2017: Page 113

Page 113 began with the writing of page 112.  Some days it feels as if I don’t write the lessons from that day down before I go to sleep, I will never remember them.  Yet other days my mind is so tired that nothing makes sense until I get some sleep and do the writing the next morning.  For a person who thrives on routine and schedule, learning to be flexible in when the actual writing takes place has been an interesting lesson in itself.  I keep thinking I need to decide when I’m going to do the writing and just about the time I make up my mind one way, it becomes easier to do it the other.  I know that for some of you, that doesn’t sound like a big deal.  For me, it is a bigger deal than it probably should be. 🙂

Once yesterday’s page was written, we headed to the church building for Sunday School class and the morning worship gathering.  The class I attend began a study of 2 Thessalonians today and we began by considering the reputation the Thessalonians had because of their abundant and growing love for one another.  We concluded our class time this morning by beginning to look at the warnings Paul gave concerning those who would attempt to deceive them in an effort to lead them away from Christ.  While there are passages of scripture that would tend to make one believe there is a Antichrist that will appear at the end of times, there are also many warnings of those who live as an antichrist throughout all generations.  These antichrists are dangerous because they often come with an appealing message that, while having an appearance of good, is rotten to the core.

Our morning worship gathering included a message by CJ from Daniel 9.  In the message, CJ looked at the prayer life of Daniel and how that led him to seek God in the midst of desperate times.  Daniel had plenty of desperate times as an individual, but he also lived at a time when the Jewish people faced desperate times as a nation.  Their holy city, Jerusalem, had been destroyed and many of the Jewish people, including Daniel, had been taken captive to serve in Babylon.  God had called His people to repentance for years yet they continually ignored Him.  Eventually God’s discipline involved sending in the Babylonians to rule over the people for a period of time.  Daniel understood through reading the writings of Jeremiah that the time span of captivity was set by God to be seventy years and that time would soon be up.  There was a desperation not only in the circumstances of captivity, but in the need for the people of Israel to repent and turn back to God.

Daniel’s prayer life was built on the foundation of a relationship with God.  His practice of prayer included sacrifice, humility, and a recognition of who he was compared to who God is.  Daniel knew through experience and through a knowledge of God’s love for him, that God would always respond if he did not delay his prayers to Him.  It is important to note that there is a difference between praying in desperate times and prayers of desperation.  When prayer becomes a lifestyle, prayer even in desperate times is not an act of desperation, but an act of hope

The rest of the day has been spent relaxing so today’s photo is one I took yesterday on my way home from the convention.  The setting sun reminds me of God’s presence and warmth.  He lights up the evening sky with His beauty to end the day and again to begin the new one.  Even when we can’t see it because of cloud cover, the beauty still exists and is just waiting for the veil of clouds to be pushed back for the beauty to be seen.  Sometimes, as in the case of the Israelites of Daniel’s day, the cloud cover is of our own making and is torn asunder by our turning back to God in repentance.  

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

  • We can often be more productive if we work smarter rather than harder.
  • What works well in one place and time may not be the right approach for a different place and time.
  • A church congregation will rise and fall based not only on the love we have for God, but also on the love we have for one another.
  • It is important to always be on guard as many who are against Christ will try to deceive and offer a cheap imitation.
  • Your practice of prayer, or lack of it, during good times will be reflected in how you respond to bad times.
  • Prayer should always be the first option for everything so that even in times of desperation, our prayers are not an act of desperation but rather an act of faith. 
  • God’s beauty and presence is always nearby.  When it seems less visible, we need only seek Him in repentance for His light to be rekindled in our life.

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