Daily Devotions

Cherishing Christ-like Ones

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"They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous." (Psalm 112:4)

The Apostle Paul writes, "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). "Happy" is an important word in Psalm 112. For the Psalm, happiness isn't the absence of burden or even hardship.Happiness is when one aligns one's life with God.

One of the finest individuals it was ever my honor to know, was a woman named Esther Ilg. While her life was far from perfect, I never heard Esther complain once. She was a tireless worker at church, and she always found people to help. She lived her faith in a quiet, yet profound way. God gave her the strength to meet life's challenges, and her faith remained strong. Whenever you were in her presence, you felt the calm assurance of God's love. Her life was aligned with God's. I was with Esther when she died. Even in dying and death, Esther exuded God's loving peace. I live my life, attempting, albeit poorly, to align my life with God's, as Esther did her life.

In your life, I am sure there have been a few people who you felt were "gracious, merciful, and righteous," like my dear friend Esther. Prayerfully ponder how your special friends lived out their graciousness, mercy, and  righteousness. Thank God for the gift of each one of them. Then, think out loud to God about how you can align your life to God's, in a way that you can become happiness and peace to yourself and others. After you say "Amen," start your day by practicing divine alignment. Pay attention to the peace you feel, even in trying. In time, happiness will begin to grow.

A Praise Chant

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"The works of his hands are faithful and just, all his aspects are trustworthy." (Ps. 111:7)

 

Amidst the horrors of this world, it is vitally important to believe that the divine sovereign is about to bring about justice and deliverance. Without God's loving power, one would ultimately have only fatalism as an ultimate reality. God's justice and righteousness are the basis of all our hope and are therefore, worthy of praise.

 

We offer God our praise every time we worship. Not only is God all powerful, but God chooses to help us by re-creating, working with us to create a more just and faithful world. God owes us nothing, but out of love God continues to work through our sin and restore a healthy life. In Hebrew, the word "faithful" has the same root as "trustworthy." God is faithful because God is worthy of our trust. In faithfulness we are saying that we trust that God is worthy of our honor and praise.

 

Today, take a few minutes to think of some of the ways God is worthy of your praise. Consider the blessings in your life. Perhaps it is family, opportunities you have been given, or your health. Then, ponder the larger blessings that makes God worthy of praise. Look at God's creation around you. Consider 20th century history and the many times we could have destroyed ourselves. God's justice has preserved and protected us from ourselves.

 

Offer God a praise chant today. Find a comfortable place to sit, and then close your eyes. Simply say, "Bless you God, for being faithful and just." Say it over-and-over for at least five minutes. Then sit in silence until it feels uncomfortable, and then remain in silence for another couple of minutes. Let God's Spirit wash over you and allow God to deliver you from doubt and despair.

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