Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "A Shelter In The Time Of Storm"1 (Lyrics)
1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Do not quench the Spirit. (NRSV)
Authors cannot agree on whether writer's block is real or a myth. We all struggle with our words sometimes, though.
Not long ago, my church assigned me to write a series of devotionals based on the lectionary readings for the season. I was working on a devotional using verses from Psalm 126 about "sowing in tears and reaping with shouts of joy", which was published yesterday on PresbyCan. It was an awesome concept, but I struggled with exactly what to say. Eventually, I came up with a list of practical ideas for cultivating joy in today's world. My readers were to rejoice, sing, pray, give, and express gratitude.
But still, the meditation didn't seem quite right. It didn't come full circle and have punch. I decided to move on and work on another devotional, then come back to this one.
I read through the rest of the lectionary Scriptures for the umpteenth time for other ideas, and when I came to 1 Thessalonians 5, my mouth fell open. What did verses 16 through 18 command? None other than to rejoice, pray, and give thanks — exactly matching the practical ideas that I had come up with for cultivating joy. I began to scribble, tying the two Scriptures together.
I cannot take any of the credit for that connection, though. I am certain that the Holy Spirit whispered the inspiration in my ear — and I listened! I did not quench the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit doesn't speak only to writers. The Spirit could whisper an important message to any of us at any time.
For today's Scripture, I quoted the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Other translations say that we are not to "suppress", "smother", "turn away", or "stifle" the Spirit. What beautiful revelations might the Spirit surprise us with if we obeyed this command?
Prayer: Holy Spirit, speak to us. Help us to listen to Your whispers on matters large and small. We are ready. Amen.