God’s Goodness – The Rose

September 4th, 2015
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Not only has God given us one of the most beautiful and fragrant flowers to enjoy, but He also has given us countless different types of roses! Each species bringing its own beauty and wonderful fragrance! Our God is a God of detail and imagination, isn’t He? As I meditated on the rose this morning, I was so totally blessed by its intricacies. I stand amazed at how our Heavenly Father poured Himself into this one part of His creation! O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! (Psa 8:9)

There are so many different species of the rose to choose from! It was difficult to pick one. I was going to pick the obvious rose found in many florist shops, however, I wanted to pick something unique. Then I saw it – the rose that jumped off the page at me – the Dog Rose. The Dog Rose’s similarities to Virginia’s Dogwood tree caught my eye. I would never have thought this flower to be a rose, would you? It’s not the typical looking rose. This Dog Rose is found in Europe and the Middle East. The Creator of all gives us a glimpse of His power by giving man so many different types of roses to enjoy. I stand amazed at how awesome God is! … and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isa 64:8b)

Have you noticed the petals of this beautiful Dog Rose? There are five petals – the number five symbolizes God’s grace. The Victorian “language of flowers” says that different colored roses each have their own symbolic meaning – how appropriate that the color pink, according to this language, stands for grace! Grace is defined as unmerited favor! No more appropriate definition can be given to our salvation! There is nothing we can due to earn this favor – it is freely given to us by our Heavenly Father through His Son, Jesus Christ. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Eph 2:8 ) When we see the Dog Rose, or any other five-petal flower, it should remind us of the grace, the unmerited favor, the Father has given to us.

This beautiful rose has another distinct quality about it. Its center explodes with bright yellow rays, resembling the sun’s rays shooting outward. When we accept Jesus Christ, His love and the light of His Word should be radiating from us. We are to be a witness to the unsaved world with the light of His Word. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:16)

When we see a beautiful rose bush, we do not realize the tender care and love that has gone into it. It is for the rose bush’s health that the gardener prunes it and keeps harmful bugs away. He meticulously prunes each branch so that it can produce more beautiful flowers. He carefully pulls the weeds so the plant will be healthy and strong. Then he painstakingly picks out every bug which would ruin his work and he sprays to keep future bugs away. What a beautiful portrayal of the Holy Spirit caring for the believer! It is for our own spiritual health that He prunes us – He desires us to bear precious fruit. He prunes us into the image of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Eph. 5:9-10, (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; ) (9) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. (10)

Like every plant, this Dog Rose bush grows toward the sun which provides the light. So should the Christian grow “toward” the Son – becoming more like Him. Our yielded vessel will be used of the Holy Spirit to glorify Christ. The Spirit teaches us and prunes us to be more like Jesus! John 16:13-14, Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (13) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (14)

The Dog Rose does not interfere with the gardener – she allows him to carefully tend to her needs so she can become beautiful. So should the believer be – do not interfere with the Gardener (the Holy Spirit) as He carefully tends to our needs and molds us into vessels unto honour for the Master.

Dear God…
I thank Thee for the rose’s beauty
It’s color and fragrance sweet
Within each petal and each leaf
Thy Hand I clearly see

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As I meditated on God’s goodness this morning, my heart rested on the beautiful Monarch Butterfly. The wonder of God is shown through its beautiful lines and structure. The vibrant colors make this creature stand out, don’t they? The first thought that popped into my mind was the four different stages the butterfly goes through from the time of its inception. The number four represents the number of creation – isn’t it interesting that the butterfly’s final “creation” stage results in a new creation?

The Monarch Butterly begins its life in the form of an egg. This egg represents the beginning of the born again believer’s life. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3 and Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. John 3:7

The egg hatches and next is the caterpillar stage. This second stage represents the baby Christian. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (1 Pe 2:2) How interesting to note here that the caterpillar feeds on “milk”weed. Isn’t it just like the Lord to give us this lesson through His creation? During this stage, the caterpillar stores energy in the form of fat and nutrients, which will be needed for the next stage. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Ti 2:15) I found it interesting that the milkweed is poisonous to the Monarch’s enemies but not to the Monarch itself! But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Co 2:14) Because of this poison, the Monarch’s enemies have learned to stay away, recognizing the Monarch by its colors. Because we are a new creature in Christ, the world should not want to have anything to do with us. They prefer to live in darkness. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (Joh 3:20) and The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. (Joh 7:7)

The caterpillar prepares himself for the next stage, the pupa stage, where transformation will take place. He spins a silk pad on a leaf or twig and hangs upside down from his pad by his prolegs. Take a guess at what shape the caterpillar forms his silk pad… it forms a “J”!! The Holy Spirit forms us into the image (shape) of Jesus Christ! O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. (Psa 92:5) The Holy Spirit begins a work in us at the time of salvation. We begin with the pure milk of the Word. As we go through trial and tribulation leaning on the Lord, we begin to take on His characteristics! Praise the Lord! And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Col 3:10) It is through these trials and tribulations that we learn to be yielded vessels. The beautiful yielded vessel will not only be conformed into the image of Christ but will be able to be used by God for His purpose. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (2 Ti 2:21)

What was ugly on a branch, the pupa goes through a miraculous change inside. He molts, becoming encapsuled in a green casing. It is then that the butterfly begins to be shaped. I have been taught that when the butterfly begins to emerge from its casing, it struggles for quite some time to be set free. If a human being were to “help” the butterfly in this process, the butterfly would die. The struggle it goes through to reach freedom is what is necessary for the butterfly to fly. The arduous task of setting itself free from the casing is what gives it the ability to live and fly! What a beautiful picture of the maturing Christian. Each of our trials is necessary to pave the way to be more like Christ. Do not take light of each difficult period of time in your life. When one leans on the Lord during these times, one draws closer to the Source. We become more beautiful because we become more like Christ! Eph. 4:23-24, And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (23) And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (24)

At last, the beautiful Monarch Butterfly appears. Its beautiful colors are categorized as the “warm colors,” which are defined as colors of excitement. The more like Christ we become, the more vibrant and excited we are toward the cause of Christ – that of spreading the Gospel! As the butterfly’s egg passes away and forms a totally different creature, the born again believer dies to self and becomes more like the Master. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Co 5:17) Won’t you rejoice with me today in the trials and tribulations our precious Heavenly Father has allowed us to go through? The Holy Spirit works through us to form us into the Ultimate Beautiful Butterfly, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

More Like Jesus Would I Be
by Fanny Crosby

More like Jesus would I be, let my Savior dwell with me;
Fill my soul with peace and love—make me gentle as a dove;
More like Jesus, while I go, pilgrim in this world below;
Poor in spirit would I be; let my Savior dwell in me.

If He hears the raven’s cry, if His ever watchful eye
Marks the sparrows when they fall, surely He will hear my call:
He will teach me how to live, all my sinful thoughts forgive;
Pure in heart I still would be—let my Savior dwell in me.

More like Jesus when I pray, more like Jesus day by day,
May I rest me by His side, where the tranquil waters glide.
Born of Him through grace renewed, by His love my will subdued,
Rich in faith I still would be—let my Savior dwell in me.

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When I first moved to Virginia, one of the first things I noticed was the variety of different species of birds! When we moved into our current house, we were astonished at the variety of wildlife just in our backyard alone. We have 22 trees out back and they are home to all kinds of critters. We have our own little National Geographic episode right before our eyes. Amongst the Morning Doves, Blue Jays, woodpeckers, squirrels and turtles, we were excited to see that the Cardinals made their home in our trees. Their colorful feathers make it so easy to spot them. Even when they are hidden, we can listen to their beautiful songs ringing out.

I do believe one of my fondest memories is that of the Cardinal perched in one of our trees in the winter time. The plumage of the male is a bright scarlet red and he wears the crest proudly on his head like a crown! This species does not migrate South for the winter but sticks around for the cold. So we are privileged to see it in all four of our seasons. I do believe, however, that its greatest beauty is seen in the winter! Its colors pop out over the blanket of white snow.

As you can see in this picture, the female is much lighter, but beautiful in her own way. Again this morning, God’s Goodness was seen in this creature’s colors and habits. When I behold the awesome scarlet red feathers of the male, I think of Christ shedding His blood on the cross. Throughout the Word of God, we see that Scarlet Thread of Redemption and God’s creation drawing us toward Him and His redemptive work. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Rom 1:20) I’m sure if we truly set our minds to it, we could see God’s Hand in each piece of His creation. Why not take advantage of the lessons He has for us in nature?

Another wonderful characteristic of the Cardinal (and most perching birds), is the way they sleep. Brother Aaron Adams of Fundamental Baptist Forum, shared some thoughts on perching birds. “Have you ever watched a bird sleeping on it’s perch and never falling off? How is it possible? The secret is the tendons of the bird’s legs. They are so constructed that when the leg is bent at the knee, the claws contract and grip like a steel trap! The claws refuse to let go until the knees are unbent again. The bended knee gives the bird the ability to hold on to his perch so tightly.

