2017: Page 88

Page 88 has been a beautiful spring day.  I was once again awake before my alarm went off so I got dressed and headed out into the crisp, cool darkness of the early morning.  The sky was filled with the brilliant dots of star light and the truck was coated with a light layer of frost.  When I arrived at work, I put my hat and coat in my office and noticed movement in the darkness outside my window.  After turning my light off to get my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noticed several deer walking by my window before heading down the trail into the woods.  I didn’t have a camera out, and it was so dark the camera wouldn’t have done much good, but I enjoyed seeing the deer to start my day.

After such a welcome to work, I began my morning prayer time as I went about the cleaning and building prep tasks for the day.  Lately, a big part of my prayer time as I clean each day has been focused on praying about integrity.  I pray that I would live and serve and work with integrity.  I pray that those who lead would do so with complete integrity.  I pray that the children and young people of our churches and society would see vibrant examples of integrity in the lives of the adults around them.  Many times we are quick to complain about a generation that appears to us to have lost a commitment to truth and doing what is right no matter what.  Before we complain too loudly or too long, we may want to take a closer look at the example we have been setting.  We can talk and teach all we want to about honesty, integrity, and commitment, but if we’re not living it our words become nothing more than empty noise.  

Once the building was ready for the day, I took the trash out and took my camera with me to catch a few shots of the sun rising over the glistening frost-covered lawn.  After the cleaning was done, today’s tasks centered around the sermon for Sunday and the prayer guide that I’ll publish on Palm Sunday.  With the sermon that will continue the “Living As the Lord’s Servant” series and a prayer guide focused on obedience, the preparation for both things seemed to work well together.  The prayer guide itself will consider the example of Jesus, “who humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross.”  As this will be the prayer guide that covers the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, this topic of obedience according to the example of Jesus seems quite timely.

By mid-afternoon it was time for a break from the study and writing, so I headed out to pick up some cleaning supplies I needed for work.  While I was out, I came across baby back pork ribs on sale for two dollars a pound so I picked up a package of them and some wood pellets for the pellet grill so I will hopefully have a meal of ribs coming up soon.  After dropping the meat and wood pellets off at home, I stopped by the river to look for the wood ducks and take a few photos before heading back to work.  There were at least ten pair of wood ducks on the river and today’s photo is of one of those pair.  It was fun to watch them as they would ride the current of the river downstream for a ways and then fly back upstream to do it all again without drifting too far away from the area in which they appear to live.  We would do well to develop a similar practice in which we remain centered around an anchor point of Jesus in our life.  After shooting a few photos it was back to work where I made the rounds to make sure the building was ready for the mid-week Bible studies.  As is typical, I am writing this as I wait for the building to clear out so I can then get the cleaning done for tomorrow.  With ribs in the refrigerator waiting to be slow-cooked on the pellet grill, I’m pretty sure I’ll go ahead and work late tonight so the building is ready for tomorrow and I can stay home and do some cooking. 🙂

As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:

  • Sometimes the things we consider unpleasant are actually part of the reason for the things we consider beautiful.
  • Much of what God gives us is meant to be shared with others.  Occasionally He shares a gift with us that is meant simply to encourage us in the moment.
  • When my thoughts and words seem inadequate and jumbled, I am thankful that God understands my heart.
  • Integrity must be lived before it can be taught.
  • Obedience to God should be one of our greatest desires — not because we “have to or else”, but because we love Him so much.
  • When obedience is difficult and painful, we can learn a lot by looking at the example of Jesus.
  • Sometimes when I go about the normal tasks of my day, God surprises me with an opportunity for goodness that I wasn’t expecting.
  • While we have great freedom in Christ, our safety is found in remaining anchored in Him. 

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