Saturday, March 31, 2012


At least one person bought a winning ticket to claim $640 million in the Mega Millions Lottery. $1.5 Billion worth of tickets were sold from coast to coast as people scrambled for the opportunity to become wealthy in one stroke. Many people couldn't resist jumping in as the pot soared. So now one (or perhaps a few) will come into more money that anyone can use as millions placed their hope in their purchased tickets. If only people would realize that a far greater prize is available to each and every person. The winner of the lottery will have all the taxes, unwelcome suitors, media harassment, legal challenges and stress that comes with excess. When we bow before Jesus, who has paid for each of our eternal tickets, there is no excess...there is only sufficiency. Our needs are met and we are liberated to experience a quality of life and living that has no price. No excess...but plenty of abundance as we begin to discover the joy that comes with that wonderful mixture of earthly living in conjunction with heavenly presence.
We don't need to win a lottery because our Savior has purchased our salvation and when we claim our ticket by acknowledging our need for Him and our inability to make it alone we join and forever. (By the way...Jesus still has tickets available...there is one for you!)
John 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Friday, March 30, 2012

seeking its level

They say that water "seeks its own level". Gravity works to draw water from rainfall to creeks, percolating through ground and down to natural collection places...sometimes coming out of the ground in ponds and lakes. Just as water collects in common places, so does wildlife find its way to water, drawn by its source of food, drink and rest. I finally made it back to the pond this morning after several weeks of feeling unwell. I too am drawn to this natural level and this place of nourishment and rest. This morning I was joined by a bald eage, geese and ducks on the pond and we all savored the pond as it sent up shimmers of morning mist from the cool night air disturbing the warmer pond water. The Lord draws us back to Himself as well. We find no such peace, security or refreshment in any other place because we are essentially spiritual creatures. Living things are largely composed and sustained by water and so are drawn to water. We are spirit and must return to the spiritual essence of our nature. He is our pond of refreshment this morning and at all times.
Matthew 14:28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Awake my soul!

Awake my soul from slumbering,
Shake off the pains and suffering.
Allow the song of joy to form
and focus on the living Lord!
New life abounds on every side,
As Spring now wins and Winter's died
Our hope comes from the One who made
Seasons change and joy remains.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Spring and baseball are both resuming!  Each brings a separate picture of salvation and new beginnings ( or big innings).  The flowers, greenery and mild temperatures of the physical season are obvious signs that winter is past and life is reaching up from the ground to a welcoming sky.  With baseball, its all about being safe and staying safe.  You start at Home, where you are safe as a batter...but you can't stay Home.  To progress you must find a way to venture out on the base paths, where danger lies.  If you make a hit you can stay safe by reaching one of three bases and you are safe as long as you stay on the base...but to score you must continue to risk running between bases until you come Home touch the final base, score a run and be welcomed by teammates and fans.  You and I have had our time at bat and many of us are running the base paths now...or pausing on 1st, 2nd or 3rd.  It takes skill to make the trip around the diamond and there is another team that is trying hard to block your progress.  But when you start the trip at Home and you have understood your Coach's signs to reach base and to will eventually realize the joy of coming Home again...not to get started but to complete the journey.  We were safe before we started but we had a journey to make and He is seeing us to every base and to make sure our lives count as we touch Home again.

Psalm 84:
Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

shadow of the cross

Though long ago and far away, its shadow reaches still
The Cross that saw a Savior die
That I would be made well.

The conflict shaped 'tween God and man since Eden's
serpent choice,
Came to a rugged intersect on beams with wooden voice.

I could not find a way to Him or understand His love,
Until He first my ransom paid from treasuries above.

It was I deserved to die...but He went in my place,
And in the shadow of the Cross 

My sin has been erased.

 Hebrews 12:looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

the sickness fast

I've been out of the devotional loop for the past few weeks.  Shingles attacked and brought a custom look to my face and a persistent headache that felt like a little Leprechaun had moved into my head with an ambition to become a boxer, with my brain the punching bag.  It has been a little frustrating not to keep up with devotional thoughts each day but this morning it occurred to me that it really isn't about me and whether I am able to process a normal devotional walk, or whether I must batten down the hatches and weather a sickness.  Sickness is something like a fast and we are reminded that it really is God who is carrying us at all times...we just realize this more correctly when we are ill.  When I am silent, He still speaks.  When I am unable to think or function, He functions still.  Though I am on a riverbank, the river is still flowing.  How good to be reminded that He is the source and I the recipient.  He is Creator and I am created.  He has always been and, together, we will always be!

Psalm 86:10 
For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God. 

