Daily Devotions

Sing to the Lord a New Song

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"O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things." (Psalm 98:1)


At some point each of us has had to ask, "Is God real? Is there even a God?" This doubt and concern is not a sin. Everyone who is honest with themselves and takes their faith seriously has asked these and other related questions. The key is finding answers that speak to one's soul.


The psalmist addresses his/her doubt by seeking to answer the question, "What marvelous things has God done?" The psalmist remembers Biblical history, with the Egyptian exodus event and the new exodus in Babylon. These were two examples of God's marvelous works that brought healing and salvation for the chosen people.


What are some marvelous works God has done in your life? The advances in Civil Rights and Apartheid are two examples that readily come to mind. There were certainly times in the United States and in South Africa when these corrupt systems were thought to be invincible. Yet, God's justice and righteousness were more powerful and effective.


You need to ask what marvelous works have taken place in your own life. There are any number of forks in the road of my life, where it could have gone wrong. But, each time God provided a more blessed path to walk. I shouldn't have had the opportunity for college. The right adults supported and guided my journey to seminary. I was blessed with a wife who supported and sacrificed for my ministry.


In your prayers today, contemplate the marvelous works God performed in the world and in your personal life. Look back on your life, and name some of the moments when you can acknowledge God's moving you through the labyrinth of confusion and conflict. Then, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for God's generous care for you. God's justice and righteousness bring salvation to the world and salvation to our lives. Rejoice in the life God has given you.  

Empathy to Justice

"Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne." (Psalm 97:2)


I have yet to experience "clouds and thick darkness" of injustice and unrighteousness all round me. It is hard to imagine the kind of brutality that some have experienced, who had to hide from death squads or lost family members to political violence. I cannot begin to imagine their fear and loss.


A few days ago I came home early to let our dog Buster outside before going to a lunch meeting. As the garage door opened I heard the security alarm going off. It didn't even alarm me. I wondered if the suction from the garage door separated one of the other doors enough to set off the alarm. I turned off the alarm and took a upset Buster outside, when I stepped on glass. Even then it took me a few seconds to realized someone broke in. I called 911, and the woman told me to get out of the house. The alarm must have scared the robber(s) away because they didn't take anything. Yet, it still made my wife and I feel insecure and violated on some level.


The psalmist reminds a broken and fearful people that amidst injustice and pain, God will make all things new. God is concerned about our lives and wants each of us to feel safe and loved. Amidst the evil of this world, God works and transforms, so that even amidst great pain, God can bring "righteousness and justice," where all can feel safe, secure, and cared for.


Today, read the news and look for those people who are truly on the edge, amidst injustice. Dare to put yourself in their shoes, and experience empathy. Wonder what their hardship must be like. Then pray for them, being as empathetically descriptive as possible. In attempting to feel their pain and anguish, we become Christ-like. As God became incarnate in Jesus, to share the human experience with us, so we are called to empathize with the less fortunate, so we have the motivation to care and respond. God's righteousness and justice are actuated through our compassion and action. Begin with prayer and then let's get to work.

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