Welcome to the February Archive. You are welcome to read the entire archive, or find a topic on the list below that is of interest to you. Just click the link, and you will be taken directly to the day it was written. Enjoy, and may you know God's peace as you read His Word.
When writing, I used the New International Version of the Bible. Due to copyright restrictions, I have not included quotes for the scriptures, but highly encourage you to open your own bibles to read the scripture passages for yourselves.
A WORD FOR TODAY, February 2000
February 1, 2000
Small change On the way to the car, after a quick trip to the grocery store, you discover the cashier has given you too much change. The thought occurs to you that you should return that money. For a brief moment, you consider that option, then a long list of justifications rattles through your brain.
Deep down, in the very depths of your soul, you feel a sort of ‘twinge’. You know it is wrong to keep the money, but you justify your actions and move on your way. I’ve even come up with scripture to back up my decision! Yet, I know it is wrong. The next time you go to store and it happens again, the twinge is a little stronger. One day, your conscience does not allow you to walk away. You go back in the store to return the change.
Read Romans 2:12-15
Your conscience is the voice of the divine nature, which brings about change from one way of life to another. From within you, God teaches you right from wrong. As we hear that voice, we make choices as to whether we will listen and obey, or continue on our own path. God is persistent, however, so continues to send those twinges, causing us to consider each thought, word and deed, until we are transformed. Have you felt a twinge today? What is God changing in you?
Punxsutawney Phil For over 100 years, people have assembled in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2. They come to witness the annual emergence of the groundhog named Phil. Phil has predicted the end of winter since 1887. The tradition of Groundhog’s Day is associated with the European celebration of Candlemas. This special Christian service celebrates the presentation of Jesus at the temple and the recognition by Simeon and Anna of the divine manifestation in the babe Jesus Christ. There are songs and poems connected to Candlemas which talk of weather traditions. These traditions were carried over by the early immigrants, and have continued to this day.
Springtime is a time of new beginnings. Candlemas celebrates the new beginning of God’s presence in our world.
Read Song of Solomon 2:8-13
The tradition of Groundhog’s Day says that if Phil sees his shadow when he pokes his head out of his hole, then spring will not occur for another six weeks. If it is cloudy, and Phil does not see his shadow, then spring has sprung! Of course, Phil’s record is less than admirable, because no matter what the tradition says, spring will come in due season.
The scripture for today talks of the end of winter, and the signs of spring. This story is of a lover coming for his beloved, so that together they might enjoy the freshness of spring. God is our lover. He is calling for His bride, the Church, to awaken to this new life. This day, as we remember the divine presence in the Temple, let us also look forward to the spring. The day will come in God’s time, just as the springtime comes in due season.
Girl Scout Cookies The plight of the cookie mom is known the world over. Cookie sales differ in overseas situations, due to the shipping circumstances. Rather than each girl going door to door for orders, our leaders order a set amount of cookies, which are then divided among the troops. The troops then divide their cookies among the girls, who sell the cookies. When the order of cookies comes in, the boxes are put into the living room of the cookie mom. For days, she is stuck with hundreds of Girl Scout Cookies stacked all over the room.
It takes certain qualities to be the cookie mom. It is difficult to contact folk and to arrange for meetings to distribute the cookies. She must be flexible, yet patient. People often forget their appointments, or put them off for other things. She must be persistent, continuing to contact the parents until they take the cookies for which they are responsible. The girls do not have to sell the prescribed amount, and yet the cookie mom must try to convince each family to do their fair share.
Though it takes several weeks, the cookie mom who perseveres completes her task. The girls get a lesson in responsibility; the troop makes some money for events, and the cookie mom gets a pat on the back for a job well done. In the end, it often seems as if the hard work of a cookie mom goes unnoticed and unappreciated.
Read Hebrews 6:9-12
A Christian’s motive for doing works in this world is for the glory of God. They do not need the rewards, which can accompany such a life. Yet, there often comes a time when even the most faithful Christian thinks, “Why do I bother?” Do you feel unappreciated in this world? Do you feel like you’ve been buried under hundreds of boxes of cookies? Remember that God will not forget the work you do; persevere for His Glory and continue in the path of service to Him.
National Prayer Breakfast For nearly 50 years, the current President of the United States has taken a day each year to hold a breakfast to call attention to the need for prayer in our country. This idea has spread beyond the White House. All around the US, local, state and federal agencies hold breakfasts to be in remembrance of God our Creator and thank Him for the blessings we enjoy.
Yesterday, our base held a breakfast. We joined together for good food, good conversation, but most of all to unify our voices in prayer for our community. Colonel Chaplain John R. Blair spoke on the importance of our prayer life and the things that tend to keep us from a strong, complete prayer life.
