Personal and Family Devotions
Wednesday, March 18th
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 Two
Readings: Romans 8:31-39; Psalm 73:25-26; John 20:19-21
“What then shall we say to these things?”
Honestly, I felt suddenly overwhelmed yesterday. The reports I was hearing from various medical people and the news of those suffering, combined with the prospect of being separated for such a long time from so many beloved friends, were crushing my soul. I was beginning to feel the full weight of what it means to have pulled out from beneath us everything on which we normally depend to prop up our fragile lives. Perhaps your emotions have made a similar journey. Where do we go next?
Paul’s overflowing anthem of praise in Romans 8 can be a place where we go in dark days of soul anguish. In the face of inexplicable suffering, Paul turns to God’s unmerited grace, noting that the only conclusion of the matter is that God’s covenant love is the only unshakable pillar our tottering hearts can lean on.
The Gospel tells us:
1. God is FOR us – and this means, that no power of hell or government or even a microbe will have the ultimate say in our lives. The proof? The cross of Christ where we see how Jesus offered up himself on our behalf.
2. God has JUSTIFIED us – and this means that no condemnation and further charges can be laid at our feet because they have all been laid on Jesus’ shoulders. Christ has died, risen, and ever lives to intercede for us. He has won us by his death and he will keep us by his life.
3. God has UNITED us to himself – and this means the Almighty NEVER practices any social distancing from us! Nothing can interrupt or break our union with Christ.
Suffering Christians may answer, “But we are in pain. We feel like we are nothing more than sheep for the slaughter!”
Paul answers this assessment with a resounding, “Never!” He does this because our life here is not our ultimate treasure. He doesn’t say, ‘We can’t be killed’ or ‘We aren’t subject to pain and attack’. What Paul says it that these foes stand no chance against something infinitely more powerful – the love of God. We can and do die, but our union with Christ cannot be killed. God has joined us to himself in an unbreakable bond that will sustain us throughout every ordeal.
Read Psalm 73 aloud together.
How does the faithful person ‘feel’ at times, especially as one beholds apparent injustice and terrible sorrow? Psalm 73:1-3, 12-15
What made the difference in the writer’s perspective? Psalm 73:16-17
Looking at Psalm 73:23-26, talk together about the outcome of his discovery.
Tonight: Read Jesus’ words in John 20:19-21 Ask the Lord to speak his peace to you and over your family and friends. The first word of Jesus to his disciples after his resurrection was, “Peace”. He knows our need and meets these deep longings with his word.
Confessing with the Psalmist, ‘Whom have I in heaven but Thee and besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth”, offer up this prayer followed by the Lord’s Prayer:
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly
wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to
love what you command and desire what you promise; that,
among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts
may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
We can spend our days bemoaning what the world has come to or rejoicing at who has come into the world. – Unknown
“Thou who hast given so much to me, give me one more thing – a grateful heart!” George Herbert (1593 –1633)
Hymns and Songs
Thy Mercy My God –
O God, Our Help in Ages Past
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