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A WELL-WORN PATH
By DAN WILT
David C. CookCopyright © 2013 Dan Wilt
All rights reserved.
Believe, Then See
Today, you will experience your invisible God being more real than your visible reality.
In 1 Peter 1:8, we experience the mystery of faith. God, who is unseen, has captured our hearts. Though He is invisible to our physical eyes, His love fills us, and we love Him in response. We believe in Him, even though we cannot see Him, and are filled with a joy that transcends words.
There is no logical sentence, no rational explanation, that can fully articulate the mysterious way that God interacts with a heart that has become truly His. To meet with the invisible God, to worship One we cannot see, is not an escape from reality. Rather, it is an invitation into a reality that is truer than the one we currently perceive.
The joy we all long for is found not by seeing exactly what God is doing, exactly who He is, or what lies ahead. Rather, today, the joy that settles and brings solace to the human heart is found in trusting God, who remains invisible.
My Lord, how kind it is of You to convince my heart of Your presence, even when my eyes play tricks on me. Today, I believe in order to see. Your unseen reality is truer than anything I will see today.CHAPTER 2
Today, you will choose the path of intimacy with the One who knows every detail of your life.
In Psalm 139:1–2, we see that the Lord searches us; He knows us. Being the only one who knows when we lie down and when we get up, He sees even into our thoughts, and He understands the motivations that move you and me.
Intimacy is not a style of music. It is not simply what happens when the lights are low or the music is soft. Intimacy is the posture of one heart toward another. Intimacy chooses the path of self-disclosure above self-protection, vulnerability above guardedness, unhindered and expressed emotion rather than silenced feeling.
God has approached you today with this kind of intimacy, once again yielding Himself to the vulnerability that comes with love. Choose intimacy as your response today.
Lord and lover of my soul, I will not withhold from You that which You do not withhold from me. To the degree You desire to be known by me, I want to know You and be known by You.CHAPTER 3
Today, you will enter life again, and the Light of Christ will lead you to the doorway.
John 1:9 is a shining thread in the rich, colorful tapestry that is the gospel. In this passage, we are told that at the fullness of time, the Light that will illuminate every soul was already coming into the world.
The capacity of light to strike up against darkness and reveal its hidden features is a normal part of our daily lives. For we who live in a world of electricity, lightbulbs, and artificial daylight, some of what it means for Christ to be the Light of our world loses its meaning.
In the days of candlelight and oil lamps, the shadows ran stark and harsh when light poured into a room. The sunrise was more welcome; overcast skies more saddening. As you enter into today, light greets you, fills you, and welcomes you to live in the full, vivid presence of God.
Light of the world, I enter through the doorway of Your presence into the God-aware life that awaits me today. Illuminate every hidden space in my heart so I can live in Your freedom.CHAPTER 4
Today, you will meet every situation with calm, prayerful trust rather than worry.
In Philippians 4:5–7, we are told that our gentleness in the world will show everyone that God is close, near, and present. We are encouraged not to let anxiety gain a foothold, but to respond in all situations with prayer and thankfulness. Peace, the passage says, follows this way of handling distress.
Responding to a difficulty with anxiety is so normal for us that we cannot imagine a life of responding in any other way. Perhaps we actually believe that worry works in some way, that a lifestyle of fearing first and having faith later is a reasonable way to live—but no, not for the people of the resurrection.
Worry does not work. It drains our energy. Faith, however, energizes our words. Thanksgiving energizes our prayers. Peace energizes our actions in the world. Live in gentle trust and let faith and peace displace your worry today.
Lord Jesus, if I face a struggle today, make it clear to all that You are present. Train me in the second-nature acts of prayer and thanksgiving, and help me cease my first-nature propensity to simply worry. I need Your help in this and believe You will give it.CHAPTER 5
Today, you will go about doing good, like your Lord before you.
Acts 10:38 tells us that Jesus went throughout the towns of His day—empowered by the Holy Spirit and moved by divine compassion—doing good.
We can complicate the mission of the Christian in the world. You and I dream great dreams and have high hopes for how God might partner with us in the healing of the world. But in this simple passage, we see Jesus doing what Mother Teresa and others called "small acts of kindness with great love." Moved by the Spirit, we step into the darkest places.
