1. Things I Considered While In The Storm
When people ask me about my cough, I tell them that I have been fighting it since Christmas, but Tuesday, April 22nd, I discovered a whole new kind of fight. My husband, son, and daughter all called that day and asked what I was doing because I sounded out of breath. I was not doing anything unusual, but felt like I just could not breathe. A few hours later I was headed to the hospital in an ambulance and felt like my body was fighting for every breath. As my blood pressure and pulse rate shot through the roof and the paramedic hooked up oxygen and an IV line, there were some things I began to think about. I missed several days of devotions while recovering from pneumonia, but I am happy to be back home where I can begin this devotional theme on "Things To Consider". Paul told young Timothy, "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things." (II Timothy 2:7) We can read God's Word and pray as we live each day, sometimes just out of habit. But, there are times when storms or trials come and we stop to consider what direction the Lord may be leading us and we seek for understanding with a deeper searching of His Word and more fervent prayers.
2. Have You Considered Prayer?
I like the song that says, "When you don't feel like praying, pray" but the only prayer I was able to utter was, "Lord, help me." My pressing thoughts were, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe." As the oxygen eased my breathing and level of anxiety, I began to thank the Lord that He knows our needs before we ask. I remembered the scripture that says the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer and I found comfort in that thought. "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Romans 8:26) Later, as people found out I was in the hospital with pneumonia, several family members came to see me and they all told me they were praying for me. It was a special blessing for Pastors to kneel and pray for me in the room. Mike also told me of messages that family and friends were sending that they were praying. It was a great comfort to know that even when I did not feel like praying, others were praying for me. As I lay in the bed the next two nights, I was hooked up to so many machines there was no way I could kneel beside my bed and pray, and I was thankful that the line of prayer was still open. It had not been that long since I was down on my knees asking the Lord to help me through the day, and praying for those same people that were now telling me they were praying for me.
3. Have You Considered Psalms 23?
In my Bible reading this year I wanted to read through the Bible in chronological order, so I looked online and found a yearlong reading log that has been wonderful. When I began feeling better at the hospital Mike brought my Bible to me, but I did not have my study notes. Since my reading is going between II Samuel, I Chronicles, and various Psalms I did not know exactly where I should read next. I turned to a life-long familiar chapter, Psalms 23. I learned to quote it at an early age and I have read it many, many times, but it spoke to me in a whole new way lying there in a hospital bed. The peace of God was my green pastures and still waters. The Holy Spirit was my comfort. The visits and prayers of dear Christian brothers and sisters let my cup run over with hope in the Lord. And I could say in my heart, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." 1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
4. Have You Considered Death?
Most of us do not often like to think of death, but I guess if there is a time one thinks about death, then being rushed through town in an ambulance is that time. I could not help but think that each labored breath might be the last, but instead of fear, God gave me peace amidst my storm. I am at peace with God. My sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west and I don't have to be afraid of facing them. And although I have done nothing to merit God's amazing grace I am covered in the righteousness of my precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I can come boldly to His throne of grace. And because I have this peace with God I also have the peace of God. Peace that passes all understanding. He gives me peace that no matter what the outcome, He is going with me through the storms of life. Have you considered death? Are you ready to face the judgment of God? "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Hebrews 9:27-28) The Lord will forgive and cleanse you of your sin if you believe in your heart that He died to save you and confess to Him. You, too, can be clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and have that inner peace that only God can give. "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" (Deuteronomy 32:29)
5. Have You Considered Life?
Yesterday we looked at death. Today we see life. God's Word tells us to "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Proverbs 4:23) I had the awesome experience of watching a two dimensional echo cardiogram of my heart. As I lay still looking at the monitor I commented to the technician that my heart was working so hard, and I don't even think about it. Beating, beating, beating. I thought of how David said we are "fearfully and wonderfully made". (Psalms 139:14) Beating, beating, beating. We talked of how we take our hearts for granted. Beating, beating, beating. The whole time she worked to measure and record the beats, my heart never slowed down or skipped a beat, but kept on beating, beating, beating in perfect rhythm. I remember how thrilling it had been to see the ultrasounds of my babies before they were born, and I was just as amazed to think how God continually gives life with the beating, beating, hard working action of the heart. It made me want to eat healthy and take better care of my heart. My life is in my heart. I cannot talk of my heart without praising God for cleansing my sinful heart and giving me new life. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10) And still today, when I fail and have sin in my life, I can pray like David, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalms 139:23-24) Thank you, Lord!
