post

Not a Genie

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”Matthew 7:11

Shortly after my husband and I were married, a speaker in our Sunday school class testified about something he’d come to believe about prayer. He’d learned this lesson while on a fishing trip. Before he’d left, he had prayed and asked God to help him catch something big. God answered his prayer. After quite the wrestling match to haul it in from the lake, he landed an old, rotting log. Boy, was he ever proud!

Not really. He was disappointed. What lesson did he learn? He said he learned that God wants us to pray very specifically. If we don’t, He might give us something we don’t want in order to teach us a lesson. He said God wants us to think about our prayers in order to get them right.

For a long time, I think I believed that, though something inside me said it wasn’t quite true. My prayers sometimes gave my superstitions away, particularly before a trip. If I was going on a journey, I’d not only pray for a safe trip. I’d pray for a safe and uneventful trip, fearing that if I didn’t include those extra words, my safe trip might be full of cancellations, delays, and much rerouting. Yet I noticed, over time, that sometimes when I had prayed for a safe and uneventful trip, my journey was full of mishaps anyway. Other times, all would go well, though I’d forgotten to pray so specifically.

The truth is: our God’s not a genie. And prayers are not carefully worded formulas for getting what we want from Him.

According to legend, the mythical genie not only grants wishes, but takes great delight in looking for the loophole. His goal is to make the wisher regret having wished—there his victim stands with his big catch, the log, and he can’t complain because the genie granted his wish. In order to beat the genie, you have to word your wish perfectly.

God isn’t like that. (And prayers aren’t wishes.)

God is the perfect father. (If you had a loving father who cared for you, God is even better than that. If you didn’t, God is all you had longed for your father to be—and more!) He loves His children and delights in blessing them with good things. He knows what we need before we ask Him and is eager to provide. He hears our prayers, then gives what’s best for us. (Just as a loving parent hears the child’s request, then does what is best, yes or no.) If God’s answer to our prayer turns out to be a log instead of a fish, it’s not a colossal joke. If our cross-country flight takes ten hours longer than we’d planned, it’s not because we forgot to pray for no problems that day. God with perfect wisdom has simply chosen to say, “No.”

Sometimes life’s frustrating, but it’s not because our God is playing jokes at our expense. Believe that—no matter what! God loves us. He’s watching over us. He gives His children good gifts.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”Philippians 4:19.

Thank You, Father, for hearing our prayers and granting what’s best—always.

post

Setting Little Records to Reach Big Goals

IMG_6578eOne fun thing I’ve noticed about the American Ninja Warrior television show is the creative way they invent records for just about everything. The challenge isn’t just about being the first person to make it to the top of Mount Midoriyama. The athletes in this competition celebrate every achievement they can think of!

Every time builders create a new obstacle for one of the courses, the commentators make note of the first person to conquer it. They know who has completed each course the fastest—for the season and for all time. They keep track of several other achievements, too. This year, for instance, Kacy became the first woman to complete the qualifying course and earn her right to compete in Las Vegas. Jon became the oldest man ever to qualify. Meagan made it two obstacles farther in the Las Vegas competition than any other woman ever has. And, of course, Brian currently holds the record for coming closer to that final obstacle than anyone else. Every week, it seems, someone is setting a new record for going farther or faster in some way than those who’ve gone before.

Hmm. I wonder if I could be the first Army chaplain’s wife to attempt the course. (One giant jump, splash!) Yeah. I think I’ll leave that record for someone else.

I am applying the concept to my personal workouts, though. I have an overall speed goal I’m trying to reach. Some days (like today!) I’ll successfully set a personal best record that brings me closer to this goal. Other days I watch for other records I can set. I may try to run farther than I have before (instead of faster). Or I may start out at the faster pace I’m reaching for overall and try to maintain it further than I ever have before. Or maybe I’ll run for a longer period of time between walking intervals or with a steeper incline than I’ve ever used. Reaching these goals encourages and strengthens me as I work toward my overall goal.

What’s really exciting about this idea is that it works for any discipline—even the spiritual ones. Maybe you’ve never read through the whole Bible and find that idea just too daunting. Instead of trying to reach that goal, challenge yourself to read just a little every day for thirty days instead (even if you only read a verse or two each day). You can also challenge yourself to read just the New Testament or one book of the Bible that sounds interesting to you. Set a goal, reach it, celebrate your success—then set another goal.

