Daily Devotional for Wednesday July 23, 2003

Back to school

(1 Chronicles 16:11)

Back to school. It is that time when another school year is about to start. Most who read this Devotional are ready to start another year of High School or College...or have children getting ready for another academic year. Some of you are teachers . It is a busy time. Students are juggling schoolwork, outside activities, church, and in some cases work as well. Parents are busy with work, taking care of the home, as well as being involved in their children's lives. It is hectic, it is stressful, and just getting from one day to the next can be a challenge. Today, I have a very special word for all of the young adults getting back into school, for the teachers, as well as for the parents.

THE KEY TO EACH DAY IS YOUR DAILY TIME WITH THE LORD. I suggest that you start the day, even if it means getting up 30 minutes early, and spending time in prayer and the Bible. It strengthens your personal relationship with Christ. It is the best way possible to start a new day. It gives you strength and focus throughout the day. It is also a spiritual insurance policy. During your busy day, you will face many challenges. You will be making many decisions. Having that daily time with the Lord first thing will help you meet the challenges of life in His strength, not yours, and help you make wise, Godly decisions. There is nothing more important that you can do each day than start it in prayer and the Word!

One of the big problems in day to day life is we often live it in our own strength, apart from the Lord. The Bible tells us to "pray without ceasing." There are many ways to interpret this verse of Scripture. One very real and practical meaning is literally, to pray without ceasing. Once I talk to the Lord in the morning, I never sign-off until that night before I go to sleep. I am "online" ALL DAY. I talk to the Lord throughout the day about all of the issues I face. I realize without Him, I can do nothing. When I am weak, He is strong. This not only keeps me focused on Him, what He wants, how He wants me to act, the choices He wants me to make, but it keeps me from letting the problems of normal day to day life get me down.

I love you and care about you so much. I know this is a busy time for most of you. A time of challenges for those still in school at any level. A time of challenges for you moms and dads out there. A challenging time for the teachers. In spite of the hustle and bustle of your daily lives, never, never lose sight of two things. First and most important is our purpose in this life. To serve and glorify Him. It is no accident that you are going to school where you are, involved in the activities you are. God has opened these doors so that you can be a light to those still in darkness. Never forget, your loudest witness to non-believers is not what you say, but how you live your life. Second, is your daily focus on Christ. This is the key to staying balanced and on track in the midst of all the many things you do each day. It is what keeps you on track, so that God can use you to be a blessing to others.

I will be praying for you. Some of you are in new schools. Some of you are facing big challenges this year. Many of you parents are challenged by the finances and other aspects of your children's educational experience. Many of you teachers are dealing with complicated issues. For most it can be a very difficult time. However, it can also be a very rewarding time. Never forget that each day God gives us is a gift from Him, and is to be used wisely. Make the most of it.

It is no accident that you are where you are at right now. God ordained it. So work hard and accomplish all that you can. Don't settle for anything less than your best. God gave His very best, and expects us to do the same. We only get one life, one opportunity so make the most of it. While we enjoy the abundance this life can offer, we must also never forget that we are here to serve Him. Make the Lord proud of you as you live each day for Him and let your light shine bright for all around you to see.

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller