On Wings Of Eagles

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Look Up

Psalm 98:1 (ESV)
Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.

Years ago, a young sailor went to sea for the first time. Not long after setting sail his ship encountered a heavy storm and the sailor was commanded to go aloft and trim the sails. About three quarters of the way up, the young sailor made the mistake of looking down. The roll of the ship combined with the tossing of the waves made for a frightening experience. The young man started to lose his balance. At that moment, an older sailor underneath him shouted, "Look up, son! Look up!" The young sailor did as he said -- he looked up, and regained his balance.

Similarly, when our focus is on the circumstances that we face, the waves of life, we can easily lose our balance and our direction. But when we change our focus and simply "look up", our internal spiritual compass fixed on the Lord will restore our stability, and enable us to finish the assignments we’ve been given and get to the top!

Are you feeling unstable today? Look up! The Lord will steady you. Heaven is your goal and God will provide the power and direction to bring you safely there!

Dear Lord, help us to keep our eyes up. Help us to keep our eyes on You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Happy Memorial Day

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Those who have given their lives for our country have experienced the tragic bloodshed that conflict brings. Our world is rocked by strife and division, but one day there will be peace and the author of that peace is Jesus himself.  Jesus is described in Scripture as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  On Memorial Day we recognize the valor of those in military combat, but a day is coming when we will live in a time of unparalleled peace, brought about by Jesus Himself.

We hold the deepest gratitude for the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have given their lives over the ages, defending our freedoms and families.  As we remember them, let us also remain aware that Jesus, too, gave the ultimate sacrifice.  He laid down His life to secure a freedom which transcends any earthly freedom. Jesus gave His life to gain spiritual victory over sin, death, and hell.  Memorial Day gives us a chance to praise our Lord for the price He paid, and the triumph He secured.

George Washington once said, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”  Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.”  We need for God to bless America once again and bring us back to “One Nation Under God.”

2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Today and every day let us humble ourselves and pray for our nation and leadership.

Dear Lord, we lift up our nation to You.  If ever it needed your guidance, it is now.  We ask You to guide those in leadership that they would follow You in the way You would have us to go.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Thankful for hospitals

Mark 2:17 (ESV)
And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Maybe you’ve heard the saying “The church is not a museum of saints but a hospital for sinners.” Whoever said that might well have based it on Jesus’ words in this passage.

Levi was a tax collector, and when Jesus had dinner at Levi’s house, they were joined by other tax collectors and sinners.

Tax collectors helped the Roman Empire by collecting money from the local people, so they were not very popular in the community. To help pay themselves, they were also known for collecting extra money for their own pockets, which made them even more disliked. In Mark 2, we hear that the religious leaders criticized Jesus for spending time with tax collectors and sinners.

But Jesus reminded the religious leaders that sinners were ­exactly the kind of people he had come to save. Jesus offered his love to everyone, even sinners. In fact, since every person sins, it may be easier for those who know they are sinners to admit that they need Jesus. They do not have so much of their own pride getting in the way.

It is wonderfully honest to admit that we are sinners in need of God’s grace. We can have the courage to make that confession because Jesus is ready to receive us. If sin is the sickness, Jesus is the cure.

Dear Lord, we confess that we are a sinner in need of Your grace. Thank You for sending Jesus; he forgives our sins, heals us, and makes us whole. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, May 21, 2020


Matthew 5:45 (ESV)
So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

God’s love falls like rain on all people, even evil ones. “God so loved the world,” says Jesus in John 3:16. God loves wayward children. He loves wounded and despised people. And if God loves in that way, Christians must love in that way too.

We can churn up a lot of unhappiness for ourselves and for others by trying to control, manipulate, or condemn other people. We can burn a lot of energy getting angry with secular people and shouting at them. But God’s love rains down on all people—good and evil alike.

Jesus does not give me permission to hate and despise any other human being. If you’re a human being, I am supposed to love you in word and deed, whether you are a Christian or not.

A soup kitchen in an inner city is a great place to practice this, because you don’t have to ask anyone any complicated questions like “How did you get this way?” or “Are you ever going to change?” You just have to scoop some chili into a bowl and smile at another human being and say, “God bless you.”

That’s a good way to start. But somehow I think Jesus would do more than that.

