Green Pastures?

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I am thinking about green pastures today.

It’s not because we have a few inches of snow on the ground and I’m ready for spring.

I am thinking of green pastures because of the green pastures I saw on my trip to Israel and Turkey in 2016.

Before the trip, Psalm 23 would often make me think of funerals because that is about the only time I would hear it read out loud.  Images of bright green peaceful fields would flood my mind, a place where there was so much green grass that a sheep could eat all it wanted and not have to move.  Except maybe to sun itself on it’s another side.

When I think of green pastures this is the image in my head.  It could be flat green pastures but either way, there is an abundance of green.

But this is not the land in which Psalm 23 was penned.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

This is what it looks like in Israel when a shepherd leads his sheep.  Shepherds have led sheep over these hills and paths for generations.

This is the land where Psalm 23 was penned.

You might be asking where the grass is, what are they eating because it looks like rocks and sand.  Believe it or not, there are small tufts of grass there.  You can almost make out a green haze when the sun hits it just right.  There is not an abundance, there is just enough.  The sheep might get a mouthful of grass and then have to move to the next little tuft of grass.  There is no laying around in a cushy, plush green field of grass eating when they feel like it.  They must keep moving, following the paths of those who have gone before.

When I think about this now, I see a lesson in trust and in contentment.

Being content with God providing just enough. Maybe not everything I want but all that I need.

Trusting the leading and the voice of the shepherd.  The sheep move at the sound of the shepherd’s voice and they trust his voice.  He will not lead them into danger, if you notice the shepherd is on a horse at the top of the hill, simply leading the sheep with his voice.

He knows where the grass will be, he knows what they need to survive.  Life is not always easy but in trusting and believing God’s love for me, I have never lacked for anything.  I have hopes and dreams, things that I want, but I am reminded today of God’s goodness.  Today it is cold and we have several inches of snow on the ground. But I have a good house that is warm, full of love with sunlight bouncing off the snow and dazzling my eyes as I type.  I have food to eat, a family that loves me, a “job” that I love, and a fresh cup of coffee on my desk.

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The Kingdom Is Near

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Sometimes when we talk about religion we think about rules and regulations, like there is a prescribed list of things we must do to be a good Christian.  Somehow in all of it, we also become convinced we are not being faithful when we don’t do these things.

Read Your Bible, Pray for Everyone, Don’t Commit Any of the Big Sins, Go to Church and Be Happy… But life isn’t like that, it’s messy and life just seems to get in the way.

In Matthew 4, we read about Jesus preaching that “the Kingdom is near”.  It isn’t until chapter 5 where Matthew actually records the first of Jesus’ teachings, I believe this is on purpose.  Jesus teaches about kingdom and then Matthew records what Jesus is teaching.

Matthew 5:1-16 from the English Standard Version:

Seeing the crowds, (A)he went up on the mountain, and when he (B)sat down, his disciples came to him.And (C)he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:(D)“Blessed are (E)the poor in spirit, for (F)theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are (G)those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.“Blessed are the (H)meek, for they (I)shall inherit the earth.“Blessed are those who hunger and (J)thirst (K)for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.“Blessed are (L)the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.“Blessed are (M)the pure in heart, for (N)they shall see God.“Blessed are (O)the peacemakers, for (P)they shall be called (Q)sons[a] of God.10 (R)“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for (S)theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 (T)“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely (U)on my account. 12 (V)Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for (W)so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.13 “You are the salt of the earth, (X)but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.14 (Y)“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 (Z)Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so (AA)that[b] they may see your good works and (AB)give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

At this point, Jesus has been doing all sorts of miracles and I am sure that the people begin to draw connections to the Old Testament Scriptures.  Even Jesus proclaims in Matthew 11:4-6 “And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: (G)the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers[a]are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and (H)the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who (I)is not offended by me.”  Directly referencing Isaiah 35:5-6.

