Don’t Blast the Bighorn Sheep

September 28, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

For the first time in my life I saw bighorn sheep. Normally reclusive, a heard of twelve stopped to eat near a roadside. The alpha male kept watch and nudged the rear ends of the others to keep them together. Two sheep pranced up a rock face that must have been 60 degrees. I could hardly believe my eyes.

Cars stopped along the roadside, and people milled about taking photos. A silent awe lingered in our midst. We all knew we were privileged to witness this gift of nature, which could vanish at any moment. Everything any of us had been doing stopped as we took in this blessing.

Suddenly a car horn blasted the holy silence, and we sheep oglers turned in shock and disbelief. A not-so-interested driver maneuvered her car along the road and seemed only to care that everyone else got out of the way. I doubted it was an emergency because she only expressed impatience of one who didn’t want to be bothered—in a national park, hours from anywhere else to go.

The contrast jolted me. How could a person be so oblivious? So self-interested? So willfully disdainful of a rare experience? I did not know.

Then I thought, am I ever that way? I’m often busy, and sometimes I get impatient. And when I am, I may be unaware of what I’m blasting out of my way. I do not like to think that I’m like that lady in the car. But sometimes I am.

God’s hand and things he would show us can be found anywhere and any time. I intend to avoid blasting my horns of impatience. I will avoid hurry, my eyes open, ready to see what God might show me at unexpected moments each day.

I hope you do too.

PRAYER: Lord, sometimes I’m in a hurry. May my heart always be attuned to whatever You have to show me and whenever that may be. My agenda is second; Yours is first. May I never forget.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10, NIV).

Beauty from Water and Sand

September 18, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Peter Lundell –

Beauty rises from consistent, mundane effort. I saw this when I had the privilege of hiking “The Narrows” in Zion National Park, perhaps among the world’s greatest hikes. It’s a “slot canyon,” which gets as narrow as 15-20 feet, and in which the swirling walls rise vertically, and even cantilever, to where they are in some places only 10 feet apart. Most of the time the path is the river.

Even in the upper reaches of the canyon, the water is an opaque tan. It looks somewhat ugly and in need of cleaning. But it has always been opaque tan from the sand and dirt washing down.

My shoes were constantly catching sand and small bits of rock. Whenever I cupped my hands in the water, I received a watery sand blast.

This continuous heavy erosion into the river is exactly what made the incredible canyon in the first place. And elsewhere on a larger scale, we get the Grand Canyon. Beauty rises from continuous mundane erosion.

Look at anything in life, whether something you admire or that you yourself have done. Look at a person who has a mature and admirable character, or someone who has accomplished remarkable things. These are like the amazing canyons of the natural world. They happen through relentless consistency and work that may seem painfully mundane. But the result is astonishing beauty or achievement.

Is there an area in your life where you are doing this? I encourage you to keep it up. Do you have the potential—if you did the daily, mundane work—to create a thing of beauty or be a person of more noble character? I believe every one of us does.

PRAYER: Lord, may I learn from the world You have given me to see purpose even in the small things I do, to be patient and never give up in doing what You have called me to do and being who You have created me to be.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:7-9 NIV).

Homeless With or Without a Home

August 31, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

I spent two and a half days with a group in my church on skid row in Los Angeles (thank you to Pastor Tony who hosted us). If you go there any time day or night, you’ll see hundreds of people on the sidewalks. We served in the missions and walked the streets with Pastor Tony, getting personally acquainted with some of the people. We also got a tour of the rehabilitation efforts going on.

I was astonished to see the clinics, rehab centers, and even a high school for the homeless. Our guide, who had once been on the street himself, told us 99 percent of the people who end up on the street don’t have to stay there. There is help.

The most important efforts are those of rehabilitation. Feeding and sheltering are essential, and serve as the doorways to getting and staying off the streets. Mental illness, addictions, and fierce independence keep many from getting that help.

