A young ensign was completing his first deployment aboard a large destroyer. He had performed all of his duties in an exemplary manner and as a reward the captain gave him permission to “get the ship underway.”
In his excitement and enthusiasm for being given such an honor, he went through every procedure carefully, wanting to further impress his superiors. However, in taking advantage of this new challenge he broke an old tradition. As he was steering the ship out of the harbor, the First Officer quietly said to him, “Ensign, you have overlooked one of the unwritten rules of the sea. Make sure the Captain is on board before you get underway.”
There are times in all of our lives when we are so anxious to “get underway” that we leave our “Captain” standing on the shore. We all face days of uncertainty and tasks that seem beyond us. We are overwhelmed by opportunities that are unfamiliar and demands that have defeated others around us. So unprepared and uncertain, we rush into the journey without God’s guidance. Then we discover that we are in a sea with waves that would turn our lives upside down and winds that take away our breath. Unfortunately, we often leave shore without our Captain. But, fortunately, when we return, we find He is there waiting to take the helm. The winds and waves obey His voice!
Prayer:Lord, may we realize that we will not be safe without Your presence as we travel life’s seas. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 139:10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.
"Be careful what you wish for - it just might come true!" is a saying most of us have grown up with. It comes with no guarantee or assurance that what we ask for is what we will get. In fact, according to some, it may be the exact opposite and result in problems.
Wishing is imagining something in our minds that we want to come true - believing that our lives will be better or filled with happiness or joy or riches. It is wanting our lives to be more fulfilling or better or happier without our having to do anything or making any effort or changes.
But wishing is different from hoping - especially the hope that believers have in God. We can have unflinching and unwavering hope in God because He has done everything He has ever said He would do. There is no room for any doubt in Him or any of His promises. They are well documented and are a testimony to the fact that God is faithful and can be trusted to keep His Word.
God's faithfulness, the psalmist reminds us, is so predictable that it has become "a law in Israel." And this testimony of God's faithfulness is to be passed on by fathers to their children so they put their hope in God and "never forget His deeds."
God wants fathers to teach their children that hope does not come from politicians or policies. Nor does He want fathers to teach their children that they are to place their hope in acquiring wealth or worldly goods. And He does not want them to teach their children to place their hope in the knowledge or skills or talents they possess.
Prayer:We pray, Lord, that fathers will realize their responsibility to raise their children to hope only in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 78:6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
We are all grateful for our “first responders.” They save lives, bind wounds, bring food, give clothing, provide shelter and restore power. They have become our “rescuers.” And, indeed, they fulfill a critical role.
But as Christians, when we face a time of trial or tragedy, we have One who has been waiting for us to call upon Him when we need help. He is always waiting for an opportunity to prove His power whenever we face a difficult situation.
One morning, about four o’clock, Peter was in serious trouble. He and a few of his friends were in a small boat far from shore when a fierce storm arose out of nowhere. Fearing for their lives they became even more frightened when they saw what they thought was a ghost. They screamed in terror. And over the howling wind came a stern voice that said, “Stop being afraid.” It was Jesus assuring them that there was no reason for them to fear for their lives because He was there to save them when they needed Him the most.
“If it is really you,” said Peter, “tell me to come to You - let me walk on the water!” “Certainly,” said Jesus, “come on. You’ve nothing to fear!” He got out of the boat, felt the wind and the waves, lost His faith and began to sink. He shouted, “Save me, Lord,” and He did.
It is never the eloquence or length of our prayer that counts, but our simplicity and sincerity. It is never a formula but our faith. He will always come to our rescue if we call on Him in a faith that believes in Him.
Prayer: Lord, we do indeed believe in Your power and Your promises. Increase our faith whenever we doubt. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 12:1 Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
Roger Babson was a widely respected economist and entrepreneur who wrote numerous books and articles on financial issues. Once, while visiting the Argentine republic he was asked, “Why is it that South America, with all of its natural resources, is so far behind North America, not withstanding that South America was settled first?” After a moment’s thought, the financier replied with a question of his own. “What do you think is the reason?”
“South America was settled by the Spanish who came in search of gold,” answered the president, “but North America was settled by the Pilgrim Fathers who went there in search of God.”
Warned Babson, “May we never forget the foundation upon which our permanent prosperity is based.”