The people begin to wonder if this is the one, the Messiah, the return of the King who will free them from bondage and overthrow Rome.  But Jesus begins to teach about a different kingdom.  This doesn’t sound like a king who is going to overthrow Rome. Dallas Willard once suggested that the Beatitudes are, in fact, pronouncements of God’s blessing on all the people the world thinks are missing out. In essence, this would mean Jesus starts His teaching with pronouncements that look like the following:

God is for those who are spiritually bankrupt. God’s favor is on those who mourn. God is for those who are meek.

In a world being torn apart by Imperial Rome, to show mercy to your enemy would be an incredibly offensive idea. To be a peacemaker would be akin to asking for persecution. So it is possible the Beatitudes might be a list of pronouncements; Jesus might be announcing to the crowds — full of Jews, Gentiles, Herodians, Pharisees, and Romans alike — that God is for the ones they think He has abandoned.

And maybe this is what the kingdom of God looks like, a place where the downtrodden find comfort and peace. Maybe Christianity isn’t about following a prescribed list of do’s and do not’s but rather it is about people.  All people. Even thoes we don’t understand, even those we don’t agree with, even those who don’t follow Jesus or adhere to the teachings of the Bible.

I include the passages about salt and light in this because I believe it is a continuation of the first several verses.  If we understand we need God, and we are kind and merciful, if we bring peace and mourn with those who mourn, if we hunger and thirst after God…

Then

We are the salt and the light to a world who so badly needs it…and when they see the good things we do, then maybe they really see Jesus and are drawn to him, to the praise and glory of God.

 

Love God, Love Others

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If you ever want to know my favorite Jesus quote, this is it, from Matthew 22:34-40 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

I love this passage because it seems to be the core of Jesus’ message… Love God, Love Others.

As I begin a new year, I want to reflect on what this means and what this should look like.

Do people leave my presence better than when they arrived?  Am I partial to those who I extend my love and friendship too?  Are there people around me who I have willingly or unwillingly ignored?  When I read these words of Jesus I find no conditions in place on who I am to love.  I come back to this passage often because I need to be reminded.

There is something else at play here too.  Every Jew knew what the greatest command was…  and Jesus quotes it straight from Deuteronomy 6:5.  In my mind, I can hear Jesus saying, “duh, really? that’s the question you are asking?”  In all reality, Jesus answers something that had been debated a couple or so decades before Jesus between two prominent rabbis.  The question isn’t “what is the greatest command” everybody knew the answer to that, the real question was “what is the second greatest command?”  Almost every rabbi tried to sum up all of the Jewish law into two laws and Jesus does this brilliantly. The debate was if the second greatest command was obedience… remember the Sabbath and keep it holy… or love, love your neighbor.

Jesus settles the debate… love your neighbor, as you want to be loved.  Love God and Love Others, this is the lens by which we view all of the Scripture.

It is in this frame of mind that I Look forward to the remainder of 2018.

God Creator, God of Love

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Happy Tuesday!  This morning as the sun came up and was shining through the clouds and the snow I was reminded of several verses, From Genesis and from the daily reading plan in Job.

Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  

Job 36:26-30

How great is God—beyond our understanding!
    The number of his years is past finding out.

27 “He draws up the drops of water,
    which distill as rain to the streams];
28 the clouds pour down their moisture
    and abundant showers fall on mankind.
29 Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds,
    how he thunders from his pavilion?
30 See how he scatters his lightning about him,
    bathing the depths of the sea.

Job 37:7-12, 14-15

He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
    and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
So that everyone he has made may know his work,
    he stops all people from their labor.
The animals take cover;
    they remain in their dens.
The tempest comes out from its chamber,
    the cold from the driving winds.
10 The breath of God produces ice,
    and the broad waters become frozen.
11 He loads the clouds with moisture;
    he scatters his lightning through them.
12 At his direction they swirl around
    over the face of the whole earth
  to do whatever he commands them.

