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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 34:1–8, 19–22

I will bless the Lord at all times;
   his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
   let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
   and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
   and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
   so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
   and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
   around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;
   happy are those who take refuge in him.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
   but the Lord rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones;
   not one of them will be broken.
Evil brings death to the wicked,
   and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
   none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. (NRSV)

Do you ever feel discouraged because of problems and troubles in your life? I know I do. There are times I get discouraged because life presents me with challenges that are difficult to accept. For instance, I get discouraged because of past failures and regrets. At times, I am discouraged when my prayers and cries for help seem unanswered. I get discouraged when I put too much trust in others only to realize unmet expectations.

Discouragement is a genuine sensation. Christians experience trouble too and are not exempt from difficulty. If you let the feelings of discouragement overpower you, it can hinder you from getting the best God has for you. God does not promise that Christians will be free from trouble. In fact, the opposite is true. Every one of us from time to time will suffer, for a variety of reasons.

The seasons of discouragement may puzzle you, but not God. The psalmist provides a much-needed reminder that good people will experience trouble but God will deliver: “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers from them all.”

Here is the secret weapon of the righteous. In times of trouble “the righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; God delivers them from all their trouble.” When you are feeling discouraged, remember to petition God. Spend time in scripture focused on words of encouragement, and keep your hope in the loving God. The power of prayer does not depend on us but on the Almighty, who hears our plea. Relief is not in the request but in the Holy One who is able to do more than we can think or ask.

Faithful God, please help us stay focused on you, holding scripture in our hearts while keeping our hope on things eternal. Amen.

Written by Robert Crouch, Director of Volunteer Ministry

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