Love. This is so difficult for us. But it is a happier way to live.

Dear Lord, we know we need to be an agent of Your love, but we have so many barriers and attitudes that hem us in. Lord, show us how to love. Help us to love as You have loved. In the Name of  Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Thoughts about the eye

Psalm 139:16 (ESV)
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

I had a cataract removed from my right eye this week and it made me think about the eye.  Have you ever had the wonderful experience of being present when a baby was born? Maybe you were there for the birth of your child, a grandchild, or another family member. You watched those little eyes light up or, more likely, struggle to stay open as they adjusted to bright lights. The baby saw the real world for the first time, a dramatic change from the view inside the womb.

Researchers say that a baby’s eye sockets begin to form in the fifth week of pregnancy, but the eyelids will not open until the seventh month. Even after birth, the eyes and their relationship to the brain continue to develop. Our Creator God definitely knows us as individuals before we are born. Life is a continuous process of growth and development in God’s care, even in the womb. He knows us and loves us even before our parents realize we’re there. That’s how much God pays attention, even to you and me. As God told the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5).

As our eyes continue to open up to the world around us, we will not only gain knowledge of the created world but also of its Creator. We will then be able to live our days according to the way ordained for us, written in God’s book.

Dear Lord, thank You that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Open our eyes to see You and know You as our Lord and Savior. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Reaching out to our community

Genesis 18:3 (ESV)
And said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.

I read a story about a woodworker. Caleb wasn’t looking for a mentor or a friend when he went to work for Joe. He simply wanted to learn about woodworking. But the relationship became much more than that. Instead of assigning tasks, Joe asked Caleb what he wanted to learn through this experience. That set off a years-long friendship that went much farther than simply working together. Joe and Caleb shared meals and books together. Joe introduced Caleb to the details of selling his house so that Caleb could learn. Joe also introduced Caleb to his friends. Joe invited Caleb into his life and included him in all kinds of ways.

Community is about more than just a surface relationship. It calls for hospitality, and that often means putting oneself in a place of risk and vulnerability to include others. It means inviting others into your space to include them in what is going on.

Abraham and Sarah invited three strangers to rest, wash up, and eat. It might not seem like much, but this is an example of inviting strangers into our space so that they are not strangers anymore. Abraham and Sarah gave of themselves in order to make the strangers feel welcome, and they were blessed in amazing ways.

The ways we make room for others in our community is important.

Dear Lord, help us to invite others into our community as we invest in each other. Help us to see and serve you in the strangers and in our community. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, May 17, 2020


John 20:29 (ESV)
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

As he prepared his followers to live faithfully after his return to heaven, Jesus addressed the challenge of doubt and unbelief. Thomas was a realist. He knew that resurrections were not everyday events, and he feared that his fellow followers of Christ might have gotten it wrong. He wanted evidence. He demanded proof.

It’s easy to criticize Thomas for his doubts, but the truth is that many of us live with similar hesitations. After all, Jesus is no longer on earth for us to see and touch. We cannot have the same experience as the first disciples who walked with him after his resurrection. So we need Jesus to prepare us for the challenges of skepticism and doubt in our own lives.

What does Jesus say to struggling followers? “Stop doubting and believe.” We may not have the opportunity to feel the wounds of the cross with our own hands. But we have the testimony of lives changed by the Lord’s power. We can seek out the fellowship of other believers in the church and be encouraged by their words. And we can watch for the glory of Christ to appear around us, joining in with Thomas’s beautiful confession: “My Lord and my God!”

May the ascended Christ prepare you today to meet the challenge of doubt with the blessing of faith.

Dear Lord, it is sometimes hard to believe. We live in an age of doubts and lies, and our human minds constantly demand proof. But we believe; save us from unbelief! Fill us with faith. In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Friday, May 8, 2020

patient as we wait

James 5:7 (ESV)

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.

Farmers understand the need for patience. “See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains,” says James. Arnold Glasgow must have been thinking similarly when he wrote about the importance of patience: “You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it open.” In other words, as a familiar proverb puts it, “Good things come to those who wait”!

James was writing to believers who were being mistreated by people who were rich. By urging his readers to be patient, James wasn’t simply instructing them to be resigned to their difficult situation. Instead, he was reminding them that “the Lord’s coming is near,” and that when Christ returns, he will serve as the just Judge.

