Have you ever planted a seed in a jar, placed it in a window where the sun’s warmth and light were at work and watched in “wonder” as God brought life to that small “package?” Left in darkness, little, if anything, would have happened. But when the seed was placed in soil, nourished by the sun and the life-giving elements in the soil, its thirst quenched by water, a “miracle” took place. It “did” what God created it to do.
Some might question the difference between the words, “wonder” and “miracle.” We often watch in awe when we do not understand what is going on around us. Sometimes things that “amaze” us are easily explained by someone who knows more than we do. Then, when we understand what happened, we may still be filled with wonder, but it is no longer a mystery. It’s like God’s love for us. We wonder “why” and “how” He loves until we know Jesus.
A miracle, however, is some event or action that cannot be explained. It is an extraordinary event that demonstrates God’s power. Without giving us any warning or making any announcement, He “invades what is going on” and unpredictably changes things to let us know “who is in charge!” What has been, no longer is, and what will be cannot be predicted. It was obvious in the journey of the Israelites: God unexpectedly saved and protected them. So, the Psalmist wrote, “Remember His miracles.” It was His grace that saved them.
But what about miracles in our lives? “By His grace, we can be saved.” Like them, He will save us, too. Now, that’s a miracle all can enjoy!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your love, mercy, grace, and salvation. They are so undeserved and yet are such strong evidence of your love. May we never forget these miracles! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced. Psalm 105:5
“Remember, don’t BLT,” said the surgeon. Of course, that got my attention immediately.
Then he explained, “Do not bend, lift or twist. If you do, you will damage or destroy the work that I did on your spine. You must ask for help from others if you want to heal properly. If you are seated, get help to stand. Do not lift anything that weighs more than five pounds. And, turn your entire body rather than twist if you want to see something that is to your left or right.”
As I was wheeled from the hospital to begin the trip home, I could not imagine how different my life was going to be. Being dependent on others has always been difficult for me. But thinking of his orders and my false pride forced me to admit how often I had failed at one thing or another because I refused to ask someone for help. Even God. Certainly, “pride does come before a fall.”
“Look to the Lord and His strength,” said the Psalmist. How easy it sounds but how difficult it is for many of us to do. God wants us to depend on Him and seek the help and counsel of others. If we don’t, the likelihood of failure looms large. Our strength is limited, but He is not.
But there is something more to be learned here. When I come to the end of my strength and am unable to do what He has called me to do and ask others to help me, they share in my ministry. So, two things happen: I realize the blessings that can come from depending on others because they are able show His love by helping me. Also, I can share my calling with them. It’s all good!
Prayer: Lord, Your ways and Your Word and Your wisdom are gifts we do not deserve. While we know this is true, we realize we have a desperate need for both. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Look for the Lord and His strength. Look for His face all the time. Psalm 105:4
Sometimes it seems as though we have more holidays and days to celebrate people and events than there are days on the calendar. But this month contains a national holiday that has special religious significance. This special day has been set aside for us to pause, ponder, praise, pray and give thanks to God for His blessings.
Many families will gather together and share stories of God’s love, mercy, grace, and salvation. They will talk of God’s peace and presence and tell of His goodness and guidance, hope and healing, power and protection. God’s generous blessings will be the most important topic of their discussions. He will be honored!
There will also be families where God will not be respected or mentioned. It is not that there will be an absence of thanks, but God will not be recognized or respected as the giver of all gifts. They will focus on what they have, have accomplished or achieved -believing that they have “done it on my own.” They will not recognize His gifts.
Some will resent the day because they feel short-changed or even forgotten by God. They have had trials too tragic to share and losses too great to describe. Their lives seem hopeless with nothing before them but darkness. The consequences of wrong choices have left them scarred for life. However, God still loves them!
But everyone can join the Psalmist and say, “Praise the Lord and give Him thanks!” - Even those who feel hopeless and ungrateful. Why? This verse talks of His mercy which is always available to everyone: the humble, the proud and the resentful.
Prayer: Lord, You have given us so very much. You often give us more than we recognize. Yet, we ask for and need one more thing: A thankful heart! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Psalm 105:1
Have you ever watched a cow, lying beneath a tree, quietly looking through its leaves at the puffy clouds that are passing across the soft blue sky? They seem to be concentrating on something far beyond themselves, yet important to them. Their stillness reflects a sense of peace and confidence that “all is well in my world and there’s nothing for me to worry about.” All the while they are chewing on “cuds” - round balls of grass that they bring up from their stomachs and chew some 30,000 times each day to get all of the nourishment out of them.
