On Wings Of Eagles

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Please send someone else?

Exodus 4:13 (ESV)
But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”

I read a story about a dachshund that had a special gift. Hoss was his name and he was a goat herder. With his extremely short legs, long body, and the typically large head of the wire-haired variety, people often found Hoss's appearance quite comical, and at first glance, his movements seem to be unwieldy. In fact, Hoss's looks were often the target of people's laughter, which is fine with him, as his other gift is to be a clown. Nonetheless, when Hoss wants the goats to do what they are told, they do it. His long, low body is amazingly agile and quick, and he has a special knack of darting in and out to avoid the horns of the big goats. Before they know what's happening, those goats are exactly where he wants them to be -- whether they like it or not!

As I think about how this little fellow enjoys and uses his herding instinct, it reminds me how God often picks those that others might consider the most unlikely to do His work.

We read in 1 Corinthians 1:27 - But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

God chose a very reluctant Moses, who it is believed had a speech impediment, to go and speak to Pharaoh to set his people free.

God chose Paul, a chief persecutor of the early church, to become one of the most famous and influential Christian writers, teachers, missionaries, and preachers of all time.

God chose Timothy, a very young man, to go forth as a senior pastor to the early church.

Each of these people suffered abuse and difficulty due to the gifts God had given them and the work to which He called them. Each of them even had times when they struggled within, concerning the work set before them. Yet amidst it all, God used them to accomplish His purposes -- as unlikely as each of them seemed to be to others, as well as to themselves.

What about you? What about me? What gift or gifts has God given us? What work has He called us to? Are we embracing who we are in Jesus Christ, or is something holding us back? Perhaps, we are held back by the fear of what other people think or what they might say or do -- maybe even the thought of their laughter, or our own shortcomings.

Whatever it may be, God wants us to put it aside and remember that nothing is impossible with Him.

Moses did it. Paul did it. Timothy did it. And so can we.

Dear Lord, thank You for our gifts and the work You have called us to do. Encourage our hearts and faith this day to enable us to embrace Your will for our lives, no matter what anyone else may think, say, or do. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Will you consider going back home to Him?

Luke 15:17 (ESV)
 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!

A family in Texas was facing unimaginable odds. Mom was expecting a baby in two weeks, but dad was dying. The year before he had been diagnosed with colon cancer, and although surgery and chemotherapy were considered successful, ten months later he began experiencing a breathing problems, and two months after that, he was so sick that he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. The cause? More than likely, the very chemotherapy that had saved his life.

Thirteen days later, the news grew even grimmer. His condition was fatal, he had only five to six days left to live. His baby wasn’t due for another two weeks. He would never get to see his baby girl.

Dad had only one wish, a wish so dear to him that it touched mom’s heart: “I’d like to see my baby”.

Mom requested to have her baby induced two weeks early, and the procedure was scheduled. Dad and mom lay next to each other during the delivery, dad in one bed, mom in another. As soon as the baby girl was born, she was placed in her father’s arms. He wept as he held her, and the next forty-five minutes must have been the most special in his life. But then exhaustion stepped in, and he had to relinquish his baby.

Due to his weakened condition, dad was only able to hold the baby twice over the next two days, and then, only for a few minutes each time. Sadly, when the tiny baby was just two days old, dad slipped peacefully into a coma and passed away two days later.

There was another father who was dying to see his child. In this case, his child had wandered away from home with his part of his inheritance. Dad had no idea where his son was, but he walked up the hill daily to scan the horizon. “Maybe today will be the day when I will see my son again!” He never gave up to this ardent wish, and year in and year out, he scanned the horizon for this prodigal son.

After spending all his money on wild living, he found himself feeding pigs, longing to be able to eat even the pods these pigs were eating.

“I will set out and go back to my father . . .” (Luke 15:18a) He is my father after all! “. . . And say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. . .” (Luke 15:18b) I truly have missed the mark! I thought I had it all in control. Look at me now: feeder of pigs! What kind of control did I truly ever have? My waywardness was truly a rebellion against my dad and his reign.

Wow! Have we ever realized that ourselves?

“I am no longer worthy to be called your son . . . ” (Luke 15:19a)

None of us truly are! Even our meager sacrifices are insignificant compared to what Jesus did for us on the cross!

