Daily Devotions

The Healing Nature of Routines

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Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously. (Daniel 6:10)

Being stuck at home can be a huge waste of time. It is so easy to sit and watch television or stream Netflix and let one hour turn into three. Soon, a day is wasted. Time is a commodity. Even in this strange time of the virus, we are responsible for the time that God has given us.

Routines are important. Without them, we wallow around aimlessly. Continue your routines as if you are on your regular schedule. I am going to continue to wake up at 5:45 a.m., have my coffee and check email. Then I go through the morning newspaper, and then get ready to work out. This has been my daily routine for the last four years. Why would I change it now? When I’ve cheated and said, “I will work out later,” I rarely make it to the bike.

A dedicated routine needs to extend to our faith life. Now, more than ever, we are called to speak with God regularly. Each one of us will probably face horrific challenges in the weeks to come. Fear, frustration, and despair will be ever present, but they do not need to rule our lives. Through the power of God’s divine Spirit, we can face those fears, frustrations, and despair – and overcome. The routine of spiritual disciplines will make all the difference.

 

Today, set up your new routine. Set up specific times to exercise. A healthy body is better able to overcome the virus. Even though you have time on your hands, be careful how much alcohol you consume. Alcohol weakens the immune system. Then set up a time, or times, each day when you will read a devotion, Scripture, and offer God your prayers. On Sunday, the Sabbath, make sure you live stream the service. These routines will prepare you to face the evil of the virus and feel the joy that only God can provide.

Embrace Your Inner Covid

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Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jer. 33:3)

Alright, I am not encouraging you to get the virus. But I am calling us to embrace this new challenge with renewed enthusiasm. John P. Weiss, in his article, “This Is How to Get Your Life Off Autopilot,” provides a roadmap for facing our new common challenge. Weiss claims, “We’re so comfortable we’re miserable.” There is a blessing in this virus. It is challenging us to face discomfort and move beyond the limits of our comfortable existence – and move to a more meaningful place.

When Jesus called the twelve Apostles it wasn’t to a more comfortable existence. I sometimes wonder if those Apostles knew the challenges that laid before them, if they would still have dropped everything and followed him. I would like to think so. Having Jesus in our life is so much more meaningful than a little extra comfort. I had a friend once ask if I made a mistake going into the ministry, when I could have made more money in another line of work. He asked while I was looking at his family’s Caribbean vacation. I said that even if I made more money, it would probably go to my pledge anyway. Through the years, I’ve felt more satisfaction from watching God at work in caring for others in Christ’s name, than in the one or two fancy vacations we’ve had.

Weiss continues by encouraging us to “Try new things.” Like the fishermen who dropped their nets and followed Jesus, we are called to drop our old, mediocre patterns of life and stretch our comfort zone. With the Coronavirus, we do not have a choice. We are being forced to try new things. I have been laughing at all the news shows trying to help the millions of people who never learned to cook. In a time when we are forced to remain isolated in our homes, knowing how to cook is an important skill. This is a time to keep learning new things.

For many of us, spending more time alone is a new thing. This will make us stronger persons. I am a people person; time alone has often felt draining. I get energized by people, and so much time alone feels like someone is siphoning my energy and joy from my body. Perhaps this virus and the necessary isolation will allow each of us to become more comfortable in our own skin. As we adjust to our new lifestyles, allow God to make us uncomfortable enough to try new things and make a greater difference in our world.

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