Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
“We moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away.” Isaiah 59:11
When I was a small boy, we lived across the street from a nursing home that was in an old mansion with a long porch across the front. There was one particular resident, a very tall man, who would sometimes stand on the far corner of the porch and stare off in the other direction. One day a Mourning Dove was calling from a tree in the front yard of the nursing home. I looked at the tall, elderly man and I was convinced that he was making the mournful sounds I heard coming from that direction. As he stood there staring into the distance, he looked so lonely that the Mourning Dove’s melancholy cries suited him perfectly. It was several years later that my mother explained to me that the sound I had heard was not the moaning of an old man, but the call of the Mourning Dove.
Today’s Bible verse compares us to Mourning Doves: “We moan mournfully like doves.” It goes on to describe a very depressing situation: “We look for justice, but find none, for deliverance, but it is far away.” I do not know what the old man was thinking as he stood there on the porch of that nursing home years ago, but whatever he was searching for seemed to be, as Isaiah said, “far away.” Are you unable to find justice in your circumstances today? Is there no deliverance from your troubles? Isaiah goes on to relate a promise from God: “The redeemer will come…to those…who repent of their sin” (Isaiah 59:20). The Apostle Paul describes God as, “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Trust in God to be your redeemer and your comforter, and He will not be “far away,” because “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).
Father, as I mourn in my distress, you hear my cries. Comfort me in my troubles so I can comfort others. Amen.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in faithfulness.” Hosea 2:19-20
Canada geese are often reported to mate for life. While this probably is not always true, most pairs do remain together for a number of years. At the very least, these geese are loyal and devoted to each other throughout the breeding season. However, even during the fall and winter I can usually recognize the mated pairs in a large flock of geese. They relate to each other in special ways, and remain close even in the harshest conditions. Oh, that human beings were always as faithful as geese!
In the Book of Hosea we read of a very unusual marriage. God spoke to Hosea, and told him, “Go marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her” (Hosea 1:2). Hosea obeyed the Lord; married a woman named Gomer, and had three children with her. Later we read of Gomer’s continuing promiscuity and unfaithfulness. Yet God told Hosea to take her back: “Go show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites” (Hosea 3:1). Hosea obeyed the Lord once again, and bought back his wife with a payment of silver and grain.
In the same way that Canada Geese show their faithfulness to each other, and Hosea showed his faithfulness to Gomer, God has shown His faithfulness to us. Speaking of His great love for His people, God told Hosea, “I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people;’ and they will say, ‘You are my God’” (Hosea 2:23). And just as Hosea bought back his wayward wife, we have been bought back through the love of God: “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Since we have been purchased by God through His faithfulness, and have been restored to a relationship with Him, let us also be faithful to Him.
Heavenly Father, thank you for paying the price necessary to reclaim me as your own. Amen.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
“Nor can they utter a sound with their throats.” Psalm 115:7
As my son, Daniel, and I walked up the trail to the War Eagle Monument high on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, we began to see a few Turkey Vultures soaring on the thermal updrafts. When we came within sight of the monument we could see more than a dozen Turkey Vultures perched on the statue itself and on the railings nearby. When we reached a certain point, invading the birds’ comfort zone, the vultures ascended in unison and soon were riding the thermals with the others. In addition to the birds’ primitive ugliness, what struck me most was the absolute silence. Not a sound was coming from this large flock of birds.
Turkey Vultures are primarily silent birds. They have tremendous eyesight, and communicate by simply paying attention to visual cues from the other birds. They are quite large, with a wingspan of more than five and a half feet. Turkey Vultures are found across most of North America in the summer, and migrate to the southern United States to spend the colder months.
In today’s Bible verse the psalmist describes idols made by the hands of men: “They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats” (Psalm 115:6-7). In contrast to the impotence of idols, it is said of God, “You, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 116:8-9). Today few people worship idols in the same sense that they did long ago. However, there are still things we allow to assume primary importance in our lives, things that we rely upon to meet our needs: money, possessions, success. Only God can really meet our needs. Everything else is as feeble as lifeless stone.
Father, I know that you are alive and that you hear me when I call out to you. Amen.