(A Preface to Weekly Reminders)
I decided to write this daily devotional one day as the impulse came to me as an epiphany in the shower. I had just denied my savior three times within a 12 day time frame right after I devoutly and earnestly promised to devote myself for this holy purpose. But, like Simon Peter, I failed, and, in fact, the cock did crow thrice. Previously, I had an insidious addiction that I believed to be sinful, wayward and base. That weakness came out of remission, three times. I had refused to live in the moment but preferred stressing over the past and future. Again, how you handle and react determines your course. So here I am naked and laid bare for all to see.
As a boy, my father also had certain obsessions. I give him credit in trying to overcome them on a regular basis. But, in general, ghostly burdens, life’s hatred, and absence of integrity in the business arena would get the best of him. However, he gave me a book his aunt had given him. It was Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest. I began to read it every morning after breakfast. Although at times, I had not fully understood or appreciated its meaning, I sensed its words affected my disposition to do good at such a young age. As a teen, certain things were considered uncool and I slowly stopped reading this book. Over time, I felt myself spiritually having difficulty expressing my inner truth. I made fun of it internally as a character flaw.
However, God was instrumental in sending me an angel: my wife. It was my profound belief that she was an agent of my being saved again. I chose being married on my birthday as a symbol of my resurrection into a new life and acceptance of a love I’ve never known. After 5 years we renewed our vows. And after 10 years, we did so again in an informal manner outside. It was here that I promised myself that life’s 40 years of wondering were over and I re-dedicated my mind to a more focused existence. For I had felt myself slipping, falling off track and losing my heart felt intentions.
As an latent reminder, I pretended hearing Moses’ reprimand attempting to collect God’s people once again to be on the team of goodness and love. I even heard an inner voice calling, “Saul, Saul, why do thy persecute me?” I wanted desperately to become Paul; transformed to a new me, more evolved. I prayed for that recognition. And here I am now, at the bottom, of shame I sit, sad, lonely, and unforgiving of my revisiting Satan’s snares. I am indeed that same Peter who had rejected Christ the eve of his hanging.
As I cried inside the depths of my soul and tears wallowed in my eyes, I was searching for images, remembrances to help. I saw a man named Orville Bitner from my church as a kid who had given me a book entitled, Borden of Yale, about a college graduate who left his comfortable surroundings to become a missionary. I see my Sunday school teachers offering their dutiful care to teach me about love, joyous song, and forgiveness. In particular, I see Mrs. Clark, a cheerful, generous woman who shared her home with us for a teen party after we were baptized, that final rite of passage. A large part of my life was spent at this God laden facility. I’ve always struggled with who I really was and tried to reconcile it with the trappings of this world.
That has brought me full circle to this offering of the written word in a habitual format. As an ex-teacher, I know guidance and coaching can be critical. So I dedicate these daily readings to all those in denial and who need a helping hand.