Monday, July 13th - Jeremiah 16:14-21
Tuesday, July 14th - 1 Peter 5:1-5
Wednesday, July 15th - 1 Samuel 3:1--4:1
Thursday, July 16th - Acts 26:1-16
Friday, July 17th - Matthew 16:13-26
Saturday, July 18th - Song of Solomon
Father, the sun never sets on Your grace; Your love never ends. Help all who sow in tears to receive their harvest in joy; let conflict give birth to peace and death turn to life, through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4) It seems a strange thing to say that those who suffer are blessed. Every instinct within our human selves rises in disbelief and confusion. It seems illogical and contradictory. How can anyone who has lost something or someone much loved be blessed? Is that not a misfortune or a curse?
Yet, God declares that people who believe God are privileged in the midst of every sad and painful circumstance. How can that be?
Change Is not something most of us eagerly anticipate, especially if it is not our plan. Grief brings about abrupt change. What was comfortable and familiar yesterday becomes horrifying and different today. Life can be re-categorized—there is BC (before change) and AD (after death or loss).
When we grieve the loss of something dear to us our faith is often tested. We are told in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13) of four areas where seeds fell and subsequently grew. Three areas could not sustain the plants that sprung up—only one could. Going through grief can reveal our spiritual soil type. God made soil to be a natural medium for the growth of plants and we are the God-designed medium through which faith is cultivated.
We might not think that grieving would be an appropriate word to use for the Israelites after they left Egypt. They had been in the land for many years and it had been welcoming and a prosperous time. But under a new Pharaoh life changed drastically. The bible tells us that the Egyptian masters worked the Israelites “ruthlessly” (Exod. 1:13, 14) and made their lives “bitter” (Exod. 1:14) with “hard/cruel” (Exod. 1:14; 6:9) service. As a result, Israel languished in “misery” and “suffering” (Exod. 3:7).