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December 30, 2020

Devotional for Wednesday, December 30

Fallow fields:
I’ve been at my parents this week relaxing on vacation. My parents live in the country, surrounded by tree-lined fields. It’s quite beautiful, especially for someone who loves big, open spaces! We had been sitting around watching lots and lots of movies and I decided I needed to get moving and take a walk. So, I bundled up as best I could to ward off the 28-degree wind (as the Danes say…there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing!) and I took off down the two-lane road. Despite being on vacation, I was having a hard time relaxing and felt pretty anxious for reasons I knew not! I started to pray, or started to talk aloud really, to the Lord about what was on my mind in hopes that some clarity might come from just hearing the words that were in my own heart as the Lord accompanied me on my walk. God began to draw my attention up from the road in front of me up to what was surrounding me. As a result, despite the cold, I saw such beautiful things – ice sparkling in the sun, a mostly blue sky even though it was mottled with gray clouds, and a cluster of my favorite kind of tall, skinny evergreen trees. As I came up on another field, it struck me how brown and devoid of any growth it was. Not to be a downer, but sometimes that’s what the heart feels like inside! Because of stress, or trauma, or anxiety. But as I continued to look at the field, the word “fallow” popped up in my memory, and I was reminded of a time I learned about fallow fields, and how farmers sometimes leave their fields fallow – let them go without sowing – for a season or more in order to allow the soil to recover and to restore nutrients. Leaving fields fallow also allows them a break from pathogens, as they don’t have much to cling to! And lastly, fallow fields can become a haven for wildlife. How beautiful. How might the Lord be asking me to refrain from work, from sowing, from toil, and instead allow recovery and rest, rejuvenation and divine providence? I know that this word was for me, but if it is for any of you as well, I will be glad to have shared it. 

Merrin Bethel
A few verses for your reflection:

 Exodus 23:11
But during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.
 Psalm 127:1-2
Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Devotional for Thursday, December 31

Hello everyone. Pastor Doug here as we close out the year.

I was reading from John 20 today and these words jumped out to me. “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

John says something similar again at the end of chapter 21, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."

Suddenly I’m struck with an unquenchable curiosity…because we’re talking about Jesus. Because we’re referring to the salvation of all creation. We’re talking about the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. We’re talking about the Hope of the world. This is Jesus we’re talking about…what information could have been shared that I don’t get to know. I suppose it’s a common human desire to want to know, to have our curiosity satisfied.

And we sure do try and figure it out, don’t we? There are books, websites, blogs, articles, and countless resources that speculate about the minutia of the unknown parts of the life of Jesus. And some of them can be helpful as they challenge assumptions and get us to reflect a little deeper on who Jesus is to us. Some of them are exercises in futility. Some are downright harmful in the rabbit trails they lead people down.

And all of them, based on what John reveals at the end of his Gospel, are unnecessary for salvation. No matter how much more I want God to reveal of Himself in His Word, He has chosen the truths revealed. And they are sufficient. They are sufficient. If I don’t have what I need after just this, then I won’t ever have enough. Which is a theme I can apply to other parts of my life…is what God provides for me enough?

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."

One of my prayers for the new year is this - Heavenly Father, you are the best Father and provider ever. And you promise to give good things to your children when we ask. You know what we need and you know what’s necessary to grow us in faith and faithfulness. Help me to receive your good gifts, to seek you in all things, and to choose contentment with the gifts you give. Thank you for loving me and taking care of me every day. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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