Let This Be My Best Day

“Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day
I commit myself, soul, body,
affairs, friends, to Thy care.
Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me.
Incline my heart to Thy ways.
Mold me wholly into the image of Jesus,
as a potter forms clay.
May my lips be a well-tuned harp
to sound Thy praise.
Let those around see me living by Thy Spirit,
trampling the world underfoot,
unconformed to lying vanities,
transformed by a renewed mind,
clad in the entire armor of God,
shining as a never-dimmed light,
showing holiness in all my doings. 

Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, hands.
May I travel miry paths with a life pure from spot
or stain.
In needful transactions let my affection
be in heaven,
and my love soar upwards in flames of fire,
my gaze fixed on unseen things,
my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility,
mockery of earth and its vanities.
May I view all things in the mirror of eternity,
waiting for the coming of my Lord,
listening for the last trumpet call, hastening unto the new heaven and earth.

Order this day all my communications
according to Thy wisdom,
and to the gain of mutual good.
Forbid that I should not be profited
or made profitable.
May I speak each word as if my last word,
and walk each step as my final one. 
If my life should end today,
let this be my best day” (Morning Dedication, The Valley of Vision

Coffee! Coffee! Coffee!

In these weird times, everybody needs one thing that is a constant. . . like coffee.

Coffee helps me with alternating days between working from home and commuting to the office.

Coffee helps for those early mornings after I have one of those nights when I can’t get to sleep until 2 am.

Coffee automatically makes everything better . . . for about 1-2 hours (or as long as the caffeine buzz lasts).

Kudos to the first person to say, “Hey, if we mash these beans and add hot water, it’ll be awesome!”

From the bottom of my caffeinated heart, I say thanks to all the coffee bean growers and coffee machine makers and coffee bean grinders and to everyone in general who has a hand in getting the coffee from the plant to my belly. I say, “God bless you!”

Begin Where You Are

“Use what little obedience you are capable of, even if it be like a grain of mustard seed. Begin where you are. Live this present moment, this present hour as you now sit in your seats, in utter, utter submission and openness toward God. Listen outwardly to these words, but within, behind the scenes, in the deeper levels of your lives where you are all alone with God the Loving Eternal One, keep up a silent prayer, “Open Thou my life. Guide my thoughts where I dare not let them go. But Thou darest. Thy will be done.” Walk on the streets and chat with your friends. But every moment behind the scenes be in prayer, offering yourselves in continuous obedience” (Thomas R. Kelly, Holy Obedience — lecture, 1939).

I heard once that praying continually doesn’t mean walking around with your eyes shut spouting King James prayer language at all times.

It does mean keeping the lines open to God and living in a continual attitude of prayerfulness where everything in your life drives you seek God in the moment.

I’ve never been one to be able to pray for hours on end. I get five minutes in and my attention completely wanders off to anything and everything but God and prayer.

I can pray short popcorn prayers throughout the day as I feel the need. I can ask God to direct me back when ever I lose focus in prayer. I can keep praying badly until I learn to pray better (and what parent would ever turn away a child’s request because he or she didn’t ask correctly?)

For me, the goal is to pray more. My need is to pray especially when I don’t feel like it, when it feels like instead of ascending to the heavens, the words I pray are bouncing off the ceiling and coming right back at me. Even then, God is in the room with me and hears them anyway.

So this is me telling you and me to pray more.

Every Day

Jesus taught His followers to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

He didn’t advocate that we pray for a year’s worth so we could stockpile and hoard it all in the event of unforeseen calamity or disaster.

He didn’t say for us to manage our bread wisely so that we can always be sure to have enough.

He said to ask God for what we need today.

Enough strength for the day’s tasks.

Enough weakness so that we can see God’s strength made perfect.

Enough joy to carry us through.

Enough sorrow to keep us humble and dependent on God’s goodness.

Enough comfort to allow us to share with others.

Enough need so that we can learn that to receive with thanks is just as godly as to give.

God promises to provide daily what we need for that day, not the next nor the one following. That way we learn daily trust and daily hope as we see day by day how God provides.

Give us enough for today. Help us to know that You are enough for today.

Appreciate What You Have

I confess that I suck when it comes to appreciating what I have. I tend to yearn and envy over what others have that I wish I had. I grumble about all that I’d like to have that I think I need and still don’t have.

But gratitude, as I read recently, makes what you have enough. Joy makes your days full.

It can be a rude awakening when you see others who would give anything for those little things you take for granted– shelter, clothing, food, access to clean water, family, friends.

There are people who would do just about anything to have one of your bad days. Think about that. Your worst days are still better than what a lot of people would consider one of their good days.

Sometimes, what we take for granted gets taken, and only then do we fully appreciate what we had. So maybe start a daily habit of giving thanks for all the good things in your life, including those seemingly insignificant and minute things. Usually, those end up being the best things.

Forgiveness

I’m asking the question again. I keep bringing it up because there’s nothing more soul-crushing than unforgiveness and bitterness (and conversely, nothing is more freeing than forgiveness and grace).

You need to forgive because

  1. God forgave you. What anyone else has done to do or will ever do to you pales in comparison of how much you have rebelled against God. Jesus told a parable likening it to a man who had his $1 million debt forgiven but wouldn’t forgive his fellow man over a $100 debt.
  2. One day you will need someone else’s forgiveness. We live in a beautiful but broken world and are ourselves broken and flawed people. You will screw up and hurt others, whether you mean to or not, and will need plenty of forgiveness before you leave this earth.
  3. Carrying around the fruits of unforgiveness is toxic to your soul. The bitterness and anger you direct at someone else only ends up eating away at your own soul.
  4. It is never easy but always worth it. Just about anything worthwhile and lasting is difficult. God never promised easy, but He promised that all things that seem impossible are possible through Him.

Once again, who do you need to forgive (even if it’s you)? From whom do you need to seek forgiveness?