On Wings Of Eagles

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Hold onto God

Isaiah 41:13 (ESV)
 For I, the Lord your God,
    hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
    I am the one who helps you.”

In December, 1965, Susan had just had her second baby, another daughter, Balinda. Her two-year-old, Annette, became the baby's "second mother," always checking to make sure the baby was warm and dry. Susan and her husband were delighted with their daughters and the life they were making for their family. During that time, "We were in the process of moving from Moweaqua, a little town in Illinois, to Crown Point, Indiana," Susan says, "and one day I left the baby with my mother-in-law while I moved the last load from our old home." Susan's sister-in-law, little Annette and Susan dropped off the final load in Crown Pointe. On their way back to Moweaqua, Susan was involved in a car accident. Annette was killed instantly.

There is no way to describe the trauma of losing a child, of whatever age. But Susan did the best she could to go on with her life. Months passed, and in June, she discovered she was expecting again. For the first time since Annette's death, Susan felt happy. "The new baby would give Balinda someone to grow up with," she says, "and perhaps it would even help to fill the terrible void Annette had left." No one could take her daughter's place, but perhaps things wouldn't seem so empty now.

However, it was not to be. Just a few months later, Susan was rushed to the hospital. The baby, another daughter, was stillborn. Worse, doctors told Susan that she would never be able to have any more children.

It was another terrible blow. Susan looked in the mirror "and saw a person that God must not like very much. If he loved me, why did so many bad things happen to me?" She wondered. "I must be a terrible person." Shortly after Balinda's first birthday, the sorrow completely overwhelmed her. "After my husband left for work one morning, I took Balinda to my mother's house and asked her to babysit for me," Susan recalls. "Had my mother known what I had planned, she would never have left me walk out the door."

Susan went home, locked the door, closed all the curtains and sat down at her table with a large glass of water and a pile of pills. She wrote letters to her parents, her sisters, and her husband, telling them how sorry she was to be killing herself, but explaining that she was no good, and surely not the mother she should be. Why else would God have taken two of her babies?

Then, reluctantly, she began her letter to Balinda. How would she tell her baby daughter how much she loved her? "I want you to have a good life," she began, "You'll be a lot better off without me."

Suddenly, the front door opened!

Susan almost screamed. She had definitely locked the front door, and her husband had the only other key. But there stood her husband. "What are you doing home?" Susan asked him.

Her husband's eyes traveled to the water and the pills in front of her. Immediately he realized what Susan was attempting to do, and he rushed to the table, grabbed the pills and threw them all into the toilet. "Susan, you can't do this!" He protested. "We all need you!" Susan burst into tears.

The machine Susan's husband had been working on that day had broken down, and no one could find a replacement part. So her husband had been sent home early, the first time such a thing had ever happened to him. (Even more unusual, the replacement part was located just moments after he left the building.) "I think the angels were all over that one!" Susan says.

Most likely Susan was suffering from postpartum depression, but in 1965, not much was known about this difficult situation. Coupled with the grief over the loss of Annette, it had all become too much for her. But now that people knew, Susan was surrounded with help and care, and gradually she came to see that this desperate act was not the answer. In fact, God had planned a wonderful life for her, including a baby boy, born five years later despite the doctors' predictions.

"When I look back, I thank God for each and every experience," Susan says. "Had I succeeded that day, I would have missed out on so many blessings-my son and daughter's beautiful children, my family and friends. I am so thankful that His angels watched over me, and I know He walks with me moment by moment."

Susan hopes that anyone who is contemplating suicide or has lost a child may read this and understand that it is okay to go on. "You cannot curl up and die," she says. "Life goes on, and it can be a most beautiful and blessed life too." Just hold on, and trust.

Hold on to God today no matter the circumstance.

Dear Lord, we pray for strength when the circumstances around us are more then we can handle. Help us lean completely upon You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

What are you waiting for?

Proverbs 16:18 (ESV)
Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Israel was facing impossible odds: 900 iron chariots against men on foot, experienced warriors against 2 women with no experience at all in warfare. In now-a-days terms we could compare this to indigenous people from the Amazon coming up against modern tanks, machine guns, airplane bombers, etc., with a simple bow and arrow.

There was no way Israel could win, and even less with inexperienced women leading the attack!

When Deborah gave the order, doubt naturally arose. Even though she had never fought before, she led the way. She knew without a doubt that with God on her side, she truly had nothing to fear!

What happened next was completely unexpected: the mighty warmongers were defeated by the inexperienced. The battle turned out as prophesied: "Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?"

