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    (Below is a modified version of a devotional that I wrote for my church.  It is based on the readings from these passages of Scripture: Psalm 30, 32; Ezekiel 39:21-29; Philippians 4:10-20; John 17:20-26)

    Think back to your childhood.  Do you remember a secret place you had?  A place that was barely big enough to contain your imagination and visions of grandeur.  I remember a stack of colossal concrete pipes that were placed out in a big patch of land behind our house.  While the bottom, supporting pipes might have been filled with critters and snakes, the pipes on top of those were transformed into houses.  My brothers and I each claimed one, making seats and chalk art on the walls.  This was a place of fun, a refuge during the long days of summer.

    In Psalm 32, David reminded us that the person who is truly blessed is the person who acknowledges his sins before God.  This acknowledgment then leads to the confidence that he will be preserved in times of trouble.  Trusting in the Lord will produce shouts of joy, for he will preserve us even to the point of death.

    The refuge that we had as kids pales in comparison to the refuge that we have in God.  That is why Paul had such tremendous confidence in the Lord.  Look at Philippians 4:19 again.  Paul is saying God will provide for every need.  God will preserve you.  He had the audacious faith in God to put that in writing.

    Building on this idea, we now turn to remaining section of the “High Priestly Prayer” in John.  Jesus prayed for those who would later on become disciples of Christ due to the testimonies of the eleven.  He prayed for the people who heard and received the gospel, passed along from generation to generation, eventually reaching you and me.  We hold the testimony of God’s covenantal faithfulness.  We have been entrusted with the story of God’s redeeming nature, how he desired to pour out his spirit on His rebellious people.  Paul was so confident in God because he knew that that is the very nature of God.  Do we, as a community of faith, live in that reality?  Might we walk in that reality.