Could that not be a picture of meditation for the Christian to adopt? A time when we quietly “chew” on a piece of Scripture that God brings to our minds from His Word that we have hidden in our hearts.
Imagine how our lives would be different if we sat quietly and brought a verse of Scripture from His Word into our minds and then looked to Him to give us all the nourishment that it contains. Imagine the changes that would take place in our lives if we would invest even a small amount of time “chewing” on a verse or two from His Word each day asking Him to “nourish our lives” with its meaning. Imagine the peace and comfort that could be ours if we simply asked His Spirit to use His Word to calm our fears, lift our depression, eliminate our doubts, change our attitudes, and convict us of our sins.
If we can imagine it, we can do it! God troubles our hearts and minds to get our attention. Then we must submit to His Spirit to work in us as we meditate on Him.
Prayer: Lord, speak to our hearts and change our lives as we willingly ask Your Spirit to guide and guard us. Please do in us what we cannot do in ourselves. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD. Psalm 104:34
When Herbert Hoover was president, he asked Rudy Vallee to sing at the White House. He was very impressed by the famous “megaphone crooner” and entertainer and at the end of his performance said, “You are great, Mr. Vallee. If you can sing a song that would make people feel good, forget their problems, and relieve their depression, I will give you a medal.” However, Vallee did not have a song that he could sing that would bring about those results.
But there is One who can do that. David said, “I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praises to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him as I rejoice in the Lord.”
The Hebrew word for meditate includes two words from the English language: one is “think,” and the other suggests “speech” or “audible thinking,” or “thinking out loud.” If we put them together, they can bring about significant results!
Imagine how our lives would be different if, when we thought about God’s Word, we would begin to “talk” to Him. For example, if 1 John 1:9 came to mind during a time of meditation, we might say something like, “Oh, thank You Lord for Your forgiveness. How grateful I am that if I come to You, confess my sin, ask You for Your forgiveness and repent, You will forgive me. Thank You for the assurance of Your grace and mercy. How much I need it. And please, Lord, fill my life with Your Spirit so that when I am tempted to sin, I can ask You to give me the strength to overcome the temptation!”
Prayer: Father, as I read and focus on You, please fill my mind with Your Word. Let it speak to my heart and then may my heart speak to You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praises to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him as I rejoice in the Lord. Psalm 104:33-34
There was no one to write about it, and actually, nothing to write about. There was no calendar to record the number of days or years or even centuries or ages. It was a beginning without a beginning and the only Person there was God. He needed no one and was in need of nothing.
But He chose to create the heavens and the earth. And with no pre-existing materials or anyone to help Him, it was the power of His words that brought everything into existence that is or ever will be.
When He said, “Let us make the man,” we know what happened: He formed man’s body from the “dust” of the ground. And we know that this “dust” is a combination of all of the various chemical elements that make up the physical body of a man.
Our bodies did not “evolve.” Our bodies were “built” by God from the earth that He created. God also breathed the breath - or the spirit - of life into that body. At that moment, “man” became a living soul.
We do much to take care of our bodies. Each day we are reminded of the cost of “healthcare” and how very important it is for us to take proper care of our bodies. But we seem to have forgotten the words of Jesus: “What good,” He asked, “will it be for someone to gain the whole world and forfeit their soul?” Why is this an important question?
Our Psalmist said: “When You take away their breath they die and return to the dust.” But not the soul.
Prayer: We thank You Lord, for Jesus, Your Son and our Savior, who gave His life for us to live for You forever. You have always had a plan for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: When You take away their breath they die and return to the dust. Psalm 104:29
Birthdays and anniversaries are special days and times in the lives of most people. We look forward to being remembered when a friend sends a card or letter, phone call or bouquet of flowers, a special meal or perhaps even a cake.
Poor Mrs. Hattie Hollowell spent three years, four months, and sixteen days in a New York jail, and no one seemed to know she was there. Fortunately, someone started an investigation for some reason and in the process discovered her. As a result of the search, she came to be known as “The Forgotten Woman.” When asked, a judge blamed the tragedy on the “slipshod work” of an attorney. “Instead of helping her, he hurt her,” he said.
The Psalmist wrote that “All creatures look to You to give them their food at the proper time.” Our Psalmist wants us to know that our God cares for us and will, at the right time, provide for our every need. But there is a very interesting statement about God and our relationship to Him in this verse that is completed in the following verse: “When You open Your hand they are satisfied with good things.”
