With His Power, Day 5

Today’s reading is drawn from Psalm 127.

The best-constructed house will crumble without God. The most heavily guarded city will fall to its enemies if God isn’t invited inside. And a career defined by going in early and staying out late will not succeed if God is not at its center.

No one is smart enough, beautiful enough or wealthy enough to successfully navigate life without God’s help. In fact, an abundance of worldly resources may infuse us with too great a confidence in our own abilities and make us vulnerable to errors in judgment.

During the freshman orientation for the College of Engineering, David began to suspect that university classes were going to be much more demanding than those in high school. His first few weeks confirmed this assumption, and he soon concluded that if he wanted straight As, he was going to have to study—a lot.

At first, David studied seven days a week. But before long he became so fatigued that he was struggling to earn even Bs. At that point he prayed to God for help. God made an unexpected answer clear to David: Don’t study so hard. Get your sleep. And spend 24 hours per week without studying whatsoever.

David struggled with God’s message. How could he attain good grades without those 24 hours of studying? Surely his GPA would plummet. In the end, though, David decided that God was probably a bit wiser than he was. So he gave it a try.

David stopped studying from Saturday at 6:00 p.m. through Sunday at 6:00 p.m. During that period, he devoted himself to attending a worship service, reading Scripture, praying, sleeping, spending time with friends and relaxing. After those weekly breaks, David found that his Sunday night study session was more productive than any other time of the week.

By the time the semester ended, David had reached his goal—a straight 4.0. And he credits that success to obeying God’s call to let him be both his Lord and the center of his desire.

  • Why do you think the writer of Psalm 127 has such confidence that God outranks hard work and expensive resources?
  • Do you think you can enjoy a successful career without working abnormally long hours? Why or why not?
 

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Dealing With Pain, Day 7

Today’s reading is drawn from Revelation 21:1-5.

Our tears and pain were never part of God’s original plan for us, nor will they be part of eternity. However, we live in a sort of parenthesis in the timeline of the universe, a “present age” (see Mark 10:30) between the garden (see Genesis 2:8) and the new heaven and new earth (see Revelation 21:1).

At the end of time, God will wipe away every tear (see Revelation 21:4). We will not experience this suffering forever. But during these present times, we see the results of sin’s contamination of the world: death, mourning and pain. We fail and let ourselves and others down. Others do the same. Instead of denying these negative aspects of our present life, we need to accept and deal with them in preparation for the time when God ends all the suffering. The Bible teaches us three keys that can help: forgiveness (see Ephesians 4:32), grief (see James 4:9) and healing (see Psalm 30:2). We must arm ourselves with these three things. They will help us grow, recover and move past the difficult times. The good news is that the pain is not the end of the story. God will give us current healing and future paradise. Our job is to be involved in the journey with him.

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