"Be angry and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord."
How often I fail to obey those verses. How often I let my anger or agitation lead to brooding in my own heart. How often I awake in the night, and instead of hearing the 2 AM call of the barred owl in the woods by the stream as a call to prayer and silence, I choose instead to brood and fret over some troubling affair of the day. The pondering of Psalm 4 leads to rest in God, silence; troubled brooding leads to noisome thoughts of rebellion, cynicism, and fear. The remedy is so clear and so simple to understand, but so doggedly hard, in my sin to do, day in and day out. Offer right sacrifices, trust in the Lord.
What are those right sacrifices? Surely obedience, thanksgiving, praise, our bodies, good works and generosity, love.
Though we've never met, and only communicated by email once or twice, I think of Ann as a friend. I read her posts everyday. Tuesday morning when I visited her blog, Anne had captured for me the essence of how in our brokenness, we offer the sacrifice of love. You may want to read her whole post, but here is a small section:
How does a broken mother parent in a home of brokenness? As He does. Bend down to gather up the broken. Draw close our fractured (raging, selfish, stubborn, proud) beloved ones. Forsake fixing. Love the wounded, kin of our own brokenness, the fruit of a fallen, skinned world. And pray for Jehovah Rapha, Healer, to come to “bind up the brokenness of His people” (Isa. 30:26). He, and He alone, can fix the “broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 21:13).
I want to ponder and practice - obedience, praise, thanksgiving, good works - to offer myself, my loving from a broken, contrite heart. Right sacrifices. Trust. And then joy.
A note about my Bible reading plan:
I have told several folks lately that I just finished my one year Bible reading plan...in a year and a half! So, now I am starting a new plan. I feel very strongly that having a plan is important. If I didn't, I probably would not be nearly as consistent in my reading. Because I have one, I never wonder what I should read each day and I am very often amazed at how the planned reading for each day is exactly what I needed for that day. So, if you aren't using a Bible reading plan, I strongly recommend it. Check these links for a couple of options:
Coty designed this Bible Unity reading plan several years ago. It is mainly a chronological reading plan. This is the one I just finished.
This is what I'm using now, which is the Discipleship Journal Bible reading plan used by Bethlehem Baptist Church.