Day THREE: Dec 5-11

Each week for this season our devotions will be centered around the practice of PRAYER. Like the disciples we too have the opportunity to ask Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” We encourage you to read all prayers and Psalms out loud – let the words of Scripture fill your prayers!

Devotional Thought // Pastor Chris

On Sunday Pastor Isaac said,

“While she carried the hope of the world, the light of the world, the bread of life, she was tossed to and fro by the insidious powers of the world. We are too. This world after all, is Satan’s domain. Faith is not glossy, but is gritty.”

Hope is GRITTY! When we think of faith it is easy to think of the Hallmark version of faith, or the Christian Blockbuster version of faith. I have to admit that I struggle with Christian Films. Most (not all) have a glossy story that rarely deals with depth of despair of the human condition. The climax and resolution are much closer together in Christian media than are present in the lives of those I am involved with and certainly closer than my own life. Here is the basic outline of a popular film:

  • A High School football coach is having a rough season. His marriage is on the rocks. They are also financially struggling. His car is broken. In addition (or relation) he is struggling with his faith.
  • At the height of conflict he finally is humbled, repentant, and turns to God.
  • His marriage gets better. He miraculously gets a brand new truck. And not to mention his terrible football team wins the championship.

All of this happens in 98 minutes. Maybe you have a story like this. Maybe your story of redemption is clean and tidy like this. If so, praise God! My story has not been quite so tidy. I’ve had strained relationships that were unable to be fully restored before it was too late. I’ve suffered with a speech impediment my whole life that despite lots of prayer has not been healed. I’m a first generation Christian that is learning how to parent as a Jesus Follower, be a spouse as a Jesus Follower, and a Pastor as a Jesus Follower.

All of these are not tidy stories with nice bows tied on to them. They are unresolved stories of gritty faith that force me to wake up every morning as a beggar looking for the Bread of Life to fill me with His grace. Faith. Is. Gritty.

Pastor Isaac shared this painting from a nun in Iowa. Today, take 5 minutes and stare at the photo. Allow the painting to stir your imagination towards God’s grace. Notice the pain in Eve’s face. Notice the compassion in Mary’s face. Notice the constriction of the serpent on Eve’s ankle. Notice the hope in the womb of Mary. Allow God to meet you in your own gritty story of faith. Write down any insights gained as you allow the Lord to speak towards your story that may be unfinished.

Psalm 95

1 O come, let us sing unto the Lord;
let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving
and show ourselves glad in him with psalms.
3 For the Lord is a great God
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are all the depths of the earth,
and the heights of the hills are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands prepared the dry land.
6 O come, let us worship and fall down,
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
8 Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts
as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness,
9 When your fathers tested me,
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my works.
10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation and said,
“It is a people that err in their hearts, for they have not known my ways,”
11 Of whom I swore in my wrath
that they should not enter into my rest.

Closing Prayer

O God our King, by the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ on the first day of the week, you conquered sin, put death to flight, and gave us the hope of everlasting life: Redeem all our days by this victory; forgive our sins, banish our fears, make us bold to praise you and to do your will; and steel us to wait for the consummation of your kingdom on the last great Day; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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