Daily Devotions

The Divine Butterfly Effect

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The Divine Butterfly Effect

"From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work." (Psalm 104:13)


"In chaos theory," according to Wikipedia, "the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state." This was expressed by Edward Lorenz, when he stated, "one meteorologist remarked that if the theory were correct, one flap of a sea gull's wings would be enough to alter the course of the weather forever. The controversy has not yet been settled, but the most recent evidence seems to favor the sea gulls." At a later date, the argument was reframed to ask, "Does the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?"


For our reading of Psalm 104, the "butterfly effect" is described in the psalmist's description, as the New Interpreter's Bible points out, as "the intricate interconnectedness and subtle interdependence of air, soil, water, plants, and animals, including humans." It seems to me that the psalmist was one of the earliest environmentalists. While nature is not divine, for the psalmist, nature is certainly sacred. The New Interpreter's Bible continues, "everything we do has an effect on God's world and thus on God. Ecology and theology are inseparable."


The little things, for good or ill, greatly affect God's creation. Today, take a walk and look around at God's creation. Offer thanksgiving for the trees, sky and human life. Ponder the interconnectedness of this amazing creation and offer God your sense of awe at God's unintelligible wisdom. Then conclude your prayer by making a commitment to doing one new task to make God's creation a better, cleaner place. 

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

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"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name." (Ps. 103:1)


Psalm 103 begins and ends with the word, "bless." According to the New Interpreter's Bible, "The word "bless" seems to have meant originally to bend the knee before - that is, “to bow in homage to one's sovereign." We owe our entire lives to God, so it is appropriate to bend our knee, and "bless the Lord" with "my soul, and all that is within me." We owe our very existence to God, who also sustains us.


As a pastor, what frustrates me is how few people "bend their knee" to God. Our very lives are an expression of God's steadfast love. We experience joy, love and hope because of God's "blessing." God first blessed us. We bend our knee in blessing to God. God blesses us with steadfast love, which brings us back to bowing in homage over-and-over again.


Yet, we should not bend our knee simply to get more blessings. True love is not earned, but simply received. We bend our knee in worship and prayer, out of gratitude. We are grateful not simply for the blessings, but we are also grateful for the love that motivated the blessings. A child can appreciate a parent who buys her/his affection, but appreciation isn't love. Love cannot be purchased. Love can only happen through relationship. A committed relationship with God requires regular prayer and worship. It is how we relate, and share love with God.


As part of your day's devotion, spend some extra time praying today, literally on your knees (if you are physically able). It is such an act of humility and speaks to the soul in a different way. Then, make a commitment to God that you will attend a worship service in the next week. Worship isn't just about what you can learn or experience, but is infinitely more about honoring and blessing "God's holy name." When you bend the knee, your life becomes real and meaningful. Experience it today. God is waiting.

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