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Security in Insecurity

Security in Insecurity | April 25-26, 2020
Series: Forget Not – Doug Fields
Sermon Transcription – starts at 18:18

Well, hey Mariners Church! How great was that? 125,000 meals. When I was watching Eric in the Food Pantry, there was three things I was focusing on: the cereal, there’s a lot of cereal, I couldn’t believe that whole pallet of Muscle Milk because I think I’m going to go down there as soon as I’m done speaking right after that, and I love the fact that he’s in a hat and sweats, and I just thought, “How ironic is it that he’s at church in a hat and sweats?” Because for the last several weeks on the weekend, I’ve been at home in a hat and sweats watching him at church.

As a matter of fact, I brought a picture of my granddaughter. [Image] This is us watching church on a Sunday morning. And super, super cute. Although when I go to sing, she’s not real thrilled about that. And she says, “No Papi, no sing, no sing.” And she’s not even two years old and she knows that I don’t have a very good voice.

But as I was walking here just to be in the Worship Center to film this for you this weekend, I just miss being at our church. For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been the Youth Pastor here. I’ve been speaking at Mariners forever, but I’ve been the Youth Pastor for the last several months, and I really miss watching our Junior High-ers come into the Youth Building.

Because if you’ve never seen it before, you need to see it because it’s super fun, it’s super cute. As a matter of fact, you should join me, come be on my Volunteer Team and be in the very center of God’s will. But that’s another message at another time. But these 6th, 7th and 8th graders, they walk in and there’s just this amazement and wonder, and curiosity. Some run in, some stroll in, some of the 6th graders, they’re so tiny and cute. You want to put them in a basket and they’re like, “Hi Doug.” And then immediately afterwards there’s an 8th grader that you look up to and has a whole different, “Hi Doug.” and she’s just as cute.

So there’s lot of adorable stuff going on and I can’t wait ‘til we’re all together. And I actually saw something this week and I thought, “When we come back together as a church, I think this is what it’s going to look like.” Watch this [Video].

I love it. I can’t wait to be back together. As a matter of fact, I’ve already picked out my favorite face mask that I’m going to wear.

And if you are a regular at Mariners Church, you just have to know that we’re in good hands. I mean, not only is Eric an amazing teacher, he’s a fabulous leader, and has been doing such a great job. And we have an Executive Pastor, her name is Beth Ganem and she’s brilliant and she’s godly, and she’s wise. And I am just so proud to be a part of Mariners Church.

And I’m also proud of Mariners people, the way that you’ve responded and the way that you’ve just showed practical displays of love in our community, and great things are happening. Our teenagers are collecting food to put into the pantry and there’s just good news happening, and that’s what we need.

I know you’re the same way. You’re just tired of bad news. And that’s why this is so popular, John Krasinski, his “Some Good News Network” or no, “Some Good News”. [Image] And the reason it’s so popular is because we’re tired of bad news and there’s nothing bad on that.

As a matter of fact, we were so inspired by this as a family, that on Easter, just two weeks ago, my family, who we haven’t seen my in-laws in about 40 days, we went over to their house and we serenaded them with a song. Now when I say we, I’m behind the camera, I’m filming, so you don’t have to hear me sing or dance. But just welcome to the Fields family. Watch this [Video].

I love it. And, you know, when I’ve been talking to people that everybody’s struggling with this. Last week, Eric talked about finding joy in the midst of sorrow and people are juggling their emotions. And as I’ve been talking to people, I’ve been reminded of two truths. One truth is this, is that

Crisis can crush people!

We’ve seen that a lot of people, that uncertainty and fear, it’s just crushing them. But we also see this, is that.

Crisis can change people!

And I’ve watched that. I see people getting kinder and more loving, and more servant-oriented, and more neighborly. But here’s what I also know to be true, and I almost didn’t even want to tell you this, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t, is that

We are forgetful people.

All the stuff that has been changing, all the good that’s happening in our lives, for many of us, we’re going to forget it. I think it’s just going to be easy to forget all the good stuff that happens when we come back all together.

Now, speaking of all together, I’m standing on the stage that we’re normally at when we’re all together, and in this point, I would say something like this, I would say, “How many of you are forgetful?” And you would raise your hand. And I would be able to see that and we’d laugh, and you’d be nodding like, “I’m forgetful. How does he know that? He’s such a wise man!” Well, the reason I know that is because I’m super forgetful, too.

