1. Morning Drive
"Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee." Psalm 143:8
My drive to work in the mornings seems to be the perfect time to meditate on the things of God. The day is fresh and my mind is renewed after a restful night. My eyes are open to see what God has to show me and my ears are listening for His still small voice. In just a short while I will be facing the responsibilities of another day, but for those short moments, my spirit is calm and my soul is at peace... and God speaks. I have no common theme for these devotional thoughts, except for the manner in which they came to me. The next time you are on the way to where ever, ask the Lord to ride along with you and have a conversation with God.
2. On The Road To Emmaus
"And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?" Luke 24:13-17
We have been looking at some of the words of Jesus and we are changing the directions of our devotions this week. I want to talk about some of the little insights the Lord shows to me along the way. In our scriptures above we see two of the Lord's disciples walking from Jerusalem after the crucifixion. Let's continue with those verses... "And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:18-27) In these verses we see that the Lord is concerned about us when we are sad. We also see that He will listen to us as we pour our heart out to God. The last lesson I see for us is that the Lord will reveal Himself to us when we seek to know Him. Just like these two disciples, we can talk to Jesus along the way and He can lift up our troubled hearts.
3. Jesus Talked With Them By The Way
"And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" Luke 24:30-32
These verses are a continuation of the scriptures from yesterday. After Jesus blessed the bread and broke it, their eyes were opened, and they knew Him. It could have been that these two disciples were among the 5,000 when Jesus fed the multitudes with two little fishes and five loaves of bread. They may have been dear followers who ate with Him often. We are not told the details, but the scriptures indicate that they knew Him. I like their response, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" It is a blessing when the Lord talks with me along the way. When I ask the Lord to go with me and I listen for His still small voice, He whispers sweet peace in the midst of storms. He gives me assurance that He will be with me through the day. Sometimes He gives me insight and understanding to questions that puzzle my mind.
4. God Is Watching
"The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." Proverbs 15:3
I was on my way to work and I saw a police car in my rear view mirror. My eyes immediately checked to see how fast I was going. For the next few miles, I glanced back and forth from my rear view mirror to my speedometer. I try to keep in the speed limit and follow the laws of safety but I'm sure there have been times that I was distracted and my foot got a little heavy on the pedal. I can also think of times when I didn't see another car and almost caused a wreck. But when I see a patrol car my mind becomes focused on my driving and I try to make sure I do everything correctly because I know he, or she, may be watching. I thought about how God is watching. I have been reading in Proverbs and this verse came to mind, "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." (Proverbs 15:3) God sees our every move and knows our every thought. This should encourage us to follow God's law and obey His Word. He sees when we fail, but aren't you glad that He also sees the good. He knows your heart and sees the kind and thoughtful deeds that seem to go unnoticed. The Lord understands when we are forsaken by our friends and we feel all alone. He is a wonderful friend and has promised never to leave you or forsake you. Remember, He is watching over you, just as a mother watches over a new born baby, with love and protection.
5. Watch And Pray
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" I Peter 5:8
I was getting ready for work and I just happened to look up and see a big spider on the ceiling which could have dropped down near my head. As there aren't many things in a bathroom to reach a spider on the ceiling, I spent the next ten minutes with a can of hair spray persuading the spider to go toward the other wall so that it would drop down in the tub. Later, as I was driving to work I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw that the car behind me was driving in the center of the road, taking half of both lanes. It then pulled to the right, off the road, and into the grass. I watched the car swerve back and forth and decided to pull over at the next convenience store and let it go around me. I turned on my signal and slowed down but the car in the mirror kept gaining on me. I reached the store and quickly turned in, just as the car pulled around me and blew the horn. After work I decided to mow a little on the yard and I noticed the grass moving ahead of the mower and saw a small snake in the grass. I pushed the mower over it several times but I never saw where it went. Each time I circled around I watched carefully to make sure I didn't step on it. All of these little incidences reminded me that we need to be on a constant watch for trouble. We need to look up and down and from side to side. We need to look forward, as well as behind. Trouble can come from any direction. We read the warning in I Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" Watch and pray. "Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." (Mark 13:33)
6. Going In Circles
"And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old." Joshua 14:10
I went with Susanna one afternoon to find the Register of Deeds office to get a copy of her marriage license so she could take it to the social security office. After the social security office, she will be able to change her name on her driver's license, and then she can change her name on her other business affairs. (We found out that all these little steps have to be taken in the right order.) Anyway, the building was on the corner of two one way streets. The entrance is on one street and the exit on another street. We knew about where it was, and even saw it once, but because we were one block over, going the opposite direction we had to go around the block to get back to where we were supposed to be. We were still one block short when we made our turn, so we had to circle around again. I could not believe the time we spent, first dealing with detours, and then one way streets, before we finally arrived at our destination on the entrance side of the building. We were a little frustrated that we spent so much time getting to a place which was such a short distance away. As we kept going in circles I thought about the Children of Israel. They wandered around in the wilderness for 45 years. Think of all the time that was wasted. Are we getting to our destination or are we wasting our time wandering around? God's Word can help us find direction for our lives. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105)
