Saturday, January 4, 2014

Heart Clean-Up

The holidays are just about over at my house. Somehow, because of the mid-week holiday, three days off work netted me a ten-day stretch out of the office.  If it sounds confusing, it's because it is. I'm astounded at how long I've been off. It's been like a little vacation!  Not only did I have a great visit with my son, but I've had a few days with no pressing agenda. I've managed to get all the Christmas decorations down, boxed, and stored. I've even rearranged the storage house to make it more "user friendly".  

With that task accomplished, I've started cleaning off countertops, sorting through junk drawers and junk boxes, and straightening bookshelves. As I've sorted, rearranged, and redistributed, I've found that the more "stuff" I get rid of, the more stuff I want to deal with. I'm liking these leaner shelves, and wondering what to sort through next. It's early spring cleaning!

As I was thinking about spring cleaning my house, I remembered a little pamphlet  from years ago. (It might've been a book, but I don't think so). It was called "My Heart: Christ's Home", and the memory has me thinking about spring cleaning my heart as well. You may never accumulate a bit of sin that you don't repent of right away. I hope you don't, but sometimes I do. Before you know it, those sins can accumulate and you will have an unforgiveness issue, critical spirit, unkind words, bad attitude. You know how sin piles up if you don't keep short accounts. This evening, I've been running through my list and trying to clean my heart-house as well. Just like my house cleaning, the more I deal with, the more I want to do. What sweet fellowship with The Lord comes from these times of "I'm sorry"!

A clean house is nice, but you just can't beat a clean heart. Perhaps your heart could use a little clean up, too. There's no time like the present, so why not get started? You may be as surprised as I by what's been accumulating! 

Through-the-roof Prayers: The Long Way Around

But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. (Luke 5:19 NASB)

The four determined men had brought the paralyzed man to the building where Jesus was teaching, and they were not going to be thwarted by a crowd. When they could not get through the people in the doorway, they immediately began looking for another way. Their goal was to get the man directly in front of Jesus, where the two could be eye-to-eye. 

I've seen many Bible story pictures that suggest these men committed a serious act of vandalism in trying to get to Jesus. It has sometimes been presented as if these men destroyed a portion of the roof through which to let the stretcher down. Blue Letter Bible suggests a different scenario, which I favor. Middle-eastern houses had flat roofs, with a door to them so that the roof could be used for walking around or even sleeping at night. The roof was accessible by ladder or stairs. Perhaps, rather than vandalism, they saw the stairs, recognized an alternate way, and carried the man long-way-around to lower him before the Healer. 

These men were not dismayed by a crowded doorway, nor by an uncertain patient.  They were taking him to Jesus and would not be deterred. When they determined to carry him to Jesus, they did not have a promise of healing, nor a guarantee of change. Their job was to get him to Jesus. They left the decision about intervention to Jesus. Did they believe Jesus could heal? Yes. Did they believe Jesus would heal? Certainly. I don't know if you recognized this it not, but no request of Jesus is recorded. The presenting him before Christ was the request. 

I've prayed this way before, simply calling out the name of the one for whom I'm praying, knowing they need Jesus desperately and simply bringing them before the throne of God.  These prayers of desperation leave the choice of intervention to God, and may be the purest form of prayer. It's a "through the roof" prayer that puts our loved ones right before Jesus so that He can do what He wills.

Today, take the long way around and offer "through the roof prayers" for our loved ones. Call their names before Jesus with all the love and concern in your heart and wait expectantly for Him to move. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Seeking Heart

...And they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. (Luke 5:18b NASB)

What a surprise I found when I was studying this verse today!  I was going through the interlinear Bible, checking every Greek word by the Strong number, and came to the words "trying to". I expected this word to mean "attempting".  Instead, I found that "zēteō", the Greek word used here, actually means seeking. These men were not just looking around. This is the word used for Herod's search for the baby Jesus, as well as the kind of seeking we are to do for the Kingdom of Heaven. It is also the seeking The Good Shepherd does for the one that has gone astray. This seeking is determined seeking that does not stop until the object of the search is found.

What a challenge! Those men were looking for a way to take the paralyzed man to Jesus, and they would not stop until they found it. If we were that diligent to find a way to take our loved ones to Jesus, I wonder if we would see more success. 

