2016: Page 356

Page 356 is a long work day and I’m in a state of mind that could make writing dangerous, so I’ll try to keep the written page short and on task.  The day began early with the cleaning and building prep which included extra attention to the floors.  They day is ending in the same manner it began as I get the building ready for tomorrow after teaching the elementary Bible class tonight.

After the cleaning was done, much of the morning was spent with God trying to put tonight’s Bible lesson into a form and level that the elementary students would understand some application from it.  When I needed a break from that topic, I would go through what I believe God wants me to share for a Christmas Day sermon.  As I worked on preparing both of those teaching plans, I was also praying for a number of people I know who are experiencing a first Christmas after the death of a loved one.  As I prayed, God began to form a poem in my mind which I typed out and posted on this blog early this afternoon.  The poem ended up being titled, “I Know”.  Much of its focus is about a God that understands our pain and grief and in the midst of our tears would simply hold us close and say, “I know.”

By early afternoon I headed out for lunch and spent some time wandering through the aisles of WalMart looking for inspiration for some type of activity to help solidify tonight’s lesson into the minds of my students.  This process was always a staple of mine when I had the role of youth and/or children’s minister, but today it seemed that I struck out so I headed back to work empty handed.  The lesson tonight, as we work our way through the Bible, focused on Deborah and her role as a judge in Israel as well as being a conduit for Barak to be able to find the courage to do what God was asking of him.  Since I had it in my office, the students played the game “Trouble” while I taught a lesson about our need to call out to God when we face times of trouble.  We also discussed how important it is to have someone who is fair and just that we can go to with our troubles.  While we like people like Deborah who will judge disputes fairly, God also wants each of us to look to Him for wisdom in helping others resolve their trouble.  He wants us to be encouragers who help others accomplish the work God has created for them to do.  

Today has been an overcast and dreary day which I’m sure contributes to my somewhat dismal mindset.  I didn’t make it anywhere to take pictures and there were no wildlife visitors outside my office window looking to have their photos taken today, so today’s photo is one I took yesterday evening.  It is one of the longest covered bridges I have photographed so far and is still in use with a rather busy road running over it.  While built in 1887, it should be obvious that it is only by regular upkeep, repairs, and maintenance that it continues to be in use today.  In a similar way, our usefulness in accomplishing the work God created for us to do is depend on regular upkeep, repairs, and maintenance in our spiritual life.

I pray that you and I would pay attention to how we feel and know when we have to be especially careful to guard our words.  I pray that we would be involved in listening to God for the purpose of knowing how to instruct others.  I pray that we would be mindful of how others feel as we live and share the good news.  I pray that we would trust a God who knows both what we feel and why we feel the way we do.  I pray that we would be useful instruments in the hands of our Master as we allow Him to do the necessary upkeep, repairs, and maintenance in our lives.

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