Friday, March 16, 2012


Apologies to my dear recipients of daily devotional thoughts.  I contracted "shingles" about a week ago and have been sidelined...this disease is sort of a revenge of Chicken Pox.  Something activates the dormant chicken pox virus and in my case it formed quite a rash and swelling on the right side of my face.  I am having success with the antiviral medicine and hope to be back in the game within a few days.  Much love in the name of our savior, Jesus! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

breaking waves

There is something hypnotizing about waves breaking on a shore. Recently I sat next to the James River on a windy morning and watched small waves push across and break on the river's edge below me. Of course that was nothing compared to the ocean surf, where the waves come from across the great water and roll to their end, almost like they are offering a final sacrifice to their travel. For some reason I thought about the generations of people who have rolled through this ocean of life, with lives that ultimately break on eternity's shore. Our lives are something like waves...bands of energy coursing through days of activity. And it may seem that our wave will just keep on going. But we know that one day our wave will break and we will wash up on Heaven's Shore at the feet of the Lord. He has seen countless generations break before Him. As we come to faith during our "wave travel" and eventually come to eternity we join those who have also trusted in our Savior before us. I picture them waiting on the shore as well to greet us....and then we will also see the waves of other lives arriving as the church on earth becomes the church in Heaven.
Revelation 10:10 I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

God's Math


We've been talking about the early church in the book of Acts and gleaning lessons from them about how our Christian fellowships should look and act. We've been learning about God's mathematics: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. In those early days, after Christ was resurrected and after the Holy Spirit had arrived at Pentecost we see many people being added to the church as their faith is activated. As they bonded in love they willingly subtracted or sold assets to raise cash to help others in their midst who had needs. As days passed and the power of God showed in miracles the church multiplied as folks who had come to faith shared that reality with others. And the church learned that there were times when they had to divide from authority figures and social forces that were unhealthy and opposed to the spread of the Gospel.
Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division and they all equal One. Oneness in the Lord is the primary quality of that early church. It was as if they had taken on one identity...they so identified with Jesus that He had become the One within them that galvanized them into action, united them in purpose and caused them to see each other as members of the same body. The reality of God had caused them to see a greater reality than themselves.
Addition: Acts 5:14
Subtraction: Acts 4:34
Multiplication: Acts 6:1
Division: Acts 5:29
Equals One: Acts 4:32

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


"We're all chasing something", I thought to myself this morning. Whether it's the next dollar, the next dream or the next deal we're chasing something. Sometimes dogs chase their tails...but then sometimes people chase storms to see how close they can get to disaster (what do you do when you catch a tornado anyhow?). As I returned from a morning walk through the woods I saw the sunlight of the new day paint the top of some tall trees up ahead. It occurred to me that another thing to chase is the source of that light. To be satisfied with chasing the Source of the Light...I think that's the chase I want to follow. On Monday night our MiniBible class was discussing the grand and glorious picture of our relationship with God that is painted in Ephesians, chapter 1. Here's a sample of what I mean:
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.
We have so much to uncover, recover and discover about the Lord and His plans. In our class we talked about how satisfying truth is. We decided that another definition for truth is "Seeing things from God's point of view". So much of our lives we look at things from our point of view. As we chase the Source of Light and truth breaks out we begin to see things from God's point of view and I think that the only word for that is Truth. There is something so satisfying about finding truth. I suppose that is because there is something so satisfying about seeing things the same way that God does. That's when we feel especially close and united with Him.
Something worth chasing, I think!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Mist on the pond creates a sense of mystery.  This morning I was treated to a brief view of a bald eagle in flight as well as several herons landing for a bite to eat.  There was a scenic picture of a pair of geese paddling through the mist as well.  Over the past several days the temperature of air and water have been playing a game of "chase me" as warm and cold have taken turns and winter competes with spring for control of the atmosphere.  The result is the morning mist over the water.  I thought about the mystery of our relationship with God.  There is so little we understand but so much we need to know and so totally we need to trust.  I suppose that part of this great mystery is how He continually reaches down to creatures who constantly struggle and squirm to avoid Him.  In love He reaches through the mist and meets us.  His love is felt by us...personally.  The God of all is the God of each.
Ephesians 3:and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 

Monday, March 5, 2012

just no 'splainin' it

We each have gifts that we've been given,
But none is quite the same...
One has an ear for music tone,
And one can paint a frame.

One sees the world in logic sense
Another, more abstracted...

To one life's a problem to be solved,
Another lets it happen.

Some are fast and some are slow
But most are in between...

Each one's a gift to all of us,
Fashioned by the King.

How can you know just what's inside...
What gift have you been given?

