Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Travelers

A Devotional By Margot Cioccio

Nicole, Margot and Tonia on the way to Navigate
Philemon 1: 20 
“Yea, brother, 
let me have the joy
of thee in the Lord: 
refresh my heart in Christ.”

So I am on the airplane and I am reminded of a song by Carolyn Arrends called Travelers. I heard her in concert, tell the story behind the song. She found herself stuck in an airport with all the other travelers. She talked about how it became harder to tell the Saints and the Sinners apart the longer people were made to wait.

So I’m on the airplane and my patience is being tried by a yippy little dog a few rows ahead. Someone  should have given the poor thing a benydril.
We are 15 minutes into the flight and it is still barking, poor thing. Thankfully I just remembered that because of my sons insistence that I took a bunch of my cd’s and put them on my computer in i-tunes. Whoo hoo I have headphones in my purse. Ta da no more little barking dog.

I think most trails are kind of like the barking dog I can focus on it or I can remember to connect to God. In this case I needed headphones and a little pre planning to have what I needed to pull this off. I think our daily quiet time spent with the Lord does little things in us to prepare us to cope with the trials that we face. I know mine is pretty lame today after all Paul was beaten and flogged within an inch of his life. I have little room to gripe. My quiet prayer time, may not seem terribly significant or eventful each and everyday. There are days where I spend most of my time reading His word and others where all I can manage is to sit and share my thoughts and listen for his voice speaking quietly to my heart.

So next to me my friends are busy with the things they brought to entertain themselves as we travel. One has her i-phone and is playing a word game. The other is re-taking a test we all took in preparation for the training conference we are on our way to attend.
I am of course working on writing. I have about 2000 words a day to reach my goal of 50,000 words by the end of November. So far at day number four I am on track. I am getting better at this daily writing thing. It was much harder at first and lately it is becoming something that I find myself looking forward to doing. Six months ago the thought of being able to keep up with this kind of writing schedule seemed impossible.
I could write long letter and notes to various friends with out too much difficulty.
So this writing journey has caused me to stretch and grow and what was hard in the past is becoming a habit.  I’m still not sure where it will take me exactly at this point my short term goal is the 50,000 words for November and then a little longer term goal is to complete 365 posts for this devotional. I’m not sure what is beyond that. I have heard that writers often struggle with developing the daily discipline of writing. I can see how this journey is helping to form and establish that discipline in my life.

Well they are now coming by with the drink cart. What refreshment do I want and need at this time. The song in my ears is talking about how we can become drunk on the things of this world. This world has all that I could want and nothing that I need. This world has nothing for me and this world has every thing.  Seem fitting, we are barraged by so much stuff from the world around us, offering to entertain us, numb our pain, to distract us with the urgent over the important.

I am enjoying the connivence of the concordance in my new i-phone. It as helped to make the job of writing much more efficient. So I took a moment to look up a wee bit of spiritual refreshment to go a long with my airplane refreshment. I found Philemon 1: 20 that says. “Yea, brother, let me have the joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my heart in Christ.” It is from a story about a slave named Onesimus. Paul meets this guy while in prison. He writes to the owners of this slave who are personal friends of his and he asks that they would receive this slave Onesimus back as a brother. He is hand carrying a letter from Paul in which he asks that they would treat him in the same way they would if it were Paul himself coming back to them. Paul say I am sending him back to you but it feels like I am cutting of my right arm in doing so. There are people in our lives who in their absence can feel like a missing right arm. Paul is a man of honor and does not want to do anything behind the backs of the owners of this slave and so he sends him back to make things right. The verse from Philemon 1:20 say Do me this big favor, friend. You’ll be doing it for Christ, but it will also do my heart good.   It reminds me how as a Christian we need to be reaching out to bring others up in the faith. Paul sets a wonderful example in this by taking this runaway slave and discipling him. He talks of him as if he is a son in the faith. I think there are people we need to sort of adopt into our life and they become close like family. In so doing we model hopefully how to walk day by day in the Lord. Helping them to become solid in the foundations of the faith and how to be led by the Holy Spirit in daily life. There are some folks like Onesimus that need to be encourage at some point to go back and make things right in various situations in their life.  We are to extend not only hospitality to travelers but also to help others much like Paul helps Onesimus. He disciples and trains him in the things of the Lord but he also speaks up on his behalf regarding the change that he has witnessed in this man’s life. He offers to even pay for the damages that Onesimus may have occurred in his previous state of unbelief.

Prayer:
Dear Lord,
Refresh us and help us to refresh other travelers who are on a journey to know you. Help us to open up our lives and let others in. Help us develop and grow so that we may in turn refresh and help others to grow. Remind us that we are all travelers on a journey to know you more.

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