Rituals

January 3, 2014
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.

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About the author:

Lisa McLaughlin-Kent <gotzboyz@rogers.com>
Scotland, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    I will be using these ideas! Thanks.


    Interesting insight Lisa. Thanks for writing.


    Thanks Lisa. A guid New Year to you and yours.


    Thanks so much for your challenge — a very good devotional.


    Good thought to put into practice for the New Year. Thank you Lisa!


    Thank you so much for your devotional today, it was a blessing to my heart.


    Thank You for your thought provoking Devotion!! I have shared it with our email group.


    Dear Lisa,
    I’m starting with Psalm 8 today. Thanks.


    You inspire me to get closer to The Lord and my family. Thank you for sharing your daily devotional with me.


    Thank you Lisa. This confirms what I have been wrestling with for over a year. God bless you for your insight and devotion.


    Dear Lisa,
    I was just thinking about the same thing today, only your words were clearer to me. Thank you for writing.


    Thank you, Lisa; great devotional. Your words ring truth and made me look at my own little rituals. I guess the old phrase of “Let go and let God” goes with this writing. Happy New beginnings to both yourself and me.


    Dear Lisa,
    I’m glad to see your name again.
    I was especially with you in:
    I prayed that God would take the lead role and help me craft my plans.
    I pray that God will give you opportunities to sing the psalm to others too.
    And I pray that you will keep singing the WORD and writing it.


    Lisa,
    This has been my experience too. The closer we are to God in our personal need the more closely He draws to us. I have one daughter who believes in Jesus Christ as Saviour. The only problem is my other two daughters are personally more like me. As a science major I realize we are affected by the pull of the moon such as our tides are.


    Thank you for your Devotional. I am using it for our seniors’ program.
    God’s blessings to you & yours on the ’14 journey.

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