There are three things which keep us from a regular prayer life - fear, complacency, and self-centeredness. We do not pray as we should because we are afraid that we will not be able to accomplish the goal. We do not pray as we should because our bellies are full and we are satisfied with things as they are. We do not pray as we should because our minds are on self rather than God.
We do not seek God as we should, and our once strong nation is growing weak.
Read 2 Chronicles 7:14
Through humourous stories and scripture, Chaplain Blair caused us to consider our own prayer lives and the things that keep us from seeking God on a regular basis. He cautioned us to not let fear cause us to forfeit the blessings. He reminded us that our prayer life can not be turned on and off on a whim. He admonished us to turn our focus from self to God. He called us to let go of the fake things in our life and elevate our prayer life to one that is truly awesome.
Drugs I recall an ad campaign from several years ago; perhaps it is still running in the states. The camera focuses on an egg. “This is your brain,” the narrator says. Then the camera focuses on a very hot cast iron frying pan. “This is drugs,” the narrator says. Then the egg is cracked, dropped into the hot pan and it begins to sizzle in the hot oil. The narrator says, “This is your brain on drugs. Get the picture?”
Drugs had become such a major problem in the US, and the subtle education that was being giving was not stopping the problem. Drugs destroy the brain and body, but cause more than just the physical problems. They make the user see life in a different reality. Actions such as theft, lying, cheating, and dangerous driving and other irresponsible behavior are seen as acceptable in the mind of the user. Anyone who disagrees is deemed a spoilsport or prude, no zest for life. The reality is that they are destroying their lives and do not know it. That was the purpose for the ad campaign, to show in a blunt manner the reality of drug use.
Read Acts 3:17-21
In this passage, Peter boldly proclaim, “You did not know any better. This is the way God works. Turn to Him now and be ready for God will fulfill His promise when the time is right.” This ignorance still exists in the church and the world. False teachings abound, causing people to see a different reality than what is truth. We need to repent, turn to God, so that we too might be refreshed and ready for the promise to be fulfilled.
Insurance Every year, we spend millions of dollars on insurance. We buy health insurance to help pay doctor’s bills. We buy car insurance, just in case something happens to our car. We buy property insurance so that we will be able to replace our things if something happens such as fire or burglary. We buy life insurance to guarantee our families will be cared for when we die.
We have life insurance, but do we have Life assurance? The work of Jesus Christ on the cross, His blood that set us free from the traps of sin and this worldly life, grants us that Life assurance. When we believe on Him we can have not only the Life to come, but also the Life in Him Today.
Read Hebrews 10:19-25
Insurance does not mean we should be reckless with our health, car, home or life. Even with the peace of mind offered with our insurance policies, we still eat properly, drive with care and take the precautions necessary to protect our home. A good life insurance policy does not mean we do not care if we live or die, we will take care to live.
Life assurance in Christ Jesus does not mean we should sit back and be reckless. We are to draw near to God, which we can do with daily Bible study and prayer. We are to hold on to the hope of the promise of God. This can be difficult when we are in the midst of some worldly trouble, but God is faithful. Finally, we are to encourage one another to live according to that promise, sharing Christ in our actions. Gather with other Christians today, to give worship and praise to God for His mercy, and share your life assurance with them.
Band-Aids A screaming child approaches Mommy with a finger outstretched. Through the tears, the child manages to tell Mommy that she has hurt her finger. Mommy looks and can’t find anything wrong – no blood, no scratch, no broken bones.
Read Romans 5:1-5
In yesterday’s WORD FOR TODAY, I wrote, “We are to hold on to the hope of the promise of God.” What is this promise? Is it a promise for a pain-free life in this world? Is it a promise for money, things or friends? No, the promise is for eternal life, Life in Him.
We should not seek suffering. God does not want us to cause our own suffering. Paul writes that we should also rejoice in all our sufferings, meaning that we should at all times rejoice in the hope of the promise, no matter what our circumstances. When we go to God with our little hurts, He says, “My child, all is well,” and He covers our hurts with His promise. Hope in that promise will not disappoint us. By the power of His Holy Spirit, we will live with that expectation of eternal life.
The Little Engine That Could This timeless children’s story is one you have heard. It is about a little steam train without much power that has to climb a very big hill. He’s not sure he can make it, but with encouragement he tries. He builds up steam and speed as he approaches the hill. Then he begins the ascent. At first the climb is easy, but the journey becomes more difficult with each passing moment. He loses steam, and nearly loses hope, but he is encouraged to go on. He puffs to himself, “I can do it, I can do it…” He keeps his eye on the top of the hill, and with much work finally makes it over the top.
Read Colossians 1:21-23
In yesterday’s WORD FOR TODAY, we heard that suffering produces perseverance. What is suffering? It is to endure pain or distress. Have you ever known someone who seems to be able to endure anything with a smile on his or her face? Suffering is unique to each individual based on their perspective. For one a physical handicap is a mere inconvenience, while for another it is a mighty obstacle. Each is given the gifts necessary to overcome. Though the work is hard, as long as they keep sight of the goal, they will make it over the hill.
