Reference Point Devotional

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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Decide to Lead – 03/2021

“And God blesseth them, and God saith to them, `Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over fish of the sea, and over fowl of the heavens, and over every living thing that is creeping upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28 YLT)

In the beginning God blesses His creation. The blessing provides important guidance of how to work. The part of the blessing that stands out to me is the call to subdue the earth. As I reflect on this, my understanding of managing the earth includes the work of libraries and information centers.

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Librarians are Living Bookmarks -02/2021

“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men…” (2 Corinthians 3:2 NASU)

A student goes to the library to say goodbye; they are graduating – they just wanted to say thank you for helping them pass their courses. This scene is repeated annually in libraries of all types, all over. They go on to success; look at their degree on the wall or promotion and flash back to the time in school when the librarian helped with their failing course so they could pass and graduate. They put a mental bookmark in the important chapter in their life of, pass or fail, or make it or break it, give up or go on, and that bookmarker is you, the librarian who helped them at that crossroads of their life to success. They are now at a point in their success because of you, the librarian hidden behind the circulation or reference desk who smiled and said, “How can I help you today?”

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Who’s Wearing Armor in the Library? – 01/2021

“ Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13 KJV)

Libraries are usually such peaceful places; it is hard to imagine that a “war” may be going on inside them. Yet internal battles are being fought all the time in the hearts of students, staff, and faculty. Paul encourages us in Ephesians to put on the whole armor of God so we can stand when trouble comes. It does not say to put on this piece or that piece, or whichever pieces we feel like, but rather the whole armor. If we wear the helmet of salvation but forget the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God), we won’t be able to stand. If we put on the belt of truth but forget about the breastplate of Christ’s righteousness, we won’t be able to stand. If we put on the shoes of the gospel of peace but forget about the shield of faith, we won’t be able to stand. We have to take up the whole armor and be ready for action!

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God’s Love and Faithfulness – 12/2020

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, and His mercies never come to an end.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)

I am writing from Lesotho, Southern Africa to testify how the love and the faithfulness of God has sustained me during this global pandemic. I grew up in Pitseng, in the rural area of Lesotho, and was raised by my mother after my father abandoned us. It was not easy, but the love of God and His faithfulness kept us. I know that God is love; His love is unmeasurable and incomparable; His promises are faithful; He will never leave us nor forsake us.

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The Holy Spirit, Our Librarian – 11/2020

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27 NIV)

It’s obvious in the posture. There’s a unique brand of sheepish hesitation that might as well announce audibly, “I’m here for the Poetry assignment.” The assignment requires students to collect the following: the title and author of a librarian’s favorite poem, information on finding poetry in the library’s print collection, and a selfie with a librarian. Most students have never asked a librarian for anything like a favorite poem or a selfie. Most of them are a bit tentative as they approach the Research Help Desk (they often come in pairs or small groups – safety in numbers!). They aren’t entirely sure where to start. Occasionally, as they pause in indecision, I’ll just break the ice by asking, “Assignment for Poetry?” The relief is visible. They don’t have to explain the assignment to me. They no longer worry that I will think they are weirdos for requesting selfies with someone they’ve just met. They know I already know what they need.

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Don’t Buy a Clock at the Dollar Store – 10/2020

“My times are in your hand.” (Psalm 31:15 ESV)

Imagine my frustration with my Dollar Store bargain. In spite of the clock on my computer, the time of day on my cellphone, and my wristwatch, I wanted to note the time—and it was exactly the same time it was when I last checked. Yes, I changed the batteries yesterday! Something about the big hand on the 11 evidently is messing this clock up. It makes it almost to the top, and then it’s just too hard to move on. Every once in a while it gets stuck.

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What If – 10/2020

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” (Psalm 121:1 KJV)

I spent most of the spring and summer months working from home except a few “in office” days. I normally spend several summer weeks in other places. With those events cancelled or moved online, I began to get “cabin fever.” As a single person, I saw mostly myself, my three cats, and the view from my home. With a vacation out of the question, a day trip where safe social distances could be maintained offered a solution. Last week I fueled my car and drove to Asheville, about 90 minutes away. I stopped at a fast food chicken restaurant for a “picnic lunch” and headed north on the Blue Ridge Parkway. As I stopped at the first overlook, I marveled at the breathtaking scene before me. As I pondered events necessitating my need to get away, I realized God brought me to this place to remind me to lift my eyes to Him. The previous week, library colleagues and faculty members questioned what we would do if students returned to campus with the present virus spread level, I told them we “trust in God.” However, God knew I needed a fresh reminder in my own life of this simple truth. The panorama before me was soothing to both my eyes and to my spirit.

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