“Blessed are those whose strength is in God . . . For God is a sun and a shield; God gives grace and glory, and withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity.”
Psalm 84:5, 11
Notes for Contemplation as You Use this Devotional:
- Psalm 84 is sometimes addressed to “the one who is directing.” This invites us to consider both the direction of our lives and how well we lead them. In addition, it encourages us to contemplate how we choose to follow God’s direction and when we force our own.
- The psalmist reminds us that God is our strength, but only affirming that is not enough. We also must place our faith and trust in God.
- God is not like the sun; God created the sun, us, and every aspect of the Universe. Yet, the sun is one way we might say that we feel God’s presence. The psalmist implies that we thrive in the sun, or light, of God. Therefore, God’s presence enlightens us, if we are willing to allow it.
- Revs. Mary-Alice and Richard Jafolla teach in their classic text, The Simple Truth: Making Sense of God, Life, & Other Stuff: “The Creator loves what It creates (why else would It create?), and we have a force that impels us toward what’s best for each of us and the entire world. Although at times we may not think this is so, let’s remember we see only a miniscule fragment of the picture. We can easily overlook a blessing staring us in the face, and we often do. . . . What we are searching for, after all, is not so much explanation as experience. We want to feel the presence of God.”
- Being as specific as possible, in which areas of my life, both personal and professional, am I letting God in?
- List, word map, or illustrate everything which applies. Consider the gamut of your experience: everything from arguing with a loved one, to managing a financial challenge or illness, to discerning a change in lifestyle, to welcoming home a new baby.
- Being as specific as possible, in which areas of my life, both personal and professional, am I blocking God?
- List, word map, or illustrate everything which applies. Consider the same gamut of experience as previously noted.
- When I pause and notice the ways I do and do not allow God into my life, what judgments have I made or conditions have I set for myself and/or others about where God can be?
- List, word map, or illustrate what you notice, especially if, in any way, you have labeled yourself or others as broken, unworthy, undeserving, shameful, or bad.
- How have I been trying to give God directions or force situations, possibly because of my self-imposed judgments or conditions, rather than remaining faithful and waiting to hear the wisdom of my own still, small voice, my intuition?
- List, word map, or illustrate whatever applies.
- How do I currently feel God’s presence in my life?
- List, word map, or illustrate everything which applies.
- How else would I like to feel God’s presence more fully?
- Freely list, word map, or illustrate whatever you can imagine.
- When I contemplate all my answers, what are at least three (3) ways I can allow God’s presence into my life more fully?
- List, word map, or illustrate as much as you can.
As you work with this devotional, know that you are a divine, beloved creation of God, always fully worthy and deserving of God’s grace, goodness, and glory. Remember that God is not only a shield or protection, but also the source and sustenance of us and all things. There is nothing occurring in our lives where God cannot reach us, and there is nowhere we go where God will not be. If in doubt, affirm: “God is. I am. God is with me, within me, and all around me, wherever I am, whatever I am doing, whoever I love, however I look. God in the midst of me now is my sun, my source, and my strength. I am worthy and deserving of all God’s grace, goodness, and glory, and I go forth to claim this now. And so it is. And so, with great thanks, I allow it to be.”
© 2021 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks – All rights reserved.