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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Today’s Scripture ReadingPsalm 138

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my
whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for
your steadfast love and your
for you have exalted your name and
your word
above everything.
On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of

All the kings of the earth shall praise
you, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of
your mouth.
They shall sing of the ways of the 
for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he
regards the lowly;
but the haughty he perceives from far away.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve me against the wrath
of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures

Do not forsake the work of your

Have you ever taken comfort in knowing someone else was there for you? Maybe it was a family member—a parent, sibling, aunt, grandfather, cousin—or perhaps a teacher, manager, pastor, coworker, mentor, roommate, neighbor, or classmate. That person made you feel loved. They affirmed that your life mattered.

Knowing you have a place in the world can make all the difference. It can grow a quiet confidence from within. I like to think of God as forever in our corner, cheering us on, especially when life gets hard. As Psalm 138 shows, we all “walk in the midst of trouble.” To live life is to walk in difficulty, doubt, and darkness. Fortunately we have the light of God’s love: “The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever.” Indeed God’s love is inextinguishable and everlasting.

What an amazing affirmation. Psalm 138 reminds us to not only believe in this good news, but also to allow God’s love to embolden us. To embolden is “to give someone the courage or confidence to do something.” By this definition, God can, and does, “greatly embolden” each of us. I like to think Jesus came into our lives to remind us to be bold. Jesus himself lived an emboldened life. He took bold actions in the face of danger and uncertainty. Jesus, I believe, was the originator of Martin Luther King Jr.’s principled belief in the “fierce urgency of now.”

As the end of the year approaches, how might we be bold or bolder? May we enter the new year heartened by God’s love, emboldened and ready to act.

Loving God, we praise you and your unfailing love. Embolden us. Grant us courage to meet each day, and one another, with openness, kindness, patience, grace, and forgiveness. Amen.

Written by Jonathan Kent, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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