The same can be said of our Christian walk. For some, the journey to the top can be a long, hard struggle. No matter your circumstances, each moment you persevere brings you closer to His Glory. Keep your eyes focused on Him, holding on to the hope which is taught in the Gospel, that of eternal life, ever climbing toward the top.
Discharge On the news today, I watched an interview with a woman who was recently discharged from the British Army. When she enlisted in the Army, she lied about her age, since she was older than the maximum age limit. The truth recently came to light. Although her commanders were impressed with the job she was able to do, they had to discharge her because of her dishonesty.
There was no remorse for her conduct, and commented that the Army should change the age policy, that it is age discrimination. She said that she knew it was wrong to lie about her age, but that the end justified the means. She is now without a job, and her character has been proven to be less than exemplary.
Read Proverbs 3:21-26
We heard from Paul in Romans that perseverance builds character. Character is defined as “the combination of emotional, intellectual, and moral qualities distinguishing one person or group from another.” Those qualities define how we get through the day to day struggles of life. Dwight L. Moody is quoted as saying, “Character is what you are in the dark.” What we see portrayed at the darkest moments is representative of our true character. Those of bad character will lie, cheat and steal to accomplish their goal. They will justify falsehood when the outcome is good. Yet, in the end, they will stumble and fall because of their lies.
Those who know the LORD are to keep our eyes upon Him, as we strive for the perfection that is manifest in us through Jesus Christ. Be of good character, practicing those qualities that grant you a safe and peaceful journey. Continue to the top holding firmly to the hope that is the fulfillment of the promise, the Life to come.
Hill Climbing Last summer, we spent a few days roaming the hills of Cornwall, England. My fondest memories of that trip are from “Climb a Hill, Look at a Rock Day.” Cornwall has many monuments to ancient man, burial chambers, Celtic crosses and Iron Age villages. We spent the day wandering the countryside in search of these. At one point, I asked Bruce to stop at a place called Sancreed Beacon, a hill with an ancient burial chamber on top. The children sighed.
Read Jeremiah 29:11-14
God has plans for you. He will give you all you need to make it to the top of the hill. When you reach that destination, and see His marvelous glory, you will raise your voice in praise to Him and He will hear you. Once you’ve tasted that glory, you will desire more, seeking Him with your whole heart. When you seek with a sincere heart, you will find Him, and He will bring you home. During this journey, we hold on to the hope that God will fulfill His promises. This is the hope that does not disappoint. Thanks be to God.
Distribution I was a manager for Toys R Us. As part of our manager-training program, it was necessary for us to spend a day in the distribution centre in Union City, New Jersey. A distribution centre is a place where merchandise is received, sorted, divided and released very quickly. Merchandise arrives every moment on trucks, which come from the port or from local manufactures. There are constantly trucks in the bays, unloading toys and games.
Meanwhile, in another set of bays, there are trucks constantly arriving to take the games and toys out to the stores. As the items arrive, they are sorted and immediately loaded upon trucks. Most of the merchandise does not stay in the warehouse more than a few days. For a food service distribution centre, it is even more important for quick turnover. The food cannot sit in a warehouse for days because it will get stale or moldy and then be worthless to the company. Merchandise is worthless in a warehouse. It must be distributed.
Read Psalm 112:4-9
During a Bible Study about generosity, our vicar asked the question, “Are you a banker or a distribution centre?” In other words, when you receive gifts from your heavenly Father, do you hold on to them or do you send them right back out? A toy is not nearly as valuable sitting in a warehouse as it is being sold in a store. A loaf of bread will perish if it is not offered for sale quickly enough. So it is with our gifts. Withheld from the world, our gifts our useless. Everything we have and everything we are should be shared generously. When we do give, we are blessed beyond measure.
Garbage Men I watched a couple of garbage men doing their job one morning. They went from house to house, moving those heavy bags of garbage into the truck. I watched them as they found a bathroom scale and weighed themselves, laughing and joking with one another. They were obviously having a good time.
We think of the job of garbage collector as one that is tedious or mundane, meant for people who cannot do more important tasks. Yet, the garbage needs to be collected, and it takes certain gifts to do the job. A garbage man must be strong and have endurance. Garbage men are important to our day to day living, and it is a job not all are capable of doing. These men enjoyed their job and did their best to get the job finished properly. They did not grumble about the job, or rely upon others to do the work.
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10
Often, during our Christian walk, God assigns us tasks that we would rather not do. Our reasons for not doing according to God’s Will are varied, such as the task is too hard for us, or too easy. We think we do not have the time, the talent, or resources to accomplish that which God has for us. We try to pass these jobs on to others. When we are obedient to God’s Will in these situations, we often do so with grumbling, rather than with a joyful heart.
