Zechariah 9:9-12 (NRSV)

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 He  will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war-horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. 11 As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. 12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.   

Zechariah 9:12 (NRSV)

12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.

DEVOTION – Marion Speicher Brown (Florida)

I took my young nephew Mark to a homemade ice cream shop located next to a dairy farm.  He ordered a single-scoop chocolate ice cream cone.  We walked outside to enjoy our treats and watch the cows grazing nearby.  Distracted by the animals, Mark tipped his cone and the ice cream plopped to the ground.  I watched his heartbroken face as the chocolate melted into the dirt.

We hurried back to the ice cream shop to buy another cone, but the vendor refused our money.  Instead he freely gave us a replacement cone with a double scoop – one chocolate and one strawberry.  The vendor gave Mark twice over what he had lost.

Meditating on today’s reading, I realized that God often treats us like that generous vendor.  We hurry to God with our broken dreams, dissolved relationships, and shattered hopes.  Placing our hurts into God’s hands, we then can stay close to God through prayer and scripture.  As we do, we believe that God will replace the losses in our life with rich blessings.  A setting peace, deep joy, and renewed confidence will become ours – gifts from a loving and generous God.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God can give us back life we thought we had lost.

PRAYER: O God, help us to trust you for blessings that outweigh our losses.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: DAIRY FARMERS

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