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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Scripture Reading: Psalm 107
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
     for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
     those he redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
     from the east and from the west,
     from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,
     finding no way to an inhabited town;
hungry and thirsty,
     their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
     and he delivered them from their distress;
he led them by a straight way,
     until they reached an inhabited town.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
     for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he satisfies the thirsty,
     and the hungry he fills with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in gloom,
     prisoners in misery and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God,
     and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor;
     they fell down, with no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
     and he saved them from their distress;
he brought them out of darkness and gloom,
     and broke their bonds asunder.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
     for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he shatters the doors of bronze,
     and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Some were sick through their sinful ways,
     and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
     and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
     and he saved them from their distress;
he sent out his word and healed them,
     and delivered them from destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
     for his wonderful works to humankind.
And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
     and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.

Some went down to the sea in ships,
     doing business on the mighty waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord,
     his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
     which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
     their courage melted away in their calamity;
they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
     and were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
     and he brought them out from their distress;
he made the storm be still,
     and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they had quiet,
     and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
     for his wonderful works to humankind.
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
     and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

He turns rivers into a desert,
     springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste,
     because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water,
     a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry live,
     and they establish a town to live in;
they sow fields, and plant vineyards,
     and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly,
     and he does not let their cattle decrease.

When they are diminished and brought low
     through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,
he pours contempt on princes
     and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
but he raises up the needy out of distress,
     and makes their families like flocks.
The upright see it and are glad;
     and all wickedness stops its mouth.
Let those who are wise give heed to these things,
     and consider the steadfast love of the Lord. (NRSV)

Reflection
Before I got onto my bike to ride to work I checked the weather. Good, only a twenty percent chance of rain. As I carried my bike outside, it was beautiful but after a couple of minutes, up ahead, I saw large gray storm clouds and sheet of rain falling. It distressed me. Also, quietly looming in my heart was some regrets from the weekend. I knew I had treated a good friend poorly and I was feeling the ache of my sinfulness. And with each pedal closer to work, I knew voicemails, email, and notes on my desk would be in bunches to greet me. I also needed to write a devotional on Psalm 107 that was three days late.

As I rode my bike, I thought about Psalm 107. In preparing for my devotional I had read the Psalm that morning. I thought about how the people in the Psalm are rejoicing because God has redeemed them from their troubles. They called to the Lord in their distress and God delivered them.

As I pedaled, I decided instead of riding into storm clouds, the sins from the weekend, and the day full of work ahead; instead, I decided to ride into the arms of the God of Psalm 107. The God who hears my cry. The God who helps. The God who forgives. The God who loves me.

Prayer
Dear God, thank you for your Word. Thank you that even though I am small and one of billions that you hear my cry and step into the distress. Please enter into my day today and turn my heart toward you that all day I will behold your beauty and worship you.

Written by Daniel Holladay, Senior High Youth Coordinator


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