If God has called you to do a task for the Glory of His Kingdom, He will give you the resources – material, physical and spiritual – to accomplish the task. There is much work to be accomplished in these days. Be obedient to God’s call for your life. Do not sit idle waiting for others to take upon themselves the work He has called for you to do. In all things, do His work with joy and thanksgiving, praising Him for each opportunity to serve.
Exhaustion This past week was one of those weeks. You know the kind. Every minute of every day carefully planned so that every commitment might be fulfilled according to promises made. Added to the physical strain of dealing with those activities, it was filled with the stress – emotional and spiritual – of certain problems, which needed my attention.
By Friday evening, I was on the verge of exhaustion, my body weakened and prone to illness. I had pushed myself beyond my limit, risking my own health – physical, emotional and spiritual. Throughout the week, I had continued my regular prayer and scripture routine, which is what gave me the strength to continue each day. I did learn a valuable lesson, however. I need to rest.
Friday night, I sat at the computer, doing some work online, when a dear friend told me I needed to go to bed. I still had work to do, but I knew she was right. I still had to write the daily word for Saturday, and had an early commitment in the morning. I knew if I went to bed, that I would not be able to get the WORD written by the normal time, yet I also knew I could not do it in that condition. My friend, as well as others, have reminded me that I cannot do God’s Work if I am burnt out. I need to rest.
Read Hebrews 4:9-11
Our understanding of the Sabbath is different than in the days of Moses. For them, it was one day a week, which they devoted to the Lord God Almighty. Jesus Christ said that He did not come to change the Law, but His works did change the focus of the Law. We no longer serve the Law, but the Law serves us, God’s children.
The Sabbath was created as a time for rest, to rebuild our strength, not only physical, but also spiritual. We rest our body, and we worship the Lord. We are still commanded to take time from our busy schedules to rest. When we have entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ, not only will we gain rest by being close to God’s presence, but also we will do according to His Law and take time each week for rest.
Valentine’s Day Valentine’s Day in the twenty first century is about love and romance, chocolate and flowers. Who was Valentine? There were actually three men named Valentine in the early years of the church. The legends surrounding St. Valentine are a combination of the three, though the most likely candidate was a Roman priest who died in the third century. Emperor Claudius II Gothicus had a mighty army and he decided it would stay mighty if he made marriage illegal. Valentine, and other priests during those years, continued to marry men and women. Valentine was beheaded when it was discovered he continued to perform marriages.
Marriage is a gift from God, a union of two people who not only live together, but also become one flesh. This union is not just the physical bond, but it is also a spiritual bond. When God created Eve for Adam in the garden, her presence made him complete, and through marriage, the two became one. The scriptures compare marriage to the union of Christ to His Church.
Read Ephesians 5:22-27
Paul writes about submission. This is not meant to be like the old caveman cartoons, where the man drags his woman by her hair. A wife should be to her husband as the Church is to Christ, willing to do according to his authority. The counsel does not end here, though; Paul goes on to say that the husband should love his wife, as Christ loves the Church. Jesus Christ would never expect His bride to do anything that is demeaning or cruel. Christ died for His Church, to make it holy. Likewise, a husband should give everything he is to his bride. After all, in marriage two people become one flesh – body, soul and spirit. When a man does not love his bride with his whole self, he is disrespecting his own body, soul and spirit, and dishonouring God’s purpose for marriage.
GO! Our walk to and from school is rather long, and one of the favorite games to play is “Spot the bird nest.” During the winter months, with the leaves off the trees, these nests have been very easy to spot. As spring approaches, birds will come back to these nests and use them again as their home. Very soon, the leaves will hide these nests from view, but we will still be aware of their presence with the chirping of little birds begging for food.
As these baby birds grow, the mother bird will teach them how to survive. By instinct, she will show them how to fly and slowly encourage them to do the same as she does. Then one day, she will push them out of the nest. They will, by necessity, use the knowledge they’ve gained from her and their innate knowledge, and they will fly.
This can be a scary moment. What is out there, will everything work the way it should, will I be able to do what I am supposed to do? Throughout our lives, God prepares us for the moment when we must do according to His purpose. We learn the scriptures, hear God’s voice in our lives and learn how to walk in His ways. The disciples spent several years learning from the Master Himself. Then Jesus said, “Go and do.”
Read Matthew 28:18-20
Our Christian walk does not stop at the point of salvation. When we come into that relationship with Jesus Christ, we are trained and given the gifts necessary to then “Go and do.” The time eventually comes when God pushes us out of the bird nest and we have to use all we have to do His work. Where do you stand today? Has God spoken into your life and told you to “Go and do,” and have you obeyed? Or do you sit in your nest in the top of the tree, asking the questions of doubt and fear?