6. Have You Considered The Knock At Your Door?
The day I came home from the hospital I got comfortable in "Paw Paw's chair", as my two year old grandson Jedidiah calls it, and went to sleep. It was too late in the day for me to nap, so that night I had trouble going to sleep. The sights and sounds of the previous days were still engaged in my emotions and I could not turn them off. I could still feel the soreness in my veins and I could still hear the knocks at the door. It seemed ironic when the nurse would leave my room after midnight and say things like, "Get some rest. I will be back at 2:00." The knocks at the door continued around the clock, from faithful healthcare workers to loving visitors. When Mike was with me in the room, he would answer the knocking with a cheery, "Come in." I was appreciative to have him there because I was not so glad to see the lab technicians come in and his presence gave me great support. Back home, hearing the knocking in my mind, I thought of how the Lord knocks at our heart's door. He does not open the door. He waits patiently, gently knocking. Waiting for us to invite Him in. And unlike my hospital door, when Mike could invite others in, we are each responsible and accountable for our own actions. Have you opened the door of your heart and invited the dear Savior in? Your grandparents or parents can't do it for you. Your spouse or best friend can't open the door to your heart. The Lord may be waiting for you, gently knocking, listening for you to invite Him in. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)
7. Have You Considered The Gift Of Helps?
When I lost my job three years ago several people advised me to get training in the medical field. It is probably true that there is always a need in that service, but I believe that it takes a special "calling" which I don't have. I am so thankful for all the workers in the doctor's office, the emergency staff, and hospital which were so diligent with my care. From the doctors, specialists, nurses, technicians, even to the ones who cleaned the room, everyone was so compassionate, and helpful to meet my needs. God has given us gifts which we are to use with love toward others. Again, I say, "Thank you!" to all those who showed mercy, with cheerfulness! "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." (Romans 12:6-8) I also want to give my heart-felt thanks to those who shared their gift of "helps". Listed among the gifts of prophets and teachers, Paul also mentions the gifts of "helps". (I Corinthians 12:28) I could never thank you enough for the uplifting visits, phone calls and messages, the food, and cleaning help you gave at my home. I pray that God will reward you in spiritual blessings for your love and kindness. Finally, and most of all, I am thankful to my God, The Great Physician, who continues to give me strength and healing each day!
8. Have You Considered Your Legacy?
What will you leave behind? If you answer the question in regards to your wealth and worldly belongings, the answer is quite simple, "You will leave it all behind." But, I am looking beyond material gain. Since we have been looking at things like life and death, and facing God's judgment, it is important to ask the question, "Am I ready for eternity?" Just as the nation of Israel was chosen and founded by God, our great country, The United States of America, was founded on Christian principles. We need to look back and take the advice found in Deuteronomy 32:7, "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee." My fear is that our nation is quickly slipping away from following God and the older, faithful generations are passing on. We need to consider and think about what we are leaving behind. I can say like David, "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." (Psalms 16:6) I was brought up in a Christian home, in the Bible Belt of America. My parents took me to church, and taught me to pray. I want to leave behind the same Christian example for my children and grandchildren to follow. I don't have wealth and riches for them to inherit, but I pray that I can leave behind a legacy of a goodly heritage. When life is up, and when life gets me down, one thing remains the same, and I love to hear it in this song, "All That Matters", by Micah Henson. "All That Matters" by Micah Henson
If I could say one thing, it would be He's the best thing.
If I had only one word, Jesus would be heard.
If I had but one breath, I'd use it to praise Him with.
For He is really all that matters. When this thing is over,
I've crossed death cold waters. We'll see more clearly,
see that really He's it.
If this were my last day, I'd shout Jesus all the way.
If this were my last mile, I'd spend it praising Him awhile.
If I had but one breath, I'd use it to praise Him with.
If He hadn't loved me, like He does, I wouldn't be.
If He hadn't saved me, I'd suffer through eternity.
If I had but one breath, I'd use it to praise Him with.
For He is really all that matters. When this thing is over,
I've crossed death cold waters. We'll see more clearly,
see that really He's it.
We'll see more clearly, see that really He's it
9. Have You Considered Your Pastors?
Although it was very long ago, I can easily remember my first pastor for two reasons. He was my grandpa, Preacher Moyer P. Beasley. He lived next door when I was a child and all the kids on our street called him, "Grandpa". The second reason I remember him as my pastor is because it was under his preaching that the Holy Spirit convicted me of my lost condition and I asked the Lord to forgive me and save me. Another important pastor in my life is Preacher Franklin "Buddy" Fox. He came to see me in the hospital when my first son was born in 1980. He came at the birth of each of my five children. This was very special to me. It became even more memorable because after we began going to Pine Grove Baptist Church he became my pastor, and baptized all five of my children. Now, at 82 years old, I feel honored that he came to see me in the hospital. I am thankful for many pastors, past and present: Preacher Arthur Blackburn, Preacher Frank Gribble, Preacher David Owen, Preacher Jeff Woods, and my current pastor Preacher Jack Tripp. I appreciate their faithfulness to God, and to the sheep of His pasture. Each one has had a special place in my heart and God has used them to help me grow spiritually. "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." (Jeremiah 3:15)
