Bread – Awake

May 22, 2017


Psalm 66

Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; give to Him glorious praise!  Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your deeds!’”  Ps. 66:1-3

This morning, when I got out of bed, I made coffee, got the newspaper, showered, shaved, and prepared for the day.  Very routine, almost tiring.  And probably something very similar to what you did this morning.

And then I sat down to write Bread and read Psalm 66, the first three verses of which are quoted above.

And the first thought I had after reading “Shout for joy to God…” was, “How would my day be different if I woke up shouting for joy to God?  Instead of the mundane and the routine, what if I woke up every day with praise on my lips for the new day ahead of me, reveling in the majesty of God’s creation?

I think that if I awoke with a “shout for joy” on my lips, I would have started the day truly awake.  I would have been awake to the possibilities.  I would have been awake to the miracles.  I would have been awake to the overflowing blessings of God in my life and through my family and friends.  I would be awake to the mighty roar of welcome which the Lord presents us every day in His sunrise.

What does it take to be truly awake in this life our ours?  I think it is all contained in our quote for the day.  If we shout for joy at the awesomeness of God’s deeds, we will be very, very awake.  The other people around us are likely to be awakened as well.

Satan would have us fall into the trap of daily grind, making the rounds of the daily newspaper, the daily coffee, the daily teeth brushing, and the daily dressing for work.  Satan would have us focus on our “to do list” and all the labors before us, grinding us into submission and joylessness.

God on the other hand would have us wake up to Him and His – His creation, His majesty, His glory, His hope, His blessings, and His creatures – me and you.

“Rise up like a lion in the service of the Lord!”  This should be our war cry every morning.  But to even make this, we need to be awake to the glory of God around us, in us, and through us.  If we wake up with a shout for joy, we can then follow with a shout for service.  If we wake up with a shout of truth, we can then follow with a shout of love.

“Wake up and hear the birds sing?”

No.  Wake up and know God.

________

© 2017 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

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Bread – Deeds

February 26, 2014


Readings for Monday, February 24, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Prov. 3:11-20; 1 Jn. 3:18-4:6; John 11:17-29; Psalm 106

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Today’s Bread is very simple and very hard. From our reading today in 1 John, we see “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth… And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us. Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him.” 1 Jn. 3:18-19, 23

Real love, placing another’s interest above our interest, laying down our life for another, is accomplished in the doing, not the saying.

We say we love God, but what have we done to love Him? Have we read His Word, spoken with Him, worshiped Him, communed with Him? We say we love God but how many minutes have we spent and will we spend today in doing it? To be blunter, beginning with the time you read Bread today and looking backwards to the time you woke up, how much time have you invested in doing things today with God?

We say we love our spouse, but what have we done today to love her or him? How much have we done without telling them? Have we served them or ourselves? Have we talked to them (beyond mere exchange of information about schedules), have we walked with them, have we waited on them, have we lifted them up in prayer, have we voluntarily and with gladness of heart done their chores?

We say as Christians that we love our neighbors and then, of course, get into arguments about who our neighbors are. But let’s just keep the discussion to the people who live next door to us, our so-called “next-door neighbors.” What have we done for them today? Did we pick up their paper while we were picking up ours and put in on their porch? Did we weed their garden while weeding ours? Did we speak a word of blessing or even “good morning” to them? Do we even communicate enough with them to know if they are even home, if they are sick, or if they need something from the grocery store?

The fact is that, if we were to closely look at what we do, we would discover a great deal of love – for ourselves.

The problem not that we don’t love God or others, but that we love ourselves more. When we give away our money, it is “our” pot of gold which is being diminished. When we give away our time, it is “our” day which is being used up. When we give away our efforts, it is “our” energy which is being consumed.

How do we bridge that gap between words of love and a life of love? It is not enough for us to look to ourselves first, because we are empty of ability to love anyone but ourselves. And is not enough to look toward others, because they are as broken and incapable as we are. It is enough that we follow the command of God – “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another…” 1 Jn. 3:23

How do we get from talking to doing? By first believing in the reality of Jesus Christ, in “His name.” Once that happens, we receive the Holy Spirit and gain not only the desire to love but the ability to love.

But, you say, I believe in Jesus Christ, have the Holy Spirit, and still only talk about love. Well, for those of my friends who like guns, you will understand this analogy. The Holy Spirit is like have a love gun in your gun safe. You can talk about your love gun all day long, but you actually have to practice using your gun to learn to shoot it. And, after you have practiced a while, you can hit what you are aiming at. If your love gun shoots love bullets, by practicing using the gun you will become adept at shooting those love bullets into the situations and people who need them.

To do love you have to practice doing love.

But, if you are Christian, you have the tools to do it. Just take them out of the tool bag, use them, and then let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest.

Do it!

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© 2014 GBF

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