7. Does My Light Shine?
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16
Two weeks ago when I began to clean out my desk I thought it made everything seem so final. As I dropped all the notes and calendars into the shredder I felt as if I were throwing away 13 years of my life. For the past two months we have been trying to finish up files, but even to the last day I worked a full day trying to find completion and closure to a job that moved on and left us behind. In the end we boxed everything up, had our exit interviews, and shut down our computers for the last time. I think about the many friends that I will never see again and wonder if my life was a shining light to them. I have no regrets about the way I handled my job. I worked extended hours when it was needed and did whatever it took to get the job done. My questions come from the verse above. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Did my light shine? Those were the last "good-byes" and I will not get another opportunity to witness to my friends and co-workers. I pray that they could see a difference in my life and that they will turn to Jesus for salvation.
8. Trust In The Lord
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5 & 6
When I started these few devotionals I titled them "On The Way To... Wherever". I started to use the title, "On The Way To Work" but I knew that my job was ending. Now, I am on the way to wherever. The question has been repeated over and over, "What are you going to do now?" Maybe you have been asked that same question. Storms come into our lives in all forms and we even ask ourselves, "What am I going to do?" I was in a hurry one afternoon and I had to stop for a funeral procession. The Lord showed me in those few moments that I was only waiting for them to pass, and I was not in the line with them. I worked near a hospital and thanked the Lord many times when I passed by that I was passing by and not turning in. There have been times that I was in the funeral processions and in the hospital and the Lord brought me through each time. These verses in Proverbs have been a source of strength to me through many valleys. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5 & 6) God is still in control. He has never failed to supply my needs and I have faith that He will provide. I don't understand why I lost my job, but I am looking for Him to lead me to "wherever". In today's economy I know that I can't find another job on my own. I have to put my trust in God and let Him lead and direct my paths.
9. Happy Mother's Day
"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." John 19:25-27
I have heard sermons from these words showing how Jesus cared for His mother and made sure she was taken care of, even from the cross. In thinking about Mother's Day I turned to these verses. For the first time the Lord showed me a special meaning in His Words to Mary. When the children were growing up we went to church on Mother's Day and I often received a special flower for having the most children with me. Susanna just got married a month ago and I have only 1 son left at home. There will be an emptiness on my church pew on Mother's Day and there will be an emptiness in my heart. Jesus understands. He understood as He looked down from the cross and saw His mother, and He said, "Woman, behold thy son!" Yes, He was taking care of His mother when He instructed John to take care of her, but He was also taking care of His mother when He let her take care of John. He knew the emptiness she would feel. He was putting John into her life to fill some of the loneliness. The house is often quiet without the children here, but oh how it rings with laughter when they come back to visit and even more so when the grandchildren are here. My grandchildren have a special place in my heart and they take away a little of the emptiness. The Lord knew how important it was for someone to take care of His mother and He knew how important it was for His mother to have someone to care for.
Today is Mother's Day. Go see your mother if you can. If you can't, at least call and wish her a happy Mother's Day.
10. Waiting On The Lord
"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." Isaiah 40:31
Concerned friends have asked me what I am going to do about losing my job. I really don't know where the Lord will lead me. Right now, I just want to wait on the Lord. He knows where I need to be and I am praying that He will show me in His time. Preacher Woods preached from this chapter in Isaiah on Our Great God. He showed us how the Lord is our gentle Shepherd in verse 11. He talked about God as The Creator of the universe in verse 12. His messge ended with the last few verses. "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 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." (Isaiah 40:28-31) The last verse has been a favorite of mine for many years. I am weary. My strength needs to be renewed. I know that the Lord is in complete control of my life and I am trusting in Him to guide me. Many, many years ago my Dad had a small spot of cancer on his ear and he had to have surgery. As he was recovering he told me that he thought God had brought him through that because his heart was weak and he needed to slow down. He believed that the Lord used that time to renew his strength. I have often heard people say, "The Lord works in mysterious ways." We read in Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." God knows what is best for us. Please pray for me as I try to patiently wait on the Lord.
