Devotions for Psalm 46:1-11, Acts 2:37-42–Repent and be Baptized
August 7-13, 2017
Monday, August 7, 2017–Repent and be Baptized
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
The sight of the hawk caused the ducklings to swim furiously to their parents. There they found both comfort and protection. The sound of the siren convinced the Hernandez family that they needed to seek shelter from the tornado in the basement of their home. They huddled together until the storm had passed.
When trouble threatens we are able to run into the loving embrace of the Lord. In God’s arms we find comfort, safety and the encouragement we need to face whatever the future holds.
In those times when we feel so weak and vulnerable, Lord, we thank you that you are our refuge and strength. Amen.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017–Repent and be Baptized
“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change” (Psalm 46:2).
The Petersons set up their camp along the banks of a picturesque creek. They enjoyed fishing, wading and simply relaxing as they listened to the melody of the flowing water. That night, however, the Peterson’s world changed. A sudden downpour turned the creek into a raging river. Finding strength in each other and in their faith, they were able to act quickly and escape the threat. A sudden heart attack changed the Hirohito’s vacation into a frightening, life threatening roller coaster of events. Their faith, God’s presence and the prayers of their family and friends, enabled them to navigate those turbulent times.
Change is always a part of our lives. At times, things can happen and our whole world shifts. As followers of Jesus, we are never at the mercy of the change. God’s presence is our safe place. With God leading us and walking with us, we are able to face whatever changes confront us.
Thank you, Lord, that in the midst of all of the changes of life, you are our one constant. Amen.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017–Repent and be Baptized
“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God” (Psalm 46:4).
The temple sat atop Mt. Zion. There its white marble walls sparkled in the sun. It was easy for people to imagine flowing streams of life giving water flowing out of the temple, through the city of Jerusalem and into the parched valleys and fields. Like the thirst quenching waters of a river, God’s presence in the temple refreshed and renewed God’s children.
The temple is gone; it no longer sits on Mt. Zion. Still, God is present. God is present in our lives—our bodies are temples of God ([I Corinthians 6:10). The Holy Spirit causes God’s love and grace to bubble up in our lives, flow out from us and refresh and nourish the lives of the people around us. When we proclaim the good news of Jesus and share God’s love and grace by our words and deeds, we make the world, in which we live, glad.
Flow through us, Lord, and bring joy and laughter to our hurting and broken world. Amen.
Thursday, August 10, 2 2017–Repent and be Baptized
“Be still and know that I am God … I am exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).
It doesn’t seem like it would be so hard to accomplish, but it is almost impossible for us to be still. There is a daily cacophony of sound to distract us, or our earphones pipe our play lists into our minds. We are constantly checking our smart phones for texts, emails, or some obscure piece of information. Even when we are caught in traffic—with nothing to do—we tap our feet, mutter to ourselves and curse the driver in front of us. We do not live in a world that promotes stillness. (And we wonder why we can’t see or hear God.)
God continues to extend the invitation to us to be still, to look beyond the glitter of life and to experience God’s presence. When we are not moving, we can see God’s movement. In those times when we are not trying to be strong, we can behold God’s strength. Letting go of our fruitless attempts to control, opens us up to sense God’s hand upon our lives.
Lord, take our hands, quiet our fears and let us sit still with you. Amen.
Friday, August 11, 2017–Repent and be Baptized
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:37).
We’ve heard this exhortation countless times before. We are conditioned to respond to it by examining our sinful lives, turn from our wicked ways and, through baptism, begin a new life with God. When John the Baptist was preparing the way, he preached about baptism for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus never did. Rather, Jesus put a new twist on the meaning of these words.
Jesus encouraged people to repent and be baptized because the kingdom of God was near. Instead of reviewing our sinfulness, the word repent can mean to, “look at life from a different perspective.” Through Jesus we can see that God’s kingdom is here. Our baptism becomes a reception of God’s kingdom into our lives. Living in God’s kingdom, we daily experience the reality of God’s love, grace, forgiveness, presence and strength.
Today, Lord, enable us to see life through your eyes and live in the reality of your love and grace. Amen.
Saturday, August 12, 2017–Repent and be Baptized
“The promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him” (Acts 2:39).
The promise of new life is ours! We are able to live in a new relationship with God—to call God “Abba, Our Father” and to experience God’s love. All of this is a gift to us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This new life is not limited to us, though. It is also for our children and for everyone far away. This new life is for everyone whom the Lord calls to him. Can you imagine the Lord NOT calling everyone? No one is excluded from the promise of new life.
We are not only able to live in this new relationship with God, we are also empowered to tell others about it. Many have not heard of God’s love—they have only experienced the church’s judgment. Others hunger for something more in their lives. We have good news—GREAT news to share!
Empower us, Lord, to share with others the promise from which no one is excluded. Amen.
Sunday, August 13, 2017–Repent and be Baptized
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers” (Acts 2:42).
Karen realized that her life would be different. When she stepped out of the doors of the rehab center where she had been treated for her addictions, she knew that she could not go back to her old ways. She would need to make new friends, stay away from some places where the old life would be too tempting and begin to rebuild her career. The old life for Karen had most certainly passed away and a new, better life lay before her.
What does the new life look like for those who are baptized in the name of Christ Jesus? Some believe it to be a life of miracles and constant successes. Others believe that a new life with God focuses only on themselves and their relationship with God. In reality, God’s gift of new life is nothing like these two options.
According to the writer of Acts, the new life of those who follow Jesus consists of learning, fellowshipping with other believers, worshiping in community with others and spending time in prayer. At first glance, these activities appear to be a little mundane. Yet, for millennium, these spiritual disciplines have deepened the faith of Jesus’ followers, opened them to a greater experience of God’s love and grace, and equipped them to serve and to share the good news of the new life with others.
Lord, thank you for the community with whom you have made us a part. Amen.