10. Have You Considered One Another In Love?
As time progresses so rapidly and life becomes more absorbed, we can get engrossed in our own little worlds and forget those around us. We still see families and friends out together, but often one or more has a phone or technical device controlling hand and mind. We may think of ourselves as loving and caring because we have so many friends or followers on the internet. But, as I was reminded of the origin of the new word, "selfie", this week it is clear that many of our posts are all about "self". We, and I do include myself, post personal pictures, proclaim personal victories, and sometimes portray pity parties for the internet world to see. We watch to see how many of our friends "like" our posts and get disappointed if there is no response. I enjoy keeping up with my family and friends, and as I was recuperating last week it was good to "see" them online, but a lot of "likes" don't always convey a lot of "love". Take a look at Hebrews 10:24-25. "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 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." Are we considerate of one another? Are children still taught to say, "Please" and "Thank you" and hold the door for other people? Do we respond with kindness and respect, and put others first? Apparently some believers had stopped going to church at the time of this writing and the author exhorts them to be more faithful, "as ye see the day approaching." Well, 2,000 years have passed and we are closer than we probably realize to the coming of our Lord and we need to stay steadfast and stand firm on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. If you are savvy with the modern age of technology, then use it for good. Be considerate of the feelings of others. Be witnesses for the cause of Christ. But, don't let the world wide web take the place of genuine fellowship and affection toward others. Consider one another in love.
11. Have You Considered The Lilies?
As I continued with my thoughts on "Things To Consider", I read the Words of Jesus found in Matthew 6:25-33 and Luke 12:22-28 where He told the disciples to consider the lilies. As the Lord would have it, my daily reading was to read the Song of Solomon. The words "lily" and "lilies" are used 8 times in those 8 chapters. Chapter 2 opens, "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters." (Song of Solomon 2:1-2) Twice the Bride says, "My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies." (Song of Solomon 2:16 and 6:3) Part of her description of the Bridegroom is "His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh." (Song of Solomon 5:13) In 6:2 she says He has gone down into His garden to gather lilies. I searched for other references of lilies in the Bible. Chapter 7 of I Kings and II Chronicles 4 describe the lily work at the top of the brass pillars and rim of the molten sea which King Solomon made. The last reference in the Old Testament is Hosea 14:5 in the prophecy that Israel would "grow as the lily". As Jesus sat on the side of the mountain, teaching the multitudes, I can imagine Him pointing to the birds singing in the trees and the lilies growing round about them. I believe that the reference Jesus made to King Solomon was intentional and I wonder if those who knew the Holy Scriptures had a deeper understanding when the Lord said, "Consider the lilies..." "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? ... Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." (Portions of Matthew 6:25-29)
12. Have You Considered Your Ways?
When I was a young girl and I did something wrong my Dad would sometimes send me to my room to "think about it". This was not the typical time out of today when children sit in a designated place and entertain themselves for five minutes. When I did something bad enough to "think about it" then I really thought about it with great remorse because I knew my punishment was coming. I am thankful for parents who loved me enough to bring me up to take responsibility for my actions. Through the Old Testament prophets God says, "Consider your ways." Things may come about in our lives to help us grow spiritually, or make us stronger Christians, but sometimes things happen to make us "think about" our ways. "Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways." (Haggai 1:5-7) When we consider our ways, we must first make sure we are going the right way. We read in John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." The Lord Jesus also said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14) Take time today to consider your ways.
13. Have You Considered That There Is Only One True God?
I was trying to witness to someone one day and she said, "If I did believe in God, and maybe I do, then my god would have to be a woman." Her statement made me realize that many people choose a god to their own making. Think about the gods of the past. If a people wanted the sun to shine and the rain to fall on their crops, then they invented gods to the sun and rain. To have dominion over their enemies they invented gods of strength and battle. God's Word says that those who worship idols are just like the idols with eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear. 2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? 3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. 5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: 6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: 7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. 8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. Psalms 115:2-8 And although they don't make little statues, I believe many in our country today worship their job, money, pleasures, or posessions and give their whole life to fulfilling those desires. If you don't know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, then please consider in your heart today that there is only one God, the Almighty, the Creator of the universe. Only one God gave His Son to die for a lost and dying world. Only one God lives in heaven and in the heart of every one that trusts in Him. Please consider in your heart today that there is only one God and believe in Him. "Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else." (Deuteronomy 4:39)
14. Have You Considered How Great God Is?
Our devotional today is two-fold. First, have you considered how great God is? From the dawn of creation, God controls the universe. Job was also told to "consider the wondrous works of God."
14 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. 15 Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine? 16 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge? 17 How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind? 18 Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass? 23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict." (Job 37:14-18 & 23) The Prophet Samuel reminded the Children of Israel, "Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you." (I Samuel 12:24) We see this clearly in Romans 8: 31-32. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" When we stop and consider how great God is, then we will fall on our knees in the reality of how small mankind is. This is our second thought today.
Have You Considered How Small Man Is?
1 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:1, 3-5 & 9)
15. Have You Considered That One Man Died For Your Sin?
We have come to our last entry on "Things To Consider" and it is the most important one of all. In the Garden of Eden, at the beginning of time, Adam and Eve sinned and brought a curse to the earth. Every person born since that time has been born in sin. "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:" (Romans 5:12) Jesus told Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7) God has a remedy. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18) So, today we see the most important question in your life. Have you considered that one man should die for your sin? And more importantly, have you accepted this gift of salvation and accepted the Lord as your personal Savior? "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9, 10, & 13) "And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death." (John 11:49-53)