Daily Devotion - February 1, 2021 - God's Encircling Presence

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – February 1, 2021
Psalm 139:1-18
Weekly Theme: God’s Love
Today: God’s Encircling Presence

Recently I joined an eight-week journey with five other ladies. I do not know any of these ladies but I have a feeling that the next few weeks with them are going to be real special. Three of them are from other places in North Carolina and the other three are from Wisconsin, Maine and New York. We probably all are within the age range of 60 to 80 years old and come with many different world views, but I look forward to being with them as we go through a prayer journey together using the book, Love: A Guide to Prayer written by Jacqueline Syrup and Sister Marie Schwan. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing Scripture, commentary and my personal journaling from these readings to share how God is speaking to me in love through Scripture with hope and prayer that he will speak to you as well.

Today, in my prayer journal I was challenged to list 12 significant events in my life and focus on the one event that stood out to me. I chose my baptism, which I have recently shared through these devotions and will share again today but with some slight variation Please pardon any repetition. I was baptized in 1966 at the age of six. I have been asked all kinds of question about my baptism and whether or not I felt I really knew what I was doing at this young age. The answer to that is undeniably yes. Did I completely understand everything about God and about being in a relationship with God at such an early age? Of course not. No matter what age we are when we enter into relationship with Christ, we are all babes in Christ. What I do remember about my baptism is that I was in the deep water in the baptismal pool and doggie paddled over to the preacher who chuckled as he grabbed hold of me. I remember worrying about my dress floating up in the water, but mostly remember the Pastor’s gentle words as he baptized me... “I baptize this my little sister, Connie, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of Holy Ghost (and yes, that was how the Holy Spirit was commonly referred to at that time and in that context). All of this may sound familiar as I reflected on this in another recent devotion. But as I reflected on it this week, I was reminded of God’s encircling love and presence with me always, even as I was being formed in my mother’s womb, I was reminded of the insecurity that I displayed in that baptismal pool 54 years ago. I was not sure the pastor was going to hold on to me in the deep water so I doggie paddled...I was worried about my dress floating all over the place... and I remember feeling a little nervous about the pastor dunking me under the water and holding my hand over my nose. But then with a few remarks about my coming to know Christ, my pastor spoke words which brought me much comfort...”And now I baptize this my little sister...in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”. Those words amidst all my nervousness and insecurity brought me comfort even though I did not fully understand the meaning behind them. I was being initiated into a family of people who were going to show me and teach me about God’s love and grace and about God’s presence with me always as God Father, Son and Holy Spirit, especially when I feel most insecure.

It is my prayer that you too have experienced the love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as expressed in Psalm 139 and that you feel the very presence of God with you through a community of faith empowered by the Holy Spirit who accept and receive you as their brother and sister in Christ. I challenge you to read Psalm 139:1-18, write down 12 significant events in your life. Select one of these events that you focused on more than others and, record how God still speaks to you through that event.

Dear God, thank you for the beautiful passage of Psalm 139 and how you remind us that you are always encircling us with your presence. Help us to remember and reflect on our past and how you have always gone, before us and are present with us to see us through the good and bad times. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

  August 2021  
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