Notice that “At the proper time,” “He will open His hand,” and “satisfy us with good things.” We are to be completely dependent on God. There is His time, His hand and good things. Often, we try to force the hand of God: We want what we want when we want it. But that is not how He works. He knows what we need and when we need it. We must wait upon Him for what is best for us.
Prayer: Help us Lord, to wait patiently on You, trusting Your love and your heart, knowing that You are doing what is best for us - always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: All creatures look to You to give them their food at the proper time. When You open Your hand they are satisfied with good things. Psalm 104:27-28
Our Psalmist had a great way of looking at things. “There is the sea vast and spacious,” he observed. Perhaps he was sitting on a beach looking beyond the rolling waves as they crashed on the shore one after another. Maybe he was on a hillside far removed from the water - yet thinking about its various contents and the ships that floated quietly above its depths.
But he also “saw” beneath the water and beyond their endless waves. He was aware that it was “teeming with creatures beyond number - living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.”
The sea - though “vast and spacious” - was not an end in itself. It contained all sizes and shapes of creatures that he could not see nor was able to count. They enjoyed “frolicking” - or playing in a part of His creation that He made just for them.
There also were ships that went “to and fro” that carried people and cargo to distant lands that he could not see. The ocean was not an end in itself, either. With all of its majesty and might and endless movement, it also has its place in God’s creation.
Nothing in God’s creation is an end in itself. “For all things,” Paul said, “were created by Him and for Him.” We can look anywhere and everywhere and whatever our eyes see has God’s trademark on it. Everything is signed with His name, for His honor, His glory, for His plan and for His purpose. Especially us. What more can we do for Him?
Prayer: Lord, we are the “crown” of Your creation. Please help us realize how precious we are to You. We pray that we will do all that we can in Your name for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: There is the sea vast and spacious teeming with creatures beyond number, living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. Psalm 104:25-26
The earth spins around like a top at a speed of about 1,000 miles per hour. This spinning is what makes our days and nights. If it slowed down gradually through the years, our days would become so long that the sun would burn our vegetation during the day or freeze all vegetation during the long nights.
The earth tilts to one side as it goes around the sun. It is this tilt that makes the seasons. If it were not tilted 23½ degrees, vapors from the ocean would move north and south, piling up continents of ice.
Most of the time, the moon is about 237,000 miles from the earth. As it revolves around the earth, it exerts a “pull.” This “pull” causes tides - the rise and fall of the oceans. If the moon were not at the exact distance it is from the earth, the tides would completely overflow the land twice a day.
The earth is a great storage facility. Its resources produce the foods we eat. It contains the fuels we need for heating and transportation. It has the minerals we need for survival hidden beneath its soil. It grows the lumber we need for building homes. Its vegetation purifies the air we breathe by removing various impurities that would suffocate us.
Can all this be the result of an accident? Was there a “big bang” that threw “things” up into the air and when things settled down there was form and function? Or was the Psalmist right when he wrote, “How many are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all.”
Prayer: It is amazing, Lord, how carefully You planned everything to fit together perfectly to reflect Your wisdom. What a comfort to know that You intentionally made us too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: How many are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all. Psalm 104:24
Years ago, a “hobo” came to the back porch as my mother sat there “shelling peas.” “Pardon me, Ma’am, but could you spare a meal to a starving traveler?”
Graciously, but firmly, my mother responded and said she would be happy to provide a meal, but he would have to do some yard work first. Politely, he declined. He was “too weak” to work before he had something to eat. He then walked away quietly and went next door.
God intended for man to work. As soon as He created man, He planted a garden in Eden and gave him a job to do: he was told to cultivate the garden. The Psalmist reminded us of the importance of work when he wrote, “Man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening.”
Perhaps it is good to remember that in the days of His flesh, our Lord Jesus worked. He must have gone to His daily tasks with enthusiasm - not because it was easy or financially rewarding. He was using the skills His Father gave Him to do His will and honor Him through the work of His hands. On one occasion, early in His life, He said, “I always do the things that please Him.” He did what was necessary yet never sinned.
How comforting it is to know that the Carpenter of Nazareth faced every situation that we face today or will face tomorrow. This fact assures us that He understands us completely. He faced the same trials and temptations that we face. However, He never gave in to any temptation or committed any sin so He could one day become our Savior.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for living a life that sets the example of how we should live. Please help us live a life where others can see You in us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening. Psalm 104:23