Great Plains Daily Devotional for 1/14/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Crawford Valley UMC
Plainview UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Randolph, NE First UMC
Wausa UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Dakota City UMC
Homer UMC
South Sioux City St Paul UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Decatur UMC
Tekamah First UMC
Elkhorn Valley District

Today's Lectionary Text

Psalm 29

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
    worship the Lord in holy splendor.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
    the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
    and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
    and strips the forest bare;
    and in his temple all say, “Glory!”

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
    May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Today's Devotional

I know the Psalms are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I find myself drawn to them. I don’t know if it’s the poetry aspect of them that draws me near, or the words attributed to David, but they resonate with me.

As I looked at this verse and read it over in various versions, we hear the power ascribed to God that we can’t really say we see regularly in today’s world. The imagery of the voice of the Lord breaking cedars, stripping trees bare, calling down flames and floods. This vengeful God that even I like to ignore. That Old Testament God bending the people to his will and punishing those in his path.

But the end of this Psalm reads like a request:

May the Lord give strength to his people. May the Lord bless his people with peace.

As I think of these words in the light of recent events a small part of me wants to see that raging, vengeful God come down and straighten things out around here. Throw a lightning bolt here, toss a few flames out over there in a holy scare them straight. Pay attention! What are you doing?

But I read those last lines again.

May the Lord give strength to his people. May the Lord bless his people with peace.

I learned a long time ago that if you ask for strength from God you may get more than you bargained for. In order to get stronger, you have to work your muscles, you have to make them tired and push them. The situations I’ve asked God to deliver me from he’s often put me in the center or required me to do the work and make my way through them. He’s been beside me the whole time, but it wasn’t fun and it wasn’t easy.

Peace is often achieved the same way. It doesn’t just happen. Work goes into the whole process. Hard work, work that frankly we’d rather not do and likely have been avoiding. But that is what it takes to get to that peace we say we want.

So, in these strange days may we lean into God’s strength and blessing knowing we need to rely on God’s strength to do the work of the blessing. The only way is through, and it will be hard. We will lose heart, become exhausted, frustrated and feel alone but we need only rely on His strength and He will give us the tools and gifts to do the work. Sometimes those tools will be talents, maybe the gifts are found in others. But the only way to peace is through.

May the Lord give strength to his people. May the Lord bless his people with peace.
-Lisa Soukup
Communications Administrative Assistant

Prayer for Reflection

Heavenly One, we tread a dark path at present. We are so divided and everything seems so divisive. Help us to find the tools and gifts in ourselves and others, to make our way through. We know you are beside us and light the way for lasting peace.


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