I mean, just this morning as I get dressed, see, what I do is I put on my shirt first before I put on my deodorant, because if I put on my deodorant first and then I put on my shirt, I leave that little white mark that would embarrass my mom, who has been dead for 10 years. But I put on my shirt first and then I do all the other hygiene type stuff. I brush my dentures and I put a little hair gel in. I blow dry my hair, which takes about five seconds. I put that stuff on my face to make my puffy eyes disappear. I do all of that stuff you’re supposed to do. I trim the nine-inch ear hair that appeared out of the middle of nowhere. And then I get to the end of that time and I think, “Did I put deodorant on or not?” And I have to reach under to check. And I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten that, and that’s just the beginning of the day.

And there are other times where I’ll do something like this. I’m like, “Hey, has anybody seen my cell phone? Does anybody know where my cell phone is?” And then I realized like, “Oh, it’s [in my hand]…” I’m sure you’re not as forgetful, but I am a forgetful person. Here’s what’s worse, is that  

I’m spiritually forgetful, too.

See, I have been a follower of Jesus and His teaching since I was a teenager. And I can honestly say to you that I have experienced hundreds, if not thousands, of God’s blessings. God has showed me so much favor and I’ve received so many blessings from Him. I’ve seen that God is good and that He’s personal, and that He’s powerful, and that He’s wonderful. And I can’t tell you how many times, probably a day, I say this. I say,

God is good!

I say that all the time. But then, BAM, adversity hits, crisis comes into our world, this pandemic appears and all of a sudden, life gets chaotic and my 401k drops with the stock market. I lose about 30% of my income for the year because I speak a lot and as a speaker, everybody canceled all of that. And what happens is this door of uncertainty kicks open and fear comes just charging in. And here’s what can happen if I’m not careful. This idea that “God is good!” can change to

God is good?

God is good? And it becomes a question.

And maybe you felt that way, that you forget God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness, and God’s power in your life. And if that has happened to you, just know that you are in a long legacy of people in our faith that I call what they have “spiritual amnesia”. They just forget of God’s goodness. 

If you’ve never read about in Exodus where Moses’ leadership and the Israelites, and how God keeps showing up all the time, and they just … I mean, you read it and you go, “How can these people be so stupid?” And then you realize, “Oh, I’m one of these people.” And that’s why we’re in this series, Forget Not.

That in Psalm 103 it says this, “Bless the LORD oh my soul,” which we have a song about that. “Bless the LORD oh…” I won’t sing. “Papi, no sing.” (Psalm 103:2) “Bless the LORD oh my soul and forget not His benefits.”

And as a people of faith, one of the things that we’re called to do is to not forget, to remember. I mean, think about it, that’s what communion is. Why do we celebrate communion? Because we don’t want to forget what Jesus did on the cross as a payment for our sins. And last week, Eric started the series on teaching on Psalm 16 where you’re going to have joy in the midst of sorrow. And this week’s Forget Not comes from Psalm 46.

And Psalm 46, what happens is scholars are all over the place on this, they can’t agree on what particular historical event the Psalmist is writing about. The Psalms were written over 900 years, but you don’t have to know the exact historical context to understand that this Psalm was written to God’s people in the midst of crisis.

So Psalm 46, we’re going to start with verse 1. Read this with me (Psalm 46:1), “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”

Now, the only thing wrong with this Psalm, in my opinion, is that, I mean, right out of the gate, he throws away the punchline, because this is the whole “forget not”. This is the thing that we’re not supposed to forget.

 

I would have just done one verse. I just say, Psalm 46 would have been a one verse song. Throw a jingle on it, make it real catchy. It’s a “one verse wonder” because this is what we don’t want you to forget. Now, there’s other verses and we’re going to look at some of those, but they’re all really secondary to this thesis statement that God is our refuge. Now, what is a refuge? I mean, a refuge is that place of safety, that place of security. It’s where you go when you’re wounded or hurt, or afraid.