We heal, restore, encourage, and act in new-creation ways. We evidence the age to come by applying the balm of grace in the present. Do good today, like your Lord did before you, and watch broken things around you be made whole.
Jesus, I so easily slide into looking good without actually being good. I want to be good, to do good. I know this is possible only as Your Spirit fills me and enables me to do small deeds with great love.CHAPTER 6
Create with God
Today, you will unveil beauty in everyone you meet and reveal beauty through your creativity.
Genesis 1:1–2 transports us to the very beginning of time as we know it. God, in His celestial studio, revealed the very first action that would define who He is to us. God created. In one action, with one verb, the interlacing spheres of heaven and earth sprang into being with God's creative Spirit brooding over, designing, and shaping it all.
God created the cosmic splendor ex nihilo, which means "from nothing." When you and I create today, we create something from something. As subcreators who are made in God's image, we are always unveiling, revealing, and amplifying beauty.
We participate with God in new and innovative creative acts. We use God's elements to cause beauty to flourish in people, art, family, and more. We take what seems to be insubstantial, and we make it into something substantial. Create with Christ today and make the mundane into the truly miraculous it is.
Lord Jesus, today, guide me to find the hidden gems in people and ideas that unveil beauty in our world.CHAPTER 7
Revere Your Spouse
Today, you will treat your spouse with reverence and dignity and as the most valuable person in your life.
Ephesians 5:21–24 is a famous passage on marriage. However, it begins with an unfortunate paragraph break in many versions of the Bible. The first line of this encouragement tells a husband and wife to treat each other with reverence, submitting mutually to each other to honor Jesus.
In a world where divorce rates often skyrocket over 40 percent, there is one verb that could change everything for my marriage, your marriage, and every marriage on the planet. That verb is cherish. It literally means to treat someone with reverence, with awe, with the realization that their sacredness is worthy of the kindest words, the most lavish gifts, the tenderest touches.
It takes the Spirit of God to allow us to see our spouses as holy, magnificent creatures no matter their character weaknesses. Cherish and revere your spouse today. Make your relationship the safest place on earth for them, and over time, call forward their greatness by daily treating them with supreme dignity.
Lord of my marriage, take me beyond my own ability to see whom my spouse is and enable me to see them through Your eyes. Where I have sinned against them, help me to repent thoroughly and well and to truly cherish them. Where I have received pain for pain that I have given, change my heart and heal our relationship. Enable me to be my spouse's greatest champion today.CHAPTER 8
Set Your Creative Impulse Free
Today, you will continue to be creative, even if your work seems barren and lifeless.
In Genesis 8:8–11, Noah lofted a dove into the air to see if, in all the devastation, land had begun to arise from the muddy waters around him. The dove came back, not with a fruit or a whole branch, but with a single leaf, signifying that life was indeed out there.
Creativity can be an unpredictable and elusive friend. All artists must learn to be creative in the most barren of times, because there are days, weeks, months, and even years when creative revelation seems scarce. We get discouraged, and we are tempted to give up.
But just as the dove brought back only one small leaf to Noah and he saw it as a sign of greater things to be discovered, look to the small signs of creative life deposited into your hand and draw hope that fresh, creative life is truly in you and out there.
Lord of creativity, continue to give me hope—signs of life—in my creative valleys so that I take the harder road of pressing in rather than the easier road of giving up. This small leaf is enough.CHAPTER 9
Don't Attempt to Escape
Today, you will see God's "crazy" plan as a safer bet than your own "safe" plan.
Matthew 1:20–23 takes us deep into the dreams of Mary's husband-to-be, Joseph. He was hesitant. He was afraid to marry the young girl who was now pregnant through what seemed to be a tall tale—an angel, a divine conception, and a destiny that would reclaim the world.
Joseph, like me and you, got scared when the unpredictable God welcomed him into an equally unpredictable future. When this happens to us, we begin to search for less risky ways to advance with God while retaining some level of control, some semblance of order. But life, as you and I know, gets very, very messy.
God seems to know what we often forget—that His ways are higher. They are different than ours, and they are often understood to be masterful only in retrospect. Do not attempt to escape God's path right now. Listen, watch, and join in what you see Him doing next. There is no safer place for you to be.