The encouraging part of this seeking is that our Lord seeks for His lost lambs with this same tenacity and determination. He seeks until He finds, so take heart that He is faithful in His efforts, even when we are not. 

Today, pray for zēteō (diligently, determinedly seeking) hearts that will not give up until all our loved ones have been brought to Jesus. Praise God, too, that He will not give up in His efforts to bring them back to Him. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The faith that brings Healing

And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. (Luke 5:18 NASB)

The word translated here as "paralyzed" is paralyō and is most often used to indicated "paralysed or weak on one side".  The most common cause of one-sided paralysis is a stroke, which more commonly occurs in middle-aged and older people. This was likely an older man who was paralyzed as a result of a stroke. 

The word for "men" doesn't clarify the relationship of the men to the sick man, but the same story is related in Matthew and Mark, where we learn that there were four men. We also know that the four men initiated the visit to Jesus, not the paralyzed men, because Jesus said He was responding to the men's faith when He healed him. 

Take those facts and consider how this must have happened. The paralyzed man was lying on his mat, as always. The four men (sons, maybe?) had already made up their minds when they approached the man about going to Jesus, who was said to perform miraculous healings. This man did not have faith that Jesus could heal him, but that didn't matter to the four men. They were taking him to Jesus anyway.  They each took a corner, lifted him on his mat, and off they went. These men were so sure that Jesus could and would do a miracle that they hauled him through the streets of Capernaum and straight to the place where Jesus was teaching. 

The paralyzed man was powerless to change his condition. He did not believe Jesus could change it either. He believed he was stuck in this very weakened, difficult condition. The men, however, had such faith that Jesus could heal him that they carried him on his bed, despite his protests, all the way to where Jesus was teaching. They believed Jesus could and would heal him. They knew he did not have to stay the same. 

We are all either the sick man without faith, the men with more than enough faith to bring the ones we care about to Jesus, or the bystanders waiting to see what happens. Which are you?  Do you believe that Jesus can heal those you love? Will you bring them to Jesus? You can bring them straight to Jesus through your prayers, and have confidence that the Great Physician can and will heal them. Can He heal their wounds? Yes! Will He heal if your faith is great enough? Yes. Sometimes He heals this side of eternity and sometimes He heals on the other side, but He always heals.  

Today, use the faith you have, whether mustard-seed sized or the size of a mountain, and bring those you love to Jesus in prayer. Present them and their needs to Him. When He moves, you and your loved ones will be so glad you did. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The New Year's Sign

There are two things you needs to know about my mama. First of all, she made great fried chicken. It was my favorite thing that she cooked. The other thing you need to know is that my mama always said that what you do on New Year's Day is what you are going to be doing all year long, so what happens on New Year's Day is a sign of what's to come in the next year. 

Today, I drove Ryan back to Atlanta and Georgia Tech. We had a leisurely drive with too many stops and were running late. The plan was to unload Ryan's things at his apartment, stop by the hotel and let me check in, stop somewhere for dinner, then see The Hobbit in IMAX 3D. Unfortunately, it took longer to unload Ryan than we expected and our schedule was suddenly extremely tight. Somehow, we managed it with 45 minutes to eat and get in the movie. 

Chick a Biddy is the new restaurant across from the theater. "Hey Ryan, let's see if we can get something quick here," I said. He wasn't hungry but I wasn't sure I could hold out for three more hours, so we stopped in. Since they had fried chicken, and I can't eat wheat, I figured I'd just get a salad. We picked up menus, and I started trying to find something gluten-free to eat.  Suddenly, Ryan said, "Hey Mom, look. They have gluten-free!"  There was a GF icon by the chicken tenders. The FRIED chicken tenders. There was also a GF icon by the sides section. ALL the sides. 

The waitress came to take our order. I wasn't positive about what I'd just read, so I asked to be sure. "Does this mean the tenders are gluten-free?" She smiled a huge, beautiful smile and said, "Oh, yes! Our fried tenders and all our sides are gluten-free." Somehow, it was such an unexpected gift that I started crying. I had to blink back tears and swallow back sobs to regain my composure enough to order my meal. I looked like a total nut, but Ryan just watched and smiled. He was rejoicing with me. Well, he was laughing a little bit, too.