I mean, think to when you were a child and you’re playing in the front yard, and you get hurt. You’re hurt. You’re crying. You run in the front door. And who do you yell for? You yell for mom. Because mom, in a traditional family, is the person of refuge and security and strength. Nobody yells for dad. Why? Because dads don’t care. My dad would say, “Shake it off. Rub some dirt on it. I’ll give you something to cry about.” And moms, moms are this picture of security and refuge.

A theologian preacher from the 1800s said this, Charles Spurgeon said, 

“Others want their castles placed on strong rocks and secured with iron gates, but God is a far better refuge than these.” 

We want this sense of physical safety and be protected, but God is a far better refuge than these. And that’s what the Psalm was saying. God is our refuge and our strength, and he uses the word … Let’s go back to the first verse, he uses the word “always”, “always our refuge”. Meaning that God doesn’t tire. He doesn’t expire. He doesn’t go away. 

Now the Psalms are in the Old Testament. You move to the New Testament and we have a picture of this when Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son. And if you don’t know it, the son basically asks for his inheritance early. He just throws the dad to the side. He goes and he wastes all his money, blows it. He bottoms out. He loses everything and he goes back home to a place of refuge. 

Now, Jesus is describing a picture of God and notice what Jesus says here in Luke 15:20, he says, “So he returned home …” this is the son, “… to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father…” this is the God character that Jesus is telling the story, “His father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” 

This is the picture that God is our refuge, our loving Father, always available for us. That, for many of us, what we do is we look for other options of security, but they don’t pan out. And instead of turning to God, we look for all these other things that we think are going to make us more secure, but they don’t. 

Now let’s go to Psalm 46:2-3. He continues in the Psalm. Remember verse 1 is the one we don’t want you to forget. Verse 2 and 3, “So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” 

Now what’s happening here is the Psalmist is writing about some natural disaster and some natural chaos. These are actions that are outside of our control. Almost feels like Southern California, if you think about it. If you threw in wildfires and Coronavirus, you’re pretty much describing us right here. But he says in the midst of all this crazy stuff happening, watch, “We will not fear.” Easier to read than actually to live out. We know this. For people of faith, we’re told all throughout the scripture, fear not, do not be afraid. Why is that a common theme of the Bible? 

It’s a common theme of the Bible because 

Forgetful people become fearful people. 

What we do is we forget God’s faithfulness in the past. And when you and I forget God’s faithfulness in the past, what happens is we become fearful in the present. And what I’ve learned in my own spiritual journey is, is this, 

The strength of my fear … reveals the depth of my faith. 

The strength of my fear, when I’m real, real afraid about things, it actually reveals the shallowness of my faith. See, I move into a place where I don’t see God is my refuge and my strength. And so instead what I do is I turn to worry or fear, and those never promise to be very good options.

We’ve read verse 1, verse 2 and 3. Let’s look at what Psalm 46:4-5 says. “A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it.”

Now what you’ve got here is you’ve got a little bit of a change of tone. The Psalmist is painting a picture of God’s presence. He’s not talking about natural disasters anymore. He’s actually talking about a peaceful river. A peaceful river that flows from the house of God and distributes joy and security everywhere it touches.

It says, “… the sacred home of the Most High.” Sacred home of the Most High. He’s talking about God’s residence, specifically Jerusalem, either the temple or the tabernacle. And it’s the tabernacle and the temple was a symbol of God’s presence with His people. And the Psalmist is saying, “As long as you’re in the presence, you’re safe. There is no fear to those who dwell with God.”

Now again, Psalms are in the Old Testament. We move to the New Testament. This picture changes a little bit in the New Testament in that God’s dwelling, God’s presence is not in a building, the temple or the tabernacle. God’s presence is in our lives.

In 1Corinthians 3:16 it says this, “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” The spirit of God lives in you. When you stake your life, when you put your faith in the redeeming work that Jesus did on the cross, God promises to indwell you, to live within you with His Spirit. Romans 8:11 says it this way, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.”

Two weeks ago, we talked about the resurrection of Jesus. The power of the resurrected Jesus actually lives in you. That’s the dwelling place of God.

What the Psalmist is saying, he’s saying, “Hey, everybody, step back, step back and take a look. The world may be totally chaotic, but God is your refuge. And there’ll be some things out there that are super fearful, but God is your refuge and your strength.”

