In Psalm 34:15, we read that “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.”
God sees and is attentive to our cries today. What a wonderful truth when we feel ignored or overlooked, forgotten or discouraged. God is attentive to us this very moment.
I’ve been thinking about how, in Exodus, the whole point of delivering the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt was for the purpose of worship.
We read this great purpose in Exodus 7, 8, 9 and 10: “Let my people go so that they may worship me.”
When God moves to release us from sin, and when we receive Christ into our hearts, we become true worshipers first and foremost. I think sometimes we immediately jump to service or giftedness to minister rather than our primary purpose: worship.
We leave to explore the shores of White Lake, and within just a few yards, we discover eggs hidden in the cypress trees, a baby turtle belly-flopping off the log, ducklings coming too close to my feet, dragonflies sunning on laundry lines, and minnows darting under piers. We visit with neighbors and meet a new dog.
I’ll forever love exploring nature especially. I think of Thoreau’s lines in Walden: “We need the tonic of wildness. . . We can never have enough of nature.” I think of Emerson: “In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.” And I think of the poet Wallace Stevens who wrote, “Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.”
I love walking in nature, and I return refreshed and full of wonder. I return more myself.
It’s wonderful to take a moment and talk to children about what they’re worried about, what they’re mulling over, and what kind of thoughts trouble them. Getting these thoughts out–and having a loving adult reassure them–can make all the difference in the life of a child. My friend told me that a great parenting tip is to, each day, look your children fully in the face and give them ten minutes of undivided and undistracted attention.
You listen. You ask good questions. You don’t even move. You just look at them and listen to whatever they need to say.
Today, on the way, it’s seeing a large bird of prey nesting on top a tall pine. It’s drinking a fancy vanilla latte in a coffee shop in Asheville (where the barista convinced me I must absolutely try the last of the chocolate croissants). But the best part? A safe arrival to where Grandma Kitty waits, fresh from the farmer’s market, with sliced tomatoes, okra, butter beans, purple hull peas, and corn. She has a carrot cake from the church bake sale and barbecue chicken just out of oven.
We’ll eat, play cards, and enjoy the summer evening.
I see the sign as we exit for gas in a lonely, dusty part of what I think is Missouri. We’ve been driving for hours. The sign tells me I can get a pound of cherries for $1.00. How could I resist? And this roadside fruit stand had my favorites: apricots. We drive on, and I’m feasting on cherries and apricots.
In the next state, I’m counting on peaches. Then, I’ll find okra to bring to Grandma Kitty. I’ll bring watermelon and fresh tomatoes, too.
It’s such a great reminder to note that we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). I ask my daughter what she thinks this verse means, and she explains that we trust in a God that we cannot see today.
We base this whole life on the unseen!
In so many ways, what we see paints a landscape of hopelessness, discouragement, or impossibility. What we don’t see represents a whole network of spiritual aid and unseen processes.
On my way to reading the Psalms this morning, I instead find myself in 1 Kings 17. I read again such a precious story tucked into four verses:
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward, and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.” So he did what the Lord had told him. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook” (2-6).
Can you imagine? How wonderful and supernatural to have God order the birds to deliver meals to Elijah. I love this story because it showcases God’s power, control over nature, specific direction, and care for His servant. It’s also delightful. It’s also rather whimsical. God could have arranged the food to come by any means, in any way, and yet, He chooses a bird delivery system.
God, You are wonderful! You are good, and we delight in You! Thank you for your sweet provision, in a wonderful way, for your people. Help us see your provision today that might just arrive on the wings of some unconventional, unexpected system. Sometimes we’re Elijah, and sometimes we’re the birds that come to feed others.
Today I felt so comforted by the fact that people don’t need me when I’m teaching or speaking in front of larger crowds; they need God’s word. If I were to clarify a personal mission, it’s to connect people more and more to the power of God’s word in their lives.
It’s so wonderful to think about ministry, not in terms of new ideas or better strategies, but in terms of how effectively we can introduce people to the Bible because it brings them to Jesus.
Lately, I’ve been so comforted by God’s role as Teacher.
No matter where I am, there’s something to learn. This helps me when I feel stuck; I become a learner. I take on that role. I look and listen, and I respond with joy to what God teaches.