“. . . Make me like one of your hired men.” (Luke 15:19b)

Even if I could be just a fly on the wall in my Father’s kingdom, I would be truly completely satisfied!

Sooner or later we all realize this fact: We may imagine that we are in total control, but our controlling nature is really a rebellion against the authority of our Father in heaven! We are either a Christian who gives all authority to God, or we are wasting our time performing our weekly pew-warming activities.

We cannot just accept Jesus as our Savior without accepting Him as our Master (Lord) as well. Just like we can’t drive a car without gasoline (or other technical advances in this aspect)! The “it’s MY car!” philosophy will not help keep the vehicle moving. We have to accept the fact that it can only function with gas.

What can we expect, when we give ourselves, just as we are, with all our imperfections, over to the will of God?

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20b)

There was a great celebration right then and there! The only thing this wayward son had ever done right was to simply go home! Going home means we accept the sovereignty of our Father. We understand that He truly cares for us, despite what our opinions may have been during our wilder days.

Let’s remember that this same son had turned his back on his dad in favor of wild living, a living that was diametrically opposed to his father’s wishes. However Dad never opposed him. Opposing would only have made matters worse. Instead Dad kept on praying for his wayward son to come back home. And after years of patient waiting, His prayers were, indeed, answered.

Your loving Heavenly Father is also scanning the horizon from His hill, looking for you. His only wish is for you to come back home and hold you in His arms.

How much does He love you? So much that He was willing to die for you on a cross.

Will you consider going back home to Him?

Dear Lord, thank You for dying for us. We thank You that even when we stray You are there looking for us to come back. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Don't let your kernels remain unpopped.

1 Peter 1:7  (ESV)
So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Have you ever popped a bag of microwave popcorn and notice that less than half of the bag popped and wondered what you could learn from it?

Imagine you hear God say "Don't let your kernels remain unpopped."

Let’s take a minute and imagine that God was really talking to us about the popcorn... "You are the bag and each kernel represents a piece to fulfill... You have great potential to fulfill in the earth because I have given it to you. Your responsibility is to act on it, not doubt it or ask others what they think."

Then He said something that may cause great concern...

"When you don't fulfill your destiny, many of the promises I've lined up for you don't come to pass and you wonder where they went.

Will you follow Me? When you turn left when I said turn right, you're out of My will. When I allow prophecy to come forth for your life and you do not follow the path, many blessings that could have been, never show up.

It takes heat to make those kernels pop just like it takes you being in the heat to bring out that golden potential hidden and untapped. It is for My Glory! Stop trying to escape the heat. Call on Me! Use My Word to get you through. If you come out to soon you won't be where you need to be and you'll have to go through that heated trial possibly longer to get refined. Those kernels in this bag are wasted. They can never be used again. They had a purpose but left the heat too soon. Now they're no good to anybody.

These kernels represent unused potential, talents and gifts that I have bestowed upon you. Waste not! Use them. Use them to further My kingdom. I have put a certain amount of blessing, gifting, anointing, potential... on your path just for you.

Stay on it. Stay on the path.

Who would have ever thought that God would speak through a bag of popcorn.

The next time you find yourself eating some good ole' popcorn check to see if all of the kernels popped and ask yourself, "Am I living out the potential to tap everything God has given me to do?" If you haven't, it's time to get popping!

Dear God, thank You for the heat that You bring us through so that we may meet the potential that You have for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Our home is in heaven! Let's head that way!

Colossians 1:4-5 (ESV)
4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel.

If you have ever visited Watkins Glen State Park in New York State, you were likely astounded by the sheer beauty surrounding you. Everything, from the gorge itself, to the plant life, to the numerous waterfalls, to the plentiful pools, speaks of unsurpassed splendor. Geologists call the park a "hanging valley". I think it would be better called the "Hanging Gardens" of New York State.

The numerous pools, created by rock and sand tumbling through the fast moving waters, look so inviting. What better place could there be to refresh yourself and enjoy summer to the fullest! Warning signs forbid visitors from even contemplating such a thing, however. Hidden dangers have cost the lives of more than one person who chose to ignore the warning. The strong undertow can quickly turn your "safe haven" into a pool of death.

