First Steps – March 18, 2019

John Wesley thought Thomas a’ Kempis’ Imitation of Christ was a core holding for anyone’s library.  Written in the 15th Century, a Kempis’ work sought to help all Christians by modeling Jesus Christ.  Recently, I found this exert from a’ Kempis that I thought was interesting; particularly in light of the fluidity of life with all its transitions.   

“So you feel one way today!  You will feel another way tomorrow.  Like it or not, you will be somewhat manic-depressive as long as you live.  

Some days you will be happy and other days you will be sad, 
Some days calm and other days troubled,
Some days faithful and other days faithless,
Some days vigorous and other days sluggish,
Some days solemn and other days lighthearted.
But if you are well taught by the Spirit, you will live above such changes.  You will pass through your various moods unshaken and push on toward your goal of seeking God only.

The clearer your target, the better you will weather emotional storms”

Often, when you read devotionals, there is a tendency to paint an unrealistic rosy picture of life.  Just trust God and everything will be okay.  Though it sounds good and ultimately it is true, there can be an unintended conclusion that all is to be well…all the time.  Even the Wisdom writers understood that there are different seasons to life (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).  With each season, there are different life emotions.

a’ Kempis said something important for us:  Have a clear target!  Our target is to follow a consistent God that is omnipotent and empathic.  God’s unchanging purpose is a covenant love (Hesed).  In the Old Testament, it is the “steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.”  This love never diminishes or falters.  Therefore, let us anchor ourselves in God’s love and allow it to hold us in the midst of changing storms.  

I often remind myself of this anchor when life around me spins out-of-control.  It not only keeps me centered but it helps me focus on my role as a follower of Christ.  As followers of Christ, we are all redeemed disciples commissioned for evangelism.  

  • This week’s reading:
    Monday – Luke 16
    Tuesday – Luke 17
    Wednesday – Luke 18
    Thursday – Luke 19
    Friday – Luke 20

  • Please Pray for:
    Those who are grieving and depressed.
    Those who are unwillingly absent.
    Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
    Our nation and our leaders.
    Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications, and Phase 3: Completion of New Youth Building and rear parking.
    The United Methodist Church.