When Christ comes back from heaven, “with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God”,  he will set all wrongs right. Jesus is coming to give strength to the weak and to judge those whom the world considers strong.

Be patient then, James is saying, until the Lord’s coming, when the heavens and the earth will be made new and the Lord himself comes to live with us. It’s because we view life through the lens of eternity that we can be “thankful when things go well” and “patient when things go against us”.

Dear Lord, thank You that You are establishing a kingdom where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain; Help us to persevere patiently in that hope. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Why worry?

Luke 12:22 (ESV)

And he said to his disciples, Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.

Jesus tells a parable to show that it’s foolish to think our security is in our wealth—or in anything besides God. The story is often called the parable of the rich fool.

Jesus called the man in this parable a fool because he was not thankful for the harvest he received. Instead the man was more concerned about his lack of storage space. He thought that as long as he had possessions, he had it made.

But do riches guarantee security and a happy life? By not being rich toward God, the rich man was in the worst kind of poverty. He was a fool.

Jesus then encourages us not to worry. He says, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” We are children of God. Does it make any sense for God’s children to worry about what they will eat or drink? “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”

Here’s the bottom line. Jesus tells us to invest wisely. Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We must live for God first, trusting in him absolutely. We must throw away our worries and seek God first, rather than ourselves.

Dear Lord, forgive us for not putting your kingdom before our own wants. Please guide us to do Your will, as You provide us with all that we could ever need. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, May 4, 2020

The rainbow

Genesis 9:12 (ESV)
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:

The rainbow is one of the most beautiful meteorological phenomena we can enjoy. Reflected in airborne water droplets, the sun’s rays create an optical miracle.

Growing up I remember seeing a rainbow after a rain shower made me feel happy. I was mostly excited about the fact that the weather was finally getting better and I could do outdoor activities. I still remember after reading the Bible I discovered that the arc of the rainbow signifies much more than simply the end of a spell of bad weather.

The rainbow has to do with the everlasting covenant, or agreement, that God made with all of Noah’s descendants and every living creature on earth after the flood. “Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood.” That was God’s unconditional promise, and the rainbow is God’s beautiful and powerful sign of that promise.

In the Bible we find descriptions of various covenants. All of them foreshadow the ultimate and most important one called the new covenant. Just like the covenant with Noah, the new covenant is an unconditional divine promise. Our Lord Jesus instituted this covenant by his death on the cross. It is a saving covenant of God’s grace, sealing the forgiveness of our sins and God’s special relationship with us.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your new covenant! We trust in Jesus Christ alone for righteousness and the forgiveness of sins. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

How much is enough?

1 Timothy 6:6 (ESV)
But godliness with contentment is great gain.

In Jesus’ parable, a man receives far more than he needs for his health and well-being. But instead of sharing his abundance with people who don’t have enough, he hoards the surplus and plans to take life easy for himself. He thinks only of himself and his own desires.

Greed always wants to gather more than is needed—and it refuses to share.

The greedy one’s eyes are bigger than its stomach. Greed, says a Chinese proverb, is like a snake that wants to swallow an elephant. Greed’s motto is concise: “Never enough!” Bigger barns and garages and walk-in closets are just the beginning.

Death will stop greed in its path and expose its folly: more is not better. After all, you can’t take it with you. Everything we have acquired on earth is useless to us after we’re gone. It is better, says Jesus, to store up treasures that last, that death cannot swallow, that show wisdom toward God.

Greed is a problem of the “self,” of what “I” need for the good life. Dying to our “selves” through Jesus is the beginning of wisdom that knows the meaning of “enough.” Self-denial in Christ’s name leads to the truly good life. Daily surrender to the Lord and his Spirit builds up riches that last. These are riches that lead us to love God above all and our neighbors as ourselves.

Dear Lord, give us neither poverty nor riches. Help us not to be greedy but to rely on You for what we need, and to share willingly. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

His love

John 13:1 (ESV)
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Everybody needs to be loved. It’s one of the deepest truths of our shared human condition. More specifically, we all need to be shown love.

