Routines

(1)”It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundredand twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; (2) and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. (3) Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.

(4)So the governors and the satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.(5) Then these men said, ‘We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.’

(6) So these governors and satraps thronged before the king,and said thus to him: ‘King Darius, live forever! (7) All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. (8) Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.’

(9) Therefore the King Darius signed the written decree.

(10) Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” (Daniel 6:1-10)

 

Today’s “Our Daily Bread” highlighted this passage in the Bible.  It then went on to talk about our routines and the ruts we get into. Daniel had the routine of kneeling down three times a day to pray to the Lord.  And when he heard the decree that death would surely be delivered to anyone who prayed to anything or anyone beyond the King, what did he do?  He knelt before God, as he always did, and prayed. To Daniel the worship and praise and devotional time with our Lord was more important than this life.  Between getting eaten by a lion, or spending intimate moments with our Lord, his choice was simple.  He didn’t hide his choice either.  He didn’t change anything about his daily devotional to God.

And I sit here and think, WOW.  People these days have routines like having two cups of coffee in the morning.  Or jogging a mile before work.  Or wearing the same underwear on game days for luck. What sort of lasting value do these routines have?  And don’t worry, I’m not knocking these routines, I’m just sitting here in shock of myself.  I don’t even have those routines.  Well I think I can take that back.  I don’t have any good routines.  I wake up in the morning, do some exercise, and play a game or watch a show.  Sure I can give myself the excuses that I have this ankle injury that keeps me from walking like a normal human being; and then before that I had the pleasure of dealing with cancer.

But honestly they aren’t good excuses.  I used to be so driven when I was younger.  In ninth grade I lost all of my friends because I refused to get high or drunk. I had such a strong will back then. I had this drive to be something and do something.  I lost that between high school and now.  I know how and why I lost it.  I guess what shocks me is that I didn’t know I had really lost that part of me until now. I have been foolishly convincing myself that it is still there … when I have no proof, no routine, no real strong willed decision … to back up this claim.

And I want a routine. The parts inside of me that are stamped with the Lord’s name hunger and ache and push me to get a routine.  A good, solid, holy routine that stands out in my life.  A good, godly routine that defines my life.  I yearn for that, but I am struggling with putting the pieces of my will back together to get it.

I know I am a very broken person.  Pieces of me have been shredded and scattered to the winds and I never noticed.  Not until now.  Now with Christ in my life, and with the help of my Raggedy Andy, I am starting to heal in depths I haven’t gone to in a long time.  And it’s hard to come up empty handed, or with shattered pieces of something that was once so strong.  I want to be angry and hurt at the same time.

This passage really strikes me.  It burns me with shame, with hope, with love, and with great sadness.  I don’t know if the burn is painful, or just cauterizing a wound.  I know it is a part of healing, admitting there is a problem.  But I have hope.  I have a strong place that created this world in seven days.  Jesus has been carrying me for so long sometimes I really don’t know how to use my feet anymore.  But I want to walk in His light.  I want to have the strength of will to kneel three times a day and devote time to my Savior no matter what is going on around me.

It’s just turning that want into a will.  It is so easy for me to make up every excuse I can to get out of it.  To put something else first.  And really what good do all those excuses do me?  How do those reasons help me to heal?  How can any of it truly be more important than falling on my face at the feet of our Lord?

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for carrying me.  Thank you for excusing my own laziness.  I don’t want to be distracted from You.  I am a broken soul, and I know I need Your help to fix all the frayed pieces of my will.  I know that through You I will have the strength to build good routines not only for You, but through the rest of my life.  But I need Your help, we all do.  I need Your blessings and Your grace.  Your love and Your strength.  I will stumble, but I will devote my life to be a better servant to You.  For Your glory.

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