In C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” books, there's a scene when
Aslan (the author’s Jesus figure)
says to the little girl Lucy, “every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
Many years ago when I first read that line, I was a fairly new Christian, and the meaning of it pierced my heart.
As I approach the 30th year of my Christian walk, I can honestly say that the truth of Lewis’ line is rock solid. I think, though, that the keyword in it is “grow.” Just as we expect our children to grow emotionally and physically, Christians are called to grow in God.Click here to read more on this Christian Devotional BlogGet free devotions sent directly to your inbox
Who is God? A loving Father who wants to see us grow in Him.
Yeah, this is really it. Care to have a seat?
The garden was so
pretty when they put
it in, and I admired it each time I walked past.
There were daylilies, black-eyed sues, hostas and even a towering butterfly bush. Going all out, the gardeners had included some whimsical ornaments amongst the plants that caught my eye and added to the overall tone of the place. It was a small lot, but it was a bright spot that brought joy to passersby like me.
A few years have come and gone since the garden first went in and today as I passed it, I was somewhat disappointed at what I saw. Jagged weeds were attempting a comeback, strange, ugly vines were towering over the perennials and a few bold toadstools were having their say in the whole matter.
No one is tending the garden anymore...
Laurie had been dealt a tough hand in life...
She was a nursing student in the college I attended, and she had a goal to make it through one of the toughest programs at our school with little or no support from her parents.
To me, Laurie was one of the funniest, most creative and self confident girls that I had met. As an underclassman, I found myself looking up to her, copying her and in some sense, wanting to be like her.
I don’t know if it was her struggle to make the grade or her lack of parental support, but Laurie had a downside that I only got a glimpse of from time to time. You see, she would sometimes believe a different story about herself. It was one that was wrapped in self doubt and futility.
Laurie and I both had to take a required math class one semester, and I was excited for the chance to sit by her. One day, she got my attention by tapping her pencil on a piece of paper where she had been doodling. She had taken the letters in her name: L-A-U-R-I-E and showed me that when she rearranged them and added the letter “F,” they spelled F-A-I-L-U-R-E.
I was young then, a freshman in college, and I had no quick comeback for her, no deep word of encouragement. Besides, the math teacher was talking, and I couldn’t really speak. I guess I was surprised that someone as confident as Laurie could really believe that. It made me sad because that’s not what I saw. Was Laurie a loser?
Do you sometimes have failure moments like Laurie? I know I do. We all have goals in our life that are important to us and that drive us. Maybe we’d like to be great parents or grandparents, the best teacher in the school, or maybe even a great writer. Sometimes when we’re criticized or shot down in our “sensitive” areas, we can feel like we’re no good. Like we’ll never achieve our goals.
My son was on a losing baseball team this year. No matter how much they practiced, or how well they were coached, it seemed as if the team couldn’t win a game. I ended up telling my discouraged son that a “winning” attitude was what was important to me, no matter what the scoreboard read. It looked like it was going to be a bleak season for him. Was my son a loser?
We all get discouraged like my friend Laurie or my son. People’s criticism or difficult circumstances sometimes just seem to line up perfectly to draw us down and defeat us. But you know, lately I’ve come to lean on something even bigger than what my critics or my circumstances seem to say about me: the Word of God.
You see, if you believe what God’s Word says, truly believe it, there’s no way you’ll come to the conclusion that you are a loser. Not when you’ve got scripture verses that say you are: God’s child; Christ’s friend; a saint; complete in Christ; and established, anointed and sealed by God (John 1:12, John 15:15, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 2:10, 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22).
I think you get the picture. God didn’t send his only begotten son to die for a bunch of losers. Not when he sees us as his “chosen people” (1 Peter 2:9).
Neil Anderson author of one of my favorite books, “The Bondage Breaker” says that the crux of the matter is our belief, “Your attitudes, actions, responses, and reactions to life’s circumstances are greatly affected by what you believe about yourself. If you see yourself as the helpless victim of Satan and his schemes, you will probably live like a victim and be in bondage to his lies. But if you see yourself as a dearly loved and accepted child of God, you will have a better chance of living like one.”
It took all Laurie had, but she did finally gain her nursing degree. She accomplished her goal, but I’m sure that believing that she was a failure didn’t help any. And my son’s baseball team ended up doing an incredible turnaround in its final games. Seeded six out of six teams, they edged their way up through the playoff games upsetting the top teams and winning the league’s championship game. My son ended up being a winner – but you know, in Christ he was a winner all along wasn’t he?
1 John 3:1a
New Living Translation
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!
1 Peter 2:9
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
New International Version
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Has My Christian Devotional Blog become your Christian devotional blog yet? Just click the link below to receive your free email updates! (And I won't share your info with others.)
It was a crisp, sunny day in Washington, D.C. when I left the conference. Climbing into my rental car, map in hand, I was confident of my journey home.
It was a pre-GPS era back then, and I had received my directions before leaving the hotel from what I thought was a trusted source. They were simple: a straight road and then I would see the entrance onto the highway that would take me home. No problem.
I began to notice that something wasn’t quite right when my straight road narrowed into a residential area with no highway entrance in site. I stopped and asked a mail carrier whose cryptic directions led me through an alleyway and on to some embassy office buildings. From there, I hailed a man and explained my plight. In a thick accent, he told me that he was not from the area and couldn’t help me.
My pulse quickened, and my heart thudded in my chest as I realized what was happening – I was lost! Panic set in for me, and a strange sense of hysteria accompanied it. I had no way of calling anyone and didn’t feel that returning to the hotel was an option. The hugeness of the city closed in on me. I parked on a curb and sobbed – certain I’d be lost forever.
That’s when my angel came.