Isn’t this also the secret of the power of the Christian? Daniel found this to be true. Surrounded by a pagan government tempted to compromise with evil, urged to weaken his grip on God, he refused to let go and bent his knee at least three times a day. He held firm when others faltered, because he was a man of prayer. He knew the power of the bended knee. From sleeping birds we can learn the secret of how to get a hold of God’s power! That secret is the knee bent in prayer.” Thank you, Brother Aaron, for this beautiful comparison.

I also noted in my research that the more soundly the Cardinal sleeps, the tighter his claws grip to the perch. The more we rest in God’s care the stronger we become as Christians. We grip to the Creator of all because He provides us with the help we need. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. (Psa 121:2)The power in a Christian’s life can be directly linked to the amount of time this Christian spends in prayer. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. (1 Jo 3:22) God answers the prayers of those who walk in His will.

Furthermore, I noted that the Cardinal cannot move until he has raised himself up and straightened his legs, thus setting his claws free. After the Christian has met with the Master in prayer, he is ready to meet the day and all it has in store for him. The believer walks away from prayer time with God’s arm of protection over him. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Eph 6:13) He is equipped for the day knowing that each moment rests in the hands of the Creator.

Another beautiful characteristic of Cardinals is the way they keep themselves warm in the winter as they sleep. I did not know that the air around the Cardinal (and all birds) is what keeps them warm. That totally amazed me! The Cardinal hides his head under his wing and fluffs up his feathers, like in the picture above. As the air comes in and settles among the soft down, it warms up and warms the Cardinal. Isn’t that a beautiful picture? As we are yielded vessels resting in the Word of God, the Holy Spirit “heats” us up – He energizes us – and He fuels us with what we need for the day. The Creator of all took time to create a beautiful creature and provide it with a way to warm its tiny body in the cold of winter. So much the more, will our Heavenly Father care for His children who trust Him! How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. (Psa 36:7)

As the bright crimson male Cardinal can be seen at a distance, even with trees and bushes full of foliage, so should the Christian be different. The world should be able to see something different about us because we have put on Jesus! We are the only “Jesus with skin” they will ever see. Do we appear to the lost as the beautiful Cardinal or do we appear like the vulture? We are children of the King and we should represent the King in how we look, how we speak, and how we walk. And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD’S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. (Zep 1:8 ) God has given us salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Those who deny Jesus Christ wear the “strange apparel” but we do not. We have been washed in the precious scarlet Blood of Jesus Christ. He went through much so that we could have salvation through Him and the opportunity to wear royal robes.

Each time I gaze upon this beautiful creature, the Cardinal, I cannot help but meditate on Christ’s complete work on the cross. Won’t you join me this morning in God’s Goodness and glorify His name through His creation of this beautiful creature? Hopefully, the next time you see a Cardinal, you will be reminded of what Christ went through for you.

Dear God…
Another blessed time with You
Has been given me this day
Drawing me to Your Precious Blood
For my soul You dearly paid

God’s Goodness – Sundogs

August 24th, 2015
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There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. (Deu 33:26) Sundogs are formed by the refraction of sunlight by small ice crystals making up certain types of clouds. As I found this picture of a halo-type sundog, it reminded me that our Creator’s finger paints the skies for us and provides us with a beautiful tapestry of shapes and colors to behold. Does this picture not look like it could be God’s eye looking over the earth? This type of sundog is a halo. It sent shivers up my spine to see the awesome wonder of all that occurs in the skies that we are unaware of. I’m certain I could write a devotional each day for one year and not exhaust the heavenlies! I had only found pictures of today’s topic and I was totally blessed – I had not even penned a word. I guess it’s true that a picture paints a thousand words! O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. (Psa 104:24)

I know that if I had not seen them with my own eyes, I would have thought these photographs to be camera tricks. However, witnessing such a spectacular event caused me to want to know more about my Heavenly Father. I stood in wonder and awe and meditated on the Creator and His Goodness. I know that I’ve used this verse several times but I can’t help but understand it more clearly with each part of God’s creation I write about. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Rom 1:20) The halo-type sundog appears at sunrise or sunset. It reminded me that we should seek our Father’s face from the time we rise until we go to sleep. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. (Psa 25:5)

John and I see the rainbow-type sundog frequently as we ride motorcycle. I spot them quickly if I am wearing sunglasses as they are harder for me to see with the naked eye. These types appear at any time of the day but I see them more clearly when the sun is high in the sky. The colors are like those of the rainbow and quite beautiful. It’s as though God Himself painted a piece of rainbow in the middle of His sky just for us to enjoy! Each time I see this type of sundog and its colors, I think of the rainbow. The rainbow appeared twice in the Word – once in Genesis and once again in Revelation – in the first book and in the last book. It reminds me of my Alpha and Omega, my Beginning and my End, my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. (Isa 45:8 ) All these phenomena require light in order to appear. Without light, there is utter darkness. Nothing can be seen – nothing can be appreciated. So are we without Christ. We are in utter darkness and the Father does not see us. But the moment we are born again, the Father sees His Son’s blood over us and we now are precious in His sight. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: (Isa 43:4a) Without the Light of the Word, many souls will go into that eternal, utter darkness. But the born again believer has received the Light of the Son and we will spend eternity in a City that needs no light. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 Jo 1:5) and And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Rev 21:23)

Thank your Heavenly Father for providing you with glimpses of His nature through the various lights in the sky. Let these lights remind you of His holiness, His covenant with us through Christ, and His coming Kingdom! And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. (Psa 40:3)

Dear God…
Thy wondrous beauty I behold
Each morning and each night
Just gazing to the heavenlies
I see Thy glorious might!

God’s Goodness – Deer

August 21st, 2015
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The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory. (Psa 29:9) Our God is not only responsible for creating this beautiful animal, but He is also responsible for them multiplying and their very lives! Our Father’s Hand is on all His creation!

I thought of the useage of the word hind in Scriptures. Hind is another word for deer. I recalled Psalm 18:33 how God said He will make our feet like hinds’ feet and will set us upon our high places. I did a phrase search for hinds’ feet and it resulted in three verses. Isn’t it neat how the number three shows up again? Again, the Three-in-One are caring for us… God provides us with sure footing and a place for spiritual renewal!

He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places. (2 Sa 22:34)

He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. (Psa 18:33)

The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments. (Hab 3:19)

It is God who gives us the strength we need to walk the paths of difficulty in this life. My father owned acreage in a forest which was home to the beautiful white-tailed deer – we called this land “the Beaver Dam” because it also was home to a family of beavers. Oh how I loved going there with my Dad! Some of my fondest memories rest there with him at the Beaver Dam. The white-tailed deer were plentiful and we would sit ever so still for long periods of time, not wanting to scare them away. Dad loved to watch them graze and it showed me the tender side to my father. Growing up on this haven of rest, I saw deer run like the wind and not falter – not one step when danger was near. They would run up the steep hill as if it were nothing. It’s as if they didn’t even need to look where they were going – they just flew! Did you know that they can move up to 40 mph through the forest and dart side to side as they run!

As I meditated on these three verses about the hinds’ feet, I could not help but remember all those difficult hills (spiritual battles) I have been through in my saved life. Looking back, I notice that when I rested in the Master’s care I had that sure footing. I had a confidence that all would work out and I didn’t need to worry about a thing. It’s those times that I was in the Word, daily feeding my spirit and encouraging myself in the Lord – strengthening myself and learning to recognize God’s Hand in each detail. Despite the storms around me, I did not fear. I knew that the same God that stilled the storm and the waters, would still my storm! Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. (Psa 16:9) I grew to appreciate why Fanny Crosby could pen the words to Blessed Assurance. Especially the following stanza:

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

I believe she knew how to reach the mountain top. I believe she knew how to watch and wait as God handled matters. How else could she be lost in His love and filled with His goodness as she watched and waited?

Upon further reflection on these beautiful verses, I noticed that the Lord tells us three times that He will set us upon the high places. When we are abiding in Him, our spirit is lifted and encouraged and the Lord places us on the mountain top of sweet fellowship! When we finish each trial and see the wonderful Hand of God throughout, it becomes easier to place those trials in His care when they surface. …for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. (Jer 31:13b) The high places are a place of refreshing – spiritual renewal – rest awaits there for us. It’s these times of spiritual refreshing that should be foremost in our memory as we see a trial approaching. This is how we encourage ourselves in the Lord – we know that He will be right there to help us be sure footed and again, He will be faithful to lead us to the mountaintop. But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isa 40:31)

The picture above was taken on one of our frequent motorcycle trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains. There were several white-tailed deer just grazing nearby. As I drew closer, the deer perked right up as if posing for me. She wasn’t afraid because her tail was still down, but she sure was watching every move I made. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Pe 3:17) We should be alert, ever watchful of the deception around us so we do not fall prey to it.

