Category Archives: Trials

Time’s fun when you’re having flies!

FrogWow! It’s been a year since I’ve posted. Where has the time gone? They say, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” or as Kermit the Frog once said, “Time’s fun when you’re having flies.”

I was in a head-on collision last year. Could have easily bought the farm – it was pretty serious. Some folks say they saw their whole life flash in front of their eyes. All I saw was my airbags. It’s probably what saved my life.

I go in for physical therapy twice a week and massage therapy twice a week. They put me on this stimulator machine that sends little shocks to various muscles.  Then there’s the stretching machine. My neck rests in a cradle and it pulls for fifteen minutes. A few more months on that thing and I’ll be six foot six. Of course, eighteen inches of it will be neck.

Thanks to those of you who have written recently and encouraged me to get back to blogging. I appreciate your kind comments. I will begin sharing some of my devotionals again, and I hope you’ll stop by when you can. Thanks, too, for all your prayers. It means more than you can possibly know.  

God bless and Aloha!

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Wandering in the wilderness

The Lord your God has watched over you and blessed you every step of the way for all these forty years as you have wandered around in this great wilderness; and you have lacked nothing in all that time.” Deuteronomy 2:7 LB

wilderness2.jpgI see the words “wandered around” and I picture a person with no sense of direction. Lost. No goals, no purpose.

Or someone at the mercy of their own circumstances. They would like to go far in life, live out their dreams, but they are hindered. By race, poverty, education, disability. Like a boat with only one oar. At the mercy of the shifting tides.

I’m not sure about you but I’ve felt that way a time or two … today. Caught in the spin cycle of the washing machine of life. And it isn’t set on delicate.

The Israelites “wandered around” in the wilderness forty years, yet today’s verse says in all that time, they lacked nothing. Despite all their wanderings, God provided every need. They were lost but not abandoned.

Don’t you like what it says?

The Lord your God has watched over you and blessed you every step of the way.”

He’ll do the same for you and me today!

“Don’t worry about it” ???

christmas-in-hawaii2.jpgAt 7:55 this morning, my windows began to rattle. The sound became thunderous as five F-15 Eagle jet fighters from the Hawaii Air National Guard flew the “missing man” formation over Pearl Harbor. They came in so low over my home the pilot could have picked a papaya off the top of my tree.

Sixty five years ago to the minute, Japanese war planes flew that same route in their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, plunging the US into war with Japan.

Years ago, I spoke with a gentleman who has carried a heavy burden since that Sunday morning in 1941. It was his first day at the Schofield Barracks duty station. He received a call from a radar installation on the North Shore of Oahu that detected incoming planes. Assuming they were our own B-17s, he uttered four words he has regretted his entire life. “Don’t worry about it.”

Later, a congressional investigation absolved him of negligence. They placed the responsibility on his superiors for inadequately preparing him for his responsibilities. Still, he lives under a cloud of guilt.

I often think about the responsibility God has given me as a husband and father. You see, we have an enemy and nothing would please him more than to pull off a surprise attack on our family. We need to be watchful, alert, always on our guard. 

not ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11).

When our children were young and we would send them off to school, every morning we would all go through motions like we were putting our armor on. “Helmet of salvation? Check. Breastplate of righteousness? Check. Belt of truth? Check. Shield of faith? Check. Sword of the Spirit? Check. Shoes of the gospel of peace? Check.” Okay, we’re ready to go! They might have forgotten their pencils and tablets but they never forgot their armor!

Looking back, we came through a few battles. More than a few. I know you have as well. And there will be more to come, sorry to break it to you. But in all things, we can be more than conquerors through Jesus Christ who loves us and gave Himself for us.

So keep your armor on, my friend. You can leave home without your American Express but don’t leave home without your armor!

Not If but When

Don’t be weary in prayer; keep at it; watch for God’s answers and remember to be thankful when they come. Colossians 4:2

Not sure about you but I needed this passage today. Good reminder!

It’s easy to get discouraged when we don’t see our prayers answered right away. Often, it’s a matter of timing. He’s in one time zone. We’re on the other side of the International Date Line. We need to sync our watches with His. Adjust our schedule to His.

Paul is saying, don’t be weary. Don’t give up. It’s too soon to quit, to throw in the towel. Just keep watching for His answers. They’re on the way.

Paul reminds us to be thankful and he doesn’t say, “if” they come but “when” they come. The answers will come!

I have a little habit I adopted a couple years ago. It works well for me. Let me share it with you.

I’m facing some mountains in my life, and they are pretty ominous. Foreboding. I’ve prayed long and hard but they still loom in my way.

So I’ve decided I’m not going to spend a lot of time looking at them. Not that I’m in denial. I’m not pretending they don’t exist. But if I stand there and stare at them all day, I fall into discouragement.

So rather than look at the mountains, I look for any and every sign of encouragement, that God is at work, no matter how small it may seem, and then give Him thanks for it.

Thankfulness takes our focus off the problem and places it on the One who can solve the problem. He is the one on whom we should fix our eyes, not on the mountain.

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith… (Hebrews 12:2)

The mountains you face, whether in your family, your finances, your health, look for every sign that God is at work, no matter how small it may seem, and give Him thanks.

