Categories
Christian Living forgiveness

Are You My Daddy?

One of my favorite books as a child was, Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman. In the story, a baby bird hatches while his mother is away from the nest. He falls to the ground and immediately begins to search for her, but doesn’t know what she looks like. The little hatchling meets several animals, and even a few machines, and asks each of them, “Are you my mother?” Finally, the baby bird is returned to the nest–just as his mom arrives with a worm.

The Bible has a version of this story. In the final days of His earthly life, Jesus returns to Jerusalem just before Passover. He’s overcome with emotion when the city comes into view and says this:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.

Matthew 23:37

The Israelites had ‘left the nest’ yet again, and were not seeking to return. Time after time in the Bible we find God’s people asking everything they see, “Are you my daddy?” And, just like the baby bird in the story, they have NO IDEA of their REAL predicament. When Jesus says, “Look, your house is left to you desolate,” He refers to the ultimate destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (in 79 AD) and God’s rejection of His people (Jeremiah 12:7).

Isn’t idolatry (even in ignorance) still a problem today? It’s easy to stray from the nest. And Christians are not immune to the lure of the three S’s: sin, self, and stuff.

A recent devotional in, Our Daily Bread, highlights the tendency to trust in just-in-case idols. The old hymn, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, becomes Leaning on the Ever-lesser Arms, when we trust in our own intelligence, abilities, or possessions more than God.

Nevertheless, a loving Father awaits the return of all stray hatchlings to the nest.

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.

Psalm 91:4

Who’s Your Daddy?

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/10/17/whos-your-daddy/

Categories
Christian Living devotional

A Winning Formula

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

After I left full-time ministry, but before I became a teacher, I spent three years in sales with Frito Lay, Inc. I was a Route Sales Rep, which is a front-line position selling salty snacks to grocery and convenience stores.

One day, my boss was helping me set up a huge display of potato chips at a grocery store. It was five in the morning, and I had eleven more accounts to visit that day, so I was in a bit of a rush. Pulling a large cart stacked high with boxes of potato chips, I turned a corner too sharply and clipped a large display of pancake syrup at the end of an aisle. Several glass bottles crashed to the floor, creating a growing pool of sticky brown goo.

I know big boys aren’t supposed to cry, but looking at the mess I’d just made, I started to lose it. To my surprise, my supervisor didn’t berate me. Instead, he came over, put his hands on my shoulders, and said, “Are you ok?”

That’s how it really went down. No joke!

“These things happen,” he said calmly, “I once dropped a pallet of milk off a loading dock!” He then showed me a neat trick: pouring corn meal on icky messes makes them more manageable. After applying a few boxes to the chestnut colored goop, I was able to scrape up the whole mess and finish stocking my display.

My boss knew just how to help me recover from a set back. Instead of coming unglued, he came alongside, giving me the tools to cope with a challenging situation.

Years later, I analyzed what he did, and figured out his winning formula:

How to Come Alongside Someone in Need

  • Ask – “Are you OK?” Recognize that all is not well.
  • Acknowledge – “These things happen sometimes. I once did something similar.” Identify with the situation.
  • Assist – “Let me show you a trick for cleaning this up.” Offer to help.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Triple-A: it’s a winning formula for helping others.

Categories
Christian Living Trust

Fully Rely on God

My mom was an avid reader of Guideposts, a Christian devotional magazine. In one issue, when she read an article about a man who handed out little rubber frogs with the caption, “F.R.O.G. – Fully Rely on God— she was motivated to get involved.

A quick check at an online retailer found bags of suitable frogs by the 100 count; a pack of lined note cards (to cut into strips) and a ball of red yarn completed the supplies needed to go into the F.R.O.G. business.

Here’s one of my mom’s earliest models. It’s a bit tattered, because he has made the rounds with many in need.

Mom made several dozen and began handing them out to friends and neighbors. She also supplied Nancy and me enough to hand out for our nursery home ministry. Altogether, she made and shared about 200 F.R.O.G.s before she became too sick to continue.

After mom passed away, we decided to hop 🐸 into the F.R.O.G. business ourselves. Ours didn’t have the carefully handcrafted look of mom’s, but they served the same purpose

The residents at the nursing homes and assisted living centers where we sang were thrilled with their little green friends who reminded them to totally trust God. A running joke every month was, “Don’t keep two together, or you’ll soon have more little froggies than you know what to do with!”

At one particular retirement home, the same sweet, smiling resident continued to ask for a frog every time we came. I kept thinking, “Didn’t I give you one last month?!” This went on for awhile—until I heard her whisper to a friend—after taking yet another frog— “I have three more in my room!”


Fully Rely on God, it’s a great idea, but are there practical applications? I think I’ve found a couple. Perhaps you can help me think of more!

