Written by Dr. Wallis C. Baxter III
The classic R&B Soul group The Dramatics recorded a song in 1974 entitled “Door to Your Heart.” The pleading lyrics commence in dramatic/visual fashion, “In the corridor on a wall / Underneath the staircase in the hall / On a hook behind the door / In the closet, on the floor / In the cupboard on a shelf / In the basement in the dark / Oh, anywhere, see if there’s / A place for me in your heart.” It is as though the crooning lyricist is willing to occupy any space in the object of his affection’s life. So often is this the feeling of our God. God desires to take up residence within our hearts. We have to be willing to let God in.
With all that is going on in this season, we desperately need to stay closely connected to the Lord. My prayer for you is that as you journey over the next eight weeks through this devotional, you will learn more about God but also more about yourself. You should approach each reading as though you are embarking on a journey deep within your soul. For the committed reader, liberation of mind and spirit are available in the pages of this devotional. Take some time each week to reflect on the concepts, ideas, and questions that arise in these readings. I would also recommend you keep a journal handy to jot down any thoughts, goals, inspiration that may arise as a result of something articulated herein.
Lastly, this devotional seeks to offer tools that may be useful for those navigating this different and pandemic laden world in which we live. Through literary insight and practical biblical application, I offer a critique of “textbook living” to show how a radical commitment to God can prove advantageous and foster a favor-filled sojourn while living and striving in community. Using Proverbs 3:5-6 as a foundational guide, the reader will come to understand that we as disciples of Jesus are required to follow a different set of rules within this different world to gain success and become all God wants us to be. The process begins with a compassionate love of God and self, which develops into a radical commitment to God, resulting in what I have termed improvisational living that does not cower nor seek shelter when confronted with the
uncertainties life brings. Striving to possess God’s beloved community is required for any God-abiding citizen; it is a faithful disposition that allows God to move freely behind the scenes of our lives to produce within us the endless possibilities of true discipleship.
In Love and Freedom,
Rev. Wallis C. Baxter III, PhD
What’s wrong with our children? Adults telling children to be honest while lying and cheating. Adults telling children to not be violent while marketing and glorifying violence... I believe that adult hypocrisy is the biggest problem children face in America.
-Marian Wright Edelman
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind.
And that’s all I want to say.
If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong,
Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,
If I can spread the message as the master taught,
Then my living will not be in vain.
Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world.
-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Drum Major Instinct,” 1968
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