Daily Devotional: Psalms 80:8-19
8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. 9 You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land. 10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. 11 It sent out its boughs to the Sea, its shoots as far as the River. 12 Why have you broken down its walls so that all who pass by pick its grapes? 13 Boars from the forest ravage it and the creatures of the field feed on it. 14 Return to us, O God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, 15 the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself. 16 Your vine is cut down; it is burned with fire; at your rebuke your people perish. 17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself. 18 Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. 19 Restore us, O LORD God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
What a joy to serve a God who loves us enough that he is willing to forgive us when we turn to him and ask. But why do we turn away from the Lord and why do we allow things to hinder us from serving him? The reasons (or more often than not, the excuses) are as varied as we who serve him are varied. But when we boil it down, the root cause is self. We allow ourselves to get in the way because we want to be in control or we want our desires or we want our time or we want – and the list goes on and on. We must die to self to live for Christ.
But serving God is fun and it brings us lasting joy. When we serve him, we are kind to others and this makes others kind to us. The other day, while sitting in a mall and waiting on my wife to shop, I sat on a bench and smiled at people who walked by. It was amazing how many of them smiled back at me. Maybe it served to brighten up the day for someone as much as it did for me.
When my wife came back, she asked what I was grinning about and I told her what I had been doing. I then wondered out loud why some did not smile back and she said that they probably thought I was a crazy old man, sitting there grinning. See, now I have brightened your day just a little bit!
Heavenly Father help me be filled with your joy, not just at Christmas time but all year long. Help me be kind to others and to remember to smile more. Use me to encourage someone who is hurting or who is about to give up on life. I am so thankful that you have sent your Son to this earth so I have reason to be joyful and so I can be at peace with you and therefore, be at peace with myself. Help me use all you give me to serve you by serving others and thus, to honor you. Forgive me when I fail to be all you want me to be. I pray in the name of Jesus.