Monday, December 16, 2013

Lent devotional ‘Real Rest’ to focus on themes of grace, light living

The Brethren Press 2014 devotional booklet for Lent, offering devotions for Ash Wednesday through Easter, is written by Duane Grady. Each day will feature a scripture, meditation, and prayer in a pocket-sized booklet suitable for individual use or for congregations to offer to members. Pre-order now for $2.25 per copy, plus shipping and handling.

The devotional is regularly priced at $2.75 per copy, or $5.95 large print, plus shipping and handling. Become a seasonal subscriber and receive both annual devotionals from Brethren Press--Advent and Lent--at the discounted price of $2.25 or $5 for large print. Contact Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or purchase online at

Sample devotion: ‘Calmly present’

Real Rest, the Brethren Press devotional for Lent 2014, written by Duane Grady“The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; [God] utters his voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us” (Psalm 46:6-7a).

We live in a time when there is no shortage of troubling news, both at the international and local levels. Many of these crises are real, and real persons are harmed. Anxiety is stirred up by the media, especially cable news networks that crave the hoopla of a world tottering on a narrow edge as long as their income stream remains fixed.

The world in crisis is not new. The writer of Psalm 46 spoke to the harrowing experiences of many in describing mountains shaking and waters roaring (vv. 2-3). Like many of the psalms, this one concludes on a more positive note by reminding us that in the midst of chaos, God is calmly present. God puts an end to war and terror, and provides refuge in God’s holy habitation (vv. 4, 9). And yet, we worry.

When I read this passage, my memory turned to a recent hospital visit. A three-year-old child was having a risky procedure, and anxiety was high in the family. It was necessary, but many things could go wrong. Under the best of circumstances, the recovery would be slow and painful—nothing you’d wish on anyone, especially such a small child.

I prayed with the family the night before and anointed the parents as they braced themselves for the long journey ahead. Following the surgery, I visited their hospital recovery room. Upon entering the darkened room, I saw the child’s mother in bed with him, embracing him completely in her arms with only his tightly bandaged head visible. Both were sleeping in a scene as comforting and calm as any I’d ever seen. It was the perfect image for the psalmist’s reminder: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (v. 1).

Prayer: God of peace, be with us in all circumstances. But make your presence most vividly known when we stress and stew about things that trouble us. Calm our hearts and teach us to rest in you.

Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline

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