Unfortunately however, the commander in chief, Sisera, archenemy of Israel, succeeded in escaping. Still there was no need to worry: God was STILL in charge!

Sisera fled to a nearby tent, where, wife of Heber the Kenite, supposedly an ally of Sisera's army, was there to greet him. Without hesitation she led him inside her tent and covered him up. A strange way to hide from your enemy, don't you think! But then when the tide turns against us, we, too, act irrationally!

Now Jael only had a tent peg and a hammer with which to protect herself. What could she do with these?
But Jael knew what to do with them, and she used these two useless items to defeat the enemy of Israel. Who would have thought that a mighty warrior could be brought down by a tent peg and a hammer! But then, with God nothing is impossible!

In more recent history, the Allies were facing impossible odds as well. The Germans had built a long wall, called the Atlantic wall, that stretched from Norway to the French-Spanish border, and there they entrenched bunkers, heavy batteries, landmines, and a myriad of other destructive devices. They were literally impenetrable.

On August 1942, more than 6100 troops, consisting of 4,963 Canadians, 1,005 British commandos, 50 US rangers and 15 Frenchmen landed on the beaches of Dieppe, France. Only too late did they realize that the Atlantic wall was truly impenetrable. A total of 3,369 men were killed or wounded and 1,946 were taken prisoner. The war started to look grimmer and grimmer.

Did the Allies ever abandon all hope? Never!

On June 6, 1944, two years later, the Allies attacked the enemy on the beaches of Normandy.

The Germans expected the ally invasion to happen, and they were watching. They surmised that the allies would attack on a clear sunny day, during the daytime, and at high tide, and all of their warmonger traps were set for a high tide invasion. These became useless the day the allies came in, in the fog, at low tide, really early in the morning. The Nazis didn't realize they were there until they were too close for comfort. They quickly tried to reach their Fuhrer for directions, but he was fast asleep, and due to his extravagant temper, no one dared wake him up. And the rest is history!

Hilarious odds can be expected when our hope is in God! We will hopefully all learn sooner or later: "For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor 12:10 NIV)

We may be facing unimaginable odds, but if we rely on God, we will truly have nothing to fear. Those iron chariots or German booby traps, as well as all the other warmongers from hell, are nothing compared to the power of God! Doubt will lead to utter defeat as well as depression, but faith will lead us to victory.

What are you waiting for? Trust God and let Him guide!

Dear Lord, help our trust be completely in You. Help us not sit here and wait but to go forth with Your guidance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Listen to God's voice

Hebrews 2:1 (ESV)
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

A story is told by the boss of a company. His company had been toiling and negotiating on an offer for months. It had become the obsession of his office. They finally had a realistic proposal and he was sitting across from his customer.

"Thanks, Dave," he said, "but we'll have to pass this year."

He was devastated. How could he face his employees? The loss of this million dollar deal would result in layoffs. His stomach initially tied in knots over presenting the bid, was now wrenched tighter. He simply could not understand how the client could afford to refuse their offer. He dreaded returning to the office.

Pulling into a truck stop he ordered coffee before returning to the office. His waitress was friendly, although slightly distracted.

As she poured the coffee and he nonchalantly said hello and asked how she was. He fully expected the traditional Southern response, "Fine and you?"

"Oh, I've been better," she began. "My husband abandoned me and the kids after Katrina. Left us stranded here and this is the only job I could find. It ain't too bad mind you. The boss lets me work around my kids so they ain't at home alone. But yesterday someone stole my purse. It had everything in it, birth certificates, shot records, social security cards, everything I had evacuated with. And every penny we had, $300 was in there. Now I don't so much mind they took the money, it's just money, but all those important papers. I need those for the kids and their schooling. I don't even know if I can get new papers with New Orleans being in such a mess."

He bobbed his head with feigning interest in her conversation.

He wanted to interrupt her and point out that she had only lost $300.

He had just lost millions. Before he could reply, she turned to another table.

Sipping the warmth, he thought about their dilemmas. Both of them had been dealt a raw deal, but self-pity made him feel that somehow his loss was greater. Proportionally though, their losses were probably equal.

As he drank my coffee he flipped his cell phone and attempted to scan emails. No reception. Shutting it, he sank into the comfort of the red plastic padded dining booth and stared aimlessly. His daze was interpreted by the newly familiar voice.

"They found it!" She squealed with delight. "They found my purse! All our important papers were still there. We're gonna be all right!"

Everyone in the truck stop applauded.

She came to refresh his coffee. He declined the offer and congratulated her good fortune. She was gracious and told him to have a nice day as he took his ticket and headed for the cash register.

"She's still out $300," the heavenly Voice whispered.