14 “Listen to this, Job;
    stop and consider God’s wonders.
15 Do you know how God controls the clouds
    and makes his lightning flash?
16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised,
    those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?

I am amazed today as I considered the words in Job to stop and consider God’s wonders.  It draws me to God as creator, God in all his might and power who created me in his image and loves me no matter what.  There is nothing I can do to earn his love, it is simply there and is not dependant on anything I do or don’t do.  All throughout the creation account we see the phrase “God saw that it was good”.  On the 6th day, he created man and looked at all he had created and “it was very good”.  God the Almighty Creator looks at us with love, it’s not about what we can do or what we can produce, it’s about who we are and whose we are.  When I look around me today I see the majestic wonder of his creation and think to myself the God who can do that with the sound of his voice loves me.  No matter how I may succeed or fail, I am loved by the creator of the universe.

Model Trains & Spiritual Life

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Today was a breather kind of day.

It’s a Saturday and it has been snowing… again… beautiful but a great afternoon to spend indoors.

So how did I spend it?  Cleaning my Lionel train and doing some track maintenance.  If that doesn’t give you enough of a clue, I love model trains.  Lionel to be specific, and I have loved them since I was a kid.  The set I have is comprised of the old set handed down from my brothers along with pieces I have picked up along the way.  Usually part of what I have comes out at Christmas and it’s really the only time I spend “playing” because I don’t have a space that I can dedicate to a permanent train layout. But I am still a kid at heart and love model trains. (If you happen to have any model trains that need a new home I promise they will get used at my house!)

That being said, it has been a few years since I really took time to clean the track.  During Christmas I had it set up under the tree in such a manner with two trains and two Lionel Christmas trolly’s that we really couldn’t get the wrapped presents under the tree.  What I did notice was my track was loose fitting and the trains weren’t getting a great connection.  So today, I decided to clean a bunch of the track, tighten the connections with a pair of needle nose pliers, and put it together to give the engines a chance to run for a while.

Track maintenance was the best thing because I knew it would improve the performance.

It did.

 

And that got me to thinking about my spiritual life.

How often do we let ourselves run in life without a bit of spiritual maintenance?  We pour into work, family, friends, and maybe even Facebook friends who have posted prayer needs.  All of these are good things, except for when they drain us and take the place of spiritual renewal.

In Mark 1 Jesus has called his disciples, began preaching and teaching, and even began healing people with all kinds of issues. That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak because they knew him. And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (32-35)

Jesus took the time away from the noise, crowds, and even his own disciples to spend time with his Father.  But we think we have to stay on the go and not let up.  When we slow down enough to stop, read the Bible, pray, allow our minds to clear, breathe, focus on a Bible verse, let God drift into our consciousness, he can speak even when we are cleaning train track with rubbing alcohol and a piece of fine grit sandpaper.

Read daily, pray daily, think about the good things of God daily, allow time to refocus on Christ daily

It really does make a difference, at least it does for me if I take the time… I do find life easier to deal with on those days.

God is For Us

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Luke 2:1-14 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region, there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!

 

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Cave used as a stable in Israel

It may have been in a cave much like this one we visited in Israel where we would find Jesus laying in a manger.  Smelly, unclean and with the remnants of animal manure, caves such as this one were natural stables for shepherds.

I love to think on the birth of Jesus because it is a humbling reminder that Jesus was born as a human in the poorest of conditions.  So significant the announcement of his birth was made to the lowest of society… shepherds.  The Son of God born in the flesh.

It is in Matthew where we read about the visit of the Magi, wealthy outsiders.

As if God is saying “I am sending my only son to you, the lowest of society, the highest of society, the outsiders, and everyone in between.  He is a gift to all.

And he is human.

Jody mentioned in his sermon today that Jesus knew temptations, poverty, frustration, weariness, disappointment, rejection, sorrow, ridicule, loneliness, and pain.  We tend to think of Jesus as a superhuman, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but we forget he was as human as you or me.

