Page 349 has been a cold, winter day and is setting up to be a long one as I began work early in the morning and will likely clean bathrooms and floors after teaching a Wednesday evening Bible class for elementary students. Most of the day has been rather overcast and the frigid temperatures did not make going outside very inviting. So, instead of a late-afternoon lunch break and walk, I took a nap in my office instead. When I woke up, the sun was shining brightly for a while but I was content to enjoy it from inside. With just seventeen days left in the calendar year, I’ve begun to consider the year ahead and how God would have me be prepared for it.
But before the new year gets here, there is still work to do in the current year so the day began in the usual fashion with the cleaning and building prep necessary to start the day. Once the building was ready, the day had a lot of elements of yesterday in it as I worked on tonight’s lesson, a sermon to share at the North Wayne Mennonite Church on Christmas Day, a Bible teaching on praying in the real world that I keep developing, and a sermon to share at the Deer Run Church of Christ on New Year’s Day. As I worked on that combination, I received an email outlining the theme for next year’s National Student Conference so I began to spend some prayer time and consideration in regard to what God would have me prepare for that. As I thought about specific ways people have encouraged me in response to different writings I have published, I began to consider how much of what I do is what God wants, how much is what I want, how much is what others want, and at what point those three areas intersect. It seems easy to keep what I want and even what others want in front of me most of the time, but how easy is it to let what God wants slip out of my mind as the voices of others and myself drown Him out? As I thought about that, a verse came to mind that I think I will print out in some fashion and put in a place where I would most likely see it throughout every day. I know there are specific things that God wants and has created for each of us to do, but perhaps if I focus on doing this verse every day the rest of what He wants will be natural by-products.
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8 (NIV)
In one of the brief moments of sunshine, a cardinal came by to grab some berries before disappearing into the deeper brush. At about the same time, a red fox walked by but he was out in the woods too far to get any pictures through the twigs and branches. It made me think about how God has created them to survive and provides them with homes that are suitable to their needs. I couldn’t imagine being outside today dressed only in what I was wearing even a week ago, but God created them with the ability to do that and He created mankind with the ability to build shelters and means of warmth from what He provides. The Bible talks about God putting within the heart, or mind, of man the ideas to do certain things. There are times when we like to brag on the creative ability of mankind, but I would have to ask where that ability really comes from. In a way, my writing is like that. When I write, especially the poems God chooses to give me, it is always clear that what I share are words that He has put within my heart and mind for the purpose of sharing them with others. Sometimes I have an idea of the why He gives specific words and how He will use them, but most of the time my sharing them is an act of faith because I have no idea what He will use them to accomplish or even who His intended audience is for them.
I pray that you and I would be mindful of people who may need extra help and attention when the weather around them is less than ideal. I pray that we would seek God for times of refreshing when we become weary. I pray that we would spend time with God for the purpose of knowing Him so well that we would align all that we do with His will and desire. I pray that we would commit to acting with justice each day and in every circumstance. I pray that we would not only love receiving mercy from God, but that we would love showing mercy to others. I pray that we would live a fully humble life as we walk with our God. I pray that we would acknowledge God as the source for all that is good within us and around us. I pray that we would trust Him to use all that He has put within us for His glory.