Where the Windows Opened

In the Old Testament, we find the account of Daniel, a servant of God, and a plot of evil against him from jealous men.

Since Daniel was a person of such integrity, the men realized they would never be able to accuse him of wrongdoing unless it had something to do with his devotion to God.

They devised a sinister plan:

 

So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever!  The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.  Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”  So King Darius put the decree in writing.

 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.  Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.  So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”   —Daniel 6:6-12

The king was then told that Daniel was still praying to his God.

Although Darius did not want to, he was forced to give the order to have Daniel placed in the lions’ den.

King Darius was troubled all night.

The next morning, he went to the lions’s den and found that Daniel was alive!

Daniel testified that it was God who had kept him safe.

The king had the evil men, their wives and their children thrown into the den where the lions killed them.

Then, he issued a decree stating that everyone should fear and have reverence for the God of Daniel.

God rescues.

God saves.

God loves…

 

windows opened

Save the Lost

I really don’t know how he got there, exactly.

While at work today, I went into a restroom located in a fairly large building, quite a ways from any exterior entrances.

I noticed a caterpillar on the gray tile floor.

Why would he venture from his home in the great outdoors to come into a place where he would surely die from lack of nourishment?

Crawling through a door or window into the out-of-this-world (his anyway) carpeted wonderland may have looked like a dream come true, but instead, that choice turned out to be one to regret.

Without water and green leaves to munch on, life was going to be drawing to a close.

The caterpillar was probably confused at his circumstances, all the while desperately searching for a way out.

It’s likely you know someone like this caterpillar.

For some reason, they have ventured from their good lifestyle into a place where they will surely suffer from lack of spiritual guidance, positive encouragement and the support of faithful friends.

It’s as if they crawled through a doorway into what looked great at the time–the hope of popularity, acceptance, and even love–only to find themselves involved in substance abuse, destructive habits and self-deprecation.

It’s a choice they have come to regret as confusion and hopelessness gain a tighter grip on their day to day existence.

Although they may try to hide it, they are desperately searching for a way out–a way back home where they can be at peace.

I knew what I had to do with the caterpillar today.

Getting a small tissue, I picked him up, bundled and safe, and took him outside.

There, I placed him in the grass where he could begin his “rescued” life out in the open.

That’s a great ending for the caterpillar, but what about people?

We can’t just pick them up and transport them to safety and prosperous living.

Only God can do that.

He can restore and heal.

He can lead the way back.

Back to the place where people can be at peace with God and with themselves.

 

 

save the lost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweep the House

Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.” In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

–Luke 15:9-10
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ–someone who has repented of their sin and asked for forgiveness–there was rejoicing over you when you did that. 

Can you just imagine the rejoicing over you? Right there in Heaven?

Like a lost coin—but so much more important than that—you were found!!

Weary and Heavy-laden

While staying at a hotel recently, I looked out my window to the street below. 

I noticed a man riding a bicycle. 

He wasn’t just riding a bicycle for fun, though. 

He was pedaling with a lot of extra weight. 

Several bags were tied to the handlebars. 

Much larger bags were attached to the back of the bike. 

It was probably a struggle just to move down the road. 

Obviously, he must have thought this was what he needed to be doing and this was the best way of getting it done. 

How nice it would have been if someone could have seen him about to load up the bicycle and said, “Friend, that’s too much for you to carry. Here! I will take that load onto my truck. Get in! Lets deliver it together!”

Spiritually, we can be like that man on the bicycle. 

We can have many burdens and concerns. 

We can even be worried about eternity and where we will be. 

Jesus says,
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
—Matthew 11:28

Is it time to let Him help you with the load you have been carrying?

Steadfast, Immovable

While at a friend’s house, she showed me a dove who was faithfully sitting on a nest located in a garden planter.

The dove sat quietly as she looked at me—that odd looking person with a black box in her hand, coming ever so close.

As my camera and I visited her for a few brief moments, I captured a precious scene.

A scene of commitment.

A scene of love.

Who told the dove to sit on her nest?

God gives the animals instructions like that.

We, as believers, need to be committed to doing what God asks us to do.

We need to be steadfast…

 

 

 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58

 

 

 

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Clover Honey

Gracious speech is like clover honey–

good taste to the soul,

quick energy for the body. 

–Proverbs 16:24 The Message

While our husbands were playing golf, my friend and I rode near them in a separate golf cart. 

We talked about many things–the lovely scenery, eye exams, birds, church, and my lack of golfing skills….

These were just a few of the random topics that came up as we spent the afternoon together. 

Once, I stopped to get out of the cart to go photograph a tremendous growth of clover on the course. 

My friend is a very gracious woman. 

Like clover honey, she is a blessing to be around. 

I want to be that kind of person. 

Don’t you?

If You Receive

While taking a walk before sunset, I passed by a neighbor’s lawn. 

