Bible Readings and Devotion for September 24, 2020
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Devotion for September 24, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Many years ago I read the story of a man who had a bad thing happen. This bad thing became a new opportunity. It was about a man named John. He went through life with a disagreeable attitude. He found the cold of winter disagreeable and headed down to Florida to escape that cold. One day while swimming along at high tide he was hit by a giant wave which knocked him unconscious for a few moments. As he came to he was disoriented. John was close to shore, but face down in the water. At that point in the shallows near the beach he found himself totally unable to move. He began thinking to himself, “God, this is it. This is how life ends for me. I’m going to drown right here in the shallow waters of the Atlantic Ocean.”
You may have experienced moments like that, when you are shocked to your senses by a difficulty, but don’t know where to go from there. Maybe your car slips out of control, or you find out you have cancer, or you have lost you job, or you have lost someone you love. You might think to yourself, “This is it, this is the end for me.”
For John it was not the end. A little boy saw him face down in the water. The boy ran to his parents and said, “There’s a man drowning in the water!” He grabbed his parents by their hands and dragged them from their cozy beach umbrella and over to the shoreline. There they found John face down, and they pulled him out of the water.
John was rushed to the hospital, and he was saved. He saw that event as the wake-up call for his life, and that it was the best thing to ever happen to him. It changed his life, his priorities, his commitments, and his concerns. It drew him closer to family. It reminded him not to be so disagreeable. Most importantly, it brought him face to face with God. John said of his incident, “I wish I would have been hit by a wave 30 years ago. Maybe then, in spite of how horrible this experience was, it changed my life. And my priorities and my commitment to God is totally new.”
In our reading from 2 Corinthians 7:2-12, St. Paul teaches us something significant. We read, “…Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance; for you felt a godly grief…” He is teaching us that when we face a difficult situation, often when so marred by grief, that the Lord can help us find a godly way forward. That godly way is repentance. This is sincere recognition of our sinfulness. This recognition, with God’s help, is our action of stopping an act of sinning. This is all part of our re-connection with the Lord. Actually, all of our life in this world and with God is about repentance. We often associate repentance with the liturgical season of Lent, for it is central to that time. Even so, repentance is an everyday opportunity for us. Each new day is another opportunity to see our sins, express our regret to God in prayer and/or confession, to strive to stop that sin, and to live refocus our lives on the Lord.
We may see struggle with sad, painful, mournful, and difficult situations in life. As we travel this sometimes, perilous journey, God is there for us to lead us back each day to forgiveness, life, joy and eternal life with him, both now and forever.
Martin Luther’s Morning and Evening Prayers
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all harm and danger. I ask that you would also protect me today from sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please you. Into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have graciously protected me today. I ask you to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously to protect me tonight. Into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.