Before the entire congregation of Israel, Solomon took a position before the
Altar, spread his hands out before heaven, and prayed,
God, God of Israel, there is no God like you in the skies above or on the earth
below who unswervingly keeps covenant with his servants and relentlessly loves
them as they sincerely live in obedience to your way. You kept your word to David my father, your
personal word. You did exactly what you
promised--every detail. The proof is
before us today!
Keep it up, God, O God of Israel! Continue to keep the promises you made to
David my father when you said, "You'll always have a descendant to
represent my rule on Israel's throne, on the condition that your sons are as
careful to live obediently in my presence as you have."
O God of Israel, let all this happen; confirm and establish it!
Can it be that God will actually move into our neighborhood? Why, the cosmos itself isn't large enough to
give you breathing room, let alone this Temple I've built. Even so, I'm bold to ask: Pay attention to these my prayers, both
intercessory and personal, O God, my God.
Listen to my prayers, energetic and devout, that I'm setting before you
right now. Keep your eyes open to this
Temple night and day, this place of which you said, "My name will be
honored there," and listen to the prayers that I pray at this place.
THINK: What's your immediate reaction to Solomon's
candid prayer to God? Think about the
statements Solomon makes and the things he asks God to do. Are they things you could let yourself ask of
God? Or do they indicate a belief in
qualities of God that you have not encountered or experienced? Which qualities?
a sucker for adverbs; so, immediately, I latched on to the words unswervingly
and relentlessly and sincerely. God
unswervingly keeps covenant with those who sincerely obey him and he loves them
relentlessly. When I read that, I
wonder: "Really? What does that look like?" This time a year ago, I would've asked the
same questions but they would've been asked rhetorically and sarcastically
(see, 2 more adverbs). Now…I just want to see.
We did sincerely obey God in our current situation. If the word of God says that God keeps
unswervingly to the covenant He made and that He relentlessly loves those who
are sincerely obedient, then why are we in this position? What covenant is He keeping when He lets
injustice prevail? Of course, I realize
that this is where the relentless love part comes into play. Because God loves us so relentlessly, He will
not give up on us until we are perfected until the day of Christ Jesus. Everything is working toward that end, to
include this situation we are in. I also
know that the covenant He made, that He is keeping unswervingly, is the one
that says that we will get to be with Him in paradise so long as we are
sincerely obedient to His Way. Other
than that, we are also guaranteed to suffer as Christ suffered because the
world will hate us as it hated (and still hates) Him. And, he's doing a pretty good job of keeping
His end of the bargain on that one too.
the only other promise I know that God has made us, regarding our current
situation He made to my mother and that had to do with taking care of me during
this ordeal. Well…we've been cared for. Immensely!
Even if it hasn't looked like I wanted it to or prayed it would.
PRAY: Read Solomon's prayer again, this time
listening for what stands out to you as representing the lack of belief you
noticed in yourself when you read the passage the first time. Explore your reaction more deeply, paying
attention to what it tells you about yourself.
Maybe you feel that you can bring to God only desires that are
completely selfless, or perhaps you don't trust that he "relentlessly
loves" you. Share with God what you
Heavenly Father, in a day and age when so much love we receive is conditional,
it is often hard to believe that there is anyone out there who would love us
just because. It is even harder to
believe that someone would give their lives in return for what could be
nothing. Your love is easy to doubt
because we just don't see it these days.
Fathers leave. Marriages break
apart. Nothing is permanent
anymore. I know this is not the way you
designed the world to be, but that's how it is and it makes coming to you, in
faith, very difficult. It's much easier
to believe a person we can see loves us because they are there to demonstrate
it visibly and tangibly. So much of your
love for us seems to be based on faith and sometimes we just want
"proof" - and no, because we woke up today is often not proof
enough. Because the sun rose in the east
and set in the west, and there's no real reason why is not proof enough. I realize that means that there are many
things we take for granted, Lord. So
many things. And yet…here we are. And unless Jesus returns in the middle of the
night, I imagine that today is going to go pretty much like every other day in
my life, with or without the bumps and bruises.
With all this, it's hard to feel like, or believe, that you would answer
a prayer that is not completely selfless because we know that we have done
nothing to deserve you answering any of our prayers. It's much easier to have faith in your
answering a prayer that is selfless than it is to believe you will answer a
prayer that only seems to benefit ourselves because you don't want your
children to be self-seeking. So, Lord,
my prayer, tonight, is that you would help us with our insecurities that drive
us to feel like we have to justify everything we ask for that is just for
ourselves. We will have what you give
us, but, as a Father, as a Good Parent, you want your children to also ask for
the things they want, as well as for the things they need. Help us to step out in faith and pray for
those things, trusting that you will hear us and that you want to hear those
prayers. Help us to ask and keep asking;
to seek and keep seeking; and to knock and keep knocking. Lastly, Lord, please, pay attention to our
In Your Son's Precious and Holy Name,
LIVE: Ignatius of Loyola once said,
"Everything that one turns in the direction of God is prayer." No matter what has arisen in you during this
time - irritation, fear, desire, disinterest, lack of trust in God - it can all
be prayer when shared with him; it's all part of your conversation with
God. Notice how Solomon lets his anxiety
and insecurity spill into his prayer to God, and allow yourself to do the same.
Hiram king of Tyre sent ambassadors to Solomon when he heard that he had been
crowned king in David's place. Hiram had
loved David his whole life. Solomon
responded, saying, "You know that David my father was not able to build a
temple in honor of God because of the wars he had to fight on all sides, until
God finally put them down. But now God
has provided peace all around--no one against us, nothing at odds with us.
"Now here is what I want to do:
Build a temple in honor of God, my God, following the promise that God
gave to David my father, namely 'Your son whom I will provide to succeed you as
king, he will build a house in my honor.'"
THINK: Read the passage aloud slowly again,
especially verses 3-5.
Listen for the words or
phrases that stand out to you--perhaps one of these
temple in honor of God"
"wars he had to fight
on all sides, until God finally put them down"
"God has provided peace
all around--no one against us, nothing at odds with us"
"here is what I want to
do…in honor of God, my God, following the promise that God gave"
phrases indicate that David lived an interactive life with God and that Solomon
is attempting to do the same. They also
refer to David and Solomon's dream coming true.
David had wisely let go of his dream of building the temple, while
Solomon was now taking the next step by implementing the dream.
What dreams have you had?
What dreams have you let go
of or picked up?
had several dreams over the years. For
instance, in high school, I wanted to be a test pilot. Then, I realized that it would be impossible
because I had poor eyesight. That was
fine. I gave that dream up. Another dream that I had - when I was in 4th
grade or so - was that, one day, I would marry someone who had a dark
complexion, dark hair, and dark eyes.
