In the Bible, the word “family” has a much broader meaning than father, mother and children. The Biblical usage is what we refer to as the extended family.
In April, several years ago, astronomers announced the discovery of a new planet. It is named Gliese 581 and orbits its sun 20 light years away. Of the 200 or so planets outside our Solar system it is the smallest; however, every discovery like this adds to the wonder of the universe.
Most of the year my garden plot was covered with chickweed (Stellaria media). Some we pull up by hand while occasionally we carefully applied an herbicide. Each spring I tilled the garden, but all I did was fold under the seeds that were on top and bring up from underground the seed that wer…
As we prepare to enter 2023, many will follow the tradition of New Year's resolutions. You will look back on things you regret and promise in the coming year to change.
The ancient story of Jesus’ birth tells us that wise men from the east were guided to the Christ child by a star. I have often selected today’s wildflower for the Advent season articles, although it blooms in summer.
Midway through His ministry, Jesus told a parable of a farmer who sowed seed in his field. In Matthew 13:4-8 we read, “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sp…
The Bible is very direct in its statements regarding the sovereignty of God. In Deuteronomy 4:39 we read, “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” May you find comfort in the knowledge of His power …
I moved from Nebraska while I was in the eighth grade. I had learned little about the “Civil War” because it was a sad event that happened “back East, before we Nebraskans became a state (1867).” The move to Virginia made a big impact on my knowledge.
The Psalmist led the congregation of Israel to praise God for the beauty He provided. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).
In John 15:4 Jesus is quoted instructing His followers, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (KJV).
Psalm 107 begins, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever” (KJV). This verse reminds us of God’s mercy. It is not temporary, that is, here today and gone tomorrow. It is applied to all sins, not favoring one infraction over another. It is available to al…
The thorns of the wildflower for today remind us of the “high cost” of love. Love is not all smiles because all relationships have ups and downs. The deepest intimate relationship may be interrupted by death, divorce, misunderstanding, illness and relocation. However, the love that God shows…
Psalm 149 begins with an encouragement to sing a new song of praise to the Lord. The enthusiasm for praise is increased in verse 3 as the congregation is instructed, “Let them praise his name in dance.”
It is amazing to what lengths some people will go to amass gold (wealth). The wise king in Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
Rank has its privileges. Many people in our society bow to this saying. Some people even ignore the body of law that anchors our society because they regard their status as “above the law.”
God, in His creative genius, lovingly has blessed us with many delightful nourishing “goodies.” Note the pledge of Isaiah, “I will give thanks to Thy name; for Thou hast worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness” (Isaiah 25:1).
On a recent trip to the beach, I sat on our condo’s balcony one evening contemplating the night sky. It’s something I rarely do at home between not venturing out much after dark, the view being obscured by trees on our property, and dealing with pesky mosquitoes.
Today we examine a wildflower that lives in water. Without slow running, fresh water, this plant will die. Thus the devotional thought focuses on two verses where Jesus referred to the spiritual thirst all humans have.
The 104th Psalm was used by the Hebrew people to praise God for the abundance of His creation. The Psalm praises God for the earth’s surface of hills and valleys (v.8).
It is especially gratifying to hear readers of my newspaper articles express excitement about discovering a new wildflower. May we always praise God as the Psalmist did, “And men shall speak of the power of Thine awesome acts; and I will tell of Thy greatness (Psalm 145:6).”
One day in early summer when I was walking to the mailbox, I counted about 20 different wildflowers in bloom. Some were very tiny and some were large, some were rather rare while others were in such abundance that it would be easy to pass them off as boringly common.
For some of us, mowing lawns has become almost a full-time job this summer. No, we haven’t become professional landscapers. It’s simply that the weather conditions in our region have been very conducive for the healthy growth of whatever greenery may be adorning our yards.
Recently I watched an old movie titled “Stars in My Crown.” Although it was billed as a western, the setting was actually more in line with the Old South. The story was about a preacher and the positive impact he had on a small town.
The Psalmist in 119:27 sets an appropriate standard for us when he said, “Make me understand the way of Thy precepts, so I will meditate on Thy wonders.”
American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) is perhaps the most outstanding female artist of the 20th century. As she developed her style, her artwork moved from imitating the masters to her own individualistic style.
We generally begin our assessment of a person as handsome or beautiful, masculine or feminine, tall or short, all of which are external attributes. If we are wise, we know that the real measure is the character of the person such as honesty, trustworthiness, dependability, kindness, and so on.
A friend of mine once told of his mother taking him aside one day as a lad. She strictly rebuked him for something he said about another boy. “Son, he was made in the image of God, just as you were. That means God loves him as much as He loves you. When you put him down you are insulting God.” The basis of all the precepts of God is this profound truth.
The writer of Ecclesiastes calls our attention to God’s creation when noting, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”(3:11a) The wildflower on which we focus today is a perfect example of this truth.
Let us examine another wonder of nature that God has created for our enjoyment. Psalm 40:5 best expresses my thought, “Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell them, they would be too many to declare.”
Psalm 104 is a hymn of praise for the world God has created. It praises the Lord for the splendor and majesty of the heavens, the sea, the mountains, the valleys, and the beasts of the fields.
When I think of spring, I think of Lent, a time for meditation and contemplation. For me, the contemplation starts inward with the words in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Jesus turns the world right-side-up when we contemplate how we implement His words in Matthew 23:11, "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant."
Recently I took my 87-year-old mom grocery shopping. With her back problems and other physical limitations, she made her way slowly through the aisles of the store, sometimes pausing for a moment in order to rest. Even though I tried to do all the reaching for items on shelves and any heavy lifting, by the time we were finished I knew she was in pain and worn out. However, as we approached the check-out line, she took the opportunity to pull out a couple of devotional booklets and place them where she hoped someone might see them, pick one up, and be ministered to by its inspirational content. Then she proceeded to ignore her own physical discomfort long enough to interact with the cashier and the person bagging our groceries with a warm smile, a laugh and kind words.
Among my various sleepwear is an old gray T-shirt. One evening I was wearing it as I was getting ready for bed when my wife noticed a small white spot on the front of it.
One day Moses was tending his father-in-law’s sheep in the Sinai Desert and he saw a unique phenomenon. The Hebrew writer described the incident in these words, “the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed” (Exodus 3:2).
In the tradition of Hebrew and Christian literature, it was on the third day of creation that God said “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed . . . and it was so. And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind . . . and God saw that it was good” Gen. 1:11-12.
On the Thursday before Easter many churches celebrate the Last Supper when Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you . . .” (John 13:34).
As a child, did you ever play some version of the game “king of the hill”? I can remember doing so with kids in our neighborhood with the top of an embankment being the prized ground to try to control.
Palm Sunday is the celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, but it also represented the political overthrow of the Roman conquerers in the minds of those present. Jesus entered the city seated on a colt rather than a white horse. The many events of the week led to His crucifixion, and the…
As we anticipate the opportunities for worship this Season of Lent, consider the words of Isaiah 12:2 "Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, . . ."
Recently our oldest grandson took on the challenge at a local Mexican restaurant to eat their meal called “El Gigante” or “the giant.” Anyone who eats this oversized burrito in its entirety is rewarded with a T-shirt attesting to their victory, along with a free dessert.