Another one of our stops is usually at an overlook where we see the beautiful valley below us from 3,000 feet up. From this viewpoint, we can see for miles on a clear day. Also from this viewpoint, we can see danger frojm afar. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (Mat 24:4) We should be able to spot deception from afar, my friend. However, we cannot spot it if we are not in the Word long enough to find out what deception is. There is comfort and encouragement when we have been in God’s Word and He has shown us what too look out for. We are not caught unaware. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (Luk 21:34) When we’re in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit teaches us what to expect in these end times so we are not caught off guard. Rather, we are encouraged by the signs of the times and rejoice that our Saviour is soon coming! Not only does God provide us with a spiritual refreshing on that mountain top but He gives us the ability to see when danger approaches! We are spiritually acute because we have been walking with our Shepherd. I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. (Psa 119:93) He has guided us and cared for us! What a beautiful picture of Him, amen?

We can be assured of going through many valleys on our path here on earth. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; (Psa 23:4a) As a child of God, it’s important for us to follow David’s example and how he encouraged himself in the Lord. He feared no evil in his valleys because David knew God was with Him. He reflected on God’s Goodness with each previous trial and knew that the same God would be there for all future trials. Psalm 23 is such a beautiful picture of David’s relationship with God. It is to our downfall when we don’t spend extra time in the Word during these valleys – we do not prepare ourselves and, therefore, have nothing to draw from. It’s like going on a long trip and not putting fuel in the gas tank before leaving! David was an excellent example of someone who could encourage himself in the Lord. Reading about his trials and then his accounts in Psalms encouraged me in my times of need. It was because of his example that I was able to write the devotional on Discouragement and Encouragement.

Dear Christian, spend time in the Word and let God teach you and feed you. Then you, too, will be able to have the sure-footedness of the deer and God will place you on that mountain top of spiritual refreshing! And the next time you see a deer, I pray you will be reminded of this devotional and be encouraged to get in the Word, find the Lord there and reach your high place!

Dear God…
May I never cease to meet You, Lord
Each day must I seek Your face
Please guard my step as You do the deer
And set me on that high place.

God’s Goodness – Fish

August 17th, 2015
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Job 12:7-9, “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: (7) Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. (8 ) Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? (9) Did you know there are about 30,000 species of fish today? With so many different species, we could park on this topic for a while and learn from God as He instructed us to do in the Book of Job.

What can we learn from the fish? No matter how many different types there are, they all have some things in common. The first thing I meditated on was that fish would die unless they are in motion. That is because it gets its oxygen through its gills. The blood flows through the gill in one direction and picks up the oxygen it needs from the water flowing in the opposite direction. Fish must pass new water over their gills continuously to keep a supply of oxygenated water available for diffusion. I can see why God told us in Job to study His creation, can’t you? If the Christian stops moving forward in his spiritual walk, it is because he is not in the Word of God. The Word is where we get our fuel (oxygen) needed to survive. As the fish picks up its oxygen from the water, so do we pick up our spiritual food from the Water of Life. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (Joh 4:10) We receive life through the water of the Word, my friend. Our Bible is a gift to us. How can we leave it so neglected? We perish spiritually if we do not drink from it.

As I observed the habits of the fish, I found that most travel in schools. I wondered what God would have to teach me through this characteristic. A school is a group of fish (school sizes vary with different species) which travel together as a group. The school concept has several advantages: (1) safety from the enemy (2) feeding (3) protection, and (4) helping one another.

Only forward moving (living) fish can belong to a school. I liken this to the church. Only born-again believers can belong to the church. Amongst the brethren, we feel safe – we can enjoy fellowship and the preaching of the Word of God. For a fish to remain in a school, it cannot be a straggler or it becomes dinner. It cannot move away from the school or it becomes free game for the predator. How true of the believer! If the believer does not continue to grow in the Spirit by being in the Word and hearing the preaching, he falls for every wind of doctrine. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Eph 4:14) If that believer continues to lose ground spiritually and falls out of church, he becomes prey to ole slew foot. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Pe 5:8 ) and Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Heb 10:25) Staying in church is so important – just as it is important for the fish to remain in the school.

When dinnertime comes, food is easier to find with a school of fish. Having 50 sets of eyes and noses gives the school a better chance of finding dinner. How true of believers gathering together to feed on God’s Word. Interacting with believers to hear what they gleaned from the Word and share experiences is so rewarding. I love Sunday School classes for this reason. Interacting with one another as we learn always produces a spiritually “meatier” class, don’t you think? As a body, we teach one another and help each other to grow in Christ. Heb. 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

I learned that some fish schools are more like gangs where they patrol their territory and run out the intruders. Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Those who are strong in the Lord and His Word, are able to discern what is evil in the church. Our Pastors and deacons need to be spiritually full so they can protect those in their charge.

Scientists have stated that it is believed that fish who swim close together reduce friction and this allows the fish to conserve energy. When a church works together, exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit, much can be accomplished. I’ve been in churches where it felt like we were spinning our wheels. Energy was not being conserved, that’s for sure. However, when each Christian blooms where he is planted and utilizes the gift(s) God has blessed him with, you have a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ. But now are they many members, yet but one body. (1 Co 12:20) The Gospel goes out effectively when everyone works together.

I truly believe that God has a wonderful sense of humor! In most of His creation, there’s one that is odd looking – at least in my opinion! I find this flatfish as God showing us His sense of humor, don’t you agree?! Notice how this flatfish has both eyes on one side of its head? Look at his mouth – it almost looks like this picture was morphed or something! It seems to me that the flatfish could only see off one side of its body and miss the predator on the other side. However, God in His infinite mercy, took care of this part of His creation. He gave this odd looking fish the ability to spot his predators. The flatfish lies flat on the bottom so he actually sees better because he has two eyes scanning in the same direction! Isn’t that just awesome? I thought of Christians who are not watching for the devil – some walk into traps blindly and some do so willingly! 1 Thess. 5:5-6, Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (5) Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (6) God always gives us the armor and tools to fight our spiritual battle here on earth. He does not leave us unequipped. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Eph 6:11) 2 Tim. 3:16-17, and All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (16) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (17)

Lastly, the one thing that is true of all fish is their awful stench soon after they die. Sin in our lives causes our testimony to stink, my friend. The unbelieving world will look at us and despise us because of our stench. David recognized that and penned it for us. Psa 38:4-5, For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. (4) My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. (5) No wonder David was the apple of God’s eye! He did not blame his sin on someone else or on the circumstances around him. He said that the wounds of his sin stunk and were corrupt because of his foolishness! How many Christians have you heard excuse after excuse from because they weren’t in church or they didn’t read their Bible that day or they succumbed to temptation – whatever the case! Instead, we should be growing in Christ, more like the Master with each day – producing a sweet odor – a beautiful testimony for the unbelieving world. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (2 Co 2:15)

I have to be honest with you, when the fish came to my mind for today’s devotional, I honestly did not think I would have much to glean from! God is so Good! Thank You, Lord, for Your Goodness to me today!

Dear God…
From the smallest of creation
You have given me delight
To see Your hand in each of them
And to teach me of Your might!

God’s Goodness – The Ant

August 14th, 2015
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Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: This is the first time the word ant appears in the Bible. I love how God uses different species to teach us a lesson. The ant is used to teach us how not to be a sluggard! As I was researching this strange little creature, I found out some interesting facts.

Did you know there are 11,880 known ant species? This is just one piece of creation! God amazes me more and more each day that I work on this series. What a blessing this has proven to be. When ant colonies have been observed, they are likened to a super organism because they seem to function as one! I found that quite interesting. Could it be that God wants us to learn from this part of their makeup? The church should function as “one” just as the ant. All working together for the cause of the Gospel! “… that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; (Phil. 1:27)

Brother Lee Pierson, of Our Final Authority, was sharing his thoughts about the ant.

I have always been fascinated with ants and other social insects. Ants have a structured hierarchy and each ant knows his function within his family. Each ant is born with a specialized function and he has been given the tools to perform his task. There are workers and guards, gatherers and builders. They grow gardens and milk cows and there are even some that just work in the nursery caring for the eggs. They work and sacrifice for each other and the colony. They do not get jealous of each other and they all work together as one.

What a beautiful picture of how the church should be! Working as one unit for the glory of God!

