Look to the Cross

Psalm 8-14


“When I observe Your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which You set into place,
what is man that you remember him,
the son of man that you look after him?” -Ps. 8:3-4

A few years ago on the UP Project, me and several other groggy kids were woken up at 5am to travel up into the heart of the South Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains.  Our destination was Pretty Place, an open chapel in a camp ground. From the chapel, the view of the ridges of the mountains are held in stunning display as they roll towards Greenville. The view can easily take your breath away. But, this chapel never held the view above the object that was placed directly before it.

In the middle of this lookout is a cross, and sitting in the pews, you can’t look at the view without first looking at the cross.

Psalm 8 describes our wonderful God and creator, who made the heavens majestic and us the caretakers of this world. Like David, there have been many times that I have called out, “Who am I, Lord? Who am I that you should remember me?” Travelling through this country and others, the magnificence of God is always in my mind, the way that he formed so many different places for us to inhabit. But, again I think, who are we to be the partakers of this beauty? My thoughts turn back to that image of the cross, held in stark relief to the blue hills below.

Today is Christmas, a day where we celebrate the birth of the heir to David’s throne, Jesus Christ! During this advent season, I remember that my Savior, God’s son, was born for me, and there are many times when I echo David’s question of ‘who is man that you remember him?’ When I think about the great love that God has for us, that he would send his son to die for us, my breath is taken away, similar to, but much greater than, the feeling I had as I gazed out over the mountains. God gave us this great gift, even while we were still sinners. Even on, especially on, this quiet (or perhaps rather hectic) Christmas morning, we should dwell on the Savior that was born for me and you.

Through Jesus’ birth and, like that cross symbolizes, his death, the great divide between God and man was overcome. The position of the cross at Pretty Place should mirror the position of the cross in our lives. The beauty of this world and its comforts are all secondary to the gift we have from God. Without Jesus’ death, we are nothing, but with the death of Jesus, we become God’s adopted children. Praise God for this wonderful gift we have been given!

-Cayce Ballard

Cayce is a Senior this year at the University of South Carolina, studying Secondary English Education. She plans to continue her education next year in the M.T. program at USC. She loves traveling, reading, and playing with her new puppy, Finnegan. Cayce leads a Young Adult Bible Study based on the Grow reading plan.  She would like to thank everyone for contributing to these devotions.

Photo Credit: http://m0.i.pbase.com/u15/jrandyh/upload/20105330.pplacec01.jpg

David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving (1 Chronicles 14-16)

Saturday, November 19


In 1 Chronicles 16:8-36, we see a Psalm that David dedicated before the ark of the covenant after it was brought to Jerusalem.  Having the ark back where it belonged was a huge deal for Israel, and David wanted something to show Israel’s thanks to God for this.  Here is a small section, verses 8-10

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.

Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.

Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

Now this is retold after returning from Exile.  Once again there is a great reason to give thanks to God, and to praise his name.

Skipping to the end of this Psalm we see the following in verses 34-36

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Cry out, “Save us, O God our Savior;
gather us and deliver us from the nations
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
that we may glory in your praise.”

Praise be to the LORD our God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.

Again, this would have been very appropriate after returning from exile.  They were at risk of attacks from enemy nations, and this Psalm includes a request for deliverance from the nations.  They ask for deliverance so that they may praise God even more.

We also have many reasons to give things and praise the name of God.  We need deliverance from our spiritual enemies that attack us, so that we may continue to praise God.  What do you have to be thankful for today?  Let’s remember to praise God for all he has done, and the promises we know he will continue to keep.

-Andrew Hamilton

%d bloggers like this: