Gina (Akao) Decker

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Prayer Devotional: Day 131

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. – Psalms 24:1 NIV

We belong to the Lord. He made the world remarkable.

When I had passed through Arches National Park in Utah on the way back to Idaho, I got to see a beautiful arch alongside the road. It took almost no hiking to pose for a picture in front of it, yet my shoes were layered with brick-colored, orangish dirt by the time I got back into the truck.

I was dismayed to find that I tracked the dirt into the immaculate hotel that I stayed at that night. I really didn’t want to track dirt everywhere, so I carefully washed the dirt off my shoes that evening.

The earth and everything in it belongs to the Lord. We don’t have to get mad if dirt gets on things we don’t want it to. All of it is God’s. It is not bad in and of itself.

It takes work to become mindful of our thoughts and emotions and disconnect them from things that are how they are. There is no inherent problem with dirt. It is a matter of perspective to choose what we get upset about or not. God can steer our thoughts towards thankfulness. Amen.

Prayer Devotional: Day 128

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2 NIV

I have to be careful that my Italian temper doesn’t get the better of me. I am half Japanese and half Italian, and every once and a while, my Italian temper comes out.

My Japanese side tends towards the stereotype of hard-working, logical thinking. Whereas my Italian side tends towards the emotional and creative side.

Stereotypes notwithstanding, God urges us to be patient, humble, and gentle.

When we let our tempers flare, we need to pause and reevaluate the situation. Could we have acted out of love instead of frustration? Could we have delayed reacting and instead whisper a prayer for God to give us patience? We all make mistakes. Could we discuss the situation with a counselor or trusted friend so that we can avoid reacting out of anger the next time a frustrating situation comes up?

At times, even Jesus felt anger, frustration, and sadness, just like any other human, but He did not sin. He did not let His temper override His message of salvation.

When we feel ourselves getting out of whack, we need to pause, look to God, and appreciate the natural environment around us that we sometimes take for granted.

During my travels during my move, I passed through Arches National Park yesterday. I marveled at the grandeur of the landscape that God had created. I recalled what God told Job when Job complained about his suffering: where was Job when God created the world? It helped Job to keep his troubles in perspective after God reminded Job that God’s power is much greater than any problem or illness. Amen.

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