Mirrors or Windows – Devotional for Wednesday, March 23, 2011

“Unhappiness comes from mirrors. Happiness comes from windows.” The Love Worth Finding daily devotional for today written by Adrian Rogers begins with this quote. What a wise observation.
Most of the misery of life comes from looking in the mirror at self. Most of the joy comes from looking out of windows at the world our Lord created for us and the struggles others face. 
Looking in a mirror everything is reversed. Up is down, left is right. Looking too much at ourselves is reversed as well. Happiness in life is very attitude and perspective based. And perspective has a tremendous influence on attitude. I have been suffering with my knee for the past few days. It got better for Sunday but I’m back using a cane today. It’s easy to be mirror focused when something hurts or your normal mobility is impacted. Today I went to a local drive in to pick up lunch. One of the workers was walking from the drive in to a picnic area behind the business. She was obviously struggling and could hardly walk. Yet she was having to work on her feet all day. My mirror switched to a window and that new perspective impacted my attitude.
Avoid mirrors and spend as much contemplative time as possible gazing out of windows and
Be blessed.

For We Like Sheep – Devotional for Tuesday, March 22, 2011

At Amana we have been studying the names of God. In doing so we are learning about our God, but in the process we are learning much about ourselves. For example, this week we consider the name, Jehovah-Raah, The Lord My Shepherd. It is comforting to know that we have a Good Shepherd. It is a little less comforting to consider that we are sheep. Here are just some of the characteristics of sheep:

1. timid, fearful, easily panicked
2. dumb stupid, gullible
3. very vulnerable to fear, frustration, pests, hunger
4. easily influenced by a leader, by the shepherd
5. stampede easily, vulnerable to mob psychology
6. little or no means of self-defense; can only run
7. easily killed by enemies
8. the shepherd is most effective, calming influence
9. jealous, competitive for dominance
10. constantly need fresh water, fresh pasture
11. have very little discernment in choosing food or water
12. best water source is early morning dew
13. perverse, stubborn – will insist on their own way , even eating poisonous
plants or drinking dirty water
14. easily “cast” – flipped over on their back, unable to right themselves
will die of starvation if not turned over by shepherd; helpless
15. frequently look for easy places to rest
16. don’t like to be sheared, cleaned
17. too much wool can cause sheep to be easily “cast”
18. creatures of habit; get into “ruts”
19. need the most care of all livestock
20. need to be “on the move”; need a pre-determined plan, pattern of grazing
21. totally dependent of shepherd for every need
22. need “rod and staff” guidance

That does sound like us doesn’t it? It is critical that the Lord is our shepherd. Because the fact is we will find a shepherd. We need to be led. Most of the world is led by shepherds who have no love for the sheep but only a desire to sheer the sheep.

We are truly blessed to have a Good Shepherd; it is our job to make sure we follow Him. We just considered 22 reasons why we must.

Follow and be blessed.


Fear or Trust – Devotional for Monday, March 21, 2011

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.Proverbs 29:25

The book of Proverbs is full of gems. This verse is just one of them. It points out a contrast which, if recognized and applied, can make an incredible difference in our lives. It balances fear of man with trust in God. Fear of man is a snare or trap. When we let the fear of man enter our lives we become disabled. That’s how a snare works. An animal in a snare or trap can’t move. Fear of man allows an artificial barrier to form around us which keeps us from living as our Father would have us live. Consider how we are when we are fearful. Fear fills our lives. We can think of nothing but the object of our fear. It disrupts our sleep and fills our days. We are frozen. The basis of fear is a concern that we are not in control; that someone else or something else will determine what will happen to us. The fear controls us.

On the other hand consider the man who trust in the Lord. He know that he is not in control, but knows that the Lord who is wiser and who has our best interest at heart IS in control. Therefore, there  is nothing to fear. We are, and are always, safe. We move from a compulsion to control to a peaceful trust in the One who is in control. 

What will it be saints? Fear or trust?

Be blessed.


Loving the Imperfect Church – Devotional for Sunday, March 20, 2011

I have been to a bunch of churches in my 62 years. I have pleasant memories from most of them. I recall the holy quiet of St. Michaels in Crowley where I served as an altar boy. I remember the chapel at Immaculata Seminary which I attended for my freshman and half of my sophomore year of high school. I recall many years of not many churches until the Baptist Church in Gulfport where I went forward to proclaim my “acceptance of Jesus.” I have fond memories of a “church without walls” and, of course, Amana where I currently serve.
Recollection of all of these and others brings a smile to my face; but none of these churches was perfect. There are no perfect churches and, we know, if there was one we would make it imperfect by our membership. There won’t be a perfect church until Jesus comes back, but that’s no reason to blame a church for detouring our walk. All of our memories of church are not great and some are even painful, but that’s in the past. We may be offended by the actions or failures to act of some churches. Again remember, no church is perfect.
On Sunday night we will consider the issue of the imperfect church, maybe recalling some of our best and worse memories. We will look at why, even with its imperfections, we really need our church.
Come, share and be blessed.

