Friday, November 3, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Be Vigilant

The Importance of Staying Vigilant
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”—1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)

A few weeks ago, my granddaughter came into the house screaming for me.

She had seen a black snake slither into the Azalea bushes that line the walkway up to our front door. With a pole in one hand and a machete in the other, I scoured the bushes. We did not find the snake. Since that day, she approaches the house by walking on the lawn and up to the porch steps. She is alert, wary, and vigilant because that snake may still be hiding in the bushes.

Recently, I have become intrigued by the technology of electric vehicles (EV). Almost every automobile manufacturer is producing some version of EVs. Some are basic and utilitarian. Others are opulent and filled with fancy gadgets.

While traversing the parking lot outside of the local grocery store, I saw a man drive into a parking space. Instead of pulling in, he stopped, pushed a button, took his hands off the steering wheel and the car parked itself. After a dinner party, a family member demonstrated how her car could be summoned via an app on her phone, from a space down the street. The car actually drove autonomously to where she was standing, stopped and opened the driver’s door. There are self-driving taxis at the airport in Phoenix.

The technology is impressive, but I was left aghast when a sleek, new EV passed me on the highway. The driver’s chin was on his chest as he slept. Clearly, he trusted the technology. Or perhaps after giving control of his vehicle to the technology, he became bored and fell asleep.

This is where the ancient, precautionary exhortation of the Apostle Peter is contemporary. Technology assists us with so many tasks, however, it does not take away our responsibilities. The man who was asleep at the wheel was not alert to his surroundings, yet he was responsible to all of us who were on the highway with him and our families. He was responsible to his own family and to the rules of the automaker that verbally require hands on alertness while driving.

1 Peter 5:8 reminds us that as we hurtle through our schedules, itineraries and responsibilities, we must be clear eyed, sober and alert. In our adult relationships, we must keep up with the shifts, changes and nuances of our partners. Alertness, discretion and judicious guidance is required as we nurture our children and watch them develop character, habits and preferences. Our individual personal and professional development requires vision, intentionality, and perseverance.

When parents take more than one child to the park to run and play, they station themselves where they can see each of their children. They avoid distractions because they are keenly focused on the safety of their children. Threats are not expected, but we vigilantly watch the other adults.

In like manner, we should also be alert to the signs of the times. Vigilance requires an emergency preparedness plan, an emergency fund, a will and end of life instruction file. This file should include your banking information, passwords, as well as access to your digital accounts.

Decluttering the home and the soul are also effective ways to enhance and brighten the way we perceive our world. Are you ready?

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, as we move thankfully into this day that You have given us, please help us to perceive Your presence, grace and benevolence. Make us mindful of the least among us and inspire us to care about them and for them. As we pass along some of the blessings You have blessed us with, may Your providence be magnified in our lived experiences. Bless us with a clear mind, hope and purpose for this day and those to follow. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “King of My Heart” by Love & The Outcome. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Paul Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps. 

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address,

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