Just watch today unfold and see,
How you've been formed for livin'

Psalm 91:14 
"Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

humble creatures

High above the forest floor the squirrel builds his nest. It is a large home, compared to a typical bird's nest. I checked out some squirrel facts online this morning. This is the time of year when squirrels mate and it only takes about two months for baby squirrels to develop and be born. They start out weighing about one ounce and are blind for the first six weeks. As adults they consume about a pound of food per week. Their teeth grow continuously, at a rate of about six inches per year, but are worn down by constant use. They communicate by chirps and tail movement. Perhaps the most interest fact is that they crack the shell of nuts with their teeth and clean the nut by licking it. This also applies a scent which helps them find the nut later, even if they have buried it under a foot of snow. Despite the large nest, adult squirrels typically live alone. But, based on my observation, they really enjoy playing with each other and I've been amazed by these forest acrobats and how they can leap confidently from tree to tree on tiny branches. The forest is their proper home. When I consider the diversity of life that our Creator has formed it gives me peace to know that His plan is rich with abundant designs for life. And I consider how each form of life must delight Him. What special joy it must bring Him as we acknowledge His proper place as Maker and Redeemer...creatures who can truly know their Creator!
Psalm 145:15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

all about children, all about adults

Sometimes I think it's all about adults...maturing in faith...seeing Christ formed within...reaching fruitfulness and effectiveness in Christian living.

Other times I think it's all about children...having childlike faith...seeing others born again to a living walk with the Lord...having a playful attitude of living.

Then I realize it's all about both...for we are eternally children and we must mature in this dimension to realize that.  I can't think of a greater title than "Child of the King" for any human being.  We are adopted as children into that Heavenly family when we are born again through our faith response to the Gospel extended by Christ's outstretched hands.  We come to faith so often through the mature witness of other children of faith and we grow in our walk as we mix and move among those who have walked the path a little longer.

In this life there is such great joy over the there anything more precious than a baby, or anything more wonderful than a child?  And in this life there is such great joy seeing children grow to adulthood...marrying and bringing more children to the world.  And for eternity is there any greater joy than seeing a person, child or adult, realizing that they can be a child forever of the God who has formed us all!

Psalm 36:
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

to hear

So how do we hear?  Sound waves come at us as vibrations.  Those vibrations come into the ear canal and push against the eardrum.  The eardrum transmits the vibrations through a tiny and delicate bone bridge to a snail-like structure called the cochlea.  Inside the cochlea are about 18,000 tiny hair cells (all of which would fit on the head of a pin).  These sensitive hair cells move with the vibrations and send an electrical signal along a nerve to the brain for processing.  Our brain knows how to interpret the signal, as voice, music or creaking door.  It is all a mechanical and electrical process and is it not wonderful?

God's design is delicate to permit delicate sound as well as booming noise to be processed.  He is such a fine engineer that I take hearing for granted.  I have a friend who is not able to hear and I am reminded that it takes a lot of complex functions to work properly to do the most familiar activities and my friend has learned to cope without hearing by honing his skills of observation in other ways.

How do we hear the Lord?  I think that there is also a process...a sensitive which the vibrations of Heaven are received in our spiritual hearing canal...pressing against our spiritual heart drum...moving over the delicate bridge of spiritual bones...entering the spiritual receptor cells of our innermost person...processed by our eternal mind, made in the likeness of our Father.  We become familiar with Heaven's sounds and the deepest, most intimate part of our person responds...with conviction...with cries of joy...with response to the reality that we are known by Him.

Jeremiah 22:29 
O earth, earth, earth,
Hear the word of the Lord! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

eating to live

I was thinking about why we eat...and it came down to two purposes: for energy and for replacement of living cells.  To function and continue living we need fuel in our tank just to support basic life processes, as well as to respond.  And our vast array of specialized body parts need repair and replacement.  And so we take in fuel for energy and fuel for life.  And this is certainly an apt metaphor for our spiritual needs as well.  We need spiritual fuel for our spiritual activity and to build and replace or repair or spiritual lives.  With our physical food there is a biochemical process to convert food into energy and some is used right away while other energy is stored.  There is also a process by which the DNA map of our proteins is constantly building and replacing needed proteins in our body cells.  Eating proper foods provides the raw materials for energy and for replacement life.

There is also a spiritual process by which words are converted to spiritual energy and spiritual repair and replacement in our frame.  The Holy Spirit is the operator who takes the input of word from God's inspired Word and converts it to the immediate and stored energy we need as well as providing the repair and replacement of spiritual tissue.   Jesus, Himself, was known as the "Word who became a body of flesh".

If we eat properly in a physical sense and balance diet with exercise we tend toward physical health.  If we eat properly in a spiritual sense and balance that diet with spiritual living we tend toward spiritual health.

As we feed on God's Word we are given the energy to live and the building blocks to repair, replace and grow spiritual life!

John 6:48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."