Selah: Day 4


It’s time to celebrate! What moves our hearts as humans to celebrate with joy? What moves you to celebrate Jesus and the joy of being a child of God? There are probably a few ways you might answer this question, but one of the responses you may consider is wonder. When we see things afresh, with new eyes, it causes wonder to well up in us—and then we can’t help but celebrate!

Opening Prayer

Jesus, as we enter day four of our Selah, we desire to see you anew, to be reminded once more of the beauty of our salvation. You rejoice over us! In turn, we offer back hearts of joy to you.

“For the LORD your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

Take time to worship the Lord through music, either with one of the suggested songs or one of your personal favorites.

I Thank God from Maverick City Music, Grapeview Church 1

Echo Holy by Red Rocks Worship, Live from Littleton 2

Reflect and Ponder

Think back to one of the earliest times you can recall fully understanding the impact of the gospel in your life. Recall that experience and how you felt—did you feel peace, joy, release, freedom, amazement? Take a moment and savor that memory or record it here.

There is a stunning verse in John 13 that is easy to pass over because it’s just one sentence. To remind ourselves of the context of this verse, we need to recall that Jesus has spent three years spreading the good news of the upside-down Kingdom of God. He has lived, worked, and formed intimate relationships with his disciples during those years. Think about how close we become to people when we share significant life experiences, spend time with them on vacation or a retreat, do an extended work project together, or go on a mission trip. Now multiply that by three years.

Jesus has seen his disciples at their best and their worst. He has seen their puzzlement and blindness to His message, but in spite of that they have become His beloved friends. And now, as He prepares to celebrate Passover with them, He knows the betrayal He will experience by them in a very short time.

And yet, John records this short but powerful sentence in his gospel: “Having loved His dear companions, He loved them right to the end.” John 13:1 (MSG)

The wonder of it . . . despite everything, His love for His friends ran deep. His love was faithful, not mere words but a love that led to His sacrifice on the cross, and a love that extends to you and me. His sacrifice wasn’t borne out of duty or obligation but was driven by His Oneness with the Father and the desire of the Father, Son, and Spirit to invite us into their divine life of love.

Now transport yourself to that upper room with Jesus and His disciples. Use your imagination to picture the room, smell the aroma of the bread and wine, hear the conversations around you. Unlike the disciples, you know what lies ahead. You also know Jesus’ heart for you. How do you feel? What are your thoughts? In what ways is your heart moved? Take some time to write down your thoughts or express what you feel out loud to the Lord.

The Word

The Chosen is a multi-season TV series which tells the story of Jesus in a remarkably moving way. The producers included the scene which depicts the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. We observe Nicodemus as he tries to grasp for the first time the reality of Who Jesus is and His reason for coming, and it’s truly powerful.

Take time to watch the scene . . . be moved in wonder as you see and hear the message of Jesus afresh. (“The Chosen Scene: John 3:16” 3 on The Chosen YouTube channel.)

Meditation and Reflection

Sometimes, when theology becomes dry or Scripture becomes commonplace, we find our hearts moved by stories. I think Jesus knew this, too, considering how many stories He wove into his teachings. Open your heart as you read the following true story which illustrates God’s love for us.

Gregory Boyle is a Jesuit priest and the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, a non-profit designed to help gang members in L.A. find a pathway out of gang life. He tells the following story:

At Camp Paige, a county detention facility near Glendora, I was getting to know fifteen-year-old-Rigo, who was about to make his first communion. The Catholic volunteers had found him a white shirt and black tie. We still had some fifteen minutes before the other incarcerated youth would join us for Mass in the gym, and I’m asking Rigo the basic stuff about his family and his life. I ask about his father.

“Oh,” he says, “he’s a heroin addict and never really been in my life. Used to always beat my a**. Fact, he’s in prison right now. Barely ever lived with us.”

Then something kind of snaps in him—an image brings him to attention.

“I think I was in the fourth grade,” he begins. “I came home. Sent home in the middle of the day. Got into some pedo at school. Can’t remember what. When I got home, my jefito was there. He was hardly ever there. My dad says, ‘Why they send you home?’ And cuz my dad always beat me, I said, ‘If I tell you, promise you don’t hit me?’ He just said, ‘I’m your father. ‘Course I’m not gonna hit you.’ So, I told him.”

Rigo is caught short in the telling. He begins to cry, and in moments he’s wailing and rocking back and forth. I put my arm around him. He is inconsolable. When he is able to speak and barely so, he says only, “He beat me with a pipe . . . with . . . a pipe.”

