Tuesday, February 12, 2008

As I look back at my morning devotionals that I've read lately, I've noticed a pattern surfacing. It seems as though the underlying message has been to make spending time with God a priority. It started with the story of God providing manna for the Israelites in the desert, and the command that they go out and gather enough manna for the day, only for yourself, and only enough for that day (if they tried to stock up it would spoil), six mornings of the week. And on the sixth day to prepare for the Sabbath, when they prepare what they have gathered, it would be twice as much as the daily ration (Exodus 16:4-7). God used this morning manna-fest to test the people to see if they would be obedient to Him.

"Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Jesus is the Bread of Life. Just as our the people of Israel were tested to be obedient and trust God for fill the needs of their physical hunger, we are daily tested to trust God to fill our spiritual hunger. When Jesus taught us to pray "and give us this day our daily bread..." he was reminding us that just as the Israelites gathered manna daily, we need to seek out and gather our spiritual food, the Word of God, on a daily basis as well.

This challenged me. Had I been spending time in God's word every morning? No, not really. On a scale of 1 to 10, I gave myself about a 6. True, I've been sending out and posting a Daily Blessing (a Bible verse with a short meditation, usually written by someone else ... posted at www.thedailyblessing.blogspot.com), but mostly I would read, copy, paste, and send, without giving the passage a second thought. When put into the context of a "test" from God to see if I will walk in His law, I see how I continue to fall short. With Jesus, I walk in God's grace. I still fall short by my own effort, but Jesus bridges the gap to where I can pass the test.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Be still, and know that I am God. - Psalm 46:10

Be still. Why would God give that command? Why would anyone give it, unless the one who is being spoken to is living at a frantic pace? To-do lists that won't be completed. Kids to take from school to soccer to dance and back home. Phone calls and e-mails. Dinner to cook, dishes to clean, bodies to keep fit.

God tells us "Be still."

But we keep going. Like that pink bunny with the bass drum, And as if we're not frantically busy enough, something else is added to our lives. The car needs fixing. The freezer stops freezing. Our spouse gets a DUI. Our best friends are divorcing. Dad's been diagnosed with advanced cancer. And the bad habit you thought you had under control is beckoning you like an old friend, inviting you to party like the old days.

"Be still." Stop. Take a time-out. Not because you've been bad. You're not being punished, sent to the corner to think about how you got into this mess.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Take a time-out from the playing field of life.

Your coach needs to tell you something that will help you in your game, but he can't do it while the game is in play. Unless you take a time-out, come to the sideline, and be still.

"Know that I am God." Not you. You are not God. And neither is your unending to-do list. Or the piles of dishes and laundry. The car and the exercise equipment? Not even close. The ailments of your family and your broken heart? They may be pretty high up on your attention list, but they are not God.

That voice calling you from the sideline to be still ... That's God.