Ironically, a railroad trestle spanning the top of Watkins Glen until 1935, was washed out by an unforeseen flood. It would seem that the warnings are warranted! That this "idealistic" garden is far from being safe after all!

Nevertheless, on a hot summer's day, can you just imagine yourself relaxing in one of those pools. Though the consequences could be lethal, they sure do look inviting!

But then, don't we routinely tend to relax in surroundings that seem "idealistic" but are really lethal?

As believers, we tend to take comfort in the fact that we attend church regularly, we get involved with church activities, and we receive the reassurance that we are doing well. But are we really? Are we really heading for heaven, or have we lost our true purpose? Has a strong undertow caught us off guard and driven us away from our real hope?

If we are heading heavenward, why do we tend to concentrate most of our attention on our puny, temporal existence? If we believe we are saved, why don't we talk more about our Savior? More about Heaven itself? If we pretend to be Christians, why are we not consumed with spending time with our Lord? Why don't we put our energies into planning our soon arrival in heaven?

Is it possible we have lost our hope?

So many of us go through life's ups and downs, getting excited by the most mundane things, but becoming indifferent to talk about Spiritual things. Have we lost our excitement at the prospect of spending eternity with our Maker? Have we somehow wondered off the path?

Richard Wurmbrandt was persecuted in Romanian prisons for years because of his faith. When he was finally released, he found shelter in the Western World. His first remarks about North America were far from being flattering: "You don't have communism here, you have something far worse. You have materialism!"

Have we been lulled to sleep by the comforts of our material world? Is this possibly why divorce rates, even among Christians, are on the rise? Is this why so many lead defeated lives, even though Jesus has set us free?

Is Jesus still our focus? Is He still the only One who can excite us to the core? Is He the One we still long to spend time with? Has something come between us? Have we been towed away from our Loved One by the deadly undercurrents of our materialistic world? Is it any wonder that depression has invaded our ranks? Have we completely lost our focus?

Our hope must not be stored up in the pleasures of this planet. These are nothing compared to what God has in store for us!

Dear Lord, thank You for the home You have for us. Help us not store up the treasures here on Earth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Are you fulfilling your purpose?

Matthew 25:11-12 (ESV)
11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

Stopping at a gas station, the new compact Tourer Vision B Mercedes Benz noticed one of his colleagues: "Hey SL65AM6. Long time no see!" he exclaimed to his new found company member.

"Who are you?" asked the sleek car with disgust.

"I am the new model that just came out." replied Vision B.

"New model? Ha. They must have been desperate! You don't look like any Mercedes Benz I know." Shouted SL65.

"I may not look much to you, but I am as fast as any other Mercedes Benz!" defended the Vision B.

"Fast! How could it be? Do you have an AMG-built twin-turbocharged 6.0L 36 valve V-12 engine? Do you boast 604 hp at 5100rpm? Is your cost 179 720 US dollars?" boasted SL65.

"You are talking Chinese to me," answered Vision B. "I don't know any of that stuff, except that my base cost is 13 000$!"

"13 000$!" insulted the SL65. "What a joke. You must be junk, a worthless garbage scrap!"

"I am no such a thing and I can prove it!" replied the small car.

"Oh yeah! How?" sneered the luxurious sedan.

"Our Mercedes car convention in Atlanta is tomorrow at noon. You know how they insisted to be on time. I bet you I can reach it on time!" the little sputnik dared to reply.

"At noon! You believe you little nothing can drive 900 miles in 14 hours! Ha!" mocked the SL65. "I want to see that. In fact I am accepting your bet and will show you that I can reach that convention before you!"

"The deal is on!" agreed the little nothing.

Off went the SL65, sneering at the little car: "Don't forget to fill your car with gas!"

"Oh I forgot!"

Soon, both cars were on their way to their destination. Vision B was oblivious to his surroundings and was concentrating solely on his destination. SL165 kept on laughing at the thought of that little "garbage truck" even reaching Atlanta. "How ridiculous and impossible!" He kept on looking at and enjoying his surroundings, the attractions of life grabbing his attention.