On the edge of the property, two dish antennas had been placed near the curb. 

I am assuming they were both discarded and placed there for trash pick up. 

Dish antennas collect signals and bring televisions to life with information. 

Without making the effort to have a working antenna, there will be no way to get the exact set of signals. 

The television must receive information from somewhere in order to function. 

In the book of Proverbs, we find these words:

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

 Proverbs 2:1-5 
IF the author’s son received his words–and then took heed to learn from them, good would come from it. 

But what if his son DIDN’T receive his words?

Then he likely would not treasure his commandments, pay attention to wisdom or search for understanding and insight. 

All because of failing to receive his father’s words. 

What are we doing in our own lives to make sure that we are receiving the words of God? 

Are we listening to Him?

Is our “antenna” in place?

Or did we take it down and throw it on the side of the road?

Have we closed our ears (and our hearts) so that we are not receiving?
 

Be Like-Minded

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

—1 Peter 3:8

~
It was a normal afternoon at work. 

Most of my work day is spent indoors, except for about an hour each day, when my assignments place me outside. 

It was almost time to head out into the afternoon sunshine. I glanced on the table near me at my glasses, which had dark clip-on sun lenses.  

About to pick them up, I suddenly realized that there was a wasp sitting calmly on one of the lenses. 

Not wanting to be stung or to allow the wasp to fly freely inside my workplace, I realized I would probably need to kill it. 

Speaking mostly to myself, I told the wasp, “I don’t think there’s any way I can save you.”

I expected an all-out insect confrontation if I tried to simply take it outside. 

It was worth the try, since letting it go free was my solution of choice. 

My glasses were sitting on a book that had been placed on the table. 

Carefully, I picked the book up. 

The wasp was content to go along for the ride. 

In fact, it remained on the glasses as I moved the book to the door and outside on the grass. 

There, it disembarked, unharmed, to its natural habitat and I returned indoors, unharmed, to mine. 

The lesson?

We cooperated with each others’ efforts to be at peace. In a like-minded way, we handled the situation in a manner that was best for both of us. 

What would life be like if I would always approach possible dissension this way?

 

The New Has Come

Everyone needs to start over at some point in their lives. 

A new house. 

A new job. 

A new outlook. 

A chance to start over with things being different. 

We like starting over, really. 

We do little mini- start overs all the time. 

We paint the kitchen a different color. 

We get a hair cut. 

We rearrange the furniture. 

We buy new clothes. 

There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but at the end of the day, their attributes have one thing in common—they’re not permanent. 

Jesus can truly allow us to start over. 

Everything in the past is over and He changes us into a new creation. 

Everyone needs to start over with things being different—

Things like being forgiven instead of guilty. 

Knowing we are loved instead of feeling abandoned. 

Having the assurance of eternal life instead of insatiable fear of the unknown. 

With Jesus, we can become new–permanently. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

—2 Corinthians 5:17

  

Love Must Be Sincere

The house is quiet. 

My cat is sleeping beside me, snuggled close to my leg and the open Bible on my lap.  

The weather forecast predicts rain will begin soon. 

The clock on the wall is ticking a steady and soothing pace. 

Life is good….

As I reflect on the last couple of days, I am reminded of a kindness toward me from someone I hardly know. 

After speaking to her briefly yesterday, a woman said, “I have something for you in my car.”

When she returned, she pinned a button on the shirt I was wearing. 

It simply stated, “I am loved.”

It was a sincere act of kindness that brightened my day and encouraged my heart. 

What does it mean to be sincere?

To be real?

To be genuine?

When we show love in any form, it is of worth only when given sincerely. 

In fact, if it is not shown sincerely, can what is given even be called love at all?

Love must be sincere. 

—From Romans 12:9

 

Love Never Fails

Love never fails. 

From 1 Corinthians 13:8

 Today I was presented with an elegant bouquet of white roses. 

They were meant to convey appreciation. 

They were meant to be an encouragement. 

They were meant to show love. 

Honoured to have them, I placed each stem into a vase with water, setting it on my dining table. 

Love never fails. 
 

Devote Yourselves

We need God in every area of our lives. 

He is at work whether we perceive it or not. 

As we come to God in prayer, we remember that He is with us, understanding whatever situation we are experiencing. 

If we are watchful, we will live in expectancy of God.  

If we are thankful, we will remain in an attitude of appreciation and gratitude for all that He has done. 

We need to come to God in prayer—

every day. 

 

Creatures of the Sea

I am fascinated by the ocean and the creatures that live there.

God has made living things that thrive in the depths that are yet undiscovered by man.

It is exciting to me just to watch life underwater and gaze at such beauty.

 

So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
—Genesis 1:21

 

 

creatures

New Strength

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

—Isaiah 40:31

 

Are you tired today?

Weary?

Ready to give up?

The LORD can give you new strength.

New energy.

A new vision for the future….

