Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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Reading: Psalm 27

Verse 14: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord”.

Psalm 27 and its emotions look much like our life and the ups and downs we experience. Part of what I love about the Bible and about Psalms like this are the honesty. It is not all fairy tale – there is hurt and trial and pain and doubt and fear… David, the author of this Psalm, was a real person who struggled with real things. Because of this, the words written many years ago remain relevant.

David opens by sharing the confidence he has in the face of evil men and enemies. “My heart will not fear” speaks of his sure trust in God. He then writes of his desire to spend time in God’s house, the temple. David finds beauty and safety and can sing to and praise God. We go through much of life feeling like David does here in the first six verses. We live more good days than bad.

In my head at least, the tone changes in verse 7. I hear a more desperate voice in the next verses. The “hear me” sounds like a plea, the “do not hide” sounds like a sincere request, the “do not reject or forsake me” sounds like a wishful exhale. David comes to God in this manner for the same reason we do at times. Our human nature is to doubt, to wonder, to question if God will stand by us again.

Some of the time, at least, we question why God would “allow” this thing to happen. That leads us to question if God will be present. And sometimes we create our own trial or suffering by our decisions or because we chose to sin. Especially then we wonder if God will help us out again. David was in all these situations at times too. He questioned and wondered too. He turned to God in prayer for and he sought God in the scriptures. And God was always there. This too will be true for us. Our loving God will always be there.

The Psalm closes with these words: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord”. Yes, it can be hard to wait. But at times we must wait and trust in the Lord. Sometimes there is a learning to be had, sometimes God’s plan is bigger than our limited vision or understanding. May we be strong in the waiting. May our hearts remain connected to our God. Wait for the Lord – God is faithful.

Prayer: Loving God, above all else you are faithful and loving. In my ups and downs, keep me ever cognizant of your presence. Thank you for your love that never fails. Amen.

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Trust in God, Our Salvation

Reading: Isaiah 12: 2-6

Verse 2: “Surely God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid”.

Life can bring us all kinds of ups and downs. In the midst of Advent and the holiday season, even then, “life” affects us. In church yesterday, on the second Sunday of Advent, we had two prayer cards for families who lost loved ones, one for a surgery, one for a man who had to place his wife in an Alzheimer’s unit, and one for a grandson. It felt like a lot. Yet for each of these families affected, it feels much more profound and impactful.

As I read and reflected on today’s passage, I realized that Isaiah’s audience must have felt some big emotions too. As Isaiah spoke these words to the people, the powerful empire of Assyria was bearing down on their part of the world. In what felt like a tide sweeping across the earth, the Israelites were awaiting the first waves. As what surely felt like impending doom crept closer and closer, Isaiah offers these words of hope: “Surely God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid”. Yes, folks, trouble is on the way. But God is greater. Isaiah’s message to Israel is the same message to us: trust in God.

For those feeling sadness or loss or even uncertainty during this time of the year, this is an important message to hear: trust in God. Trust that God will lead you through, and He will. Trust that God will bring you the strength that you need, and He will. Trust that God will give you discernment and will bless your decisions, and He will. God is surely your salvation.

Isaiah closes our passage for today encouraging us to “shout aloud and sing for joy”. He is encouraging the people and us to celebrate God’s faithfulness in the past. In doing so we are strengthened for the day today. To all who are hurting or worried or struggling this Advent season, remember, God loves you, God is trustworthy, God is your salvation. Trust in God. Amen.

Prayer: Lord, I pray for those who are down, those who are blue, those who need your loving presence, your hope, your grace. Please be present to them, O God of our salvation. Thank you. Amen.

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Reading: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-13

“There is a time for everything…”. Time – we do not always get to choose and must instead trust into God’s timing.  After all, God alone is in control and God alone truly understands the big picture.  Each of our lives is but a small piece of the larger picture.  So we must trust.

Ecclesiastes 3 covers most of what life brings, from the big to the small.  All life begins with birth and ends in death; all life has periods of laughter and times of tears.  We build and we tear down, we plant and we harvest, we rip and we mend.  Life is full of many experiences.  God is present in them all – celebrating with us at times, crying with us at times, always present.

In verses ten and eleven we gain a glimpse of both our reality and of our promise.  In verse ten, we are reminded that toil is part of life.  We must each work at something to find value in ourselves and to provide for our needs.  Work is simply part of life.  But it is just part of the day to day of life.  We begin to get in trouble when we place too much value in or emphasis on our toil.  When our job represents who we are or when it becomes the focus of our life to the exclusion of faith, family, and friends, then our priorities need realigned.

Life will have its ups and downs.  God is our constant.  In verse eleven, we are reminded that “He has made everything beautiful in its time”.  God is present in all things.  The plans He has for us are for our good.  When we have God as our foundation, there is beauty in all that life brings.  Verse eleven goes on: “he has also set eternity in the hearts of men”.  In eternity, we find hope.  In hope, we walk through both the ups and the downs with a different perspective.  We know, as followers of Jesus Christ, that our eternity rests in His hands.  We know this promise.  We find peace, comfort, strength, and hope in this promise.

There is indeed a time for everything.  And in everything, God is present.  As we go through the day to day of life, may we always trust in God, our all in all, our everything.