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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Inspired by . . . Bifocal Souls

I was going through some of my dad’s things this week, and found a little book that he had been given by his church just before the Army sent him to help rebuild Germany in 1951.

Strength for Service to God and Country, Daily Devotional Messages for Those in the Services

It is a collection of devotionals written by Pastors from churches from all over the United States.

I’ve been reading it all week. You would think that such a devotional would have little to say to a middle-aged, middle-class woman in 2015.

Sadly, the exact opposite is true. Each devotional speaks to the heart and spirit of this woman who is engaged in battle, in conflict, every day.

Personal grief, family matters, Mother Nature’s groanings, a country in moral decline, and worldly atrocities being carried out at an increasingly alarming rate all weigh heavily on my heart and threaten to steal my JOY and my HOPE.

Bernard C. Clausen, of the Euclid Avenue Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio wrote the devotional for February 4th and urges us to:

“Join the ranks of those who live bifocal lives. Look down, frankly and boldly, into all the trouble of the world. Spare yourself no part of the terrible reality. Then look up. Hope, and wait patiently, for the salvation of the Lord.”
When it’s not our reality, it’s easy to distance ourselves from the images on our TV screens. I’d much rather escape into a world of thistles and butterflies than to think about what’s happening in the middle-east, or even my own backyard.

But how can we truly find the JOY in creation {and in our Creator} when our hearts are hardened toward our fellow man? There is a balance, and I think Clausen expresses it well. We are not to spare ourselves the terrible reality. We are to have compassion and empathy.

We are to cry out in prayer, and act by other means as we are led.

But we are not to remain focused on the troubles of the world.

We are always to be looking upward, for salvation comes from the Lord.

The Lord’s compassions fail not. They are new every morning; . . . .
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Lam 3:22, 23, 26

This bi-focus is how we balance the troubles of the world with our eternal HOPE. It’s how we are able to be content in all circumstances - - how we are able to know true JOY!

And it is the catalyst that prompts us to proclaim the Truth of Jesus Christ - the only One Who can SAVE a suffering, hope-less world.

Clausen’s prayer is my prayer, maybe today it will be yours too:
Grant us courage for the conflict,
Patience for the long striving,
Love enough to forgive.   Amen.


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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June