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Week 1 June 2024, Devotion Part 1

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!   Luke 11:13


Perhaps the casual PRAISE THE LORD of Christian conversation should be retired to give the intentional HOW MUCH MORE a fighting chance. Every good thing that comes to mind should be pushed aggressively into the target range of Christ’s enlarged horizon. That would give faith the razor’s edge to cut us loose from wanting to be merely good when He longs for us to be great. An Elvis painting on velvet might resemble the “king,” but would the Louvre take down a Rembrandt to show it off?


 A trivial swimming pool “accident” illustrates the problem. A near-drowning bee has attracted our pity because of its heroic struggle. We gently cradle it in our hand and lift it to safety on the sunny deck. There we watch it slowly come around. When suddenly it takes flight, compassion turns to elation. What if this tiny bug went home and told its kin it had met a savior? What if it described the huge hand and its mysterious lifting power independent of wings? Would the amazed insects be justified in praying to this benevolent force, expecting more good surprises? Of course, but they would never pray big enough! How could they perceive the enormity of human capacity? Their attention would focus on the hand, ignorant of the wondrous brain that moves it.  (Part 1 of 2)


Comment: The evergreen privacy hedge at the back of our house that frames the patio and pool areas, has grown significantly since I wrote my bee story many years ago.  At present the Privet Ligustrum is gloriously covered with creamy white flowers.  Their fragrance is pleasing, but I’m not tempted to stick my nose in the place where bees are having their field day.  Like me they stay out of the pool, but drink from the water bowl I set out for birds and squirrels.  I check it with my fine mesh tea strainer and fish out the bees that have fallen in.  Once I’ve moved them to a safe, sunny spot, I place a small twig of flowering privet near them, hoping to give them incentive to live.  While doing this the other day, the Holy Spirit nudged me to revisit my original observation as shown above.  Almost immediately the friend came to mind who had just asked me to pray for her.  She had lost her job and decided to launch her own small business.  “If someone would even just give me one day’s work,” she added, “I could survive.”  If not, she would land in the ranks of the homeless and be forced to live in her car. In passing she also mentioned that three days of work would really give a significant boost to her confidence and finances.  Suddenly the bee analogy hit me afresh and challenged me NOT to pray according to her low expectations, but the HOW MUCH MORE of Christ’s direction.  Luke 11 is a treasure trove of instruction on how to pray, but the Holy Spirit had me first meditate on verses 27-28.  “As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’  He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’”  So, do I pray for my friend to get her job back or earn a good living from five full days of work every week?  I need to humbly join the disciples who said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

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