This psalm gave my Grandmother Dortie great confidence
and comfort. She could recite it by heart, and it empowered
her to cope with everything life threw at her. Through desperate
times on her farm, the loss of her husband, recovery from accidents,
illness, loss of loved ones, she lifted her eyes to the hills
and patiently waited for help to come from God.
My grandmother was never alone a day in her life. God
was her constant, faithful companion. She never doubted God’s
presence, never once questioned God’s love. She took the good
and the bad in stride because in all things she believed—no, she
knew—that God was with her.
How does a person develop such a deep and abiding trust
and confidence? What moves a person from belief to a faith of
certainty and peace? My grandmother employed a simple yet
transformative process for developing her strong faith. It is not
unique, profound, or unusual. She committed to four practices
that worked together to build an indestructible faith: prayer,
reading the Bible, praising God, and loving neighbor.
I do not remember a day when my grandmother did not
take time for prayer. Nor can I recall one day passing where she
did not read and reflect on scripture. For every blessing, she
offered thanks to God, and for every setback, she asked what
she could learn from the experience. And I have never known
one other person who did so much for so many as a basic daily
practice. She fed the hungry, housed the visitor, welcomed the
stranger, and visited the sick.
My grandmother lived a hard but fulfilling life. She never
cursed the difficulties; she always praised the blessing. Few
people have ever known more joy, comfort, security, or hope
than my grandmother, Dortie.
Lord, be with me in prayer, speak to me through your word, and remind me to do for others. Amen.
Faith in God and deliverance by God are themes that dominate these scriptures. Abraham casts aside all baser loyalties and in daring fashion entrusts life and well- being to God’s care. Abraham follows God’s initiatives into new realms of loyalty and purpose. Paul reminds us that while Abraham models good works, his righteousness results from his faith. Nicodemus models an Abraham who has yet to leave Ur of the Chaldees. Nicodemus’s comprehension of God’s initiatives is shallow and sterile. The psalm for this day greets with joy God’s invitation to renewal.
• Read Genesis 12:1-4a. How is God calling you to leave behind the familiar for some new opportunity?
• Read Psalm 121. What aspect of this psalm draws your attention? What offers you comfort and hope? To whom do you turn for help?
• Read Romans 4:1-5, 13-17. What distinction do you draw between your doing great things for God and God’s doing great things through you?
• Read John 3:1-17. What experience does the phrase born again bring to your mind? Does it foster positive notions? In what ways do you evidence your baptism in the Spirit?
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