That dream came true. I've been
married to that man for going-on-21-years.
Some dreams have come true; others have fallen by the wayside. But, I am of the opinion that there is a
difference between having a dream and just dreaming. But, I also believe that either one can take
the place of God in a person's life and, if that happens, then God has this
uncanny way of making sure you know that if it's a dream from Him, it will
happen in His timing, and if it isn't, it won't happen. Of the dreams I've had (and still have) I
don't know if I can tell you which ones are from God and which ones are
not. I figure, if it's from God, then
it'll happen because nothing can subvert the will of God. If it isn't, it won't happen.
this is why the verse of the 4 passages above that speaks to me is the last
one. I can honestly say that my goals
have not all been so honorable as to only desire to honor God. Some of my dreams have only been about
bringing honor to myself. But, at this
time in my life, I'm learning that if it isn't about God first, it isn't going
to work out. He won't allow it. As for following any specific promise, I've
only felt like I've ever been given one promise (the promise of our third
child), and that one has been fulfilled.
Other than that, I know we are promised Heaven and that God will never
leave us nor forsake us. These days,
that's just about all I feel like I can hold on to without running the risk of
latching onto a false hope and having it dashed on the rocks by a wave of
disappointment. And…I'm learning to be
okay with that.
get me wrong. I still pray and ask for
what I want, but after being told "no" and "wait" so many
times this past 3 years, I'm learning to trust that I'm going to get what God
wants me to have when He wants me to have it or whenever He has adequately
prepared me for it, and it for me. He
has to do it that way because, otherwise, I'd be running headlong after the
gift instead of the Giver.
PRAY: Talk to God about the phrases in the passage
that hint at dreams you have. Ask God to
give you wisdom about whether you need to let go of these dreams or pick them
up. Ask God for vision and power to take
your next step.
Father, you have made each of us with our own special set of appetites and
dreams and desires and wishes. Only you
can deliver unto each of us those things you desire us to have or those things
that we need to help us grow into the people you want us to be in order to
fulfill the purpose for which you designed us. Though it will be painful, strip
away those things that do not conform to Your Will and Your Purpose for our
lives. Help us to see that there is
nothing wrong with mourning the loss of a dream because You created us to be
emotional beings. But, help us, also, to
see that we are led by faith and not by feelings, so we do not have to be
tossed about on waves of indecision and fickle emotions and appetites, and we
can bring our wills into submission to Yours despite how we feel. Grant us an extra measure of grace to accept
on faith those things we cannot yet understand and are not yet ready to
see. Remember that we are just dust and
we are going to fall, and please be patient with us as we are all fallible, but
we are trying.
the person out there tonight who feels like you have turned their back, I pray
for peace. Lord, you did not lead the
Israelites out of Egypt and into the desert to die, but you did it to prove to
them that YOU were all they needed. Help
them to see that it is because You love your people that you lead them into
places where they have to rely on You and You Alone, otherwise we never learn
that You are all we need.
people who feel like you are always saying WAIT and that their dreams are
always being put on hold, I pray that you would strengthen their spirits. They that wait on the Lord will renew their
strength and they will mount up with wings as eagles because Your Word says so
and Your Word does not return to You void.
That means, if you said it, it has as much as happened. But you exist outside of time and space and
sometimes it is hard to be so eternally minded when we live in such a microwave
world. Lord, we believe, only help our
you, Lord, for your LONG-SUFFERING. You
are forever having to be patient with us, and yet, you desire that none should
perish but that all should come to you.
Thank you for not giving up on us when we are ready to throw in the
towel on ourselves. Thank you that we do
not have to live in the past and thank you that tomorrow does not have to be
like today because your mercies are new every morning and you will give us THIS
DAY our daily bread.
Jesus' Name, I pray…….Amen.
LIVE: Relish the peace that God gives, knowing that
dreams don't have to be realized today.
Maybe ponder and pursue your next step.
Put on the idea of readiness and see if it fits.
THE PASSAGE: 2 Samuel 24:13-17, 25 (EXPANDED PASSAGE: 2 SAMUEL 24)
Gad came to deliver the message:
"Do you want three years of famine in the land, or three months of
running from your enemies while they chase you down, or three days of an
epidemic on the country? Think it over
and make up your mind. What shall I tell
the one who sent me?"
David told Gad, "They're all terrible!
But I'd rather be punished by God, whose mercy is great, than fall into
So God let loose an epidemic from morning until suppertime. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand people
died. But when the angel reached out
over Jerusalem to destroy it, God felt the pain of the terror and told the
angel who was spreading death among the people, "Enough's enough! Pull back!"
The angel of God had just reached the
threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
Davie looked up and saw the angel hovering between earth and sky, sword
drawn and about to strike Jerusalem.
David and the elders bowed in prayer and covered themselves with rough
When David saw the angel about to destroy the people, he prayed,
"Please! I'm the one who sinned; I,
the shepherd, did the wrong. But these
sheep, what did they do wrong? Punish me
and my family, not them."…
He built an altar to God there and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace
offerings. God was moved by the prayers
and that was the end of the disaster
READ: Skim the expanded passage. Now read the excerpt three times carefully.
THINK/PRAY: Set the text aside and imaginatively replay
the story, inserting yourself as a character in it. Perhaps you will be one of David's elders, or
What do you think and feel as you
hear God's words of discipline? What do
you experience as you walk through this tension-filled and tragic day? What do you see? Hear?
Smell? What questions do you have
for God? Are you angry? Afraid?
Talk to him.
As the end of the day approaches and
you see God's interaction with the angel, what is that like for you? When God's heart is changed by David's
prayers, what thoughts and feelings bubble up in you? Express them to God.
LIVE: C. S. Lewis wrote, "[Each sinful act
leaves a mark] on that tiny central self which no one sees in this life but
which each of us will have to endure--or enjoy--for ever. One man may be so placed that his anger sheds
the blood of thousands, and another so placed that, however angry he gets, he
will only be laughed at. But the little
mark on the soul may be much the same in both." Are there any "little marks" on
your soul that you haven't talked about with God? Explore recent experiences, reactions,
thoughts, and feelings you've had. What
do they tell you about what's inside your heart? Talk to God about this, and make note of any
action that you feel he is leading you to.
don't really want to do the activity suggested by this week's reading. Furthermore, even if I did do the activity
(or rather, when I do the activity), I don't know that it's necessary I share
with you what my "little marks" are for you to benefit from this
blog. Call it an effort to practice
discretion in whether or not to participate in full disclosure or fear, but I’m
not going to share all my little marks (though, admittedly, I've shared quite a
few already). But, I will share what
has struck me about this passage.
felt their pain. God felt their pain,
and David's prayer for deliverance or mercy was enough for God to stay His hand
(or the angel's hand). I don't mind
saying that hearing that David's prayers for mercy being answered while mine
weren't would've been grounds for me to throw a fit this time a year ago. If God really felt our pain, why didn't he
deliver us from our circumstances? That
would've been my prayer a year ago.
