The Daily Scroll

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“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (I Corinthians 14:33 KJV)

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Many people, even Christians, have a misconception about God the Father. They judge Him based on their earthly father. If they had a good father, then they look on their heavenly Father as good. If their earthly father was mean, cruel, or absent, then they might expect the same from their heavenly Father. What we all need to realize is that our heavenly Father is perfect in every way. He is the best Father.

He showed His goodness to the children of Israel as He brought them out of slavery and provided for them in the desert. His word says, “I will abundantly bless her provision. I will satisfy her poor with bread” (Psalms 132:15 KJV).

And when Father speaks to His children, He does it with loving kindness, not in harsh, aggravated tones. His loving kindness is unparallel and His grace and mercy knows no limits. He is not a King who sits on a throne and tosses out crumbs to His children as if they were beggars. No, He is our loving Heavenly Father who desires to help and bless us. He is love, and He’ll bless us even when we don’t ask.

I remember how my wife and I would go to Toys R Us and buy toys, dolls, and things for our daughter when she was growing up. We loved doing it so much that we rarely waited for her to ask us for something. We would buy the things we knew she would like and surprise her. This would always bring a happy smile to her face, and as her joy was our joy, happy smiles adorned our faces as well. Today, we have an attic full of smiles, found memories that remain even today.

Not long ago I was the recipient of a surprise gift from my heavenly Father. I was short an ingredient that I needed for a tank of cleaning product I was blending. I was making two tanks and needed one gallon of this ingredient per tank. I was short three-fourths of a gallon and it would be several days before my supply arrived. On the morning I was to make it, I awoke to the voice of the Lord speaking to me in the Spirit. He said, “Take the chemical you have and divide it equally into two buckets.”

As I shook my head while trying to wake up I said, “Lord, I don’t want to short change my product. I’ve never done that before.”

He said, “Take two buckets and divide the chemical equally. Make your two tanks, I’ll take care of it.”

I said, “OK Lord. I’ll do it.” What could I say? It was the Lord.

So I went in and carefully divided the ingredient equally into two buckets, poured one into the tank with my other ingredients, and set the other bucket aside. Two days later, I went back to make the second tank, and when I reached for the bucket that was set aside, I noticed something different about it. It had a full gallon!

Setting it on a table, I stood back and looked at it like it was a two-headed rabbit. My jaw dropped, as I stood there astounded. There was no doubt that God had increased that partial gallon to a full gallon. I was too careful when I divided it, and no one had access to it. It was a miracle!

I was assured that if He increased the second bucket then He increased the first one as well. I had not even asked for this. It was just for my convenience. He did it to bless me and see the smile on my face. I know it must have brought a smile to His face also. We rejoiced together.

It reminded me of the time He used the prophet Elijah to turn an empty barrel of meal and oil into a bottomless barrel for a widow and her son, until the drought was over (1 Kings 17:14). And let’s not forget Lord Jesus turning the water in pots into fine wine (John 2:7-10).

This same God blesses us every day in ways we don’t expect nor ask, just to see the smile on our face. And like a good Father, it puts a smile on His face also. I believe when Father goes through the memories in His mind, HE finds an attic full of smiles as well.

“Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (Matthew 6:8)

The Rollercoaster

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What great amusement park doesn’t have an exciting and intimidating Roller Coaster as its centerpiece of entertainment? I’ve ridden my share, although lately, I find myself sitting on a bench holding the bags as my wife and daughter explore the thrills of the ride.

I too enjoy the beginning of the ride, slowly and deliberately ascending the heights, only to find myself looking down from the top into the drop. Yes, the drop…a seemingly endless abyss that leaves my stomach in my throat, only to be relieved by a corkscrew turn or an upside-down flip. It just makes me so very happy when it’s over!

There are times in our lives that parallel the roller coaster. On the day that the first book I authored was released, I felt on top of the world. Friends were congratulating me and buying copies. I experienced satisfaction bordering on euphoria as the longtime-coming goal had been achieved. I was on top.

Then the phone rang. My daughter was calling to tell me that my wife had been the victim of an automobile accident. She was in the hospital emergency room with back and neck pain. Suddenly I was looking down at the drop, that abyss of uncertainty and fear. I plummeted downward as those same friends began to pray. All I could think about was Martha in a hospital four hours from home.

My world went out of focus as my fear came into focus! Immediately I knew that the Lord Jesus was with me as I began to plummet. Together we hit the bottom of the drop, went through the corkscrew and did the loop where my world was upside down. Though I had no control over the ride, Jesus held my hand tightly and rode it with me. And He did more than that. He answered the prayers of my friends and family as the Doctors attended her.

He touched my wife in that emergency room. Though she entered on a gurney completely strapped down and immobilized from head to toe, She walked out of the hospital the same day with only minor soreness and completely recovered.

