Page 198 began with the writing of page 197 before I turned my attention to the prayer guide for next week. As I settled in with God to work on the prayer guide, a number of topics came to mind but most of them seemed to be more from my mind than from my prayer time. Sometimes our mind gives us such a good idea, at least to us, that we can easily short-circuit the listening to God and just go with what we think. Most of the time that gets me into trouble, so I’ve learned to let my “great ideas” pass and wait on God’s Spirit to fill me with a peace that surpasses all understanding. Eventually, as I spent time in prayer and scripture, the idea of living with courage kept coming up in my mind and in my reading.
Throughout scripture God calls His people to live with courage. For a guy that struggles with anxiety issues and fear-based panic attacks, courage can be a rather elusive commodity. Yet from the repeated command to Joshua to “be strong and courageous” to the words of Jesus, “Take courage! It is I.”, spoken to a boat full of frightened disciples, God calls for those who would follow Him to do so with courage. As I worked on the daily points of the prayer guide, God drew me into many reminders from His Word of not only our need to have courage, but of His willingness to supply it as we surrender fully to Him.
By the time the prayer guide was written and I had formatted and scheduled it for publication, it was time for lunch. Lunch today turned into an extended time of ministry conversation about work being done around the world and about the prayer ministry God does through me. It was one of those times that the company I was with made it a great time and a great meal regardless of how the food was. 🙂 The conversation was filled with good reminders of some of what God has done and what He is doing — as well as some potential glimpses into what He will do.
After lunch it was back to work to finish up some things I had begun earlier in the day. I had plans to spend the evening with my family so I worked with one eye on the clock. As afternoon slipped away, I wrapped up my work projects for today and headed home. At home, I took short time to rest and relax before we headed to Argos to go to the Marshall County 4-H fair. A big reason in going tonight, was not only to see family members and some of the work they’ve done in 4-H, but there was a hot air balloon launch scheduled that we wanted to photograph. It was beautiful to watch them lay out the balloons and fill them with air before taking off into the clear blue sky. Today’s photo is of the two balloons as they rose into the air. While essentially the same size, the further they were lifted away from me, the smaller they appeared. One had launched shortly before the other which gives it the appearance of being smaller in the photo. It reminded me that my troubles and cares are a lot like that. The more I release them into the heavens — to God through prayer — they become lighter and are lifted from me until they no longer seem to be as large as they once were.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Even when I don’t get to it until the next day, writing out the day’s “page” helps to remind me of God’s work and presence in my life.
- There are a lot of reasons that ideas come into my mind. Not all of them are good reasons.
- Not all ideas that sound good to me are ideas that sound good to God.
- Taking the time to listen isn’t always easy but the results make not taking the time to listen unacceptable.
- Sharing stories of how God has and is working in lives is a refreshing thing.
- I’ve not always valued the opportunities to see and spend time with family as much as I should. God continues to teach me to be better about that.
- Objects of worry often appear closer, and larger, than what they really are.
- The more I allow prayer to fill the cares and concerns that exist in my mind, the more they are lifted from me and begin to shrink in size.