- Sunday: 2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Psalm 27:1-6; Proverbs 20:20-21
- Monday: Ezra 1:1-2:70; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:7-14; Proverbs 20:22-23
- Tuesday: Ezra 3:1-4:23; 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4; Psalm 28:1-9; Proverbs 20:24-25
- Wednesday: Ezra 4:24-6:22; 1 Corinthians 3:5-23; Psalm 29:1-11; Proverbs 20:26-27
- Thursday: Ezra 7:1-8:20; 1 Corinthians 4:1-21; Psalm 30:1-12; Proverbs 20:28-30
- Friday: Ezra 8:21-9:15; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Psalm 31:1-8; Proverbs 21:1-2
- Saturday: Ezra 10:1-44; 1 Corinthians 6:1-20; Psalm 31:9-18; Proverbs 21:3
Scripture: Psalm 27:4, 5
"The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord's perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock."
This is a request for the peace and safety of the Lord's presence and protection. As I read this passage early today, it resonated in my heart. I want to experience unencumbered intimacy with God every day, filling every thought with his perfections. I want as well to experience the safety of his grace, insulating me from the dangers that lurk beyond his embrace.
It's not that I have a problem remembering his promise...that he will never leave or forsake me. But I often wake up in the midst of stressful situations, like a sleepwalker in the night...to discover that I have ventured into the pressures and uncertainties of life without being sufficiently tethered to God and his promises.
It's not that he has left or forsaken me; it's that I am repeatedly distracted by my tendency to worry as the first response to stress and "take the bull by the horns" and try to work out the problem on my own. Only after I've rendered myself an emotional wreck do I discover that I've been trying to manage life on my own, without God's help...again!
I want to break this pattern and find God's peace...God's holy Temple...in the midst of the turmoil, like that seventeenth-century saint, Brother Lawrence. I want to replace worry and panic as my kneejerk reaction to stressful circumstances with worship and prayer.
O Father, just wanting this change is not sufficient. But it is a first step, which turns me back to you long enough to ask for your help. I think I've been praying for the wrong thing—namely, for you to take away the challenges and stressors that create such disequilibrium in my life. What I ask for today, in Jesus' name, is that you would change the orientation of my soul...away from the problems without and back to you and your abiding presence. Please use the wisdom from failed attempts to manage things on my own to break me of the tendency to react with worry and fear when storms intensify. Please, for Jesus' sake, let my first and only response be to seek refuge in you. Amen.
May God's peace and protection surround you this week.