When my meal came, it was astounding! It had been a long time since I last had fried chicken, but this was so crispy, juicy, and tender that it was just about better than my mama's. The Mac and cheese was so smooth and creamy that it was unbelievable. Yum! My tears had dried, but when the waitress came by to see how we were doing and asked how I liked the chicken, I started crying again. It was outrageous and embarrassing, but Ryan wasn't embarrassed. He was thrilled for me, still smiling and laughing. Then, the manager came by to see how I liked the GF Mac and cheese.  Apparently, they'd been talking about the weepy lady at the front table. I started leaking again. She was radiant at my response to their food. 

It wasn't so much that the food was wonderful, nor that it was gluten-free, although it was. Because of her celiac disease, my mama was gluten-free long before it was trendy, and she would've loved the meal. That was part of what was overwhelming. Really, though, my tears were mostly because my mama would've said it was a sign of something good to come in the new year. 

Such a sweet, totally unexpected surprise was not just a coincidence. I took it as a gift from God and, regardless of whether or not it was a "sign", it was an unexpected blessing in the least likely place. Because of travel today, we missed all those traditional New Year's foods like cabbage and black-eyed peas that are supposed to bring luck and prosperity. I've never put much stock in that anyway. I know that every good and perfect gift comes from above. The likelihood of blessings has nothing to do with peas or cabbage, or with chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese for that matter. Tonight, I was reminded all over again that blessings come straight from the hand of God, and the one I received at dinner was mighty precious, indeed.  

I've had some blessings that didn't look as much like a gift from God as the fried chicken did, though. In fact, they looked terrible and more like a curse than a blessing.  Now that I'm on the other side of them, however, I can see they made me more Christ-like, and that made enduring the blessing worth it. Perhaps you've had a few of those blessings yourself. There's no way to know what form our blessings will take this year, but there is one thing we can count on. Every blessing we receive will come, not from our own hard work or as a gift from a loved one, but straight from the hand of God, and that is something to which we can look forward all year long.  

Power from Prayer

One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. (Luke 5:17 NASB)

This was a hard verse for me, because of that last phrase. It sounded to me as if Jesus had power at times and other times did not, but the word for power used here is also used in other passages to describe the power that emanated from Him. It is the power that the woman with the hemorrhage of blood accessed when she touched the hem of His garment. This is not intermittent power Jesus had that day, it means even greater power. My difficulty in understanding came from failing to take the verse in context. Charles Spurgeon clarified the situation for me when he wrote, in his sermon "Carried by Four" (#981) in 1871:

"He withdrew into the wilderness to hold communion with his Father, and, as a consequence, to come forth clothed with an abundance of healing and saving power. Not but that in himself as God he always had that power without measure; but for our sakes he did it, that we might learn that the power of God will only rest upon us in proportion as we draw near to God."

Jesus had just returned from a prayer retreat in the wilderness, which was the source of His direction and strength. This verse demonstrates for us the abundance of power available from time spent drawing near to God.

Selah. Pause and consider. 

Jesus was fully human and fully God. In His humanness, He consciously made an effort to go to a quiet place and spend time in private prayer and listening (conversation) with God. As a result of that time, He had greater power. Spurgeon is right. It points out to us what is available if we were just willing to spend serious time seeking God and drawing near to Him. 

In this past year, did you experience an abundance of power from on high? Could it be that lack of power is a result of a lack of prayer time?  As we begin 2014, commit to seek The Lord to such a degree that He will be able to use you for the miraculous because of the power of God that rests upon you. This power only comes from God and only comes out of quality quiet time with Him, but it is as available today as it was in Jesus's time. 

Pray today that God will draw us and our loved ones into such relationship with Him that we emerge from our time with Him clothed in His power and His righteousness. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Superpower and the Superhero

This time last year, my pinkie finger had three Frankenstein pins sticking out of it as external fixation for a shattered bone (proximal phalanx for our medical readers). I had dropped a jar of peanut butter on it Christmas Day and had surgery three days later. I was truly astonished that a bone that small could hurt that much, and I was a big baby. It does not hurt my feelings one bit to admit it. You can ask anyone at my office, and they will confirm that I was a baby. I was pitiful and whiny and not at all a big girl. All my attention was directed at that very small wound and I cried a river of tears.

