Daily Verse – Three Things on Your To-Do List.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12 NIVUK

We are used to productivity gurus and time-management geniuses giving us the number one rule – have one main thing on your list, have five things, have as many as you can think of but only to the top two, etc. etc.

In this verse, the Apostle Paul puts three things on our to-do list.

Hope. Patience. Prayer.

The same three things every day.

Hope – elpis – to anticipate, to be expectant, to have confidence.

Patience – hupomenó (this is the only occurence) – to endure, to remain, to have fortitude, to persevere.

Prayer – proseuché – to pray, to worship, to be earnest in prayer.

Paul is always quite clever in the way he gives us the ‘big focus’ of our faith but also adds in qualifiers almost without notice.

Not only are we to have Hope, Patience, and Prayer, as central to our days, but we also have rejoicing, affliction, and constancy.

We are to rejoice in our hope – chairó – be glad, cheerful, calmly happy.

We are to be patient in affliction – thlipsis – trouble, burden, under pressure.

We are to be faithful in prayer – proskartereó – to continue, be diligent, to adhere to.

Paul’s to-do list isn’t one to be ticked off and consigned to the ‘completed’ archive or filing cabinet of diaries, it remains our priority everyday. We may not tick the items off everyday, but we still have the chance to do it the following day.

So rejoice in the hope of our lives with God.

Be patient in difficult and troublesome times.

Be faithful in our Prayers to God and he will lead us in both hope and difficulty.

Daily Verse – Under to be Up!

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

1 Peter 5:6 NIVUK

Action and Timing.

The secret sauce for many things.

Our society definitely has an action-based mantra.

Production is easier in many respects than it has ever been, even within the creative sector.

Keep striving and you will rise to the top, or keep standing on top of enough other people and you will get to the top, sometimes it is difficult to work out.

There is plenty of ‘action’ – spend five minutes on your social media and you will lose count.

Timing is the interesting part.

Of course, through many of the means of producing ‘action’ there is an expectant timing of ‘now!’.

The first computer I owned I had to program myself before it did anything – today we are impatient if anythng takes more than a second to access.

The Apostle Peter gives us advice in respect of timing – in due time – kairos – an appointed time, or a set and proper time.

This verse is a reminder that everything happens in God’s time and not ours.

Being lifted up – hupsoó – this is the only occurrence of this word in the New Testament – is to be elevated above others.

What ‘action’ do we need to perform before God lifts us up in ‘due time’?

We need to tapeinoó – to be humble, to not see ourselves as above or better than, but come to God in recognition of we are what we are and recognise that we will rise up due to his hand and strength.

We place ourselves under God in order that he may lift us up!

What’s New in September?

A new month. The summer is over.

Autumn may be beginning but this month is also a time for beginnings.

In the UK, September is the start of the new academic year.

New uniforms, new teachers, moving up age grades.

New knowledge and skills being learnt.

I decided to start a few new things out of a like-minded habit.

You may have noticed a couple of additional pages on the website?

First, there is Bible Reading Plans.

I’ve used the app YouVersion for a longtime now – it is awesome. There are so many translations in so many languages available, as well as a good deal of audio accompaniments, plus reading plans and prayer guides. The app allows you to join together as a community and share verses and notes.

On the Bible Reading Plans page I will put up the latest plan I am working through, and if you connect with me on the app then you can read my notes and share yours with me.

Second, there is Art Study – Weekly.

With this I am going to choose an art work each week and over the course of the seven days I will write any thoughts, feelings, insights, I have regarding the piece.

Primarily, this is to force me to be slower in considering other works of art and using them to be more informed in my own artistic endeavours.

Over on on my Instagram account @herbiecreative I will be sharing 30 days of my sketchbook – warts and all!

I am not a trained artist and I will be attempting to use lots of different mediums to create and learn new techniques.

It is going to be a busy September, but I hope there is something amongst this which will make a connection with you as well as inspire you.

God Bless You!

Herbie.

The Daily Verse – Proverbs 8:34

“ Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.” -MSG

Proverbs 8:34

Are you ready for God each morning?

Do you listen and look for God?

The Hebrew word translated as ‘proverb’ occurs in Numbers (23:7,18) as ‘message’ and Ezekiel (17:2) as ‘parable’.

The book of Proverbs is generally referred to as the book of wisdom, and this wisdom generally take the form of short statements which are easily to remembered by the reader.

Many of the proverbs show a result of actions taken and often are written as command.

Others are given in metaphors, and others use direct comparisons.

The sequence which Proverbs 8 falls into is generally regarded as a Father’s invitation to make wisdom, and the pursuit of it, central to your everyday life.

It asserts that wisdom is for everyone – blessed the man, blessed the woman.

As in many other places in the Bible, the reader is encouraged to listen to God and be alert and responsive.

Just as we rise and begin work, so does God – as I start my day’s work.

You may have said this yourself, but I am sure you will have heard this phrase said if not, ‘I’m not really a morning person’?

This verse in Proverbs 8 sets the beginning of each day as the most important time of the day to be with God.

A lot of modern living advice encourages you to leave your mobile phone in another room when you go to be, so it isn’t a distraction as you go to sleep, or the first thing you grab when you wake up.

Personally, I use my mobile for an alarm and I use YouVersion Bible app, and a couple of meditation prayer apps, like Presence and Pray as You Go.

So when the alarm goes I switch onto God’s word or pray first thing – I also then check the news and have been know to doze back off during prayer – which are the less intended consequences of having everything on my Mobile.

God tells us, through Solomon, that we should be awake and ready, but more importantly alert and responsive.

We need to wake up and be ready for me – be ready for God.

Often morning rituals are to prepare us for the day ahead.

God tells us our morning ritual should be about focusing ourselves on Him.

We should listen for Him – He may be with us as a voice, or as music, or in the chatter of the birds, or the blowing of the wind.

Get awake and ready, to hear God’s voice.

Be alert and responsive – pay attention and act upon that which we hear from God.

As God starts His day’s work.

This phrasing is reminiscent of the beginning of Genesis, but importantly it reminds us that God didn’t stop when he got to the Sabbath day.

God still works everyday, just as we work each day.

We need to be ready to listen and be reactive, acting upon God’s words and signs for our lives and the lives of others we come into contact with.