Prayer is another spiritual discipline. If praying is new to you, the thought of kneeling for an extended amount of time, talking and listening to God, may seem impossible, if not unrealistic. So make your goal to set aside a few minutes for prayer each day or to write in a prayer journal every day for a month or simply to pray for family members each morning as they leave the house for the day. Set a goal that will challenge but not overwhelm you, then reach for it, celebrate your success, and move forward from there.

One caution, however: remember to offer yourself tons of grace. Whether you’re running or reading or praying, you don’t have to set a new record every day. Some days it’s enough just to attempt the course. Ask God to help you know when you should push yourself a little harder or try something new, when maintaining your current pace is best, and when you must slow down to give yourself a break. We’re pressing on toward the goal, but we won’t reach it if we break down and stop.

Father, thank You for the ability to train ourselves through discipline and diligence. Please help us to set good goals, to reach for them with all the effort we can muster, to know when to rest, and to count on You for strength and endurance. We can’t do anything on our own, but with Your help, we’ll progress steadily until You take us home, triumphant at last. Amen.

post

Many Languages

“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.”Acts 2:5-6

DSC02012eSince the time of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) people all over the globe have spoken different languages. Living in the Netherlands, our family experienced the confusion God promised first hand. People where we lived spoke Dutch. Ten minutes away in one direction, they spoke German. Twenty minutes in the other, they spoke French. And when we travelled, we encountered other languages as well. By the time we left Europe, I could order French fries from McDonald’s in six languages. But I’m only fluent in one, English–and the British people I’ve met sometimes question even that.

Dutch people, however, take great pride in their ability to speak several languages. Many can speak English, French, German, and others–even American! Since I knew very little Dutch, I usually depended on them to help me communicate. And they seemed to like it that way. “We understand your English better than your Dutch,” they’d proudly say. They were happy to use their knowledge to help out wherever mine lacked.

Beyond Europe is a whole big world full of many languages–some yet to be discovered. Friends of ours once completed a year of language training in Brazil, learning Portuguese in order to minister to the people of Mozambique. You’ve probably heard missionaries from exotic countries share bits of language from the places they’ve been. And even in America, I sometimes have to listen closely to understand the dialects of friends from Maine, Alabama, or New Jersey! When God promised confusion, He delivered.

But God is never confused. He understands every language, every dialect, every bit of slang, and even words that don’t transcend the generation gap. (I’m pretty sure He even speaks text.) And just as He helped the disciples communicate with the crowd “from every nation under heaven,” He can help us communicate His love wherever we go. We may have to study, use sign language, or ask a lot of questions, but Christian love goes a long way toward building understanding.

Will you have fritessaus with your fries?

All-Knowing Lord, help me to communicate with people around me today. Whether they speak another language or simply need to know I understand how they are feeling and what’s going on in their lives, remove the confusion. Replace it with love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

post

Keeping Imagination in Its Place

Life gave me reason to worry today.

Jesus said, “Do not!”

The facts I have say that if everything went according to plan, then all should be okay. The facts I have give me no reason to worry.

My imagination, however, is trying to tell me all the things that might have gone wrong. It wants me to worry.

DSC01608eTruth: My imagination doesn’t know anything. My imagination makes things up.

Therefore, I will ignore it.

I will wait.

I will pray.

I will give my imagination something else to do. Something it was intended to do! Something productive and creative and beneficial to this life we’re all living.

Worry is a poor use of the gift of imagination.

I will anchor my mind in the facts, trust God with them, and go on about my day. I will pray whenever my imagination tempts me to worry.

What’s that? An e-mail! All is well.

