For eighteen years the citizens of South Lake Tahoe, CA, have been haunted by the abduction of eleven year old Jaycee Lee Dugard.Witnesses said she was last seen walking to the bus stop when she was grabbed by two people and forcibly taken from her family and friends.Last Wednesday, a woman identifying herself as Jaycee walked into a San Francisco area police station and reported her own kidnapping, bringing a very gratifying end to a horrible ordeal.
Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said the reappearance of Dugard is “absolutely huge.”
“One of the things that we preach to searching families all the time…is that even in these long-term cases there’s hope,” he said.
“Even in these long-term cases…it’s important that we not let the world forget.”
Parents are the last ones to lose hope when their kids are at stake.Still, this was 18 years!I wonder how many people had quit believing Jaycee would just show up some day.There are over 800,000 children reported missing in the USA every year.But stories like Jaycee Dugard’s keep us hopeful that every one of them will come home.
One of my favorite images of Jesus is that of a Shepherd who is never satisfied that most of the sheep return to the fold at night.If there is just one little lamb who has lost his way, our Lord is not going to sleep until He gathers him in.
Our Golden Retriever, Jazz, loves her toys, especially her balls.(We have playfully knick-named her “Jesus.”)She may have 5 balls on the floor but if one of them has rolled under the couch, that’s the only one she wants to play with, none of the others are as important as the one that is missing.She will stare at that lost ball, then look back at us with that forlorn look which only a Golden has, until either Sherry or I crawl on the floor to retrieve it for her.
There are so many people who are spiritually lost, wandering around in this world without a clue about the reason for their existence.You may know some of them.Maybe your children are among the spiritually lost, and you’ve just about given up hope that Jesus will ever find them. Or maybe you might be counted among those who are lost, and you would like to find your way back home.You can experience a miracle today if you will just give yourself to Jesus.He is searching for you and wants to lead you back into the fold.
If you would like help in finding God, please send me an email today!
GospeLines Prayer:Dear Jesus, there are too many people in this world who are lost!Some are calling out your Name right now, looking for the way home.Hear their cries, O Lord!Let the misery of their loneliness be taken away, and grant that their hearts will be open to hearing your message.O God, implore your children who know You to be more diligent about telling others how to know You, too.We have been derelict in our duty.Remind us again and again that it’s important we not let the world forget.Amen and amen.
4Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;
5Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]!6The Lord executes righteousness and justice [not for me only, but] for all who are oppressed.
(Psalm 103:4-6 - Amplified Bible)
"Soaring Without Fear"
Sitting in my comfy wingback chair with newspaper in hand and a cup of coffee, I’m startled by a sudden thump against the large bank of windows behind me.Another of God’s creatures, a dove, is learning to fly and has flown directly into the window.This one is wounded and is recovering, but some haven’t been so fortunate and that hurts my heart.
Interestingly enough, the doves make their home in an old speaker on my patio right outside my window and I watch and listen as the parents build the nest and then take turns feeding their offspring.Before long, the chirping babies venture out, a little at a time, always returning to their “home” and its safety.
Their departure and return remind me of my spiritual journey.I may have deviated from His plan for me from time-to-time, but I don’t dare venture far from my Father who provides comfort, guidance and the love to help me soar.I am often wobbly and sometimes afraid as I continue on my path.I know the route may not be smooth, but God is feeding me, as His child and I am safe in His bosom.He is the wind beneath my wings and gently helps me soar above the fray and in my thankfulness, I still continue to pray.
Like a wounded bird afraid to fly
You’ve buried your head under your wing
Hoping no one would take notice, but I do
You see, I’ve been wounded too
I’ve hit the wall; wings bloodied and bandaged
Nerves fragile as I struggle to soar
Afraid I’ll stumble and fall if I take flight
I cower beneath the thought
Peering around, I take a few baby steps
Inching closer to the edge
Trying to get up the nerve to set sail again
To spread my wings
Lord, free me from myself and open up my heart
Help me be unafraid
And to unfurl my wings to reveal myself
With all its beauty and imperfections as ordained by You
GospeLines Prayer:Father, we’re hurting and don’t want to admit it to You or each other.We’re afraid of rejection or failure and don’t want to take the risk.Better to remain safe within the confines of our own private prison than extending the hand of fellowship and friendship because it makes us feel too vulnerable.
