The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, July 18, 2022 comes to us from Michelle T. Johnson of North Carolina
1Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. 2 Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts. 3 May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue- 4 those who say, "By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us-who is lord over us?" 5 "Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise," says the Lord. "I will protect them from those who malign them." 6 And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. 7 You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, 8 who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race. 17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, 18 or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.19 Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, 20 for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out. Psalm 12:1-18 NIV
“Keep Looking Up”
While walking my dog, I could not help but notice all the things he was missing. With his nose to the ground, he was missing an entire world happening around him. Birds were flying closely, and squirrels chattered nervously as he walked by completely unaware of their presence. Then it occurred to me that my dog is not the only one with his head down. God began to show me how often I literally have my head down looking at my phone.
Often, I am trying to be efficient and return messages or reply to emails, but I still have my head down and am not paying attention to what is around me. During our walk home, I challenged myself to look up and around me more. It was amazing what I noticed. I noticed children playing in the pond nearby, geese flying in the pristine blue sky, and new buds forming on the trees. Through this practice God reminded me of one of my favorite scripture passages: “I life up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1-2, NRSV). I cannot possibly notice all of God’s creations if I have my head down all the time. Each and every day I need to keep looking up so that I can see all the wonderful things that God is doing in the world.
I have never been good at waiting in line or for appointments, so like Michelle T. Johnson, I often find myself looking at my phone, just to occupy myself. Although I tend to be better at looking at the world around me when I am out for a walk, I wonder what I might be missing when I am waiting in line. What charming child’s smile could brighten my day? Who might benefit from a greeting or a smile of encouragement? How is God working to share the message of unlimited grace and love among this group of people? I invite you to think about moments when you can “look up” at your surroundings and notice God’s blessed creation.
Dear God, thank you so much for your reminder to keep looking up so that we can notice all that you have created and all that you are doing. Amen.
--Michelle T. Johnson
To notice Something New Around Me
Thought for the Day:
Today I will keep looking up for signs of God’s presence.
Come, my heart says, seek God’s face. LORD, I do seek your face! Psalm 27:8 (CEB)