Thank You, Lord. Amen.

post

God’s Grand Gift of Life

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV

My father-in-law sent me roses for Mother’s Day this year. He knows that without me, he’d have no grandkids. And that man loves those boys!Mother's Day Roses

The blooms on the roses lasted about a week. As they started to droop, I removed them from the vase, a few at a time, leaving the strongest roses for last. As I was getting ready to toss the final three roses, however, I noticed that their stems had developed new growth! Curious to see what they would do, I decided to leave them alone. By the next day, though, the new growth had expanded considerably. I wondered what would happen if we planted them in the yard.New Growth

My youngest son was home from college and my oldest and his wife were visiting at the time. They got excited about the experiment, too. (Once a homeschool family—always a homeschool family, I suppose.) I clipped the dead blooms from the stems. Seth planted them in the yard. Justin arranged shelters of landscaping pine needles to protect them from the heat. My husband used the experiment as a sermon illustration on hope.

PlantedYes. We were hoping new roses would grow. But we were skeptical. And the heat, up to 90 degrees that week, was discouraging. We’d moved the plants from a bowl of water in an air-conditioned house to dry ground under a hot sun.

And, technically, since they’d been removed from their original bush, weren’t they already dead?

A week later, two of three were gone. But one continues to grow! It’s even sprouted a new branchlet! My father-in-law may have sent me a rose bush for Mother’s Day. Thank you, Dad! This has been fun.

Now you have to understand, I do not have a talent for making things grow. My grandfather had the greenest thumb I’ve ever seen, but so far, as far as I know, none of his descendants have inherited his gift. I let other people grow flowers, then I take pictures of them and console myself with the joy of preserving their beauty that way.Growing

I didn’t make my roses grow either. I received the roses as a gift. I watched them sprout. I told my son, and he planted them. I watched, watered and pruned. Someday, hopefully, I’ll have a new picture of a home-grown flower to show.

This is how our spiritual lives grow!

  • We start out dead in our sins and cut off from God.
  • We open the door to receive God’s gift of salvation through Christ.
  • Our spirits take root in the soil of God’s love and begin to grow.
  • God’s Spirit nurtures them, allowing us to help through Spiritual disciplines such as Bible reading, prayer, worship, and fellowship.
  • Our lives begin to bear fruit, showing others what God can do which builds His Kingdom and glorifies His name!

If my family and I are having so much fun watching a little rose clipping grow, imagine the joy of our Savior as we grow in Him each day. His Spirit does all the work, but let’s nurture it as He directs and watch blooms develop, open, and show.

What we're hoping to find someday!

What we’re hoping to find someday!

Thank You, Lord, for bringing life from death, for salvation from sin and the opportunity to glorify and praise Your name. Keep nurturing these little plants as we stay firmly rooted in You. May our lives display Your work and bring honor to Your name. We love You, Lord! Amen.

I’m sharing today’s post with: Imparting Grace, Faith Filled Friday, Fellowship Fridays, Friendship Friday, and Essential Fridays.

post

Relying on God for Everything

Wildflower Thoughts“His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
Psalm 147:10-11, NIV

I’m so proud of me! Yesterday I went to our local home improvement store all by myself with Seth, my youngest son. I picked out paint and brushes and hardware and everything else that Mike and my dad told me I’d need to refurbish my kitchen cabinets. I’m a do-it-yourself-er now! Next time I walk into that store, they’ll treat me with respect instead of like someone who must have gotten lost and wandered in by mistake.

I’m only kidding. I know very well that my kitchen project isn’t going anywhere without the help of my son, designated contractor on the project, and the advice of my husband and dad. I’m just the visionary and assistant. I even needed help at the home improvement store. Did you know you can’t just grab a can of paint off the shelf like you do a box of cereal at the grocery store?

But don’t we like to believe we’re self-reliant? From the time we’re toddlers, we’re trying to prove we can do things by ourselves. Our parents found this amusing when they weren’t impatient or exasperated.

QTH 3God, however, is not impressed.

God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows exactly what we can and can’t do. He doesn’t expect us to prove our worth to Him. Rather, He wants us to recognize His worth. We honor Him when we place our confidence in Him.

Psalm 147:10 names a few things we’re tempted to rely on other than God: the strength of other things that we allow to carry us and ourselves. On the day that I read this verse, I stumbled across reference after reference to people and things we often choose to depend on: spouse, extended family, friends, money, belongings, addictions, complaints.

Complaints? Yes. Sometimes in our desperation, we complain about our situation, hoping that someone will hear of our plight and rescue us. When we do this, we’re putting our confidence in our own words to force desired change. Maybe this is why Philippians 2:14 commands us to “do everything without complaining and arguing” (NLT).