You may not realize it, but it is hard to put your hair in a French twist with one hand. Why, you can't even wash your hair with just one hand! Buttoning and zipping pants - forget it. Manicures? One handed. Feeding livestock? Nope. Tossing hay bales? Nope. Type? One finger pecking was all I could manage. My life as I knew it came to a screeching halt. Suddenly, I was dressing in yoga pants and wearing an elastic headband to hold my hair back. I gave up manicures. Bill the Magnificent came to work and started doing my farm chores. I ate protein bars and cereal for supper because it was so hard to cook with the cast. 

This time last year, I was astonished at how fast my life had changed and I didn't like it one bit. As the months wore on, and the X-rays looked much the same, I began to worry that I might not get my life back. It was a frightening, sobering thought. 

Now, twelve months later, my finger is still crooked but it's about as well as it's going to get. It's functional and the strength is returning. I can hold a baby aspirin in my hand. That may not seem like much, but it takes a pretty good grip to hold it. All those things I couldn't do are back on the agenda again. 

I have one thing that's new since last year. I can tell the weather with my finger. Ryan says it's a minor superpower. I'm thrilled to have a superpower, although I wish I had a more desirable one. A superpower... Does that make me a superhero? I wish. According to my son Ryan (who is 21 and therefore very knowledgable about these things), people with superpowers are either supervillains, superheroes, or superneutrals. I don't know about you, but I'm not sure which would be worse - supervillian or superneutral. Ok, you are right. Supervillain is worse, but I don't want either of those. 

I guess I'll have to settle for superhero. Hmmm. That means I will have to do something heroic, and that will be a real challenge! I guess that's my new year's goal. Superpower in 2013. Superhero in 2014. Sounds good, doesn't it but it's not realistic. 

The dictionary describes a hero as someone who has done great and courageous deeds. The good news is we already have a real superhero, and His name is Jesus. If dying on the cross and rising again wasn't great and courageous, I don't know what would be. How wonderful! Jesus has done the hard work, and I don't have to be a superhero after all! I'm leaving that job to Jesus. He's the greatest superhero of all!

Faces in the Crowd

One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. (Luke 5:17 NASB)

We are just beginning the story of the paralytic whose friends brought him to Jesus. To set the stage, Jesus was preparing to teach, and a crowd was assembled. News had spread throughout the land about Jesus and there was speculation that He might be the Messiah. There was talk of His miracles and His healing power. 

We will see that some people had come for healing, and some to hear the man they hoped was the Messiah.  Pharisees and teachers of the law had also traveled (on foot) from Jerusalem, Judea, and every village in Galilee in order to hear Him that day. They were not like the murderous crowd in Nazareth, but they were not disciples, either. Most likely, they had come together at an agreed upon time to "check Him out". 

There were several kinds of people in the crowd that day. There were skeptics, critics, disciples, and seekers. There were also likely those who just wanted to be entertained by some miracles.  Some would leave unchanged, but there were a few who would embrace the truth of Christ and be transformed. We approach Jesus in much the same way today.   Some of us are antagonistic towards faith, and some will follow Christ with blind faith in the unseen. Others are earnestly seeking truth and will embrace it with every fiber of their being when truth becomes clear to them. That's the one I want to be.  What about you? Where are you in the crowd around Jesus? 

Today, pray that we and our loved ones will clearly see Christ and His truth, find the answers to all our questions in Him, and follow Him unreservedly and enthusiastically.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Digging, Ditches, and Water

I finally bought a greenhouse. Well, it's going to be a greenhouse. Thanks to Charles Wood who told me where to look, I have a very affordable kit that is pretty close to my dream greenhouse. I think. I won't know for sure, of course, until it is assembled. 

I picked it up today and, naturally, had visions of moving into it this afternoon. Ryan opened the boxes and spied some white paper. "Oh good! Instructions!" He said. I was busy walking off my site and pulling up some weeds that were in my way. "Mom, you might want to look at this first step here," he said. "Why?" I asked. "Well," he said, "It starts with a hole and moves to filling the hole with gravel. It looks like kind of a lot of gravel."  He was exactly right. We needed a 10 ft x 12 ft x 5 inch hole that was smooth and level in the bottom, with a significant amount of pea gravel, before the first piece could be assembled. I grabbed two shovels and we got started. 

