Faith UMC Lenten Devotions March 23, 2014
Finding God in the Highs and Lows of Life
Written by Faith UMC’s Young Adult Ministry Group
Scripture: Daniel 9:9-10, NIV – “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.”
Reflection: In our small group discussions about The Story, we often come across a theme of the Israelites cycling between worshipping God and falling away from Him. We always mention how this seems impossible, as they pass down the rest of their stories from generation to generation. For example, after Israel splits into two nations, both nations have a good king or two, but then end up with three or four kings who lead them away from God. This is the same story that was being told seven hundred years earlier as the Israelites were wandering through the desert towards Canaan. Even though the stories are well-known, the Israelites still seem to fall repeatedly into this cycle.
It’s great to talk about the stories of the Old Testament, but sometimes it is hard to connect them to our daily lives. We often find ourselves in the same kind of cycle, whether it is abiding by laws, our friendships, or our relationship with God.
In what kind of cycle do you find yourself this Lent?
Have you ever told a lie to someone? We all have secrets we like to hide even though we know that it’s wrong. But those moments are lows compared to the times you just have to tell the truth, and when you do, the weight of the world comes off your shoulders.
In our friendships, there are times we focus on ourselves and our needs more than the other person. This is a low point in a friendship – it feels like no matter how much you try, something about your relationship isn’t working. When you put the needs of your friend first, though, your relationship is stronger, and you feel connected to one another.
In the same way, our relationship with God has these ups and downs. There are days when we feel like God is miles away from us, and we have no support from Him. And then there are those great moments where we feel like we want to shout His love from the mountaintops and show everyone how great He is.
No matter our circumstance, we must remember that God is with us. Unlike the Israelites who forgot Him every few generations, we need to find God in both the highs and the lows of life. But even when we do forget, just like with the Israelites, He will continue to love us and bring us back to Him.
How have you experienced God with you in the highs and lows of your life? Where do you see Christ?
Prayer: Dear God, help us to break the cycle of turning our backs to you when you should be at the forefront of our lives. Thank you for forgiving us when we make mistakes. Be with us today through both the good moments and the bad. Amen.
This Week’s Lenten Scripture Readings: Daniel 9:9-10, Matthew 4:23-25, Matthew 6:25-34, Isaiah 53:6, Romans 3:23, 2 Chronicles 30:9, Jeremiah 24:6-7
Prayer Focus: Thank God for always being with you. Pray for those who are struggling in the lows and highs of life. Pray for those who are wrestling with their relationship with God and for those who don’t yet know Jesus. Pray for those who seek God.
Family Connection: Clay Pots
Shatter an inexpensive clay pot and give each family member a piece to keep during Lent as a reminder our brokenness when we move away from God. Also give each family member a lump of clay as a reminder that we are like clay in God’s hands. During Lent, we can allow God to shape us into new vessels.
Faith’s Christian Education & Spiritual Formation ministry team will provide a weekly devotion written by some of Faith’s ministry teams to guide us in reflecting how we are Seeing Christ and Being Christ as we walk with Jesus during the season of Lent.
Additional resources for Lent for individuals and for families are available in the literature racks in the Gathering area and outside the Family Life Center as well as in Faith’s Library & Media Center and on our website: http://faithum.weebly.com/lent.html