July29Hello, Friend!  “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” (- Corrie Ten Boom)  I came across this quote recently and immediately it caught my attention.  How many times do we hear someone lament, “There is nothing left to be done, but pray…”  as if prayer were the last resort!  Truly, prayer should be our first resort and is the most effective and productive way to start the day.  In another quote by John Wesley, he says, “I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.”  He recognized that the strength and perspective gained by starting his day with prayer would be the foundation for any accomplishments of that day… and he was one who accomplished much!

As we start our day today with reading through Proverbs, chapter 29, as a portion of the devotional time of prayer and bible reading needed to successfully accomplish much today, verse 7 catches my attention:

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”

In light of the many recent and horrible rampages in which someone seems to lose their grip on sanity and they July29pursue a course of killing multiple innocent people, it’s been noticeable that some of their reasons for doing so are completely “I” based.  The recent California killer is one such example, who posted on social media about how sad his life was because he wasn’t getting what he wanted; namely sexual relationships with women.  Yet, what kind of car did he wreck the day of the killings?  What was the level of finances he enjoyed through the efforts of his parents?  In fact, not everyone would have financial access to even the multiple therapists and mental health care professionals treating them that he did.  How did someone so privileged become so self-focused?  In other cases, some recent killings have been perpetuated by those who have a history of having been bullied and made fun of.  While it is terrible to be in that situation and bullying should never be tolerated, does it justify such a self-focus that you would take away another person’s life?

Much is focused on gun control in the media as the answer to eliminating these types of senseless killings, but just as in the verse today which tells us that the righteous person “cares”, what if we concentrated on “caring”?  Does not caring for others take our focus off of ourselves?  When we look at the toddler who screams and stomps their feet because they want their own way, we can see in miniature form the person who as an adult continually focuses on themselves.  The toddler who is taught to live in harmony within their family is noticeably happier, pleasant to be around, and enjoys life to a much greater degree than the one who is allowed to throw temper tantrums and to continue to try to manipulate the entire family according to their will.  I realize that comparing a toddler to a selfish, self-centered killer seems a bit of an odd and over-simplistic comparison, but does not the training in “caring” need to begin early in life and if not then, what about right now?

My Response Today:  Heavenly Father, I thank You first of all that You cared for me and while I was yet a sinner, you sent your Son to die on my behalf (Romans 5:8, But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.) I ask for your help in truly “caring” for others and rejecting the self-focus that the “wicked” are said to have.