He is Compassionate, Day 3

 

Today’s reading is drawn from Psalm 34:18, Psalm 103:8, Lamentations 3:22-23, Numbers 14:18.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.

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The Lord my friends, is so much more than that for me!

Later,

Pat.

Sleep As a Spiritual Activity, Day 3 Habit: Rest

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Today’s reading is drawn from Psalm 121:4 and Psalm 3:5.

The one activity we do more than any other is sleep. About one-third of each day and one-third of our lives is spent sleeping. Sleep is so essential to the functioning of our bodies that we will die if we go too long without it. But the importance of sleep is not limited to our physical functions — sleep is also a spiritual activity.

Sleep is a spiritual reminder — Everyone sleeps, but our heavenly Father never does (see Psalm 121:4). Sleep is therefore a daily reminder that we are not God. “Once a day God sends us to bed like patients with a sickness,” says John Piper. “The sickness is a chronic tendency to think we are in control and that our work is indispensable. To cure us of this disease God turns us into helpless sacks of sand once a day.”*

Sleep is an act of spiritual trust — We are never more physically vulnerable than when we are sleeping. Although most of us live in relative safety, for many people throughout history —including David in his flight from Absalom — to sleep was to place oneself at the mercy of one’s enemies.

Sleep is an earthly picture of a spiritual reality — In Scripture, sleep is frequently used as a metaphor for death. For instance, Jesus confused his disciples concerning Lazarus by using the euphemism of Lazarus being asleep — which the disciples took literally (see John 11). Death is described as sleep, especially for believers (see 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4), while the resurrection is sometimes described as waking from sleep (see Job 14:12).**

Sleep as spiritual preparation —One of the most overlooked aspects of spiritual formation is simply getting enough sleep. As John Ortberg says, “I have discovered I have a very hard time thinking and feeling and acting like Jesus when I lack sleep.” Sleep is a form of spiritual preparation that equips us to follow where Christ leads.***

PRACTICAL TAKEAWAY: Sleep is essential for both our physical health and our spiritual development.

* John Piper, “A Brief Theology of Sleep,” Desiring God, August 3, 1982, http://www. desiringgod.org/articles/a-brief-theology-of-sleep.

** Jason McMartin, “Sleep, Sloth, and Sanctification,” Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care 6, no. 2 (2014): 255 – 72.

*** John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013).

Uniquely You, Day 3

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Today’s reading is drawn from Matthew 25:15.

Da Vinci painted one Mona Lisa. Beethoven composed one Fifth Symphony. And God made one version of you. He custom designed you for a one-of-a-kind assignment. Mine like a gold digger the unique-to-you nuggets from your life . . .

When God gives an assignment, he also gives the skill. Study your skills, then, to reveal your assignment.

Look at you. Your uncanny ease with numbers. Your quenchless curiosity about chemistry. Others stare at blueprints and yawn; you read them and drool. “I was made to do this,” you say.

Our Maker gives assignments to people, to each according to each one’s unique ability. As he calls, he equips. Look back over your life. What have you consistently done well? What have you loved to do? Stand at the intersection of your affections and successes and find your uniqueness.

from Cure for the Common Life

What Is Wisdom?, Day 3

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Today’s reading is drawn from Proverbs 8:10-11 and Proverbs 9:10-12.

We often think of wisdom as intelligence, but we would be mistaken to bring that definition to this literature. When we look at the vast number of topics covered under the heading of “wisdom,” it is easy to despair of finding common ground, for the heading covers artisan skills, scientific knowledge, etiquette, philosophy, psychology, politics, sociology, and jurisprudence, just to name a few. Furthermore, the text insists on more than one occasion that the “fear of the Lord” is the beginning or foundation of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 15:33). Does this suggest that none of those disciplines could be successfully engaged without fear of the Lord?

As we consider the way that people thought in the ancient world, perhaps we can best capture the Biblical way of understanding all of this by thinking in terms of worldview integration. In the ancient world, including Israel, order was an important value. Creation brought order to the cosmos; law brought order to society; etiquette brought order to human relationships; politics brought order to governance and authority. Ancient wisdom can then be understood as the pursuit of understanding and preserving order in the world. Wisdom is present when order is perceived, pursued and preserved. The people of the day wanted their worldview to fit together like a puzzle—fully integrated, with each piece placed in proper relation to the others.

They saw the fear of the Lord as the keystone to this integration process. To “fear the Lord” means to take his person and role seriously. Order in the cosmos could only be understood through acknowledgment of the One who brought order. Order could only be preserved in society and in life by understanding God’s requirements and expectations. In this way, wisdom can be seen to transcend the basic knowledge or skill related to particular disciplines.

A fool (or any of the other synonyms used to describe such a person) was one who brought disorder into any of the pertinent realms by their behavior or thinking. Furthermore, a fool would be one who did not fear the Lord and therefore tried to find coherence in something or someone else—usually themselves.