"Wow! A car wash resort! I must keep on shining to look beautiful and attract other cars to look at me"

And off the road he went. As he reached the car wash, he noticed that one of his wheels was not turning as smoothly as before. A nail had embedded itself in his right front wheel and the attendant had to fix it before he could be back on his way.

"It's all the fault of those negligent people!" exclaimed the proud SL65. "Can't construction workers clean their own mess? I lost time because of this. But why should I worry? Don't I have the most powerful engine in the world?"

Meanwhile, little sputnik was happily trotting along, unaware of his competitor's foes.

As the luxurious sedan approached one of the mega cities of America, he didn't notice that the car in front of him had to brake due to some construction work on the road.

BANGGG! CLANNGGG! The SL65 slammed right into that hapless car. From the looks of it, it was totaled. However the speedy Sedan had just a crumbled front fender and his front right side was a bit bend.

"How dare you stop like this in front of me!" shouted the SL65. "Don't you know who I am?"

"But look what you have done. I can't even move any longer!" replied the devastated vehicle.

"Deserves you right. It's your fault entirely. You should be more attentive on the road. Off I must go!"

"But what about the police and the insurance?" exclaimed the hapless car.

"That's your problem, not mine!" sneered the luxury sedan. "Being the most powerful and best built car in the world, I don't have to worry about trivialities like these!" Not knowing where his competitor was, the SL65 started to laugh. He figured it was broken down somewhere, maybe even in a pit! "Ha-ha. I bet you it is at least 200 miles behind me!" he though happily. "But what do I smell? What is that yellow stuff I am leaving behind? I am leaking gas! Oh no! That snot of a car caused me to have a gas leak. I have no time for this! But wait... I do have some chewing gum. If I find the leak I can patch it with chewing gum. Yeah. Good idea! Chewing gum will fix my problem in no time!"

The beautiful sedan with a crumbled front fender, his bend front right side, his repaired right front wheel and his leaky gas tank stopped on the side of the road and started his inspection. It took him longer than foreseen, but he eventually found the leak, It was a bit larger than he thought, but at least his chewing gums (he needed more than one) covered most of the leak. As he went back on the highway, proud of his achievements, he still noticed some yellow residue falling from his car, but it was quite less than before, so why worry about it?

"I bet the slummy competitor is far worse off than myself. Ha-ha. I can imagine it to be already completely totaled! How can a little snot like him even get through the mega city I just went through? Ha-ha, its burial will be his destiny!"

He happily continued on his way. Nothing special happened until eight o'clock in the morning (most business are closed after 9 p.m. and SL65 are not attracted by trees and bees!). Although he had stopped several times for gas, he had neglected to check his gas gauge lately and the leak had become stronger than before. While bypassing a commoner, he all of a sudden ran out of gas and although he was puttering somewhat ahead, the truck behind him hadn't noticed his slowing down and hit him head on in the back.


"Ouch! How dare you collide with me? Who gave you permission?" complained the luxury sedan. The truck had hardly a scratch. However the SL65 had received the brunt of the collision, and his car seemed to have shortened by at least a third. It seemed he could only limp slowly ahead. He refused to wait for the police.

"I am a SL65. Laws don't concern me! I have a bet to fulfill. You just go away and deal with your own problems."

He couldn't bypass the 20 miles an hour and decided to stop at the next available garage. He settled for a quick fix. He didn't mind to be a bit shorter. He only wanted to make the Mercedes convention on time. The mechanic was able to bend some of his sides on the back and replace one of his back tires. He wanted to replace his gas tank as well, but as it required several hours of service, the SL65 refused.

"I need to be on my way!" he shouted and off he went.

Noon was fast approaching and he still had 100 miles to go. He would be late by at least 45 minutes. However road construction took a toll on his time and he eventually arrived at the convention at 1:28 p.m. As he was approaching the gate, he noticed that he had lost his front emblem made especially for him by Mercedes Benz.

"It must have happened at the garage, but who cares. I am only 1 hour and 28 minutes late!" he exclaimed.

However to his dismay the gatekeeper would not let him through.

"Who are you? I don't recognize you!" said the gatekeeper.

"Out of the way you idiot. I am an SL65. I am a Mercedes Benz!" replied the arrogant sedan.

"A SL65? No way! They are much longer than this!"

"I had a car accident with a truck. I am much longer than this usually."

