Page 135 was a Monday so it was back to the weekday routine. As I walked out of the house to head to work, the moon was hung above me in a blanket of stars as they all illuminated the night. With a camera that can zoom in and capture some of the details and texture of the moon, I find myself more fascinated with it than ever before. I suppose it also helps that a clearly visible moon is a good sign that the sky will be clear for outside work during the day.
As I went through the building in the quietness of a Monday morning, I was reminded of God’s presence and the stillness it can bring. While God has made it clear that He does not dwell in a temple made with human hands but in the temple of His creation, there are places where God’s presence within me seems more noticeable. For me, an empty church building has always been one of those places. As I cleaned, I remembered a country cemetery near where I grew up which had a small chapel building that in those days was always open. Periodically, when I had the time to get away, I would ride my bicycle several miles so I could just sit in the chapel and acknowledge God’s presence in me. Probably an unusual practice for a pre-teen boy, but I’ve rarely been accused of being normal. 🙂
Once the building was ready for the day, I turned my attention to what would become my task for most of the day — writing. I began by writing the page from the day before as it seems I keep finding myself finishing the day too tired to write out the day’s page — thus Monday’s page is being written early Tuesday morning as well. After the previous day’s page was written, I turned my attention to the prayer guide for next week as well as starting to outline one for the following week as I work ahead for an upcoming family vacation. As I spent time with God, I ended up reworking a previously written prayer guide for next week. The focus will be on praying about the missions ministry of the church. While the local prayer guide will list the specific missions that the Deer Run congregation helps to support, the published prayer guide will have people praying about the same things for the missions they help support and/or for missions work in general. Most of the days will focus on things that Paul asked people to pray about for him as he would go about sharing the good news of Jesus — things like effectiveness, boldness, and wisdom rather than safety and prosperity.
By mid-afternoon my workday had been filled with a good variety of tasks and it was time to get some lunch and head home. After relaxing for a short while, I mowed the lawn and then worked at tilling the garden area so it can eventually be planted. It is amazing how quickly a time of inattention to the ground can cause it to become hardened and difficult to work with. My first pass through the garden with the rototiller was doing little but scratching the surface, the ground was just so hard. I ended up going over the entire thing about six times and with each passing round, the soil became softer and less difficult to till through. It was almost as if the ground had never been worked before, yet I know that ‘s not the case. Just last fall the ground was as soft as could be following a growing season that produced a great crop as the ground was cultivated throughout the summer. It’s that regular cultivation and working of the soil that keeps it soft and receptive to the nourishing rain. Without regular attention, it is not long before the surface crusts over and soon the hardness settles in deep. If you think about it, that is pretty similar to our spiritual life. We need to cultivate our spirit with the tools of prayer and God’s Word on a regular basis to keep it soft and able to bear much fruit. Neglecting the soil of our soul only leads to a hardness which eventually creates more work or even ends the ability to grow.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Observing is important. Knowing what your observation means is wisdom.
- How bright are you? I’m not asking about your intelligence, but rather how well do you reflect the light of Jesus?
- While God’s presence dwells within the heart and soul of each believer, there are places that can help us be more aware of His surrounding presence.
- Sometimes being still in the presence of God requires effort on my part and sometimes I just find myself surrounded by His presence in a way that requires stillness.
- Every believer in Christ is called to be a missionary — a sharer of the good news of Jesus.
- We partner with those called to a life work of sharing the gospel through both our giving and our prayers.
- Prayers that are powerful and effective for others are prayers that are centered on what God desires.
- Hardening of the heart can take place in a much shorter time than most people imagine.
- Cultivating your spiritual life on a regular basis can keep your heart from becoming hard.
- A hardened heart isn’t impossible to restore, it just takes a lot of time and work by both us and God.