Exodus 5:1-6:1; Psalms 124, 125, 126, 127;
1 Corinthians 14:20-33a, 39-40; Mark 9:42-50
I had a hard time with these readings today. I felt frustrated that they seemed more on the negative side rather than espousing God’s love. Perhaps I just didn’t understand the message. Thank heaven for the gift of a devotional book at Christmas to lead me out of this spiral. I knew I wanted to write about avoiding temptation, as the reading from Mark spoke the loudest to me. The book I received, by Frances J. Roberts, mentions that with more pressure on our time, we tend to sin more. We’re focusing too much on the “small wheel” of our daily lives rather than on the big life we have to look forward to with God. We’re too quick to forget about our spiritual life, yet when we do remember, what a tremendous relief comes over us! It’s as if time stands still – at just the right moment.
I have a little trick when I feel there’s no time left to get the hundred things done that need to be done. (Why does that feeling always hit me when I’m sitting in rush hour traffic?!) If I’m listening to current music, I switch to classical. I love the reminder that God created such talented people centuries ago whose “product” is still greatly appreciated; this just makes me feel my problems are small in the context of several hundred years. But the best trick I keep up my sleeve (admittedly only when I’m alone) is to sing the Gloria out loud, and I find I sing it several times in a row. It sure feels better praising God and wishing peace to his people on earth – even the slow pokes.
I pray for that presence of mind to do the same when true temptation arises. It’s at that point I need most to remember the eternal glory of God.
Dear gracious Father, help me to remember your presence and love during times of temptation so that I may follow the right path. Help me to be a good and right example of your ever present love. In your name, I pray.