Honestly, that probably would've been my prayer as recently as 6 months
ago, too. Because, you see, when I feel
pain, my first reaction is to recoil.
When I see others feeling pain, I want to rush in and alleviate it, if I
can. I realize that this is not always a
smart move. Sometimes people need to
live in their pain because they need to know what the consequences are. Sometimes people don't have a choice but to
live in their pain because God refuses to move them until His purposes have
there's one thing I've come to believe about suffering. It doesn't matter the cause of the
suffering. It doesn't matter the
delivery method of said suffering.
Anybody who is suffering - everybody who is suffering - has to deal with
God over that suffering. Some press in
and draw closer to Him. Some jerk their
hand out of his and try to take back control of their lives. Others turn their backs on Him. Regardless, we all have to decide where we go
from here (wherever our "here" is when the suffering starts).
you are like me and wondering where God was when you were crying out for your
deliverance from the injustice in the world.
Maybe you just wanted to catch a break just this once because all your
life you've felt like you've always gotten the short end of the stick. Maybe you are just tired of the "bad
guys" always winning while the "good guys" always seem to come
in second. I don't know where you are in
life right now, but I bet there's a good chance that you've wondered how God
let it get where it is. And if your life
is just fine right now, I bet you can remember a time when you felt that
way. But…if you've neither been in
either position, let me tell you - it's coming.
The question is: what are you
going to do with your suffering? Are you
going to let it make you bitter and dried up on the inside? Or…are you going to let it do its
transformative work, making you look more and more like Christ as time goes
by? Will you throw in the towel? Or will you get up, dust yourself off, pick
your gloves back up, and fight for another day?
prayer is that you will fight. His
mercies really are new every morning.
And you only need strength for the day you are on. You can hold on to yesterday's victories and
you can't borrow from tomorrow. You have
to do the best you can with the measure of grace you've been given today.
Heavenly Father, if there is anyone out there right now thinking about quitting
in whatever form that may look like for them (suicide, divorce, back-sliding),
I pray that you would send someone their way to encourage them to hold on just
a little while longer. I pray that you
would intervene supernaturally in such a way that they have no doubt that you
have visited them tonight and they would be strengthened and comforted by the
thought that "this too shall pass."
Show them that you do feel their pain, that you are intimately touched
when they are suffering. Show them that
this was never your plan for your Creation, that you long to be in communion
and relationship with us, and show them that you have made a way for them to
come back into the fold. I pray for
anyone who is reading this who may be hurting and needs comforting. You alone, O Lord, are the Great
Comforter. To who else can we turn when
things have gone wrong. You are the
creator of the universe. You knew us
before we were formed in our mothers' wombs and you know every single hair on
our heads. You alone know exactly what
it is we need when we are hurting. Meet
the needs of those who may be hurting tonight, Dear Lord, as only you can.
pray all these things in Your Son's Precious and Holy Name, the name of Jesus
READ: 2 Samuel
19:1-8 Read the passage aloud
slowly. Absalom had rebelled against his
father, David, and took over Israel. As
David mourns Absalom, the people who defended him and brought him back with
honor are listening.
(1-4) Joab was told that David was
weeping and lamenting over Absalom. The
day's victory turned into a day of mourning as word passed through the army,
"David is grieving over his son."
The army straggled back to the city that day demoralized, dragging their
tails. And the king held his face in his
hands and lamented loudly,
O my son Absalom,
Absalom my dear, dear son!
(5-7) But in private Joab rebuked the
king: " Now you've done it--knocked the wind out of your loyal servants
who have just saved your life, to say nothing of the lives of your sons and
daughters, wives and concubines. What is
this--loving those who hate you and hating those who love you? Your actions give a clear message: officers and soldiers mean nothing to
you. You know that if Absalom were alive
right now, we'd all be dead - would that make you happy? Get hold of yourself; get out there and put
some heart into your servants! I swear
to God that if you don't go to the
they'll desert; not a soldier will be left here by nightfall. And that will be the worst thing that has
(8) So the king came out and took
his place at the city gate. Soon
everyone knew: "Oh, look! The king
has come out to receive us." And
his whole army came and presented itself to the king. But the Israelites had fled the field of
battle and gone home.
THINK: Read the passage aloud slowly again. David did what we often do. He lived in regret. He wanted what he used to have and what he
couldn't now have. As a result, he
undervalued and discouraged the people who had stood by him and helped him.
Who do you identify with more: David or
2. Consider their feelings: David living in regret; the army feeling
ignored and discarded.
3. Consider their next steps: David turning his heart to the people around
him who loved him; the army speaking up and stating their needs to a hurting
I am to be honest, I've spent a lot of time this past year-and-a-half moping
and whining about what I don't have.
I've tried not to send the message that I thought I was the only person
going through this. I know that I am
not. But I am not sure if I have done a
good job of making sure the people who love me know that I know what this has
cost them. I would say it. But then, I would continue with my
complaining and my pity party. People
have been kind. Most people close to me
cannot imagine what it would be like to be in my shoes. And, to be fair, most of them are going
through things I do not want to experience either. But, it's easy to fall into the trap of
thinking that because I am in a somewhat "needy" position, I do not
have resources to meet the needs of others.
Or, even easier than that, to fall into the trap the Enemy would set
that would say that because I am in a needy position, I have the right to
wallow in my pity. Or, to check out of
life because I didn't get my way. To pack
up my toys and go home until God lets me have my way.
PRAY: Pray for yourself and others, especially that
they'll see and implement any possible next steps (for example, moving out of
regret and valuing the people in front of them, or speaking up to someone who
is devaluing others).
Heavenly Father, help us to remember that, every day, we need you. You are Sovereign and nothing can thwart Your
Will being done in the lives of those who are called by You for Your Purposes. When times get hard, and they most certainly
will, help us to rest in the knowledge that all things do work together for the
good of those who love You. And help us
to be patient and steadfast when what is good for us is not comfortable or when
it is downright painful. Show us those
people standing with us whom we may have overlooked or slighted by our
complaining and whining, and show us ways that we can be a blessing to those
who have blessed us in our hard times.