 

wings

This Is The Way

Far from home and visiting another country, I was finally getting off the night train and walking into the station. There were specific places to go and paths to get into the proper areas of the station.

Although I did not know where I was supposed to go, there were others that did and I followed their direction.

Last night, as I was reading the Bible, a particular verse from the book of Isaiah stood out to me:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

—Chapter 30, verse 21

We do not really know the best way in any area of our lives apart from the directions given to us by God.

The verse above was concerning the people in Jerusalem, yet I feel that God gives us direction and guidance, telling us the way we should “walk.”

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Strength

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 

—Psalm 46:1

From the air, the sky looks so big and the world looks so small and vulnerable. 

It helps to remember that God is our protector. 

He is with us to bring strength. 

When things aren’t going the way we hoped they would, He is our help. 

  

Shadow

Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.
Psalm 144:4
On the radio today, I heard some announcements. 

Evidently, the station must encourage listeners to inform them of people who are 100 years old or more. The announcers were wishing a few centenarians a happy birthday. 

Living to be a hundred years is quite a long time. 

So many changes would take place in such a long span of time. 

People do not usually live very many years past one hundred. 

God has placed a boundary of time in our earthly existence. 

He gives us life, although it is brief. 

It is up to us whether we live the life we have been given in a way that honors God—or not. 

  

Friend of God

Today is our son, Benji’s birthday.

He was killed in a car accident when he was 19.
The memories of his life will forever be with me.
Things that he left behind are cherished——
His tattered Bible.
The card he gave me as a teenager that said, “I love you.”

Shortly after his death, I was told a story about him.
It is one that I also continue to cherish.

It seems that Benji was out with friends in a car.
One of the young men with him happened to use God’s name in a cursing manner.
Benji didn’t like his choice of words and told him not to say that.

His friend responded by saying the offensive words over and over again, probably trying to be funny.
Benji became very insistent about the language being used.

Reacting to Benji’s anger over the situation, the young man said something like, “Whoa! Benji! I thought we were friends!”

Benji replied, “Yeah. Well, I’m better friends with God….”

My boy…..

Friends with God.

When someone we love dies, certain things don’t really matter anymore.

Things like—
Did they go to college?
What job did they have?
Where did they live?

No.
Those things aren’t really what’s most important.

Benji went on a journey the day he left this earth.
It was a journey I was not expecting him to take for many years.
When he left, there was only one thing that was mattered.

Benji was friends with God….

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And the Scripture was fulfilled, saying, “And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” and he was called a friend of God.

—James 2:23

 

friend

Whom Shall I Fear?

Recently, I knew I was going to be facing a challenge.

I anticipated fear as an unwelcome component of the challenge.

My prayer request to many of my friends was the same—pray that I would not be afraid.

God answered my prayer and theirs.

In meeting the challenge, I found that God carried me through the entire thing.

Fear was not gripping me in its hold.

I felt at peace.

~

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

 –Psalm 27:1

 

 

whom shall

 

You Were Unwilling

Walking along, I saw the baby chicks with their mother.

They were there, right where she wanted them.

Right where they were supposed to be….

 

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

—Matthew 23:37

 

 

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With Your Favor

Surely, Lord, You bless the righteous;
    You surround them with Your favor as with a shield.

—Psalm 5:12

A friend brought flowers to me.

She blessed me with the beautiful blooms that God had created.

The Lord blesses us every day.

He surrounds us with blessings and His favor.

 

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Cold Water

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.

—Matthew 10:42

It was a very hot morning.

My friend and I were visiting the zoo.

A vendor was located outside the gate, selling water and other refreshments.

How good it was just to be able to buy some water to drink.

We may think that what we have to offer is small and insignificant.

However, when we give to others—even if it is just a cup of cold water, God notices.

 

cold water

Power of the Weak

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

–Isaiah 40:29

 

 

It is God who gives us strength and power.

Without Him, we could do nothing.

Like electricity powering a city, most things would stop without it.

Without God, we have no strength or power.

 

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Rugged

He gives me the agility of a deer; He enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain.

—Psalm 18:33

I will never know their names.

It doesn’t matter.

God knows their names……

While visiting a mountain area in another country, I saw men out in a valley with livestock.

The clay was a bright, burnt orange beneath them and the terrain grew steadily tall nearby, dotted with green treas and vegetation.

Where I live, the land is flat and the sky is big.

I am not at all accustomed to walking in rugged terrain.

Yet, if that is where God wanted me to be, I do believe that He would help me to learn to do so or give me the skill immediately to walk in the heights if that is what I needed.

In other situations, it is that way, as well.

I may be living my life in a “flat” land, with certain experiences that are comfortable to me.

If God calls me to other experiences that are “mountainous” and rugged, I believe He will then give me what I need to accomplish His will.

God is faithful to enable us to negotiate the rugged terrain of life.

We need not fear the mountains….

 

 

 

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