Coming up here on the holiday season. With it comes a lot of together time… and stress… and hustle and bustle…
In all this, I have to ask myself what my mouth is doing? Is it being helpful or hurtful?
Am I looking positively at all our gatherings? Overall, yes. Will I enjoy every single moment with every person I interact with? Ummm…….
In that train of thought, I came across this in my Daily Study Bible in Proverbs.
Proverbs 11:99With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.
See the translation into daily speak: Every person you meet today is either a demolition site or a construction opportunity. Your words will make a difference. Will they be weapons for destruction or tools for construction?
I get up about 30 minutes before everyone else, minus the cat, to enjoy quiet time. This morning it was an hour earlier.
As it is the Christmas season, we have our tree up and decorated. I decided to use it for light to read my devotions and a chapter of Isaiah in my Bible.
I lit the fire. Snuggled down in the couch with my blanket, drink and Bible.
I read. I pray. I work to get my heart and soul headed in the right direction before my head starts making plans and going over the schedule.
This time is important for the well-being of everyone under this roof.
But today, I had a talkative 7yr old try to join me. Try is the optimum word.
After 10 minutes of him trying to make small talk, I firmly laid it out that this is mom’s quiet time and there is NO talking. There is also no drum playing on the kitchen counter or finger snapping… or wait, why in the world are you up right now kid?
I’m not going to discuss the wind blowing and making noise. Don’t glare at me when I tell you I can’t talk right now. I did invite him to sit and read quietly if he was interested in doing so.
Now he’s singing in the kitchen and making himself breakfast. I love my morning boy. This morning’s early hour of quiet time has passed and the rush and hum of our morning routine has begun.
Our pastor says every Sunday: God fed – Spirit led.
I like it. It sticks with me.
Another quick phrase that stays in my mind: God is God and God is Good. Always.
I’ve been making the effort to get out of bed before everyone else in the morning. Tiptoeing down the bedroom hall, I go to the kitchen and make my morning beverage. About a minute after that, I sneak down to the basement to sit with my study Bible in my robe with a lamp on. No TV. No phone. No overhead lights. Yes cozy blanket.
It’s been mentioned before that I don’t have time in my schedule to attend a regular group study. This is not my life season for that. Instead, my goal is to get those 20-30 minutes of devotion at least 5 days a week.
I finished reading thru the book of James about a week ago. Picking a passage, I read thru it all once. Then, verse by verse, reading the commentary and being mindful about what it says, I study it. I try to apply it to what is going on around me. Who can I pray for? What does this make me feel? What does this make me think? Am I convicted or uplifted by this passage? What is the application of this for me and others?
James is full of practical application. He says it in black and white. It wasn’t like the passage from Isaiah I read for my scripture at church: Isaiah 28:23-28. (The commentary was necessary for me to get the point of this one – each of us is God-created and unique. We each require something different and should pay attention to the special needs of those around us.)
I started on the book of Psalms at the end of last week. Psalms 7 and 8 were my focus this morning. Psalm 7 focuses on praying for those who wrong you instead of taking revenge. It felt sorrowful and heart-clutching. How often do you immediately pray for those who lie, steal, back-stab, or hurt you or your children instead of lashing back? Ouch. Touché. Message received.
Psalm 8 is one of joy. I often marvel at how God loves us even at our worst. I struggle to love myself during hard times! Why create such insidious creatures as humans? Because He knows how beautiful (heart, soul, kindness, love, compassion) we can truly be. He has placed His beloved children above the angels.
He put the world in our care! Man, we’ve mucked that up too… Let’s try to step it up in that department, shall we? Take the time to show a neighbor or a child the beauty of nature. Listen for the birds and wind. Appreciate the open sky and voluminous clouds. Conserve water. Recycle. Don’t be wasteful. Treat all creatures with respect – every living thing has a purpose.
Speaking of children, my young crew at children’s church – although confused about many things 🙂 – have faith. Faith that the sun will rise. Faith that birds will fly. Faith that God loves them. They don’t question it. It takes faith to accept that God will take care of the things that are beyond our humble realm of knowledge.
Before anyone writes me off as simple-minded, lacking in scientific knowledge, or thinks that I live in a religious bubble, please recognize this: Understanding the mechanics of the world and having faith are NOT mutually exclusive. Tough concept in our current cultural atmosphere. When you accept how borderless God is, it is amazing how everything else finds a place within that lack of borders.