Friday, November 27, 2009

Prodigal Dog

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 KJV)

My Labrador retriever, Buddy, escaped his fence recently. He is young and inexperienced. When I discovered him missing, my mind immediately conjured up every scenario possible: had he gone up the street to visit his girlfriend, or was he lying injured somewhere in the woods? Had he been hit by a car? Was he hungry? My mind raced as I drove up and down the road with my husband, looking for him.

After an unsuccessful hunt we pulled into our driveway. Despite the fact that I had just spent an hour searching for him, I immediately looked for Buddy where he always stood waiting for us whenever we arrived home. He wasn’t there. My heart lurched. Where was my friend?

It made me think about how God misses us when we drift from Him. We are His children. How much longing must He feel for our return? He does not grieve because we are lost forever, which is how I perceived Buddy’s situation; however, He does grieve, wanting desperately to fellowship with us.

How relieved I was when the phone rang the next morning. Buddy found his way to a stranger’s house, where he had been fed and sheltered for the night. Although he had been cared for, he was excited to see me. I didn’t berate him for running away—I just threw my arms around his neck and hugged him.

Thank You, Father, for Your mercy. You wait patiently when we wander away, and You welcome us back with open arms, never mentioning our sin.

© 2009 Katherine A. Fuller

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lion's Den

And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. Daniel 6:23b (NIV)

I dreamt I was in a deep pit with granite walls. Boulders were stacked at odd angles forming a way to the top where light filtered into the darkness. I saw three lions: one guarding the foot of the rocky ladder, one pacing the floor around me, and another hiding, barely visible in the recesses of the bedrock.

People were standing at the opening to the den looking down at me. I stared back at them in anger, blaming them for throwing me to the lions, sure that I had been falsely accused. As my heart hardened against them, the lion resting on the steps opened his jaws with a growl and shook his head. The one circling me picked up his pace and the other emerged from the shadows, ready to pounce. My flesh quivered and my hair stood on end when I realized I was about to be devoured.

I woke up realizing that, like the lions, my anger could consume me. God calls us to be forgiving. If I were thrown into the lions' den would I be found faultless, trusting totally in God? Or would I be ensnared by my wounded pride?

Dear Lord, bless me with the grace to forgive those who have hurt me. Heal the wounds I have suffered from decades of living in and conforming to the patterns of an unforgiving world. Help me to live obediently and to seek my life in the fullness of Christ. In Jesus' name, I ask it. Amen.

© 2009 Stephanie L. Snead

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mary or Martha?

"Martha, Martha, thou are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41, 42 (KJV)

For two days I helped my husband mow and trim the grass in preparation for a cookout on Sunday. That morning I purchased what we needed for the cookout. Now I stood at the kitchen sink washing vegetables. Busy? Yes. I knew I would not get a chance to rest until long after our normal bedtime.

Often when I am very busy, I think of Bible stories, reflecting on them. I thought about what Jesus said when Martha complained of having to do all the work while Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to spiritual things.

It suddenly occurred to me that I was being a "Martha." I was working so hard to present a nice house and plentiful food on the Lords' day instead of Saturday. My conscience smarted when I realized that I was constantly busy at something and hadn't attended Sunday services for months. Yet I found time to attend my specialty group on Sunday afternoons after all the worship services were over. My conscience stung me again when I remembered what my mother said. "You should never get too busy to worship Jesus." I think I'll begin going to services again.

Heavenly Father, may I never be too busy to worship You. Keep pricking my conscience when I let worldy things blind me to my need for You in my life. Amen

(c) 2009
E. Bonnie Ryan

Thursday, November 5, 2009


God sets the lonely in families. Psalm 68:6a (NIV)

As a result of the death of a spouse or of divorce, some of us find ourselves alone in the world. We did not expect to be in this situation at this time in our lives, but we are. Sometimes we feel very lonely without the companionship of our life partner.

Psalm 68:6a (NASB) reads, “God makes a home for the lonely.” He cares about our feelings of loneliness and loss no matter what has happened in our lives. He finds unique ways of placing us in “families.” Sometimes, He brings us closer to parents or siblings, or heals our relationships with our children. He may also open up fresh, new relationships with friends, who become like family to us.

This summer I joined some friends for a week-long vacation. We took time away from our regular routines and enjoyed laughing and talking together. We went to places that were new to most of us and did things we had never done before. Our shared activities drew us together, very much like a family on vacation.

Dear Father: Thank You for loving us so much that you make a home for us when we are lonely. Please be with all those who are lonely and sad today.
In Jesus name, Amen.

© 2009 Diane E. Hussey