New Beginnings: See? I Am Doing a New Thing!—God
The Lenten Season of 2018 officially began last week with Ash Wednesday. There were two other meditations that were posted (i.e., Introduction to Lent on Mon., Feb. 12th , and Shrove Tuesday, on Feb. 13th, the day before Ash Wednesday). In addition to the information shared last week re: the meaning of Ash Wednesday, I also posted some suggested Scriptures for daily readings to begin preparing for today’s topic: Reflection.
Life can be a whirlwind of activity filled with both positive and less-than-welcome experiences. These challenges begin at birth as parents, sure their infant is the cutest, smartest, most entertaining, etc., discover they need to impress others with these truths—even if the only thing that we can brag about is that their babies are reaching developmental milestones. But what drives this need for attention and affirmation from family, friends, and even total strangers? Have we slowed down and stopped to examine why we get caught in this energy-zapping process? Is it the result of being preoccupied with “being successful parents,” but what is our definition of ‘success’? And how does it apply to the other areas of our lives?
Without reflection we may fall into line with whatever the popular crowd is doing or without considering our own morals, values, and ethics. For example, do we define our success through the eyes of others? Remember when King Saul’s God-ordained successor, David, was chosen to be the king of Israel? The prophet, Samuel, was sent to Jesse’s (David’s father) house in Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons to be the next Israelite king. As we read the account, we discover that Samuel believed that God had chosen, Eliab, the son that made a great first impression on the prophet. However, God nixed that idea and put a check in Samuel’s spirit: “ 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” (1 Sam. 16: 7).
Lent provides us with the reminder and opportunity to reflect upon our lives. A great starting point is remembering that God looks at our heart, at our inner lives, while people often judge us on our external appearances and works. Our first priority, as we examine our spiritual lives, is to meditate and act upon the most important command that Jesus gave us, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence,’”(Matt. 22: 37, MSG). ). In other words, God is not impressed by the ‘works’ that we do for status or prestige. It’s a time to ask ourselves how we are doing in our quest to love and serve God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Moreover, we need to check how we live our lives—are we living in a manner that’s pleasing to our Father? Do people look at us and notice that we will not compromise our moral values or ethics to be successful in their lives? Are we confident in our God sees us, and is our focus on pleasing Him versus the becoming accepted by the popular group?
Dear Lord, help us to see ourselves as You see us, and give us understanding of how to live our lives in the awareness of Your continuing presence. In Your name we pray. Amen.
Suggested Daily Scripture Readings:
Wed. 1 Samuel 16: 1-7 Thurs. Deut. 6: 4-9; cf. Matt. 22”37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27. Fri. Matt. 22: 34-40 Sat. 2 Corinthians 5: 14-20 Sun. Ephesians 17-24 Mon. John 15: 18-27 Tues.
Blessings and Peace,
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor) Canada