Today is Wednesday, May 3, 2017.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, you heavenly hosts;
praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
Splendor and honor and kingly power are yours by right, O Lord our God,
For you created everything that is,
and by your will they were created and have their being.
(A Song to the Lamb)
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Today, I’m combining the thoughts from two readings, Living the Message and Daily Guideposts 2017, because they have similar messages.
In Living the Message, Eugene H. Peterson says, “Busyness is an illness of spirit, a rush from one thing to another because there is no ballast of vocational integrity and no confidence in the primacy of grace. In order for there to be conversation and prayer that do the pastoral work of meeting the intimacy needs among people, there must be a wide margin of quiet leisure that defies the functional, technological, dehumanizing definitions that are imposed upon people by others in the community.” He then quotes Psalm 131:2 from The Message: I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content.
Along a similar line, Daily Guideposts begins with James 4:14-15: You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.” (The Message) Then Katie Ganshert writes about picking her son up after school. As he climbs into their van, he asked, “Mom, can we go play at the park?” She responds with an affirmative, but then adds, “But first we have some errands to run.” Her son’s “entire demeanor did a 180-degree turn.” He hates errands. He ended his argument with, “You’re wasting my time!”
This caused Katie to stop and think about her day. She had her plans, her schedule, but it kept getting interrupted by other people and things. She says, “Each time I responded like my son–with a whiny heart.”
It is easy for us to forget that our time, just like everything else in our lives, if we are “believers,” belongs to God, not to ourselves. We can surely begin each day with our own agenda, and then whine every time it gets interrupted. Or we can begin the day acknowledging that the day, the hours, the minutes, belong to our Father. How does he want us to use them?
This, of course, immediately reminded me of something that Dallas Willard (yes, I know I mention him a lot) said to John Ortberg one day. “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Being busy is not necessarily bad. Always being in a hurry is always bad. Ortberg later wrote, “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.”
Katie Ganshert ends her reading with this prayer: “Lord, thank you for every second You give us here. Each one is evidence of Your grace. Help me to be a good and faithful steward of my time.”
Father, I echo this prayer with my own. I am grateful for every second that you give me. Teach me to walk in your ways in all of those seconds and minutes. Teach me to live my life by your agenda, by your schedule. This does not mean that I can’t make plans. It just means that, when I do, I need to stay aware that you might have different plans, and that’s okay. I need to live my life in such a way that I prefer your plans to my own plans, all the time.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Grace and peace, friends.