We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
A PERSONAL PRAYER
God of love and healing,
I remember some hard times, bleak midwinters of the heart and dry and parched summers of the soul. I remember wanting to stay in bed all day, but knowing the bedcovers couldn’t shield me from my troubles. But I made it through, God, somehow. I know it was only by your grace. Still, I must confess that while in the wilderness, I sometimes thought you had abandoned me. I can see now you didn’t give me up. But you also didn’t magically snatch me out of that wilderness either. You let me struggle there. You let me learn there. You let the wilderness teach me some hard but important lessons. You let it test me, temper me, humble me, and most of all, you let it turn me fully to you.
Looking back over the years, I have been tested in and by the wilderness, and most of the time, I have failed the test. I failed miserably. But that didn’t stop you. You led me on until we came together to the other side.
Thank you God. I pray fervently for no more desert days or wilderness nights. Yes, I know it is prayer that is unrealistic, but at least I have good company in making such a plea: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” (Luke 22:42) But if more wilderness times must come, I know they will drive me into your arms, and you will see me through to the other side.
I love you, God. Amen.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
He cried out to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a piece of wood; he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made for them a statute and an ordinance and there he put them to the test. –Exodus 15:25 Read the whole passage for this Sunday’s message here: Exodus 15:22-27
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
When have you been “in the wilderness?” What did you do with your hurt, anger, and fear? What did you learn there?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This week, we begin a series of four sermons looking at our times in the wilderness. Moses wandered forty years in the wilderness. Jesus was in the wilderness and fasted for forty days. Every great Christian has had a time in the wilderness, a dark night of the soul. So what do we do with those? Join us as we begin that series this week. And join us on Wednesday, March 1, as we begin the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday services. That schedule is here.
I have been reflecting and praying recently about our American cultural and political conversation and how God calls our church to function in the midst of that conversation. You can read those reflections here.
Our Scripture+Shared Bible study for next week, February 26-March 4, is on the Gospel of Luke and our responsibility to the poor, studying together the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man. It is never too late to join us. Get a Bible Buddy and join in here.
Monday, February 27
Dear Lord, Thank you for my family and friends. Thank you for St. Luke’s. Thank you for all you have given me. Amen. -Campbell Grissom, 11 years old
Tuesday, February 28
Heavenly Father, I pray today for my President, Governor and Mayor. Please bless them with discernment, wisdom and strength as they make difficult decisions on my behalf. Thank you for their service and love to my country, state and city. Amen.
Wednesday, March 1 – Ash Wednesday
Father God, I thank you for creating our world and all the people in it. I praise you for your eternal love and the blessings you provide. Help me share your love with those who need it even more. Let the everyday work of my hands be in your service. Amen. (Anonymous from Women’s Retreat attendee)
Thursday, March 2
Heavenly Father, trying to follow your son’s example is hard. I’m just so human and I make so many mistakes. Please, don’t give up on me; tug at my heart when I am traveling on an unbecoming path. I want to spread your love and encouragement to others. My trust is in you and I try to “let go and let God” handle the issues that loom. I want to please you but I am so impatient – I need your help. Thank you Lord, that you are available to your children through the power of prayer. Amen –Babs Smith
Friday, March 3
Thank you for the challenges of life. They teach me about you, they teach me about me. Amen.
Saturday, March 4
Father, May Jesus Christ be praised and reflected in my life today. In my thoughts, in my work, in my actions, and in my attitudes. Amen. -Byrom Wehner
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