"Okay," he acknowledged. "I'll leave a $20. That's a 1000% tip."

"She's still out $300," came the Voice again.

"All right," he moaned, "I've got $50 in my wallet. I'll leave that."

"She lost $300," repeated the Voice.

"Look, God," he began. "I just lost a million dollar deal.

Have a little sympathy for me!"

"She lost $300," the Voice insisted.

"All right, all right," he grudgingly relented. Taking out his American Express he paid for the coffee and wrote in a $300 tip.

Walking through the parking lot to his car, he tried his cell phone again, still no tower. He got in his car and headed for the office trying to think of a diplomatic way to break the bad news.

Opening the door to his office, his secretary practically leapt from her desk to greet him.

"Mr. Smith," she bubbled, "You'll ever guess who just called!"

"Do I have to?" He asked.

"Oh no sir, I was just so excited I couldn't help myself," she beamed. "Mr. Jones called right after you left. He tried getting you on your cell, but he said he couldn't reach you. Must have been in a dead zone, right sir?"

She inhaled and continued at lightning speed, "Anyway he said he went over the figures you gave him with his sales and production staff after your meeting. They decided to double the order. Can you believe it! Doubled the order! Our price was just too good to pass.

They have faxed over the signed contracts! Isn't that fantastic?

The contracts are on your desk."

Stunned, he looked at his secretary in utter disbelief, "He said what?"

She slowly repeated the telephone conversation. He could not believe it. He walked into the office to examine the faxed contracts for himself.

He noted the time on the fax and the American Express receipt.

They were the same.

Are you listening to God’s voice?

Dear Lord, when You speak to us help our ears be open. We thank You that You give us the opportunity to do Your work if we will listen to Your voice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Exceedingly, abundantly above all!

Ephesians 3:20 (ESV)
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

“There goes another burner,” the Mother sighed as she removed a saucepan from the stove.

Looking up from the current November 1957 copy of the Saturday Evening Post he was reading, her husband offered, “God will work something out, honey. We’ll pray about it.” he worked long, hot hours as a pipe fitter at the Lehigh Valley Railroad and came home spent every day from working outside in the sweltering, punishing heat. Raising seven children had not been easy and there had been many personal sacrifices.

The old stove had been there longer than anyone could remember and likely was purchased second hand. They weren’t blessed with state-of-the art kitchen appliances but they’d likely furnished an entire mansion in heaven with their good deeds and godly living. She would have cooked for her family on a bunsen burner if it meant she could donate more to her beloved church or to her many missionary acquaintances.

Her love of missions was legendary. She quietly dropped her wedding ring into the offering plate when the church was desperately raising money to dispatch a missionary to Africa? So compelling was her interest in missions that she and her husband dedicated one of their babies to serve God as a missionary to Africa. Sensibly, they never revealed their secret dedication to anyone including their daughter, who announced one day after graduating from high school that God had called her to prepare for missionary service in Africa. Norma served brilliantly with her husband in Africa for nearly 35 years and even then returned home only because of failing health.

But on this day, she was left with just one small burner and a working oven to prepare her meals. Buying a new stove was so far beyond the horizon of their financial landscape that they didn’t even entertain the idea. She prayed that God would show her what to do. She needed a good stove not only for her family but for the endless parade of visiting pastors and missionaries she lovingly entertained in our home.

The next day, walking to the downtown area, she saw a sign in an appliance store window announcing a drawing for a new kitchen stove.

“Why not?” she laughed to herself as she entered the store, speaking pleasantly to the owner. She dropped her entry into the large slotted box and finished her grocery shopping.

Quietly preparing dinner that night, she watched as the last burner on her stove died a sudden but not unexpected death.

“Well, that’s that,” she thought to herself, wondering how many canned vegetables in the pantry could be baked in the oven.

Suddenly, the phone rang, jarring her out of her reverie. she heard a male voice boom out with uncontained excitement, “Congratulations! You submitted the winning entry for a brand new, copper-colored 1957 GE built-in P7 Self-Cleaning Oven! Is it convenient for you to meet with me and a newspaper photographer here at the store tomorrow morning at ten o’clock?”

Stunned into near silence, she muttered through her tears, “Oh yes. Thank you very much!”

God chose not to provide a discarded but still-working stove which gathered dust in the garage of a relative or friend.

God didn’t direct her attention to the newspaper’s classified ads where she could buy a used stove with two working burners for $25.

And God didn’t ”heal” her worn-out, beyond-repair, aged stove that had served her family well for so many years.