Philippians 2:1-11 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God is for us, he knows us, he knows the pains and the joys of being human.  Reflect on it today, as you begin the week and take comfort in a God who is for us all.

In Who Do We Trust?

Abraham is a giant of our faith and the father of the nation of Israel but even he has moments where he does not always make the right decisions.  We open the story up when God has made a covenant with Abram (later God changes it to Abraham).

Genesis 12:1 The Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”

This is no small thing for Abram.  This is a typical patriarchal society where the family honors the father of the clan.  They worship his gods, they help provide security and help support the clan by working in the father’s calling.  If the father is a builder, many of the males in the family, sons, nephews, maybe younger brothers and cousins are all builders working for and with the head of the family.

To leave is a big deal and yet Abram does as God asks and in taking all of Lot’s family, he is now the patriarch of his own clan along with anyone he has brought in to be a part of the family including servants, hired hands and anyone else.  In this culture, anyone invited in to be a part of the family or mishpucha (Yiddish for family) was considered to be part of the clan and the patriarch became responsible for their well being.

Now comes trouble, there is a famine in the land and Abram makes the responsible decision to go to the only place where there are water and food, Egypt.  Perhaps this is his first mistake but an understandable one.  Abram doesn’t yet trust the story and takes it upon himself to provide for his mishpucha.

Now it is about to get dicey…

As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

Before we lay into Abraham about this, understand how the culture works.  Sarai was beautiful and Abram seeks to use this to their advantage.  By not claiming her as a wife, he presents her as eligible for betrothal, the patriarch is then given gifts and much wealth to win his favor.  At that point, I think they would leave Egypt with all of it… except for one small problem…

Pharaoh takes first then gives betrothal gifts.

Abram had not considered this possibility.  In the end, Pharaoh sends them away very wealthy and Abram has provided for his family but at a cost.  They now have so much wealth and livestock that he and Lot must separate.  From this point on Abraham and his descendants will turn to Egypt in times of famine, they turn to Egypt for their security, eventually, this will enslave them.

In who do I trust?  Do I look to my own abilities? Where does my security come from?  Where does my help come from? Do I look for it in God or do I look for it in Egypt/Empire? And at what cost?

Rebuilding Hope

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I am very proud of our church and the volunteers that went to Texas for a week to help rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.  Their story is not mine to tell, but I can say that this is what it looks like to bring the kingdom of God to earth.  This trip was the church taking care of each other as they were able.  I am proud, not because we did this thing, I am proud because 14 people followed God’s call and as a church, we chose to pour our resources and our love into the lives of others.

In Acts, we get a picture of the early church.  The author (most likely Luke) writes “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power, the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.” (4:32-35)

Christians taking care of Christians

The Christians had legitimate needs that the early church met and it not only brought the believers together in unity, but it also drew people to the gospel.  I love what our people did in Texas because it brought peace and hope.  It showed God’s love to people who so desperately needed to see it.  And I know this because of the responses my wife received from those that lived in the area.

And this makes me wonder how many people would think differently of Christians if this is what they saw of Christians as a general rule, not the exception.

We live in a post-Christian culture, not a non-Christian culture.  One of the significant differences is that many in the post-Christian culture are aware of what the Bible says, and they know about Jesus but aren’t buying it.  Many of them have attended church at one point in their life, and I think to myself, would they return if the modern church looked more like the early church?

Christians united as one, taking care of each other is part of what drew people.  It was a significant departure from the current Roman culture in which they lived. 

Paul writes in Philippians 2:2-4 “then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Take some time to pray and ask God to show you where you can make a difference.  It may be hanging drywall; it may be changing someone’s oil, it may be providing food or other resources.  When we serve in the name of Christ, God gets the praise and glory.

Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

If I Make My Bed in Sheol, You are There

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The following was written by one of our student leaders at Impact Campus Ministries, South Bend.  This blog post struck me because it speaks to the way God sees us, not how we see ourselves.  He is there in our darkest times because we are his, and that is enough!  Here is a link to Hannah’s blog Grace Upon Grace.

