Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Beneath The Shadow Of The Cross"1 (Lyrics)
Ephesians 3:20 – Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. (KJV)
Exceeding abundantly? Above all that I ask? Beyond what I can even imagine? How can that be? These are questions I asked.
Each year end, I used to take some time to reflect on the closing year, to take stock of accomplishments, review my goals and objectives, and put a check in the box for complete items and perhaps bring forward some items into the following year. It was like an annual report card for myself, by myself. But my rituals became stale and stunk. My goals and objectives took on the appearance of some corporate document, rigid in form, impersonal, and lacking in any real worth.
A few years ago, while praying for some guidance, I was compelled to re-think this calendar-like event. If I were on track, would my goals and objectives change every January first? How important were my goals and objectives if I reviewed them only on an annual basis? How could I grow in my relationships with Christ, my husband, my children, friends, and co-workers if my goals and objectives didn't even include them?
Feeling very hesitant and skeptical, I prayed that God would take the lead role and help me craft my plans for the year ahead. With great trepidation, I abandoned my old format and procedure and replaced it with opening my heart to the daily devotional and a commitment to memorize Psalm 8. Surprisingly, the insights I gathered from the daily devotionals were sometimes put to immediate use within the same day. At other times, it was later in the week or month, when I least expected it. Psalm 8 took a bit longer. To start, I read the psalm daily; each day I let it sink deeper into my heart, then I wrote it out daily, until writing was no longer required. I put words to music and sang it out to the Lord on my way to work each morning. Soon, I was singing it out in my mind throughout the day. "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:1 NIV) God was closer to me and I to Him than ever before in my life.
With joy and excitement, I began to share with family and friends how God had provided answers to everyday situations and prayers, because of insights that He had planted in my heart from a devotional I had read in the morning or the previous week, and which had stuck with me.
Since this change in my initial ritual, the memory work has changed several times, and each change is not tied to a calendar, nor do I give myself a check in the box. I praise God for His faithfulness and wait on Him.
Do you have rituals that need revisiting? Are you tied to a calendar, or to our amazing Lord?
Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. (KJV)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray and trust that You will show us if we have rituals and habits that we need to change. Draw near to us and fill us with Your holy presence. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.