"No way! exclaimed the gatekeeper. "SL65 are much better designed than this. Look at yourself. You are quite a bit shorter than an SL65. You have no proof of being a Mercedes Benz, as you don't even have our insignia. You have a crumbled front fender, a bend front right side, a repaired right front wheel and a leaky gas tank with a crumbled back!"

"But, but, but..." insisted the SL65.

"Moreover you are one hour and twenty-nine minutes late! A SL65 would never be late to this event! You are no Mercedes Benz! Out of the way! I don't know you. You cannot go in."

The SL65 lost all hope, but still wondered about the Vision B he had made a bet with. No way this little nothing could have reached his destination on time.

"Fist of all I am only one hour and twenty-eight minutes late. But did any white Vision B enter your gates?"

"The white Vision B? Oh yeah! I remember him all right. He was the first one here! He arrived at eight o'clock this morning!"

"At eight? Impossible!"

As the SL65 continued to complain and argue with the gatekeeper, all of a sudden he was towed away and brought to the scrap yard. His days were over. He hadn't fulfilled his destiny. Instead he had used his time on earth for selfish and arrogant purposes. The Vision B however enjoyed his eternal conference. He was rewarded as He knew his maker and had followed His direction. He had accepted the Maker's son as his personal Savior.

And you my friend are you fulfilling your purpose? 
Do you know personally your Maker? 
Have you accepted His Son into your life?

Dear Lord, thank You that You give each one of us a purpose. Help our eyes be open to the opportunities that You give to each of us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, September 25, 2015

God will use our flaws

2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) 
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

A water bearer had two large pots, each hung on the end of a long pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and one-half pots full of water to her master's house.

Of course the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and was miserable that it was only able to accomplish half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

"I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."

"Why?" Asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"

"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half of my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in her compassion she said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But, at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half of its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We are all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father's table. In God's great economy, nothing goes to waste.

So, as we seek ways to minister together, and as God calls you to the tasks He has appointed for us, don't be afraid of your flaws. Many great people that God used for mighty things had flaws.

  • Abraham -Was old.
  • Elijah – Was suicidal.
  • Joseph – Was abused.
  • Job – Went bankrupt.
  • Moses – Had a speech problem.
  • Gideon – Was afraid.
  • Samson – Was a womanizer.
  • Rahab – Was a prostitute.
  • Samaritan Woman – Divorced.
  • Noah – Was a Drunk.
  • Jeremiah – Was young.
  • Jacob – Was a cheater.
  • David – Was a murderer.
  • Jonah – Ran from God.
  • Naomi – Was a widow.
  • Peter – Denied Christ three times
  • Martha – Worried about everything.
  • Zacchaeus – Was small and money hungry.
  • The Disciples – Fell asleep while praying.
  • Paul – A Pharisee who persecuted Christians before becoming one.

Dear Lord, we thank You that You can and will use our flaws. Help us to continue to serve You always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

There’s a reason for your existence.

Isaiah 44:2 (ESV)
Thus says the Lord who made you,
    who formed you from the womb and will help you:
Fear not, O Jacob my servant,
    Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

She had never met him before, but she cared for him as if he was the most important person in the world.

Ann* knew she was going to be a single mother in eight months. While she regretted the unfortunate decision that produced the baby inside her, she didn’t begrudge the fact that new life was being produced by her. She ate healthy, got sufficient rest, avoided substances that could harm her and her child, visited the doctor regularly, watched her weight, and took vitamins. All things an expectant mother should do to ensure a healthy baby. Nine months later, Sam* entered the world. A healthy boy with shining skin and smile to match. Ann’s not sure what his purpose is yet, but she’s confident God has one.

Like Sam, my birth wasn’t a product of fate or evolution either. God was in control of when I entered this world and had a plan for what I’d do when I did. Fate doesn’t control my existence. While my parents had a role in my birth, they were only instruments in the hands of a mightier Power. Many children are accidents from a parent’s perspective but never from God’s. He can take a human accident and make a masterpiece from it. In fact, there aren’t any accidents in God’s plan.

The first humans were placed on earth for a reason, and everyone since then has followed suit. I’m in the mix. I have purpose. There’s a reason for my existence. God has work for me to do, people for me to influence, and blessings for me to enjoy. 

