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.

Unstoppable

July 24, 2014

Unstoppable ~ Ron Buford

That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria…Now those who were scattered went from place t0 place, proclaiming the word.  From Acts 8:1b-8

Unstoppable in the face of horrific persecution, early Christians continued proclaiming the Jesus story. Persecution seemed to stimulate Christianity’s spread, farther and faster, to Judea and Samaria.

Jesus promised! “you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you and you shall be my witnesses.” NO, it did not free them from suffering, imprisonment, and death…but from the prisons of powerlessness and fear. Their unstoppable acts became an unrelenting witness to a skeptical world.

Saul’s seemingly unstoppable energy for persecuting Christians eventually collides with the energy and light of the Jesus of the persecuted. He later writes to Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind..”

Are you afraid of today? Fear has no power over us as it does not come from external circumstance, but form our internal disconnect from the God of all power. May the Holy Spirit rest and bide within you today, granting you unexplainable, unstoppable power.

God did it for me and [God] will do the same for you.

PRAYER: Gracious God, help me believe, release, grasp, and conduct your possibility power…not for myself, my love, my family, but as one of many witnesses to your power at work in the world. Thank you. Amen!

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 219.

Consider Breaking the Law

July 23, 2014

Consider Breaking the Law ~ Christina Villa

He heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.” The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times…While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Now get up, go down, and go with them without hesitation, for I have sent them.”  From Acts 10:9-23a

Peter is hungry. He has a vision and hears God tell him what to do: “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” Wait a minute Peter says, I’m not going to just kill any old thing and eat it! That’s against the rules, and apparently even having God tell him it’s OK – not once, not twice, but three times – isn’t enough for Peter. He’s still “greatly puzzled” by what he’s heard. What could it mean? What should he do about it? He’s still thinking about it later, when the Spirt, sounding exasperated, has a job for him to do, but has to prod him into action: “Now get up, go down, and go with them without hesitation for I have sent them.”

Sometimes we get so used to following rules that our obedience to them gets in the way of our obedience to God. Sometimes we follow rules in order to avoid challenge or risk. In the process of staying safe, and perhaps congratulating ourselves for being good rule-followers, we never do anything that might be considered divinely inspired – or even very important to us. In this scripture, Peter actually refused to do what God tells him to do – he tells God, “By no means, Lord” – because he’s let the rule become his god. But God is changing the rules here, as if to illustrate the old saying that rules are made to be broken.

What “rules” are you busy following while the Spirit is repeatedly trying to make you “get up” and do something else, something you were meant to do, something God has in mind for you?

PRAYER: Thank you for never giving up on trying to get my attention. Amen.

 Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 218.