Instead, God answered her prayer “largely.” He gave her one of the finest stoves on the market, a model she never could have afforded; indeed, she would easily have been content with a stove of lesser value.

In a drawing in which many women had filled out dozens and dozens of entry blanks over a three-month period, she had submitted only one entry.

After a photograph of her with her new stove appeared in the local newspaper, she received many phone calls of congratulations. Typically, the first thing she baked in her new oven was a steaming hot, juicy, latticed cherry pie for the manager and salesmen at the appliance store.

God had, indeed, “worked something out.” And God did it “exceedingly, abundantly above all that (they) could ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20)

Dear Lord, thank you that You work things out exceedingly and abundantly above anything we could ask for. Help us to trust everything to You today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Does God answer prayers?

John 14:1 (ESV)
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

Does God answers prayers? Will God provide for all of our needs? George Muller, a real man of faith from the 19th century, certainly believed that!  But believing is one thing. Did God REALLY come through for him? Let's take a look at some of his experiences, and then you can draw your OWN conclusions!

During his lifetime, George Muller founded several orphanages, often supporting and running as many as three at any one time. But running three orphanages that provided homes for more than 2000 orphans isn't an easy task to accomplish when there aren't any regular funds! After serving dinner at one of his orphanages one evening, George realized that there was no food for the next day's breakfast and no money to buy any. This didn't shake him, however. When he retired for the night, he conveyed his needs to his Heavenly Father, and then he went to sleep. He knew God would provide on time. Early the next morning, a gentleman knocked on the door and offered a donation that supplied for all of their needs.

Another time when there was no breakfast for the children, George went for an early morning walk to talk it over with God. He was so caught up in discussing his needs with the One who can help that he didn't notice when he took a wrong turn. Soon he met an old acquaintance on the street. Though George never once hinted that he had financial needs, the friend offered him five pounds-enough money to provide adequate food for the orphanage for the next few days.

One day a lady offered George a small donation: 2 pennies. She was unaware that the orphanage was lacking a penny to buy bread. Later, when facing the dilemma of paying for milk, the money arrived just minutes before the milkman!

Here is George's own description of another time when there was no food for the children: "Our bread was hardly enough for the day. After dinner, when I returned thanks, I asked Him to give us our daily bread, meaning literally that He would send us bread for the evening. While I was praying there was a knock at the door of the room. After I had concluded a poor sister came in and brought us some of her dinner, and from another poor sister five shillings. In the afternoon she also brought us a large loaf. Thus the Lord not only gave us bread but also money."

On another occasion when he was praying about not having enough money, George reported: "The instant that I got up from my knees, a brother gave me one pound which had been taken out of the chapel box."

A coincidence? If it had only happened once, it might could be considered one; but this type of thing happened over and over again. George Muller noticed that as the numbers of orphans he was taking care of increased, the Lord's provisions also increased. One kept pace with the other. God always answered George's prayers with just the right amount of food or money, never too much, never too little. And, no meal fed to the orphans was ever more than 30 minutes late. In fact, during his lifetime, George received 7½ million U.S. dollars in answer to his prayers!

There are some who would say that God's provisions are only reserved for some special kind of faith-filled religious people. Here is George Mueller's reply to this kind of remark: "Let not Satan deceive you in making you think you could not have the same faith, but that it is only for persons situated as I am. When I lose such a thing as a key, I ask the Lord to direct me to it, and I look for an answer to my prayer; when a person with whom I have an appointment does not come, I ask the Lord to be pleased to hasten him to me, and I look for an answer. Thus in all my temporal and spiritual concerns, I pray to the Lord and expect an answer to my requests; and may you do the same?"

Friend, no matter what the need is that you are facing, God WILL provide. Depending on God is an awesome adventure! No one who does so has ever been disappointed. George Muller could rightfully conclude: "Now the truth is whilst we have not had even as much as a single penny left, or so as to have the last bread on the table, and not as much money as was needed to buy another loaf, yet never have we had to sit down to a meal without our good Lord having provided nourishing food for us. I am bound to state this, and I do it with pleasure. If I had to choose this day again as to the way of living, the Lord giving me grace, I would not choose differently."

Do you trust in the faithfulness of God? Why not try doing so today?

Dear Lord, we want to thank You today for Your faithfulness. Help our trust be in completely in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Lord will show Himself strong when we are weak.