Years ago David wrote, “The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” Have we as a nation forgotten those words of wisdom? We enjoy our heritage of greatness and free government because our forefathers had a deep faith in God. Our Bill of Rights came into being because of their belief in the Word of God. Where do we stand today? Is our very foundation collapsing around our feet? And if so, what are we to do?
“If my people will humble themselves and pray, seek and turn from their wickedness I will hear them!”
Prayer:Lord, it is our responsibility as Christians to do what we need to do to restore our nation - now! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 11:3 If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?
There was a small huddle going on at home plate. Lucy and Linus of the Peanuts comic strip were having an intense discussion with their coach, Charlie Brown.
“Our team,” said Charlie, “has lost every game this season. There’s nothing good about our team!”
“But,” protested Lucy, “Schroeder almost hit a home run. We almost won a couple of games. Once we almost made a double play.”
Linus interrupted Lucy and added, “If it’s any consolation to you, Charlie Brown, we led the league in ‘almosts.’”
But there is no column in record books listed as “almosts.” There are wins and loses and records set and records that have been broken. But never an “almost!”
“Almost” carries with it the idea that if we had more time, more energy, more opportunities, more money or “more of something” our lives would be completely different. While life may impose limits on us, God does not! Whatever He has He freely gives.
The Psalmist said, “No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who do what is right.” He did not say that God will almost bless us, or almost answer our prayers or almost provide for our needs or almost give us good things. Not at all.
When we do “what is right,” God will give us “good things!” Not almost give, but will give if we do right.
Prayer:Help us, Lord, to follow the example of Your Son and “do what is right” at all times and in all places as He did. May we do what is right, not almost right! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.
A young man, aspiring to become a great philosopher, went to Socrates and said, “I want knowledge. What must I do to get it?”
Socrates asked the young man to accompany him to a beach. After staring at the water for a few moments he asked the young man to join him and walk with him into the water. They waded slowly into the water until they were neck deep. After pausing for a moment he pushed him under the water and held him there. The young man struggled and finally, after becoming exhausted, Socrates allowed him to surface and take some deep breaths. After releasing him, Socrates asked, “While you were struggling underneath the water, what did you want more than anything in the world?”
“Air,” came the quick reply.
“When you want knowledge as much as you wanted air,” said the philosopher, “then you will get it.”
Whatever our hearts truly desire is what motivates us. Throughout the Bible we are reminded constantly of this irony. If we focus our attention on the things of this world, we will no doubt acquire many “things.” If, on the other hand we “Delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts” and good things will come to us as by-products of His grace and goodness. We have His promise and that’s all we need!
Prayer:Lord, we ask for Your Spirit to move in our hearts and create a deep desire within us that will encourage us to take delight in honoring You always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today:Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Just before leaving for school, little Noah was saying his morning prayers. “Heavenly Father, thank You for this beautiful day.”
“But,” interrupted his mother, “there is going to be a storm with rain, lightning and thunder. That’s not a beautiful day.”
“I know,” was the quick reply. “We just can’t judge a day by the weather.”
There are some days when the last possible thing we can do is to find something beautiful. We awaken to discover that a loved one is critically ill, we feel overwhelmed by the tough schedule we are facing, the children are out of control and the sink is overflowing because the plumbing is stopped-up. What next? Can anything else go wrong?
Perhaps it is time to listen to the Psalmist: “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Throughout the Psalms we often read about the difficult, demanding and discouraging days they faced. What did they do?
They spoke to God honestly and took their problems to Him and plead for His help. And every time, at the end of the psalm, they were rejoicing!
Prayer:Father, we know that You are bigger than every problem we face and have solutions for each of them. May we see Your beauty in all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Years ago, a Jewish immigrant from Russia gave his son a violin for his eighth birthday. After months of lessons and hours of practice, he became very accomplished.
Years later while performing at a concert, he paused and shared a funny story about an experience he had that day. The audience laughed heartily and applauded loudly. He was so delighted and encouraged by their response that he decided to end his career as a violinist and become a comedian. So began the career of Jack Benny - a career that brought joy and happiness to countless thousands.
God has something very special for each of us to do. And he wants to do through us what He has not and cannot do through anyone else. Each of us has a special place in God's heart and a unique role to play in His world. Scripture plainly says "To every man his work."
We often struggle and strain to discover what God has for us to do. But, if we are open to the nudging of His Spirit and develop the gifts He has given us, He will present many opportunities for us to serve Him.
Prayer:Lord, we ask that You guard us and guide us as we follow the paths You have planned for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture:Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.