January 3, Friday

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Putting a Stop to the Cycle of Busyness”

Psalm 62:5-8

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.

During our VBS summer camp, we setup a relay race with a sponge and two buckets, one with water and one without. The objective of the game was quite simple: use a sponge to soak up water from one bucket and then run over to squeeze the water in the empty one. Whichever team filled their empty buckets first won. 

What we witnessed next was quite telling of how we often behave in life. Naturally, the kids thought the faster they get to the other bucket would be the quickest way to fill it. As a result, they would dip the sponge quickly into the water and race to the other bucket making as many trips as possible. Here’s the thing: because they were so quick to run to the other bucket, they barely dipped their sponges in the water. By the time they got to the empty bucket, there was little to no water to squeeze out. It sounds silly because we know what they should’ve done was to actually wait and allow the sponge to soak up more water, and then go to the empty bucket. 

Much like these kids, we think that the more we do, the more we are productive, and the more we have to offer. In a world where we are disillusioned by busyness, we hurry from one thing to another without realizing just how little we have to give. Whether it’s for the next breakthrough, season, or even a relationship, waiting is difficult because it’s counterintuitive to what we think is productive. 

Yet in our passage, the Psalmist makes it clear that his priority was to wait on God. For him, it was far better to wait in His presence than to react to the troubles surrounding him. In His presence, the Psalmist found his true source of strength, his salvation, and his glory—God Himself. 

As we think about this new year and all that it has for us, may we develop the discipline of waiting on Him. Before we start this year, take some time waiting in His presence and soaking up whatever He has for you. Know that nothing is ever wasted in His presence, or as Henri Nouwen puts it, “Time given to inner renewal is never wasted. God is not in a hurry.” As we spend time with Him, may our hurried hearts find both peace and rest in Him. 

Prayer: Father, I confess even as I’m reading this my heart and mind can be so distracted with what needs to be done. Thank You that I can approach Your throne of grace with confidence. Thank You that in your presence I can find peace in You. Help me to be still. 

Bible Reading for Today: John 3 (Luke 17) 


Lunch Break Study 

Read Philippians 4:6-9: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Questions to Consider

  1. How can we overcome anxiety?  
  2. How does the peace of God change us? 
  3. Do you struggle with anxiety? If so, ask that the Lord will lead you into His peace. 

Notes

  1. Prayer. What Warren Wiersbe writes as the prayer that Paul outlined here, is one of adoration, supplication, and thanksgiving. Adoration in the sense of enjoying His presence; supplication, knowing that God listens to even the simplest of prayers of our hearts; thanksgiving, faith to thank Him even when our circumstances may not permit. This type of prayer invites His peace into our hearts, a peace not of this world, but that which comes from Him alone. 
  2. The peace of God not only changes our prayers, but it demands that we change the way we think. Instead of focusing on the things that bring anxiety, Paul says to focus our thoughts on things that are worthy of praise. Paul then reminds us to put such things into practice and that these things ultimately mark a life of peace. 
  3. Personal Response. 

Evening Reflection

Exodus 33:15-17 says, “And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?’ 17 And the Lord said to Moses, ‘This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.’”

After spending 40 years wandering the desert with people constantly complaining and questioning his leadership, Moses finally has the opportunity to enter the Promised Land. However, notice that Moses is willing to give all that up; in fact, he refuses to go unless God’s presence would go with Him. In other words, Moses looked to His presence more than the promise. 

Spend a few moments reflecting on this. May the promises that we look forward to in 2020 be dim in comparison to being in His presence.

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