Daily Devotions

Your Unique Journey

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"To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!" (Psalm 123:1)

 Time and again I have wondered what it would have been like to walk across the bridge in Selma with Dr. King. I was a small boy when hundreds took their courageous walk into the very bowels of segregation and all of its violent prejudice. Would I have had the intestinal fortitude to accept the challenge? Would I even trust God enough to risk my safety? Would I even see the value of the pilgrimage?

 Psalm 123 is a pilgrimage psalm, sung as the faithful returned from exile back to Jerusalem. Their journey was also one of courage. The land they would cross was barren and dangerous. They experienced thirst, hunger, and fear. This required each pilgrim to trust the others in the group, and God, for their protection. It would have been easier to stay in Babylon - the only land their generation ever knew. But they accepted God's call for their life. They would have to trust in God's care.

 What is God calling you to do that is uncomfortable? Perhaps God is challenging you to step out of your comfort zone at work. Maybe God is nudging you to make a commitment in your personal life. In your prayers today, take some time to silently sit and let God speak to the still small voice within you. Let God create ideas and mental images of what you need to do next in your life. Often, God calls us to the uncomfortable. Yet, God calls those who can make a real difference. If God is calling you to journey down a difficult road, then God believes you are uniquely qualified for the challenge. Take courage, and walk the road God has called you to follow. 

Living an Extraordinary Life

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"Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers." (Psalm 122:7)

I remember going to a "Faith at Work" conference, the summer before my senior year of High School. My pastor invited me to join the adults who were attending the event in St. Louis. The week of worship and presentations were empowering for me. It was unlike anything I had experienced up to that point in my life. I felt God so close, surrounded by hundreds of people all seeking to live the peace and justice of God. I wanted to live the rest of my life feeling that peace-filled joy.

 

The Psalm speaks of the joy of the pilgrim's arrival in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the center of God's world. According to the New Interpreter's Bible commentary, "to enter Jerusalem really does mean to enter a new world." This new world does not mean a place of peaceful bliss. In the psalmist's time, as in our own, Jerusalem was a lightning rod for conflict and violence. But amidst all the pain and struggle, Jerusalem remains extraordinary.

 

To live an extraordinary – Jerusalem – life, one needs to make a life-style change. This life-style change is to live for others and to be an embodiment of divine justice. Living this new life-style will bring a sense of contentment that has been illusive to you in the past. But that doesn't mean that the old world of wars, hatred, and turmoil will not continue. Living the new life-style means living a new life in the old world.

 

Today, pray for God to guide you toward your Jerusalem. What changes need to take place in your old life, to make room for the new? Breaking the habits of an old life is hard because routines are difficult to break. What routines need to change or be discarded in order to make room for your new life? Perhaps it is reading the Bible over breakfast, instead of watching the Today Show. Maybe it is reading a devotion before you go to bed. It may be making a commitment monthly at the shelter. Whatever it is, plan it and pray that God will bless the activity. Then, enjoy the peace that will grow within the walls of your heart.

 

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