Hebrews 12:7 (ESV)
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

In December 1950, the North Korean Army was pushing south. Lieutenant Colonel Russell Blaisdell was an Air Force chaplain stationed in Seoul. As people in the city fled, the chaplain's concern turned to 1,000 children in an orphanage. If left alone, they would perish. So the chaplain arranged for a boat to evacuate the children to safety, but after seeing the vessel he realized it was not seaworthy. For the next few days Blaisdell prayed in desperation, but no answer came. Then on December 19, after five days without food or sleep, he raced to Air Force Headquarters at Kimpo Air Base and met with Colonel T.C. Rogers. Rogers said: "We have an Air National Guard wing of 16 C-54s that has just arrived in Japan without an assignment. How soon can you get those children ready?" Blaisdell replied: "Right away," not knowing how he would transport the 1000 children over the twenty miles to the airfield. But Blaisdell continued to pray that God would provide. Four U.S. Marine trucks suddenly were made available to him that same afternoon and the children were flown to safety. Today, the people of South Korea still remember Chaplain Blaisdell for his heroic measures in delivering 1,000 orphans to safety.

It is during the most difficult times that we are to endure hardship so the Lord can show Himself strong.

Dear Lord, we give thanks to You that You are a God who answers prayers. Help us to seek You during the most difficult times when they come. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

God's mathematical miracle

Matthew 6:25-27, 34 (ESV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Moses and the people of Israel were in the desert, but what was he going to do with them? They had to be fed, and feeding 2 or 3 million people requires a lot of food. According to the Quartermaster General in the Army, it is reported that Moses would have to have 1,500 tons of food each day. Do you know, that to bring that much food each day, two freight trains each a mile long would be required!

Besides you must remember, they were out in the desert, and they would have to have firewood to use in cooking the food. This would take 4,000 tons of wood and a few more freight trains, each a mile long, just for one day. And just think, they were forty years in transit.

Oh, yes, they would have to have water. If they only had enough to drink and wash a few dishes, it would take 11 million gallons each day, and a freight train with tank cars 1,800 miles long, just to bring water!

And then another thing: They had to get across the Red Sea in one night. If they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would require 35 days and nights to get through. So, there had to be a space in the Red Sea, 3 miles wide so that they could walk 5,000 abreast to get over in one night.

But then another problem: Each time they camped at the end of the day, a campground two-thirds the size of the state of Rhode Island was required, or a total of 750 square miles. Think of it! This much space just for nightly camping.

Do you think Moses figured all this out before he left Egypt? I think not! You see, Moses believed in God. God took care of these things for him.

Now, do you think God has any problem taking care of all your needs?

Dear Lord, Thank You for taking care of our needs even before we think about them. We want to thank you for how amazing You really are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

God uses a cancelled flight

Ephesians 4:6  (ESV)
One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Last year a youth minister, Mike Hollifield, wasre traveling to Sweden to teach at Holsby Brunn Bible '' School. As he left Nashville, the airline agent looked at his ticket with concern. "There's a mistake here," she said. "I'll correct it or you may have trouble getting back." After a few minutes at the computer, she handed him the new ticket, smiled, and wished him a good trip.

But when he tried to return home two weeks later, he was told that she had inadvertently cancelled his west­bound flight. His name was nowhere in the computers, and his tickets was worthless. After hours of negotiation and anxious waiting, he was finally squeezed onto an oversold flight and given the least desirable seats ever assigned by an airline. But as it happened, Mike was beside a Danish businessman who was open to hearing the gospel. For six long, transatlantic hours, Mike quietly talked with him about his life and about the wonderful difference Jesus Christ could make.

It wasn't an example of airline incompetence; it was an instance of divine providence.

God can use everything even a cancelled flight.

Dear Lord, when things happen around us that we don’t understand help us look for the good and see what God can do through the circumstance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Stick with one model

Genesis 2:24 (ESV)
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Today as my wife and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary I wanted to share some wisdom form Henry Ford.

When asked on his fiftieth wedding anniversary for his secret to marital bliss and longevity, Henry Ford replied, "Just the same as in the automobile business. Stick to one model."
Mr. Ford's marital advice is grounded in the biblical principle of leaving and cleaving. Genesis 2:24 explains that marriage begins with leaving. Leaving is the act of altering all other relationships in your life. You still honor your parents and maintain ties with friends, but no relationship in your life may take precedence over the relationship with your spouse.

What happens in many marriages is this process of leaving never takes place. If you're closer to another person than you are to your spouse, then you need to make a change. The husband's full commitment must be to his wife, and the wife's full commitment must be to her husband.

The Bible then tells us that we are to cleave, or join, to our spouses (see verse 24b). The word cleave means to cement together, to stick like glue, or to be welded together so the two cannot be separated without serious damage to both. In other words, you and your wife are one. Not only that, but you should be best friends.

