14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
When we approach the throne of grace, we encounter the beloved gaze of the Trinity and are welcomed to communion. Our confession is that the good news is true and it is for everyone. Because God became human, there is an understanding and compassion that characterizes our relationship to God. We are invited to approach God boldly and with open arms, knowing that we will receive mercy and grace when we most need it.
- Where do you need the mercy and grace of God in your life today?
- What does it mean to you that God looks on you with compassion? How easy is it for you to look on yourself with compassion?
- Who in your life needs to experience the compassion of God? How can you be an extension of God’s compassion to them today?
Gracious, Compassionate God – there are times when we are not only disappointed in something we have done but we are disappointed because we continue to be the kind of people are capable of failure and sin. Help us to overcome our propensity to cover our sin and shame, and to run into your presence to receive mercy and grace from you, our compassionate God. And in our receiving of mercy, give us hearts that are quick to extend mercy to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Isaiah 41:10 -
10 do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
11 Yes, all who are incensed against you
shall be ashamed and disgraced;
those who strive against you
shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12 You shall seek those who contend with you,
but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
shall be as nothing at all.
13 For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Do not fear,
I will help you.
God assures us in this passage that he will strengthen us, help us, and uphold us. Whether there are external pressures that leave you in fear, or you look for things to contend with, God promises that they will be for naught. Imagine God, standing in front of you, your right hand in his, promising his protection over you.
- What pressures are you feeling that are leaving you anxious and fearful?
- Are there things that you are pursuing that will eventually come to naught and are not worth your time and concern?
- How do God’s promises of help and strength impact the way you go into this next day?
Gracious God, you remind us so many times not to fear. Thank you that you are present with us, even standing in front of us, assuring us of your presence. Give us faith to not fear the things around us and to not pursue those things that lead to anxiety, but to lean into your strength and help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17 comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.
So many of the benedictions in Paul’s letters invoke the Trinitarian work of God. It is only through the Spirit that we experience the grace, comfort, and hope of God and find the strength to remain faithful and fruitful in what is ours to do. We receive and are agents of all that God is and has for us in the world.
- Where do you need comfort right now?
- How is your heart today in terms of strength?
- How can you be a recipient and agent of God’s comfort, hope, and strength today?
Gracious God, we recognize our need to be grounded in you as our source of comfort, hope and strength. Thank you that by your Spirit, we have communion with you, moment by moment, and with that the invitation to do your good work in the world, in word and deed. Help us be faithful to what you have called us to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
2 Thessalonians 3: 3-5
3 But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.[a] 4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
These 3 verses are filled with encouragement and promises and blessings of commitment. Paul, the writer, desires what is best for those in Thessalonica and these same words apply to us today.
- What promise in this passage is most encouraging to you today?
- What are the things that you will continue to do in the name of God today?
- How do you need to experience the love and steadfastness of God today?
Gracious God, thank you for the encouragement that we find in your word, reminding us in many ways who you are and your desire to protect, love, and guide us. Give us hearts that lean into your love and steadfastness so that whatever is happening around us, we are confident in what you are doing in, around and through us for your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to break down and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
8 a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
In this passage, we are reminded that life is dynamic and what we may have and experience today may be gone tomorrow. This is the theme of Ecclesiastes and it can be a message leading to hopelessness and cynicism or, in Christ, a reminder of where our confidence and allegiance lies.
- What emotions do these words stir in you?
- Is there one of these contrasting experiences that resonates with you in this moment?
- What would you like to say to God in this tender moment of remembrance?
Gracious God, many of the reminders in this passage have been a part of our experience, figuratively if not literally. This could leave us hopeless if not for your promise to never leave us or forsake us. We lift our hearts to you and ask that we would live in the truth of your loving and merciful presence, trusting that you are never anywhere but with us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.