Show us the reserves we have stored up, out of which we can bless
others. Help us not to be stingy with
our gifts (spiritual, physical, emotional, or financial); trusting that you
will take care of those who you have called to be generous. And, help us to be good stewards of those
gifts: not throwing them around aimlessly, but using them the way you would
have us to use them, to bless others and to glorify your name.
Your Son's Precious and Holy Name, the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
LIVE: Let your mind rest in glad appreciation for
those who stand by you. Ask God for
opportunities to bless them. Then in the
dailiness of life, look for those opportunities.
Absalom would say, "Look, you've got a strong case; but the king isn't
going to listen to you." Then he'd
say, "Why doesn't someone make me a judge for this country? Anybody with a case could bring it to me and
I'd settle things fair and square."
Whenever someone would treat him with special honor, he'd shrug it off
and treat him like an equal, making him feel important. Absalom did this to everyone who came to do
business with the king and stole the hearts of everyone in Israel
THINK: "There are point in our lives (more
often than we would like to admit) when we are attempt consciously or
subconsciously to promote ourselves in unhealthy and selfish ways. We puff ourselves up, brag about our
accomplishments, and embellish the truth."
"Absalom, the son of King David,
promotes himself for selfish gain in front of those who came to the city
gate. The text says he "stole the
hearts of everyone in Israel."
"When are you most tempted to
steal the hearts of everyone in_______________?
Think about your most recent Absalom moment. Consider the roots of your temptation and how
you might avoid it in the future."
have to admit that there have been plenty of times when I have wanted to steal
people's hearts by coming off as pleasing or by showing off my work. In fact, I used to get my husband's hand and
lead him through the house when he came from work just to show him what all I
had done for the day so that he could tell me "Good Job." I justified it by telling myself that if I
didn't do that, he probably wouldn't notice.
Now…just so you know, I'm not that far off. However, I heard a sermon several years ago
that left me feeling rather convicted of those activities. This sermon included the scripture that says
that we are supposed to do everything as unto the Lord, and that we should be
storing up treasures for ourselves in Heaven AND that it is better for God to
promote us than it is for us to try to promote ourselves because Our Father who
sees those things done in secret will reward us.
being said, more often than not, I am guilty of fishing for compliments. I have a tendency to downplay what I've done
anyway, but when someone turns around and counters that with a compliment on
how well I've done, it can feed the ego.
There have been times, I won't lie, when I have thrown out those
statements as bait, just hoping someone would bite and I'd get my compliment
"fix". However, there have
been plenty of times when I've thrown out that bait and never gotten a
bite. It's a bad habit that I still
struggle with occasionally, but I am getting used to letting God honor me for
being obedient to him rather than stealing His chance to do so by seeking out
my own form of praise.
PRAY: "Spend time inviting God to remind you
that he loves you just the way you are, that you cannot earn his approval. Welcome God to show you your true identity as
his child, an identity that is defined not by what you do, but by who you are
and to whom you belong."
Heavenly Father, I know you do not make mistakes. Therefore, there is not a single person on
Earth who is not exactly how you intended them to be. Therefore, we all have been designed to
fulfill a unique person. Lord, please
help me and each person reading this to remember that we are fearfully and
wonderfully made and that you knew us before you knitted us together in our
mothers' wombs, and to behave in a manner worthy of our divine calling, rather
than sitting around complaining that we are not like "so-n-so." You love us, and want each of us to know that
and to experience the truth of that love deep down in our hearts and
spirits. Help us to know what that looks
like and to trust it, walking in it daily, without fear of rejection.
LIVE: "Ask a good friend to gently keep you
accountable when you begin to promote yourself in front of others. Be ready to accept your friend's input."
It's back to school
time for me. My first of 3 fall classes
began on Monday: Psychopathology and
Counseling. As one of my required textbooks,
I had to obtain the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
(Fifth Edition). The book is about 2
inches thick and has just about every common diagnosis a counselor or mental
health worker could come across. It's
pretty interesting, but I have to be careful that I don't read it looking for
all the ways my family members and I match up with the descriptions I come
across. This could be hazardous to my
relationships. But even that thought
makes me aware just how easy it could be, potentially, to use a book like this
and begin to see people as a diagnosis rather than as a hurting person. I hope this is not a trap I am going to have
to worry about falling into, but I will certainly pray against it because there
is one thing that my counseling education has always stressed: beware of thinking you cannot or will not
fall into a certain trap because that thing is not your issue. That will be the very place where you have
left yourself unprotected, and you will eventually fall.
A recurring theme
for me seems to be discipline. With the
beginning of class, comes the need to be more disciplined about getting my
school work done, and about watching how many activities I allow to fill my
days. Not only do those activities
affect my school work; they affect my son's homework schedule as well. The bad part about homeschooling can often be
that, without setting solid priorities and sticking to them, it is far too easy
to just go about life (just like in the summer) and put school on hold until
tomorrow. But, as we all know, tomorrow
never comes. For me, having a deadline
of Sunday at 11:59 pm is fantastic because I always make that deadline. However, I find that there are times when I
have spent too much time out having fun and have to do homework on
Sundays. Just like this week. This is going to have to change.
I have been up
entirely too late too many nights in a row since returning from Liberty
University. I am going to have to return
in about 6 weeks. I need to go back to
the schedule I had before I went to my first intensives; otherwise, I'm not
going to be ready to get up and get my day started at 8 a.m. Another bad thing about staying up too
late? I don't actually make up for the
sleep I lost. It doesn't seem to matter
if I go to bed at 10 pm or 2 am. I am
going to be up no later than 7:30 most days.
I do infinitely better on more sleep than less. I know this…and yet, I've still been staying
up too late. This is going to have to
Finally, the kids
and I have not made it to the beach this summer. We live 2 hours away from the Atlantic, or 40
minutes away from the Chesapeake Bay.
Sand, sun, and salt water are beckoning to me. I am going to have to listen. For me, there are not many things more relaxing than the sound of
crashing waves. And sitting there
watching my kids build sand castles, or dig in the sand to watch their holes
fill up with water. Or watching my
daughter, the artist, carve animals out of the sand. Those are just the best.
Father, please help me to be diligent and disciplined this coming week, both
for myself and my health, but also as an example to my children, for it is only
by taking care of myself that I am at my best to take care of my children and
to do the work you have called me to do.
In Your Son's Name I Pray, Amen.
Shuffling and stammering, not looking him in the eye, Mephibosheth said,
"Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?"