11. Listen To Your Friends
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
I went away for a couple of days with my Mom to take something to my sister who lives in another city. During the four hour drive we talked. I talked and she listened and she talked and I listened. In that time I was reminded of how we all need someone to talk to and someone who will listen. When I have a problem it often helps if I can talk it out. I am usually not asking the person to help me with the problem, but just be there to listen. I have also come to realize that I need to be a good listener. I could spend all my time complaining, but when I take time to listen to the issues that my family and friends are going through it makes my complaints seem small and irrelevant. While thinking on this I remembered this verse in Galatians 6:2. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." I know that the Lord instructs us to take our burdens to Him in prayer as we see in Matthew 11:29 & 30, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." We also read in 1 Peter 5:7, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." It is a wonderful blessing that we can take our problems to the Lord, but it is also wonderful when we can help bear each other's burdens. I am going to try to learn to be a good listener and "be there" for my family and friends.
12. God Sees The Good And The Bad
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13 & 14
I just finished reading the book of Ecclesiastes. This book opens on a depressing note... "The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:1-9) If we stop in the beginning of the book we could start feeling like "all is vanity" and start doubting our purpose for existance. But we must keep reading. The book ends, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13 & 14) We may go through periods of time when we feel that we have no purpose and that nothing matters, but keep on pressing on. God sees your struggles and He cares. God also sees your work. We think about God knowing the bad that we do, but He also sees the good. Don't give up! Keep trusting in the Lord!
"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with an holy kiss. All the saints salute you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. " II Corinthians 13:11-14
Yesterday we looked at the end of Ecclesiastes and saw King Solomon's words of wisdom. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13 & 14) Along those same thoughts, I want to look at a few verses in the New Testament in which the writer sums up his thoughts with the word, "finally". Paul wrote two letters to the believers at Corinth and they were quite lengthy compared to some of his other letters. He had a lot to tell them and when he came to the end of his second letter he said, "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace;..." We would do well to heed these instructions of Paul. We are not perfect, but we should strive to live a clean Christian life. Next, we see "...be of good comfort..." Jesus said these words to the woman who touched the hem of His garment. Are you weary? Turn to the Lord and "...be of good comfort..." Paul's last instructions seem to sum up his message in the letters, "...be of one mind, live in peace..." As Christian believers, we should strive to one accord and have Christian fellowship. With all the war and hatred in the world today, it is comforting to find peace in the house of God.
14. Be Strong In The Lord
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." Ephesians 6:10
We come to our next "Finally", this time in Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus. Paul encourages this church to "be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." He then continues to explain how they can be strong in the Lord. "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 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. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" (Ephesians 6:11-18) Are you weak and weary? Let the Lord give you strength through His Word. "...be strong in the Lord..."
15. God Feeds The Squirrels Too!
"And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you." Luke 12:22-31
It was such a pretty day I opened my windows to let in the fresh air as I worked in the house. As I walked through the bedroom I noticed a squirrel just outside my window. I watched as he searched the ground for something to eat. I sat and watched him for a few minutes and thought of these familiar verses. It is easy to have faith and believe that God is providing when we make enough money to pay our monthly expenses. Now that I have lost my job I pray that God will strengthen my faith. As I watched that little squirrel searching for something to eat I felt like God was trying to remind me that He feeds the smallest of creatures and He will surely take care of me. In just a few moments I saw the squirrel dig up a nut. God provides. How could I ever doubt that God will take care of His own?
16. Rejoice In The Lord
"Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe." Philippians 3:1
Today is the Lord's day. What a beautiful day to be reminded to "rejoice in the Lord." David said in Psalm 122:1, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." We can rejoice in our freedom to worship the one and only true and living God. We can also rejoice in God's blessings to us as we read in Psalm13:6, "I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me." In Luke 10:20 Jesus tells us to rejoice because our names are written in heaven. We have so many reasons to rejoice. I will end with one of my favorite verses, "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)
17. Think On These Things
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8
“Finally brethren…” Paul had already said these words in this letter as we saw above, but he had some important things to say and now he in once again trying to end his thoughts. I can imagine that he is trying to think of everything he has said and trying to think of anything else he needs to say and he may have asked himself, "What other things do I need to think on?" He goes on to tell the Christian believers what things they need to think about. There are so many bad things in the world today and sometimes these things get us down. There are times when the distress and stress of this world cloud our skies. Paul gives us some things to “think on”, “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report…” When all the news on TV is bad, or your friends have let you down, or you feel like a failure, think on these things. In the same chapter Paul says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6 & 7) “Be careful for nothing” means “do not worry about it.” We can’t only rely on the power of positive thinking, but we can find peace through the power of Christ. We just need to focus our thinking on the things of God.