Now you can read the rest of Psalm 46 on your own. It just repeats itself a little bit with some of these themes. Here’s the big picture themes is that there’s two ways to go. You can find

Chaos in the world            Confidence in God’s power/presence

He’s saying, “Life is unstable, but God is stable. Life brings insecurity, but God is secure.”

And then you get down to verse 10 in Psalm 46 and it says this, love this, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Now, I know some of you are sitting there going, “Doug, I know that one. I’ve heard that one. I’ve got it on a cup. It’s hanging in my house.” It’s super popular. Why? Because it resonates with everything that we long for in our life. That we want to, in the midst of all the chaos and the craziness, we want to slow our lives down and we want to be still, and we want to recognize that God is God and we’re not. I mean, that’s why we love to come here and worship collectively. We hit pause on the busy-ness of our life and we recognize God for who He is.

Based on what the Lord has done in the past and who He’s described to be as our refuge and our strength, and where He dwells on a daily basis, today, you and I can be confident. We can be confident of this, that

I am secure in God.

Based on what we know about God from His word, what we sense from the presence of His spirit, that He’s got you. There’s nothing that you can do that’ll take away that security that you have in God. He’s got all the craziness too. I don’t know how it’s all going to pan out, but He does.

Here’s why I want you to get this and I don’t care whether you’re a teenager or you’re an old person, because if you and I, we don’t live in the shadow of sensing that we’re secure in God, what happens to us is we actually don’t live the preferred life that God has for us. I view it like this. When insecurity hits, this is how I feel at times,

Unstable

Off-balance

Afraid

This is not a good picture of life. This is like what you feel like when you walk through a haunted house or actually when you walk through the Fields’ house, we live in the perfect scary house.

There are five spots. There’s five in the Fields’ family as we were growing up that I could scare you at the front door. You walk in 10 feet, somebody is going to jump out of the coat closet, scare you. You turn the corner to go into the kitchen, somebody is going to scare you around the corner. Then you get to the end of the hallway and there’s two places, we can actually add another, two places you’re going to be scared. If you turn to the right to the kitchen, somebody pops from behind the counter. All that to say, we love to scare people. We’ve done it all the time and it’s like every week, somebody is walking through our house with this picture of being unstable, off-balance and afraid.

And when you parallel that to life, nobody wants to live life that way. I’ve also found this too, that when I’m insecure, I’m

Doubting

Defeated

And as a matter of fact, these words describe me the last, I don’t know, the last week or two. I have been dreading this teaching. I haven’t been dreading the teaching because I don’t like teaching the Bible. I love teaching the Bible. I’ve been dreading this teaching because I like people, and there’s no people here. There’s a camera guy with a face mask and gloves that I can’t even see. I like people. I’ve invited my family. My family’s right over there. I need people here.

I was telling my wife as we were driving here, I said, “I feel like I’m a singer and this is forcing me to dance, to speak to a camera with no audience.” And then I notched it up a little bit. I said, “Like, I’m a rapper. I’m a rapper and I have to do ballet.” But anyway, I have been doubting whether I can do this, whether… I mean, and then here’s the thing that happens, when doubt enters in, defeat enters in, it just gives birth to insecurity. And you know what adds to insecurity? Oh, I’ve experienced this, is

Comparison

That over the last five weeks, I mean, if you’ve been watching, you know that Eric is a total pro at this, that he just makes it look so easy.

He must have a photographic memory because he has no notes at all, and he’s just a great teacher. And then last week at my house, one of my kids said, “Eric looks so good on TV. He looks so young.” Oh great. I mean, he is younger, significantly younger than me. Plus, he didn’t grow up in Southern California, so he hasn’t contracted sun damage. I mean, you could play Tic Tac Toe and Connect the Dots with this sun damaged face. I’ve actually had people who make leather furniture ask if they could borrow my face. All that to say HD TV is not good for my face.

But here’s what happens when you compare, every time you compare, you lose. That’s just the truth of life. Because you compare everything you know about yourself to what you really don’t know about the other person. But comparison, actually, now that I think about it, it should be comparison to the second power, or the third power, or whatever, math is impossible, times something equals expanded or amped up in insecurity.

Comparison = Insecurity

See, insecurity happens when everything is about me and I take my eyes off of God, and I maximize me and I minimize God.

