Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 03-10-23

Intro: During this Lenten season, every devotional will begin with a quote from C.S. Lewis (author and theologian), followed by two readings: 1) A passage from the Psalter and 2) a writing from one of the Old Testament prophets or New Testament authors. We will look at both passages as a whole through the fulfilling work and wisdom of Christ—Truth.

Being invited into a relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is like waking up from a nightmare [wilderness] and finding ourselves immersed in divine joy with the assurance we will be safe in the love of God from now on.

“Bliss is not for sale, cannot be earned.” (C.S. Lewis; English Literature 16th Century)

In our passage from the Psalter, Israel has faced national defeat in battle and the psalmist cries out to God for help and understanding. This writing is a lament—expression of sorrow—because the people do not understand why God would allow their enemy to conquer them. They are suffering because, in a land filled with sin, they have chosen to remain faithful to God even though it appears God is silent. However, our passage ends with the psalmist trusting God and recognizing divine love.

Psalm 44:20-26 NLV
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God, or put out our hands to a strange god, 21 would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. 22 But we are killed all day long because of You. We are thought of as sheep that are ready to be killed. 23 Awake, O Lord! Why do You sleep? Rise up! Do not turn away from us forever. 24 Why do You hide Your face? Why do You forget our troubles and our suffering? 25 For our soul is brought down to the dust. Our body holds on to the earth. 26 Rise up and help us! Save us because of Your loving-kindness.

Human effort can never bring us salvation nor give us the ability to retain divine joy. Only God can bring something beautiful out of the suffering of his children. Evil is all around us, but God continues to work his purpose in and through those who love him. God will bring something good out of every circumstance; we can trust because God is always with us.

Romans 8:26-39 VOICE
26 A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. 27 Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? 28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. 29-30 From the distant past, His eternal love reached into the future. You see, He knew those who would be His one day, and He chose them beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of a new family of believers, all brothers and sisters. As for those He chose beforehand, He called them to a different destiny so that they would experience what it means to be made right with God and share in His glory.

31 So what should we say about all of this? If God is on our side, then tell me: whom should we fear? 32 If He did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over on our account, then don’t you think that He will graciously give us all things with Him? 33 Can anyone be so bold as to level a charge against God’s chosen? Especially since God’s “not guilty” verdict is already declared. 34 Who has the authority to condemn? Jesus the Anointed who died, but more importantly, conquered death when He was raised to sit at the right hand of God where He pleads on our behalf. 35 So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love of God’s Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing. 36 As the psalm says,
On Your behalf, our lives are endangered constantly;    we are like sheep awaiting slaughter.

37 But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loved us. 38 For I have every confidence that nothing—not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, 39 height, depth, nor any created thing—can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that nothing we face will ever separate us from your love. We do not need to suffer or deal with our problems alone. Thank you for providing everything we need to live for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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