After 30 minutes or so, I was beginning to whine, and to see that I could very well still be digging the hole when Spring arrived. I had an almost-respectable hole started when Ryan said, "Where is the door on this thing?" I indicated the end closest to my house. "How are you going to get your water hose in there from the hydrant?" he asked. "Oh, Ryan, I'm just going to run it under the back wall."  I had everything planned. "Umm. I hate to tell you this, but that's not going to work. The back wall is going to be down in the ground.  We can run the water hose around to the front and through the greenhouse I guess." Immediately, I saw the problem. I had positioned the greenhouse as close to the water source as possible, but without any way to get the water inside. 

I wanted to cry. Well, actually I did, but just a little. That canyon we had just dug was in the wrong place! There was nothing to do but move twelve feet back and start over. After a few shovelfuls of dirt, I realized I was not going to make it. I would have to have help. I called my hay man, who pretty much knows everything about farm stuff, and he told me what piece of equipment I needed and who owned it. Help is coming at 7am tomorrow! 

Here's where my problem began. For beautiful plants in the greenhouse, access to water is critical. I understood that, and wanted to be close to the hydrant. My first site was very close to the water. The problem was that I wanted the water source to be unobtrusive. My solution was to hide it in the back where no one would see it. Unfortunately, the only way to access the water was to give it a priority position. 

It sounds a lot like the Christian life, doesn't it? Access to Living Water is not optional, but we certainly have a tendency to keep our faith "out of sight" if possible, don't we? Can you see Jesus willingly accepting the "back of the greenhouse" position? Me either. Living water, the Spirit flowing through us, is so vital that we need to be sure we position ourselves for easy access and availability to His Spirit, so that He can flow unimpeded through our lives. As we approach this new year, let's commit to getting our Christian life in order. The most important things need to be in first place, especially the Living Water of the Spirit.  Forget about being unobtrusive. Where's the fun (or fruit) in that? Place Him in the priority position, where His effect on your life will be obvious to everyone you encounter. Allow Him to work through you as He desires. He might just surprise you with a more productive life. You won't believe how good the fruit will look when the Spirit flows! 

Praying Like Jesus

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. (Luke 5:16 NASB)

This verse is so important to Christian living that it demands a second look. A "mini-vacation" is nice, but a simple change in routine is not why Jesus slipped away. When the world pressed in and threatened to overwhelm Him, when He was facing a difficult challenge, before the toughest choice of His life (save mankind on the cross or not), He went to a quiet place alone and did the only thing that would help. 

He prayed. 

This was not a memorized, "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayer, nor one from a prayer book, although both kinds of prayer have their place. This was a heartfelt conversation with the Most High God, who also just happened to be His Daddy. 

We don't know exactly what happened, but we know something of how Jesus prayed. He spoke words of praise and honor to His Father, much as we would greet someone with words like "I'm so glad to see you", or "Thanks for taking time with me today".  He also spoke of His needs, including His need for wisdom and direction, as well as His need for protection and His desire to stay the course without error. 

(You may think I'm making this up, but I'm not. We can know the way Jesus spoke with His Father by looking at the model prayer He gave us in Matthew 6.) 

Jesus's words were an important part of His prayer time, but if that was all there was, He would still have the same questions He had before He started praying. Conversations require two-way communication, and that's the essence of prayer. Jesus needed the quiet and the solitude to hear that still small voice clearly and to get the direction He needed.  He also needed time so that He could stay in place until the conversation was completed. 

When you pray, is it like a conversation between a much-loved child and an adoring Father or just a laundry list of needs and wants?  There is a place for expressing desires, but if the list is all that happens, it's not really a conversation with God, is it?   As we approach the New Year, let's commit to spending quality time in conversation with the Lover of Our Soul. 

Today, pray for daily quiet, alone time with our Lord and a commitment to use that time wisely. Pray that we and our loved ones will be quiet and still until we hear that Still Small Voice and willing to obey the direction He gives.  
p.s. - The rock, above, is said to be the place where Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested and crucified.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Maggie resists the inevitable

Ryan and I had walked out to the pecan grove to decide where to put my greenhouse (the one I want but don't have yet). Bill the Magnificent was with us to discuss which fence to move and how to protect the greenhouse from curious cows. Once that was sorted out, Ryan and I went back to the house to start taking down the Christmas decorations, and Bill headed back to the barn.