God knew this tiny creature would need a method of communicating amongst themselves. When an ant finds food, it leaves a trail of pheromones for other ants to follow. God gave them different types of pheromones: there are alarm pheromones, food trail pheromones, sex pheromones, and many others that affect their behavior or their circumstances. An ant that has been crushed will give off an alarm pheromone which sends nearby ants into an attack craze. Brother Lee witnessed an event that truly blessed my heart:

When I worked near a river that was overflowing with floodwaters, I really became impressed with the local ant colonies. It had stopped raining a couple of days earlier but the river had not yet crested. As the water level came out of the banks of the river and slowly rose to claim the surrounding fields, the local ants began to gather dry leaves and twigs to use as life rafts. When the water reached their nest, they all jumped on board their rafts and floated away hanging onto the raft and to each other!

We are a lot like these ants. We can see the flood of judgment heading our way and we have our raft to float away on. Like the ants, we did not build our rafts we just accept God’s Gift when He provided the raft for us. One day soon, we are going to just float right out of this place!

Thank you, Brother Lee, for your contribution! What a blessing this was to me.

I also noticed that the Word mentioned the ant twice. I wondered what God was trying to communicate to us through observing the ant. I realized that both verses encouraged us to be wise – to see after wisdom. Prov. 30:24-25, There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: (24) The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; (25) Again, God says that if we pattern ourselves after the ant, we are wise. Solomon, the wisest man ever to live (past, present and future) wrote the Book of Proverbs. It is to our benefit that we heed what God is telling us. God is telling us to “get wisdom” – let’s look at that a moment:

Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. (Prov. 4:5)

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. (Prov. 4:7)

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! (Prov. 16:16)

Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it? (Prov. 17:16)

All four verses tell us to get wisdom but they also encourage us to get understanding. Only the fool, in the fourth verse, “hath no heart to it” – meaning he didn’t understand – he read but didn’t get understanding. I think of the unbeliever who does not understand the Word of God. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor. 2:14) Christians have no excuse – we have the Word of God – it is Perfect, without error! We have every opportunity to get our wisdom and understanding! Especially in our country! Come on, people – many of you have more than one Bible sitting on the shelf gathering dust. Shame on you! God is waiting to open our understanding! Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (Luke 24:45)

Two of my favorite verses in the New Testament were both penned by James. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5) This wisdom is given by God, not man. God is not cheap – He gives us wisdom liberally to all men if they ask. Mankind has no excuse – if they don’t ask, they won’t receive it and be saved. How ashamed will the Christian be when he stands before Christ Himself having to justify why he didn’t read the Word!

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17) The world’s wisdom is of their father the devil. The world’s wisdom would be totally opposite of what God provides. Breaking down this verse truly blessed me. Let’s look at this verse as if it were the devil encouraging the world to get his wisdom: But the wisdom that is from below is first polluted, then tumultuous, unkind and wild, stubborn, unmerciful and evil fruits, having favorites, and hypocritical. Wow! This is the wisdom the devil wants you to have. We get this kind of wisdom in the world’s entertainment, the world’s goodies, and the world’s habits.

Be careful! Learn from the ant – get wisdom and understanding as God’s Word tells us.

Dear God…
The ant is but a tiny thing
But much from it I’ve learned
To diligently seek Your Word
And to Your wisdom turn.

God’s Goodness – The Sun

August 10th, 2015
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And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Rev 21:23) And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Rev 22:5)

Without the sun, our earth would die. Plant life requires sun for photosynthesis and without plants and trees giving us oxygen to breathe, the beautiful balance that God created is not there. From the beginning of time, the sun has been the center of mankind’s attention. Not only is the sun a source of light, it is a source of energy, it is a source for plant life to grow – it was and still is in some cases used in forms of worship – it provides man with essential vitamins – and it heats the atmostphere and the earth.

The word sun appears in 152 verses in the Word of God. Although its first appearance is found in Gen. 1:14-19, the actual word sun does not appear until Gen. 15:12. Gen. 1:14-19, And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: (14) And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. (15) And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. (16) And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, (17) And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. (18 ) And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (19) Creation goes full circle – God provided light prior to the sun’s creation and God provides the light after the sun is no longer needed! Pastor John Snipes, of Fundamental Baptist Forum, had a blessing to share about the sun:

It is interesting to note that the sun was created on the fourth day of creation. Then how were there “morning and evening” on the first three days? It was the light of the glory of God that that caused the first three mornings and evenings and this glory shall shine forever on those who live in the New Jerusalem.

I found it interesting that our Triune God’s light is what shown for the first three days! God is seen in every verse and every part of creation – just when man thinks he is so smart, God shows man just how little he knows.

Pastor Snipes insight continued to bless me with the following:

The sun seems so very large to us. It has a diameter of about 864,000 miles and can hold 332, 000 earth’s. Yet our sun is an average star. It seems so big to us because it is so close to us, averaging 93,000,000 mile away from earth. If the sun were any closer, the earth would be baked by the heat and would be no more than a cinder. If it were any farther, the earth would be a ball of ice. Our Lord, in His infinite wisdom, has placed the sun so that it is of the greatest benefit to man. Psalms 19:4-6, “Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”

Man thinks the universe just happened – a big bang. What foolishness this is! It takes more faith to believe this theory (and that is all it is), than it does to believe that God created everything. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Pro 14:12) God’s Word says that by His hand, He holds everything together. At any time, God could take His hand off and all things in the universe would collide! And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Col. 1:17

God used the sun in the Bible to show us His power. Pastor Snipes continued to share:

In the Old Testament, we see the Lord using the Sun as a tool to demonstrate His power. Joshua was locked in battle with the kings of the Amorites. The battle was going well; however, the Israelites were running out of daylight so that they might have the final victory. Joshua prayed a most unusual prayer that God answered.

Joshua 10:12-13, “Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.”

How our Lord accomplished this, we cannot say. What I can say is that the Creator God, who established the laws of nature, is able to suspend those laws; the laws that modern man holds to so tightly that they cannot see the spiritual aspect of creation. This was a miracle of God and cannot be explained.

A second miracle involving the Sun is found in the book of Isaiah. There was a godly king, Hezekiah, who was sick and about to die. He knew this because the prophet Isaiah had brought the Word of the Lord to him. Hezekiah prayed for mercy and God granted him 15 more years. When Isaiah returned to the king with the good news, the king wanted to know that what Isaiah had said was the truth. Therefore, God granted a miracle.

Isa. 38:7-8, “And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken; Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.”

Even scientists agree that the sun will not last forever. They believe that the sun will die in 5 billions years! Oh the ignorance of man. God is still in control. The Bible says that at some point we will have no need for the sun or the moon. Revelation 21:22-23, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” Thank you, Pastor Snipes, for your help in putting this beautiful piece of creation into this devotional.

The Word says that Jesus is the light of the world! He sheds the blessed light of His Word into our hearts so that we are no longer blind. I remember the day of my salvation like it was yesterday! Not two minutes after I accepted Christ as my Saviour, I opened His Word to the Book of John and I could see and understand His Word! I never could understand the Bible before that day. It was like drinking sand to me. But on that beautiful, glorious April 1st, 1980 day, Christ shined His light into my heart and I could clearly see! Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (Joh 8:12) He is our Sonlight!

Judson Van Deventer

I wandered in the shades of night,
Till Jesus came to me,
And with the sunlight of His love
Bid all my darkness flee.

Sunlight, sunlight in my soul today,
Sunlight, sunlight all along the way;
Since the Savior found me, took away my sin,
I have had the sunlight of His love within.

Though clouds may gather in the sky,
And billows ’round me roll,
However dark the world may be
I’ve sunlight in my soul.


While walking in the light of God,
I sweet communion find;
I press with holy vigor on
And leave the world behind.


I cross the wide, extended fields,
I journey o’er the plain,
And in the sunlight of His love
I reap the golden grain.


Soon I shall see Him as He is,
The Light that came to me;
Behold the brightness of His face,
Throughout eternity.


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Deu. 33:13-14, And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, (13) And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, (14) As the sun provides radiant heat during the day for earth’s precious fruit, the moon provides needful moisture in the night to nourish these precious fruit. God’s own Goodness provides His creation a nightly drink! God goes one step further and gives us the dew, (sparkling like diamonds in the morning sun) to behold just because He can! Our Father paints a picture for us so beautiful, so intricate, so delicate! Ps. 139:14, “Marvellous are thy works.”

The moon’s light is viewed in many ways, isn’t it? Couples view its romantic aspect – Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, (Son 6:10a). Meteorologists and farmers watch it for seasons – He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. (Psa 104:19). While the child of God sees God’s handiwork – When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; (Psa 8:3) God created the moon for our enjoyment – for us to gaze upon, to draw us closer to Him. Surely one cannot look at a lake with the moon’s light reflecting upon it and not be drawn closer to the Creator! Be still, and know that I am God: (Psa 46:10a)

Mankind attributes the wonders of the skies to science, but God will be exalted in the end – the truth will be revealed to all. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. (Isa 2:11) Remember when Joshua asked God to make the sun still? God did cause the sun to be still but little do we hear that the moon was also made still. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. (Josh 10:13a) I never noticed that before – God’s Word always has something in there to take notice!