I’m not saying that we should sit back and do nothing, waiting for change to occur. When there is work to be done, we must do our part. We must do so, however, with an awareness of the One Who is really in charge, our Source of strength and wisdom, our Guide, our Provider, our Teacher, our Lord. He’s the Visionary and the Contractor. We’re just the assistants who do as we’re told, trusting in our God’s unfailing love.

Father, help us to place and keep our trust in You for all we need. If ever we’re tempted to rely on someone or something else, please make us aware of what we’re doing. We realize it’s good for us to do what we can, whatever You’ve enabled us to do. It’s also good for us to ask for help when we need it from the people You’ve placed in our lives. Ultimately, however, our confidence must remain in You, the One Who loves us fully and is able to give us everything we’ll ever need. Thank You, Lord! Amen.

post

Giving God Time to Heal Our Wounds

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.'”Luke 10:41-42, NIV

“Be still, and know that I am God.”Psalm 46:10, NIV

A few weeks ago, God pointed out an unhealed wound that should have been taken care of long ago. He let me know He’s ready to heal it; I’ve been trying to ignore it, you see.

California PoppyThe problem, though, with ignoring an emotional wound is that you still feel the pain. Figuratively, you slap a bandage on it, so you won’t see it. Then you cover that bandage with a cast to protect it. You lock yourself in a room, so to speak, so no outside force can cause more pain; then you surround that room with an impenetrable wall. Finally, you dig a tunnel under the whole thing, creating a bomb-shelter-type panic room that totally isolates you from anyone or anything who can cause you more pain. But none of it helps because the pain is inside you–and the wound is festering.

As God revealed the problem, I prayed, “Lord, I agree. I’m broken. Please fix me.” He kept sending gentle reminders. I kept praying the same prayer, expecting God to act. Until Monday morning in the middle of my quiet time, when God responded by pressing this thought into my head: “I’m trying to help you, Janet! But you won’t sit still!”

I almost laughed out loud as I realized the absolute truth of that statement. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten a good Martha scolding. But God showed me I needed it this time. Even my quiet time with God has developed an agenda, a to-do list for the time. Some days God calls me to look at something a little more closely, and I’ll pray, “Sorry, Lord, I’d love to talk with You more about that point, but time’s up. We must move on for now.” I’m pretty sure that makes God sigh.

How did I slip so subtly into that?! No wonder that wound hasn’t healed.

If our car has a problem, we don’t expect the mechanic to come to us, strap himself onto the bottom of the car, and do his job underneath while we drive the car down the road. If our appendix bursts, we won’t expect the surgeon to operate while we type at our computer or wash dishes at the sink.

No. That would just be absurd–and seriously painful.

Just the same, when we suffer an emotional wound, we must make time to sit in God’s presence to let Him deal with it.

That same Monday when I felt like God was scolding me, I read a chapter in Richard Foster’s book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home. Each chapter explains a different kind of prayer. That day I read about the prayer of rest. Such perfect timing! This prayer involves sitting quietly in God’s presence, listening for His voice. As we do so, outside stresses will come to mind, things that normally demand our attention, claiming urgency. And as each one arises, we choose to let it go, giving God all rights to our time. It’s only when we’ve let all other claims to our attention go, that we’ll discover genuine rest in God’s presence. That’s when healing can begin.

And the process will go much more quickly and involve less pain if we’ll simply take our wounds to Jesus while they’re still fresh or merely bandaged instead of waiting for Him to coax us out of underground panic rooms. Thankfully, He hates to see His children hurt. He seeks us out with gentle reminders of the work we must let Him do.

Lord, thank You for calling us to be still, to know that You are God, and to let You do Your healing work in our lives. You are our Lord, exalted above all things! You are also our loving, heavenly Father Who cares. Whenever we hurt, please call us to come to You first. When we’re broken, You long to fix us. Yet You will wait until we are still. Thank You, Lord, for Your patient, yet persistent work. We love You so! Amen.

post

Praying for Flowers That Matter to Bloom

IrisesI love finding surprise flowers growing in my yard. I have no idea where these came from, but I’m treasuring the gift.

