Friday, August 3, 2012

Watch and Hope

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Micah 7:7 (NIV1984)

But as for me, 
I watch in hope for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Savior;
    my God will hear me.
I saw this flower behind this gate while I was riding my bike recently. It reminded me of the walls we can build to protect ourselves. I suppose there is a difference between a gate and a fortress wall. 
There are things in our life that do need to be protected. Matthew 7:6 reminds us “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. With a young tree you often will put up a small supporting fence structure that helps protect it from being carelessly stepped on. As the tree becomes big and strong the little fence that once protected it can cause its growth to become kind of weird.
I found the following pictures of trees - you can see they keep growing even around the obstacle but they start to become oddly shaped. Our own protective fences need to at some point be taken down so that we can grow in a healthy way. 

Source: via Margot on Pinterest

This picture of the abandoned bike reminds me that we can have things from our past that we leave to long un dealt with that can cause us to grow funny.  I suppose a skilled gardner could remove that bike but it would still leave scars.

From our verse today I wanted to talk about the power of hope. Hope is like a ray of sunlight in the darkness. Your world may seem dark and hopeless. In that dark place you need to look for the rays of hope where the Lord is working. Move into that light and grow towards it.  In a practical sense focus on the stuff that is working right. What can you be thankful for - think on those things.  
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things

You may not be able to change your circumstances presently but you can always shift your focus and think on things that are true and lovely and admirable. I know it can be hard to shake free of depression. Hope is a powerful force it moves you towards the light. In the light seeds of truth and trust can begin to grow and push their way through the darkness and out into the light. 

Lord, Help us look at the protective fences that we have in our life. Are they still needed or have we out grown them? Help us to know what things we need to remove so our growth will not become misshapen. Show us any forgotten bicycles that we've left forgotten. Help us to remove them before they become part of us in a way that is un natural.  Help us move towards the rays of hope you have given us. Help us change our focus to those things that are praiseworthy.

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