Hide and Seek
SUNDAY, July 9
Sixth Sunday After Pentecost
No matter what you are feeling about God, he has not forgotten you.
Our feelings can sometimes be perceived as overpowering facts. But feelings are also fickle, transitory, and fluctuating. In this passage, David wrestles with feelings of abandonment, sadness, depression, and an overwhelming loss of God’s presence. He asks, “How long will you hide your face from me?” as if God were playing a game of hide and seek and did not want to be found.
David’s prayer was an opportunity to rediscover God in the middle of
the mess, to lift his head from despair to delight. Halfway through his complaint-filled pleading, verse 5 marks the transformative moment,
as David remembers how he had trusted in the steadfastness of God. Then, instead of focusing on God’s past faithfulness, he makes a declarative, present/future pivot: “My heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” Prayer changed his perspective, and it changes ours!
God, remind us of your faithfulness and presence so that we may seek and find you daily. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: CHILDREN’S MINISTRIES
Voices and Choices
MONDAY, July 10
God is always speaking. What are you hearing? Whose voice are you listening to? In this passage, we see the power of the prophet’s words. Jeremiah had previously prophesied what God was saying to the people, but Hananiah contradicted the original word of the Lord with a much more pleasant report. Jeremiah wisely responds with the “wait and see” approach. The word of God was confirmed through time, and Hananiah met harsh consequences for the false communication on God’s behalf.
Second Timothy 4:3-4 warns the New TestAMEN.t church of these same types of snares, declaring, “For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound teaching, but having their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths” (NRSV).
We must be a discerning people as we listen for the voice of God through his Word and people around us.
Lord, give us hearts to discern your will, ears to hear your voice,
and feet to follow the way you are leading. AMEN.
Trust and Obey
TUESDAY, July 11
My husband and I own a real estate company that has grown to more than 70 properties. I frequently get calls from new investors considering real estate opportunities. They usually have done their due diligence, analyzing the potential return on investment. But most people stop short, ignoring the action steps required to close the deal. Trusting the numbers is a beginning point, but action is required to see the fulfillment of things envisioned in the future.
In this passage, I hear the words of the timeless hymn: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Abraham did just that. He trusted in God’s promise and believed that God would provide. In Abraham’s willingness to give up his most precious treasure, his promised son, Isaac, God rewarded him by multiplying his seed, making him the father of many nations. Trust accompanied by faith in action is the key to discovering all that God promises.
Father, give us the wisdom to trust you and to act in obedience to you. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: RACIAL RECONCILIATION
WEDNESDAY, July 12
We just celebrated Independence Day in the United States. The freedom we often take for granted was paid for by many who died defending this country. Jesus did the same, dying and rising again so
we could find life, not death. In today’s passage, Paul reminds us that we too must die to experience life. We die to our human, sinful disposition. But with death comes the gift of new life through Jesus Christ. We were all born into sin, but we have a new option—freedom. We are free to choose righteousness rather than sin. Deuteronomy 30:19 gives us the answer: “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.” Freedom is available to all who choose rightly. Let us choose salvation and righteousness. Choose life through Jesus Christ our Lord!
My Savior, I am grateful for the gift of abundant life and daily grace. AMEN.
THURSDAY, July 13
The Pharisees were always out to trap Jesus. Their list of “dos” and “don’ts” and of people who were “in” and “out,” especially regarding the Sabbath, was a running tabulation of condemnation. Ironically, the priests were not held to the same strict standard they imposed on everyone else. They worked double on the Sabbath, preparing animals and fire for sacrifice and other activities associated with Temple worship. Jesus called them out on their hypocrisy in his practical and theological defense of his friends. Jesus cared about the disciples’ basic need—hunger. He addresses the deeper motivation behind the Pharisaical accusations—their heart. The Pharisees preferred legalistic ritual and sacrifice over mercy. But Jesus opted for mercy over inflexible legalism, valuing relationship over ritualized rules. Most important, Jesus revealed himself as “Lord of the Sabbath,” greater than the highly regarded temple. This was blasphemy to the religious leaders of the day, threatening their power and influence. But Jesus’s message of mercy and grace has not changed. He is our defender, Savior, and Lord!
Lord my Defender, the accusations of condemnation are quieted in your presence. Thank you for your gift of grace, peace, and undeserved mercy. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: A CHURCH THAT REFLECTS GOD’S KINGDOM
A Good Day
FRIDAY, July 14
It was just another day at church when Jesus entered the synagogue and healed someone. It was not a big surprise—it was his nature to heal people in need. But it was a trap set by the religious leaders. A Sabbath miracle was viewed as prohibited “work.” But Jesus cared more for the person in need of a miracle than what people around him would say or think or do. This miracle set in motion the events that led to Jesus’s eventual death on the cross, as the religious leaders plotted in anger to kill him.
Yet this was a good day! Jesus was looking for an opportunity to show compassion and to bring about a miraculous act for the man with a withered hand as a witness to the goodness of God.
Jesus simply spoke a command. Nothing has changed about his nature. He is moving in our lives, looking for places in need of healing. We simply need to recognize him as healer. Every day is a good day.
Good Father, remind us today that you are our healer! AMEN.
A Good Song
SATURDAY, July 15
Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18
At the age of nine, I wrote my first love song to Jesus. It was the beginning of my musical journal to the Lord. I can look back and sing through the songs, read through the lyrics, and be reminded of God’s faithfulness. Even in the hard times of my life, a song rises out of my soul as a testimony or a cry out to God. There is such power in musical expressions.
This psalm is the psalmist’s musical journal, with this excerpt declaring God’s faithfulness, even in the middle of difficult circumstances. He leaps into the prophetic saying, “I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens” (v. 2, NRSV). He sings loudly for all to hear as a witness to the goodness, steadfastness, and faithfulness of God. This is not a just a melody with words. It is an anthem of praise—a good song in worship to a good God who is and will be a firm foundation for all generations to come. Selah!
Almighty God, we take a moment to sing a new song to you to remember who you are and to declare to all generations that you are worthy of praise. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: CHILDREN SPONSORED BY COVENANT KIDS CONGO