Words We spend a great deal of our time talking about things. We talk about our relationships. We talk about scriptures. We talk about God. We talk about all the things we are going to do today and tomorrow. We talk about all the things we have done in the past.
So many of our relationships are over the Internet. Through email, instant message and chat rooms, so much of our communication are merely words. There are other aspects to communication, which are far more important, such as tone and body language. Only ten percent of communication is about words. The other ninety-percent is some sort of action. Just looking into someone’s eyes, touching their hand, or hearing their voice, makes a big difference in understanding their meaning.
Action is much more than just what happens during the conversation. When someone says that they will do something, if they fail to accomplish the task, their words mean little. No matter the reason they have for not doing as they’ve said, their future words are not accepted as readily.
Read Luke 6:46-49
We often pay ‘lip service’ to our Lord, Jesus. We say we love Him, but we continue to do according to the ways of the world. We say we will obey Him, but we go on our path doing according to our flesh desires. Our actions in the world today do not live up to our words of praise in our worship times. Have you said, “Lord, Lord,” then gone out and disobeyed His Word?
Now is a time for action. It is not acceptable to just say what we believe; we must live it today. It is a time for serious prayer, serious scripture study and serious action against the enemy. A house built on action in Christ Jesus will stand, one built on words will fall. Go and do. Today.
Stepping out During childhood, there are different stages of development. Certain reactions to situations are fairly consistent from one child to the next. Most children go through a period where they are afraid of the dark or fear the drain in the bathtub. They do not like to walk on sewer grating, for fear that they’ll fall through the slots. Due to their physical development, these things appear to be very real dangers to them.
There is an experiment to test the developmental level of dogs and cats, using a piece of glass. Two tables are placed a few feet apart, and a sheet of glass is placed over the gap. Very young animals will not move past the edge of the table, because they do not see that the glass. As they grow and mature, they can see the glass and test to see if it is strong enough to hold them. Eventually they will walk across with confidence. There is usually some reward on the other side.
It has often been said that we need to step out in faith, trusting that God will be there to hold us up through the trials of our daily journey. We think of ourselves standing on the edge of the cliff and wondering if we really should step off.
God is calling us into a deeper, closer relationship with Him. He is calling us to His throne room, so that we might worship Him in His very presence. Yet, it seems we are afraid to approach Him, unsure of what will hold us up when we step off the edge.
Read Revelation 4:6
The fourth chapter of Revelation shows us what worship is like at the Throne of Grace in heaven. What an awesome vision that is. God is calling us to come into His Throne room and worship with the heavenly host. However, as we approach His Throne, there is this apparent gap, this transparent sea. We do not step forth, because we fear falling. As we mature in our faith, we see that the sea is solid, like the sheet of glass in the dog and cat experiment. In the beginning we timidly test the sea, and eventually we step forth with confidence.
Have you stepped forth in faith, boldly approaching His Throne to worship Him with the heavenly host in Spirit and Truth? Go into His presence, He will not let you fall.
Volunteers In the next few months around our bases, volunteers will be recognized for their hard work of service to the community. Last year, volunteers logged over 100,000 hours on our base, doing many things that helped the base run more smoothly. These gifts of time made a difference in the morale of our military members and families, which tends to be low due to high deployment rates and stress of this military life.
Those 100,000 hours were recorded by a very small percentage of our population. It seems as though about ten percent of the people in a community do most of the work. We’ve seen the same trend within churches. There is always a handful of people who seem to do everything. Those who do the work tend to get tired and embittered, wishing more would get involved. How can we get more people to help with the work?
Read Matthew 9:35-38
First of all, we need to know what work we are called to do. As the church, we are sent out to make disciples of all nations, preaching and teaching God’s Word to the world. Too often, however, we get caught up in the daily tasks of running a church and its missions, and we forget God’s purpose. In the sixth chapter of Acts, there were some that complained that their widows were not receiving the help they needed. The disciples could not pray and minister because they were “waiting on tables.” They sought men who were filled with the Spirit to do this specific task, and were then able to continue on sharing the gospel.
When we seek workers, we must first remember our mission. Why are we doing this work? When we are sure of our mission, then it is very important that we ask God to provide the workers. He will provide the right person, who will be equipped with the gifts necessary and with the heart that will accomplish the task.
God knows you are tired of doing all the work. First, know your calling. Then seek God’s help. He will provide the workers that will free you to do what He has prescribed for your life.
Teaching Our church has a most delightful ministry. We go into the local school and teach Bible Stories, music and crafts to the children. We go once a month and spend an hour with each class. The children range in age from three to five years old. It is necessary, when teaching young children, to do it in a manner that will not only keep them interested for an hour, but will also reach them at the proper level of understanding.