What I hope you’re thinking is this, I hope you’re thinking, “Well, Doug, I live with insecurity, but how can I have security? I mean, how can I have the knowledge of that security in the midst of my own insecurity?” And I’m glad you asked that. I want to move us to some things that I’ve been thinking about and wrestling with this week as I’ve been kind of trying to really hang on to God as my refuge and my strength. And they’re action-oriented words are for you to experiment with this week. 

First is this, is to 

  1. Absorb God’s promises

And I wanted to use the word “meditate” here because I think meditate is a good word, but when you use meditate, some people think of like chanting and incense, and crossed legs. But what I mean by is meditate, chew on, ruminate, ponder, think about … basically, don’t forget. Don’t forget that God is your refuge and your strength. I mean, we’re only taking a look in this series called Forget Not, we’re only taking a look at six. That doesn’t even scratch the surface of the hundreds that are in the Bible.

And I created something for teenagers at Mariners because I love them more than you. But if you were to join our Youth Ministry Volunteer Team, I’d love you just the same. Anyway, it’s an app. And it’s an app with 365 of God’s Promises. It’s free. The information is on the screen of how you can get it. You can get it too. [To download the app, go to promises.marinersyouth.com.]

But what I tell teenagers is every time you open up Instagram, how much time you spend on Instagram? And I like Instagram. Nothing against Instagram. Instagram is fun. But Instagram always makes … I mean, if you want to feel bad about yourself, it just ignites all this insecurity.

Now, if you follow me on Instagram, I won’t make you feel insecure unless you have an ugly grandchild. And then that’s on you. But when I go to Instagram, I’m just always feeling like, “Oh.” Like for example [Image]: Why even try? Right? Why even try to work out? Because look at that guy, he’s older than me and I’m like, “Okay, I’m done. Okay. I can’t get there.”

Or how about this one? [Image] Last week Eric was talking about the phrase, the Christian clichés, “Too blessed to be stressed”, and people put their quiet time on there, and the Bible and journal, and pens, and memorization… I mean, nothing against that, but people are so stressed right now. Those of you that are homeschooling and you’re sending your pupils on suspension, and they’re reporting their teacher for drinking. I mean, it’s crazy times right now. And sometimes you look at that and you go like, “I am so stressed.”

Or how about this one? [Image] This is the one that’s getting me because the Fields’ family is running out of toilet paper. And I don’t know that the Coronavirus causes diarrhea, but it sure seems like everybody else thinks it does. And I just know, let’s put it this way, before the Coronavirus, I used to pull that toilet paper off the deal like I was playing Wheel of Fortune and now it’s like I’m cracking a safe and just… and anytime you want to feel bad about yourself, just go to Instagram.

And here is the truth. The truth is this:

You will increase your security when you absorb God’s promises. 

Take them in, read them, let them sink into your soul and swirl them around, and be reminded that God is your refuge and your strength. Absorb God’s promises. 

The second thing I want to encourage you to do is to 

  1. Connect with God’s people.

Now, if this stay-at-home quarantine hasn’t reminded you that you need people, you’ve been watching way too much Netflix and not thinking deeply enough. That you and I, we were created by God, in our DNA, that we need other people.

That when you become a new creation in Christ, like 350 of you did two weeks ago at Easter, you became a new creation in Christ. Here’s what you need to understand. Other people are important to your sanctification, which is the process of you becoming more and more like Jesus. And friends, I know Mariners is a big church, but we have so many ways to make it feel small and for you to be known. And I know right now what the norm is, is that 

Social distancing is the norm, but social connections is the need.

Why is connecting with other people so important?

Because if you have some insecurities, think about this, if God’s spirit dwells in you, why wouldn’t God’s spirit know what I need as your friend? That I need that encouragement, or that empathy, or that presence. That God’s spirit in you knows what I need. And so, we need one another to grow spiritually. 

And if you’re not in a Life Group… I mean, if this whole thing hasn’t pushed you to want to connect with other people, I don’t know what you’re waiting on. If you’re not in a Life Group, let us help you. We are starting new Life Groups every single day and the information is on your screen to text to it. [For more info on Online Groups, text “Connect” to 949-267-3131.] 

