You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
2 will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
4 he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
or the arrow that flies by day,
6 or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
or the destruction that wastes at noon
What beautiful words of promise are in this passage – who God is, what God will do, and an invitation to leave behind fear as we live in the presence of God. The image of us being protected under God’s strong winds brings comfort and courage to us in the midst of challenging and difficult times.
- What does it mean to you that God is your refuge and fortress?
- In this passage, what does the psalmist say God does for us?
- What would you like God to do for you?
Gracious God, you invite us to abide with you and find shelter. We ask that as we walk with you in all that is ours to do, we will experience your comfort, rest, and protection. May we find shelter under in the safety under your strong wings. Thank you for being with us and our loved ones. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Psalm 23 -
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
3 He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
This psalm is familiar to many of us and often a source of comfort during difficult times. The promise of refreshment, nourishment, rest, protection, guidance, and more are tucked into these 6 verses.
- What promise do you need to carry with you today? Why?
- Who in your life needs encouragement during this time, and how can you reach out to them today?
- What does the Shepherd’s invitation to safety and celebration in the midst of conflict look like to you?
Gracious God – thank you so much for your presence in all circumstances. Thank you for bringing and being what we need. Help us to listen for your voice, guiding to what we need for each day. Give us creativity to reach to those around us in love, filling their lives with hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
1 Kings 19:11
11 (God said to Elijah), “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
After a big and powerful showdown between God and the prophets of Baal, where God demonstrated His might power, Elijah was in a lonely place and was overcome with discouragement. Even there, God found him. It wasn’t in God’s mighty works, but in the silence that Elijah encountered God.
- How comfortable are you with silence?
- Imagine Jesus coming to you where you are, in gentle silence, and asking you, “What are you doing here?” How would you answer that? What emotions have been stirred up in you during times of discouragement?
- What might God be quietly and gently inviting you to this day?
Gracious God, we all experiences highs and lows, times when you feel present in big, unmistakable ways and other times when you are gently quiet. Thank you for being present in the silence of our lives and help us to trust you to show up in new ways that fit where we are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
God’s work, God’s rule continues in the soil of our souls, strengthening our roots in the darkness so that what grows above ground is a blessing for others. We can trust that the work God is doing in us in the silent places of our soul is just as important as the work God has calls us to in our public lives.
- What recurring thoughts or emotions are you experiencing during this season?
- How might God be working in you in the midst of your experience right now?
- How might God be using this time to prepare you to bless others in a new way?
Gracious God, thank you that the slow work in our hearts is not wasted in your eyes. Help us to tend to the soil of our souls and surrender to the work you want to do in us so that we will bless others and reflect your love and character in our world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20 giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Regardless of the season, spiritual practices help us stay centered on God as He shapes us into the image of Christ. They remind us of who God is and open us up for God’s work of transformation and love, work that continues until the day we meet God in heaven.
- What does it look like to live wisely, both in what you are doing as well as not doing?
- What practices are you developing or maintaining and how are they keeping you grounded?
- What are you grateful for today?
Gracious God, help us to develop rhythms in our day that point us to you and to one another in love. Remind us that the point is to seek you with all our hearts that we may find you and be shaped into your image through your work of transformation. We give you thanks and commit our lives to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.