Friday, July 10, 2020

In a Dry and Parched Land


July 11, 2020

STUDY THE SCRIPTURE

Click here to access the reading from Psalm 63
For more help use this Bible Study method

REFLECTION

What Desire is Better Than Life?
by Mary McGinnis

What is the first thing on your mind when you first crack open your eyes in the morning, thinking, “I really need . . .”   

A cup of coffee? A bowl of your favorite cereal? Starbucks? 

But what is it that your soul is really longing for? And how does what you are seeking “early” set the tone of your day?

King David from the old testament was the author of today’s Psalm. It says he wrote this while he was in the wilderness (or desert) of Judah. God had chosen him to be King, to take the throne from King Saul. King Saul hated David and vehemently and relentlessly pursued killing him, to eliminate the threat to his power. David hid in the wilderness.

Many of the Psalms were written as David’s honest and open conversations with God amid such distress. 

In today's Psalm, David poured out his heart’s yearnings to his God. Was David experiencing the life sapping effects of thirst, the excruciating pain of longing for water in the middle of his desert?  

Yes, and yet he recognized a deeper longing in his soul. He says, “Early will I seek You. My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.”

Why does David’s heart pursue God early and so earnestly? Because he knew His God! He knew His mercy! He knew His steadfastness and faithfulness. He knew the relentless, zealous LOVE of his God! He knew that even if life itself were to be snuffed out, this treasure of God’s love could never be taken away.  

That is why he says, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.”

Do you know God like this? Does your heart yearn for things that never seem to satisfy? 

Jesus came to show you how much He loves you. He stretched out His arms on the tool of punishing death, the cross. He suffered, bled, and died. All this He did for you.

Jesus told the woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Jesus in inviting you to find this living water that will satisfy the deepest longs of your soul. His loving kindness is BETTER THAN LIFE!

PRAYER PRACTICE - Use Psalm 63 as a guide for writing out a prayer of lament. Begin with your trust in God, then be honest about your struggles, and finish with re-affirming God’s goodness and placing your trust in Him, even in the midst of the challenges you face. 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

My Rock and My Salvation


July 10, 2020
In this Psalm, David appears worn down. Notice in verse 3 that the challenges he’s facing have been going on for a long time. He isn’t just struggling; he is worn out. As you read, look for how David seeks restoration in God for his tired soul. Allow God to restore you as you study and pray. 

STUDY THE SCRIPTURE

Click here to access the reading from Psalm 62
For more help use this Bible Study method

REFLECTION

Will I Be Shaken?
by Jennifer Jerrome

The Psalms speak to a lot of people because David is relatable. He’s no saint and makes plenty of mistakes, but he possesses a deep love for the Lord. Sometimes he cries out in anguish and other times he shouts with praise.
The beginning verses of this psalm are positive affirmations of his faith…

1 Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Then he jumps head-first into an overwhelming sense of dread…

3 How long will you assault me?
    Would all of you throw me down—
    this leaning wall, this tottering fence?

Like David, I tend to spend my days bouncing back and forth between highs and lows. I might wake up filled with joy, but then something reminds me of the trials of this world, and I’m left shaking my head asking, “When will it end?”
David’s words give a voice to what many of us are feeling. We love God but hate what’s happening around us. We know we can “trust in him at all times,” but we also acknowledge that living in the world means dealing with hurt and lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts, they curse (v. 4).

It can all be so confusing, but we can look to David - although he was worn down and weary, he kept proclaiming several times, Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken (v. 6).

Life gives us wins and losses. Being human means often juggling mixed emotions. One minute we feel great and then the next we feel like burying our heads, but God is constant. He is there for the good, the bad, and the ugly. He doesn’t leave us. May we all find rest in his unfailing love.

UALC’S CAMPAIGN OF PRAYER 
     
FRIDAY: FAITH
Pray for faith instead of fear. That many would come to faith in Jesus and that we would all trust God more deeply during this time.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Shelter of Your Wings


July 9, 2020


David appears to have written this Psalm at a time of uncertainty (perhaps when he ran from his son, Absalom). He seems to be looking for safety and stability in God’s presence. Reflect on that longing as you read today and see what God draws out of the text, and out of you, through this beautiful Psalm. 


STUDY THE SCRIPTURE

Click here to access the reading from Psalm 61
For more help use this Bible Study method

REFLECTION

Reflect on these words and consider what God might be saying to you. Note each line and its significance in your life today.

Hear my cry, O God;

    listen to my prayer.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,

    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For you have been my refuge,

    a strong tower against the foe.
 I long to dwell in your tent forever
    and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.[b]
 For you, God, have heard my vows;
    you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
 Increase the days of the king’s life,
    his years for many generations.

May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever;

    appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.
 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name
    and fulfill my vows day after day.
UALC’S CAMPAIGN OF PRAYER 
    
THURSDAY: TRIUMPH
Pray for scientists all over the world seeking antidotes to heal the world of this virus. Pray they would be triumphant quickly



Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Vindicate Me, My God

July 8, 2020

Psalm 43 is really a continuation of Psalm 42, which we read yesterday. Taken together they speak to real, historical situations of struggle and crisis, and to the personal experience of weariness, depression, and desperation for God. What truths about God do you see the Psalmist clinging to in this time of difficulty? As you study and pray today, reflect on those truths. 

STUDY THE SCRIPTURE

Click here to access the reading from Psalm 43
For more help use this Bible Study method

REFLECTION

Trouble?
by Judy Webb

Vindicate me, my God...

At first glance, 2020 has been a year of discouragement and disappointment. I doubt any of us expected our world and our lives to be turned upside down like it has. The pandemic was bad enough – isolation and major life-change stunned and sometimes jolted us out of our comfortable life.

Rescue me…

David, the Psalmist, was also jarred from his safe world, was forced to run for his life. The Golden Age of Israel, as this era has been dubbed, wasn’t always so golden for David. We may be feeling some of the same emotions he felt. Our lives were moving along nicely. The economy was booming and many of us had a nice comfortable little world built around us. Then, boom; we were forced to shut down. Now, just as we are emerging from this situation, civil unrest surfaced and the life we knew was gone. Doubt, fear and confusion took over.

Send me your light.

Violence and hatred surround us. Our nation is caught in a period in history we will not soon forget. But (and this is a good but), God is still in control. As Christians, we can count on it. David turned to his God whenever he found himself in deep trouble. We can too.

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. 
(Psalm 43:5)

This is the time we turn to God for comfort and for His peace. His Presence offers both. We may think the obstacles we are now facing, are insurmountable. But with God at our side it is far from it. Let us just wait, watch, and expect God to show up. He will. He has a plan.


UALC’S CAMPAIGN OF PRAYER 

WEDNESDAY - Pray for wisdom in these times as we all work toward protecting lives and consider the livelihoods of millions hurt by the economic impact.