A Devotion for Thursday, April 16, 2020
Psalm 16 (NRSV)
1 Protect me, O God,
for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
in whom is all my delight.
4 Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names upon my lips.
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
10 For you do not give me up to Sheol,
or let your faithful one see the Pit.
11 You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Thoughts from “The Word in Season”
Looking for light
“In your presence there is fullness of joy.”
It is quite possible that the psalmist had nearly died before writing this psalm. The psalmist declared, “For you do not give me up to Sheol” (v. 10). Sheol was the underground, the place of death. Fortunately, the psalm writer moved from a place of death and despair to a place where there was fullness of joy.
It seems to me that difficulty and despair can eventually lead us to joy. It isn’t that those times are happy; quite the opposite is true. But somehow time spent in the scary, rough spots can remind us to be grateful, to remember our blessings, to open ourselves to God’s presence and experience God’s joy. So my prayer for you and for me is that God’s Spirit will make us aware of God’s joy and light even in the most difficult times of our days.
Prayer: Loving God of light, move me into your joy so I may bring your light to those who need it. Amen.
Scripture Reading for Personal Reflection:
Colossians 4:2-5 (NRSV)
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, 4 so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should. 5 Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.
For your personal reflection: Read the passage aloud once, let it settle in your mind. Then read it silently, to yourself. Again let it settle in your mind, and in your heart. Then read it aloud one more time, and reflect on what it might mean for you, and for living our your faith – especially in these days.
If you like, do a journal to write down your thoughts. If you can share this with a spouse or other home companion (child, parent), you can take turns reading the passage aloud – one reading the first time, the other the second time – then after the second reading aloud, you could share your thoughts with each other.
Hymn for Reflection:
“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (ELW #742) Lyrics Below
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us
a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
– 1 Peter 1:3 (NRSV)
Blessings & Peace,
Want to do something positive in this uncertain, anxious time?
Write an encouraging card, note or letter for our elderly friends at Senior Star (there’s a bin in the breezeway where you can place them) – or for one of our shut-ins (Ken Bechtler, Myrtle Daneilson, Helen Randall and Barb Morphew) which can be brought to church for delivery.
Or, make some cheerful, simple artwork – for others and for yourself – that can be put in a window to cheer you up, and those who may see it in your neighborhood.
Sign up to ring the church bells to send the message to our community that God is with us in the midst of this time, and that we at Messiah are praying for those who are affected, and for an end to the pandemic.
Do you Quilt? How about making Masks out of quilting fabric? It’s supposed to be one of the best fabrics to use, and there are patterns online to make them.
For those affected in any way by the Covid-19 pandemic.
For our congregation in this time of separation, that we would yet be held together.
Have another idea? Let me know, and I will share it here!
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit; Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations, is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged – take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness – take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge – take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In his arms he’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.