When children are small, they sometimes engaged in trying to express how much they loved with arms and hands outstretched as far as their toddler-sized bodies would allow, or they strain to show the extent of their love with words: “This is how much I love you!” Of course, the parents are delighted!

As Jesus spent precious final hours with his disciples, his primary project was to make clear why he had come to earth. While the shadow of the cross crept steadily toward him, Jesus showed his disciples the central meaning of his mission: God’s love (see John 3:16).

How did Jesus communicate that message of love? He knelt down in front of his disciples and washed their feet. The One who had come from heaven humbly washed away the earth’s dirt from between his followers’ toes. What an unusual expression of love!

Jesus’ message of love is surprising. It’s countercultural. Its claim is that through the cross-shaped giving of himself, Jesus showed us the full extent of his love—he loved his followers “to the end.”

Jesus’ love bends low. His love washes us clean. Jesus’ love searches and reaches out for us. Have you opened your heart fully to his love?

Dear Lord, thank You for loving us. Help us to grasp how high and wide and deep and long Your love is for all people. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, April 20, 2020

God is gracious

Luke 1:63b (ESV)
“His name is John.” And they all wondered.

For many years in the homes of the Dutch (and in some other nationalities), it wasn't necessary to buy a book of names when a baby was on the way. The name of your child was simply plucked from the family tree. The first son was named after his father's father. The first daughter was named after her mother's mother. Names were handed out according to set patterns that honored those who had gone before. Of course, all those recurring names led to some confusion at times too!

There was a similar tradition in Zechariah's day. Everyone thought a son born in old age should be named after the father. But that would merely reaffirm the past. With this child, something radically new had come, and his name came from the Father in heaven. His name would be John, which means, "God is gracious."

God is gracious! Today, in our own lives, this is the message we need to hear. Perhaps you're trying to put your life back together. You know you've disappointed God. You want to move back into a relationship with him. First, though, you want to solve your problems and polish up your reputation. But that's a mistake. God sent out an ambassador whose very name makes clear that God's good will-not your good deeds-is the basis of a relationship with him. Trust God's grace. Discover God's welcome of mercy and love today.

Dear Lord, we can't clean up our lives by ourselves. Thank You that we don't have to. Help us claim the meaning of John's name and discover the power of Your love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The seed of God's Word

Mark 4:26 (ESV)
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.

Jesus often used pictures about farming to describe the kingdom of God. Here the mystery and excitement of farming helps us see something important about the kingdom. Once seeds go into the ground, the farmer has no control over them. It may help to provide water and sunlight, but the farmer must simply wait for the seeds to sprout and grow.

It’s a relief and a thrill to see the first tiny shoots appear. Sure, the farmer expects it—seeds usually grow when the conditions are good. Yet the farmer doesn’t control all the conditions. So when growth happens just as it should, it’s amazing every time. And when the time for harvesting finally comes—when all the conditions have been met regardless of the farmer’s lack of control—that’s another thrill and another relief.

When we sow seeds of the good news of God’s kingdom, we can trust they will grow if the conditions are right. Yet we don’t have control over the conditions. So we have to wait. And what a thrill it is to see the first sprout of faith begin in a child, a friend, or even someone we have just met! Even if we didn’t plant the seed, it’s a thrill to watch it grow.

It’s also another, deeper thrill when we see that a person’s faith in God has grown to the point where they are ready to join in feeding others and spreading the seed of God’s Word too.

Dear Lord, please grow your kingdom. Grow faith and new life in us so that we may bear fruit. And please spread the growth of Your Word where we have ­planted seeds. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Tax or Tithe

Deuteronomy 14:22 (ESV)
 “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year.

Few people eagerly pay their tax bills. Some fight the government's right to collect them. After all, the reasoning goes, it's our money, so we should decide what to do with it.

Moses had a different point of view. Tithing-giving a tenth of what Israel received from the land-was not a matter of giving the Lord a part of what Israel owned so they could do with the rest as they pleased. All of Israel's income belonged to the Lord, the land's owner. Whatever Israel received was God's gift to them.

The yearly tithe acknowledged this gift and the responsibility of helping people who could not give: non-citizens, the fatherless, widows, and the Levites. This way everyone could share in the Lord's bounty.

