Personal and Family Devotions
Monday, March 16th
Grace and Peace to you!
Throughout this crisis, I’ll be sending you devotions/studies with some readings and questions, along with some links for songs and hymns. I’ll try to include some great quotes too (Hey, I love quotes!) to help us discover wisdom from the past to live well right now. These are unprecedented days for us with the unexpected rushing at high velocity into our lives. These are not unprecedented experiences, however, in history, making this a season in which we can draw on the experiences of those who’ve gone before us, together with the hope of the Scriptures, to strengthen our souls against the threats of fear, anxiety, and despair. Let’s get to it!
Unshaken, Part One
Readings: Romans 8:18-39; Psalm 46; Hebrews 12:26-29
The writers of Scripture were communicating to people who suffered in many ways and at many times. That included illness, war, plague, exile, and isolation. Just think about the disciples in hiding after the crucifixion of Jesus: they were hunkered down in an effort to stay alive in an environment where people were searching for them to kill them. In other words, the Bible was written for and the Holy Spirit was sent to people in similar situations to our own – though in some ways, even worse. Perhaps this situation in which we find ourselves can help us hear God’s voice in the Scriptures with greater clarity. As CS Lewis observed, suffering is God’s megaphone to amplify his voice in our lives.
As you read Romans 8:18-28, please consider the following great truths and questions.
- Our world is a world that is ‘groaning’ and it has been this way since the fall and rebellion of humankind. Romans 8:20-22
– In what ways do we see creation ‘groan’?
- We groan as well because we are part of this suffering world: Romans 8:23-25
– How are you and those you love ‘groaning’ at the moment? What are the pain points and are you praying these up to God or just digesting them within as anxiety?
- When we suffer, against what standard should we measure our pain and discomfort? Romans 8:1 – – Suffering is the inheritance of all of God’s people. We ‘suffer with him (Christ) in order that we may be glorified with him’ (Romans 8:17)
– Our suffering (and Paul suffered terribly!) is always measured against eternal glory. This is a time which reminds us that life doesn’t consist in our own comfort but in the life we have with God in Christ.
- Who groans with us in our suffering? Romans 8:26-27
The world groans; we groan; but the Holy Spirit also groans. We are not alone! We never have been and never will be.
God doesn’t respond to our weakness with a command to ‘Do Better!’ but with the power of his own presence to fill up our emptiness. Let’s admit our weakness and look for God’s Spirit to fill us and pray for us.
- What is the outcome of the Spirit’s work in our suffering marked lives? Romans 8:28
* Talk about people in the Bible who suffered along the way without understanding why they were doing so, but in the end, saw God’s wisdom in their journey.
* How does this affect your view of your own path?
Tomorrow: More from Romans 8!
Read Psalm 46 aloud together as a family, or on your own, making it a prayer of stubborn faith.
Read Hebrews 12:26-29 tonight before bedtime and offer God thanks that even if everything is being shaken by his powerful hand, you are part of the only thing which cannot be shaken: the Kingdom of God!
Wisdom from the Past:
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”
Martin Luther, Works v. 43, p. 132. Letter: “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague” written to Rev. Dr. John Hess.
Quotable: “To those to whom Christ is the hope of future glory, He is also the life of present grace.” – John Owen (Who buried ten of his eleven children).
Hymn for Today: A Mighty Fortress – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBUfe8AzRao
The brilliant Steve Green version –
A mighty fortress is our God.
A bulwark never failing
Our helper, He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing
for still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe
His craft and power are great
And armed with cruel hate
On earth is not His equal
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us
We will not fear for God has willed
His truth to triumph through us
The prince of darkness grim
We tremble not for him
His rage we can endure
For lo, his doom is sure
One little word shall fell Him
That word above all earthly powers
No thanks to them abideth
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth
Let goods and kindred go
This mortal life also
The body they may kill
God’s truth abideth still
His kingdom is forever
One More Song: God of Angel Armies
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