I (Johnna) recently wrote this devotion for a two-day Zoom meeting with the Covenant team in Europe. Feel free to check out the Values Exercise. If you do it, I’d love to hear about it! You can comment below or send me an email.
30 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, 31 as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses—an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the Lord burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings.
NOTE: “uncut” (comes from the Hebrew word shalem, a cognate adjective of shalom)
2 Kings 20:30
3 “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
NOTE: “undivided attitude of wholeheartedness” (also shalem)
Reflection before the exercise:
How are we different when serving from a place of wholeness?
How are our relationships different?
What are my values and am I living into them?
Think about these categories and ask God to show you any areas where your values don’t match your actions.
self-care (like rest, Sabbath, overall)
sports, adventure, camping
cooking, eating healthy
shopping at ethical places, looking nice (hygiene choices)
A) Take time to pray – where am I not matching my values?
Examples from me: 1) TV vs reading books (my value is book reading, but I spend more time on social media/google/youtube than I value) 2) exercise (my value is exercise, but I don’t do it as often as I want to) 3) cleaning house (my value is much higher than I practice. For this one, I just need to accept that my value will not currently match my reality) 4) anti-racism (my value is to study it, but I haven’t studied it much in my life) 5) Having people over (my value is to have people over often, but we aren’t having people over as much as we’d like lately) 6) lose weight (my value is to eat healthy, but I’ve been eating dessert every day!)
B ) Make a list of where values don’t match actions
C) Be intentional to make small changes. Choose 1-3 items to begin working on right away and remember the others for later.
Examples of my intentions:
1) TV versus books: We implemented library time where everyone in the home grabs a book and reads at the same time. We set the timer for 10 minutes and it’s easy to go over that, but I wanted it to be an attainable goal.
2) Exercise: I’ve been going to the gym three times a week, doing one home workout, and walking or riding my bike the other days. It’s not set in stone, but I’m trying to move my body every day.
3) Cleaning house: Letting it go…
4) Anti-racism: I joined three anti-racism cohorts because the opportunity presented itself. This has been very enriching and eye-opening! I also joined Be the Bridge Facebook.
5) Having people over: We made a list of people we want to have over and those we want to meet for coffee. Slowly going through it.
6) Lose weight: We are buying only healthy food, keeping treats fewer and farther in between, eating smaller portions, drinking more water, drinking more herbal teas, prioritizing healthy snacks over junk.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Remember the Joshua verse? After bringing the uncut stones, they made sacrifices. Now we offer our lives (again and again) as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God as an act of worship.
Humility Quote to reflect on. From one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous:
“Humility is… perpetual quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore; to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised, it is to have a blessed home in myself where I can go in and shut the door and pray to my Father in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around is seeming trouble.”
I added SHALOM after the word “peace” when I read the quote.
God’s peace to all of you. May we continue to strive to live and serve wherever we are from a place of wholeness.