Thursday Quote Day: Charles Dickens

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features a quote from author Charles Dickens:

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.”  (Charles Dickens)

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Sunday Devotional: Luke 22:39-46

“He went out and made His way as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him.  When He reached the place, He told them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  Then He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray,  “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.  Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. When He got up from prayer and came to the disciples, He found them sleeping, exhausted from their grief. “Why are you sleeping?” He asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:39-46)

At this point, Jesus and His disciples had just finished eating the Passover meal and they left the upper room.  Jesus then went over to the Mount of Olives to spend some time in prayer.  While Jesus was praying, several of His closest disciples (Peter, James & John) were to keep watch.  However, they were tired and kept falling asleep.  Jesus kept waking them up and encouraging them to pray as well.

As I was recently reading over these verses again, I was struck by a phrase that I hadn’t noticed before.  It said that when Jesus checked on the disciples he found they were sleeping “exhausted from their grief.” Other translations say they were “sleeping from sorrow.”  The disciples knew something was the matter even though they didn’t know what would take place in mere hours.  But they were distraught.  And so they wanted to just sleep.

I know there have been times in my life where I was exhausted from my grief and and wanted to sleep from sorrow.  When times were hard and I was struggling and just wanted to turn my mind off and sleep.  But like the disciples, in those times we need to pray.  We need to pray for the situations that we’re struggling with at the moment.  We need to pray for those around us and the problems they are facing.  We need to pray and praise God for listening to us.  But no matter what we need to pray.

This week, whether we are exhausted from grief or things are going well, let us pray.  Let us be about prayer.  And if it something we’re struggling with, let God know.  It is a joy and privilege that we have to be able to talk to God.  Let us take advantage of that.

Sunday Devotional: Colossians 3:14-17

“Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.  And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.  Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  (Colossians 3:14-17)

Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, was always one to encourage.  Here he encouraged them to be about love.  Love towards one another and love to those around them.  This love is possible because of what Jesus was doing in and through them.  Because of Jesus, we are able to love.  We are able to be united.  We are able to be thankful.  We are able to sing.

Paul also tells the Colossians that “whatever” they do, they should do it in Jesus’ name.  Because He should be all about what we say and do.  This week, let us be about that as well.  Let us love and encourage one another.  Let us in whatever we say and do, do it for the glory of God because of Jesus.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 105:1-4

“Give thanks to Yahweh, call on His name;
proclaim His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him, sing praise to Him;
tell about all His wonderful works!
Honor His holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.
Search for the Lord and for His strength;
seek His face always.”  (Psalm 105:1-4)

One of the great things about Psalms is the reminder of God’s goodness and His faithfulness.  There are many psalms throughout the book that sing of these attributes.  Not only that, they call us to remember them daily.  These verses are a part of just such a psalm.

We have so much to be thankful for that God has given to us.  We can rejoice and be glad.  But we are not just to keep it to ourselves.  We are to share them with everyone around us.  We are to “proclaim His deeds among the people.”  It should just burst forth because we have been blessed so much to share that with others.

The other key part in these verses is the psalmist says we should seek God’s face always.  We should always be pursing being before God.  So this week, let us be thankful, let us be sharing and let us be seeking.  Let us be thankful for all that God has given us.  Let us be sharing with others about what God has done.  And let us be seeking the Lord every day.