Devotional for March 31

  Greetings in Christ,

  An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and turn the other cheek are in stark contrast with each other, and when a situation arises were we have to make the choice between the two which do we choose? Are we angry all the time or do we have peace in our lives?  Do we give praise for what we have in life: a place to live, vehicle to drive, clothes to wear, or do we complain we do not have enough of the finer things in life?

  We may not like the life we have, or the situations we have to face on a daily basis.  We might not like the mediocre job we have, or working with our co-workers.   Our house is not big enough, or our car is not new.  This is the only life you will have here on earth, and you want a better life.  Whatever situation we find ourselves in which makes us feel unhappy stop and think about just how bad you really could have it.   

  We can find all kinds of reasons to not like someone or a situation, but does it do us any good?  We can expend more energy and time being grumpy.  We waste more energy and time trying to get back at others because they wronged us, or we waste more energy and time trying to satisfy our hunger for the material things in life.  As the saying goes it takes more effort and muscles to frown than to smile.  Life is too short to let someone or something control you.  We let the situations of life bind us to the point we become bound to them and they begin to control our thoughts and behavior.  They drag us down to the point we become frustrated and disgusted, and then that’s when we make mistakes we might regret later.

  I can’t help but think about the life of David.  A young man who was a shepherd tending his flock facing wild animals while defending his flock, but he did not fear enter his mind while he dealt with the wild animals for he knew God would be there to guide his actions.  Later, David was chosen to be a king by God only to be chased by Saul for years trying to kill him.  David had to avoid him by hiding in the wilderness and caves just so he could sleep at night.  David goes on to write the Psalms which are filled with praise to God for his life.  We might call him crazy, but God saw him as grateful.

  I can’t help but think of Jesus as He faced those last days here on earth.  He knew He must allow the men who accused Him of blasphemy hang Him on the cross.  He knew He must stay silent as the accusations were hurled at Him during the fake trial, and endure a horrendous beating by the Roman guards, and then mocked by them as they called Him the King of the Jews.  Many called Jesus crazy, but He saw it as time of redemption for mankind.

  We want things cut and dry, black and white, clearly defined, to the point, and whatever term we can apply to how we want things to go, but it comes down to us wanting to have control of our life.  We will never have control.  Control is an illusion which is dangled in front of us by the great deceiver telling us if we work just a little harder we will attain it.  The harder we work the less control we have.

  We waste energy and time trying to accomplish the one thing we cannot grasp-control.  We do it through actions which lead us nowhere and do not achieve any lasting results.  It would be easier if we turned our energy and time towards the One Who has control. 

  The struggles we have here on earth are really God’s battles; let Him fight them for you.  As our creator, He knows just the right thing to do, to guide us along, and by doing this we do not expend unneeded energy and time by making the wrong decisions.  Give thanks to God for your life and what you have.  Let Him find you grateful.

  “Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the Lord.
 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous will enter through it.  I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, and You have become my salvation.  The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.   This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.  This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  O Lord, do save, we beseech You; O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; we have blessed you from the house of the Lord.  The Lord is God, and He has given us light; bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.  You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”  Psalm 118:19-29

  “The Lord God has given me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word.  He awakens me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple.  The Lord God has opened my ear; and I was not disobedient nor did I turn back.  I gave my back to those who strike me, and my cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover my face from humiliation and spitting.  For the Lord God helps me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set my face like flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.  He who vindicates me is near; who will contend with me?
Let us stand up to each other; who has a case against me?  Let him draw near to me.  Behold, the Lord God helps me.”  Isaiah 50:4-9a

  Lord may we lean on You to guide us and give us the strength to live a life full of gratitude for what You have done for us.  Amen


  Mark Johnson
  Psalm 31: 9-16 118,1-2,19-29; Isaiah 50:4-9a;  Philippians 4:5-11;
  Matthew 26:14-27:66, 27:11-54

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