Have you discovered the purpose for which you were born?

Dear Lord, may we be the clay in Your hands, allowing You to mold our minds, wills, and emotions that they might fit into Your purpose. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

God has it all planned.

Psalm 36:5-6 (MSG)
God’s love is meteoric,
    his loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
    his verdicts oceanic.
Yet in his largeness
    nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse,
    slips through the cracks.

When I first saw pictures of Marabou storks in Kenya, I thought how ugly! It kind of looked like it woke up on the wrong side of the bed! But for some reason I was fascinated by them. I found them to be quite attractive in their own way!

These storks are really out of the ordinary. Like all storks, they have long, slender legs, and they can reach a height of 60 inches. Their beaks also are long and narrow. Not bad for a pet bird. If they could be domesticated, that is. But then, who in their right mind would want a pet bird that tall? They can also have an enormous wingspan of 10.5. That's wider than I am tall!

What turns most people off is not this bird's body, but its neck and its head. These are completely bare. No feathers in sight! Only reddish, very wrinkled skin. It makes them look like they are half vulture, half stork.

In all reality, these birds are scavengers. Feathered necks and heads would be detrimental for their health when they clean the meat off of the carcasses of dead animals. Imagine the billions of bacteria that would cling for dear life to the necks of these creatures! To say nothing of the virus-infected blood from their prey!

But think about it: What would we do without scavengers? Diseases would be even more widely spread, and we would end up having extra work looking for all of the dead carcasses to be buried!

God had it all well planned. Nature takes care of itself, just like God designed it to. This makes every creature of His beautiful by design.

We all have a purpose in life. Even those who think of themselves as worthless! It's our choice whether or not we fulfill it.

You are beautiful in God's eyes, no matter what others think!

Dear Lord, we thank You today that we are all beautiful in Your site and each of us is part of Your plan, no matter how big or small. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

He is our rest! He is our peace!

Romans 8:6-8 (ESV)
6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Living in the Middle Ages wasn't easy. (Are we any better with our hectic self-appointed schedules? We may be more health-conscious, but we aren't "healthy". Heart attacks are on the rise. So are headaches. Where do they come from? We have Aspirin and Acetaminophen to cover the symptoms, or Ibuprofen for those who can't tolerate the above two, nonetheless, they keep appearing. What's wrong with our medicines? Don't they do what we want them to do?)

The people of the Middle Ages used swords as weapons (We don't have to worry about these anymore . . . In our day and age, we have automatic machine guns!). And since people back then didn't want to be killed (guess we haven't changed!), they invented ways of protecting themselves.

Or at least the wealthy did!

They tried just about everything, from leather to wood to -- silk! As these (especially silk!) didn't do much to stop the swords, someone invented chainmail for those who could afford it. Suddenly it was harder to pierce a wealthy person to death, but more often than not, the sword found a vulnerable part of the chainmail. These vulnerable spots served as a real handicap to its wearer. And if the chainmail was found to be invulnerable, the head of the bearer was simply sliced off, as chainmail could not protect the head (An oversight, I am sure).

It was time for better protection, and metal plates were invented to cover the entire body (Try to pierce me now! Ha!)

Every piece of armor was made to perfection according to the specifications of the individual who would wear it.
The weight was distributed in such a way, that a rider could move around quickly and rise up when he fell from his horse.

As a result, noble wealthy men could be more in control for the outcome of certain skirmishes. Until firearms appeared, that is, making those tomb-like contraptions worthless to the wearer, as it offered no protection against bullets.

History keeps on repeating itself. We tend to think we are in control until . . . We find out we are not! Then we try to do something about the problem that is controlling us, and it seems we are back in the game. Until something again goes wrong, that is!

Anger bursts out of our mouth without us even planning it. Spouses and children may betray us without us even being aware. Jobs are terminated and we find ourselves desperately roaming the streets. Where did all of our control go?

In all reality, the more we hold on to control, the less we have it. It always seems as if circumstances and anyone around us, with some exceptions, are rising against what we think we are in control of. Peace is fleeting as despair fills in the cracks. Life seems without meaning.

