December 8, 2009

Dec. 8: By my side

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By Kara Mishler, a senior elementary education and special education major from Shipshewana, Ind.
SCRIPTURE: Zephaniah 3:14-20 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture
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DEVOTIONAL:
Have you ever had that feeling when you just don’t know if you are going to survive what is ahead of you? The stress of homework, work, exams and just plain busyness gets to be too much and all you want to do is fall asleep and wish for it to all be over. I’m in the middle of this right now as I look to the stresses of semester finals in the coming days. There may not be time for it, but God is calling me to rejoice.

In today’s Scripture, God gives us a promise that is completely reassuring. I mean, think about it: God will take away judgments. The Lord will rejoice over us with gladness, renew us in love and exult over us with singing. There will be no more disaster, no more pain. God will bring us home!

I find this promise to be incredibly hopeful. I look at my stresses and know that God will be by my side through the whole journey. There is no reason to be afraid, but every reason to rejoice!

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SCRIPTURE: Zephaniah 3:14-20 (NRSV)

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgements against you,
he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall fear disaster no more.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.
The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you,
so that you will not bear reproach for it.
I will deal with all your oppressors
at that time.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will bring you home,
at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes, says the Lord.

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Comments (10)

  1. Thanks, Kara, for these words of promise and hope and that you are finding ways to apply it to your busy student life. May God bless and keep you!

    Martha Helmuth December 8, 2009 |
  2. Thanks, Kara, for relating this to coursework! I’m scrambling to complete a Hebrew Scriptures seminary course in the midst of ministry work–and preaching (including Zephaniah’s proclamation this coming Sunday). Take heart youself, as I will, with these lines:

    he will rejoice over you with gladness,
    he will renew you in his love;
    he will exult over you with loud singing
    as on a day of festival.
    I will remove disaster from you,
    so that you will not bear reproach for it.

    Hang in there. Do well. Thanks for your gift to us of your meditation and application of the scripture.

    Kathy December 8, 2009 |
  3. Thanks, Kara, for this hopeful message!

    Janice December 8, 2009 |
  4. Kara,
    I had a day like that! Thanks for the powerful reminder that God is present with us in our day to day living. Best to you on your exams.

    Betty December 8, 2009 |
  5. Kara,
    It’s the end of a very busy work day and still more to come, so when I read your devotional it came at just the right moment. There’s something truly comforting knowing God finds joy in participating in our lives day by day. Hard to believe, but wonderful to receive. Thank you.

    Jim Brenneman December 8, 2009 |
  6. ‘Have you ever had that feeling when you just don’t know if you are going to survive what is ahead of you?’ Kara, I read your opening sentence early this morning and immediately knew God was comforting and encouraging me in your email. I am experiencing real cruelty and persecution in my workplace, with colleagues misrepresenting me to my supervisor and to human resources. The situation is very tense and complicated right now, but I am grateful to be reminded that: God will rejoice over me, renew me in his love, exult over me, deal with my oppressors, remove disaster from me, take away judgements, bring me home and restore my fortunes. I am reminded to rejoice and hope… Thank you for taking time to write this Advent reflection. God in you has lifted my heart.

    Deborah December 9, 2009 |
  7. Kara! This has long been a favorite passage of mine . . . to think that our Creator God, the One True God, included these words in the scriptures for our sake, for my sake, so I may know His love for me. What an awesome God. What a comforting thought. Thanks for your reminder that in the busiest busy-ness of my life, i have much to rejoice about. And that I will purpose to do!

    The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
    a warrior who gives victory;
    he will rejoice over you with gladness,
    he will renew you in his love;
    he will exult over you with loud singing
    as on a day of festival.

    Karen Unternahrer December 9, 2009 |
  8. Kara, Thank you for your message, and just know that Our Lord is enough for our every situation. May God Bless You.

    Katie December 9, 2009 |
  9. Thanks for the encouragement! Nathan said in his sermon one sunday that “God doesn’t always cause good to happen in our lives, but he DOES always cause good to come from the events in our lives”…isn’t it good to know that God can use even the stressful times in our lives for good. God will see you through.

    Karen December 9, 2009 |
  10. Kara,
    My favorite passage because it gives me so much comfort and “relief” from everyday life! Thanks for reminding me once again of God’s fresh new mercies given so graciously to me each day!!

    Kim Mishler December 16, 2009 |