Monday, September 23, 2013


The sure-footed doe isn’t always as sure-footed as she hopes. Probably most of us have seen animals tumble and fall. Some of their upsets cause us to laugh. Not so when someone we love, or know, is hurt from a fall. None of us likes instability. The firmer the ground, the safer we feel. Thanks be to God for the stable, immovable truth of His Word.


Firm foundations

The accidental antics of Pal, my husband’s black Lab, brought laughter many times. Pal loved riding in our fishing boat and was always the first on and the first off. One day, while in a hurry to jump on board, he miscalculated the movement of the boat. His front paws didn’t wait for the boat deck to remain steady before he jumped aboard. With back legs stretched to their limit as the boat drifted in the wind … splat! Down he went in a belly flop, a look of surprise on his face. What happened to his firm foundation? He probably wondered. With wounded pride, he sulked for over an hour.

Pal's mishap reminds me of Humpty Dumpty, the childhood character who sits high up on a wall and keeps falling every time a youngster repeats the poem. Humpty Dumpty thinks he's sitting on a firm foundation. But the wall is not a secure place and splat he goes—just like Pal.

Humpty Dumpty's brick wall and Pal's sturdy boat and dock could have been made of rotten wood, hay, or straw, for all the good they did. "No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is." (1 Corinthians 3:11.)

What kinds of spiritual foundations do we rely on? Our good works? The ritual of our church services? The faith of our parents? Or perhaps the erroneous, unscriptural belief that there are many ways to obtain entrance into heaven? If we have chosen Jesus Christ as our firm foundation, then He will build our faith in His Word into an indestructible foundation.

We will reap the Holy Spirit's fruit of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control," (Galatians 5:22.) striving to serve our Lord as He serves us.

Unlike Pal and Humpty Dumpty, we can depend on a much firmer foundation—one that will guide us in the steps where God wills. 

Lord, we thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, our foundation of truth. Help us to build on that foundation and not on the unstable deceptions of this world that can cause us to fall. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


During our school days, my identical twin sister and I confounded teachers and fellow students alike with our similar looks. But in God’s great scheme of things, even we differ. What a great God we serve! His variety in creation boggles our minds. Enjoy that spice today.


God’s variety show  

On a breezy summer day I can count six kinds of birds out my window. I see at least that many varieties of trees, bushes, and flowers. When I close my eyes I hear a dozen sounds—the wind blowing softly through the leaves, a chipmunk calling out, the songs of many birds. I can watch a variety show every day just in my front yard!

The variety of nature is astounding. When we consider nature on this planet, we can't begin to number all the species of animal and plant life, to say nothing about the land itself and the rivers and seas and heavens.

Sometimes when I meditate on God's creation, I choose a particular flower or mammal. The humpback whale is an interesting mammal to consider. They’re part of the finback family and I’ve seen them often in Alaska.

What does the humpback whale eat, I wonder? Where does he find his food? How deep can he swim? What is his average lifespan? How does he breathe? Mate? Eat? Sleep? Where does he live? What is his range of territory and migration? How does he protect himself? What are his natural enemies? How big does he grow? What color is he?

Researching the Internet and in books, I always end up learning more than I expected. And I always gain a greater sense of awe and appreciation for God's handiwork.

George Washington Carver also believed God revealed Himself through His creation. A deeply religious Christian famous for his scientific research in the use of peanuts during the mid-1800s, he practiced what we call “creation evangelism,” pointing people toward God through sharing the wonders of His creation.

When King David was a shepherd boy in the hill country of Israel, he had lots of time to meditate on creation. He wrote his thoughts as God gave them, and many of the Psalms tell of his love of God and nature. In Psalm 8:3-4 he wrote, "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers…what is man that you are mindful of him…?" David obviously was humbled by his meditative thoughts about God and creation. His praise and thankfulness are evident in many of the Psalms.

Perhaps we all should practice meditating on God's handiwork every day as David did.

Lord, we thank You for Your awesome creation. Fill our hearts with humility and thankfulness as we consider Your greatness through our observance of the natural life around us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


We see evidence of God’s presence everywhere we turn, and we hear His voice all around us, too. Trouble is, we allow the things of this world to drown His voice. He would have us stay in tune with us—like listening to a radio without static—so we can hear His instructions for us, His encouragement during our hard times, and His joy in us.