Most Bible stories reference times and circumstances which are beyond the grasp of these children. We try to use storybooks that have plenty of bright, colourful pictures and are written in a language they can understand. Our chosen story for yesterday was the parable of the ten virgins. We were only able to find one source with the story, and it did not have any pictures. So, I created some visual aids and told the story with a contemporary twist. Instead of a groom, he was their valentine. He got caught up on the M25 (the ring road around London) during afternoon traffic, which is why he was running late. They went with their torches (flashlights) to wait for him to arrive. Five girls took extra batteries and five did not. You can see how the story took shape.
The children could better understand these terms and the story was more meaningful for them. If a story goes beyond the level of understanding of the student, then the teacher is not doing their job.
Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
Paul had a problem. He wanted to teach the Corinthians a deeper understanding of God. However, they were not yet ready for spiritual understanding. They were still caught up in the world. He continued to teach them the basics of Christianity, even though they should have been moving on to deeper things. God came to us, as a man, and spoke in a language we understood. As we share the Gospel, we should do likewise.
Theatre We went to see “The Wizard of Oz” performed in our school last night. The actors were children from our local schools, who were chosen for their parts on Monday. For the rest of the week, the directors from the Missoula Children’s Theatre worked with these 50 or so children, to prepare them for the performances on Saturday. It was an intense week for the group. The long rehearsals meant that at least a few schedules were upset. The children needed to continue doing their normal school work, so little time was left for play. They were responsible for learning their lines and actions.
Not only did the children put on a marvelous performance, but also they learned many things. They learned how to cooperate and work in a team. They learned how to listen to instruction and follow directions. Most of all, they had fun and accomplished their goal well in a short period of time. The audience learned that children can accomplish great things.
Read Matthew 21:14-16
Jesus quoted from Psalm 8, a song of praise to God the Creator and all His marvelous works. Even more so, David is amazed at God’s condescension to care so deeply for mere man and to crown him with honor and glory.
When David wrote this Psalm, he knew of the promise of God that his kingdom would last forever, however he did not know the all ways of God. God was so mindful of His children that He came from heaven, took upon Himself the flesh of men. The children in the temple knew Jesus Christ was the Son of David. Jesus suffered the cross and the grave, then was raised to new life, that we too might have new life in Him.
Today, be as the children, with your lips full of praise to Him. Thanks be to God.
Daytona 500 At Daytona International Speedway, forty-three cars began a 500-mile journey. The drivers of these cars sought a multi-million-dollar prize for making the two hundred laps in the fastest time. Their cars have been specially designed for this event, with an incredible amount of resources put into each one. Each car is shaped for the best possible aerodynamics; every square inch made to provide the fastest time. These cars traveled at times in excess of 200 miles per hour.
Dale Jarrett won this race, zooming to the front of the pack when the race restarted after a caution. The entire pack took advantage of drafting, a technique used by drivers during a race. Drivers will partner with other drivers, taking advantage of the drafts created by the cars. Drafting benefits each of the cars – the lead car pulls and the rear car pushes, so both run a faster, more productive and energy efficient race.
Johnny Benson was in the lead when a major pile-up caused the caution. After the cars were cleared and the green flag was waved, Johnny was left in the wrong lane. He was easily overtaken by the pack, which were drafting together. He went from first to eighth place in a matter of seconds.
Read 1 John 4:11-17
Paul often talks of our Christian walk as a race. The prize of this race is eternal life in Christ Jesus. We work diligently to share the gospel of our Lord, and to win our crowns that we will cast to the feet of our Saviour in worship to Him.
We cannot run this race alone. We must have God as our lead car, and run in His draft. As we acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, the love of God will pull us along. We become one with Him. Others will be pulled in with us, benefiting from the draft the love of God creates through us. Together, with God as our lead car, we will win the race.
Windsor Castle We spent the day wandering Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth’s stately homes. This magnificent structure stands atop a hill overlooking the Thames, just one day’s march outside the city of London. We were able to wander through the State Apartments, see Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, and visit St. George’s Chapel.
Many of you watched the wedding uniting Prince Edward and his lovely bride Sophie last year. The wedding took place in St. George’s Chapel. Whenever we visit these places, it is fun to think about the history that has occurred there, not only recent, but ancient history as well. Windsor was one of the first castles to be built by William the Conqueror, so has nearly one thousand years of history. The building program of the chapel began in the 13th century.
Today, during our tour, we knelt before the altar to thank God for His many blessings. As I knelt there, I realized that throughout history many have knelt there before me – kings, queens, others of high estate. It was a humbling experience, after all I am not anyone important. Yet, before the Lord God Almighty, there are none who are important. Each of us has bowed before the Lord, asking for forgiveness, praising His name, receiving His Holy Supper. We are equal in the site of God.
