September 10 – 14, 2018

MONDAY

Isaiah 40:21-31

Waiting. No one likes waiting. Impatience stirs within us. Anxiety creeps in. The desperate need to take control starts to bubble up inside us. Waiting. Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable things we have to do is wait. Right now, I am in a season of waiting. Waiting on the Lord for direction. Waiting for things to happen in my life that seem to be taking forever. I have been in the season many times before and God always came through; in the end, the timing all made sense. However, during that time of waiting I was anxious and impatient. Often I would try to do things on my own and fail miserably. Usually this would end with me once again realizing my own inadequacy and releasing—again—my desires and hopes to God trusting Him to handle them, as He always does.

If only I could stay in that state of constant trust. If only I could sit back, relax, and know that the God who holds the universe together can handle my everyday worries and problems—perhaps then, waiting would actually be a time of rest instead of anxiety. Maybe you are in a time of waiting right now, or maybe you know exactly what I am talking about because you have been there before. Wherever you are today, I hope the words here in Isaiah are a comfort to you as they are to me.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (v. 31).

Let’s put our hope in the Lord today. Whether it is the first or the hundredth time you have put the things you are holding today into His hands, let’s release it together. Lay it down and feel yourself soar with the peace that will lift you and carry you above the clouds.

QUESTION

What worry, anxiety, or fear do you need to lay down at the feet of your Father? Can you trust Him to handle it?   

PRAYER

Lord, You are a God who is faithful. We can trust you to take care of us always. Thank you. Lord, we are a people who worry. Forgive us for the times when we have a hard time trusting You. Today we put our trust in You. Amen.

 

TUESDAY

Luke 16:1-15

We are so short sighted, aren’t we? So often we look for worldly wealth, seeking after it with all we have, when in fact it is so fleeting. Worldly wealth and possessions are so small in comparison to the heavenly blessings we have waiting for us. However, it is so easy to get caught up in this world. It is so easy to lose track of the big picture and seek after things that are fleeting and temporary. We compare ourselves with one another and always feel like we need more.

Verse 10 of this passage has been playing through my mind over and over again recently. It has been on my heart, and I feel like it is something God is working in me right now. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with very much.” Am I truly being faithful with those little things God has placed into my care, or am I always searching after something “bigger” or seemingly “better”? 

This past year as a church we practiced a prayer during lent. This was  very meaningful for me as it transformed my prayer life. The “Guidance” section of this prayer says, “Envision your day with God. Foresee God in each task, in each relationship, in each opportunity, in each member of your family … and in every unscheduled event or encounter that will happen today. Ask for God’s guidance in each aspect of your day.” 

This practice helped me to go through all the “little” things I have been entrusted with and see God alongside me through them. Maybe I am cleaning my house, running errands, or meeting a friend—but each of these tasks becomes something more meaningful when I picture God guiding me. God has entrusted me with my house; therefore, I will do my best to care for it. God has given me the money to buy groceries, so I will be careful and wise as I plan meals for my family. God has given me friends; therefore, I will strive to listen and care for them as God would want me to do. Whatever today brings, I want to strive to be trustworthy and faithful in the little things so that I can also be trusted with much.

QUESTION

What “little” thing has God entrusted to you? How can you seek to be more faithful with that today? 

PRAYER

Lord, You walk with us through our days. Thank you. Lord, bring meaning to the little things today. Help us as we strive to be faithful and live the way You would want us to live. Amen.

 

WEDNESDAY

Psalm 131

I thought this psalm was the perfect one to place in the middle of the week when we are tired, worn out, and needing renewal that only God can bring. Today we read this three-verse psalm and reflect quietly on the Lord together. Verse 2 was very meaningful for me, so I have posted it around my house as a reminder.

This verse came to me as I read through a book called An Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton. This summer I have been trying to be more consistent with the practice of solitude and silence. During this practice, I ask God the questions that are deep in my soul. I am able to fully be myself with God and rest, trusting that the God who knows all has me in His arms. As Barton puts it, “And so it is with the soul at rest in God. We do not put on airs. We do not try to make things seem better than they are. We do not pretend to be someone or something we are not. We do not hold back squeals of delight, expressions of need or desire, tears of pain, sadness or disappointment. In times of solitude the soul rests in God by simply being with God with what is.”

