Page 274 has been a dark and dreary day and it has been a battle to keep my mind from mirroring the conditions outside. As I’ve worked throughout the day, various bits of poems have tried to show up in my mind but most of them have been as dark as the cloudy night sky so I keep pushing them out and replace them with worship songs and scripture. One of the opening lines that keeps recurring — so maybe it will be used for real some day — is: “Most of these poems reveal what’s inside. The dark hidden thoughts that I’d like to hide.” On good days, the poems are a window into my soul and I suppose that may just be true on my bad days as well.
The day began early as I was up and at work by 6 AM, cleaning and prepping the building for the day. And here I am at 8 PM still at work, writing today’s page before taking the floor scrubber for its laps around the hallways. Once the morning cleaning was done, I took care of a few minor maintenance needs and then spent much of the day continuing work on the sermon for Sunday. As with most days, there was the occasional interruption to take care of building related things, but overall it was a fairly quiet day. I’m working on the first message in a series of stand-alone sermons based around the topic of “Living As the Lord’s Servant”. I began work on this character study series almost a year ago but haven’t had anywhere to share it so the work kind of stalled out. Since they do stand alone, I’ll work on them as needed for the Sunday’s I preach at the North Wayne Mennonite Church in Dowagiac, Michigan. This first one will look at some lessons we can learn from Abraham about living as the Lord’s servant.
By mid-afternoon, I took a short lunch break then it was time to start the Friday evening cleaning to get the building ready for Sunday. It feels like I’m getting back into the school year routine and the work flow seems to be a bit smoother as each week passes. Sometimes we think of routines and habits as bad so we do what we can to keep from developing any. In and of themselves, routines and habits are neutral — they can be good or bad depending on what they are. That is an important lesson that I try to convey when I teach about prayer. Developing habits and routines of prayer can be good if we use them to connect to God in deeper and greater ways. Sometimes it is the habits and routines that keep us going to God in prayer even when we don’t feel like it but know we need to. Most of us need to build a pattern of prayer in our life so it is simply a natural part of what we do in all circumstances. If we face a situation where prayer feels awkward, it is probably a time when it is most needed but least likely to take place.
As I sat down to write today’s page and enjoy a quick “dinner” of Famous Amos cookies and Dr Pepper, I went through the photos from yesterday’s trip to the lake so I could choose one for this page. The photo I chose is of the beachfront at Holland State Park looking across the channel from the lighthouse. Even in the midst of all the clouds and dreariness of the day, beauty could be found. Behind the clouds, and occasionally peeking through as a reminder, the sun still shone in all its brilliance. It serves as a reminder for me that even in the midst of the dreary times I experience within my spirit, the Son still shines in all His glory and His Spirit still lives within me to encourage, comfort, and strengthen me in my weakness.
I pray that you and I would never forget God’s presence is with us through the power of His Son and the indwelling of His Spirit. I pray that we would understand our role as a servant of the Lord and live accordingly. I pray that we would build good habits and routines that draw us closer to God. I pray that we would continually grow in our practice of praying without ceasing. I pray that God’s light would always shine upon us and through us.