It's good to have other friends. Husbands, have some guys you pal around with. Wives, have girls you hang out with. But there should only be one best friend in your life—and it must be your spouse.

Henry Ford was right, the secret to a loving marriage is to stick to one model—and that begins with leaving and cleaving.

Dear Lord, thank You for the design of marriage that You have given to us. Help us to follow the example that You have in the Bible. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

God uses ducks to save the day

Romans 12:21 (ESV)
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

A famous missionary, Christy Wilson, experienced fierce opposition in Afghanistan from the Islamic authorities during the seventies. However, just before harvest, a massive snail population explosion threatened the nation with severe crop damage. Sufficient quantities of poison could not be obtained in time to save thousands of tons of grain still in the fields. Then God gave Christy Wilson a brilliant idea. Perhaps his specially imported ducks could be distributed to farms as a feasibility test to see if they could naturally eradicate the snail problem. Desperate to try any solution, the agricultural authorities issued permission.

Within weeks visible proof of the ducks effectiveness became evident to all. Thousands of ducks were dispersed throughout the whole country. The nation was saved from a large scale famine through the missionary's ducks. Soon, the missionary was given special commendation from the President granting special powers to conduct his ministry without hindrance. God used the missionary's good will to overcome a hostile people, environment, and circumstance.

The forces of good, love & service are always greater than evil. 

Dear Lord, help us to always look for the good and to use the good we find rather than the evil. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Slow down

Jeremiah 2:25  (MSG)
 “Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry?
    Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway?

Kathleen Hauk, of Barrington, Illinois, was delighted when she discovered she and her husband were going to be parents. But the news didn't slow her down. "In winter, 1999, I became vice president of marketing for a new website, and the job was very stressful," she says. "Even though I was five months along at that point, I couldn't slow down."

On the way home one frigid evening, Kathleen was driving on a six-lane highway, well over the speed limit, and so distracted by thoughts of work that she didn't notice the police car behind her--until he turned on his lights. Surprised and embarrassed, Kathleen pulled left, onto the median strip.

The officer walked over to her car as traffic whizzed past. "License and registration," he said curtly. Meekly, Kathleen surrendered the papers. She had been wrong, and she knew it. If only life wasn't so hectic.

The officer looked at the papers, then at her. "I'm not going to write you a ticket," he said. "I want to save you the embarrassment of standing in front of a judge in your condition to explain why you were speeding, and risking both your life, and the life of your baby!" Instead, he handed her a warning.

He was right, Kathleen knew. That's exactly what she had been doing. Somehow she had forgotten what was really important in life. Before she could apologize, the officer leaned in the window again. "Stay here until I tell you it's safe to pull back into traffic," he told her, then turned and walked back to his car.

Kathleen nodded, took a few deep breaths, then looked in her rear view for his signal. But how odd! There was nothing behind her now, no traffic on this heavily traveled road, and no squad car. How could he have disappeared so quickly, without signaling her into the traffic flow as he'd said he would do? Slowly, Kathleen pulled back onto the road and drove home.

Only later did she realize that the officer couldn't have known that she was pregnant-it was dark and she wore a heavy coat. Nor was there a name or a badge number written on the warning ticket, just a caution against unsafe driving. "Gradually I began to suspect that this police officer was my baby's guardian angel, sent to remind me that no matter how busy I am or will be, my child must always come first," she says.

Since then, Kathleen takes time to smell the roses. For her and her family, each day is a gift.

Are you taking the time to enjoy life and slow down.

Dear Lord, help us to slow down and to enjoy the things that You have put here for us to enjoy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

God uses His creation

Luke 8:23-25 (ESV)
23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

It was after eleven p.m. when Patti and Dan Burnett, members of the Summit County, Colorado, Search and Rescue team, received the phone call. Ryan, a sixteen-year-old boy had become separated from his father that morning while grouse-hunting. Now he was lost in a wilderness area high in the Rocky Mountains, wearing only jeans and a thin shirt. Worried, Patti looked out her window at fog and sleet. No one dressed so lightly could survive long tonight.

Rescuers drove to the area, and Patti felt a high level of urgency as she and her search dog, Hasty, began to walk. "The sleet had turned to snow, and the wind was strong," she recalls. "I couldn't help thinking that by now, Ryan's wet clothes were probably frozen."

Hasty picked up Ryan's scent and forged ahead, but even with her head lamp, Patti's visibility was poor. She heard other searchers on motorcycles and above her, a National Guard helicopter. But there was no sign of Ryan.

Struggling through the marshes, Patti thought of her own children safely asleep, the Thanksgiving turkey ready for roasting. She thought of Ryan's distraught family. God, please help us, she prayed. And keep Ryan warm.

