was pure, untainted darkness. On average we would see roughly ten shooting stars a night! We could see the Milky Way stretching across the sky! God seemed so BIG in comparison to it all! And I remember feeling so small.

Sometimes when we look at how big the world is, we can feel insignificant and think, “God, who am I that you are mindful of me?” We see God’s majesty, and then we feel like we make no difference in the rifts of eternity. This Psalm about God’s majesty hinges on the idea of God being mindful of man. It is a testimony of how truly great God is! God, being all that He is, loved and made people as small and seemingly insignificant as us, but yet He has made us just a little lower than that of the Cherubs and Angels! It almost seems like an oxymoron wrapped in an enigma.

So I guess if I have a point to make it’s that sometimes we are significant in our insignificance. So for my oxymoron statement to make sense, I will say we are “insignificantly significant.”

Being an intern, I get the idea that sometimes what I do isn’t making a lasting impact. Some days it seems like all I do is move the most mundane of materials. Sometimes I feel like I am going to leave here and it will be as though I never even came. But I remember that only God knows the end before the beginning, and that He knows the intricate workings that lie under every situation.

Do you feel insignificant sometimes? Do you feel like sometimes you are working without recognition? We need to remember our place in relationship to God’s. We need to remember whose majesty rules sovereign over every situation. We know that when we are weak we truly are strong – Paul said that. But do we know that even when we feel insignificant – when we feel like everything we are doing is meaningless – that that is when we might be doing what is most significant for the Kingdom?

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Make Declaration.

Hebrews 11:39-40 – These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

These verses are in the conclusion of Hebrews popular “Hall of Faith” – a recognition of those who have given their lives, stood trials, and believed in faith that God would move. The prophets who spoke before Christ were hoping of a better tomorrow. Their writings might now be seen as testimonies, but at the time they were written, they were mere declarations. “So that they might gain a better resurrection,” is what the text said. They fought to write and proclaim the truth we now live.

Thinking of the prophets reminds me of today. The 4th of July is not the day we received our independence. It was the day our forefathers made a declaration. Some of them might have had a dream or a thought of what that would entail, but I think sometimes we assume that those at the beginning saw today. They spoke in faith, hoping for oppression to leave. A lot of “Americans” gave their lives for freedom that they never experienced – hoping that they might gain a better life of freedom.

Remember that every great thing begins with a declaration. Whether you are declaring the end of something that is holding you back from your potential, or declaring to make a difference in the community around you, make a stand. Declarations start revolutions. The right revolutions lead to freedom. But all great wars start somewhere. What are you needing to declare?

Critical Condition. Camp.

Philippians 4:8-9 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

I always love the exhortations and conclusions to Paul’s Epistles. Though fragmented and sometimes without clear transitions, I love how blunt Paul is in some of his closing remarks. It could be because I am blunt and straight forward myself. But I also think it’s because there is such a hefty amount of the Scripture that can be carried over the “principlizing bridge.”

But anywho – I went to camp for the first time EVER this week! It was CRAZY! I ate things that I never knew were edible. I yelled until my voice started sounding like James Earl Jones. I also learned some things about myself.

Since being at CBC I’ve heard a lot of people tell me how critical I am. After hearing it enough, I started believing it. During one of the altar times this past week, however, God revealed to me the positive attribute of what people were saying was negative. I have a passion for the truth. I never understood why I was geared this way – the analytical, neurotic, sometimes insensitive and brutal tendencies I have about proclaiming God’s Word and presenting it the way it was meant to be preached. I didn’t realize I was just trying to put into practice what I’ve learned, knew, and wanted to share to the world.

Sometimes when people don’t understand you, have a different passion then you, or are just plain ignorant, they try to judge you, stereotype you, and change you to fit their thought of who you “should be.” Take what you’ve learned and put it into practice – whether it’s worship, preaching, art, or accounting. God has made you the way you are so you can impact the world around you! Find the positive in what everyone thinks is negative – you’d be surprised how much it changes your self-image!

I am Bobby Hill, and I am passionate about the truth.

And no, this isn’t very applicable to the biblical text.

Ministers. Missionaries. Momentarily.

Mark 5:18-20 – “As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolishow much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.”

I remember sitting in Dr. Haltom’s Synoptic Gospels class learning about this passage. One of the things that really gripped my attention about this passage was the difference in the story between the Synoptics. Matthew documents there being two demon-possessed men, whereas Mark and Luke only document one. “Why is there an inconsistency?” is what I thought.

Upon deeper investigation I realized why Mark and Luke only mentioned one man, instead of both. Mark wanted to focus on the man who came to Jesus after the demon was cast out. This man is significant because Jesus sent him back to be the first missionary to any Gentile people. In my mind, it would seem more logical for Jesus to take this man with him to disciple him. But Jesus sought it better to send him out – to his own people in his own land.

Summer is always difficult because all of us go back to our homes, our internships, or wherever. Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged because we are ready to get back to school, or go out and do ministry – to make a difference. This passage really challenged me because Jesus saw it more fit for the man to go back and preach to his own people rather than follow him. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Jesus is putting us where we are now so we can be missionaries in our own right. When we think about just wanting to graduate or get back to school, we need to remember that Jesus has us where we are for a reason – to follow the Great Commission. If you’re home and bogged down, don’t lose heart. If you feel like you aren’t making a difference, than just do what you can. Let us be missionaries wherever we are, whoever we are with, and in everything we do.