God promises us in His Holy Word to be with us in the ups and downs of life. The Bible says,

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)

So we should not fear. We should offer thanks to the Lord our God who walks with us on the mountain and in the valley, in the darkness and in the light. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul,

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

This season may be one where you are on a peaceful ascent on a bright sunny day, or you may be looking down at the drop. Wherever you are on life’s roller coaster, know that Jesus is in that seat beside you. You are not riding alone.

Mother

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Mother. Just the name evokes a flood of thoughts and memories. Childhood memories of a loving hand to bandage a skinned knee, and a magical kiss upon that bandage that made the pain fade away. The big smile and wild applause from the third row in the audience of a second-grade school play, acknowledging my dramatic interpretation of a tree, a tree that spoke not a word. The bedtime stories and prayers where I learned that the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Sometimes I look at her bloodstained Bible, which she took with her to dialysis treatments in her latter days. There she shared her faith and testimony with the other patients, being a blessing in her time of sickness. Though she is with the Lord, her life and love remain in my heart.

Mother. I am doubly blessed that my child has the best one, a Mother whose child is the center of her world. She’s a Mother who loves, teaches, corrects shares, prays, plays, and focuses herself completely on the health, welfare, and happiness of her child. She’s a Mother who cries every year on the first day of school after we put our daughter on the school bus. So to cheer her up and get her mind off of it, I take her to breakfast at IHOP. It’s hard to cry in your pancakes. She’s a role model our daughter will be hard-pressed to duplicate, though I know she will.

Mother. There are many wonderful Mothers in all our lives and though we honor them every year, it seems inadequate considering what they really deserve.

Mother. There once was a Mother so unique, so precious, that our heavenly Father chose her to be the Mother of His only begotten Son. She was so trusted that even though she was young, inexperienced, and poor, she was chosen to Mother our Lord Jesus. Difficult circumstances were her lot in life, and yet through unspeakable adversity, such as the death threat against her son by the King, she poured herself into her son, who became the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

It makes one wonder, what part of His determination; compassion, patience, longsuffering, and love came from her influence on Him. We assume that He received all of His attributes from His heavenly Father because He is the Son of God. But He is also the Son of man, so we must not forget to honor His Mother for being used of God the Father to instill many of those attributes.

Mother. She’s the one who pushed Jesus into His public ministry by making Him do His first public miracle. John 2:1-11 describes how He wasn’t prepared to turn the water into wine because He said that His time had not yet come.

“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him” (John 2:11 NLT).

Like us, He experienced that wonderful force of nature, a Mama who knows best!

He acknowledged her and provided for her even during His torture on the cross.

“When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:26-27 NLT).

Their love and Devotion for each other didn’t end there. As she prayed with the others in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, He filled her with the Holy Spirit, and their relationship continues to this day. She is an example to Mothers, as He is an example to Sons and daughters.

Mother. Love her. Cherish her. Honor her. She deserves it!

What Are You Doing Here?

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Once there was a minister who was lonely, depressed and feeling defeated in his life and ministry. One night in his despair, he found himself in a bar on the seedy side of town. With his head bowed low in shame, he walked across the dimly lit room and took a seat at the bar. He sat staring into his drink, a drink he had never had before, and pondered his life and his failures.

Suddenly, a man sitting two seats to his right, a man who had obviously been drinking heavily, turned to him, looked at him with piercing eyes and said, “What are you doing here?”

The minister was shocked and thought to himself, “Do I know this man? Does he know me? All the while the man stared at him with those piercing eyes awaiting an answer. An answer he already knew. This minister did not belong there.

Immediately, he rose from the bar stool and left the building. As he sat behind the wheel of his car he thought to himself, “Lord, what has brought me to this low point in my life?” It was as if the Lord had spoken through that man.

As he pulled out of the parking lot he asked for forgiveness. In his beaten and defeated condition, he went back to his home, to his family, and to his ministry. Ashamed of himself, he put one foot in front of the other, and went through the motions, feeling unworthy yet determined to try again. The Lord restored him and he continued his ministry.

There was a man in the Bible, a prophet named Elijah, who also reached a point in his life when he felt defeated and wanted to give up.

“Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.’” 1 Kings 19:3-4 (NLT)

“But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” 1 Kings 19:9-10 (NLT)

Even the great prophet Elijah reached a point in his life when he felt so defeated that he just wanted to die. The Lord asked him again “What are you doing here Elijah?” Then he was given instructions on what to do next.

There may be a time in your life when you were brought low, a time that only you and the Lord know about. Do not let that define you. Do not let that set your course for a lifetime of defeat. Instead, put one foot in front of the other — and though you feel unworthy, determine in your heart to try again. The Lord will hold you up with his strong right arm. He will set your course and make straight your path. Defeat will humble a person, but with the help of the Lord, there is hope, restoration, and a victorious future.