URC Daily Devotion 21st April 2024

21st April
 
Psalm 27
The Lord is my light and my help;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
before whom shall I shrink?

When evil-doers draw near
to devour my flesh,
it is they, my enemies and foes,
who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamps against me
my heart would not fear.
Though war breaks out against me
even then would I trust.

There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life,
to savour the sweetness of the Lord,
to behold his temple.

For there he keeps me safe in his tent
in the day of evil.
He hides me in the shelter of his tent,
on a rock he sets me safe.

And now my head shall be raised
above my foes who surround me
and I shall offer within his tent
a sacrifice of joy.

I will sing and make music for the Lord.

O Lord, hear my voice when I call;
have mercy and answer.
Of you my heart has spoken:
“Seek his face.”

It is your face, O Lord, that I seek;
hide not your face.
Dismiss not your servant in anger;
you have been my help.

Do not abandon or forsake me,
O God my help!
Though father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.

Instruct me, Lord, in your way;
on an even path lead me.
When they lie in ambush protect me
from my enemy’s greed.
False witnesses rise against me,
breathing out fury.

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.
Hope in the Lord!

Reflection
A big part of a journalist’s job is to check they’ve got their facts straight. Where did that figure come from? Is that information up to date? Who said that phrase that’s being quoted?  Jumping on Google isn’t enough. Anyone can create a website and so it’s important to look at the source of a fact or quote. Contributors to the “Quote Investigator” website carry out research into the origins of phrases and cite their sources. While reflecting prayerfully on Psalm 27, a quote popped into my mind: “A ship in harbour is safe – but that is not what ships are built for”. Thanks to Quote Investigator, I can say with some certainty that the quote should be attributed to writer John Shedd, and not Rear Admiral Grace Hooper, US President Theodore Roosevelt, or theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.

The Psalmist writes: “There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long – to live in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, to savour the sweetness of the Lord, to behold his temple.”

Is there an element of “A Christian in church is safe – but that is not what Christians are built for”? Sure, we’re built to worship God, and we’re built to care for each other, and those activities are easier when we come together on a Sunday in a building we label as a “church” or online during the week.

But we also worship God through our actions – through volunteering with charities, through helping our neighbours, through speaking to our families and our friends and our colleagues about our faith, whether we call that discipleship or evangelism or mission or outreach or whichever word or phrase is popular this decade.
As we enter the second week of Eddie Boon’s devotions about evangelism, let’s listen for the Holy Spirit guiding each of us about the safe harbours we need to leave behind, and about the fellow sailors God wants us to reach.

Prayer
God of the harbour and God of the storm,
Thank you for giving us your Holy Spirit to guide us when we read the Bible.
Please steer us in our evangelism and mission and outreach.
Please give us the words to say to our relatives and friends, neighbours and colleagues, and even our enemies.
Please help us to slip the moorings that are holding us back, so that we can follow you, our pilot and skipper.
In the name of Christ, Amen.

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Today’s writer

Peter Ranscombe, Member Saughtonhall United Reformed Church

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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