Great Plains Daily Devotional for 8/9/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Michael McGregor
Decatur UMC
Tekamah First UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Nick Baker
Carroll UMC
Wayne First UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Julie King
Brady-Choteau-Dutton UMC's, Mountain Sky Conference
Hays District
Troy Miller
Chaplain
Ft Hays State Univ Campus Ministry
Hays District

Today's Lectionary Text

Today's Lectionary

Exodus 16:1-3

The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
 

Today's Devotional

I often try to put myself in a text when I’m studying to connect with it on a deeper level emotionally and intellectually. Some stories are easy, and I want to enter into it, while others I hesitate to connect with. When I hesitate, it’s usually because I see a clear place of connection, but don’t want to admit it. This passage from Exodus rings clear for application to me, and the church, during this time. We often find ourselves like the Israelites in the wilderness. We are looking back, wishing for the old problems, and become paralyzed by the wilderness we find ourselves in.
 
The church we find ourselves in today is so often not the one we grew up loving to be a part of. We find lower attendance, less engagement by members, fewer children and youth, less engagement with our communities, and overall, less relevancy of the church in society. This isn’t the church we knew, and we look back and compare. We look back and wish for the past we knew. We begin to wish for the consistency over the unknown path we are on. We find ourselves in the wilderness, unhappy, upset, and maybe even taking it out on the shepherds who guide us, like the Israelites did to Moses and Aaron.
 
What changed? Did God’s call for us change? Is this the same call we had at our baptism, confirmation, profession of faith? It’s easy to say it’s all changed in the midst of this wilderness, but if we step back and really look at it, the places we are called look a little different, but God’s call hasn’t changed at all. We may just have to follow that call and trust God more fully, listen more carefully, and follow more intentionally. We are reminded time and again in Scripture that God will not leave us, just as God doesn’t leave the Israelites. God provides time and again for them in the wilderness and they are simply asked to trust each morning. We to are called to trust at this time in our wilderness. That’s how we know we can continue moving forward into the unknown future, God is there, and we are to abide in that knowledge.
— Rev. Zach Anderson
Dodge City and Hays districts superintendent
dodgecityds@greatplainsumc.org

Prayer for Reflection

Gracious and loving God, send your Spirit to us as we navigate this wilderness. Give us the strength to trust you each new day and to abide in Christ’s promise to be with us to the end of the age. Help us to have the knowledge that the future is full of your great promises, and to not look back and wish for our pasts. We are called for this time, O God, and we thank you for your patience as we learn to trust you more fully. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

 

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