Read Galations 3:26-29
No matter our position in this life, we are equal before the throne of God. All of us are sinners in need of forgiveness. When we approach His throne of Grace, we are each wearing the same filthy rags of our own self-righteousness. However, thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross, whether queen or commoner, we can have the faith to approach His throne and know that by the name of Jesus Christ, we are children of God. In Christ we are all heirs to a kingdom, His Kingdom. Thanks be to God.
House hunting Our transient lifestyle has meant that we have been living in rented or borrowed homes for a number of years. Living under the care of a landlord has meant that we do not need to be concerned about certain aspects of household maintenance. Living in base housing has meant even fewer concerns. However, we dream of owning our own home again.
We have longed for a log home. We purchase magazines, check out websites and study floor plans for the different companies, thinking about our lifestyle and the things we would like to have included in our home. When we buy a home, most likely in the next few years, it will be a home we will live in for a very long time, so we want to make sure it is perfect.
Does the perfect house exist? Probably not. I have heard stories of people who have diligently searched for the home of their dreams, or even had one custom built. They find exactly what they are looking for, move in, and within a short period of time discover problems. New homes have glitches, settling, and things that do not work properly. Your furniture arrives and does not fit as you expected. You face lifestyle changes and certain advantages become disadvantages. During the first big rainstorm the roof begins to leak. Summer arrives and you discover that your neighbor runs a home day care center.
Read Psalm 91:9-16
It is nice to have a home where you are comfortable and feel safe. I still dream of the perfect home, and look forward to our next assignment where we will finally purchase a home of our own. However, I have discovered a more permanent and safer dwelling. The Lord, my God is my home. The roof of my earthly dwelling may leak, I may get sick or face other troubles, but God will be with me. He is my refuge, my salvation. Thanks be to God.
Yellow Brick Road In the story of the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and Toto set off to find the Emerald City by following the yellow brick road. They soon come to a crossroads in the midst of a field. There, Dorothy wonders which direction she should go. Scarecrow first points one direction, then the other, then both directions. After a little song and dance, Dorothy, Toto and Scarecrow head down a road with complete trust in their decision. For the next hour, they face all sorts of dangers, make friends and eventually end up at their destination.
I always wondered what would have happened had they chosen another road? Why were all the roads in yellow brick? Did they all lead to the Emerald City? Would one road have been easier than another would?
Getting around England can be just as confusing as that cornfield in the Land of Oz. It is said the best way to see England is to get lost, and it is very easy to do so. One wrong turn on a roundabout and you are headed into adventures unknown. However, I’ve learned that in England, all roads seem to lead to wherever you need them to go. You can leave one town in three different directions and arrive at another town in the same amount of time and distance. There are times when one road is a much better choice than the others are. Traffic, weather conditions, and your final destination should all be taken into account when deciding which direction to travel.
Read Psalm 1
The Wizard of Oz is just a story, and traveling around England is a fun experience, however we must be careful in our Christian walk to follow the right path. When we love the Lord, we will live according to His promises and obey His commands. When we obey God’s Word, in the name of Jesus, then goodness and mercy will shine through our lives, and the fruit of His Spirit will be produced abundantly.
Decisions Sometimes we make mistakes. Consider the woman who married the multi-millionaire on TV the other night. I recently watched an interview with her, and I could see her regret for wrongly choosing to be part of that TV show. The fruit of her repentance was visible in several ways. First of all, she accepted responsibility. I imagine much of the blame does rest upon the producers of the show in the way the concept was presented and then contracted with the girls. However, she did not lay the blame on anyone else. She said her own foolishness was to blame.
When she realized her mistake, she began to act accordingly. She was filled with regret and took the steps necessary return to the right path. She did not continue in the sham of a marriage, speaking honestly to those involved.
Finally, when she made the decision to repent, she did not waver. She stood firm in the truth that she made a mistake, and as a child of God she needed to fix this mistake. I am sure there are those who have tried to convince her of the advantages to her situation. “Get as much out of this as you can.” She has, however, refused to take that road. She simply wants her life back. I pray she will continue to stand firm in her convictions.
Read 2 Corinthians 1:18-22
I have made my own mistakes. I have chosen to do things without seeking the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Even through my foolishness, God has been faithful. He does not waver, always standing close and firmly holding me in His love. No matter the circumstances surrounding my mistakes, I must stand firm in the truth of God’s love and continue in the right path, to the glory of God.
Thinking Day Girl Scouts or Girl Guides all over the world are celebrating Thinking Day this week. The Guide movement was begun nearly one hundred years ago by Lord Baden-Powell, who took a group of city boys to an island off the south coast of England for a time of adventure. He taught the boys many things and helped them to become better men. Others felt that girls could do the same thing, and the Guide movement spread from there all over the world.
