Page 270 was a somewhat usual start to the work week other than I woke up at 5 AM and decided I could get a little more sleep then didn’t wake back up until 6:30, missing the scheduled pest control service. Fortunately, David was at the building and was able to let the service tech in to do his work before I got there. As one who has never been a “morning person”, it is a sad day when arriving to work by 7 AM is starting the day late. I started the workday cleaning bathrooms, taking out trash, and sweeping floors before settling in for my Monday morning writing routine. As I spent time with God, first on this week’s prayer focus of perfection and then considering a topic for next week, the idea of endurance seemed to settle into my spirit. When it comes to living with endurance, we have no greater example than Jesus. The opposition faced by Jesus pursued Him all the way to the cross yet He endured even that, knowing that a greater joy was before Him. Jesus knew that through faithful obedience and patient endurance, He would again be seated at the right hand of the Father. It is when our faith wavers that endurance becomes especially difficult because we lose sight of the eternal reward that awaits us. The writer of Hebrews tells us that we are able to run the race set before us with endurance when we keep out eyes fixed on Jesus.
By late morning, the prayer guide was written and I turned my attention to writing the monthly Impact Prayer Ministry newsletter. The newsletter writing is always a joy because it gives me reason to intentionally look back at what God has been doing and look ahead to where He is leading. Once the newsletter was written and sent out, I finished the formatting and layout of what looks to be my next completed book. The working title for this book has been “Devotions For Those Who Serve”, but in my initial proof copies I changed that to the subtitle with the title “Active Worship”. Before the day was finished, I had changed the title a second time. When I first began writing, I had laid out a series of four titles that I believed God was giving me to write. Two of those four, “Seeking God” and “Knowing God” are poetical devotionals I have written. The third, “Pursuing God”, is a collection of fifty-two weekly prayer guides. The fourth title, which I had not yet used, is “Serving God”. While I had initially thought that title would be a book based on a sermon series I have preached through the book of Acts, this current book of thirteen weeks of daily devotions focused on serving seems like the perfect fit for the title and to complement the series I had called “The God Series”. So, at least at the moment, this next book will be titled, “Serving God: Devotions For Those Who Serve”.
After settling on the title and printing out a proof copy of the book so I can proofread it before final publishing, I headed out for a mid-afternoon lunch. After lunch, I picked up some needed supplies for work and then called it a day and headed home. Today’s photo was taken during an evening walk with my family along the St Joseph River in Mishawaka. As the sun began to drop toward the western horizon, the shadows began to lengthen. As I gazed at this scene, and then the photo, I thought about the importance of keeping the Son at the center of my life, rather than somewhere along the horizon, in order to keep the shadows of doubt from lengthening and taking over. The further the Son drops from the center, the closer to darkness we become. While the shadows from the trees make for an interesting and beautiful photo, allowing the shadows of doubt to fill our lives makes for a tragic and ugly ending to a life God wants to fill with His light.
I pray that you and I would run the race set before us with endurance. I pray that we would keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we seek to understand how to have the endurance we need. I pray that we would be aware of the continual presence of opposition and choose to remain steadfast in our pursuit of God. I pray that we would set aside time on a regular basis to consider how God has been working in our life and where He is leading us. I pray that we would see all of the shadows of doubt dissolved by keeping the Son at the center of our life.