Wondrous Works

It is chilly on the Outer Banks. January and February are my least favorite months here. The wind is aggressive, the sky is mostly gray, and the temperatures are frigid without the promise of snow.

What’s not to like, right?

But there are unexpected days here and there when the wind stops and the sun comes out and that same frigid temperature suddenly feels approachable and even…dare I say it….nice.

Living on the water is a constant reminder of God’s wondrous works, regardless of the weather. My favorite photographer for these devotionals goes to the ocean almost every day to take pictures of the sunrise. She braves the abrasive, sandy wind and bitter “Real Feel Temps” to be present with God as he wakes up the world. If you read these devotionals every day, you have seen the beauty of her work. Michelle’s sense of awe in the presence of God’s majesty comes through every shot. My sense of awe that she is up that early in all kinds of weather is big, too! I thank God for every picture she takes that brings the rest of us, snuggled warm in our beds, into the magnificence of God’s sunrise moments.

Psalm 111 (Common English Bible)

Praise the Lord!
    I thank the Lord with all my heart
    in the company of those who do right, in the congregation.
The works of the Lord are magnificent;
    they are treasured by all who desire them.

It is easy where I live to see the works of the Lord and to proclaim them “magnificient.” There are other works of the Lord that are harder to see: humility, generosity, patience, grace, righteousness, and all those quiet things that we see in God’s people. These works are just as treasured by the Lord and his people.

God’s deeds are majestic and glorious.
    God’s righteousness stands forever.
God is famous for his wondrous works.
    The Lord is full of mercy and compassion.

The Lord is indeed full of mercy and compassion. Are you? Can you show mercy to someone who doesn’t think like you? Do you have compassion for those who are oppressed and forgotten? Is God calling you to reconsider your words?

God gives food to those who honor him.
    God remembers his covenant forever.
God proclaimed his powerful deeds to his people
    and gave them what had belonged to other nations.

God is in the business of righteousness, mercy, creativity, and generosity. May we also be about our Lord’s business this day.

Good Morning, Dolphin by Michelle Robertson

Dwelling

What is your mind dwelling on right now? Are you overcome with politics and campaigns? Are the pandemic’s daily death numbers, unemployment, quarantine, and imposing restrictions plaguing your thoughts? Perhaps it is your financial situation, or the daily struggle of remote learning, or maybe the hurricane season that has you preoccupied.

One of the challenges we all face in our discipleship is setting aside our day-to-day worries and aggravations so that we can allow space for God’s word to filter in. It is a struggle. It takes perseverance, discipline, and a plan.

A friend stopped me the other day and told me that she saves these devotionals to read on Sunday mornings. She gets up at sunrise, makes coffee, and walks to a sand dune where she can watch the sun come up over the ocean. She reads and worships in that setting. I was extremely blessed to know this. It occurs to me that she is able to spend time dwelling on God’s presence because she puts herself in a “dwelling” that is conducive to focusing.

Where are you right now? Are you in a quiet place that allows contemplation? Or are you surrounded by distraction? Changing our locale when we are studying scripture may just be the thing we need to really take it all in.

Psalm 105 (Common English Bible)

Give thanks to the Lord;
    call upon his name;
    make his deeds known to all people!
Sing to God;
    sing praises to the Lord;
    dwell on all his wondrous works!

Being able to dwell on God’s wonderful works makes a huge difference in how the rest of the day goes. Putting his mercy and grace foremost in our thoughts can change our perspective and attitude.

Give praise to God’s holy name!
    Let the hearts rejoice of all those seeking the Lord!
Pursue the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always!

A day that starts with pursuing God and his strength is a day that moves in the right direction. When we remember his wondrous works and seek his face we find ourselves not looking to the world for direction and comfort. And that is a very good thing indeed.

Remember the wondrous works he has done,
    all his marvelous works, and the justice he declared—
    you who are the offspring of Abraham, his servant,
        and the children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

God is a just God, a loving God, a GIVING God, and a powerful God. Dwell on that today and you will be blessed by the hour.

Dwelling in God’s Beauty by Michelle Robertson