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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)

By Dan Louise Mann



1. 365 x 2 x 25 = 18,250. Identify each term in the equation.

2. You've heard of "6 degrees of separation." What could 360 degrees of inspiration mean?

Comment: Hopefully the above exercise does not result in frowns and scowls, frustrated mutterings or even headache. If so, take a deep breath and relax. All should read on for the solution.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For 25 years my abode has been an apartment 80 feet above ground level in which I have an almost 360-degree view of the horizon. Therefore, I've been privileged to observe literally thousands of pristine sunrises and sunsets--and not one sky in that quarter century has been exactly the same! How phenomenal is that!?

One morning I was sitting at my computer keyboard before dawn, as is my habit. Glancing every few seconds out my large windows, I watched the night's inkiness leak away. As blacks and grays faded, large brush strokes of pastels emerged in the west, and with them a delightful revelation:

The western canvas during a sunrise is very beautiful; most times it has a fuller complement of hues than the eastern sky--we could even say it takes first prize in morning's coloring contest. Stunning though it is, I realized it is only reflected beauty. If it were not for the source of light in the east, that western glory would not, and could not, exist.

We Christians are like the western sky during a sunrise, and Christ like the east. In this world, any beauty we exhibit is but a reflection of His glory. If we limit our view to the west during a sunrise, we might falsely conclude that the western sky's magnificence is self-generated and deserves the praise for the effect. But in reality we are observing a reflected beauty which is totally dependent on an external source for its loveliness.

Everyone knows mortal eyes cannot long tolerate the full intensity of the sun (just as we cannot endure seeing God in all His heavenly glory), but whether we look upon the sun or not, we must concede that the sun is the source of the beauty on the opposite horizon, and this declaration should put the reflected glory (and us) into proper perspective.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If I have made gold my trust and hope or have said to fine gold, You are my confidence, if I rejoiced because my wealth was great and because my [powerful] hand [alone] had gotten much, if I beheld [as an object of worship] the sunlight when it shone or the moon walking in its brightness, and my heart has been secretly enticed by them or my mouth has kissed my hand [in homage to them], this also would have been [a heinous and principal] iniquity to demand the judges' action and punishment, for I would have denied and been false to the God Who is above. Job 31:24-28 (Amplified Bible)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lord Jesus, thank you for being my source of strength and life.
Make me a positive reflection of You today. Amen.

Quiz answer key:
1. 365 days x 2 per day x 25 years = 18,250 possible solar risings and settings (not including leap years).
2. 360-degree view of the sky = unending spiritual inspiration.

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This article has been read 859 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Eleanor Joyce05/03/07
This is absolutely beautiful. I love the "inkiness leaking away" image and the pastel brushstrokes. Very lovely...and it makes me want to visit your apt to watch a sunrise!
Dolores Stohler05/04/07
This is totally awesome. What a devotional ought to be--inspiring and with a true revelation. Thanks so much for sharing this.
P.S. I loved the Bible quote, too. My Bible says it different.
Betty Castleberry05/04/07
Very nice. I like the analogy in this piece.
Loren T. Lowery05/09/07
To be honest, when I first saw the numbers and what looked like an equation, I was somewhat intimidated. However, once trusting this to be a devotional and not a math exam, I continued to read and was not disappointed by the message you penned. God is the source, how lucky are we to concieve and finally believe it.
Jacquelyn Horne05/09/07
Wonderful comparison. We reflect His light.
Sharlyn Guthrie05/09/07
This is one of my favorite devotionals this week. I think it would be just as good and maybe less distracting, without the pop quiz, however. I, too, love the beauty of the sky and enjoyed your insights.
Joanne Sher 05/10/07
What a completely creative and insightful devotional! I just love it.
Cheri Hardaway 05/10/07
After reading, I felt the pop quiz was unnecessary, as what you wrote was so incredible on its own. But the title would not stand without the quiz, and the title is what drew me in.

I thought this was a tremendous devotional. It causes its reader to come away both encouraged and rightly focused.

Great job! Thanks, Cheri
Kenn Allan05/10/07
Hee, hee... one more and you'll be a Master. Congratulations!
Mo 05/10/07
I really liked your analogy. Congrats on your win!
Dan Louise Mann05/17/07
Thanks to everyone for their kind and helpful comments. It's so difficult nowadays to get into the EC, so I feel very honored by being chosen.