One day, these lights will be gone – their purpose no longer needed. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. (Isa 60:20) We will no longer need the lights in the skies because God will be all the light we need. I can’t even imagine this in my finite little mind! For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (Isa 55:8 ) But God says it will be so and, therefore, it will be so. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Rev 21:23)

A lunar eclipse is a phenomenon that is beautiful to witness, isn’t it? I’ve seen a few in my life time and each time I’m filled with wonder. Prior to salvation, I viewed it as a scientific wonder. But after salvation, I could not help but see God in it – beholding His wonder!

Brother Jerry Bouey brought out this topic even further for me. He shared some notes that he had written in his Bible next to Matthew chapter 5. What a blessing!

“Like the moon reflects the light of the sun – we are to reflect the light of the Son of God, the Sun of Righteousness.

When the world comes between the sun and the moon, it creates an eclipse (darkness) and the sun’s light is not reflected. Even so, the world (worldliness) coming between us and Christ causes His light not to be reflected through us because there is spiritual darkness in our lives. Also, the moon (our flesh) coming between us and the sun (the Son) creates an eclipse.”

Amen, Brother Jerry! We can see God’s Goodness throughout His Word and throughout all of His creation!

Lastly, I thought it appropriate to end today’s topic with one of Noah Webster’s definition of the word eclipse, “All the posterity of our first parents suffered a perpetual eclipse of spiritual life.” What a wonderful use of God’s handiwork in the sky to reveal the spiritual condition of mankind!

Dear God…
Your hand has placed a lovely moon
On Your canvass in the sky
As Your children look up below
Your Name do they glorify

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This beautiful flower, the Wild Columbine, can be found growing in the State of Wisconsin. It reminded me of a dear, precious sister in the Lord who lives there. Today’s devotional is for this dear friend. I am praying that the Lord would bless it and use it to encourage her.

Looking at this magnificent piece of God’s creation, I noticed that its colors are so vivid! The bright yellow center, like rays streaming from the sun, is surrounded by a beautiful reddish-dark pink blanket. It reminded me of Christ’s precious blood covering our sins and how His Spirit should shine forth in our lives. Christ’s agape love drove Him to die for us so that our sins would be covered! It sure opened my eyes to the true meaning of: And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (1 Pe 4:8 )

At its center lies the sweet nectar used in pollinating! Oh that our lives should be sweet nectar to the unsaved world! We should be ready with the sweet honey from the Word – ready to show them salvation through Jesus Christ. Doesn’t the entire flower look like a lantern bursting forth with light? This beautifully clad flower is an example to us that we should be a light to a lost and dying world. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. (Luk 8:16)

The little buds on the same plant are waiting for the perfect time, God’s time, to open up and reveal the beautiful flower within. Our new life in Christ produces a spiritual bud which will burst forth as we grow in grace. When we are born again, we become new creatures. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Co 5:17) We possess the wonderful Holy Spirit who molds us and forms us into the image of Jesus Christ. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (1 Co 15:49)

Buds on a plant pop up and grow at different times. The bud cannot survive without the plant – apart from the plant, this bud would die. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (Joh 15:5) As we view the life of a Christian as it relates to this plant, we see the new born again believer – he is like a new bud. The bud then begins to open, beginning its life as a flower – so the believer grows in grace and begins to look like his Saviour. The more the bud opens, the more it looks like the flower it is going to become. The same goes for Christians – the more we grow in Christ (through trial and tribulation), the more we become like Him.

Each bud belongs to the same plant just as each believer belongs to the Vine. Yet each is unique in its own way. They are all Wild Columbines but yet different in the time they bud and in their appearance. Some may have blotches due to disease – some may have little holes due to insects. Each Christian goes through life experiencing trials and tribulations which produce blotches. Each Christian will go through physical trials because of Adam’s sin. But we have encouragement in the Word because nothing is unique – somewhere, someone has been through the same trial (whether spiritual or physical) and we are not alone. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Co 10:13) The Lord’s mercy is seen here – we can encourage one another during various trials so that a brother or sister does not get totally discouraged. We are to use the gift(s) God has given us to lift up those who desperately need to see the Lord. What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ it is when each Christian is using his gifts for His glory! The church works together as one to bring glory to the Son! All our gifts working together in harmony will form a church family that is ready to meet the needs of a lost and dying world. These same gifts will be as a healing salve for the hurting Christian. Just as these buds on the Wild Columbine plant contribute to the whole plant, so does each born again believer contribute to the Body of Christ!

Lastly, this beautiful flower reminds me that not all Christians are at the same place spiritually. We are all growing at different paces – we are a work in progress. We need to be patient with one another. We will not achieve perfection until we reach Heaven. In the mean time, our Heavenly Father is busy molding us into a vessel fit for His use. But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isa 64:8 ) As Christians, we will fail as we walk this pilgrim’s path. However, God’s Word promises that He can pick up the broken pieces and make something new fit for His use. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. (Jer 18:4) Did you notice that the potter here did not throw away the marred vessel? Instead, he “made it again” into another vessel! God can take our sins, our mistakes, our messed up lives, and mold us into something new that he can use! He is the God of second chances – and, yes, third, fourth and even more!

Never did I dream when I started meditating on the beautiful Wild Columbine that I would walk away this blessed! Oh Lord, “Marvellous are thy works.” Ps. 139:14

Thank You, Lord (for saving my soul)
Words and Music by Mr. and Mrs. Seth Sykes

Some thank the Lord for friends and home,
For mercies sure and sweet;
But I would praise Him for His grace
In prayer I would repeat:

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul,
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole;
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free.

Some thank Him for the flow’rs that grow,
Some for the stars that shine;
My heart is filled with joy and praise,
Because I know He’s mine.


I trust in Him from day to day,
I prove His saving grace;
I’ll sing this song of praise to Him
Until I see His face.


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And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; (Gen 8:1) The first mention of the wind is in Genesis 8:1. You all know my love for God’s use of numbers in the Word – and I believe He continues this love right down to the chapter numbers and verse numbers. The number eight symbolizes “new beginnings.” When we are born again, we have a new beginning – we receive the Holy Spirit of God within us who seals us. The Holy Spirit stirs our hearts like a breeze stirs the embers in a fire.

Another beautiful analogy I noticed was how the wind blew across the waters and caused them to asswage (to move and pull back). Christ, through His Word, is our Living Water and His Spirit moves within us to convict us, grow us, and pull us away from the world. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (Joh 4:10) The Living Water of the Word of God is stirred by the Wind, the Holy Spirit. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (Joh 3:8 )

As the Holy Spirit stirs our spiritual embers, we grow in grace. He stirs us and reveals to us what His Word says. He guides us in our spiritual walk and reveals false doctrines so we can be equipped when cultists come our way. He pricks our hearts when we “hear” a different gospel. He reveals God’s will in every page of the Word. He shows us how to communicate to our Heavenly Father. God uses examples of the wind and makes His Word come alive through examples. The Master Painter paints a picture in our mind’s eye so we can better understand what He is communicating to us. God didn’t just give us His Word but He uses His creation to explain Himself more clearly. How blessed we truly are! But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (Jam 1:6)

Another aspect of wind is its force. Wind carries dust and debris and sometimes it clutters the way and creates obstacles, like in the instance of a tornado. The Christian who spends time in the Holy Spirit breathed pages of the Bible will be able to discern teachings which are not scriptural. The new believer is a prime candidate for falling victim to deception. They are not yet experiencing the meat of the Word and they will be easily deceived. Spending little time in the Word invites debris and obstacles in their spiritual path.

However, the Christian who spends time in the Word, growing thereby, can recognize the devil’s winds about him. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Eph 4:14) The devil is the father of lies according to John 8:44. But God did not leave us helpless, my friend. We have two of the most powerful defense weapons known to man: the Bible and prayer. The Holy Spirit wrote the Word of God through men and He speaks to the Father through us when we cannot find the words. How many times have I searched for just the right words to express to the Father what my heart contained. Yet, the Spirit had already told Him! The Spirit had already completed the mission and was revealing God’s will and plan through the blessed pages of my Bible in my reading time.

The wind is a magnificent part of creation to which much of God’s teachings can be attributed. How blessed we are that we can look at every facet of creation and see our God and His character. As Christians, we should take advantage of it and meditate on whatever it is that God puts in our path each day. God is waiting there to teach us and bless us through His creation. Thank You, Lord!

Dear God…
Your blessed Holy Spirit
Is seen in the softest breeze
Please move and stir within my heart
And mold me as You please.

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Probably one of the worse subjects for me to talk about is that of the cockroach – or any bug for that matter. As disgusting as this little creature is, there is something there that God can use to teach us. God’s lessons can not only be found in the most beautiful of His creation but also in the most loathsome creature! When I think of cockroaches I think of the pestilences of Scriptures. Whether the cockroach was a part of these pestilences or not, they certainly are pests to be reckoned with today. He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence; (Psa 78:50) Unless you have experienced an annoying pest problem, you can’t begin to imagine in your mind’s eye what a pestilence can truly be.