He was tall and dark skinned and he wore brown coveralls that sported an embroidered public works logo. He came striding up to my half-opened window and asked if I needed help. I’m sure he saw the tears in my eyes as I showed him my map.
“Oh, you’re looking for that entrance right over there,” he said pointing to a one-way highway entrance in view. “You’re allowed to use that during the day.” Relief flooded over me as I thanked the man and he left. I began to back out when I turned my head, wanting to see my rescuer one more time. He should have been just a few steps from my vehicle. But he wasn’t … he was gone.
I love my angel story and I’ve told it time and again to friends and family throughout my life. It’s strange though, to think that angels are among us don’t you think? I mean, that’s pretty much “out there” isn’t it? But, when you look at scripture, you see that even God’s word says it’s so: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” Hebrews 13:2.
In the Bible, Abraham, Gideon, and Manoah (the father of Samson) all experienced visits from angels without realizing who they were.
Who are angels anyway? Some think that angels are people who have died and gone to heaven. That seems to be the image we get from cartoons on TV right? But a good look at scripture tells us that this isn’t so. The Bible actually says that angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” Hebrews 1:14. Wow! I’d say that’s a plus!
Angels throughout the Bible performed many different tasks like protecting and guiding God’s people and delivering them from danger. They also proclaimed God’s messages, executed judgment and worshipped God themselves.
I remember hearing Page’s story. I met her in a Bible study quite a few years back. As we all got to know her, Page began to open up and explain some of the things she had been through. She told us that she had had bone cancer and that, just before receiving a bone marrow transplant, she had “entertained” some angels in a restaurant.
She said that an older couple had approached her and began talking with her. In the course of their conversation, the older man, not really even knowing what Page was about to go through, said these words: “It’s not that bad.”
Page told us that later she realized that the man was referring to her transplant, and she knew then, that she was going to be all right.
Awhile ago, angels were the “in” thing and I think that, for some, our attention got a bit skewed. Angels are celestial beings higher than men but not higher than God. And we need to make sure that we’ve got a Christ-centered focus when it comes to them. It’s good though, to know that they are around and it’s a good reason to be kind to strangers because, well, you never know…
What’s your story?
Have you ever “entertained” an angel? I'd like to hear about it. Drop a comment below, and share your experience!
Psalm 34:7 (New International Version) The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Daniel 6:22 (New Living Translation)
My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. …
Psalm 91:11-12 (Amplified Bible) For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
Don't worry -it's stuffed...
The one thing I never tire of while living in
is hearing the interesting wildlife stories I get from area locals...
I’ve heard an incredible story about a pregnant “dead” snake that gave live birth to a batch of “snakelets” in my good friend’s driveway. And I’ve heard a bizarre tale of a deafening “sasquatch” scream that came in the dark hours of a frozen winter morning. And just this last weekend, I heard a crazy story of a plate of cookies and a yardful of hungry bears.
I was sitting on the lawn at a friend’s party watching my girls bounce all their energy out on a trampoline, when a man sat down and introduced himself. A friend of mine looked at him with a sparkle in her eye and said, “Oh, you have to tell the story about the bears.”
We gathered the children ‘round and settled ourselves in for the tale. And in the spirit of Pa Ingalls from the “Little House” books, the man began to spin his own yarn about some cookies and some bear.
Our storyteller said that long ago he knew of a neighboring man in a hunting camp who had been feeding bear. Our teller wanted a chance to see this for himself so he asked his neighbor to call him over when the bear came around.
He soon got his phone call and headed over to his neighbor’s who met him with a plateful of cookies. “We’re going to feed the bear,” he told him. Our teller followed him out to his front yard and was shocked to find the bear waiting, all seven of them. Slowly, he followed his neighbor out into the yard and away from the safety of the house. And together they hand-fed those wild bear the cookies.
Our storyteller’s eyes grew big when he told us his tale. “I couldn’t believe I followed him out there,” he said. “Those bear could have had me down with one swipe of a paw.” He said that he grew a bit panicky when he realized that there was no easy way back to the house. He’d allowed himself to be led into a dangerous situation and safety seemed miles away. He found himself somewhat surrounded.
Ever feel like you are surrounded by something that’s bigger than you? Now, I know that in most cases, you won’t feel threatened by a passel of bears like our storyteller, but I think you know what I mean. The pressures, stresses, anxieties and fears of life do tend to close in on us don’t they? And sometimes, without realizing how or when it happened, we can find ourselves surrounded.
Jehoshaphat, an Old Testament king, found himself in a sticky situation when the armies of the Moabites, the Ammonites and some of the Meunites came to make war against him.
In 2 Chronicles 20 we learn that Jehoshaphat chose to deal with the situation by begging God for guidance and by fasting. Jehoshaphat chose not to focus on the problem, but on the promises of God’s protection over his people.
I can see Jehoshaphat throwing up his hands to the Almighty as he prayed in 2 Chronicles 20:12, “O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
Jehoshaphat found himself closed in by the enemy and he chose to look up for his deliverance. And I love the answer he got from God: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15b).
The people of Israel, though under attack, were able to move forward in confidence, knowing that God would deliver them. Full of faith, they moved into the battle the next day praising God.
God wants us to look to him in times of trouble. Our creator knows our limitations and he wants us to turn to him when things get tough. I love this Bible story and I have prayed my share of “Jehoshaphat prayers” is my life.
Are you feeling surrounded, trapped or under attack today? You know what to do right? Follow in the footsteps of Jehoshaphat and give the battle to God.
Isaiah 59:19b King James Version
When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
2 Chronicles 20:22 New International Version
As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
Isaiah 49:25 New Living Translation
But the Lord says,
“The captives of warriors will be released,
and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved.
For I will fight those who fight you,
and I will save your children.