Just Sitting Here Praying – Devotional for Saturday, March 19, 2011

Although my knee is better today, my mobility is still limited. I am not the most active of persons but when a trip to the bathroom requires a cane and is painful, it makes you think and spend even more time than normal on the computer. While reviewing Facebook I saw this entry, “Just sitting here praying.” Isn’t  that the way we think about praying? That it is a sitting around, passive activity. We even feel we should be doing something instead of “just” praying.  When it really is the most important thing we can do. I mean real praying, not complaining to God about everything that’s wrong or even going through a list of needs, but being still before God and listening. 
We are quick to conclude that God doesn’t talk to us; but I believe more often the problem is we don’t listen. In our culture there is little quiet time. When I sit in the living room I either have my earphones on listening to a book or the TV is on. We go to sleep to the television and wake up to the morning news. How would we know if He was talking to us, maybe even yelling at us. 
Since I have at least a little more time of limited mobility, I intend to experiment with quiet, thinking about my God and listening for His voice.
Wonder what He’ll have to say.
Listen and be blessed.

Speak Up – Devotional for Friday, March 18, 2011

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:13-14
Have you been praying for the lost? Have you tried to be a living gospel, trying to show Jesus to others by your life?
That’s great, but for each of us there comes a time to speak. When the time does come to speak up, a lot of Christians are like arctic rivers:  frozen at the mouth.  But someone must tell the story.
Pray for the unsaved, let your light shine, and when the time comes, tell them the gospel story.  Paul said in Romans 1:16, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.
What are we to say? We need to relate the gospel story:   Mankind was separated from God,  Jesus paid the price for their sins,  He was raised from the dead, and if you put your trust in Him, you can be saved. I believe it’s best to personalize: How I was… What He did. How I am.
We often have trouble “sharing” face-to-face. Have you considered writing your testimony and sending it to someone? Letter writing is becoming a lost art, but there’s plenty of emailing, face booking and texting. I have noticed a greater boldness by Christians online to share what God has done and is doing in their lives. Nothing beats a face-to-face sharing, but the protection provided by digital space can allow us to overcome our timidity. 
Start with this. Write out your testimony. Giving it some thought and putting it on paper helps assure that when opportunity arises you won’t be at a loss for words. 
Then pray for the opportunity to share it and be alert, look for your chance.
There is no greater blessing than sharing our faith. We need to quit denying ourselves that blessing.

Appreciation – Devotional for Thursday, March 17, 2011

I am very appreciative this morning. I received nearly 50 face book “Happy Birthdays,” numerous emails and texts. The most unusual of which may have been the Happy Birthday video from my Wednesday Morning Men’s Prayer group. I am sure it will go “viral” on the internet. So I am thankful for friends.

As we headed out for my birthday dinner last night I did something to my knee and Rose had to help me back in the house. This morning I can get about only with the help of a cane. You don’t appreciate your health and mobility until something like this happens. So I am grateful for those things.

Because of the knee situation I find myself pressed on items that I need to do. These are things I could have done days ago but I have a PhD in procrastination. I appreciate the time we are given. God’s great gift is Jesus. His second greatest gift may be time. Every second we have life is a gift from God. We have 86,000 seconds in the day no more, no less.

So today I am appreciating friends, health, mobility and time. When this knee is better, I pray I will make better use of them all.

Thanks to friends and Jesus.


Happy Birthday – Devotional for March 16, 2011

Today is my sixty-second birthday and many have wished that it be happy. To all those I say “thanks.” And it truly is.
I am happier than I have any right to be. I am married to a beautiful woman who has loved me for most of my life. I have lived to see my daughter develop into a woman of whom I am extremely proud. I get to be deeply involved in the lives of my grandchildren and even a great grand child. I have been able to practice my chosen profession out of my home close to family for many years. I get to be part of a great Christian fellowship and a inspiring ministry where I get to see God do miracles.

And above all I get to know that greater things lie before me in this life and then into the next. Yes, thanks, it is a happy birthday but no happier than all the other wonderful days I am given. I hope to wake each morning in the coming year with a greater gratitude and expectancy than ever before; but that’s dependent on me. He has done all that can be done on that score.

Thank you Jesus and happy un-birthday to the rest of you.