Lord Jesus, You have my heart, and that means You may lead in any way You choose. The only path I want to escape is the one that comes from my own attempts to keep my life quiet and peaceful. Instead, I choose Your adventure today.CHAPTER 10
Receive the Holy Spirit
Today, you will feel the breath of the Holy Spirit moving around you, in you, and through you.
In John 20:22, the disciples were gathered in a room. They were full of fear; they were terrified that they and their families would be harmed in the aftermath of Jesus's brutal crucifixion. Their hopes and dreams were lying shattered on the floor at their feet. In that moment, Jesus appeared to them. In a rush of joy, they came near, and He breathed on them.
His words to them then are His words to you now: "Receive the Holy Spirit." Take a deep breath, right now, and receive the Holy Spirit. The third Person of the Trinity lives in you, moves through you, and renews and empowers you. Today, live in Holy Spirit awareness. You are not alone; you are not on your own—you are filled with God's presence.
The indwelling Christ, the hope of glory, is in you. Today, you will remember to take a deep breath. By doing so, you'll recall that the Holy Spirit is with you.
Holy Spirit, I receive You now. Move through me like a wild wind, blowing away fear and bringing in joy.CHAPTER 11
Today, you will be a beacon of contentment to everyone you meet.
Psalm 131:2 paints a picture for us of someone who has mastered contentment. Their feet are rooted firmly in the soil of intimacy with God; they have, over a lifetime of habits, nurtured a heart that is marked by quietude and solace. We're given the image of a child nestled tightly and securely in the arms of a parent; a child who has been weaned, who is satisfied in the safety of his or her parent's embrace.
Our society thrives on nurturing discontentment. We are encouraged to be discontent in relationships, discontent in our achievements, discontent with what we have and where our lives are going. It is in the face of this discontent that you will rise today as a beacon of trust, of satisfaction, of true contentment.
Those who encounter you will see it in your eyes; they will hear it as it shapes your words; they will sense it as your countenance is radiant with security in your relationship with your heavenly Parent.
Lord, speak to the disquiet in my heart and bring me into the solace, the contentment, that marks those who have truly learned to trust. I look into Your eyes and find hope for the present and the future.CHAPTER 12
Engage Your Inheritance
Today, you will aggressively engage with your inheritance as a child of God.
Romans 8:15–17 is a sweet reminder that the Spirit dwelling within us has sealed our everlasting reunion with the Father. Bursting from deep within, our cry rises: "Daddy, I am ready to join You in the next adventure! You have convinced me that I am Yours and You are mine. Sharing Your pain means that I will share with You in the victory of resurrection life."
No day goes by when your Father in heaven is not looking on you in love, convincing your spirit, by His Spirit, that you are indeed completely and unreservedly His. The taste of God's fatherly love gives me and you the boldness to move forward into an exuberant life that is propelled by resurrection.
Just as a child is pulled out of their timidity and able to risk because a loving parent is there to catch them, so, too, is a life that has taken hold of God's love ready, willing, and able to live an open-tomb life.
Father God, lover of my soul and keeper of my heart, I welcome Your love, which convinces me to risk again at Your side. I engage my inheritance as a child of God and expect that, as I work with You in Your restoring mission, I will be cared for along the way.CHAPTER 13
Today, you will live from the center of your divinely bestowed humanity.
In Genesis 5:1–2, we see unveiled the very substance of what it means to be human. We are told here that God created humankind to be godlike—in very nature and ilk like God. This passage tells us that we, made male and female, are reflections of God's glory and are blessed by God. The whole of the human race is blessed by God.
To be human is to be the most majestic and strange creature in the cosmos. No supernova, no galaxy, no micro or macro world mystery is more stunning or more magnificent than we who are animated by the breath of God.
The fullness of the gospel begins in Genesis. Created in God's image, we are glorious beings first, and our brokenness followed. Jesus's restoration and resurrection is leading us to recover the wholeness we knew in Eden. Experience new creation at work in you, and see the new creation that is the age to come when we are fully restored in our humanity once again.
Lord, You breathed into the elements of this good creation and formed me, energized me, styled me, and gave me life. In response, I will live in Your ways today and model my life after Jesus so that I may become truly human in the way of my Master.
Excerpted from A WELL-WORN PATH by DAN WILT. Copyright © 2013 Dan Wilt. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook.
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