And if you started one that we don’t know about, let us know that one too, because we can resource you and help you take it to an even better place. And we want to help you. We want to help you do that. Because if there’s a second wave of this, which I obviously hope there is not, we just need people badly. 

Absorb God’s promises. Connect with other people. And lastly, is 

  1. Find a daily time to be still … cease striving.

Remember verse 10, “Be still and know that I am God.”? In some translations it doesn’t say “Be still”, it says, “Cease striving”. 

Which I like that picture as well, that if you’re at home, you are creating a new normal. And this is the perfect opportunity in that new normal for you to develop some new habits. Some new habits that will help you transition your fears from yourself onto the refuge of God that will help you take your focus off of yourself and put it on to God, to be still and know that He is God. 

See, when we do the Instagram or compare our lives to other people, everybody looks better from a distance, but with Jesus, Jesus looks more beautiful and He looks bigger up close. And when you are still and know that He is God, He begins to do something in your life that just makes your life a richer, more loving, more peaceful, more secure follower of Jesus. 

I have a friend, his name is Mark. He’s one of those people. This is Mark Beeson. [Image] He’s a pastor at a really great church in Granger, Indiana. And in September, he was diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer. And I heard about it from one of the staff. I’ve spoken at his church a bunch, and I texted him this: [Image] 

“I’m your biggest fan in Orange County, CA and I’m cheering you on to Jesus right now.

Much love my friend. [doug fields]”

And I don’t normally write my name to a text. I just didn’t know for sure whether he had it or not. I let him know, Doug Fields. And then he says this right back, [Image] 

“Dude, God’s got this … and I love that you are with me cheering HIS great work and redemptive love! You’re a good man. Thank you.” 

And I just like, “God’s got this.” I said, [Image]

“That’s what I would expect you to say “God’s got this!”” 

Because he lives that kind of life. God’s got this. And he says, 

“Oh yeah … I shortened the sermon to the “Cliff notes” … and the basic theme is, “GOD IS AWESOME!” So … I’m following Him.” 

How great is that? God’s got this. 

Now those words come from a place of refuge and strength. That doesn’t mean he’s not afraid. It doesn’t mean he’s not insecure over the whole thing. He just knows who is his security. And that’s the difference that Jesus makes in the life of someone who ceases to strive and is still, and is just reminded that God is God and you’re not. I just spoke at his church a couple of months ago and he’s doing pretty good. 

And I had this fictitious conversation in my mind. I mean, that was the actual text messages, but the one that went in my mind went like this. I would say, [Image]

 “Mark, you sure have more faith than me.”

Which is true. I really think that he does. But when I say that, he might say this, [Image]

“No, I just have more experience with a faithful God.”

Friends, we have the opportunity to have more experience, more time to be still with that faithful God who is our strength and our refuge, and is always willing to help in that time of trouble. I don’t want my life to be crippled by insecurities and I don’t want that for your life either.

As a matter of fact, as I was driving over here, I thought I didn’t put them in this order, but if you want to remember them, they’re ABCs: Absorb God’s promises, Be still and Connect with other people. Try that this week. Try the ABCs and see what happens to your faith.

As a matter of fact, I think this might happen. I think you might go from

God is good?

to

God is good! 

All the time. I can’t wait to be with you again.

Jesus, may we not be the same people when we stop watching this. May we be different because we’re reminded of your refuge and your safety, and that You provide security into the life of a believer. That You are always willing. That You’re not distant. That You’re always willing to infuse Yourself and dwell in our lives. Thank You for Your love for us that is not based on our performance or our past. That You love us because we are Your people, and for that we’re thankful. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

He is good. Even when we don’t see Him working, He is still good. And Mariners Church, I want to pray for you and pray a prayer of blessing over you, that this week you will sense each moment, His goodness towards you. Will you extend your hands and let me pray a prayer of blessing over you?

Father, I pray for Your sons and daughters. I pray this week that You will bless them. I pray You will keep them to Yourself and cause Your face to shine on them. I pray that once again, You will prove faithful as You always do, that You are the helper who comes to us in our time of need. Lord, stoop low to my brothers and sisters who need to sense Your help this new week. I pray that You will be their refuge, the strong and sturdy one to which they can run. And so, Lord, bless Your sons and daughters this new week in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen. Go in peace.

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