In our Bible reading together we have recently been going through the life of the prophet Samuel and how he was instructed to anoint Saul as king over Israel. We encounter Saul as a nice young man full of hope and potential. How sad it is that once given high position and the blessings of God that he soon failed, broke Samuel’s heart and missed the path that God wanted him to walk.
Saul’s failure was that, while he was respectful and well liked, he never had a personal connection with God. He was always just trying his best to serve Samuel’s God. How different the heart of David, who longed to know and serve God long before he was called to be king. Watching over his father’s sheep while he was still a teenager, David prayed to really know God and learn the path God wanted him to walk. Sure David had plenty of his own failures but he never stopped longing to know and please God. These verses from Psalm 25 are often central to my own morning prayers. A few years back I wrote this song based on those verses and I pray the words and music may awaken your own hearts to really seek God and His ways today. Only He knows the path on which each of us are called to walk today!
Back in the days of quill pens and ink wells, Charles Dickens began his writing career first as a court stenographer and then a reporter on the daily activities of the English Parliament. Maybe the interesting array of the names of his characters arose from the parade of plaintiffs and lawyers he met while scratching away with his pen. In our age of word processing, when most of us barely recall typing, much less cursive writing, it is hard to imagine Leo Tolstoy penning over 1,000 pages of War and Peace or Shakespeare churning out 38 plays and hundreds of sonnets.
And yet, we call ourselves writers, with a winsome nod to the true writing of a past filled with ink splotched pages and crossed out lines. But there in that disorderly process, there lived a richness of creativity with circles and arrows, side-by-side with doodles and fanciful drawings in our margins. It was a pace when the work of writing dragged on far slower than racing minds, and allowed us to slowly consider our words as they scrawled out on the page. Without the ability to click “send” or “publish now” we possessed an extended moment between imagination and reality and a slower time that worked as a wonderful assistant. It was a time that God granted a holy pasue, so that we could sift through our thoughts and remember that our words have power.
Before God said, “Let there be light!” He had had an eternity to consider what he would do in creation and the exact order in which He would do it in. So, when He spoke those first words – immediately it was so! He has called us to be writers, in His likeness though we are deeply flawed often filled with a mixture of confusion and faith. So, we should be thankful for interruptions, for scratched out lines and the constructive criticisms of friends. In that space between our words, we can reconsider our message and imagine whether others will be encouraged or insulted, stirred to action or lulled to sleep and more importantly we can listen. For if our writing is to be His message for others, then we must hear the whispers of the Word who became flesh at Bethlehem and wonder what He would have us to write today!
Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11 KJV
On cold Winter mornings when it was too dark to go to our job site, it was the perfect time to stop at Abe’s Bakery. Pushing open its doors unleashed the fragrance of fresh baked hard rolls mingled with the aroma of coffee. We quickly ordered, poured our coffee and headed out to the truck. There we hungrily devoured those rolls with butter still dripping from their edges, feeling richer than anyone else on earth. Abe’s fresh baked rolls, always remind me of the daily bread that Jesus taught us to pray for.
First, just as at Abe’s it pays to show up early to get the freshest rolls. If we just dive into our morning and then sometime later ask God for help, He still gives it but when we eagerly push open His door early, He treats us to the aroma of daily bread straight from Heaven’s oven! Secondly, no one on earth can give us anything better than what God has provided, so we should be thankful. Wishing we had what others have, only takes away the joy of receiving exactly what God has prepared. Lastly, just as we never worried if Abe would be making fresh rolls the next morning, Jesus wants us to know that when we pray that we can trust Him to give us His daily bread, new every morning and fresh every day!