Did you know that here are roughly 3,490 species of cockroaches in six families??!! Cockroaches are found worldwide, except for the polar regions. Only a handful of these species dwell in buildings. But once you find a cockroach in your house, you can be sure there are a lot more hidden in the walls. The most common cockroach in the U.S. is the German cockroach. Their female carries an egg case on the end of her abdomen. (OK – I just had a chill run up my spine!) The egg case holds about 30–40 long, thin eggs, packed like hot dogs in its case. As disgusting as all this sounds, it brought to mind how the world is filled with lost sinners, packed together living their lives without thought of their spiritual condition. There is no better place to view this than at a night club. I do not need to elaborate on this – all you have to do is remember your unsaved days and when you visited these places – sinners crammed together like sardines just so they can fulfill the lusts of the flesh – all in the guise of fun! Yet, in this darkness sin runs rampant – no one is seeking to walk righteously. God says in His Word that pestilence walks in the night. I wondered if He was referring to the likes of cockroaches. Ps. 91:5-6, Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; (5) Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. (6)

One thing that I did find fascinating about the eggs were how they hatch. The hatchlings continuously gulp air until they “swell” like a balloon. Their combined pressure causes the case to break open. These little nymphs are initially white in color and they continue inflating themselves with air. Within about four hours, they have hardened and darkened in color. This process reminded me of a baby coming into this world. As this baby grows, the sin nature takes hold and this beautiful innocent child becomes harder and harder to win to salvation because the sin nature now reigns. The inflating cockroach brought to mind how our sins are multiplied every day – I can see why God likens them to filthy rags. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isa 64:6) Once salvation is found, those filthy sins – those scarlet sins are made white as snow because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isa 1:18 ) Our hard, sinful nature has been replaced with a heart filled with the seed of the Gospel planted into good soil.

Once you see a cockroach in your home, you have to admit that it’s too late. Killing the one roach won’t do you a bit of good – you already have a problem. The female may produce up to eight egg cases in her life with an end result of up to 300-400 babies! Just writing about this topic gives me the woollies! Because of our sin nature, our sins are multiplied daily. Just think of it this way – if you were to live until you were 80 years old and you commit only one sin per day, you will have sinned 29,200 times! And that’s only one sin per day! Our Heavenly Father created Adam and Eve perfect and sinless! It was not His desire for them to be sinners. He created them perfect, as well as the entire earth. God gave them a free will so they would serve Him willingly, not as robots. They exercised their free will by succumbing to sin. This sin had them kicked out of the perfect Garden of Eden! This sin brought curse to this earth. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Rom 5:12) It is not God’s choosing but ours.

Anyone who has had roaches in their kitchen can verify that they are a nocturnal creature – they come out by night. The minute you turn the light on, they scatter, thus the phrase, “scatter like roaches.” The sinner finds comfort in the night because he thinks he cannot be seen. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (Isa 29:15) The sinner is blind to the things of God. And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? (Luk 6:39) A believer cannot hang around a lost person for very long because he will find himself going back spiritually. Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; (Pro 2:13) We do not need to walk in darkness any longer. We have the ability to say no to sin and to walk in the paths of uprightness. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (1Th 5:5)

Even looking at the cockroach we can see God’s Goodness in the lessons He has for us. So as the cockroach scatters when the light is brought forth, so should we scatter when sin crosses our path. We have the blessed light of the Word of God to lighten our way. NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105) We do not need to stumble as the lost do. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. (Pro 4:19) Learn from the cockroach. Use this piece of creation to teach you how to be a better Christian.

Dear God…
You have used the vilest of creatures
To teach Your child today
May we watch and diligently listen
As Your word lights up our way!

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When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: (Job 28:26) One of the most awesome of God’s wonders to me is a good lightning and thunder storm! I love to sit and watch one and I stand amazed each time a lightning bolt goes across the sky and the sound of thunder claps afterward.

Man in his “finite wisdom” still does not know exactly why this phenomenon occurs. Here we are in the 21st Century and it is still a mystery! But here is what they do know. Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity that happens mostly during a storm. It also occurs during a tornado, along with hail, as well as when a volcano erupts. It also occurs when it’s hot, called heat lightning. Scientists say a bolt of lightning travels at 100,000 miles per hour and that its temperature reaches almost 50,000 °F! It is said that the average bolt of lightning can produce enough energy to power a 100 watt light bulb for two months! The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. (Psa 77:18 )

When I see lightning, I think of the Lord’s return. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Mat 24:27) A lightning bolt shoots across the sky so quickly (100,000 mph), so will Christ’s return be! What a glorious thing to behold!!

When I was a little girl, my father told me that when I see lightning, all I have to do is to start counting when I hear the thunder. The number I reach is the distance in miles the lightning is away from me. It’s amazing what people attribute thunder to: the angels bowling, the clouds colliding, etc.! But even today, scientists do not completely understand what causes thunder. The current theory is that plasma expands in the lightning bolt’s trail and creates a sonic shock wave caused by the rapid heating and expansion of the air around the lightning. We see lightning before the thunder because light travels faster than sound.

I love the fact that even with all the head knowledge of our scientists today, they still cannot figure out lightning and thunder completely. They have but a “theory”! Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah. (Psa 81:7) God’s Word says that thunder is in the secret place … I wonder if God intends to keep it a secret from man until His return!

How appropriate to end today’s devotional with the great song, “How Great Thou Art” by Carl Boberg! In 1885, he was walking home after church and watched a storm over Monsteras Bay in Sweden. The storm captured his attention and inspired him to pen the words to this beautiful hymn.

How Great Thou Art
Carl Boberg

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.


Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.


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Psa. 114:7-8, Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; (7) Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters. (8 )

What a beautiful work of the Master’s Hand! The waterfall’s beauty brings such peace as we behold it. All along the water’s edge one sees the life that the water produces. Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. (Psa 65:9)

Our Heavenly Father provides everything for His creation. Not only is His provision useful for our bodies but also for our spiritual nourishment. The thunderous sound of the waters falling remind me that no matter how beautiful the waters are, the force of the water as it hits bottom stirs up the loose earth and debris below. So should God’s Word stir up our souls and move us forward in our Christian walk toward spiritual maturity. [To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.] As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. (Psa 42:1) When we “pant” for God’s Word and time spent with Him, we are rewarded with refreshing waters from the water of Life. Thank You, Lord!

My heart was full this morning after my time with Him. All I could do was pen what He had done for me. I share this with you now in hopes that it will bless you.

My Heart Panteth for You
Kate Plourde (May 21, 2007)

My heart is full as I sit with You,
During this time of solitude.
A time ever precious and so sweet
Each day my heart’s made new!

Despite the problems of the day
I’m not feeling overwhelmed.
The loving Captain of my ship
Stands watchful at the helm.

The Master of the sea loves me!
My best is His loving plan.
He guides me through the storms of life.
I find rest in His bless’ed Hand.

Dear Lord, be the Commander of my life,
For You care so diligently.
The Word has promised You’ll never sleep,
While you guide me on life’s sea!

On Vacation

July 8th, 2015
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I am on vacation and will be posting again on July 21st.  Thank you for your patience.  :-)

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For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. (Job 37:6) Most snowflakes are known to have six sides. Some do have three sides, which I found to be interesting because scientists say that this three-sided snowflake is still a mystery. Don’t you love it? Man still cannot figure out God’s creation!

Although it’s widely believed that no two snowflakes are alike, scientists cannot prove it nor can they disprove it. Their finite minds want to believe that it is impossible for no two things in the whole universe not to be alike in some way. But their “fact finding” minds have to concede that it could be possible. They hate the fact that the Christian’s God could make something so beautiful and unique so they deny it. Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. (Pro 23:9)

But as Christians, we know that God created all things, including each snow flake. Job 37:6 says that God places them on this earth. What more proof do we need? None whatsoever! When I think of all the sizes and shapes of snow flakes, I am astounded at God’s wonders! It equally boggles my mind to know that He has every hair on my head numbered, as well as yours and every other human being that has ever lived on this earth! Jesus said, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Mat 10:30) Jesus, Himself, said this! If you are not baffled, you should be! Meditating on the intricacies of creation, such as the snow flake, will cause you to know the God you serve!

