Page 172 began in the normal Monday fashion but the last third of it was spent without electricity at home. I was awake early, so I went in to work and started the day doing a little cleaning and taking out trash from the receptacles in the bathrooms and foyer. While it is not a huge task, taking out the trash first thing Monday morning has a huge benefit. Removing the trash in a timely fashion not only helps an area look better, it helps prevent bad smells and bugs that come looking for food. The same is true about the trash that accumulates in our life. The more diligent we are about recognizing it and removing it in a timely fashion, the better our life looks and we are able to give off a fragrant aroma of Christ rather than the stench of garbage and the evil that seeks to feed on it.
Once I had made the rounds through the building, I settled into my Monday morning task of writing a prayer guide for next week. Some weeks I go in to the office with a good idea of what the topic will be and other weeks I find myself trying to be still before God as I spend time in prayer trying to know what He would have me write. Today was one of those that I was having a difficult time hearing. Eventually I settled on the topic of “Words” and once that was clear, the daily prayer points about how we choose and use our words flowed rather freely. When next week’s prayer guide was complete, I spent some time working on my current book project. Sometimes writing these devotional journals that God has had me doing recently end up taking longer than I anticipate because I find myself drawn into many of the daily topics. The most recent topic that is taking longer than I expected is about heaven being a home with living bread — the life-giving bread of Jesus. As I spent time with God coming up with devotional questions and thoughts for that topic, I was drawn into a time of worship as I realized just how much the presence of Jesus in my life sustains me each day.
With an early start to the day, by mid-afternoon it was time to get some lunch and call it an end to the workday. It was rather hot and muggy outside so I picked up a sandwich and headed down to Potato Creek to sit along the lake for a little while, hoping to catch the bald eagle out doing some late-afternoon fishing. By the time I got there, the sky begun to get very dark to the north and soon descended on the park. The eagle never made an appearance, but I was able to spend some time sitting on the dock watching the clouds roll in before the rain finally arrived and sent me packing. As I left the park and headed home, I drove through the brunt of the storm with a torrential downpour that made visibility difficult and left standing water on many of the roads. As I was nearing my house I got a message that the lights had flickered off a few times at the church but the electricity remained on but we were without power at home. Since I was out, I stopped by the church to check on things and then headed home.
Since our electric was out at home, I pulled out the gas grill and cooked hamburgers for supper. By this time, the storm was well past us and the sky had cleared with the brightness of the sun shining through the few remaining clouds. Standing at my grill, I was at just the right spot that the sun was “topping” the large pine tree on our property. So inside I went to grab my camera and play with the settings in an attempt to capture what my eye was seeing — the photo on today’s page is the best I could do. As I thought about this scene, and the beautiful sunset that would follow a few hours later, I thought about how God carries us through the storms of life and brings us into the peace and calm of His presence. Yes, the storms will come and there will be times we find ourselves right in the middle of what seems like the worst of it. But God tells us that the storms — the things that cause us to weep — are temporary. Weeping may last for a night, but the joy we have in Christ comes in the morning!
As the sun set in a neighborhood with no electricity, I could hear the steady hum of a few generators as attempted to get some sleep. The sun had been out long enough after the rain that the air had become warm and humid so the open windows didn’t seem to help much in creating a comfortable atmosphere to sleep in. I finally ended up on a couch in the basement, but even then it was more tossing and turning than sleeping. Finally, sometime around 2 AM I began to hear the sound dehumidifier coming to life with a series of beeps and realized the electricity had been restored. I made the mistake of turning on the computer to check email and here I am two hours later finishing up the writing of page 172. 🙂
I pray that you and I would daily spend time with God and allow the conviction of His Spirit to lead us in “taking out the trash” from our mind and life. I pray that we would live a cleansed life that offers a pleasing aroma of worship to God. I pray that we would not be dismayed when the storms of life come against us but that we would trust God to carry us through to the peace we have with Him after the storm passes. I pray that our confidence in the peace that is coming would give us a spirit of peace even during the storm.