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The Blessings of the Lord

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; 
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. 
May the Lord give strength to his people! 
May the Lord bless his people with peace! 

Psalm 29:10-11 

The words of psalmists are often instructional and invitational. We can often join in to the words and aspirations of different psalmists with our own prayers, praises, hopes, fears, and laments. Such is the case here, in Psalm 29. Here, we are invited to remember who God is and to ask for the blessings of the Lord.  

God is enthroned over all the floods and plains of the earth. God is Lord, and king forever of the universe. Knowing these things about who God is should then prompt us to boldly ask things in relationship with God. This psalmist declares that you have permission to ask for blessings from God. Perhaps you desire help in recognizing blessings you already have. Ask for it. Or perhaps you desire newfound blessings in your time of need. This psalmist knows that the blessings of the Lord are the greatest blessings we will ever know or receive. So, this day, let us join in with the psalmist and ask for God to give strength to people in 2021. Strength is a blessing, and a noteworthy one as we turn the pages to a new calendar year. We find ourselves in new waters, but we have the same God. New year, same God. All the floods and storms of 2020 we ask boldly that God would bring to a swift end so that people around the world can be strengthened in love and in health. We ask for Peace to bless people all over the globe. Give thanks today for God’s blessings, and be willing to ask for them, too. In Jesus name, Amen. 

Posted by Josh Miles
Tags: devotion
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Happy New Year!

And the one seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:5 

The year 2020 is finally over. It has been a difficult last 12 months. The global pandemic has affected the entire world in unprecedented ways, with health and economic consequences. We are still working to find appropriate solutions to the Coronavirus and enough distributable vaccine to ensure our health and safety. Yes, we still have lingering effects from last year, but today is the beginning of a “brand new” year! 

New Year’s Day is filled with hope and promise. We can look to the future with optimism, convinced that this year will be better. I remember as a child that my father would ask us after Christmas each year, “What are you going to do in the new year that will make your life better and make the world a better place?” My sisters and brother and I were encouraged to write down our plan for the new year – how we were going to make improvements in our lives at school and at home. Then on New Year’s Day we would gather around the table, after feasting on black eyed peas and collard greens, to share with each other what we had written. 

I know it is popular to make New Year’s resolutions, but this is not what I am talking about here. This is more than a new diet plan, or exercise plan, or some other change of behavior. For me, the new year is a time to focus my attention outside of myself to the world around me. I want to make changes that help others, that increase the goodness and love in the world. I want to be a catalyst for eliminating hatred, distrust, and anything which divides us. 

I’ve been thinking about positive steps I can take in this new year. First, every time I go to the grocery store, I am going to buy some additional items to donate to the Food Bank, then take the groceries monthly. I am going to watch closely for the Missions Update from our church and find somewhere I can volunteer regularly. I am going to park further from the door and leave the convenient spaces for others. In these and other practical ways, I want to accept the challenge to make the world better. 

My prayer for you and me on this New Year’s Day is that we commit ourselves to making the world a better place, every day in every way. We know that with God’s help we can do all things, and that God has the power to make all things new. I commit myself to making 2021 a year of goodness and love. Will you join me? 

Dear God, with all our heart, mind, and strength may we love you by loving others. 

Bob Winstead 

Posted by Bob Winstead

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