July 24

            Ours is a fast-paced society. We have hammered into our heads the idea of go-go-go all the time. Even when you don’t feel like it, even when you’re tired to the point of exhaustion, still we hear the message of “Never mind how tired you are, we still want you to keep going!” And on, and on, and on we go, toiling ceaselessly for what ultimately seems like little to no recognition for our efforts.
            It can be very discouraging for us to work all the time with very little to show for it. It’s no wonder that people become burned out easily. There is, however, a difference between being tired of the work you’re doing and just being tired. Paul exhorts us twice in his letters not to stop doing good. He says in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” And again in 2 Thessalonians 3:13, “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”

            D.L. Moody, when asked if he ever grew tired of his work, said, “I get tired in the work but not tired of the work. [emphasis added]” Therein lies the difference. Discouragement is easy to succumb to, but if we keep in mind that even though we may not see the results of our work immediately, one day we will, as long as we keep at it. God grant us the strength and perseverance to carry on, even when we want to give up.


July 15

After the darkness comes the Dawn 

Why is everything magnified by the darkness? Why does everything seem worse in the middle of the night? Whether it is sickness, anxiety, insomnia, a phone call, or a strange noise that wakes us, it all seems worse and more scary in the dark.
Seems odd to be talking about darkness in July when we have long days of sunlight, but it is still dark in the middle of the night. We don’t think to turn lights on, we just continue to try to deal with whatever it is in the dark while still half asleep.
Recently I was awakened abruptly by a phone call at 2 am from my son who lives 800 miles away who was having a rough time and needed to hear my voice.  He has never done anything like that before so it shook me to my core. We Methodists don’t talk about Satan much, but that night I yelled at Satan to get away from him and for Light to shine on my son. 
Even the darkness is Light to God. 
 Psalm 139:12 
even the darkness is not dark to You;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with You.

One thing we need to remember is morning will come. We need to hang on. We may choose to wake someone and talk to them because the dark is worse when you are alone. We definitely need to pray because we know that God is always listening, even in the dark. And we should read scripture. That night I opened the Bible to Psalm 119. A few years ago when I was going through a difficult time, I read the entire Psalm out loud to myself in several translations and underlined verses that spoke to me and gave me comfort. 
Morning will come.
After the darkness comes the dawn. The sun WILL rise in the morning. Things will look different in the morning, in the light of day. In the meantime, God will be there with us in the darkness. I try to imagine that Jesus is sitting right next to me during those times.

Even the darkness is light to You.

As the Michael W Smith song “Surrounded” says - “It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You, this is how I fight my battles.”
 Next time you are in darkness, let the Light of God surround and flow over you


July 9

Gracious God, thank you for friends. Thank you for friends who are with us for a season and friends who remain with us for life. Please help me to be a better friend: generous, forgiving, just, and being a loving presence when needed. Thank you for being my friend, now and forever. In Jesus' name, Amen.