Reality is not found in our capable hands, but in God Himself. Once we leave control to Him, we can experience a meaningful life, filled with inner peace. Unless we try to be in control again, that is!

Turmoil and trials will always arise, but we won't have to worry about these. God is in control! No one can bypass Him, and not only does His armor cover Him completely, it is also impenetrable, even by bullets. He is the One who will re-energize us, just like those rechargeable batteries. He is the One who will give us rest during turmoil. He is our rest! He is our peace! He is the One who gives meaning to our lives, as long as we leave everything in His care.

And why not? He's our Lord and Savior, after all!

Dear Lord, thank You for that You are our rest and our peace. Help us put our complete trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Psalm 32:5 (ESV)
 I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Five-hundred-and-nine million dollars is a lot of dollars.

That's the amount of gold experts estimate is illegally being mined each year in South Africa. Lured by the opportunity of making it rich and keeping everything which is found has proven to be a mighty big temptation for many of the uneducated laborers of that country.

Of course, there are certain risks to illegal mining. For example, what happens if something goes wrong, and you find yourself trapped underground?

That is exactly what happened to a few hundred miners who were stealing from a mine near Johannesburg, South Africa. Realizing their situation, the miners called for help and a few of them were rescued. They were rescued, and then they were arrested.

When the remaining miners found out what had happened to their comrades in crime, they broke off communication with their rescuers. That means they have placed themselves in an untenable situation. Sooner or later these guys are going to have to give in and go topside. Sooner or later they must come out, be arrested, and face some sort of punishment.

The miners must be brought out, or they must be willing to let that mine become their cemetery.

There are no other options for those miners -- just like there are no other options for sinners.

You see, like those miners, humanity concluded we could do much better for ourselves by operating alone. Like those miners, we rejected the Lord's claims on us and, having decided we would be in complete control of our lives, we moved forward. It would have been a great plan if we had been able to pull it off.

Nobody in the history of humankind has ever been able to pull it off? Sooner or later our sins will trap us. At that moment there are two directions we can go. We can either decide to stay where we are and die or we can let the Lord save us. Yes, there are many similarities between those miners and the sinners of the world.

Many similarities and one, big difference.

That difference is this: those saved South African miners will be arrested and punished for their sins, but we who repent and are saved by God's grace will find no such penalty awaits us. That's not because there is no penalty, but because that penalty has already been taken care of by our Savior.

Unbelievable! Can you imagine the son of a South African mine owner taking the punishment for these men who had been stealing from his father? Of course not! Still, that is what God's Son has done for us. He has carried our sins and died our death. Now, because of what Jesus has done, our rescue is made without any penalty to us.

Dear Lord, we give thanks to You for doing the unthinkable: You have carried our punishment so we might be forgiven, free and saved. We pray for all those who are still captured by sin and living in the dark. Send Your Holy Spirit so they may be brought up and into Your Light. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Not blind justice

Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

Justice is blind.

A blindfolded justice -- that's what the statues show.

Truly, justice may be blind, but that doesn't mean it has no sense of humor or can't be creative.

I can't help but smile at the ruling that was passed down upon a Russian architect a number of years ago. The architect had designed a 12-story apartment building.

The building was, for the most part, a beautiful and functional edifice.

Nevertheless, the architect was charged with negligence and brought into court. The charge against him was simple: he had forgotten to put in an elevator -- or he actively decided not to put one in.

After he was found guilty, the court picked a punishment which seemed to fit his crime: the architect was ordered to live in an apartment on the twelfth floor.

All of us ought to be incredibly thankful that God doesn't give us punishments to fit our crimes. Every day you and I commit so many sins, commit so many wrongs, it would be impossible for us to bear the verdict.

To save us from the damnation we deserved, God has given us an opportunity to be forgiven and free.

No, He doesn't just say, "everybody is okay." He's far too just to do that. No, rather than saying, "sins don't count" or giving us the punishment we deserve, God sends His Son to be our Substitute. In the Person of Jesus, the Lord has granted forgiveness to all who acknowledge the Christ as their Savior.

Without sin, Jesus took our punishment; without guilt, Jesus died our death. And now, those who are given faith in the Christ are free from punishment.

Dear Lord, thank You for taking our punishment for the sins that we have sinned.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.