And if He answers in a way you did not expect, that’s okay too. Even better! He knows what’s best.

Peter, the lumberjack

Suddenly, there was a light in the cell and an angel of the Lord stood beside Peter! The angel slapped him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick. Get up.” And the chains fell off his wrists. Acts 12:7

The setting was Herod’s maximum security prison. James had been put to death and it pleased the Jewish leaders so Herod arrested Peter and scheduled him for execution the following morning.

He was in chains behind multiple locked doors, guarded by sixteen Roman soldiers.

I’m trying to imagine what was going through Peter’s mind. He must have reflected on the events of recent years. Only four short years ago, he was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, destined, he thought, to be a fisherman for life. Then Jesus said, “Follow me,” and life would never be the same!

Peter remembered the miracles. He remembered walking on water. He remembered Jesus calming the storm, healing his mother, feeding the five thousand.

He vividly remembered the crucifixion and the events leading up to it. How could he forget his betrayal of Christ?

But he also remembered the empty tomb, and Jesus on the seashore after the resurrection. He was there when Jesus returned to the Father.

Now, he is chained between two guards and in the morning, he goes before the firing squad. So what does Peter do? He falls asleep. In fact, he sleeps so soundly, the angel has to whack him on the side to wake him up.

Now, I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be bagging Zzz’s, not on the night before I’m going to die. If I did doze it would be a light, restless sleep.

Not Peter. He is sawing some serious logs. It wasn’t the angel who shook the prison, it was Peter’s snoring!

Peter had no fear. He was ready to meet Jesus and he decided he might as well have a good nights rest before the reunion!

O Lord, may we have the faith and boldness of Peter, I pray. Amen.

24/7/365

She glanced over her shoulder and saw someone standing behind her. It was Jesus but she did not recognize Him… She thought He was the gardener. John 20:14,15

Mary Magdalene was standing at the tomb weeping because it was empty and she supposed someone had stolen the body of Jesus.

Interestingly, Jesus was standing right over her shoulder, in fact He spoke to her, but she mistook Him for the gardener. She didn’t recognize her closest friend.

Maybe her eyes were so full of tears she simply didn’t get a good look. But I suspect there was more to it than that.

I think she was so consumed in her sorrow she paid no attention to the one behind her. She was too caught up in her own emotions.

It makes me ask myself, when I am faced with a crisis, how often do I become so self absorbed that I fail to recognize Jesus standing over my shoulder? How often are my eyes so blinded by fear or pain that when He speaks, I mistake Him for the yardman?

Jesus promised He would never leave us nor forsake us. Through good times and bad… and especially in bad, He’s right by our side. 

Twenty four, seven, three sixty five. And an extra day on leap year, He is there.

SOAP

I remember dinnertime when I was a kid. My mom would ask, “Del, did you wash your hands?” Yep! “Did you use soap?” Nope! “Go wash them again and this time, use soap.”

God’s Word is sometimes likened to water. Ephesians 5:26 speaks of his Word washing us like water and cleansing us.

Today, as we continue our discussion on the importance of daily devotions and journaling, I’m going to give you some soap to go along with the water.

I’m talking about an acronym, SOAP. It stands for scripture, observation, application, prayer. It’s a little outline I follow when I journal.

First, write out the Scripture you you are going to journal on. Then, make an Observation about it. What is it in the passage that captured your attention? Now, write the Application. How does the scripture apply to your life? Is it telling you something you need to correct? Is it warning you of a pitfall to avoid? Is it a promise for you to cling to? Finally, write a Prayer. It can be long or short. I’ve written a whole page and I’ve written one line.

The S, O, and A are an opportunity for God to speak to you. The P is your time to respond. And as a parenthetical thought, you’ll see more growth in your Christian walk if you let Him do most of the talking.

So let me share a devotion I wrote in my journal today just to give you the idea.

Scripture: He delivers His people, preserving them from harm; He does great miracles in heaven and earth. Daniel 6:27

Observation: Daniel had just been delivered from the lion’s den. Earlier, King Darius had been tricked into signing a law that forced him to send Daniel, his most trusted advisor, to the den of lions. But God spared Daniel, and upon hearing the good news, the king gave praise and glorified God!

“He delivers His people, preserving them from harm!”

It’s interesting that God did not prevent Daniel from going into the lion’s den, but He protected him while he was there.

Application: Sometimes I feel like I’m in a den of lions. I’m overwhelmed with problems, too big for me to handle. I feel vulnerable, defenseless, like I am about to be swallowed up.

For some reason, I may never understand, God did not prevent me from finding myself in these situations. But today, His Word gives me hope and courage that He will protect me in the midst of them. I need not fear. He is with me.

Prayer: O God, thank you for your Word. It gives me courage and faith to face my toughest trials. I take comfort, knowing you are the same, yesterday, today and forever. What you did for Daniel, you will do for me, as I keep my trust in you. Amen.

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Tomorrow, I’ll show you how to keep from getting sidetracked in your daily devotions when you find yourself in some of those difficult to understand passages. Hope to see you then.