Lord Baden-Powell and Lady Olave shared the same birthday, February 22. At this time each year, the girls from around the world take a day to study Scouts from all over the world. In our neighborhood, each troop chooses a country and together they find as much information as they can to share with the other troops at one special event. Through this special project, the girls discover the differences between Scouting in other countries. They also discover the similarities between peoples.
In one ceremony that was written for a Thinking Day event, girls hold different coloured candles. When the candles are lit, we notice that even though they are different colours on the outside, they all burn alike, sharing the same light.
Read Ephesians 2:19-22
As Christians, we are united by a foundation in Jesus Christ. Just as the Girl Scouts take the time out each year to discover the differences and similarities between their sisters around the world, we should also take the time to discover our fellow citizens in God’s Kingdom. We can come to understand our differences and the reasons they exist, and then set them aside to notice the similarities. The light that shines is the same light, the light of our Lord Jesus Christ. Together, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we join together in praise and honour to God, for His glory.
Castles We have had the opportunity to visit many castles around England. When we came, we had the image in our heads of fairy tale castles, like the one at Disney World. The first castle we visited was Castle Rising Castle. This cold stone box on a hill was not at all what I expected. The stone box is called ‘the keep’ and is the central most secure building within the castle compound. It is four or five stories high, and designed for defense rather than comfort.
The town of Castle Rising was at one time a very busy port. The castle controlled this port and reaped the economic benefits. However, over the years, silt built up along the coast. After hundreds of years, the castle that once lay on the coastline now lies miles away from water. The port had to be moved. When a new town was established as the northern port, Castle Rising became obsolete. People still lived within the walls of the castle, however the building was not maintained. One day, the wooden roof collapsed, and the family moved out. The stones used to build the defensive walls were taken by the town folk to build a church and houses. The rest now lies in ruins, home to the pigeons. There are hundreds like it around the country. Each with its own story, most often the lack of maintenance as the reason for its destruction.
Read Proverbs 24:30-34
Our lives take maintenance. We must eat properly and exercise to keep our physical body in shape. We must have social and intellectual pursuits to maintain our heart and mind. Our Christian life also needs maintenance. We must worship and fellowship with other believers, spend time in prayer and Bible Study. If we do not work at keeping our body, heart and mind strong, weeds and destruction will overtake our lives. By the power of God’s Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, do all you can to maintain your life, to the Glory of God the Father. Amen.
Secrets Kids are terrible at keeping secrets, particularly when it comes to gifts. When its time for a birthday or Christmas, Bruce will take the children out to buy a present or two. When they come home, they whisper and giggle and I play along.
Good news is hard to keep to yourself. When something wonderful happens to us, we like to share. When we are successful at something, we want to tell the world.
The Old Testament scripture lesson yesterday was from the book of 2 Kings, chapter 7. Samaria was under siege by Ben Hadad the king of Aram. His army camped outside the city, keeping everyone and everything from going in and out. There was famine in the city. The people were so hungry, they were eating each other to stay alive. The king of Israel was so upset by this turn of events, he sent a messenger to Elisha and threatened his life. The king blamed God, and was prepared to behead Elisha.
Outside the city gates were four lepers. They were starving and near death. They had three choices. They could go in the city, where they would die. They could stay at the city gates, where they would die. They could go to the camp of the Arameans, where they might die, but they might be spared and fed. Their only chance for survival was food from the enemy. When they arrived at the camp, they discovered everyone had fled. God had made them hear the sounds of chariots and an approaching army, and they were afraid. So the entire army fled, leaving behind the entire camp.
The lepers were quite excited. They had stumbled upon good news. They enjoyed their fill of food, and looted some of the gold and silver. Suddenly they realized they were not doing right.
Read 2 Kings 7:9-11
We have been given great news. God loved us so much He gave us His son that we might be reconciled to Him for eternity. Do you share that news? Today, ask God for the opportunity to share the message of Jesus Christ with someone. When that opportunity arrives, share it with great joy! Good news is meant to be shared.
Leap Year Time is a human creation. It is based upon the motion of the earth through the heavens, however humans created the calendar, as we know it. The earth takes exactly 365.25 days to revolve around the sun. So that the seasons would remain consistent with the months of the year, one day must be added to the calendar every four years. This is called a leap year, and February 29th is the day that has been added. Today is February 29, an extra day – a gift.
Read Psalm 95
How will you spend this day? Will you waste it with the normal routine of day to day living or do something extraordinary? Our Lord God has chosen this day, Today, to speak to your heart and to your spirit. Will you hear and rejoice in His love and mercy? Or will your heart harden against Him, leading you astray?
I pray that today you will see that the Lord is good and worship Him with your whole being. This day is a free day, a gift from God, just as each and every day of life is a gift from Him. By the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, do something extraordinary with this day, to the Glory of God the Father. Amen.