Turn us


Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. — Psalm 80:1-19

Somehow, the horse knew he had the upper hand.

The kid really didn’t have a chance.

Even though he pulled on the reins, straining for all he was worth, that horse was not going to turn.

The nice little trail ride for parents and their children turned into a rescue operation.

Fortunately, the little guy wasn’t tall enough to hit his head on the entrance as the horse went straight back into the stinky steamy barn.

Asaph, the writer of Psalm 80, was writing songs during some dark days in Israel’s history.

Talking to God, he composes, “You have fed us with sorrow and made us drink tears by the bucketful.”

This scene is truly a tragedy. People who were once under God’s blessing and protection left the adventure of following God.

Asaph knew there was only One who could turn it around, turn them around — the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.

There are moments in all our lives when we feel the tugging on the spiritual bit in our hearts.

We know we should turn and we don’t.

“Warning: Buckets of tears lie ahead.”

Many of life’s sorrows come not because we live in a sinful fallen world, but because we refused to turn when we should have.

The devil and this stinky old world beckon us to crawl into the mud and the mire.

Let’s cry out even in this moment, “Turn us again to yourself, O God!”

Great indecision

The princes of Issachar were with Deborah and Barak. They followed Barak, rushing into the valley. But in the tribe of Reuben there was great indecision. Why did you sit at home among the sheepfolds — to hear the shepherds whistle for their flocks? Yes, in the tribe of Reuben there was great indecision. — Judges 4:1-5:31

So, there they sat. All kinds of different and delicious flavors of ice cream lit up under the glass case.

I froze.

I decided to start somewhere else.

What kind of cone should I get? Regular? Waffle cone? Waffle cone with chocolate on the inside? Waffle cone with chocolate and sprinkles? Maybe just get a cup?

I froze again.

Back to the ice cream.

After standing there for way too long, I finally blurted out an order. It was good, but maybe I should have gotten the…

Israel’s judge, Deborah, was summoned by the Lord.

Tell Barak to get an army together to throw off the rule of this ruthless king and his commander.

Deborah obeyed at once.

Barak followed suit.

The tribes of Israel, specifically Naphtali and Zebulun, came at once.

Other tribes joined in too.

As he promised, God gave them victory.

However, still other tribes sat at home stuck in indecision.

Some stayed in their seaside harbors.

No battle. No victory. No adventure. No songs to sing.

Jesus won the war over sin, death and the devil a long time ago.

However, God’s people in every generation have battles to fight to appropriate that victory in their world and in their time.

That will not happen from a distance.

Although defeated, the devil fights ruthlessly and relentlessly to keep people from Jesus and the Bible.

We’re called to armor up and enter into the spiritual battle.

People are not the enemy, the devil is.

The battle horn has sounded.

Where are we?


He came into the world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. — John 1:1-28

As my son stood in front of the airport security officer, his heart was beating out of his chest.

His nearly 10-year-old non-American passport had raised enough concern to pull him into the security office where he now stood.

Unable to definitively confirm the child in the passport and the young man that stood before him were the same person, he called in the director of security.

Thankfully, he recognized the picture and the person as one and the same and let him through.

I have to believe that John was shaking his head as he penned the words in today’s Bible verses.

How can those who were created by Jesus not recognize their creator when he showed up? Most didn’t. Most don’t today either.

However, John also tells us that some did. Some believed. Some accepted him. To those who do, John tells us, they are given the right to be a child of God.

They are reborn inheritors of one gracious blessing after another.

Again and again, the Biblical writers emphasize the identity of Jesus and the implications of it for our relationship with him.

As Creator, we wonder in reverence. As Savior, we bow in gratitude.

As Victor, we shout in praise.

As King, we obey.

As Way, we follow.

As Vine, we hold fast.

As Truth, we live in freedom.

As Peace, we reject worry.

As Cornerstone, we will not be shaken.

As Judge, we are declared, “Not guilty.”

Do you recognize him?

Tom Wiles is senior minister of Fall Creek Christian Church in Pendleton. He can be reached at 765-778-3166.

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