When we returned to the house, Maggie the Wonder Dog was barking up a storm. She did not like being left behind! She came out to the porch where we had paused to talk with a neighbor who stopped by to visit a minute. Suddenly, her little eleven-pound body froze and her head popped up. I looked up to see what had caught her attention. Bill had let the horses out and they were running in circles like crazy. Maggie the Wonder Dog does not allow the horses in the pecan grove, and she was off like a shot to herd them into the barn, barking all the way.  

She raced around while we rearranged the storage house and moved the decoration boxes back in place. Hot, tired, and dirty, we headed back to the house, but Maggie wanted all the outside time she could get. She played until dark. She usually barks when she's ready to come in, I open the door, and in she comes. Quick and easy. 

This evening, I looked out and she was as dirty as could be. Muddy Miss Maggie needed a serious scrubbing. I made the mistake of telling her she would have to have a bath when she came in. Maggie the Wonder Dog does not prefer baths. She knows that four-letter word and tries to avoid it at all costs. Tonight, she had a terrible delimma. She was hungry, tired, and wanted to snuggle, but she didn't want a bath. Coming inside was the only way to have what she wanted, but it meant she would have to have a bath, too. Her solution was to bark, as if that might somehow change the inevitable.  She barked and barked and barked. I was just about wacko from all the barking. 

Finally, Ryan gave it a try. He had a few techniques that were new and very interesting, but equally ineffective. At last, I decided to try one more thing. I don't know why I hadn't thought of this before! I stepped outside and Maggie immediately headed into the yard. "Mom, that is totally not helping! She's running away worse than ever!" Ryan groaned. What he and Maggie didn't realize was that I wasn't going after Maggie.  I was going to sit in our patio snuggle chair. About the time I sat down, Maggie jumped from the edge of the patio into my lap and snuggled into my arms. She was worn out from resisting so long, but she still had to have what she didn't want (the bath) to get what she did want (food, water, and snuggles). 

Tonight, Maggie reminded me an awful lot of myself. Before I came to Jesus, it was really clear I needed a spiritual bath (cleansing) but I didn't want to give up anything I was doing. Relationship with Jesus was attractive, but the price wasn't (repentance, cleansing, transformation), so I made a terrible uproar while I tried to resist. Eventually, I needed Jesus so much that I was willing to accept whatever change He wanted, but it took a while to get there.  What a silly waste of time all that delay and fuss was! 

If there are some things in your life that need to change, but you have been resisting, maybe it's time to reconsider. Why not jump into the open arms of Jesus and let Him do what needs to be done? You'll be pleasantly surprised by how good a clean heart feels, and relationship with Jesus? It's worth anything. 

A Matter of Priority

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. (Luke 5:16 NASB)

In the midst of the tightest schedule and the most action-packed three years of any human's life, Jesus took frequent breaks. They may not have been long, but they were focused, and they were a priority.  

Maybe you are like me. If I had to accomplish the redemption of the world and train disciples to carry on after I was gone in just three short years, there is no way I'd have taken a break. I'd have pressed on until I was so exhausted that I collapsed. The idea of frequent "mini vacations" seems odd to me, yet that is exactly what Jesus did. He withdrew to a peaceful, quiet, empty place where He could be alone to talk with His Dad.  He stopped often to be quiet and visit with His Father, because He knew that was where He gained strength and direction. His power came from God the Father and not from the frail flesh encasing Him. 

We would do well to remember the priorities of Christ. He kept time alone with His Heavenly Father in first place ahead of performing the God-given work He was sent to perform. He didn't neglect the work, but He didn't miss the quiet time, either. It's a wonderful formula for life and ministry, and one we would do well to emulate.  

How jam-packed is your schedule? When did you last take a short break in a quiet place just to spend time in prayer and Bible study? Perhaps it's time for a reordering of priorities. Let's make the most important thing our first priority and trust that, like Christ, we will gain strength and power from the time well spent. 

Pray today that we and our loved ones will "make time for Christ".