Devotional on Luke

Do you think copiers pick up on our stress level?

Luke 12: What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax.

Most Sundays I arrive at church early, meeting with friends for coffee and prayer. Usually, as we’re praying I can hear the church “waking up” as folks start arriving. Generally, I like what I hear. I’m a real fan of happy chatter, children playing, folks sounding glad to see one another. Sometimes, though, I can tell that the morning isn’t going well for some. They’ve met with some issue or another on the way to church. Maybe there’s some family argument going on. Others have things to take care of when they get to church. They arrive and want to get past the friendly greetings as quickly as possible so they can hurry and make copies before their class begins. I appreciate their dedication but wish I could get them to relax a bit. In the passage I’m reading today Jesus notes that some people are always worried about one thing or another. His examples aren’t just frivolous stuff either. They’re concerned about having food to eat and clothes to wear. In soothing tones our Lord points to how God supplies the needs of nature and assures them that they’re more valuable to him than all else. I understand that life brings unexpected, last minute concerns to us so I’m not being critical of those folks who anxiously wait for the copier to warm up. Still, I have the idea that their day will go much better if they’ll make it their practice to join us in prayer, enjoying some quiet time in the presence of the Lord before launching into a busy Sunday morning.

Take Away: If I view the Lord as a stern unyielding judge I have every reason to be stressed – if I see him as my loving Heavenly Father I can rest in the assurance of his provision for me.

Devotional on Jeremiah

A personal promise from the Lord
Jeremiah 45: I’ll keep you alive through the whole business.
The story of Jeremiah pretty much ends with him in Egypt. Aside from the conclusion to his writings in the last pages of the book we’re about to move to an “appendix” of some of his prophecies concerning other nations. Just before we do that, we find the brief words of chapter 45. Obviously, this is out of place and would fit better back in chapter 36. It’s in that chapter that we find the story of Jeremiah’s dictating his gloom and doom message to his loyal secretary, Baruch. This good man writes it all down, not once, but twice. Baruch, then, is very aware of what’s coming, and frankly that knowledge scares him to death. The king might deny it all and act to silence the messenger. Baruch, though, believes every word he’s written. In an act of mercy, Jeremiah informs his faithful secretary that now he has a message specifically for him. God’s word for this good man is this: “Things are going to get worse, but don’t worry, I’m going to take care of you and see you through this whole business.” I can just imagine Baruch’s blood pressure dropping several points as Jeremiah states these words of assurance to him. I can’t find any prophecies in the Bible with my name on them, but I do find plenty of promises addressed to those who put their trust in the Lord. Like Baruch, then, I have a word from the Lord to hold on to even when things are in the “getting worse” stage. I don’t have to be consumed with worry because God has promised life to me.
Take Away: It’s a great comfort in troubling times to remember that the Lord has promised life to me.