18. Pray For The Preachers
"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:" II Thessalonians 3:1
Before we look at the "Finally, brethren" of this letter let's look at the first verses of this book. "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;" (II Thessalonians 1:1-3) This letter to the church at Thessalonica was written by three preachers, Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus, and they are asking for their Christian brethren to pray for them in the preaching of God's Word. When we go over our prayer list at church there are many names and needs mentioned. We pray for those with needs of salvation. We pray for the sick and bereaved. We pray for missionaries and for our men and women in the military. These verses in this little book remind us that we need to pray for our pastors and preachers. I have often heard my pastor pray for the Sunday School teachers, and the musicians at our church. He also has a special burden for the youth in our church. He prays with sincere love and devotion for the needs of the church. We should pray with just as much fervency and sincerity for our pastor. We need to follow this example in II Thessalonians and pray "that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified..." Pray for your pastors and preachers and feed on God's Word.
19. Have Love And Compassion For One Another
"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:" I Peter 3:8
This is the last verse that uses the word "Finally" to sum up the writer's message. In this case we see that the apostle Peter wanted to exhort Christian believers to be of one mind. This reminds me of the early church, "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,..." (Acts 1:14) The next exhortation is "having compassion one of another..." There are several verses about compassion in the Bible, but my favorite is Jude 1:22, "And of some have compassion, making a difference:" The verse ends "love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:" If we love one another as Christian brothers and sisters should it would make a big difference in our daily walk. This is so important that Jesus repeats this message three times in the book of John. "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." (John 13:34) "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12) "These things I command you, that ye love one another." (John 15:17) If we love one another, we will have compassion and be courteous. One more verse... "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35)
20. They Followed The Cloud
"And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents." Numbers 9:15-18
When I have had big decisions to make I have often said that I wish God would guide me like He led the children of Israel in the wilderness. It would be easy if God showed us a big cloud that would lead us to the college He wanted us to attend. And when we are ready to go to work, how great it would seem if we could follow the cloud to just the right place and they would have just the right job opening at just the right time. I often thought the children of Israel had it so easy, because the Bible says, "So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night." All they had to do was look out and know when to travel and when to rest. They never had to worry that they were going in the wrong direction. But I am reminded of the words of my Lord in Matthew 28:20, "...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Also in John 14:26-27, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 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." We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to lead us and guide us. And God gives us faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) We don't have a cloud leading us in the way we should go, but we have the Holy Ghost and we have the Word of the Lord, and God gives us faith.
21. In Times Of Trouble
"In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me." Psalm 86:7
I was going to work one morning and the car in front of me hit a deer. There were no "Deer Crossing Signs", and it came from a driveway of someone's house. The car slammed on brakes, but could not stop quickly enough to avoid hitting the deer. The injured animal got up and went off bearing his weight on three legs to a field on the other side on the road. I drove more slowly and carefully the rest of the way to work that morning. Sometimes as we travel on life's highway things come up completely unexpected and we stop with a jolt. Sometimes we just slow down and proceed cautiously. At other times we may get injured by the impact. How many times have you heard someone say, "I never saw it coming," when they looked back at the trainwrecks in their lives? We all have times of trouble. We all know the story of David and Goliath. David put his trust in God and used a sling and a stone to defeat the giant. He had victory. We don't think about the trouble that followed. King Saul became jealous and tried to kill David. David faced the giant -- but the trouble from King Saul came unexpectedly and he had to flee. Some problems come as giants in our lives, and we see them and can prepare for them. Other troubles come when we least expect it. Put your trust in God like David. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;" (Psalm 46:1-2)
22. The Road Less Traveled By
"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
This will be the last devotional with this theme, "On The Way To Wherever". Where are you going? When I was writing once before on "Pondering Your Path" I recalled a poem that I read in school. Robert Frost wrote the poem in 1920 titled, "The Road Not Taken". I remember the last three lines...
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
Let's read these words of Jesus again, "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." Think about the road you are taking. Don't follow the crowd down the road to destruction. There is only one way to eternal life with God. In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Are you on the strait and narrow way? Accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and that will truly make all the difference in your life here on earth and throughout eternity.
23. Do We Let Our Light Shine?
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16
The dark clouds hung overhead most of the day. At times the rain fell gently, and at other times it poured. Since I had left my umbrella in the car, I was glad that it had tapered off a bit when I left to go home from work. Just a short way up the road the rain began to fall faster and I turned my windshield wipers up. By habit, I also reached to turn on my lights and I noticed that I had already turned them on. I did not remember turning them on. I could see clearly, even through the gray skies, but I must have turned them on when I started up the car. For the next few moments I wondered about letting my light shine. It is easy to let my light shine at church when I am surrounded by Christian brothers and sisters. But what about days when the storm clouds gather? What about those times when my path leads me through the dark world of sin? The potential is there for my light to shine even brighter when the skies are dark and dreary. The Lord wants us to let our light shine, as we read in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." I pray that I will let my light shine brighter and brighter as the days grow more and more dim.