Weekly Devotionals August 12 – August 17

Moses had a safe, steady job tending sheep for his father-in- law. He’d long ago left his life in Egypt’s royal palace
behind. He was wanted for murder in Egypt, so he fled for his life with no plan to return; but God had another plan. God came to Moses in the middle of his safe and steady life – a life that required very little trust in anything other than himself. God kept calling as Moses offered excuse after excuse. In the end, Moses left his safe life to answer God’s call, and marched into history trust God to guide him in leading Israel out of slavery. Read Moses excuses for not wanting to go (Exodus 3:13; 4:1; 4:10; 4:13). How would you name each of these fears? Do any of these fears match fears you have?
Moses believed that only someone strong, important, or well-equipped could carry out God’s call. How was one lowly fugitive-shepherd supposed to demand anything from Pharaoh? Do you ever feel that you are not strong or important enough to live as God calls you to live?
God will help you shift your focus from your weakness to his strength. The greatest strength of all is that God is always present and at work. Talk with God now about the fears that limit your faith in him. Let his promise to be strong even when
you are weak bring you confidence and hope today.
TUESDAY 1 SAMUEL 17:4-11, 32-37, 41-45 This is typically one of the first stories children learn from the Bible. Even in sports or business we often talk about “David and Goliath” stories where unlikely people overcome great odds or opposition. Goliath was a big, intimidating figure. He terrified an entire army including King Saul. But, for whatever reason, David, the shepherd boy, wasn’t afraid. For David, the size of the God he served mattered more than the size of his enemy. Have you ever had to face a “giant” problem or person? Did you feel more like King Saul or David in that moment? What role, if any, did your trust in God play in the way you faced the intimidating situation? Did you learn anything from that experience that helps you with giant problems or people you face today or may face in the future? Goliath was a veteran warrior, but he seemed to rely heavily on insults and intimidation. He poured out insults toward David, yet David wasn’t cowed or distracted. Once the battle commenced, Goliath’s physical skill seemed lacking. Are you ever frightened or intimidated by insults or intimidation (internally or externally)? Even when we’ve internalized insults and believed them to be true, Jesus comes to remind us of the good news and his strength in us. Talk with Jesus now about any “giants” (fear, doubt, internalized lies) you are facing today. Let him speak his good news to you, right where you are.
WEDNESDAY NUMBERS 13:27-14:3 The Israelites, having wandered in the desert for decades now, have come close to the Promised Land. Moses sends twelve men to scout the land. Upon their return, ten of them reported in fear about the obstacles and problems that existed in the land. Long before David ever faced off against Goliath the people were afraid of “huge men” in the Promised Land. Only Caleb and Joshua were able to focus on God’s promise and power, and pleaded with people to keep moving forward. This story reveals two things about fear. First, it’s contagious – the ten scouts’ fear spread to most of the people. Second, fear clouds our ability to think clearly. Once the people were afraid, they were unable to think rationally. “Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” Can you think of times when fear has magnified a challenge you faced, or led you to a damaging response? How can you avoid being a source of contagious fear for others? On the cusp on the Promised Land, the Israelites turned away because fear got the better of them. Are there any new “frontiers” (physical, spiritual, emotional) in your life that you feel God calling you to? What fears arise in your heart as you think about where God may be calling you? Go to God now with those fears. Ask him to show you what next step he is inviting you to take in faith in order to overcome those fears. God’s promises are waiting faithfully for you.
THURSDAY PSALM 73 The allure of success is strong. When someone who lacks integrity steals their way to success it can cause bitterness, doubt, and fear to grow in us. For today’s devotional and prayer, use this guide to pray through Psalm 73. Read verses 1-12. It appears that people who completely ignore God seem to be having success and are without troubles. Is serving God actually pointless? Am I denying myself for nothing? Do any of these thoughts exist in you today?
Read verses 13-20. The success of the wicked torments the psalmist until he remembers who he is. He is a child of God (v.15) and it is in worship that he hears once again of God’s faithfulness and the blessings that flow from faithfulness. How are you reminded, in your time of doubts, of God’s faithfulness?
Read verses 21-28. Here, the psalmist remembers that even when he was filled with bitterness toward God that God was still faithful. For people driven by wickedness, nearness to God is a threat. But, for those who call on God, His nearness is life. What reminds you of God’s constant presence? Listen to Him now. What is God saying to you?
FRIDAY 1 Timothy 4:8-16 On his second missionary journey, the apostle Paul met a younger man named Timothy (Acts 16:1-4). Timothy became one of his most trusted associates, one Paul trusted to lead some of the churches he planted, and to continue leading them after Paul was gone. Such large responsibility must have frightened Timothy at times, especially in light of his youth. But Paul urged him to lead with confidence and trust in God. In God’s sweeping story in the Bible, we see that God used people who might have been thought too old (Abraham, Moses) and others who might have been thought too young (Jeremiah, Timothy). If you are on the younger end of the age spectrum, do you feel intimidated by people older than you, making you afraid to offer your gifts and insights? If you are on the older end of the spectrum, what helps you resist the urge to look down on younger Christians whose thinking or music may be different than you’re used to? How is fear associated with this way of thinking?
We live in a time where people feel divided by everything that differentiates one person from another. The enemy uses fear to drive us apart to sabotage the work God wishes to accomplish in and through us. Talk with God now about any fears you’ve recognized in yourself recently. Let the voice of truth calm your fears and guide your steps today.
SATURDAY JOHN 15:1-4 Faithfully following Jesus requires us to stay connected to Jesus. Just as a branch dies if it becomes disconnected from a tree; our souls wither and dry when disconnected from Jesus. The following pages provide you an opportunity to reflect back on your week and take into account where you have been connected and where you have been disconnected from Jesus. It takes a holistic approach to being connected with Jesus. It isn’t just about your prayer life or scripture reading
though that is included. It invites us to look at our physical well- being, our relationships, and our spiritual energy. This reflection
will not change your life, but it can open a window to discovering areas of our life where Jesus is inviting us to grow. This is not meant to discourage you in any way, only to begin to become aware of our relationship with Jesus. Ideally, this would be shared with someone you trust. We say a corporate prayer of confession when we prepare for communion, and we may even pray private prayers of confession and forgiveness to God. It is possible to do both of these practices and remain “alone in our sin” as Dietrich Bonhoeffer once put it. Being alone in our sin never frees us from the sinful habits we have created. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” It may be uncomfortable to practice confession because we fear feeling guilty. Confession frees us from guilt by helping us experience grace and forgiveness that comes from Jesus. There is nothing like a life free from guilt, set free to follow Jesus wherever he leads. Begin by praying this prayer and spending a moment in silence to prepare your heart. Prayer: Father God, As I look back upon my week, help me to be honest with myself and with you. I long to remain connected to Christ so that I may live in him. Guide me in these moments closer to your heart.

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