Tithing, or giving money to the church for its ministry, is not a tax to be paid to keep your membership. In the Old Testament, gifts for the tabernacle were voluntary (Exodus 35:20-21; 36:6-7), and the same was true for the church in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Yes, you can go to church for free, because God's forgiveness cannot be bought. But the question is, What is God's grace worth to you? If you believe God has provided you with nothing, live accordingly. But if you know that everything you have comes from God's hand, then give as you have received.

Dear Lord, we have received so much from You, help us to give cheerfully in return. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Lesson from a farmer

Isaiah 28:26 (ESV)
For he is rightly instructed;
    his God teaches him.

If you live near or travel through farmland in warm weather, you’ll see farmers in their fields. Depending on the season, they’ll be plowing, planting, fertilizing, harvesting, or possibly haying. Their experience in farming helps them know how and when to do their tasks to raise a good crop.

In Isaiah’s day, God was angry with his people because they did not want to follow his revealed will. They staggered from wine and mocked the Word of the Lord. If trouble came, they thought they could save themselves by making alliances with other nations (Isaiah 28:1-22). God directed them to look to the way of farmers, who knew there was a right way and a wrong way to do their work. There was a right time to plough and a certain way to harvest. Farmers paid attention to the instructions of God, who teaches the right way. By following God’s way, they would enjoy a rich harvest.

Is the world we live in today much different? Many people do not take God into consideration in their personal and business affairs. Books applauding atheism become bestsellers, and people mock God’s Word by insisting that the world would be a better place without the Bible.

Following the truth, integrity, love, and faithfulness of Jesus Christ, however, is the way to full, abundant life. All this comes from the Lord, whose wisdom is supreme.

Dear Lord, open our lives to the work of your Spirit leading us in the way everlasting. Help us to understand Your teaching. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, April 6, 2020

In the midst of a storm

Mark 6:51 (ESV)
And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded.

Storm winds were raging as Jesus’ disciples fought to keep their boat afloat. Jesus saw their struggle from afar and walked out to them on the wild waves. When they saw him, they were terrified, thinking he was a ghost on the stormy sea.

Jesus could have remained on the shore and commanded the winds to tame down. At the very least, quieting the sea first might have made his walking out there easier. But instead Jesus joined his disciples in the turbulence, took the most difficult route, and then climbed into the rocking boat to be with them. “Don’t be afraid,” he said before calming the storm.

We read in this story, Jesus demonstrates the heart of God that still comforts us today as we battle life’s storms. Jesus sees our struggles, comes near to us, and goes through the storm with us—whether or not he decides to calm or stop it.

Have you felt the presence of Jesus in your storm? Listen closely as he whispers to you, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Dear Lord, thank You that You don’t stand at a distance when we are struggling against the storms of life. Instead, You come before we even call. Please calm our fears as we cling to You. IN the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Are you ready to be washed?

John 13:8 (ESV)
Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

It’s a humbling, maybe even humiliating, thing to have someone wash you. Nurses know the awkwardness as well as the importance of bathing patients who cannot bathe themselves. Sometimes a broken body prevents patients from getting themselves cleaned up.

This is also true in the life of faith. Most of us cherish our independence. We are doers. We are achievers. We resent needing to rely on others for things we think we can do ourselves. Yet the truth is that we are broken because of sin. The Bible teaches that in order to enter into the fullness of life that God intends for us, we need to be washed clean. But we are unable to do that for ourselves.

Peter’s refusal to be washed by Jesus was vehement. It could be translated this way: “You will never ever wash my feet—ever!” Peter thought he was saying the proper thing. It didn’t feel right for Jesus to be acting as a servant to him. How could it be fitting for his Master to descend to such lowliness?

Jesus’ reply to Peter was also vehement. In essence, Jesus said, “If I can’t wash you, you can’t have me.” Peter needed to humble himself. He needed to receive the forgiveness of sin that Jesus was offering.

So do we.

So, give in. Be washed. And receive fullness of life!

Dear Lord, wash us clean of all our sins. Help us receive the fullness of life that you offer. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The future

Matthew 28:20 (ESV)
Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

People are nervous about the future these days—especially with the covid-19 pandemic. They are not confident that we can get a handle on it, that their job will hang on, being quarantined will there be enough food and will the retirement account come back.