So today this is my invitation to you. Here in the middle of your busy week, take some time to sit and just be with God. Calm and quiet  yourself and rest back into His embrace. It’s okay to bring your questions, it’s okay to bring your doubts, and it’s okay to celebrate your blessings as well. He just wants you. Putting aside the time for silence and solitude first seems to help everything else in my day fall into place. This time I spend is not lost time; it is precious time that aligns me with my Creator so that I can walk through my day with the assurance that I am His.

QUESTION

What questions do you bring to God today?  What blessings do you need to celebrate with Him?  Where do you need Him to bring you rest? 

PRAYER

Lord, during our busy days we can find rest in You that will satisfy our souls. You allow us to come to You with who we truly are, questions and all. Thank you. Lord, renew and refresh us to face the rest of our week. We love and praise You. Amen.

 

THURSDAY

Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33

This week’s devotions have had a common theme of faithfulness. As we come to this beautiful passage in Lamentations today, we once again remind ourselves that the Lord is ever faithful and true. Today’s passage has a theme that resonates with Monday’s theme in Isaiah as well: waiting and trusting the Lord, knowing that He is faithful.

“‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him’” (v. 24). I want to say this verse over and over again until it fully sinks into my being. I want to write this verse on the tablets of my heart so that when times of struggle come, it will rise within me to bring the comfort that I need. As I write this, I am in a season of blessing. Right now this verse is easy to declare because I can see the goodness of the Lord all around me. However, as I write this, I also am aware that many of you may be in a time of grief. For you, let verse 32 be an encouragement to your aching soul. “Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love.” His love is unfailing is abundant and overflowing; and He will care for you, His precious child.

How can we hope in the Lord in times of struggle and despair? He is our portion. The Lord is all we need. This is something that is easy to say but much more difficult to truly commit to our hearts. The Lord is all we need. This world is painful and hard. Difficult times will come our way. Through it all, the Lord can be our portion, the very sustenance of our soul. So, this week has been a week focusing on faithfulness. Today we remember the faithfulness of the Lord, and we respond to it with a faithfulness of our own. He is all we need. He will be our portion; therefore, let’s put our hope in Him.

QUESTION

What does it mean to you that the Lord can be “your portion”? How can you put your hope in Him today? 

PRAYER

Lord, You care for us in times of blessing and in times of grief. You are compassionate and loving beyond what we could ever imagine. Thank You. Help us today to put our hope in You no matter what we face. Amen.

 

FRIDAY

2 Timothy 2:1-13

Today we close our week with a passage that once again reminds us of God’s enduring faithfulness. I love how Paul starts this passage with a reminder that he gives to Timothy over and over again: be strong. Here, however, he tells him a specific way to be strong—“in the grace that is in Jesus Christ” (v. 1).

David Guzik in his commentary on this passage notes that God’s grace, His unmerited gift of help and favor, is essential for the Christian life. It is essential for us to be strong through whatever comes our way. Perhaps Paul reminds Timothy to be strong because he knew he was facing a lot of hardship. Or perhaps, he knew Timothy’s personality and knew that he would especially need a lot of strength that comes from God alone. Whatever the reason, I am thankful for this reminder that God’s grace bestows upon us the strength to get through the trials this life will bring our way.

This passage ends with Paul quoting a “trustworthy saying.” This saying provides even more of a reminder of God’s grace and faithfulness. “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (v. 13). Paul, the former persecutor of Christians, experienced God coming after him on that road to Damascus. God was faithful, gracious, and loving to Paul despite his own faithlessness. What a wonderful encouragement to end our week.

As I walk through this life, I try my best to be faithful. I try to be strong and rely on God’s grace. I try to put my priorities in order and make sure that time with God comes first each day. However, over and over again, I fail. This passage can be a gentle reminder that even when we fail, God never fails us. Even if time with God has gone by the wayside for a while, He will still “come through” and speak to us in amazing ways. Even when we do not rely on His strength to carry us through our trials, He still reaches out His arms and catches us when we fall. Our God is faithful, His character is unchanging, and His grace is overflowing.

QUESTION

Where in the past has God been faithful to you and “come through” for you in amazing ways?  Where do you need to trust that He will do the same again? 

PRAYER

Lord, today remind us of the many times when you have “come through” for us. When we worry, bring those reminders to our minds so that we can release our fears to You. Amen.

 

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