I am still in recovery Lord.Take the bandages off and grant me the capacity to forgive and trust.Remove me from the darkness and allow me to shine the light of Your love again.
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, September 2, 2009
"Preparing for Battle"
Behind the building at my workplace, there is a parking area and a drive used by delivery trucks. Yesterday, it was used for a staging area by the local police department to prepare for a drug bust. The sting activity was to take place in the large parking lot in front of the building which covers several acres. It isn't something you see every day, so I watched excitedly as the officers put on their bulletproof vests, loaded the several pistols each carried, placed extra ammunition around their waists, strapped their weapons to their bodies, and carefully rehearsed their strategy before engaging in the mission.
Their preparation for battle was thorough and meticulous. It was evident that every detail of the operation had been practiced many times before.
As I watched this scene, it reminded me of something the apostle Paul wrote to Ephesus about the daily warfare in which Christians are engaged:
"...put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace... take up the shield of faith... take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God... with this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Eph. 6:11-18) Amen and amen.
"It's so easy a caveman could do it."If you've watched TV recently, you've heard that phrase many times.Our children watch "The Flintstones" (a prehistoric family) on TV and find them very entertaining.Both are based on the premise that cavemen - our ancestors - are descendants of primates (monkeys).
Most schools teach evolution as if it's a proven fact and (many) ridicule any notion of creation or of a Creator - today's intellectuals have determined that there is no God.
The Old Testament (The Torah) spoke of the coming of a Messiah.However, many of today's Jewish rabbis have reinterpreted these prophesies and history to deny that the Messiah was ever prophesied.
What affect does this cacophony of information (both direct and subtle) have on your faith?Does it cause you to sometimes entertain doubt?
The Krell, a fictional race from the 1956 movie "Forbidden Planet," were destroyed by "monsters from the ID" - monsters from their own subconscious.They had become so intellectual they forgot that deep inside, each of us harbor secret monsters... monsters like envy, lust and doubt.
Don't let the world's pagan ways cause your faith to grow cold; don't allow the litany of subtle (and not so subtle) anti-Christ/anti-God rhetoric of the world cause the secret monsters from your ID (subconscious) to overtake your mind and turn you in the wrong direction.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help us to think like Jesus (Philippians 2:4-7) and keep the monsters of doubt as far from our minds as the East is from the West.Lord, even in this fallen world, grow our faith and keep us free in Jesus name.
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but byMe.”
Two years ago, I bought a small one gallon shrub from my local Home Depot. The label said that it was a pink oleander bush, which I wanted to place in my yard across from the lovely white oleander. It was planted in just the right spot, fertilized at just the right time, watered regularly, and I waited patiently to enjoy what the label said would be beautiful pink flowers.
After 24 months it bloomed for the first time. The leaves are green and healthy, and the flowers are large and plentiful... but they are yellow, not pink! My options are few. I can dig it up and take it back for a refund, but I would have to wait another two years to enjoy the blooms of a younger bush; or, I can learn to live with it. So, I have decided that I like yellow.
Our label-crazed world has taught us to expect the bearer of such to produce a certain result or outcome. And when it doesn't happen we are faced with disappointment, or, we can adjust. Some labels come from the manufacturer, and some are placed there by society. We label people of culture or color; we label folk from certain neighborhoods; we label Christians from different churches or denominations; we even label children to be like their brothers or sisters. Labels may be helpful in the grocery store but they are lousy barometers of content when used on people, because they are usually written by our own hearts of prejudice.
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, I have been too much influenced by societal labeling. Grant me the ability to appreciate the differences you have made in the created order of things and people. And thank you for teaching me that yellow is nice, too." Amen and amen.