I thought about all the people who have homes. But they can be spiritually homeless. Outwardly they may look fine, but inwardly they may be lost and hurting, covering up confusion and pain with the nice things money can buy. And just like the physically homeless, they don’t need to stay that way. There is help.

When Jesus walked the earth, He tended to hang out with less-than-reputable people. Religious types didn’t like that. But He told them He came for sinners, for people who need transformation.

If I think about it, and without judging, I suspect there are spiritually homeless people all around us. Are you in any way spiritually homeless? Or do you know someone who is? What difference could you make in that person’s life—or even your own?

PRAYER: Father, in Your arms is my true home. Lead me to turn away from everything that would hinder me from You. I seek you and set my heart on you for both my life that is seen and that is unseen.

“Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress” (Psalm 71:3, NIV).

When There’s No AAA

August 19, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Peter Lundell –

My friend, Ron, along with several other men was driving through the African nation of Burundi to meet local people about orphan assistance projects. None of these Americans spoke the language. Their radiator erupted, and steam billowed from the engine.

Ron automatically pulled out his AAA card. But he was in Africa. Then a boy came by with water on his head. Out there, water is a precious commodity for which people commonly walk long distances.

With a hole in the radiator, the car broke down about every two and a half kilometers. Thirty-eight kilometers lay between them and their destination—all of it through rural areas. And AAA was half a world away.

The car broke down twenty-four—yes 24—times. Imagine your car breaking down that many times on one trip. And these guys were doing this for God.

We might ask why God would allow such trouble to people traveling to the other side of the planet to serve Him. Why wouldn’t God provide something else, like a better car? Or why wouldn’t He supernaturally prevent the engine from continual breakdown? Because this problem provided a graphic illustration of something more important: Every single time the car broke down, God provided. Each of those breakdowns happened by a stream, a pond, or as someone generous to give their water was walking by.

Which do you suppose is more important to God: (A) Making our lives easier so that we no longer need Him—and forget about Him. (B) Showing faithfulness in meeting our needs and drawing us closer to Him when we’re in trouble.

You also may have experienced this sort of thing. Think how God works in your life: He loves you so much He’ll let you have trouble. And He’ll meet you in the middle of it.

“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NIV).

“Father, You are the one who meets my needs. I commit to grow my attitude and trust You rather than get upset when things go badly. Meet me and grow me and draw me closer to You in the midst of my needs.”

Playing with Pythons

July 4, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

My parents were missionaries in Tanzania. When I was about four years old, I was playing with a bunch of older kids on a row of oil drums that stood beside a garage. In the shade between the drums and the wall stretched an animal I’d never seen before. It was long and curvy, coming toward me.

I pointed and told the other kids, but they all screamed and ran away. I scoffed at them. I was fascinated at how the animal was so big and long. I reached down to pet it. It raised and cocked back its head. I thought it wanted to be petted the way my dogs did.

The screen door slammed, my mother screamed and dashed toward me. She yanked me off those drums so frantically I thought my shoulder would separate. Some men trapped the python, and I can still see my father crushing it with a weathered 4×4.

Recently I got to hold a python like the one I’d tried to pet when I was four (except this one was tame and had a full stomach—thank you, Paula!). Paula told me that when a python rears its head like the one I tried to pet, it’s ready to strike. It would have seized me, pulled me down, and coiled around me. No human being could have pulled it off or saved me in time. Until now I never realized I had been seconds from death.

How many times in life have you naively played with danger? It can come in any form. I wonder if we often fear things we shouldn’t and don’t fear things we should. Think about that and how many ways it applies.

To take the idea further, spiritual dangers surround us as well, most of them disguised. Have you experienced your heavenly Father crushing evil that may have harmed you?

PRAYER: Father, in my foolishness I have sometimes played with danger—and with evil. Thank you for Your protection. May I always carry in me the mind of Christ so that I will act faithfully in the face of danger and of evil.

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV).

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