The long night continued, and exhausted searchers began to lose hope. Then, shortly after dawn, Patti heard the unbelievable news. Ryan had been found alive, with no sign of frostbite! But how?

Later, surrounded by rescue workers, the teen explained. Lost in the dark and shivering uncontrollably--one of hypothermia's first stages--he had laid down under some trees, and slipped into sleep. Under normal circumstances he should have gradually frozen to death. But something wondrous happened instead.

"Ryan awakened in the middle of the night, feeling warm and comfortable," Patti explains. "Astonished, he discovered that, although his rifle was at his feet, two female elk had come out of the forest and were lying against him, one on either side, protecting him from the cold. “We searchers were dumbfounded, since such behavior is completely uncharacteristic of elk." But there was no other explanation for Ryan's healthy condition. Later, evidence of the animals' presence was found under the trees.

Patti drove home, exhilarated about the fact God used his creation to Save Ryan.

How will God work today?

Dear God, thank You for the ways that you choose to protect us. You love shows no limits and Your creation obeys Your every word. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

God's protection

Nahum 1:7 (ESV)
The Lord is good,
    a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.

In the 1850s, the tribes of the Sumatra interior were fierce enemies of the first missionaries. Von Asselt, of the Rhineland mission, pioneered the way among the Battaks. There was a darkness that could be sensed round about. More than once the missionary and his wife rose in the night to pray God to send His angels to be with them; so keenly they felt the presence of peril. Then they moved inland, where a tribe was more kindly. One day a chief came to see the missionary from the place where he had first settled. At last the chief said to Von Asselt:

"I have yet one request."

"And what is that?"

"I want to see your watchmen."

"But I have no watchmen."

"I mean the watchmen that you station round your house at night."

"But I have none. I have only a herdboy and a little cook."

The man looked unbelieving at the missionary. "May I look through your house?" He asked.

"Yes, certainly," said the missionary laughing.

The chief searched everywhere in vain, and then he finally explained: "When you first came to us, we resolved to kill you and your wife. Night after night we went to your house to do it. But when we came, there always stood round about watchmen with glittering weapons. Then we hired an assassin, and he laughed at us. 'I fear no God and no devil,' he said. 'I will get through those watchmen easily.' So we all came together in the evening, and the assassin, swinging his weapon about his head, went on before us. As we neared your house we remained behind. The assassin went on alone. But in a short time he came running back hastily, and said, 'No, I dare not risk it to go through alone; two rows of big strong men stand there, and their weapons shine like fire.' So we gave it up to kill you. Now, tell me, teacher, who are those watchmen?"

God has many ways that He protects us.

Dear Lord, Thank You for being there to protect us. Thanks for the angels that You send to watch over us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

God's protection

Psalm 46:1 (ESV)
 God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.

To Terence Emptage, it was just another day on the farm he managed in Cheshire, North Wales. He was plowing a field, a job he had done many times. The fact that the field was on top of a cliff (and one side of it steeply dropping into a valley some 150 feet below!) Didn't faze him. Terence was used to rocky terrain-both outside, and in. "My reality was my work, my family and what existed for me on this earth," he says. He paid little attention to spiritual notions. Life was tough enough trying to support a young family, with little or no chance for advancement in this rural area.

Terence had completed most of the field, and all that was left now was the outside rim, about six feet across. "Next to the cliff edge there was a lot of straw and hay that had been left as fodder for the cattle," he says. "It was extremely thick, so I thought I should clear it."

But his boss had other ideas. "Just plow it under," he directed.

"He's the boss," Terence muttered to himself as he finished the last of the furrows. Now he started the uphill climb to the mass of hay. It was hard work for the tractor, and as Terence neared the top, the tractor suddenly shot forward. Shocked, Terence realized that it was almost to the edge of the cliff! "Everything happened so fast that I couldn't do anything," he recalls. "The slippery hay had somehow lifted the whole plow attachment out of the ground, and we were going over!"

Suddenly Terence felt strong hands grip his shoulder and pull him off his seat. As he fell, his foot caught between the seat and the gear lever! All was lost now-but no! His boot split and he was free. But not out of danger. He had landed just in front of the rear wheel of the tractor. Still moving slowly, it rolled over his pelvis. Now Terence was pinned to the ground---and the turf blade was heading straight for his outstretched legs! He wouldn't go over the cliff, he realized. He would be cut and crushed to death. Instead, unbelievably, the entire tractor lifted up and off of Terence, and rolled over the edge of the cliff.

