Welcome to our first devotion during this crazy, terrifying and exciting, hopeful time. I think God is giving us an opportunity to grow through this. I really do. I see an opportunity to grow as disciples who make disciples. I see an opportunity to remember to keep the main thing the main thing. In order to work with God in this effort I am offering you this. I would like to invite you to join me in my daily devotions so that you can see a real example of how I have been discipled and learned to walk with God. Reading, reflecting and acting on the word of God is spending time with Him. This is the biggest and most important aspect of learning and teach how do be a disciple.
I have a reading plan that comes to my phone and computer every day from the North American Lutheran Church. It is available on their web site if you would like to try it yourself. I do not use the devotional material that often accompanies it, just the readings. I don’t even use all the readings, Just the New Testament ones. Right now, we are going through the Gospel of Luke.
I start by finding a place that is quiet and hopefully a place that is consistently available to me. Right now, I am in the church office. It might not be ideal, but I haven’t yet found a spot at home that works, so the office will do.
I then take a moment and assess how I am doing. I think about stresses, joys, or concerns that are on my mind. Today I feel pressure as many are looking to me for hope and direction, people who are becoming desperate and may be feeling alone or lost (remember I am dean to all our pastor’s and congregations in Canada). I am unsure if any of our ideas will work and I am feeling less than creative to address our needs. I am very excited that Our Daughter is coming home to us and that a fine, godly young man has found her and has asked her hand in marriage.
Sound depressing? Once you get to know me better, you will learn that I am quite comfortable with my dark side. I am at peace with my fears and anxieties (sounds like an oxymoron, I know). Now that I have gone to where I know my thoughts and feelings are, I pray and turn to God in his word.
After the pray I am reading from the Gospel of Luke:
6:12 Now it was during this time that Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and he spent all night in prayer to God. 13When morning came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: 14Simon (whom he named Peter), and his brother Andrew; and James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
17Then he came down with them and stood on a level place. And a large number of his disciples had gathered along with a vast multitude from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon. They came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases, 18and those who suffered from unclean spirits were cured. 19The whole crowd was trying to touch him, because power was coming out from him and healing them all.
Carefully reading the text, two verses stood out for me. Verse 12 and verse 19.
Verse 12 reminds me that in times of busyness and stress, prayer is an appropriate course of action. Until the end of last year, I was in the habit of taking a full day to fast and pray for the church. When I was able to share my responsibilities as dean, I sadly lost my discipline of the day of prayer. Carving out a day per month to pray for you would be a good discipline (I already pray for you folks, but not as much as I am wanting and capable of). Jesus took time to pray for the father in the midst of a demanding ministry. I would do well to emulate that in myself and I think this is a reminder to reconnect in that way.
Verse 19 stands out as well. I almost feel the push of the people as Jesus moves around. I imagine him being somehow drained as the people pull from him the power that heals. Then I put my thinking cap on and realize that Jesus is God and he doesn’t run out. This is why he came. He has in him all the power of the Father.
Though I may be feeling pressure, I am fooling myself if I think I will accomplish any of it on my own. It isn’t about my energy levels that can go up and down like a yoyo. It is about the power of God that he gives me to accomplish what he sets before me. I do not have what I need in myself, but I can step forward in faith trusting that I can do it in his strength.
So, one verse reminds me to pray. An action step to begin to live it would be to set in my calendar a day for prayer. Let’s make that April 2. The other verse brings me peace. I don’t have to depend on my wisdom or strength, but I can rest in his.
Now I pray, giving thanks for speaking to me in his word.
That is my devotion time for today. I hope that through this you get a sense of one way to do it. I also hope that you can see some of what you would be encouraged to do in a discipleship triad. See you tomorrow!
Blessings and peace,