But Christians are promised a future that depends on something far better than economics or politics. The Lord over the universe, Jesus Christ, promises that he is always with us!

As the disciples were getting their last glimpses of Jesus, they were not sure what life would be like after he left them. Matthew tells us that “some doubted” even when they saw him face to face.

Jesus put their doubts about him and the future to rest by assuring his followers that through faith in him, their future would be secure. He said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” In other words, their worries and concerns would not necessarily go away, but his followers needed to base their trust in the promises of the Savior alone.

As for us today, this means …

Using the technology that we have to go and make friends for Jesus, because our life belongs to him. Witness and celebrate as new believers move from darkness to light. Teach future disciples of Jesus to work for the future as the Lord goes with us.

Dear Lord, help us not to worry about circumstances we cannot control. May we trust our future to You alone as the firm foundation of our life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The lonely

Psalm 68:6 (ESV)
God settles the solitary in a home;
    he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
    but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

The lonely—widows, orphans, prisoners, the homeless—what can be done to ease their sense that no one cares? Ultimately, God in his love is our dwelling place. As “a father to the fatherless,” he adopts us as his children. He defends the widow, sets the lonely in families, frees prisoners, and puts a song in their mouths.

When God led Israel through the desert wasteland of the Sinai Peninsula after freeing them from Egypt, he scattered their enemies and refreshed his weary people. And in his law He made special provisions for widows and orphans, for foreigners, visitors, and all who were poor.

To be a part of the people of God, the church of Christ, heirs of the promise, recipients of salvation—this is a great, great blessing. There are people who think of Christ’s church as boring and a waste of time. They go to worship once or twice and soon give up. But they miss the fellowship that they could enjoy—the fellowship of all who share in God’s deep love and grace, made possible through Christ’s sufferings for all who believe. God’s caring people have a heart for those who are suffering.

Are you following God’s example and caring with compassion for others today?

Dear Lord, may we reach out with Your love to people who are all around us and lonely. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Waiting on God

Psalm 119:81 (ESV)
My soul longs for your salvation;
    I hope in your word.

The psalmist cries out again for God to rescue him from his enemies. They have tried to trap him; they have tried to persecute him without cause. On the brink of despair, the psalmist is in crisis, “like a wineskin in the smoke.” Normally wineskins are soft and flexible, but long exposure to smoke makes them brittle. From abuse, the psalmist feels he is about to crack.

Pounding on heaven’s door, the psalmist cries out: Where are you, God? “When will you comfort me?” “How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors?” Rescue me from these troubles, now!

But it seems God is silent.

Did you notice the psalmist’s reaction to this? He doesn’t reject God or turn away from him. Instead, the psalmist’s ­trials stoke his passion for God and for growing closer to God by meditating on his Word. In God’s Word the writer finds assurance of God’s unfailing love—and this, he says, makes him want to please God by living an obedient life.

Though our troubles may or may not be as difficult as the psalmist’s, we all experience waiting for God. And while we wait—resting on God’s ­promises—we have an opportunity to grow in following and serving the Lord.

In his time, God will answer. Will we seek him through his Word and continue to obey while we wait?

Dear Lord, we wait for you, and as we wait, help us to grow in trust and obedience. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Refuge and strength

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

The first words of this psalm announce its theme: God is our refuge—our fortress and shelter. God is also our strength, our help—the one who deals with the perils surrounding us. And because God is our refuge and help, we have nothing to fear, even if nature throws its worst tantrums at us.

A group of Jesus’ followers feared for their lives in a storm one day, out on a boat in the middle of a huge lake. Then their Teacher stood up and said to the wind and the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind quit; there was dead calm. “Who is this?” they asked. “Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (See Mark 4:35-41.)

The Lord Almighty was in that boat as their helper; the God of Jacob was their refuge.

Our faith is always being subjected to storms and earthquakes. Where can we find safety and security? Listen to Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way. . . .”

There is a certain and trustworthy basis for our faith—the God who made us and everything in our world. In all circumstances, no matter how terrible or frighten­ing, our unchanging God is our refuge and strength.

In what ways has God been your refuge and strength?

Dear Lord, we know you are God. Help us to remember this when our worlds shake and our hearts tremble in fear. Shelter us, Jesus, in your strong, safe arms. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

God's GPS

Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.