"I sat up and watched it roll and bounce until it landed in the muddy stream on the valley floor below," he says. "If I had gone with it, I would have been smashed to pieces." A neighboring farmer below ran toward the tractor looking for Terence, and was stunned to look up and see him on top of the cliff. "The farmer and his son came up to me and brought me home, as I was unable to walk due to my back injuries."

Terence's boss was furious over the loss of his tractor, and the services of his manager. "He was angry too that I would be off for at least a few months," Terence recalls. This did not bode well for Terence's future with the farmer. "So I took a deep breath, gave him my notice and we moved in with my in-laws for the duration of my recovery." It was an inspired move, as the in-laws owned a struggling market garden and poultry farm. Once Terence was ready to work again, he was able to build up the business, and turn it into "a little gold mine for all of us." Things, he says, happen for a reason.

It took a while before Terence was able to tell his wife about the unseen pair of hands that had pulled him off the tractor, and somehow kept him from being severely injured. "Many things have happened to me since, but this has made the deepest impression," he says, "because I owe my life, and the beginning of my spiritual faith, to the one who saved me." He tells the story whenever he can, hoping that others may believe as he now does, that God and His angels exist-and they love us.

Dear Lord, thank You for the protection that You offer. We thank You that the angels of heaven are under Your leadership and will protect us when we need such protection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, August 17, 2015

God's Armor and a surfboard

Ephesians 6:11 (ESV)
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Recently a group stayed by the ocean in Florida. One day was exceptionally windy, and They could be seen entering the water, encased in their wet suits, their surfboards attached to their ankles, less they became separated as the surfers rode the wave. Riding the wave in must have been the exhilarating element of the surfing experience! Some rides were very short, but others had a much longer duration. They would repeat the entire cycle again and again before they left the beach.

Protection is important in this sport. The wet-suits protected the surfers from the cold Atlantic ocean, just as the armor of God protects the believer from the attacks of Satan. In Ephesians 6:11 Paul tells us about this armor. It is a gift from God, composed of the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, shoes for proclaiming the truth, and the sword of the Spirit (God's Word).

It would be disastrous to the surfer if he lost his board, which could easily occur as waves toss him to and fro continuously. That is why in this water sport, the board is attached to the ankle with a cord. Likewise, I want to always keep the Holy Spirit attached to me. Jesus told us He would give us the Holy Spirit to indwell us and I thankfully accept this person of the Trinity into my everyday life.

Wave riding in the ocean and living our everyday life has its highs and lows.

Dear Lord, thank for the armor You have given us, and the Holy Spirit who will always be available to comfort and guide us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

God's Angels

Luke 4:10  (ESV)
For it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    to guard you,’

Steve explained that despite his mother being 93 years old, she still visited needy people, and would bring food, medicine or anything else they needed. One day she had been in a house where the driveway wound through heavy brush and trees right into a very busy highway. Now, attempting to back out, she could barely see the oncoming traffic, and realized how difficult and dangerous the conditions were. “Finally,” said Steve, “it looked clear, and she gunned the engine and reversed out of the driveway.” Too late she realized that a huge truck was bearing down on her car, now halfway out in the road. She cried out to God.

Then Steve’s mother saw an enormous angel behind her car. The angel put its hand on the truck’s hood and slowed it long enough so she could completely back up, and then drive forward. As she did so, the angel faded away, but there was now plenty of room between her and the truck.

The elderly woman wanted to believe what she had seen, but was it true? And who would believe her if she told anyone? She wondered if the trucker himself had seen anything unusual. Could it have been her imagination?

At about the same time, there was a preacher living nearby. He was devout and loved the Lord, but he wasn’t exactly convinced that angels existed. For a while, he had been asking God to instruct him, and if there were indeed angels, to show him in some way.

On a particular morning, he was driving down a highway that was always quite busy. Ahead of him, on the other side, he saw an elderly woman attempting to back out into the road. However, he could see what she didn’t---there was a truck bearing down on her. The trucker probably hadn’t seen her yet, but when he did, there wouldn’t be enough time to avoid a crash.

Then the preacher saw something wonderful! A huge winged angel appeared between the two vehicles. Gracefully, the angel reached over to the truck, now within a short distance from the car. The angel touched the truck’s hood, and it slowed immediately. That few seconds helped the other driver pull her car into the road, and proceed safely.

The preacher, stunned beyond words, went home and wrote up his experience, sending it to a popular angel magazine, where Steve’s mother read it and realized that there was indeed a witness to her miracle. Whether the two ever met, we don’t know. But they both received what they needed most.

Dear Lord, thank You for protecting us. We thank You for the angels that You send to protect us from the things around us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.