Page 205 found me awake early and staying up late as I’m trying to keep up with the conference schedule. After breakfast and a few early morning conversations, I had nothing scheduled for the morning so I returned to the dorm and settled into my usual Monday morning routine — writing the prayer guide for next week. My first thought was to do something related to responding to God’s calling. It was an interesting thought for a reason I’ll get to later, but it didn’t seem to want to come together so I turned back to God in prayer. As I prayed about the topic God would have me write, the idea of living with peace came to mind. After checking, I found that I have done a prayer guide focused on peace three years ago but rather than even looking at it, I started fresh with a look at some scriptures that talk about the peace we ought to live with as God’s children.
By the time I had the prayer guide written, the morning was nearly gone and it was time for lunch. I was supposed to meet an individual for lunch to discuss some prayer topics but it wasn’t until we were wrapping up the meeting that I found out he will be the conference president next year. As we shared about prayer needs each of us have, one of my requests was about the writing that I do as I don’t currently have anything in the works once the illustrated children’s book gets printed. I questioned out loud whether the conference would be interested in my writing another devotional journal for next year and what direction it would head if I did. The response was not only very positive in wanting me to continue partnering with the conference and providing the prayer-based resource, but that is when I found out he was going to be the next president and the main theme for next year will be something about living out our sacred calling no matter what that calling is. It seems that each year in which I have provided a devotional journal for the conference, I began the prayer foundation for the book before I even knew what the conference theme would be and if the current project would complement the program. While this one has had the least amount of work put into it by me prior to knowing the next theme, it is still fascinating to me that my first prayer guide thought this morning was about responding to God’s calling in our life.
After lunch, the afternoon was a huge block of free time in the schedule, so I used it to do some follow-up work on the illustrated children’s book that I’m still having difficulty getting printed. I had finally received an answer that I think I understood from the printing company explaining why they wouldn’t print the book. I forwarded that response to the illustrator for the book and she was able to address those concerns and get a new file to me. The initial automatic review was good and now the book sets in limbo waiting for an actual review from the printing company to make sure it all meets the necessary requirements to be printed.
Once all the files were submitted and I was back in the waiting process, I headed out to do some exploring to finish out the afternoon. I tracked down a covered bridge in the area to take some photos and then went to a couple different parks to see what I could photograph. As I walked a trail in one of the parks, today’s photo scene caught my eye. Two spider webs were strung up between some trees and the sunlight was being filtered through the treetop canopy and onto the webs. While they each have some holes in them, it was the intricate nature of their design that caught my eye. And once they caught my eye, I couldn’t help but think of the old rhyming saying, “O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” One of the reasons that a life of integrity is so important is that any deceptive practice that we participate in has a way of eventually entangling and entrapping us.
After the late afternoon exploring adventure, it was back to the dorm to clean up and get ready for the evening conference session which was a concert of prayer. The prayer time was organized and led well and was even followed by ice cream! After the ice cream break, a Christian comedian finished out the late night programming. It was late enough that I only stayed for about half of his routine before coming back to the dorm so I could write today’s page and get some sleep before another long day tomorrow.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Flexibility is important, but it is nice when the day’s schedule allows me to maintain a somewhat normal routine.
- When you devote yourself to prayer, you should pray with an expectation of listening to God.
- Even when I listen intently to God, I don’t always know His full purpose for what I am hearing.
- Sometimes my prayer time gives me direction for right now and sometimes it is just planting seeds for future activity or response.
- Pursuing God as we ought, should result in a greater peace than those who are not pursuing God.
- Sometimes God has more to say to us in the “by the way” comments than in the entire rest of the conversation if we continue listening all the way to the end.
- Some things have a timing that is well outside of our control and we need to learn to trust the One who does control the timing of it.
- While it may not look or sound like that big of a deal, practicing deception will not only entangle us it will never go unnoticed by God.