David then called in Ziba, Saul's right-hand man, and told him,
"Everything that belonged to Saul and his family, I've handed over to your
master's grandson. You and your sons and
your servants will work his land and bring in the produce, provisions for your
master's grandson. Mephibosheth himself,
your master's grandson, from now on will take all his meals at my
table." Ziba had fifteen sons and
"All that my master the king has ordered his servant," answered Ziba,
"your servant will surely do."
And Mephibosheth ate at David's
table, just like one of the royal family.
Mephibosheth also had a small son named Mica. All who were part of Ziba's household were
now the servants of Mephibosheth.
Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, taking all his meals at the king's table. He was lame in both feet.
you go back to the first part of the chapter you find that this story of
Mephibosheth actually begins with Jonathan.
Jonathan was always a loyal friend to David and David wanted to repay
that loyalty. So, David was looking for
a way to honor his best friend after Saul's death and this is what he chose to
THINK: Pause to become aware of how you relate to
what is unfolding here. Which character
do you identify with, if any? Why?
when I read this, I identified with Mephibosheth. I have been the recipient of much kindness
over the past year and a half, and have found myself saying, many times: "Who am I that you pay attention to a
stray dog like me?" I'm not lame,
like Mephibosheth, but I feel like I've got enough baggage to make anyone
second guess taking on a stray such as myself.
PRAY: Read the story a second time, being aware of
memories, thoughts, or ideas it triggers.
Read it one last time, listening for how the story's message about
honoring others relates to what it in you today. Spend time meditating on what you discover.
reading the story a second time, I found myself thinking, "Well, who could
I honor, in my current situation?"
I don't have much monetarily that I could pass on, but surely this
passage can extend beyond monetary or material blessings.
it's hard to bust out of the habit of always being taken care of and into the
habit of helping others. It can be
equally as hard to be the one being taken care of when you are used to being
the one doing the caring for. I have
found myself in both situations over this past year or so. I prefer to be the one doing the caring
for. Usually. But, sometimes, it's easy to fall into the
trap of thinking you have nothing to give when you are in a situation where God
seems to have taken "everything" from you. What I’m seeing is that, though I don't have
much, I still have myself, my time, compassion, patience, and kindness that I
can give to others. And, often times,
those gifts can be even more valuable than anything monetary.
LIVE: Ask God if there is something he is
specifically inviting you to do based on your reading today. Is there anything standing in your way of
responding? Explore it with God. Talk to him about what holds you back form
following him completely.
I was getting ready for church this morning, I was thinking about this passage,
and more-or-less, asking God to show me what it meant, or if there was someone
that I could honor today. I have to
admit: when I first read this passage, I
had an idea of someone I could honor.
This lady is one that has been hard for me to get to know because, in my
experience, she can be a bit on the clingy side. Today, I had a chance to serve her. And, there was a new family at our church
(they sat right behind me in the church service), who had a child in my Sunday School
class, that I was able to serve and greet.
My goal was to help them feel welcome.
I hope they did. And I hope I
wasn't the only one. But, I was to be
obedient to God's urging, whether He urged anyone else that same direction or
Lord, help me to remember that my situation, my circumstances are never so dire
that I cannot reach out and honor others by choosing to put myself on the back
burner for a while.
20-21) King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed: "Who am
I, My Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought to me this place
in life?...What can I possibly say in the face of all this? You know me, Master God, just as I am. You've done all this not because of who I am
but because of who you are - out of your very heart! - but you've let me in on
"This is what makes you so great, Master God! There is none like you, no God but you,
nothing to compare with what we've heard with our own ears. And who is like your people, like Israel, a
nation unique in the earth, whom God set out to redeem for himself (and became
most famous for it), performing great and fearsome acts, throwing out nations
and their gods left and right as you saved your people from Egypt?...
"And now, Master God, being the God you are, speaking sure words as you
do, and having just said this wonderful thing to me, please, just one more
thing: Bless my family; keep your eye on
them always. You've already as much as
said that you would, Master God! Oh, may
your blessing be on my family permanently!"
THINK: Read the passage even more slowly and
deliberately, considering every word.
Listen for the line that resonates with you and read it again after you
finish the passage. Pause. Consider any of the following issues, letting
God nudge you.
(1) In what ways has God changed you that you
can be grateful for?
(2) What has God
brought you out of?
(3) How has God been
heroic regarding you ("performing great and fearsome acts, throwing out
nations and their gods left and right"?)
(4) What would you
like to ask God for regarding the future?
don't know if I would immediately use the word "changed" so much as I
would use "changing" because I can tell that God is changing me. And not just me, but my husband and kids too. Amazing, isn't it, how being in the middle of
a crisis in which your hands are tied, that you find you have to let God do all
the heavy lifting, while you do all the kneeling and praying?! I also find it personally fascinating how I
can keep falling back into old habits of wanting to take care of everything
myself when I know that God's plan has to be better for me than mine.
has brought me out of many things over the course of my life. And though he has delayed in bringing me out
of my current uncomfortable situation, I know that my deliverance is coming. I don't know when it will be, but I do know
that it is guaranteed, even if that means the Jesus has returned.
have been plenty of great and fearsome acts performed on my behalf over the
course of this ordeal, I am sure, but I don't think that I will ever know -
this side of Heaven - what they all are.
I don't need to see all that God is doing just to know that He has been
working. He is always working. But, when I get to Heaven, I would like to
ask God for the chance to see just how this ordeal we've been going through has
are many things that I would like to ask God for regarding the future, but
aside from releasing my husband so that he can come home to his family, I don't
know where to start. So many things
hinge on his being home that it's hard to even know what to ask for.
PRAY: Pray through the above passage, innovating
and personalizing your prayer according to the questions in the Think section.
LIVE: Give this a try: Consider the line from the passage that
caught your attention and put it into a tune from a song you already know (or
make a tune up, if you wish). Sing that
line and then sit in the quiet. Sing it
again and sit in the quiet. Sing it one
more and sit in the quiet.
don't know how many of you that read this actually do the activities laid out
in this book. But this one would be neat
to do. God inhabits the praises of his
people, so just imagine how much closer to him you could draw if you were
willing to drop your guard, your defenses and worship God the way He deserves.
order to pray effectively, you have to be willing to drop that guard too. It takes guts to ask God for things most
people don't want, or don't think or know they want. You are entering into brand new territory
when you do that (new territory for you, but not to God). So take a chance. Pray the Prayer of Jabez and ask God to bless
you so that you can be a blessing to others.
