Daily Devotions

Take a Walk

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For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Thirty years ago, would anyone believe our lives would revolve around a thin, rectangular slab of glass and metal. We couldn’t imagine the need for a phone on our person at all times. Then, to find out that this phone rarely gets calls. We send words and even sentences to each other, instead of talking on the phones we carry around. We use these slabs as computers, that can put just about everything at our disposal. We wouldn’t believe it, because we couldn’t believe it. Cell phones are just one example of the fast-changing world we live in.

According to Kevin Kelly, in his book, “The Inevitable,” the next 30 years are going to go infinitely faster. Soon, we will not need to carry around the glass and metal slab. The technology will quickly become so small it will be with us always. We will be able to access the internet from our glasses or contact lenses. We will not need a Garmin, because the maps will be displayed in front of our eyes. We will summon music from Siri or Alexa, but it will be minute and a part of our bodies.

As cars become driverless, cars will be transformed into workstations and entertainment centers. The WiFi in our cars will be more expansive than in our homes. Technology will become just another appendage on our bodies. There is only one problem. How do we ever relax and become mindful of God’s still small voice? One of my favorite writers is a Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. He challenges us to live with mindfulness. He calls us to free our minds from chaos and clutter, and enter the simplicity of meditation and enjoying the simple pleasures, like a walk in the woods.

Thich Nhat Hanh says, in his book, “The Miracle of Mindfulness,” “I like to walk alone on country paths, rice plants and wild grasses on both sides, putting each foot down on the earth in mindfulness, knowing that I walk on the wondrous earth.” When we walk in mindfulness, we see the simple miracles around us. The miracles of wind on our face, the smell of freshly cut grass, the crunch of our boots against snow and ice. Today, take a walk, but turn off the cell phone and don’t listen to music. Just walk, attempting to notice every little bit of the sidewalk, and sights around you. The more you empty your mind the more room God has to fill it with Divine thoughts and feelings.

"To Change or Not to Change, That is the Question"

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They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord. (Psa. 112:7)

We live in a complex and conflicted world. The only way to make sense of it all and keep our sanity is to put our beliefs in a box we can understand which makes sense of our world. Trying to change someone else’s mind is incredibly difficult, because it feels like it upends our entire worldview. So, what makes us think that one conversation, or one political commercial, or one Bible quote, will fundamentally change someone’s mind.

This is hard for a pastor to accept. We get up each week and preach a Gospel message that we throw ourselves into. We intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally give ourselves over to others in an attempt to offer God to those listening. Actually changing someone’s mind with my sermon is difficult and can be disheartening.

Thomas Oppong, in this article, “Motivated Reasoning: Why It’s Hard to Change Your Mind,” points out, “that ‘motivated reasoning’ is to blame-and we’re all guilty of it. It’s difficult to persuade people with strong beliefs, values, or ideologies.” The more we learn and grow, the harder it can be to re-open decisions already made. It can feel like pandora’s box opening, not knowing how one change could impact all the other ideas we hold as truth.

We are also just as susceptible to resisting change as anyone else. It takes courage to face change. It can feel like the floor has fallen out from under us. The way I am able to be open to change, without the fear of losing my values or my faith, is to affirm a few foundations of belief. For me everything else can be considered, but Jesus will always be the Messiah for me. The Church is the “Body of Christ.” I am called to affirm and share the life-giving message of God, through Jesus Christ. Just about everything else can be open to a change of mind. I can consider change without fear, as long as those basic foundations are sacrosanct. Consider the foundations in your life. Change just might be easier to face, if we do.

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