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Sunday, March 22nd -- "I got you"

Good morning everyone: I am sitting at my office desk on this Sunday morning, not going through the sermon and worship service a couple more times, to make sure I have it ready to go, but writing a devotional to share with you. It’s different and the best word to describe how I feel right now is the word ANXIOUS. Just the other day I asked Ann how she was doing and she said, “Okay,” but by the way she said it, I could tell things weren’t okay and I asked her why. She replied, “I have this sense of anxiety, a low grade anxiety, but it’s always with me. My body can tell that things just aren’t right at the moment.” I’m guessing a lot of you are feeling the same way. It is like a cloud hanging over you, reminding you and telling your body and soul that things just aren’t right at the moment. And that feeling is right. We are all facing a situation that we have never had to face before. We aren’t sure what we should do, or shouldn’t do, what we should be worried abut and what we shouldn’t. We are walking a path we’ve never walked before and therefore there will be anxiety. And maybe that’s the place to start. Rather than trying to convince yourself that everything is fine, simply accept the fact that for the time being we are going to have to live with a bit of anxiety. But living with anxiety doesn’t have to be debilitating, nor does it have to cause us undo stress or get to the point where it makes us sick. And the reason for that is because we know God is in charge. My go to passage of Scripture I go to when I start feeling anxious and overwhelmed is Exodus 14:13-14: “Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.’” At the time of this great saying, the Hebrew people are on the shore of the Red Sea when they see the Egyptian army coming down upon them at full attack speed. They cry out for Moses to do something. Moses then goes to God in prayer and cries out for God to do something. In response to these cries, God gives Moses those wonderful lines to share with the people. In essence God says, “You don’t have to do anything. I am in charge and I will act for your benefit. You just watch what I the Lord can do.” Lo and behold, as the people sat there, simply trusting God to act in some miraculous way, a miracle did happen and the Red Sea parted and they were able to get safely to the other side. When the Egyptian army tried to go through, the waters closed around them and from that moment on, the Hebrews knew they would never have to fear the Egyptians or its mighty powers ever again. Today God is saying the same thing to each one of us: “Be still and know that I am with you, I will fight for you. You only have be still.” Let us today, be still and trust God. Let me share an example of this: One of our Golden Retrievers, Otie, is getting very old and among his other challenges besides arthritis and congestive heart failure, he has trouble getting down the stairs in the morning. He takes a step, stops, looks around and then slowly takes another step. I couldn’t figure out why he was going so slowly, until one morning when he slipped on one of the steps and fell. That’s when I realize he was afraid of falling. So, now, each morning, I place a hand on each shoulder just hard enough so that he knows he won’t fall. I have found since then, he goes the steps much faster than before. Recently, he did slip on a step, but with my hands on his shoulders, I caught him right away and said, “I got you, boy, don’t worry,” Interestingly, he started wagging his tail and continued to do so all the way to the bottom. The incident warmed my heart – to know that he knows that I’ve got him, and he has nothing to worry about. And not only that, but he actually celebrates that fact! On the evening after the last worship service we had before the mandate came down that there could be no gatherings larger than ten people, I was sitting at home, praying about the days worship service and also praying for guidance on what we should be doing in the upcoming weeks. It was during that time that I was blessed to have the Lord speak a word to me. As I prayed my mind was transported to earlier that morning when I was helping Otie down the steps. That’s when God said to me, “Dan, I’ve got you. Don’t worry.” Just like Otie trusts me to get him down the steps safely, and even celebrates that fact, we need to understand that God has us. Trust God – God has us. Don’t worry – God is still in charge. And that is enough. And it is enough for us to be able to celebrate life even in difficult days. As individuals, a worshiping community, community, country and world, we are living in a difficult and uncertain time, where the game of life seems to be changing its rules every day, leaving us confused and anxious. For the next few weeks and probably months, we are going to have to deal with a lot more confusion and anxiety. But in the midst of all of it, remember this: God has us. So don’t worry and celebrate, yes celebrate, for the fact is: God is in our midst. He has us. We are safe. Thanks be to God! Amen. Please pray the morning prayer from “The Divine Hours” for this day. Christians across the world are joining in the same prayer: “Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep me both outwardly in my body and inwardly in my soul., that I may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. The concluding prayer of the church: “Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do, direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Go in peace and serve the Lord – Thanks be to God! P.S. If you have some thoughts on this devotional and you would like to share it with the entire group, just hit reply, add your thoughts, and send it – everyone will get your email. If you would like to share something privately with me, leave this email and send a personal one to me at or P.P.S. I’ll be sending out another devotional on Wednesday in place of our Lend weekday service. God’s got you, and all of us – don’t worry!!!

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