Archive for December, 2013

Read: Psalms 40:1-5

journaling

Not long ago, I passed a milestone marking 20 years since I began keeping a spiritual journal.  As I re-read my first few entries, I was amazed I ever kept it up. But now you couldn’t pay me to stop!

Here are some benefits I have received from journaling: From life experiences, I see that progress and failure are both part of the journey.  I’m reminded of God’s grace when I read how He helped me to find a solution to a major problem.  I gain insight from the past struggles that help with issues I am currently facing.  And, most important, journaling shows me how God has been faithfully working in my life.

Many of the psalms are like a spiritual journal.  They often record how God has helped in times of testing.  In Psalm 40, David writes: “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps” (vv.1-2).  Later, David needed only to read that psalm to be reminded of God’s faithful deliverance.

Journaling may be useful to you too.  It can help you see more clearly what God is teaching you on life’s journey and cause you to reflect on God’s faithfulness. – Dennis Fisher

For Further Thought

To begin a journal: Record your struggles, reflect on a verse that is especially comforting or challenging, or write a prayer of thankfulness for God’s faithfulness.

Reflecting on God’s faithfulness in the past brings hope for the future.

[Source: Our Daily Bread, 31 December 2013]

 

Read: Galatians 6:1-10

choices

In the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England, the devastation of generations of enslaved men, women, and children is remembered.  The price innocent people have paid for the greed of others is horrific-but theirs is not the only cost.  Engraved in a wall of the museum is a profound observation made by Frederick Douglass, former slave and crusader for human rights, which reads, “No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.”

In the act of dehumanizing others, we dehumanize ourselves.  The apostle Paul put it another way when he wrote, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Paul’s words form a stark reminder to us that our choices have consequences- and that includes how we choose to treat others.  When we choose to hate, that hate can return to us in the form of consequences that we can never fully prepare for.  We can find ourselves alienated from others, angry with ourselves, and hamstrung in our ability to serve Christ effectively.

Instead, let’s choose “not [to] grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap…As we have opportunity, let us do good to all” (vv.9-10). – Bill Crowder

Sowing seeds of greed and hatred reaps corruption, loss, and pain; but if we sow love and kindness, we will reap eternal gain. – Sper

 The seed we sow today determine the kind of fruit we’ll reap tomorrow.

[Source: Our Daily Bread, 28 December 2013]