Be Still

We live by a pond that, over the course of the year, takes on all kinds of different looks as both the seasons and weather change. This morning, it’s 24 degrees, frost is covering the ground and the water is perfectly still. This means the pond literally is a mirror beautifully reflecting the trees around it, the sky and the rising sun. The Lord says in Scripture, “Be still and know that I am God.” Just like the water, the more still we become in mind and spirit, the more clearly we will be able to see God. 

A More Complete Picture

My travels home yesterday from a gathering of leaders with the General Commission of United Methodist Men in Nashville included a learning moment from God. As my plane was making its descent to the Little Rock airport, I was able to see the entire metro area at once. It’s a different perspective. More importantly, it’s a more complete picture. I think that’s what God is trying to do in me – and you – through Jesus. And it’s exactly why loving him more and more in more and more of life matters so much. Because that’s how we see a more complete picture of God, life, others, ourselves, what matters most and how we are to live.

A Sunday Prayer

Lord,

Life sometimes gets so complicated that You seem to get lost in all that’s swirling around me. And yet, I know better. It’s not You who is lost, but me. Which is why I need You to help me realize that I’ve already been found by You. And then to hold onto You as tightly as I can as I journey through the day.

But I also know You want more for me than just getting through the day. Much more. Abundantly more. In fact, You have something You have chosen me to do

So may Your existence be the true North that guides me. Your grace the oxygen I breathe. Jesus’ love the food that nourishes my soul. Jesus’ compassion the elixir that gives me life. Jesus’ salvation the way that lights my way. The Holy Spirit’s joy the energy that tempers my happiness and overcomes my sadness. The Holy Spirit’s hope the vision that propels me forward. But most of all, may I trust You enough to listen and to do.

I pray this, as I pray all things, in the strong name of Jesus.

Amen.

Changes of Plans

I left the office Thursday to catch a flight from Little Rock to Nashville for a General Commission of United Methodist Men leaders’ meeting. Of course, that meant I first had to fly to Dallas to get to Nashville. Just as I was about to board the plane in Little Rock, my Dallas to Nashville flight was canceled because of the snowstorm barrelling through Tennessee. With the help of some wonderful people, I was rebooked on a late evening flight and placed on standby for a late afternoon flight. Soon the late afternoon flight was canceled, and it looked to me like the late night might be as well, so I got a hotel at the airport and booked a new flight early Friday morning. Or in this case flights, because I was routed through Raleigh-Durham to get to Nashville. It was smooth sailing, although I had no idea where my luggage was. When I arrived in Nashville, my app indicated my bag had just been placed on the plane in Dallas and was scheduled to get there in a little over two hours. So I waited and, when the plane arrived, went to the baggage claim. And waited some more, until finally I was able to get it. After an uneventful Lyft ride, I finally made it to the hotel and am blessed by my time with leaders of United Methodist Men. As I’ve reflected on all of this, I’ve realized it’s a lot like the journey of getting to God. It involves twists, turns, unexpected delays and changes of plans. But when you finally get there, you will realize it was all worth it because you will find yourself closer to God than you ever imagined possible.

A Day of Stark Contrasts

January 6 is a day of stark contrasts. On the one hand, we celebrate how the wise men faithfully navigated the machinations of a king who tried to trick them and followed a star to find and worship the Christ Child. On the other hand, we mourn what happened one year ago when our nation was in disarray as insurrectionists violently stormed the United States Capitol. Yet this is the world in which we live, where faith and violence exist side by side. I hope you will pray with me that 2022 will be a year when those who love Jesus will have the faith and wisdom to follow the star instead of following the mob. 

Start with God’s List First

You have a list of things you have to do, a longer list of things you should do and an almost infinite list of things you could do. This is true regardless of who you are or what your circumstances are in life. This means today – like everyday – is about setting priorities. But it’s important to be aware of something as you figure out what you’re going to do today. There’s also a fourth list of things. The things God wants you to do. Not the list of what you want God to want you to do. But those things that actually matter most to God. So start today by listening carefully to God. And then do the most important thing you can do all day long. Start with God’s list first.