I’m getting impatient, though! I’ve been waiting three days for them to fully open up, to show their glory in the bright sunlight. Earlier this year, two different bunches of daffodils started to open just before the weather changed. One bloomed beautifully just in time to be destroyed by a sudden downpour. The other was buried in snow before it ever had a chance to show its splendor. I’m hoping the weather doesn’t turn ugly on these. Even now, I can see their potential. These are going to be gorgeous!

These flower thoughts are leading me to think of people I know today. God inspired several authors in the Bible to compare people’s lives to flowers: Isaiah, Job, David, Solomon, James, and Peter–to name a few. Even Jesus used the analogy. I’m thinking of Peter’s (which quotes one of Isaiah’s) today:

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.'”1 Peter 1:23-24

In light of eternity, our lives are as brief and as fragile as the flowers in my yard. Some people live very short lives. It seems they move on into eternity before their lives bloom fully. Others live a long time but refuse to bloom at all. I have several like this in my yard right now. The green part of the plant came up, but the flowers have yet to show. For whatever reason, they probably won’t this year. That is just as tragic as being squashed before the bloom. And then, of course, there are the ones whose flowers reach their full potential, so we can enjoy them for a little while before they die.

People don’t get to choose the length of their life. They don’t really get to choose what their flower looks like either; God gives people their appearance, personality traits, abilities, interests, and such, then they work with what they have. But people do get to choose whether or not they will reach for the sun (be saved through Christ), drink in the rain (listen to God’s Spirit by reading God Word, praying continually, and worshiping with God’s people), and do all they can to become what God created them to be (practice spiritual disciplines, so they can know God and live in tune with His will).

All people alive on earth right now are somewhere in the process of that choice! And God, their Creator, is waiting in anticipation, along with all the hosts of Heaven, I’m sure, to see each person bloom!

Just stop for a moment and try to imagine that. I’ll wait. Close your eyes and picture it right now: God watching in earnest anticipation to see you reach your potential in Him.

I’m thankful that God is patient. He “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). “He is patient . . . not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

After we are born again, God wants us to continue to grow and mature. He wants us to grow in grace, in righteousness, in knowledge, in wisdom, in unity, in love, in Christ! All of these add to the beauty of our bloom, but salvation, as Peter explains in 1 Peter 1:23-24 is the most important thing. Our lives are short. If we bloom gloriously on earth without Christ as our Savior, then it’s all for nothing when we die. But if we’re born again, of imperishable seed (Jesus Christ), then we’ll share God’s glory forever whether or not our petals have a chance to bloom in this world.

The ideal progression:

  1. We’re born again in Christ and start to grow in Him now.
  2. We reach for the sun, drink in the rain, and do all we can to become whatever God has created us to be while we’re on earth.
  3. God takes us to Heaven where we share in His glory by His grace throughout eternity.

Let’s pray for all people as God waits patiently. He won’t wait forever. Let’s pray for God’s flowers to bloom!

Wildflower ThoughtsFather, remind us to pray regularly for all the people we know. Some are striving to bloom on earth without Your Son. Thank You for Your patience with them. Please make Yourself known and open their hearts to Your truth. Others know You and are growing. Help these to reach their potential. Help their lives to bloom brightly and glorify Your name. Still others feel they have done all they can and are waiting to go home. As they linger, according to Your timing, will, and perfect plan, draw them ever closer to You. As long as we’re breathing, that’s the ultimate reason why. We long to know You better as we wait to meet You face to face in eternity someday. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This post is linked to A Little R & R and Fellowship Fridays.

post

Braking for Squirrels

Wildflower ThoughtsThere are a lot of squirrels in our neighborhood. I like them. Family members know I think of the ones that visit my yard as pets. This, they don’t understand.

“They’re vermin,” they’ll tell me. “People exterminate them.”

Not if they live in my yard, they don’t!

Besides, I know all about Cinderella and Snow White. Sometimes, having furry rodents for friends can work in your favor.

One day, a few years back, I was driving out of our neighborhood with my youngest son riding in the passenger seat. Suddenly a baby squirrel darted in front of us. I gently stopped the truck to let the cute, little critter pass. (Seth says I slammed on the brakes, but he’s wrong. And Daddy, if you’re reading this, I know you’ll take his side, but really, I gently stopped the truck. This is true—this time.)

