“You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust’” (Ps. 91:1-2).
These powerful words remind us of God’s unwavering presence in our lives.
We all go through dark times when our faith is tested, when our determination to follow Jesus wavers. We face illnesses or financial difficulties; we experience the loss of a loved one; we find ourselves in a damaging relationship and we need to make a tough decision.
Often during those times we feel lost, confused, and consumed. We might even feel as though God has abandoned us. But God understands these feelings. Jesus understands our pain because he also goes through it. Before he was arrested, Jesus goes aside to pray and feels the weight of what is about to happen. At that time Jesus felt overwhelmed and abandoned, and he cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46, niv).
When we go through difficult times, prayer is the key. When we feel abandoned and persecuted, God is our refuge and our fortress. With God we can feel secure and safe, remembering that nothing can separate us from God. God will protect those who know God’s name. All we need to do is call to God.
Whatever happens, whatever life throws on our path, God’s love is ours today and tomorrow. We are God’s beloved.
Loving God, thank you for your unwavering love for me. Even when I waver, your love is steadfast. Give me courage to live in the certainty that your love surrounds me and to share that love with others. Amen.
As we begin the season of Lent, the readings provide several images of how we might prepare our hearts. Deuteronomy focuses on gratitude with a recitation of the history of God’s faithfulness. The people are instructed to offer their gifts to God as a response to God’s generosity. The psalmist focuses on faithfulness. If we put our confidence in God, God will protect and sustain us. In Romans, Paul emphasizes faith. Our confession of faith from the mouth should come from the heart, and this heart confession saves us. The story of the temptation of Jesus admonishes us to know biblical truth. The devil tempts Jesus with half-truths—even scriptural quotes—but Jesus counters with correct understanding of God’s word and God’s character.
Read Deuteronomy 26:1-11. We no longer offer physical sacrifices to God. How do you give the “first fruits” of your labor to God in thanksgiving?
Read Psalm 91:2, 9-16. Recall a time you have felt abandoned or insecure. How did God respond to your call?
Read Romans 10:8b-13. Paul learned to see those he once despised as his equals in Christ. Whom does God call you to learn to love?
Read Luke 4:1-13. How do you follow Jesus’ example to use scripture to resist temptation?
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