Nothing God Withheld

July 26, 2014

Nothing God Withheld ~ Kenneth L Samuel

For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will [God] withhold from them that walk uprightly. From Psalm 84 KJV

I had just purchased a brand new Dell Computer from the Best Buy store. I was frustrated because I couldn’t get the thing to work right. I had wireless Internet from Verizon ad I had a brand new computer, but I still couldn’t access cyberspace or check my e-mails. In an agitated flurry, I put the computer back in the box and too it back to the store. Surely some device or some cable had been omitted from my computer package.

The “Geek Squad” tested it and politely informed me that all I needed was in the package, but that with the new configurations of a new computer I needed new procedures to access the internet. The store had not withheld anything I needed; I just needed to learn how to use it.

When I think of the goodness that seems to be lacking in my life, I am often tempted to believe that for some reason God is holding back and holding out on me. But in light of my computer experience, the problem may not be God’s lack of provision, but my failure to fully access all that God has provided. For me, this is the promise of Psalm 84:11 – god is not a withholder of anything that is good. And this is the blessed assurance of goodness in my life – the goodness that has been revealed, and the goodness that is yet to be accesses.

PRAYER: God, give me the faith to trust in your goodness that I cannot see, and to depend on your provisions that I have not  yet realized. Amen

 Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 221.

God's Dwelling Place

July 22, 2014

God’s Dwelling Place ~ Donna Schaper

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my god than live in the tents of wickedness.”  From Psalm 84

                Living in the courts of the Holy is a great understanding of an ordinary day. We go in, we go out. Doors mark our time. We are not stuck anywhere. We are people on the move, from one holiness and one strength to another. We go from strength to strength.

                Unfortunately we are habituated to living our courtless lives. We find ourselves spending tie in the tents of wickedness, whether we want to or not. We imagine that our 401K’s ups and downs define our security. They do not. We imagine that having health insurance is the key to having health. It is not. We imagine that very little can be done to stop crime or properly reform criminals. Indeed, when we stand at the gate of the holy, we are filled with ideas for forgiveness, reparation, renewal of those, including us, who have “gone wrong.” There is nothing permanent about the tents of the wickedness for us or for criminals. What is permanent is the court of the holy. We can spend every day there.

                When we imagine our lives as doorkeepers to the courts of the holy, we let go of what we think is the norm on behalf of a new normal. We live a different way, as people who “wake up and smell the possibility,” in the great works of Alice Walker.

PRAYER: Spirit of the Living God, tell us what it is that keeps us from being good doorkeepers. Give us detail. And then send us to the gates and let us move in and out of holiness with joy and gratitude. Amen.

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 217.

Does God Get Mad?

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February 14, 2014

Does God Get Mad? ~~ Christina Villa

For we are consumed by your anger; by your wrath we are overwhelmed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance. From Psalm 90

Does God get mad? It depends whom you ask. Some say, “No, never.” For them, God is benevolent, always. When good things happen, it’s thanks to God. When bad things happened, it’s something else, usually unspecified…maybe global warming? Those of us without degrees in theology are left to wonder.

Others say God does indeed get mad and bad things happening are God’s punishments. This view gets tricky whenever there is a big natural disaster: what did all those innocent children washed away by the tsunami do to make God mad? We’re still wondering.

Many people firmly hold one or the other of these views of God and are deeply invested n their rightness. It’s more than a matter of theology. On this question, people seem to choose the answer that’ most emotionally satisfying for them. Sometimes, it’s all you have to go on.

But when you want to know more about what God is like, if you’re not so certain abou tit, it’s often a good idea to read the Bible (and occasionally live your life) with your mind not made up. The bible, like life, is a lot more revealing when you don’t approach it as if it were a cable news channel – telling all its stories from one or the other point of view.

The Bible is full of people how don’t’ know what to believe, who change their minds, and start and stop believing. When you read the bible with your mind not made up, you find real people in there, people you can learn from. But you have to read their stories without your mind made up or else all you’ll learn is what you already believe.

PRAYER: Let me live today, or maybe just this morning, without my mind made up about every last little thing.  Amen.

 

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 49.