And then, go be a blessing to people who really need it. Then, be willing to hold up your end of the
a more personal note: The line in this
passage that really stuck out to me was:
done all this not because of who I am but because of who you are - out of your
very heart! - but you've let me in on it."
our ordeal started, I was mad about the accusation that was made against my
husband. We had taken this person into
our home, poured out our hearts and did everything we could to make this
individual welcome and safe. Then, we
were betrayed. My mother suggested that
maybe God was wanting to do a work in this person's life, and all I could think
Did it have to be at our expense?
response to that was: Is He working at
your expense or is He working through you?
response: "Well, it feels like it's
at our expense since we are the ones suffering.
don't know what the other individual was going through at the time. I do have a pretty good guess, but a guess is
all it is, and mostly likely that's all it ever will be. And that's fine.
as our situation goes on, I can't help but wonder what it is God is doing that
He's not ready to let us see yet. I know
He has a plan and that He is working on it even as I write this. My nearly insatiable curiosity prompts me to
ask Him everyday for a glimpse into what He is doing so that I can "really
know" that there is a point behind all of this. Then, my faith reminds me that I don't need
to see what God is doing to know that He is doing something and that it will be
for my good, for my husband's good, for the good of our children, and their
children, and everyone we come into contact with from here on out. But…you know, I still want to know. I still want to see. But…if I did see, I know what I would do. I would try to get my hands all over whatever
it is He is doing. I would try to
rationalize and call it helping, but really it would be trying to exercise some
control over the situation, and likely, in the hope that people would praise me
for what I'd done. I am convinced that
is why God has let most of my grandiose plans fizzle before they ever really
have a chance to get off the ground. He
intends to get ALL the glory for ALL the good that comes out of this situation,
and He wants me to know that and come to terms with it.
THINK: Sometimes pain and suffering are the central
emotions of our hearts. We cannot avoid
pain and suffering, but we can control how we respond to them. David's reaction is to be honest and open
about the pain rather than avoid it or pretend it wasn't there.
What is your response to the
heartbreak? Do you think David's
response is healthy? Why or why not? What thoughts and feelings go through you as
David's honors the evil king in death?
response to heartbreak is to question my worth.
I wonder if God just didn't love me enough to answer my prayer the way I
wanted is answered. Did I do enough? Was I good enough? Did I behave well enough? Those are the thoughts that run through my
head. I've been advised by several
people: "Tell God what 's
wrong. He already knows anyway. He's big enough to take it." That's wonderful advice, but if it doesn't
change the situation, sometimes it feels more like God's not really paying
PRAY: Think of the pain and heartbreak you have
experienced in your lifetime. Maybe that
pain is a current reality. Though doing
so may be difficult, spend time expressing your pain in a lament to God. See him alternatively listening to you and
reaching out to comfort you. What does
it feel like to be comforted?
I do have some current pain. In the
sense of: I do not really want to be in
the middle of the situation I am in. It
is uncomfortable for me and I don't want to mess with this anymore. But God has heard my prayers of lament and
He has shown up and blessed me, just right when I needed it most.
LIVE: Live knowing that God is loving enough to
listen to you and big enough to care for you in your pain.
(7) So David and
Abishai entered the encampment by night, and there he was--Saul, stretched out
asleep at the center of the camp, his speak stuck in the ground hear his head,
with Abner and the troops sound asleep on all sides.
(8) Abishai said,
"This is the moment! God has put
your enemy in your grasp. Let me nail
him to the ground with his spear. One
hit will do it, believe me; I won't need a second!"
(9) But David said
to Abishai, "Don't you dare hurt him!
Who could lay a hand on God's anointed and even think of getting away
(10-11) He went on,
"As God lives, either God will strike him, or his time will come and he'll
die in bed, or he'll fall in battle, but God forbid that I should lay a finger
on God's anointed. Now, grab the spear
at his head and the water jug and let's get out of here."
THINK: Earlier in 1 Samuel, God anointed David to be
the future king of Israel, even though Saul was still on the throne. This man, overcome with cruelty, jealousy,
evil, and insecurity, then repeatedly attempted to take David's life. For many years, David hid from Saul's army.
One night, David and Abishai sneak
into Saul's camp, and there Abishai notices the perfect opportunity to kill
Saul. But David refuses. David is so certain of God's sovereignty that
he refuses to kill Saul.
We all have enemies, big or small,
and desire for them to come to ruin. Yet
ponder the interchange between Saul and David in verses 21-24.
PRAY: Think of the people you consider your
enemies. Pray for them and ask God to
help you honor them, even though doing so may seem impossible.
LIVE: Seek out intentional opportunities to honor
those who dishonor you and to value the lives of those who do not value you.
this time in my life, I believe I am fortunate to be able to say that there is
nobody that I hate. I have had a hard
time dealing with people who have made false accusations against us. I have had a hard time dealing with the
people who did not really defend my husband.
But, I cannot say that I hate them.
I do not wish ill upon them. I do
not hope that Jesus comes back before any of them should become saved (if they
aren't already). I do not even really
wish for a retrial. For as much as I
want vindication, I do not really want it as someone else's expense, even
though they didn't mind getting their false vindication at our expense. But…that has not always been the case in my
life. There have been plenty of times
when I have wanted the person who hurt me to pay for what they did to me. But all that ever did for me was keep me in
bondage to the person who hurt me and to the event that happened. What it did was kept me from living a life of
freedom that God calls His children to live.
wish I could say that everyone I knew was sitting in this same boat with me and
that there weren't people in my life who felt the same way I do, but that would
be foolish. There are plenty of people
who would take up our cause for us, and seek out the people responsible for our
current situation. I know because
they've told us that they are merely waiting for the word "GO." That word, I assure them all, will not come
from us. No good purpose is going to be
served by our seeking revenge. Vengeance
belongs to the Lord. So, regardless of
how badly I've been hurt, I have to believe that God knows what He's doing
better than me, and that He has an ultimate plan for this thing in our
lives. This plan, I am convinced, is one
that will, if at all possible, end up with all possible parties being
reconciled back to Himself. Sometimes
that means He has to bend us. Sometimes
that means He has to break us. Sometimes
he just breaks off a shard and glues it back into place. Sometimes, He throws down the whole jar and
so that He can be the one to put all the pieces back together. BUT, He always puts everything back together
and, when He's done, the piece is stronger than it was before. And I know that, if I try to handle things,
this will not be the base.
don't always understand. In fact, I
think I don't even understand 1/4 of the time.
But, the longer I walk this path, the more I realize that I don't have
to understand it. I don't have to
explain it. I just have to walk it. And keep walking. And keep walking, until He takes me home.
The thing David was saying were picked up and reported to Saul. Saul sent for him.