The squirrel hesitated, so I said, “Go ahead, Baby. Cross the road.” Seth’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped, and he looked at me like I’d absolutely . . . lost . . . my . . . mind.

The squirrel stood up to look at me, too. He cocked his head curiously. I think he was trying to decide if I was friend or foe. (Or maybe he had a little power complex and wanted to enjoy the thought of suddenly stopping such a big truck all by himself. No—he was too sweet. I’m sure that wasn’t it at all.)

“It’s okay,” I said, waving him across. “Go ahead.” He did; he safely crossed the road.

Seth looked at me incredulously and shook his head. “That was wrong, Mom. That was just wrong.”

I smiled and wondered, “Do they make bumper stickers that say, ‘I brake for squirrels.’?”

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin has corrupted all people. It has turned us into vermin awaiting extermination (or, more accurately, eternal banishment from God’s Presence by our choice not to trust in Him).

But God loved us so much that He sent His Son, not to condemn the world, but to save it. (See John 3:16-17.) Through His own death, Jesus stops the extermination truck for all who trust in Him. When we look to Him in faith, He gives us a nod and waves us across, “It’s okay. Go ahead!” He invites us to safely join the Kingdom of God with assurance we will live eternally with Him.

I think I feel a power complex coming on. But it’s okay. It’s Christ—no power of my own. None at all. No, no. (Consider 1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 12:9, and Galatians 2:20.) I trust in the One Who can stop the great, big death truck for me—and for everyone else on this human life journey.

Thank You, Jesus! Amen.

Note: Clicking the highlighted Bible verse references will take you to Bible Gateway where you can read the verses for yourself, read them in context, and find study helps for learning more about God’s Word.

post

In Search of Little Birds This Christmas

Note: This is a repost from my original blog, Wildflower Thinking. The event that follows took place in 2008, but the lesson seems especially appropriate for this busy Christmas season. Let’s all be careful to watch for little birds this year.

Our family was leaving the mall. Mike opened the door, and I noticed something flopping around underneath it. As I followed Mike out, I looked more closely and realized I wasn’t imagining things—it really was a little bird. “Oh, no!” I yelped as Mike closed the door, running over the confused bird again.

I knelt down quickly, oblivious to the fact that I was now in the path of the door and about to be run over myself. Mike ran interference while figuring out why his wife had suddenly lost all common sense. He started nudging the bird with his foot.

“What are you doing?” I asked, quite alarmed.

Mike rolled his eyes. “I’m moving the bird away from the door, so he won’t get run over again.” (He’s pretty smart, that man.) Then he looked around to see where to safely direct the bird. (He did this all for me, you know! Either that, or he knew he’d never get home until we’d taken good care of the bird.)

Realizing the nearest bush was several feet away and that kicking the bird that far would probably do more harm than good, we did the next best thing. We told Seth to pick up the bird. (Yes—it was a classic LIFE cereal moment. “I’m not picking up that bird.” “Well, I’m not picking up that bird.” “Let’s get Seth to pick up the bird! Hey, Seth!”) Seth picked up the bird, I took pictures, we introduced the bird to its new refuge spot—all was well with the world, we could go home. Mike was still rolling his eyes.

So now I’m wondering how many other little birds we carelessly run over as we go about our daily routine. I’m not talking about real birds anymore—though we almost missed the one at the mall! How many hurting people do we cross paths with every day who feel constantly run over by life? They’re standing there stunned and confused as people walk on by, pushing them aside without even realizing they’re there. How many people do we talk to regularly, maybe even at church, who need, not just small talk, but a true listening ear or a nudge toward safety? God can use us to help people if we’ll notice who’s flopping around.

Lord, You know that I can’t save every little bird, but open my eyes that I will see to help where I can. Make me aware. Remind me to stop and take time to express genuine care. There’s nothing more important that I have to do today. Amen.

For more devotional thoughts today, visit Essential Fridays and Spiritual Sundays.

Special Announcement: The Kindle version of my new book, Home Is Where God Sends You, is on sale this week. Click here to purchase your copy.