Peace for the Day

Devotions for our daily angst.


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Honor

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier GuardsThese people draw near Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far away from Me. Matthew 15:8

Instead of a donkey (Numbers 22), God used a television show to start me thinking about honor. (Such an old fashioned notion.) The use of cursing God’s name as a basis for the majority of the dialog caused me discomfort and led to intense internal discussions. I cringed every time I heard the characters swear but, in truth, I didn’t want to stop watching. It took me a few weeks and a lot of wheedling with myself and God to finally conclude I could no longer watch the show. By doing so, I was not honoring Him.

About the same time, I stumbled across Mark 6:4-6 NIV. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

The wonderful thing about reading the Word is that no matter how many times I’ve read one verse, in a moment of clarity, I understood it in a totally new way. I noticed a link between honor and faith and miracles. The people in his hometown did not honor Jesus; therefore, He could not do any miracles there.

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines honor this way – “to give weight or to grant a person a position of respect and even authority in one’s life”.[i] We hear about very few miracles across the church in America. Could it be, I wondered, connected to our lack of honoring Him? We don’t grant him the position of respect and authority that we once did. Bringing it closer to home, I examined my life. Do I honor God?

Honor is not an idea to be worn like a badge. It’s a core value that requires action. At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery, the Honor Guard protects the tomb 24-7 365 days a year. The maid of honor helps the bride prepare for the wedding. Medal of Honor recipients acted valiantly beyond the call of duty. Students elected to the National Honor Society maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average and participate in extracurricular activities.

I want to honor God, in practice. I yearn for the Holy Spirit to nudge me when I’m not. Like Chris Tomlin sings in the song Amazing Love “It’s my joy to honor You. In all I do, I honor You.” That’s my prayer.

[i]  http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/honor.html


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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:8

I love my family and the friends who are as dear to me as family. I treasure each and every one of them and the time we spend together. For my 60th birthday, they gave me the grandest gift – all of them all together for an entire day. We gathered at my daughter’s home for an afternoon of laughing, talking, playing, and, as it developed, singing around a blazing fire pit late into the night.

God gave me this treasured gift before I knew to ask. Ephesians 3:20 tells us He is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams]. This He did with His usual extravagance.

One day a brown-haired young man with twinkling green eyes and a quirky sense of humor walked into my life and my heart became his. Who knew the blessings that would ensue because the Air Force recruiter was closed for lunch and the Navy recruiter was open? This “happenstance” brought him to my little part of the world at the submarine base in Groton, Connecticut. Who could foresee the day we met we’d be blessed with a wonderful family woven together over a lifetime with dear friends into a beautiful tapestry?

Not me, for sure. I didn’t even know I needed one. But God did.

The Bible is peppered with familial stories of deception, lies, cheating, manipulating, controlling, disdain, forgiveness, love, and grace. Cain killed Abel. Joseph’s brothers hated him. Isaac and Rebekah, playing favorites, pitted their sons against each. John and Andrew’s mother pushed Jesus to promote them above the other disciples.

In families, whether immediate or the greater community, we rub each other like sandpaper smoothing out the rough edges. We strengthen and hold each other up. We stretch one another to the limits. We learn to depend on God because, sometimes, it all goes wrong and we break.

I’m grateful God knew what I needed before I even asked. I would have missed out on the greatest blessing – joy, love, heartache – family.