The snow flake, on the most part, has six sides. The number six is the number of man. I wonder if no two snow flakes are alike because no two human beings are exactly alike. We see this truth in finger prints. God teaches us that as the snow flake is unique, so are we. He knows each one of us intimately. Have you ever stopped to think about that? Our Father knows us better than our spouse. He knows us better than our parents. He knows us better than we want to admit in knowing ourselves. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. (Psa 139:2) For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. (Psa 139:4) God knows our thoughts (afar off) even before I have thought them and my words even before I have spoken them. This makes me trust in my Maker, my Creator, so much more because He knows who He is dealing with and knows how to mold me into His image. Knowing what God knows about each one of us, He molds us into unique creatures – each one of us having different talents, different colored eyes, different skin, different hair, etc.

God also creates snow flakes with three sides reminding us of his Triune nature. There is none like Him. It is this Triune God who made man. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Gen 1:26) (emphasis mine). How can we look at a snow storm and not see the Lord God in it? Growing up in Northern Maine allowed me to witness the most beautiful snow flakes ever! I remember those storms where the flakes were huge! You could see each of the designs so beautifully. More recently, we had such a snow storm in Northern Virginia and viewing those beautiful nickel-sized flakes revealed God’s Goodness to me. I was awe struck!

Oh Christian, we don’t have to look far to see God’s Goodness in His creation. All we have to do is to be still for a moment and behold the beauty around us. Why do you think God tells us to be still? Yes, He means for us to stop getting in His way and let Him work in our lives. But He could also mean for us to be still long enough to recognize His Goodness. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psa 46:10) When we look at snow flakes and their simplicity, we can see God. This beautiful pure white, six-sided (man’s number) piece of creation is likened to our Precious Saviour and His work on the cross for us. The next time you behold snow with your eyes (whether in real life or in photos), meditate on Christ’s purity and how God sent Him to save your wicked soul. Meditate on His purity and allow His Spirit to change you.

So, my friend, did you think that meditating on a snow flake would be so rewarding? I didn’t and walked away this morning totally blessed! Thank You, Lord!

Whiter Than Snow
James L. Nicholson

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul.
Break down every idol, cast out every foe;
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.


Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow.
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, let nothing unholy remain,
Apply Thine own blood and extract ev’ry stain;
To get this blest cleansing, I all things forego—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.


Lord Jesus, look down from Thy throne in the skies,
And help me to make a complete sacrifice.
I give up myself, and whatever I know,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.


Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat,
I wait, blessèd Lord, at Thy crucified feet.
By faith, for my cleansing, I see Thy blood flow,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.


Lord Jesus, Thou seest I patiently wait,
Come now, and within me a new heart create;
To those who have sought Thee, Thou never saidst “No,”
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.


The blessing by faith, I receive from above;
O glory! my soul is made perfect in love;
My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know,
The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow.


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The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; (Song 2:12)

The largest of the North American waterfowls, as well as the largest of all swans, is the graceful Trumpeter Swan. What a beautiful bird it is with its pure white feathers and long slender neck. Next to the dove, eagle and cardinal, this is the one bird that has had the most spiritual impact on me. When I see a Trumpeter Swan, I think of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! His grace and beauty are seen in many of the swan’s characteristics. I wanted to share with you what the Creator of all gave me this morning as I meditated on this remarkable creature. God’s Goodness cannot be matched – His Greatness cannot be exceeded – His love never ends! Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! (Psa 31:19)

About 25 years ago, John and I went on a motorcycle trip from Virginia to Northern Maine. We stopped overnight in a small town in Connecticut. The motel had the most beautiful large pond in front of our room. This beautiful pond was surrounded by Weeping Willows all around. It was picture perfect, so serene! Unfortunately, those were the years of 35 millimeter cameras and Polaroids and I do not have a picture to post here. However, the one to the right is quite close. After dinner, John and I relaxed while we sat under a willow tree. We watched these beautiful Trumpeter Swans lazily gliding across the pond. Back and forth they would go with their young cygnets frantically swimming behind them. As they swam, the peaceful waters were disrupted, creating ripples all the way to the shore line.

The swan’s beautiful white feathers remind me that the Redeemer’s blood has made me white as snow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isa 1:18 ) My sin is seen no more by my Heavenly Father because He sees His Son’s blood over me. The white feathers also remind me of when Jesus was transfigured. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. (Mar 9:3) The Creator, Jesus Christ, gave this beautiful swan colors and its grace to bless our hearts. In turn, it reminds us of Him – it draws us to Him.

As the swan glides across the waters so gently and gracefully, it reminds me of how the Holy Spirit gently works in our lives to mold us into the image of Christ. As we read the Word and are convicted by the Spirit, we become more and more like Jesus. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Col 3:10) God patiently works in our lives, leading and directing, molding and forming us so we can be like Him. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10) Jesus promises us peace and rest when we come to Him. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (Joh 14:27) Not only does our Saviour give us peace but He carries our burdens if we allow Him to! For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mat 11:30) It took me a while to grow in this area of allowing the Lord to carry my burdens. Once I learned this blessed truth, what a fool I felt I was for not having done so sooner. There is no happier and more peaceful place to be than in the center of your Saviour’s Hand. We are secure there. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (Joh 10:28 )

As the Holy Spirit works to change us and mold us into the image of Christ, the changes create a rippling effect in our lives, just as the swan creates when it swims. These changes touch other lives through our testimony and leads them to Christ. Their lives touch other lives, etc. Thus the rippling effect goes to the shores of our lives. My testimony should have this effect on others, reaching out to the uttermost! For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. (2 Cor 1:12)

I did a little research on the internet about this magnificent creature. I learned that they often mate for life. The female (known as the pen) moults and loses her flight feathers shortly after her young hatch. She is vulnerable to predators at this point. The cob (the male) goes through this process about a month later when the female has completed her moult. The Creator knew that they would have to protect one another during their flightless time. What a merciful God we have – He watches over every creature in such a tender and caring way! Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Pet 5:7) Our Heavenly Father does not leave us defenseless. He is not like the devil who will kick us while we are down. Peter warns us that ole slew foot is like a roaring lion. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Pet 5:8 ) God does not leave us to be devoured by the devil. We have nothing to fear because while we are spiritually moulting, the Lord is right there protecting us against evil and the evil one. God wanted us to rest assured so much so that He penned it in the Word by giving us an example when Jesus prayed for us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Mat 6:13)

One of the swan’s predators is the wolf. This beautiful creature can be attacked without notice and quickly. We’ve all see nature shows about wolves and how they run in packs and have no mercy on their unsuspecting victims. Just because we are saved does not mean that we are exempt from the wolves of this world. The devil sends his minions out within the very walls of our churches to attack from within. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (Act 20:29) We are to be vigilent, ready and prepared for the enemy. Notice that Luke does not say that the wolves are from the world but these wolves are among us in our very churches! This tells me that we should be even more vigilent in this case. We have a tendancy to let down our guard when we are in church because we believe we are in a safe haven. However, the wolves are among us and the Word says they are grievous. Noah Webster says that grievous means “Causing grief or sorrow.” Have you ever been prey to a grievous wolf in your own church which has caused you grief or sorrow? The Word says it will happen – Luke said “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you,”! Luke knew it would happen. Don’t be deceived – be alert! Know your Bible so that you can spot trouble from afar. God gives us more and more discernment and wisdom and we grow in grace.

And lastly, I discovered that the swan makes a trumpet-like sound like that of a french horn. That is why it is called the Trumpeter Swan. God used the trumpet sounds quite often in the Scriptures. The word trumpet appears 59 times in the Bible. A trumpet was sounded when danger was spotted. Christ left us His Word so that we would be able to find encouragement within its pages. He left us His Word so that we could learn to spot danger. Seeing a swan encourages us to be in the Word, seeking out the warnings. The prophecies of the end times are good examples of these warnings. The trumpet was also used to make an announcement. My favorite verse relating to a trumpet is found in Rev. 4:1, where the rapture is depicted. After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. (Rev 4:1) Jesus Christ will call us up, “Come up hither!” 1 Thess. 4:17-18, Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (17) Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (18 ) Glory! Does this not comfort you? Just as I sat tranquil and comforted watching the beautiful swans on that pond, so should you be with these words!

The next time you see the Trumpeter Swan, I hope you see our Magnificent and Almighty Lord in its beautiful features. Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; (1 Tim 6:15)

Dear God…
Oh Lord, my God, I sit amazed
At Your creation, with beauty bright
Revealing Truths in such bless’ed ways
Reflecting Your power and might.

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Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psa 119:165)

The structure of this verse is so wonderful when one takes a few minutes to meditate on it. In so doing, we receive a blessing beyond words. The Lord God tells us that we will receive abundant peace if we love His law (the Word) and nothing will be a stumbling block or an enticement to us. Strong’s defines the word “offend” as:

מכשׁל מכשׁול
mikshôl mikshôl
mik-shole’, mik-shole’
Masculine from H3782; a stumblingblock, literally or figuratively (obstacle, enticement (specifically an idol), scruple): – caused to fall, offence, X [no-] thing offered, ruin, stumbling-block.