My first down-to-earth utilization of F.R.O.G. is the “Phillipians Filter”:

“Finally brothers, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think of such things.” — Philippians 4:8

My apologies for the handmade illustrations. I spent all my money on my catchy domain name.😆

My second illustration of our amphibious acronym is called “Proverbial Math”:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” — Proverbs 3:5-6

Again, please excuse the homespun illustration. I need a graphic artist!🙄

All things considered, maybe the concept of fully relying on God can’t be reduced to a simple formula. Perhaps that why the Almighty told a guy like Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9

All the same, as fallible followers of a Holy God, we seek tangible ways to put His promises into practice. Hence, the popularity of F.R.O.G., WWJD and the like.

Today, and every day, may we: turn away from sin, hop to Him, and keep our eyes on the prize like we’re watching flies!

🎶 It’s not easy bein’ green. 🎶
Categories
Christian Living Discipleship

Drawn to the Light

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Psalm 119:105

One night this summer, I accidentally left the garage door up with the lights turned on. It was three hours later before I discovered my oversight. As I opened the door that leads into the garage from the laundry room, I was greeted with a surreal sight: dozens of moths! They were on the walls, hanging from the ceiling and covering both vehicles like polka dots.

They all looked similar to this one.

I decided the best thing to do was to simply turn off the lights and shut all the doors. The moths will go nowhere in the dark, I thought: “I’ll deal with it in the morning.”

But early the next day when I opened the door, there were just a few little brown insects to be seen. Only when I walked to the other side of the garage did I discover what happened overnight.

Most of the moths had landed on the floor—fanning out from a night light. It was the only source of luminescence in the room, shining only 0.4 watts, yet most of them found their way too it!


This begs the question, just how much of God’s light does a person need?

King David wrote of God’s Word being a lamp for his feet and a light for his path (Psalm 119:105). This doesn’t sound like the airport runway lights I’d prefer, but it must be enough to find The Way, or David wouldn’t have said it.

Jesus Himself spoke about how just a little bit of the right stuff is a big deal in the kingdom of God. Remember the parable He told about having faith like a mustard seed (Mark 4:30)?

As an amatuer bread baker, it still amazes me just how little yeast is needed for a whole batch of dough! “Surely, one packet isn’t enough,” I tell my wife every time. But the balls of dough keep rising until they triple in size! Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to such an experience (Matthew 13:33).

As a child of God, out on life’s ocean, it’s often hard to find my bearings. And when I can’t see but a few feet in front of me, it’s tempting to pray for lighthouses, fog horns and flares–something BIG to show me The Way. However, like He did with Elijah, God often speaks in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11-13).

I suppose the moral of the moths is to tune in to the light of God we have, no matter how small. Flood light faith isn’t always needed.

God’s best to you in your journey.

Categories
Christian Living Discipleship

The Narrow Path

One of my favorite blogs is Devotional Treasures. Alan, who goes by the moniker holytreasurehunter, is a brother in Christ from the Kingdom of Fife.

Yes, I had to look it up. Fife is in Scotland, and it’s home to over 40 golf courses–including the world famous seaside links at St. Andrews.

On Devotional Treasures you’ll find simple stories about prayer, revival and walking with God. There are also amazing pictures of the Scottish countryside, along with wonderful scriptural applications to life.

What impresses me most about Alan’s blog, however, is how he comes across: he is simply a guy who takes walks with God and then writes about it.

Please check out Devotional Treasures; you’ll be glad you did!


Actually, it was a post Alan wrote on July 9th, entitled The Way of the Lord, that inspired this one.

As I mentioned earlier, the holytreasurehunter likes to take walks through the Scottish countryside near his home. One of his favorite journeys reaches its highest point at a place he calls the narrow path.

Photo by Alan from Devotional Treasures. Used by permission.

As you can see, this is most certainly a single person one-way walking situation! In fact, Alan says he often “steps up on the stone dyke to let folk pass.”

Anyway, the post refers to Matthew 7:12-14, about the narrow gate that leads to heaven. I kept staring and staring at that slim path in the picture until it dawned on me: there’s only room for one person at a time–with Christ in front leading the way!

Two days later, I opened a compilation of classic Our Daily Bread devotional readings. The entry for July 11 was entitled, No Place For The Devil.

The key verse was Ephesians 4:27, where Paul exhorts his readers to, “Neither give place to the devil.” According to the author, the word ‘place’ is important. The devil can’t fill the same ‘place’ as the Holy Spirit.

“It’s the narrow path!” I blurted out loud. If I’m filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit, there’s no room for the devil!

It’s just Jesus and me.

There’s one caveat, however: being filled with the Spirit means handing over the reins of life to the will of God (Romans 12:2). And the best way to know the will of God is to know the Word of God.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105

Isn’t it amazing how a brother blogger and a devotional writer from 50 years ago worked together–within 48 hours of each other–to impress the same truth into another believer’s heart?

God is good!