Selective hearing

When I owned a pup, I couldn’t help but laugh at how she used her ears. She didn’t enjoy riding in the car, so whenever I said the word ride, or drive, she either looked the other way or sat still while ignoring me. Conversely, when I quietly opened the wrapping of her favorite treat, she appeared in seconds from fifty feet away.

I’ve read of wives making gentle fun of their husbands’ selective hearing, too. They rarely ignore the call to dinner. But say the words “Clean the garage” or “Time to visit my parents,” and they pretend deafness.

In my advancing years, I truly am experiencing some hearing loss. I miss what others are saying when in a crowd of people. I need the television turned up more than I used to. Yet, sometimes the music in church is so loud for my ears, I leave the room. Go figure. Selective hearing? Perhaps more a case of irregular hearing.

Sometimes I purposely close my ears to God. If I’m spending too much time on Facebook or watching a silly television program and know I should be praying for a certain situation, I have closed my ears to His silent nudging. If I’m stuffing my mouth with sugar-laden snacks, knowing they can harm my body, I’m not listening to God’s voice but my own. If I’m teaching a Bible study, I seem to hear His voice clearly—until I finish the study. Then I return to the same old habit of listening to other voices.

Many voices clamor to be heard. One is the voice of reason. Doesn’t it stand to reason that if we’re told we have stage 4 cancer, we’ll die? Yet as important as reason is, faith trumps it—or triumphs over it—many times. We hear of miraculous healings everywhere.

Another voice often heard is that of discouragement. The Bible is filled with examples of God’s people ready to cave in to failure. His Word, rather, gives us reasons not to fear or lose hope. When Joshua took over Moses’ role as leader of over a million people, many who complained, God spoke life-giving words to him. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Can we find any better words to listen to?

Lord, keep our ears attuned to Your voice so we won’t be tempted to listen to the unreliable or unproductive voices of others. Help us remember that Your voice is powerful, meant for our good and our growth. In Jesus’ name, amen.                

Monday, September 2, 2013


Give me a map and I can find my way almost anywhere, as long as the map is up-to-date and easy to read. God’s Word—our map for life—is as up-to-date now as it was when written centuries ago. And with help from the Holy Spirit, church leaders, and prayer, His directions become clearer as we mature. We cannot go wrong with His map.



Lost Creek Falls, located in a thick forest near Lake Superior, truly was lost to us. Our plan was to follow Dave, who had been there many years before, and eat a leisurely lunch at the falls. We would then head back home before dark.

Confident about leading us to Lost Creek Falls, Dave didn’t think a compass was necessary. The other three of us didn’t either, accepting his assuring words. We hadn’t gone far before Dave realized, to his great surprise, that the woods had changed drastically over the years. He could no longer recognize the old trail. We followed our leader blindly, scaling hills and windfalls, ducking under tree limbs and under vines, stumbling over tussocks and hidden stumps. By lunchtime we were exhausted and hungry, but not anywhere near the falls. In fact, soon after, we found ourselves right back where we started! 

A heated discussion ensued. Not ready to give up, however, we decided to try again. After several more hours we finally found Lost Creek Falls, just in time to turn back so we could reach our vehicle before dark.

Life is sometimes like that trip in the forest. We choose a leader or guide who turns out to be unreliable, or we forget our compass or directions and end up traveling in circles. Worse, if we’re not careful, we can become perpetually lost. We might choose from a variety of dead-end paths. To name a few: busyness, self-centeredness, unhealthy grief, hopelessness, pride, the love of money, overly-dependent attachments to others.

God doesn’t want us to veer off His reliable path. He wants us to choose Him as our leader, our guide. Such a choice will help us eventually, unerringly reach the destination He has promised – life eternal with Him. And along the way we will experience peace and joy and love beyond anything we could imagine.

The Bible is filled with admonitions about not falling away from God’s path. 1 John 3:11 says:  “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.” The familiar Twenty-Third Psalm assures us that “The Lord is my shepherd…he guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Such a faithful promise will keep us from becoming lost and bring us straight to His destination.

Lord, forgive us for the times we’ve taken the wrong path and ended up in trouble. Guide us back to the path of righteousness and give us the desire and will to follow Your ways rather than the ways of the world. In Jesus’ name, amen.