Welcome to In This Season! Our series of devotions appears Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week.
Today’s Devotion Written by Roxanne Landon
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
I’m currently enjoying a month-long reprieve from the Minnesota winter that’s barely been winter. (However, it is much warmer and sunnier here in Hawaii.)
Even though I’m not traveling to a foreign country, I still sometimes feel a bit out of my element and occasionally miss the familiarity and comfort of home.
Reminding myself that God goes with me wherever I go is a true comfort. It helps me embrace the “different” and be more adventurous and bold. And I imagine I’ll appreciate home even more when I return.
Today’s Devotion Written by Evan Lieber
20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” – Matthew 8:20
These last few months, I’ve found my calendar getting fuller and fuller: add an extra Bible study here, I’d bet can squeeze in a visit with my grandparents on that weekend, maybe a night with friends is overdue, I sure can fit a social at a local brewery this Friday … Trying to keep track of it all has led me to become quite the scheduling wizard! (Although I’m still a far cry from most veteran parents with all their sports practices, school events, and play dates.) I feel like my life is wonderfully full and my time meaningfully used, but at the same time, I’m worn out.
It was in this context that, while reading a Bible story I’ve all but memorized, I noticed something that I’d overlooked. We all know the story of Jesus calming the storm. For a quick recap, Jesus and the disciples are on a small boat and Jesus is napping. Suddenly a storm comes and threatens to sink the boat. In a panic, the disciples wake Jesus and with a word Jesus calms the storm, and teaches his disciples a new lesson about faith. I’d long read this story and chuckled to myself to think Jesus was such a sound sleeper that he might sleep through a storm on the water, but with the context of the surrounding stories, it starts to make sense.
Jesus has been teaching, preaching and healing at this point for a fair amount of time. He has already called all his disciples and journeyed all across Israel from synagogues to mountain tops. By this time in the story, Jesus didn’t even need to enter towns to find crowds as earlier that day while Jesus, while “by a lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat” [so he could be seen] and “taught them many stories in the form of parables” -Mark 4:1-2. Luke:8:4 when reflecting on the same event notes the people were “from many towns near him.” So, when Jesus and his disciples are sailing on the lake, they aren’t just giving Jesus some space, they’re giving him a rare moment of rest, uninterrupted.
Perhaps Jesus was modeling something we could all learn to do better: make room for rest. This week my challenge for myself is to find one hour each week for the next month to block out on my calendar for rest. I may use it to nap like Jesus did that stormy day, or I may simply devote it to still meditation or reading, so long as it’s restful. If you feel so called to accept this challenge too, then know we’re in it together! Peace, and happy resting.
Today’s Devotion Written by Kari Beckel
Recently I have had major breaches in my personal financial accounts which has caused me a lot of angst and heartache. I have gotten so angry that these people prey on the innocent and steal from those who are trustfully naïve. It is a helpless feeling when you have been scammed. I just want to crawl in a hole and not come out. If you’ve never been a victim of fraud or identity theft, I can tell you it’s horrible. I probably will never know who was on the other end of this, or never be able to bring them to justice. While this irritates me, I am aware that it is not my job to bring retribution. There is a lot of evil and greed in our world, and not all who do wrong will be shown consequences here on earth.
But I know that God will not leave me feeling alone, no matter how frustrated or overwhelmed I may feel. My faith gives me hope for a brighter future for those who are in need, and it also gives me assurance that justice will be done. God is the ultimate judge and all we can do is strive for honesty and integrity in our own lives and thank God that He is the true deliverer of forgiveness and justice.
Father, during this time of stress and unknown outcomes, please open my eyes. Help me see where You are at work and give me Your joy and encouragement. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Today’s Devotion Written by Trina Volbrecht
He had to be made like them, fully human in every way…
— Hebrews 2:17
In our Chosen small group conversations, we’ve spent many minutes wrestling with Jesus’ humanity and divinity. We could dwell in these conversations for a long time! The birth as a helpless babe, the thoughts of Jesus as a toddler (I mean terrible twos anyone?) the frustrations he must have felt as he saw his disciples not get it and screw up again and again. There are plenty of Jesus is human stories to dwell in.
In Lent, we are asked to “journey to the cross” with Jesus. Walking alongside the Scripture stories that help us understand his incredible, deep, hard-to-truly-get, love for us. It brings me comfort to know God relishes in our trying to love better. God isn’t looking for the win-lose outcome the world so often functions within, God is the definer of win-win. Considering how Jesus repeatedly reaches out and finds us again and again, there’s no doubt God relishes in all of our attempts to love better. Needing a redo is certainly about as human as it gets. I love that Jesus has revealed God to us in this. So beautifully, fully human. The Scriptures are full of stories where God isn’t just tolerating our humanness but truly loving and celebrating in it with us.
God loves us. God is patient with us and asks us to keep doing better. God will search after you, again and again, Amen!
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