The call to act on God’s behalf is a scary one. When God called me to follow and become a disciple of Christ, I had to walk down front and tell the preacher. Scary! When God called me to ministry, I had to sit before an ordaining council and share my call experience. Scary! In seminary, I had to articulate my call before learned scholars. Scary! Since seminary, I’ve had to share my thoughts as to why I believed God was calling me to work in particular congregations. Scary!
God’s call never comes without risk or an element of fear. Yet, I serve a God filled with love and grace who casts out fear. The God I serve controls the process; God knows the “grand plan”! I didn’t always get my dream job. At times fear has threatened my faith. Sometimes God doesn’t work the way I expect. Yet, most times God has used my shortcomings to lead me to successes beyond my imaginings. God remains faithful like that!
Imagine a mother having to hide her precious son to save his life. Imagine a sister having to babysit down by the river knowing that her brother could be killed. Imagine a daughter rebelling against her father, the king, and raising an Israelite child as her own. Imagine a powerful, fearful king, willing to kill innocent babies. Each player in this passage serves as an instrument within God’s grand plan. None of them knows the outcome of his or her actions. All have to sacrifice, some at great cost. God’s guidance in this passage reminds us of the courage and obedience God desires. Are you willing?
When has God surprised you by turning “failures” into blessings? How are you like the women in this passage? How do you move beyond your fear to follow God’s guidance?

God, help me to set aside my plans and follow yours. May I act with courage and in faithful obedience to you. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 16:13-20

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Lectionary Week
August 21–27, 2017
Scripture Overview

All the texts bear witness to the rich and powerful sovereignty of God, who generously gives life. In the Exodus text, both the future of Israel and the future of God’s plans for all humanity are imperiled. At one level, the infant is saved only by the cunning of his mother and sister and by the compassion of the Egyptian princess; but, truthfully, Moses is saved only by the grace of God. Psalm 124 looks beyond the birth of Moses to the moment of the Exodus and celebrates with great joy God’s redemption of the people. Only by God’s help can humans nd life and freedom. In Romans 12 Paul calls for the transformation of the person through the power of God. We are to “be transformed,” thus placing primary emphasis on the activity of God in the life of the Christian. The Gospel reading is a confession of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. Matthew emphasizes the rootedness of the church in the disciples’ recognition of Jesus’ messianic nature.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Exodus 1:8–2:10. When have you had a scary experience that God’s “grand plan” made successful?
• Read Psalm 124. Looking back on your life, where can you see God’s hand guiding you through rough times?
• Read Romans 12:1-8. Take time to answer the writer’s ques- tion: “How are you using your gifts in your church and in your community?”
• Read Matthew 16:13-20. Who do you say Jesus is?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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