Devotions

What will we make of it?

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16

There are things we can control, such as whether to have coffee or tea, and there are things that out of our hands, like the ocean. Currently we are all in a state of waiting and living well outside of our normal routines. We are doing this in order to protect. Sheltering in place is our new way of life. What will we make of it?

The Bible is filled with people who had little to no control over their situations and were looking for refuge. In the Book of Ruth, a widow decides to head back home to Israel. She had lost her husband, sons, and the house. It was the worst of times. Her widowed daughter-in-law, Ruth, chooses to follow her. It has always fascinated me how willing Ruth was to leave the place where she had grown up and travel into the unknown. I find a clue as to why in Ruth’s words to her mother-in-law Naomi. There she makes what I see as a declaration of faith. She says “your God will be my God.” I don’t know that she fully understood what that meant or how much God’s presence and power had and would affect her life. She sought refuge, and the closest thing to that was something she saw in Naomi. God’s people find shelter in faith.

I heard some neighborhoods are placing a candle in their windows. Seamstresses are making medical masks. A mom created a paper prayer chain. The calls are made asking “How are you doing? Can I get your groceries for you?” And the song of faith must keep rising up to let the life-giving love of God flow out of the believer’s hearts. We aren’t all in the same place, but we are all sheltering in faith.

My daughter and I were talking and she suddenly said “I have to go; my phone is going to cut off soon.” I said “I love you. Call me when your phone is working again.” She said, “I will!”

I’m a long way from my daughter who lives in Brooklyn, so every phone call is a comfort, but it’s temporary. Our phones and conversations have limits, so as I think about that, I turn to God and I find my shelter there.

 



Holy and Blessed Lord,

In your keeping there is shelter from the storm, and in your mercy there is comfort for the sorrows of life. Hear our prayers and grant us your presence to keep the fire of faith kindled in our hearts. You are our refuge and strength. Lighten our darkness with your love.

-Martha Aenchbacher

Posted by Martha Aenchbacher with

Neighbors

Bible Background: Matthew 22:37-40,

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

How to Talk to Your Kids:

  • Several weeks ago our KMA program led worship through an AWESOME musical—do you remember what the Bible story was?... The parable of the Good Samaritan!
  • Who does Jesus say is our neighbor?
  • And how does Jesus say we should treat our neighbor?
  • Can you think of anyone who may need a little extra love or encouragement during this season?
  • What are some ways that you think Jesus would like for you to love on these neighbors?

Prayer

  • Gracious and loving God, we thank you for the example of kindness you set for us through your son Jesus Christ. Help us to extend a helping hand and a kind word to those who need it. We love you! Amen.

Activities to go with this:

  • Have your children make some “fan mail” for a neighbor! Kids can write an encouraging note, draw a picture, or write a Bible verse on a piece of paper. Then, they’ll fold that paper accordion-style into a fan and paper clip the bottom together to create a “handle.” Once their fan has been created, your family can decide together who in your neighborhood or city might need a little love or encouragement and drop the note in their mailbox… fan mail!
Posted by Katie Elder with

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