Today is the first official day of school. Whether homeschooled, public schooled, or private schooled, this marks the beginning of the school year. Granted, some of you are not starting yet, some have already, but it's safe to say that the school year is well under way. In this post I would just like to offer up some thoughts (feel free to pass it around if you deem it worthy) about school, the year, and hopefully a little encouragement.
So far I have seen one person be incredibly excited about school. He literally has been screaming he's so excited. But the other 99% of those I have spoken with seem either 1) Apathetic, 2) Scared or 3) Downright Angry. Because of this it is somewhat fitting that the Psalm of the day is Psalm 5:
Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray.
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. (1-6)
Some of you may take these verses and definitely nod your head at the groaning, certainly agree with the "cry" and the "pray". Life is about to get a lot worse in your opinion and you're simply bracing yourself for impact. You may even see the teachers in your life as evildoers and are wishing for God to smite them down and put you back to the beginning of summer again! Ok... maybe not, but you get my point.
However, I would like to use the second half of this Psalm as an encouragement to you. This year can be great. This next semester can be life-changing. If you choose to, you could make this year be the one where you learn more scholastic knowledge as well as more about God than you ever have before!
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.
For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.
Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield. (7-12)
Take this school year with excitement. Take it with the understanding that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Pray to God, seek God to get you through the hard times. Let's talk about those people who are inevitably going to be the thorns in your side this year. Those people who will annoy you, upset you, or constantly bother you. What will your reaction be to them? How will you treat them? You are called to treat them with love and respect, to honor them, and not be angry with them. A very hard task to accomplish, but you should at least try, right?
Then take the words from the Psalm, if there are unrighteous people around you, if there are foolish people around you, if there are those who are doing things that you think shouldn't be done, don't take condemnation upon yourself, don't take judging into your own hands. Take the words of the Psalm to heart: Make THEM bear their own guilt. Let THEM fall by their own counsels. There will be many who speak lies, who deceive, and that isn't your problem. It is only your problem if you are one of them. Let God take care of them, and you focus on the straight and narrow.
My final exhortation is one word that I think would behoove you to keep in the back of your mind: Focus.
Focus this year. Focus on your work, learning, and then at the end of the day (or weekend) when all of your work is done, have some fun! Party! But when working, just focus. You'll get so much farther in life if you concentrate on learning in the present.
You can do it!
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.