"Master," said David, "don't give up hope. I'm ready to go and fight this
Saul answered David, "You can't go and fight this Philistine. You're too young and inexperienced--and he's
been at this fighting business since before you were born."
David said, "I've been a shepherd, tending sheep for my father. Whenever a lion or bear came and took a lamb
from the flock, I'd go after it, knock it down, and rescue the lamb. If it turned on me, I'd grab it by the
throat, wring its neck, and kill it.
Lion or bear, it made no difference--I killed it. And I'll do the same to this Philistine pig
who is taunting the troops of God-Alive.
God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the
bear, will deliver me from this Philistine.
Saul said, "Go. And God help you!"
Then Saul outfitted David as a soldier in armor. He put his bronze helmet on his head and
belted his sword on him over the armor.
David tried to walk but he could hardly budge.
David told Saul, "I can't even
move with all this stuff on me. I'm not
used to this." And he took it all
Then David took his shepherd's staff, selected five smooth stones from the
brook, and put them in the pocket of his shepherd's pack, and with his sling in
his hand approached Goliath.
THINK: What one particular event, character, or
feature of the story stands out to you?
Take time to concentrate on that.
Are you drawn to David's courage?
Are you repulsed by Saul's disbelieving "God help you"? Maybe you're surprised when David rejects
Saul's armor. Consider what your own
reaction would be, and then consider how the characters in the story
reacted. As you meditate, allow God to
show you more about yourself, him, and the way life is.
course, David's courage intrigues me.
But to be honest, what stands out to me in this passage is what he tells
Saul. "I've been a shepherd,
tending sheep for my father. Whenever a lion or bear came and took a lamb from
the flock, I'd go after it, knock it down, and rescue the lamb. If it turned on me, I'd grab it by the
throat, wring its neck, and kill it."
Not many weeks ago, our newest Pastor - Mr. Ryan Cox - gave a sermon on
James and referenced the part of David's life he spent as a shepherd. He was "just" a shepherd. So unimportant in the ways of the world that
when Samuel went looking for a man to replace Saul - who had fallen out of
favor with God - David's father, Jesse, didn't even bother to call him from the
field. He was the youngest of 8 and only
tended sheep. But, from this passage, we
can tell that "only tending sheep" had served him pretty well.
times, I overlook what I've been through, thinking that it's "just"
me. If I can do it, then anybody can;
so, what's the big deal. But, I'm coming
to realize that the things I've gone through have prepared me for my life so
far, and they will continue to do so for the rest of my life, if I learn the
lessons available at each stage.
always been surprised that David rejected Saul's armor. Why on earth would anybody do that? But, mostly that reaction stems from the fact
that I have always tried to hedge my bets and make my life as safe as I
possibly can. Why…when you have a
perfectly good set of armor, would you walk out onto a battlefield without it,
to fight a person - a giant - who has slain every soldier that has ever come up
against him. What I'm learning about
God, the longer I walk with Him, is that there is NO ROOM for a Plan B. God's way is the plan. Period.
He is THE WAY. Putting on a suit
of armor in order to satisfy some "just in case" notion is the same
as telling God, "Yes, I know you SAY you've got this, but I think I should
help you out some." What
arrogance! What pride! To think that God has so little control over
a situation He placed us in that He would need us to help Him. And if we needed to help him, would He be a
God worth worshipping? Couldn't we just
find someone strong enough to help us if we couldn't do it ourselves?
PRAY/LIVE: Priest and author Henri Nouwen wrote,
"Make the conscious choice to move the attention of your anxious heart
away from [the] waves and direct it to the One who walks on them and says,
'It's me. Don't be afraid.'…Look at him
and say, 'Lord, have mercy.' Say it
again and again, not anxiously but with confidence that he is very close to you
and will put your soul to rest."
(To read the rest of the story, see John 6:16-21)
What do you feel anxious about, if
anything? What might happen if you
shifted your attention" away from [the] waves" and "to the One
who walks on them"? What concrete
thing could you do to help redirect your attention?
at this point in my life, I feel like I have plenty that I could be anxious
about. Oftentimes, I am, or rather, I
have been. FREQUENTLY. At times, I have given in to the helplessness
that threatens to overtake me, and I have spent the day (or two) whining in my
bed about how much I can't stand the way things have gone for me, for my
husband, and for our children. But…God
has been faithful. We are not just
making it. Given the circumstances, we
are thriving. It's hard to make sense of
it. It's hard to believe the words
coming out of my mouth even as I tell people that we really are fine, that we
are making it. But that's the
truth. God has not left our sides. He has led us through this and we are finally
to a point where none of us feels like this thing is going to define our
lives. Change them? Yes, absolutely. Change us?
How could it not? But, define
Defeat us? Absolutely not. So, when I'm done whining, I remind myself
that I have been through hard times before (none harder than this), and I made
it through, and had plenty of strength and faith to draw off of for later hard
times. I am convinced that this time
will be no different. But, this time, it
won't be because I have gritted my teeth and just endured. It will be because I have put my faith in the
One who has been leading us through this ordeal and who will continue to see us
through to the end.
(1, 3) When Samuel
got to be an old man, he set his sons up as judges in Israel…. But his sons
didn't take after him; they were out for what they could get up for themselves,
taking bribes, corrupting justice.
(4-5) Fed up, all
the elders of Israel got together and confronted Samuel at Ramah. They presented their case: "Look, you're an old man, and your sons
aren't following in your footsteps.
Here's what we want you to do:
Appoint a king to rule us, just like everybody else."
(6)When Samuel heard
their demand--"Give us a king to rule!"--he was crushed. How awful!
Samuel prayed to God.
(7, 9) God answered
Samuel, "Go ahead and do what they're asking. They are not rejecting you. They've rejected me as their King….So let
them have their own way. But warn them
of what they're in for. Tell them the
way kings operate, just what they're likely to get from a king."
(10) So Samuel told
them, delivered God's warning to the people who were asking him to give them a
(19-20) But the
people wouldn’t listen to Samuel.
"No!" they said.
"We will have a king to rule us!
Then we'll be just like all the other nations. Out king will rule us and lead us and fight
(21-22) Samuel took
in what they said and rehearsed it with God.
God told Samuel, "Do what they say.
Make them a king."
Samuel dismissed the men of Israel:
"Go home, each of you to your own city."
THINK: The Israelites wanted God, but they were
afraid they'd miss out if they didn't have a king like the other nations. They wanted to fit in with the other nations
by having a king lead them and fight their battles for them. Read the passage again, this time deeply
feeling the determination of the Israelites and the disappointment of Samuel.
Who do you resemble most? (a) Samuel -
being confronted by people asking him to make changes he believes are wrong, or
(b) the Israelites - wanting him to be like others?
