Bring some Spirit-filled peace into your hectic schedule every weekday morning with this new Daily Devotional.
- Start your day with God
- Renew your spirit
- Refocus your faith
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'But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.'
I’ve noted that ageing can be accompanied by increasing anxiety. This seems so sad. After living a long and productive life, the last thing I’d want an elder within our society to experience is anxiety. Surely this is a time to reflect, smile and simply enjoy life, physical constraints acknowledged. My mum really does ‘sweat the small stuff’. My encouragements are swept away with an irritable wave of her hand, while her frown indicates her conclusion that I don’t understand.
'You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.'
Ageing has its benefits. While I don’t like the aches and pains, or the physical challenges around the garden that some years ago I’d have taken in my stride, I do enjoy the ability to see life in context. Where once I was a blind slave to consumerism, feeding and serving my acquisitive nature, with the benefit of age I have found freedom to live without, in contrast to living wanting.
'Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.'
In the last ‘Be Still & Know’ I wrote of perspective; the way we perceive and subsequently engage in life. Much of that is a product of who we are, and each of us is different. For years I showed up in my evangelical charismatic church as an outgoing, socially interactive people-lover. However, I am by nature an introvert who draws strength from my own company more than from the company of others. So for years I was worshipping in the wrong context, where my behaviour was an act; one that was honest and lived out with integrity, but not truly the person I was created to be. Discovering who we are is essential in making progress in the way of God.
We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the LORD has done for them.”
When locked into challenging circumstances, it can prove hard to imagine anything other than the continuation of the daily grind, with its relentless wear and tear on our resources, emotions, psyche and health. In such moments we look to a fresh revelation of God, reviving hope. In the heat of the storm in caring for Katey, observing her steady deterioration, I would return to a photograph of us in happier times. This was not to escape reality, but to remind me of the person Katey truly was despite her wasting away before my eyes. It also refreshed my memory as to who I truly was, even as I thrashed about in the stormy waters that sought to consume us.
And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me.”
Laughter, we’re told, is the best medicine. Psychologists say laughter reduces pain, increases job performance, connects people emotionally, and improves the flow of oxygen to the heart and brain. So it’s comedy films for me! As a child I laughed a lot. My parents used to come into my bedroom because I laughed in my sleep, something Jayne tells me I still do. Certainly laughter lightens the mood and relaxes body and mind.
'You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you!'
There is an ocean of difference between saying, “You are God” and declaring, “You are my God.” Accepting and describing the attributes of God is most certainly to declare truths about him. Yet, the wonder of the incarnation is to be invited to discover that this indescribable, unknowable creator God of all is, in fact, my God. I think I partially understood that at my first introduction to him, but it took time to separate my needing to own him as my personal miracle-maker, from resting in the majesty of God.
'The LORD is God, shining upon us.'
God has given us light, so that no matter where we find ourselves, we have an ability to find our way both to God and through life. Light is the agent that makes things visible and stimulates sight. If we have eyes that see, wonderful things will come into sight. So I ask myself each day, what do I see?
'This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.'
I love the early morning. I light a candle, pray for God to light my path into this day, and take some moments in prayer and reflection. Everything seems fresh, the day is bursting with opportunity. I have drawn a line on my bad behaviours and disappointments of the day past, while before me is a fresh canvas. I step into the day filled with hope.
'My enemies did their best to kill me, but the LORD rescued me.'
When Katey lost the use of her legs due to the MS, I set about decorating a room downstairs to be our bedroom. It was a small extension someone had added, with patio doors into the garden. I prepared all the existing paintwork, applied fresh, bright colours, and finally stood on my ladder admiring my efforts. Sadly in my excitement I forgot where I was, stepped back, and fell. Now everything moved into slow motion. In attempting to regain my equilibrium, I grabbed at the ladder which now joined me in my journey to the floor. I stuck out a foot that landed in a paint tray and my other foot landed in a bucket of wallpaper paste that exploded to decorate the walls. The noise had brought a small audience of helpers to witness my humiliation in a heap on the floor, and all I could do was lay there and laugh.