Weekly Devotions, Sept. 14-18

Friday Devotion with Joyce Dantzler

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Hebrews 4:13

We do not get to choose our life story. If we could, wouldn’t we all choose the one where life is easy, and each day is sunshine and beautiful roses? Wouldn’t we wish happy endings for ourselves and everyone we love? We can, however, choose God and choose to walk bravely wherever He leads.

The reality is that life is hard for everyone. No one gets to choose the easy life. Life can be difficult for you, for me, and for the couple up the street. The man that delivered your Amazon Prime box may be struggling to make ends meet. Illness, job loss, family hurts, and soul wounds visit all of us, and some leave scars. But we can still choose God and trust Him in our story.

Our story in Him, is one of “letting go.” We let go that we are heroes in our story as we realize instead that He is the hero who came to guide us as we go through trials, devastations, and heartaches. We may not have chosen our circumstances, but we know our God urges us onward to persevere and aspire to do good.

We offer up our lives to God knowing that in time all will be redeemed and restored. We can trust that if we could see what He sees, we would say “Yes Lord, this is the story I would have chosen for myself.”

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I look at my life and think that I could have done so many things differently. I just don’t see what You see. I know that nothing is hidden from your sight and so I trust You with my life. Amen

Tuesday Announcements with Pastor Will

Monday Devotion with Kim Wu

We need to stop listening to ourselves, and start talking to ourselves.

This advice was shared by Tim Keller in a reflection on Psalm 42. In this psalm of lament, the psalmist declares, “My tears have been my food day and night.” His grief and suffering have overwhelmed him. Yet in the midst of this trial, he talks to himself, saying, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

If we focus on listening to ourselves, we can become worried and anxious, and our minds will be filled with fearful what-ifs.

“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers him up.” (Proverbs 12:25) The advice here is not to merely give ourselves a pep talk, or even to deny our feelings. In fact, at the beginning of this Psalm, the psalmist himself pours out his soul to God, sharing all his emotions and grief.

In talking to himself, the psalmist is resisting the impulse to allow his emotions to dictate his state of mind, and challenging himself to focus on what he knows about God – who He is, what He has done, and what He has promised. Tim Keller refers to this as “not merely listening to his troubled heart but addressing it, taking his soul in hand, saying, ‘Remember this, O soul!’” Through this inner dialogue, we fill our minds with truth, “using thought and memory to set our heart on fire.”

But how we remember things matters. Jay Wolf, co-author of the book “Suffering Strong”, says that what happens to us in our lives matters much less than how we remember it. What we pay attention to can dictate the tenor of our memories, so we should be intentional about it.

As you look back over your past, what are you focusing on? Are you focusing on the gap between your expectations for your life and the reality of your current existence? Or are you focusing on how God met you in the middle of it all, helping you find Him more intimately than you might otherwise have ever encountered him? Are you seeing the way God has used your circumstances for transformation and to equip you to minister to others?

We remember not only our past and the presence of God in it, but we remember the hope to which we have been called. God is on His throne, and we have the hope and the glory of His saving grace. God is in all of this with us, redeeming it and transforming it for his good purposes.

Lord, help us to be intentional in speaking truth to ourselves, and drowning out the inner voice of panic and unnecessary fear. Let us not forget your benefits (pray through Psalm 103), and put our hope in you, through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Amen.

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