The scripture for today is Psalm 17.
1 Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit. 2 From you let my vindication come; let your eyes see the right. 3 If you try my heart, if you visit me by night, if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me; my mouth does not transgress. 4 As for what others do, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent. 5 My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped. 6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me, hear my words. 7 Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. 8 Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, 9 from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me. 10 They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly. 11 They track me down; now they surround me; they set their eyes to cast me to the ground. 12 They are like a lion eager to tear, like a young lion lurking in ambush. 13 Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them! By your sword deliver my life from the wicked, 14 from mortals—by your hand, O Lord— from mortals whose portion in life is in this world. May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them; may their children have more than enough; may they leave something over to their little ones. 15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.
I’m writing this devotional at the beginning of August. By the time you read this, I will be on vacation at home in Wisconsin as I prepare to begin service at St. Mark’s in Illinois. In the meanwhile, many other significant milestones will have passed. Decisions will have been made in the call process for your next senior pastor. Louis and Ella will be one month closer to the birth of their baby boy. Plans for Kick-Off and other fall ministry plans will have taken further shape. And the COVID pandemic will likely still be in the picture.
So today I’d like to focus on the last verse.
When I wake up in the morning, my heart is full of gratitude. I thank God for the blessings of yesterday and the opportunities ahead. Despite challenges, I sense God’s presence always. God is the source of blessings and a strength during challenges.
I thank God for our year together. We had many blessings – and one significant challenge, namely the COVID pandemic. Yet through it all, we experienced God’s strength to meet the challenge and thrive despite it. God was good. Every day. All the time.
Prayer: Loving God, continue to bless the people of Living Lord.
Pastor Lanny Westphal email@example.com
Prayer Concern: Those who have suffered due to the pandemic and racial violence this summer.