Reference Point Devotional

A Time to Weep – 03/2022

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”(Ecclesiastes 3:14 ESV)

As I reflect on these past few years, in this season that never seems to end, the years are a tumble of continued change, loss, and uncertainty. Each person is experiencing these years differently. I know that good things have happened in all our lives, yet there is a heaviness that is with us. The pandemic has heightened our awareness of death and suffering and of injustice and brokenness.

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Keep Shining and Hoping! – 02/2022

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-3 NIV)

Seventeen years ago, on the eve of my best friend’s surgery to remove a tumor in her shoulder, God gave me a vision of an eagle soaring and the accompanying verses in Isaiah 40:29-31.

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The Sound of Silence – 01/2022

“Then Moses and the levitical priests spoke to all Israel, saying: Keep silence and hear, O Israel! This very day you have become the people of the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 27:9 NSRV)

As the 27th chapter of Deuteronomy begins, Moses has assembled Israel on the plains of Moab for a second announcement of their covenant with Yahweh. He outlines the blessings (or curses) the people should expect based upon their faithfulness (or unfaithfulness) to the covenant.

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Think Carefully about Your Ways – 12/2021

The lord of Armies says this: “Think carefully about your ways.” (Haggai 1:7 CSB)

“Son, think about what you are doing, or you will lose a finger,” were my words to Kevin Jr., who was holding a hand saw. My 11-year-old son and I were cutting down trees in our backyard and my encouragement was to think carefully about the task at hand.

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Worship Him in Our Zeal and Fatigue – 11/2021

“Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he!” (Psalm 99:3 ESV)

As a long-distance runner in college, there were a couple of times I ran to a different town, which was about ten miles away. The excitement was there to run to the next town; however, fatigue set in so I needed a ride back from a friend.

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Learning from God’s Foolishness – 10/2021

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?…For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth…It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:20, 25-26; 30-31 NIV)

It’s back-to-school time, one of my favorite seasons of the year. I enjoy this special time of the year when we celebrate learning and the potential for growth in knowledge. As a Christian instruction librarian, however, the season comes with its pitfalls. Self-assured and self-reliant, I flit between classrooms flaunting the ease of using online resources, seamlessly showcasing research skills to students and faculty. Inevitably, thank you notes full of profuse praise follow my visit, which I store in an “atta girl” folder in my email. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but, in a shallow attempt to earn their trust, I sure act like I do when I want to impress faculty and students with my capabilities.

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Be Encouraged – 09/2021

“Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.” (Acts 27:33-36 NIV)

In this life, it is a given that we shall encounter problems, calamities, troubles, and pandemics. We have been told that, “… In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). I get comfort from this word every time I look at the news, every time I learn of the passing on of a loved one, and every time I am on the verge of giving up due to the pressures of workplace issues and family predicaments. Losing several relatives within a space of a year led me to reflect a bit, and reading this verse gave me courage to spare a minute or two to help students in similar positions of pressure and loss.

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His Grace is Sufficient – 06/2021

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)

The pandemic has been extraordinary to us in many aspects. In my tiny little world, it has been by far the busiest professionally, given all the work pivoting to online information literacy teaching and reference support. Living by myself, I sometimes struggle with the feeling of isolation, while having to deal with a new chronic pain condition. Life has not been very easy. I remember praying to the Lord for the strength and wisdom I needed to go through each day.

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Just Bury Your Head in the Sand – 05/2021

“From Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.” (I Chronicles 12:32 NIV)

Do you ever feel that way? I admit to you that sometimes I don’t have the mental energy to take in what is happening around us.

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What I Know to Be True – 04/2021

“I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.” (Psalm 146:2 NLT)

This last year has brought many weeks and months of uncertainty for everyone. The pandemic changed how everything was to operate within our libraries, workplaces, and even homes. My sense of communication changed dramatically, without the cues from body language seen when communicating face to face. And, of course, let’s not forget heated elections and world news.

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