Monday, February 23, 2015

Lord, Make Me Like That

Like a tree planted by a river, finding a constant source of life and nourishment.

Like a tree spreading out its roots to that source, reaching for that which will make it strong.

Like a tree that’s unafraid in heat, because its roots are drinking from that which satisfies.

Like a tree whose leaf is always green, because the tree never lacks.

Like a tree not anxious in drought, because the river will always supply enough.

Like a tree yielding fruit, because it has all it needs and extends to others from that supply.

Like a tree strong and trusting, reaching out its roots to the constant source of life and supply.

Lord, make me like that.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes: but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7,8)

Monday, February 16, 2015

God's Lifelong Explanation to the Question "Why?"

She lay there in the dark of a hospital room paralyzed by an accident she didn’t ask for and groping for answers that wouldn’t come. 

Suddenly, Joni Eareckson turned her eyes, and they fell on the welcome sight of her friend, Jacque. Without a word, Jacque climbed into the hospital bed next to her paralyzed friend and sang the words of a familiar hymn:
                Man of Sorrows what a name
                For the Son of God who came
                Ruined sinners to reclaim:
                Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Thirty years later, Joni sang this hymn to Jacque, while her friend grieved the loss of her son who had committed suicide. As each groped for answers, the only words that came for each other were the words of the hymn, “Man of Sorrows! What a Name.”

“I watched the way she held the cross around her neck,” Joni wrote. “The cross where God explained not with answers but with himself.”  (O Worship the King, p. 59)

The Cross—who He is and the death He died— explains “Why?” without words. 

“Why did He allow Himself to suffer when He could have refused?"
“Why did the Father allow it?"
“Why did He have to endure the pain?”

To be our Savior required a Cross.

It took suffering.

Life’s sufferings give us a glimpse into the Person of Christ.

He experienced the “why’s” we ask and “committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).

Sometimes this hymn is called “Hallelulah! What a Savior!” instead of “Man of Sorrows! What a Name.”

Until we see the scars in His hands one day, life’s scars will be marks of remembrance to point us to a Savior who “sealed my pardon with His blood.”

His blood and suffering sealed our eternal inheritance.

A paralyzed friend, a grieving mother, any hurt too deep for words can sing in the dark of a Savior who knew suffering and endured “for the joy that was set before him" (Hebrews 12:2).

God explains “not with answers but with Himself.”

“To this day, Jacque is discovering all that means. Just like her paralyzed friend.” – Joni Eareckson Tada

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lessons from a One-Legged Sandpiper

[I’ve been under the weather lately and got thinking about this little guy I wrote about a couple of years ago. I’m re-posting the devotional here, praying the Lord will encourage your heart with the reminder of this quiet determination, as He encouraged mine.]

Recently, while sitting by the gulf in Northwest Florida, I watched as three sandpipers scurried by. There was something special about one of them. He had one leg, and one little stump.

One leg or two, he could still soar. But to walk through the everyday ins and out of life, to live with an unchangeable circumstance day after day, and to survive one-legged in a  two-legged world, took courage and determination. For him, living life was an effort foreign to the others.

None of these things stopped this little sandpiper. He hopped alongside the others, determined to survive in this two-legged world. His was a one-legged life, but he made it work.

When he hopped by, I almost missed him.  I almost missed his silent courage and seemingly effortless determination. I almost missed this tiny reminder that obstacles can be overcome and hurdles produce courage.

Sometimes, life seems like a one-legged journey in a two-legged world: off-balanced, too much effort, a hindered hop from one hurdle to another.

But life doesn’t have to stop just because it’s hard.

This one-legged sandpiper kept going.

Is there anything stopping us?

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1,2)

Lord, Thank You for the hurdles of life; the hard things day by day that keep us turned Your direction. Help us not to cave into our circumstances, but to see them as opportunities to run the race with an endurance that only comes from keeping our eyes fixed on You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Devotional appeared at:

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Prayer that's Always Answered

Spurgeon once said, “Short prayers are long enough.”

Sometimes I’m unsure of what to pray for, how to pray, what I really want God to do, or how to even formulate my prayers.

So I drone on and on, much like “vain repetition,” I’m sure.

I know I want Him to do something.

And it usually comes down to one thing.
I just want His will.

Maybe you’ve been there, too.

Not sure to pray for a “yes” or a “no.”

So your prayer ends up being a simple prayer that He would work His will—whether it’s a yes or a no.

We don’t know what we should pray for as we ought, Romans tells us.

So the Spirit prays for us (Romans 8:26,27).

And He always prays for God’s will to be done.

Let’s pray this too.

Even if this one short prayer is all that crosses our lips.

"Your will be done."

This is the prayer that’s always answered.

Whatever his soul desires, that He does.
For He performs what is appointed for me. (Job 23:13,14)