Daily Devotions

Remembering God's Wonderful Deeds

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"O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples." (Psalm 105:1)

 The people were in exile. They felt loss and anguish. Yet, even in their most empty moments, they still have their memories. Memories can be fickle thoughts. Memories can be misunderstood, misinterpreted, or consciously rewritten. For trustworthy memories, one must intentionally seek to be self-aware. Self-awareness requires the courage to honestly remember and evaluate our past.

 

The psalmist provides a litany of remembrances of how God remembered the people and blessed them throughout Biblical history. Even amidst exile, the psalmist had hope because even when times are tough, the same God who saved us in the past will find a way to bring salvation in our present and future.

 

In the same way that God carried me through hard times and brought me joyous times again, so too will that memory bring me hope for a future amidst present darkness. Reflect on at least three challenging times in your life. How did you respond amidst the pain? How did you get through the anguish and move forward in a positive way? Where might God have been in the midst of those healing situations? The same Spirit that guided the Israelites to the Promised Land, guides us through the trials and tribulations of this world, and brings us new hope and joy. After your time of remembrance, offer a prayer of gratitude for God's re-creation of hope and joy in our lives.

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. 

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