When Rigo composed himself, I ask, “And your mom?” He points some distance from where we are to a tiny woman standing by the gym’s entrance.

“That’s her over there.” He pauses for a beat, “There’s no one like her.” Again, some slide appears in his mind, and a thought occurs.

“I’ve been locked up for more than a year and a half. She comes to see me every Sunday. You know how many buses she takes every Sunday—to see my sorry a**?”

Then quite unexpectedly he sobs with the same ferocity as before. Again, it takes him some time to reclaim breath and an ability to speak. Then he does, gasping through his tears. “Seven buses. She takes . . . seven . . . buses. Imagine.”

How then, to imagine, the expansive heart of this God—who takes seven buses, just to arrive at us. We settle sometimes for less than intimacy with God when all God longs for is this solidarity with us. In Spanish, when you speak of your great friend, you describe the union and kinship as being de uña y mugre—our friendship is like the fingernail and the dirt under it.

The desire of God’s heart is immeasurably larger than our imaginations can conjure . . . “Behold the One beholding you and smiling.” It is truly hard for us to see the truth that disapproval does not seem to be part of God’s DNA. God is just too busy loving us to have any time left for disappointment.4

Our God is a God of seven buses, the One who traveled from heaven to earth to show us we are His beloved.


Take an opportunity now to let yourself—body, mind, and soul—respond to this love. Choose from one of the options below or do something else that feels meaningful to you.

Option One
Gather your pens and colored pencils and write this verse on a blank piece of paper: Having loved His dear companions, He loved them right to the end (John 13:1 MSG). Make it beautiful, using color and artistic elements, to reflect the beauty of this truth and to help it sink into your soul. Put your artwork somewhere you will see it each day, to remind you of God’s expansive love for you.

Option Two
Listen to a song which moves your heart and even your body to worship, perhaps Magnificent5 by U2 or The Hallelujah Chorus6 by Handel (search the song titles on YouTube). Don’t be afraid to let loose and express your joy. Perhaps follow King David’s example and dance before the Lord!

Option Three
Experiment with body postures as you express your worship to the Lord. You might try kneeling, lying prostrate on the ground, opening your arms in an expression of receiving His love, or another movement which seems fitting.

Take the remainder of your day and celebrate God’s love for you.

Some suggestions are listed in the Take It Further section.


“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.” Revelation 1:5–6 (NLT)

In Jesus’ name, believe the gospel!

Take It Further

Would you like to enjoy an extended time of celebration today?

  • Laugh! Watch your favorite comedian or comedy movie. Enjoy the gift of laughter!
  • Dance! Put on your favorite music and let loose!
  • Practice forgiveness. Does that sound like a strange way to celebrate? Harboring resentment and bitterness can “bind up” our ability to experience joy and delight. Spend a few minutes letting go of a grudge you may be holding against someone.
  • Spend time with the ones you love the most today, doing something fun. Recognize they are a gift from God to you!
  • Go to a museum or art gallery. Enjoy the beauty and creativity on display. This is such an enjoyable way to worship the Creator of all good things.
  • Go to a local park and enjoy the scenery around you. Notice the many forms of nature around you and also the wide variety of human beings who are reflections of our Creator.
  • The poet Mary Oliver has written these thought-provoking words in her poem, Don’t Hesitate: “If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it . . . don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not meant to be a crumb.” 7

Now those are some words worth pondering: “Joy is not meant to be a crumb.” Sometimes we live with a scarcity mentality when it comes to fully entering the goodness God reveals to us in a myriad of ways—we are afraid to fully embrace the joy because we are too worried it’s not going to last.

Gratitude is a way for us to embrace the joy of the Lord, to celebrate His goodness and the gifts He’s given us.

To practice this, make a list of all the things you are grateful for, big and small, as many things you can think of. Choose to embellish it artistically if you’d like.

1 Music video I Thanks God, from Maverick City Music, Grapeview Church, January 2021, Essential Music Publishing, Bethel Music

2 Music video Echo Holy, 2020 Songs of Red Rocks Worship Publishing

3 From The Chosen Scene: John 3:16 video, The Chosen, July 2020

4 From Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle, pages 26–28

5 Magnificent by U2. Magnificent: Live from Madison Square Garden, 2011.

6 Hallelujah Chorus by Handel, George Frederick. Live at the Sydney Opera House, 2019.

7 From the poem Don’t Hesitate by Mary Oliver, from her book Swan Poems and Prose Poems

Revisit the Selah Overview