A new day has dawned! Behold the handiwork of our awesome God once more.
Standing outside my office I was amused at the swirling leaves mixed with debris, twisting tornado-like through the parking lot. I smiled as the whirlwind danced its way from car to car, effortlessly shaking antennas on this cloudless autumn day. When it stopped, a lady who was sitting in her car rolled her window down long enough to shout my direction, 'Isn't God a trip!'
GospeLines Prayer:“In all things give thanks to the Almighty, for he IS an awesome God.”Thank you, Father, for displaying your omniscience through nature. You really are a TRIP! Amen and amen.
"Still, if you set your heart on God and reach out to him, if you scrub your hands of sin and refuse to entertain evil in your home, you'll be able to face the world unashamed and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.You'll forget your troubles; they'll be like old, faded photographs.Your world will be washed in sunshine, every shadow dispersed by dayspring.Full of hope, you'll relax, confident again; you'll look around, sit back, and take it easy.Expansive, without a care in the world, you'll be hunted out by many for your blessing.But the wicked will see none of this.They're headed down a dead-end road with nothing to look forward to - nothing." (Job 11:13-20 - The Message)
Are you aware that approximately 5,000 young people between the ages of 15-24 commit suicide each year?Every 100 minutes someone takes their own life, more men than women.In a recent survey, more than a few high school students admit they have contemplated killing themselves.
Where is their hope?
CNN’s recent series on “Black in America” highlighted the unfortunate choices made by a few – lives often plagued by drugs, violence and poverty.There is a tragic epidemic of young black men who are infected by hopelessness.
Where is their hope?
I can’t personally identify with either scenario, although it is a reality for some.All of these examples reflect a very real and persistent pain in their lives.I can relate to the ache…
When in high school, I was chastised by my peers for being different – wearing braces, glasses, my hair, my complexion -- for the uniqueness God created in me.Admittedly, I didn’t appreciate what God gave me at that time; I wanted to be accepted!Those were tough times and times that I don’t remember fondly.I just wanted to shrink away to hide.
The following poem written during that time illustrates my feelings --
ONE LITTLE FLOWER
One little flower,
Alone in a wilderness,
None of the others
Even know I exist.
I have love for everyone,
But, still they don’t know I exist.
Even when I try to understand,
I’m only something to look down upon.
When one wants something,
Everyone comes to me.
But if I want something,
No one will even hear my plea.
Poor little flower,
Alone in the wind.
Always be yourself,
And keep your feelings within.
Despite all, I held out hope that tomorrow would be different, the pain would eventually lessen; the rainbow would evolve from my anguish and tears.
I’m certain that there were some people praying for me…let’s hope there were.Otherwise, I would have been depressed and seeking other sources of escape.
I held out hope.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, how do we provide hope to a hurting world?I continue to pray that our young people will find a personal relationship with You, to make a way when they don’t see a way.Their lives have been cut short by their own choices and/or circumstances often beyond their control.
God, help us find every opportunity to engage and encourage our youth.As my sister-in-Christ, Memory, reminds me:
“Those who have health have hope; those who have hope have life.”
I’m holding out hope that You will show us a life worth living – a better tomorrow for Your children.
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, July 30, 2008
"God Is Awesome"
The mobile water sprinkler chugged its way across the lawn sending stiff streams of water toward the grass, trees, shrubs and flowers. When it reached the flower laden hibiscus, the delicate flowers took the full force of the water and shriveled under the pressure. As I started toward the menacing machine to divert it, a miracle occurred.
Somewhere inside that hibiscus, a safety mechanism was built into the plant by our Creator. One by one, the blooms began to close themselves, protecting the delicate flower petals from the danger. Once the emergency was over, they opened again and renewed the task of sharing their beauty with the world. What an awesome display of the Father's love for His creation!
GospeLines Prayer:"Do not worry about your life...and why do you worry about your clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin...if that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6)." Amen and amen.
Mother called down the hall, “Ronnie, bring me that doohickey laying in yonder on the thing.”
After a few minutes she called again, “Ronnie… please bring it now!”
I still remember standing in the hallway, looking at her and having absolutely no idea what she was talking about.My total confusion must have been obvious because at that moment, we both laughed.
What do you do when a person of authority tells you to find something and you don’t even know what it is?What do you do when you’re looking for something and have no idea where to look?Like me, the total confusion of those searching without knowing what or where may be obvious; but, if their search involves their eternal soul, it isn’t funny.
Many people are looking for something but they don’t know what it is or where to look. They don’t know what they are supposed to be.
“…because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy.”(1st Peter 1:16 – KJV; also see Leviticus 11:44; 19:2 and 20:7)
Holy!We are to be holy…When we read this command, many of us may be experiencing that same lost feeling I had all those years ago when my Mother called out to me to bring her that “doohickey.”We don’t know what it is or how to find it.
Being holy means being set apart, different, not part of the crowd.But, just being set apart isn’t the complete answer to what God means when He says “…be ye holy; for I am holy.”We’re to be set apart for a specific purpose.
Volumes have been written about holiness and how to be holy.Sermons and lectures abound on the topic.However, few words better describe God’s view of holiness that William Dunn Longstaff’s song, “Take Time to be Holy.”
Take time to be holy, speak oft with the Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word;
Make friends of God’s children;
Help those who are weak;
Forgetting in nothing His blessings to seek.
Set aside time every day to speak to the Lord.Allow Him to direct your every action and come to really know Him by knowing (feeding on) His Word.Be the “Good Samaritan” and love your neighbors because we are all God’s children.Help the poor and the weak and never forget to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength; because, in this way, you will be seeking His blessings – and you will be set apart – you will be holy in His eyes.
Very early on a Sunday morning I drove to the local grocery store to pick up a few things.It was my day to cook.While ordering scrambled eggs, bacon and biscuits at the deli counter I heard a woman's voice, singing loudly while she worked, "God is watching..."My first tendency was to look at how I was dressed, in shorts and a tee shirt.If He really was watching, I wanted to look OK.
In a few seconds, she sang out again: "God is watching..."This time I didn't duck, but turned to see who was singing this off key one-liner.She wasn't strange looking at all.She was just busily working, baking pies and cakes and sharing a private moment with the world."God is watching...," she blurted out in an ominous tone again.I drove away with a smile on my lips, the smell of breakfast on the seat next to me, and a new song in my heart:"God is watching...," I sang to no one and to everyone.
I wonder what she meant by that song?Did she mean that God is watching and I better think twice and not be naughty but nice?Is God really like that?Sometimes He is.The presence of God SHOULD be a deterrent to misbehavior and an influence toward doing the right thing.Or, did she mean, "Hallelujah, God is watching over us."Yes!Surely, there is a feeling of security knowing that God is watching over us with a protective hand upon our lives.
You are a child of God.He watches you, not for His entertainment, but for His delight.As a parent watches his beloved children play, grow to adulthood, go away to college and become happy in their chosen professions, our Father watches over us as we grow toward spiritual maturity.Let us live in a way that brings a smile to the face of our Lord, and a song to our hearts: "God is watching..."