Have there been things in life which have been a stumbling block or an enticement to you? Are you quickly able to discern what should be done? The amount of spiritual discernment one has is equivalent to the amount of time spent in the Word. The more you are in the Word of God, the less you will be coming face-to-face with stumbling blocks and enticements in your own life.

It all boils down to what your priorities are. Do you spend ten minutes in the morning doing a devotional and call that your time with the Lord? How would you like to have only ten minutes of time with your spouse or your children? Would that be enough? Of course not. How much time do you spend on the internet? Is it more than the time you spent with the Lord? I’ve been in this situation and so I speak from experience. So I ask you:

Do you spend time on the internet and neglect your husband?
Do you spend time on the internet and leave your children to the television?
Is your house a disaster while you are surfing?

If so, the internet has enticed you and has become a stumbling block. There is no peace in that. Instead, you work frantically to get caught up on your chores – you’re bushed when hubby comes home so he gets what’s left over of your personality – you rush to get dinner ready – your kids are hyper because they’ve been sitting in front of the idiot box for too long and you wonder why they are uncontrollable. Priorities – priorities – priorities.

How different your day would have been if you had reversed the roles and spent more time in the Word, then your hubby, then your children, then your chores, and finally a few minutes for the internet, if any time is left. There is much to glean on the internet, however, it is a huge time waster.

So, how can we receive the abundant peace the Lord promises in Ps. 119:165? We must love His law. You cannot love what you have merely scanned over for a few minutes a day. Don’t believe me? Think of your favorite book – how many times have you read it over? You must have read it more than once because you say it is your favorite. I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank over and over to the point where I knew what page to find a certain passage! I loved this book – and still do. However, do I love God’s Word more?

Although we have repented and received Christ as our Saviour, it cannot end there. Ten minutes a day in His Word won’t be enough to get you to the point where you “love God’s law”! Loving God’s law doesn’t come with hours of reading either. Loving God’s law is obeying it. And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (1 Sam 15:22b) You can read the Word all day long but if you don’t obey it, your reading is in vain, my friend.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psa 119:165) The bottom line is if you love God’s Word by obeying it, He will give you abundant peace to the point where nothing will be a stumbling block or enticement to you. Nothing? That’s what this verse says. Nothing! However, you can only claim this if you love His law and obey it!

Are you being enticed today? Are there stumbling blocks in your life? The more you’re in the Word, the less you’ll have them. It’s a wonderful cure!

by Isaac Watts

Blest are the undefiled in heart,
Whose ways are right and clean;
Who never from Thy law depart,
But fly from every sin.

Blest are the men that keep Thy Word,
And practice Thy commands;
With their whole heart they seek the Lord,
And serve thee with their hands.

Great is their peace who love Thy law;
How firm their souls abide!
Nor can a bold temptation draw
Their steady feet aside.

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Psalm 100:4-5, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (4) For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (5)”

As I read these two verses this morning, the first thing that struck me was that we are to enter the Lord’s presence not only with a thankful heart but we must put action to that thankfulness by saying so and blessing Him. We have so much to be thankful for, my friend!

If you are one who looks at the world with a pessimistic viewpoint, you won’t be able to see why you should be thankful. In fact, you’re reading this and saying, “Yeh, RIGHT! Easy for you to say! You don’t know what I’m going through!” Do you truly believe that you are the only one going through trials? Every believer has a cross to bear. Every last one of us has something they are going through. What makes you think that your trial is greater than someone else’s? Everyone is allowed the wonderful opportunity to deny himself and follow the Lord. In so doing, they “pick up their cross” [whatever the trial(s) of their life will be] and follow the Lord. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 Notice the word daily? It’s not a one-time thing, my friend. Each day has its challenges and each day we must choose to take that challenge and follow Christ and His will for us.

I doubt very much any of us can say that we have been tried as much as, or even as close to, Job. If you haven’t spent time in the Book of Job, you should. You would glean so much and it would help you through your trials – especially if you are that pessimist. I know from my own experiences that each trial the Lord has allowed me to go through has built my faith in Him. The more my faith is built, the more I trust Him to take care of these trials. With that comes comfort – what’s in my heart will show on my face. The pessimist’s face reflects how he handles each trial – it’s written all over his face. He does not stop worrying or complaining. He does not spend the extra time in the Word that he so desperately needs. He does not rejoice in the midst of the trial to encourage himself. This was true of Job when his friends came to see him. They didn’t recognize him. Now I can’t say as I blame Job because the trials he went through were enormously overwhelming. However, we still have something to learn from this.

Our trials are also a testimony to believers and unbelievers alike. They can see where our trust lies through our actions. Our trials also reveal who our true friends are – we saw this so evident in Job’s own life. These friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu) didn’t lift Job up in his time of need. We must remember that our friends are sinners like we are and will fail us from time-to-time. We must remember that we have a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother and that is Jesus Christ. (Prov. 18:24) He will NEVER fail us. Be careful as to whose counsel you get when you are in the midst of a trial. Be sure that all counsel aligns with the Word before you act on anything. I’ve learned this through experience. We are not thinking at our best when we are in the midst of trial. It is best to wait on the Lord and let Him show us what He wants us to do. (Is. 40:31) The Lord is faithful and will show you what to do, whether through the Word, the counsel of your spouse, or your Pastor, etc. HE will encourage you!

My trials have always confirmed my faith in the Lord. After reading Job, I see that God restored his earthly possessions, his health, gave him more children and God even restored his marriage. Job was struck from all sides yet look how blessed he was of God because he depended on his foundation, his faith. How much more should we? Are we tried more than he was? I don’t think so. Are we tried more than those precious saints accounted in Fox’s Book of Martyrs? I don’t think so. Yes, some of you are struggling with physical problems that seem to overwhelm you. But your trial is no greater than the dear woman who has gotten saved and yet her dear husband remains unsaved. I’ve been down that road and would never wish this on anyone. Yes, they are two different types of trials, but trials none-the-less. Each person feels as though their trial is the greater. Each person feels as though they are at the end of their rope. Don’t belittle someone’s trial to make yours appear greater. If you are doing this, you are focused on yourself, my friend, and not on the will of God.

Remember, your “cross” (your trial) is yours! It’s not more than you can handle because that would make God a cruel God and we know that He is a faithful God. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13) Only you can glorify God through this trial – no one else. Do you take this trial as an opportunity to bring glory to God or to wallow in self pity? Do you take this trial as an opportunity to grow in your faith or do you run from it and smear God’s precious name in the mud? The choice is yours.

Dear Lord…
Help me to always remember
What You have done for me
Each time a trial comes forward
May I be found on bended knee

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O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. (1Ch 16:34) Thank You Lord for our men and women serving our country to defend our freedoms. They give so much and yet we Christians fail to pray for them faithfully. Forgive our ungrateful hearts. May we strive to remember them daily and place them in Your care. Encourage them while they are away from their families this Thanksgiving day. Place a Christian in their path who will share with them the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ so they, too, may experience true thankfulness for a gift so great.

O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. (Psa 105:1) Thank You Lord for my salvation! This has been the one most important life changing events in my life. My path no longer heads down the road of destruction but toward my heavenly home!

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psa 106:1) Thank You Lord for my wonderful husband! You had him picked for me even before my salvation and allowed me to marry the most wonderful man I know.

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psa 107:1) Thank You Lord for the two sons You have given us. If I could pick two sons from a line up of all sons, I would pick these two. I pray You use them for Your honor and glory.

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. (Psa 118:1) Thank You Lord for placing us at Tabernacle Baptist Church and giving us Pastor Zorbas as our under shepherd! I’ve never seen a Pastor who loves his people as much as he does. Thank You for working through him for our benefit.

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psa 118:29) Thank You Lord for sending lost souls our way! Thank You for Adam’s friend, Matt’s, salvation last night! What an economical God You are to draw Matt to You and give Adam a dear friend! Thank You for using Aaron and preparing him for the ministry. May Your hand of protection be over him and may he draw closer to You with each passing day.

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psa 136:1) Thank You Lord for my spiritual mother, Vicky. Without her I would not be writing today. Thank You for a friendship that started when I was 3 years old and still continues. Thank You for giving us a friendship that goes beyond just being friends but being spiritual sisters as well.

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psa 136:2) Thank You Lord for giving my husband vision for our future as we work toward retirement. Thank You for filling in details which provide him comfort and rest. Your work is evident in all that we see and we glorify Your name for providing for us!

O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psa 136:3) Thank You Lord for using the Internet for good despite what ole slew foot tries to do. Thank You Lord for the on-line Christian friends made and the encouragement the brethren can have through it.

O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psa 136:26) Thank You Lord for allowing us to live in these wonderful end times. What exciting times they are indeed! We are grateful that we can see your Word’s prophecies being fulfilled before our very eyes. We know that Your return can be at any moment. May we be found worthy!

by Thomas Ken (1674)

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

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