Even if we believe that it makes no difference to the Lord whether we do these things, still we cannot just go ahead and do them to please ourselves; for we must bear the "burden" of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others - of those who feel these things are wrong. Let's please the other fellow, not ourselves, and do what is for his good and thus build him up in the Lord. Christ didn't please himself. As the Psalmist said, "He came for the very purpose of suffering under the insults of those who were against the Lord." These things that were written in the Scriptures so long ago are to teach us patience and to encourage us, so that we will look forward expectantly to the time when God will conquer sin and death.
May God who gives patience, steadiness, and encouragement help you to live in complete harmony with each other - each with the attitude of Christ toward the other. And then all of us can praise the Lord together with one voice, giving glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15: 1-6 (TLB)
Mark de Roo lives in Michigan. He heard it again. Mark woke up to the same sound that he had heard every morning for the previous three weeks: da,da,da,da,da in rapid succession. When he first heard it, Mark had a suspicion that he knew the source of the noise. When he ventured outside to confirm his suspicion, he found that a woodpecker, with its characteristic red stripe, had discovered a power pole that must have been full of insects. The woodpecker would stay there the entire day, driving its beak into the wood again and again feeding on the bugs.
Reflecting on the woodpecker's behavior, he had to ask himself a question: Do I linger in God's word with the same kind of dedication and focus as the woodpecker does on this power pole? The wooden pole houses rich nutrients for this bird, and Mark knows that the Bible grants him spiritual wisdom. Surely he needs to be as consistent in pursuing God's gift of abundant life found in scripture.
A centuries-old practice called lectio divina helps him explore God's word more deeply. Reading each Bible verse or story four times, interspersed with pausing and reflecting, prompts Mark to discern and savor God's message in truly profound ways. And whenever Mark hears the woodpecker, he thanks him for this reminder.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we need you. Help us to discern the wisdom of your word by reading it daily and savoring it, in Jesus' name. Amen.