The statistics are out, and it doesn't look good. According to a national survey of car owners, nearly 60 percent of drivers in the United States get lost a few times each year. Imagine! But you don't have to live in the U.S. to know the helpless feeling of being disoriented. I regularly get lost in other parts of the world too.

Experts maintain that getting lost wastes our time, energy, and resources. Sometimes it can even put us in danger. Their advice is simple: before you go anywhere, make sure you have the right directions--or, better yet, a global positioning system (GPS) for navigating.

As we look at our spiritual journey: its beginning and destination, its sharp turns and slowdowns, its challenges and blessings let us remember that Scripture gives us a crucial piece of advice for every successful journey of faith. Before we can start "driving," we have to fully trust the Lord. The Bible often calls the Lord our Shepherd. In today's terms, we could say God is our GPS. Trust in this GPS, and you'll never get lost!

The Lord warns us against thinking we are smart enough to figure out our own way. He doesn't even want us to follow other belief systems. He tells us to turn to him in every part of our spiritual journey. If we acknowledge the Lord's leadership, he will make our path straight and see us through.

Dear Lord, we are lost and disoriented without You. That's why we turn to You for direction in our spiritual journey. Guide us and make our path straight. In the Name of Jesus we pray,  Amen.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Saint Patrick's day

2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

“Patrick, is an intensely human person and not a plaster saint to admire from afar. He offers us a Christian vision of life honed out of his own experience and trials. He offers us a challenge to live our own Christian life today in changing and turbulent times. He comforts us when we are criticized and ridiculed. He gives to us the Celtic vision of the intimate presence of God in creation, in the Church, in people and in Scripture. He is a model for us, giving us an example to follow as we struggle to live authentically our own Christian lives in our own difficult times.”

Patrick’s life and ministry teach us to be open to the call of God in our lives. His beginning in Ireland did not dictate his future but it drew him into a love relationship with Jesus Christ. His relationship with Christ helped him to overcome adverse circumstances in his teen years. His ability to draw close to God and forgive had a dramatic impact on the Irish people and the success of his life. His willingness to follow God’s call made him a hero of the faith.

Lets learn from this man of God and ask our self a few questions, “Am I willing to draw closer to God in turbulent times? Am I willing and able to forgive those who have caused pain in my life? Am I willing to follow the call of God and even give my life to those who enslaved me? If you do you could become a hero of the faith like Patrick.”

If you learn to be like Patrick you have the benefit to really start living right were you are at. You really start to live when you take your eyes off the circumstances of life and draw closer to God. Then you will learn to recognize God’s voice. This spiritual maturity will lead you out of bondage and slavery to freedom. Then as you continue to draw closer to God through study, prayer, and spiritual disciplines you will be called upon by God to do a ministry for Him. Who knows maybe you could win an entire nation to Christ? Maybe you could win a generation to Christ? Maybe you could win your family to Christ? The benefits to you will be eternal and the most rewarding thing you could do with your life.

Dear Lord we pray that we would let You use us Like Patrick did. We pray that we may be the beginning of winning our generation to Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Playing and Praying

Isaiah 11:8 (ESV)
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
    and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.

Maybe you’ve heard the expression “The family that prays together stays together.” We might also like the sound of something similar: “Folks who play together stay together.” I’m fascinated by the idea that healthy families experience a sense of play.

The Bible has very few references to play as a childhood pastime. And the picture in Isaiah 11 isn’t mainly about families and relationships having a sense of play. It’s a picture of peace that is promised with the coming of Jesus, the righteous One who comes from the family tree of Jesse. It’s about the peace Jesus brings so that hateful enemies become good friends and dangerous animals can be led by little children.

Yet in the scene from our text, peace is demonstrated in play. The baby need not be snatched away from the cobra. The young child can rattle the snake! What a playful scene! It’s a welcome, delightful scene of healthy, wholesome relationships.

It’s a description of the church, which is made up of people once alienated from God and each other, and now at peace. It’s a picture of people playing innocently, with no desire to harm, hate, or hurt. It’s a picture of people playing not to win or to crush a rival but to honor their Creator. Who knows? Playing together may even lead to praying together.

Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of play. Thank You for the ability to catch a ball, walk a woodland trail, or solve a word game. In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.