This week's 'thought' comes to you from Aaron Tabor's book, the Jesus Daily devotional. I picked up a copy on sale a few months back and have been using it in the mornings with my girls. The entries are short, well written, and with true to Scripture. He makes the daily verses from the Bible understandable and uses good visual contemporary illustrations.
Tabor is founder of the Jesus Daily Facepage which has over 27,000,000 followers from 20+ countries. He is also a medical doctor, having graduated from John Hopkins School of Medicine, and president of Gene Facelift, a gene therapy biotechnology company.
I have selected two sample entries "The Source of All Power" and "The Love of Money." Enjoy.
The Source of All Power
"The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people." Psalm 68:35
"In many parts of the world, electricity provides a standard of living that's easily taken for granted. Lamps, heaters, air conditioners and other conveniences rely on electric power to generate illumination, warm and cool air, and time-saving, effort-reducing assistance for our homes, businesses, schools and churches.
When a power outage occurs for any length of time, we're forced to return to the basics of surviving. Suddenly, how we remain at a comfortable temperature is not so easy. Ways to preserve our fresh food become a priority. Tasks that take seconds or minutes seem to require minutes and hours.
When things are going smoothly in our lives, we might be tempted to take God's strength and power for granted. However, when our own abilities fail us, we once again get back to basics. We realize that the Lord is the source of all our power. Anything we accomplish is only because of him.
Unplug [from the internet] for at least an hour today, using the time offline to pray, meditate, or rest in the strength of the Lord."
The Love of Money
"For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." I Timothy 6:10
"When a weed takes root in your garden, it drains nutrients in the soil away from other plants, such as flowers or vegetables. Many weeds often bind themselves around the roots of other plants to anchor themselves into the soil deeper. They not only choke off the other plants, but they also secure themselves into the ground. Eventually, they replace the flower and its natural systems of survival with their own roots, shoots, and tendrils.
The love and pursuit of money can be an enormous weed in our spiritual garden. With thorns that entrap you and greed that grows like dandelions, desire for wealth can block your vision, disrupt your path, and kill your heart [for God]. There's nothing you can save, buy or spend that you can take with you for eternity. Only the fruit of the Spirit that you cultivate now will last.
Spend time today tending your spiritual garden and eliminate the weed of greed. Make a donation to your church, a charity, or a ministry today -- something more than just your usual tithe."
The older one gets, the more obvious these truth become. God, as Paul says, is the One who "gives us life, and breath, and everything else." (Acts 17:25) I derive from Him the gracious gift of life, and strength, and all I need for everything I do -- even if I am not conscious of my dependence of Him for all of it. Every breath I take to fill my lungs and feed oxygen to my blood, and every beat of my heart that pumps that blood throughout my body, is empowered by Him. Were He to speak the word it would all stop. Apart from Him I really could do nothing. He sustains my life -- and yours as well -- from the simplest functions to the most complex.
Likewise, the older one gets, the more they realize that things are merely things, and they must leave every last one behind. In fact, in youth we seem driven to accumulate, but as we grow older we seem more driven to clean out, unload, give away and pare down to the essentials. Things that seemed so important and necessary to our happiness before, now seem so trivial and unnecessary -- as they sit stored in the attic, closet, cellar, garage or storage unit, untouched and sometimes unseen for years.
If only we had the perspective of time and the wisdom of age when we were young. It would cause us to travel through life with a much different focus. As the apostle Peter could write to all in the church when in his old age: "Dear friends, I urge you, as strangers and aliens in this world, to abstain from its sinful desires, which war against the soul." Strangers and aliens (foreigners) don't seek to accumulate. They travel light, because they realize their true and permanent home is elsewhere. Precisely.
I pray you might do as Aaron suggests and "unplug from the internet" -- for at least an hour or maybe an entire day or week(!) -- and use the time to pray, to meditate on Scripture (or the many things you are dependent upon God for), and not only rest in His strength, but thank Him for the gracious and continual supply of it.
In His Service, Pastor Jeff