If you chose a, converse with God about this as Samuel did: What would you like to say to God regarding
these demands? If b, how would you
finish this sentence: I want to be like
____________. If you continue wanting to
be like a certain person, how might it cheat you out of what God wants for you?
What would your life look if you trusted God to give you what you need,
regardless of how odd that may seem when compared to other people's lives?
I have wanted to be more like Samuel but, in practice, I have behaved more like
the Israelites. Many times, I've said that I wanted to be distinct, to have the
kind of faith life that screams "I trust God more than I care what others
think." But the reality is: as soon
as it starts to look like my life be heading in an unfamiliar direction, I get
a little scared when my life starts to take a trajectory that I can't figure
out, or if I can't make sense of it for myself or others. I have wanted a life that I was different,
but I've also wanted to be able to understand it AND explain it to others. The longer I live, the more I am being shown
that those two things are rarely going to coincide! I am trying to be okay with that!
don't know what my life would look like if it were someone else's. I don't know what I'd be cheating myself out
of either. The problem is: I can be a
little short-sighted when it comes to things like that. I have a hard time being eternally
minded. I make plans for eternity,
certainly. However, I can't imagine what
I would be missing out on. That being
said, I know that there are many things in my life that I would be missing had
my life gone the way that I thought I wanted it to when I was younger, before I
realized that sometimes it can be painful to follow God (like when you pray and
pray for something and the answer is "no").
for what my life would look like if I trusted God to give me what I need: well, pretty much like it does now. I've been put in the position of not being
able to do anything about the position I'm in.
We were obedient to God, and it got us into a position that is unlike
anything I've ever been in before, and the only thing I have to operate on is
faith. The only other alternative is to
take matters into my own hands and grab back control of my life from God. But I've gone too far down this road of
faith. I know where it leads,
eventually. I know that this is the only
path of true reward. So uncomfortable or
not, I'm gonna keep walking this path. I
will come out on the other side. I know
that God did not lead my into the desert to let me die out here. He just doesn't do that!
PRAY: Be honest with God about any frustration of
wanting to be like others or frustration with those who do. Ask God to show you the advantages of
trusting him more with these things.
Heavenly Father, I know you hear the prayers of those who pray to you believing
that you are God. I know that I was
praying to that same God when I asked you to spare me from the spot I'm in now. And I know that you heard me, even though you
did not grant my request. I also know
that you are faithful to deliver those who love you and are obedient to you. Help me to remember this when I am tempted to
complain that my life doesn't look like what I thought it would, or like
everyone else's. You have chosen this
path for me, and me for this path. Help
me to walk it with grace and dignity and integrity, trusting you for every
step, every decision. Help me to
remember that anxiety and worry and confusion are tools used by Satan to try to
derail me from this path, to entice me to step away from your will and pursue
my own path, my own way, my own will. I
pray that when I am feeling anxious, I would remember that you did not put that
feeling there, that you did not lead me this far to leave me to figure the rest
of it out myself. Help me to remember
when I am worried that you are not taken by surprise by anything that I am
confronting or am about to. When I am
confused and striving to figure things out for myself, help me to remember that
you are not a God of confusion, but of perfect order, and that all things work
together for the good of those that love you and are called according to Your
Will. And help me to remember that, even
though it is painful, I am smack dab in the middle of Your Will because I was
obedient, and the only way to get through this is to continue being obedient.
LIVE: While you sit in a quiet place, practice
feeling okay being different from other people.
If you can, view that difference as special or chosen. Relax with a sense of God's hand on you.
I fell behind in my
work on the devotional, which had me feeling rather guilty. But just guilty. I know I could've picked it up and just kept
going, but I wanted to keep a system.
Sometimes, being so particular gets in the way of being obedient. I need to learn to overcome. As I tell my friend, Cristina, "there's
ideal, and then, there's what you've got."
Of course, ideally, I would've just stayed in my room and worked on my
devotional before I started my day. When
the week started, I could've caught up.
But playing catch up usually leads to feelings of condemnation or it
makes me rush through what I'm doing and I don't really get much out of the
time I spend. Besides, God deserves
better from me than just my obligatory "gotta get this done"
Then, there's the
news of Robin Williams' suicide. I
didn't know the man but, like many people, I grew up watching his stuff and
having his comedy reach into my home.
But suicide is one of those things that just breaks my heart. When I was in the. Navy,we had GMTs (general
military training) every month. One of
the first ones I ever conducted was on suicide prevention. My life has been largely untouched by
suicide, though I do know someone who attempted to take her life once. It was definitely a cry for help. And shortly thereafter, she started getting
help. She had all kinds of demon as to
deal with and, hopefully, she is still dealing with getting those demons under
But what about
Robin? I don't know. I have watched the news. I've read the statement his wife put
out. But those words don't sum up the
man. How could they? They aren't his. Working on my Master's in Christian
Counseling, I would love to have had the chance to talk with him and see what
he was dealing with and how he was dealing with it. But mostly, I would've loved the chance just
to get to know him and let him tell me his story in such a way that he KNEW he
had been heard and really understood.
Did he have that? Was there
anybody who was there for him in that capacity?
I sincerely pray there was. And I
sincerely pray he had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
But today is
supposed to be my time for reflecting on this week. So, what does the suicide of a man I've never
met and likely never would've, have to do,with me? Well, folks, we are all connected. Apathy on the part of one affects the
whole. We've all heard the catch phrase
"Random Acts of Kindness." This
week, I had a chance to do something I do everyday. Not really so random. However, the response I got shocked me. A young man waiting on me at local.pizza
place asked me how I was doing. I
answered, with a smile, and asked him the same question in return. I do this all the time. But, this guy was surprised that I was
returning his kindness. It made me
wonder if I was the first or only person all day to return that kindness. Why is that?
What has happened to common courtesy?
Or manners? Or etiquette? Why should people be surprised when some one
holds a door for them? Or returns a
smile or a kind word? What have we
become that we are so self-centered or self-absorbed or busy or jaded to be
polite? To be kind? To smile?
challenge! To borrow from one of Robin
Williams' movies, Patch Adams, find someone you see everyday, someone who maybe
seems to be having a hard time of things, and smile at them. Every time you see them. Whether you get the smile back or not. See what happens!
have been told by people who did not
commit suicide be cause, they said, someone was nice to them the day
they were contemplating committing suicide.
Because someone asked them how they were. Because someone smiled at them. You never know if you might be the difference
in that person's life that day!
How about this: spend the entire week just doing unto others
as you would have them do unto you. See
how it works. See how you feel after a