Daily Devotion - Friday, January 22, 2016

Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
 only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning - Proverbs 1:7

Yesterday I listened to reports on the radio about how Washington, DC was crippled by a light dusting of snow that quickly turned the streets both inside and outside the Beltway into a frozen mess.  One man declared that it had taken him an hour to drive four miles.  

Even President Obama's motorcade was spinning its wheels during a long commute back to the White House, which I am sure did not sit well with the White House.  

People were abandoning their cars on the side of the road because they couldn't move them in the horrific traffic jams caused by the icy streets.  The news was made all the more terrible because the city was preparing for a massive snowstorm of historic  proportions that is due to hit the eastern United States any moment.  

The mayor of Washington, DC was blathering on and on about how the city was prepared for the coming Snowpocalypse despite the fact it hadn't been at all ready for the light dusting the day before.  Not surprisingly, most of the people being interviewed for the story were unconvinced by her declaration.  

I felt a bit more charitable.  I saw the icy, jammed-up roads and the horrific traffic as a warning sign.  It was a wake-up call for the city officials to get themselves ready for the real thing.  I wonder what would have happened if the Snowpocalypse had come a day earlier.  Can you imagine the carnage that would have ensued?  

I see our spiritual well-being in much the same way.  From time to time we receive warning signs that all is not well with our relationship with God, and that if something isn't done to correct it, bad things lie ahead for us.  

For example, if you find yourself constantly flying into a rage every time something doesn't go exactly as you planned--it's a warning.  Or if you become melancholy, full of self-loathing and beat yourself each time you make a mistake--it's a warning.  Maybe you feel restless all of the time, constantly searching for the next high so you can feel alive--it's a warning. 

One of the great things about a new year is that we get the opportunity to do the kind of self-inventory that we need in order to start fresh, begin again, do more to do better in the coming year.  

If you find that your self-inventory reveals some of the warning signs I mentioned (and maybe a few I didn't), perhaps it's time to re-focus and to do as Proverbs 1:7 exhorts:  "Start with God." If your focus is on a solid, faithful, close relationship with your Creator and Redeemer, you will in turn find the energy and the courage to do the hard work of strengthening your mind, body and spirit in ways that will withstand any of life's storms.  

May you discover this day and every day the power that comes from starting with God.  May you find the strength to let God be your Mighty Fortress, your Shield and your Rock, as God is described in the Bible.  May you be prepared for all of life's storms, ready to stand in courage and great faith.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen.  


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