Hannah is a nursing student at Indiana University South Bend

If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there

October 16, 2017

The most precious thing I have ever received is the grace of God.

He tells me over and over again that I am Hannah Grace, he shows me grace; grace upon grace. He did not just show me grace as a one-time act when he died a brutal death for me on a cross. Yet even if that was the only time he showed me grace, it would be enough for me to bow down on my face and worship him out of complete reverence & thanksgiving. The crazy thing is, his grace does not stop there. That is what baffles my mind. He gives me more grace. Every. Single. Day.

I love Psalm 139. David expresses how intricately the Lord knows us. David states, “You have searched me and known me!.. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it all together…”

The part of the psalm that really blows my mind is when David says, “If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” When I read that, I think, boy! How many times have I literally made my bed in hell and camped out there for a while because I had a bad attitude, was being selfish, and totally not acting like a precious daughter of God. Way too many times. Instances come to my mind where I have pouted with where the Lord was leading me. Most recently, all semester I have pouted about how difficult nursing school is, & why the Lord did not lead me to a Christian college. I could go on about so many other moments where I have acted far from Christ-like, and by doing so, literally bathed in my sin, then made my bed in hell and slept there. I got comfortable relaxing in a place that is so far from God. For that, I am so sorry, Lord.

And yet, the scripture says, “If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.” Wait, what?

You mean to tell me that when I am a pouty, selfish, untrusting, unfaithful, little girl, the Lord follows me there too? He just is not with me when I am making him proud, but he is with me when I am “failing” miserably in trusting the Lord. That is grace.Praise the Lord that he pours out his grace upon his children each morning. I try so hard to follow him and fall short. Praise the Lord for his grace stacked upon grace that stacks up so high that it bridges the gap between me & my failures and the righteousness of God.

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16

Seeking God’s Presence

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Practicing the presence of God on an hourly basis is a difficult habit to attain at times.  We get so busy with our activities and thoughts that we often forget God’s presence.  One of my best friends, Jon, said it like this: seeing the sunset and taking a moment to thank God and acknowledge his hand in it, that’s practicing the presence of God.  Talking to God and saying “I don’t understand what you are doing here God, I trust you, but I don’t get the plan here, and I am not sure I like it,” that’s practicing the presence of God.

Brother Lawrence was a monk in the middle 1600’s who sought the presence of God even in the mundane daily chores.  As a practicing monk, they adhered to the hours of prayer every three hours, but he sought God’s presence even in the between times.  He sought God’s presence as he prepared meals and washed the dishes.  What it comes down to directly is forming good habits.

At our house, we have 2.5 acres to mow and many trees to work around.  It also gives me plenty of opportunities to practice the presence of God by looking around at the beauty of creation, looking at how many things I have to be thankful for, but I also can go through a chunk of my day without my mind turning to God… unless I am purposeful about it.

Paul writes in Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally brothers (and sisters) whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is any worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Paul set’s the example of how to keep his mind on the presence of God.  Think back to the numerous times he has been in prison.  What is he doing?  He writes to all of the churches about how to live the gospel of Christ in a world controlled by the Roman Empire.  Or let’s go to Acts 16:22-25The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

How often can we think about the things of God in the day?  Maybe it’s a short prayer for a friend or family member as their names come into your head.  Perhaps it is a quick “thank you God for the rains you sent but a huge thank you for the sunshine today.

Frank Laubach a Christian missionary wrote in one of his letters “Can I bring God back in my mind-flow every few seconds so that God shall always be in my mind as an after-image? I choose to make the rest of my life an experiment in answering this question.”

Take a few moments each hour and think on the things of God.  Maybe it is his love, his grace or his mercy, or say a short prayer for whatever happens to be on your mind.  Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to turn your thoughts to God, and see how this helps shape and mold your day… even if it is doing routine tasks like Brother Lawrence.