The Father’s Heart

May 7, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

Our dog recently ran away. My daughter and I love Angel, our little Yorkie, as if she were our baby. So we were grief-stricken when we could not find her.

I prayed and prayed she would be found and returned. Then the call came!

When we went to the house and the person brought Angel to us, I felt overwhelmed with joy.
But Angel was more interested in the owner’s dogs. When I held her, she seemed to think nothing of it, as if simply going home after a day’s adventure. She was oblivious to what she had done, how troubled we were, and how happy we were to get her back.

She couldn’t understand; she’s a dog.

Then it struck me. So many of us are like her. Even I have been like her.

Countless people, including you and me, have been separated from God—and thought nothing of it. We couldn’t understand. We’re human, not God. We’re as oblivious as Angel the dog.

And all the while God aches for his lost ones to come to him.

I could feel the Father’s heart as Jesus expressed in Luke 15 with the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. The Father searches for the one lost, longing for return. And when the lost one is found, God, the angels, and those in heaven rejoice over every person who comes to faith.

When we get right with God, we might say a prayer and feel good. But like the dog, we have little idea of the immensity of what’s happened or how heaven rejoices over us.

If I could feel strongly about a four-legged animal, imagine how the Creator and Lover of our Souls feels about us. It overwhelms me.

May you also be overwhelmed at feeling God’s heart.

PRAYER: “My heavenly Father, I have caused You both grieving and rejoicing. May I feel Your heart, how You’ve grieved over me when I’ve gone astray and how You’ve rejoiced over me when I’ve come into Your arms.”

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:20–23 NIV).

Seeing Beyond Sight

April 26, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Peter Lundell –

How can you see better after going blind?

Janet Perez Eckles has. She’s one of the most cheerful and enthusiastic people I’ve ever met. I got to know her at a writer’s conference, and afterward I waited with her at the airport until her husband came. Were they ever in love! She’s a constant inspiration.

At age 31 Janet lost her eyesight to Retinitis Pigmentosa, a hereditary disease that deteriorates the retina.

“I used to be a run-of-the-mill chica,” she says. “After going blind, I’ve gained insight about life, depth as a person, and I’m living with purpose.”

She’s obviously not glad she went blind, but through her faith in Christ, she has learned to see life better now than she did when she had physical sight. She naturally went through a period of despair and struggle. But she didn’t stay there. She knew she had to make a decision about how she would live. This is her key: “I’m able to find joy in the darkness.”

Where Janet lacks physical sight, she’s learned to discern unseen things more than most of us who see. She puts it this way, “I’ve learned to see beyond eyesight. God showed me that my blindness is a tool in his hands to show me how to help others see the best in life.”

She writes books and travels nationally and internationally as an inspirational speaker—alone with her cane. And she doesn’t seem to have time or interest to think about her handicap, because she’s so concerned about other people.

We all make choices about what we see and believe. Those choices determine everything else in our lives. What choices have you made—or could you make—to take a bad thing and grow something good?

PRAYER: Lord, take me beyond complaining about the bad things in my life. Whatever my personality may be, and I may not be like Janet, but I can turn to you and rise up and choose to see troubles differently. Open my eyes to do that. Lead me to take what is bad and from it grow something good, something wonderful.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

Sweet Homeless Lady

By Peter Lundell –

I got to church early one Sunday morning and found a homeless lady with her shopping cart sitting on the steps of a side entrance. They know right when to come, hit you up for money, then leave. I avoided her for a while, because I didn’t want to be treated like a vending machine.

Finally I introduced myself. Her name was Ariel. She appeared to have a bulging tumor in her upper lip.

Then she got up to leave.

Huh? This wasn’t part of the script. “Please stay for the worship service,” I said.

“Is it okay? I don’t want to be a bother.”

“You’re not a bother. We’d love to have you. Just park your cart there.” She told me where she was from and that she didn’t like shelters. Then she pulled a big steel bolt out of her mouth. It made her feel secure—no tumor. She smiled the biggest, prettiest smile I’d seen in a long time. Ariel was so sweet, yet so hurting and lost inside.

I told her to wait there while I went to prepare things and think up ways I could help her and encourage the congregation to help her.

I came back and she was gone.

Oh, no! Why did you go?

I still feel sad when I think of it. And I still hope to find her.

Do you ever find yourself jaded and not wanting to help some people who hold out their hands? Maybe you feel guilty and bothered at the same time.

And do you also find yourself wanting to help, and sacrifice for, others who don’t ask but need it?

The desire to help others is instilled in each of us. We can either nurture that desire or banish it, depending on the attitudes we choose.

Where are you on that path?

PRAYER: Lord, may my heart be as Your heart in how I see people—people who are poor and people who are poor in spirit—especially in how I see their hearts. And may my heart be as Yours.

“Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2 NIV).

Sky Mall and the Things We Buy

February 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Peter Lundell –

On a recent flight I browsed the Sky Mall catalog, which exists to showcase things every satisfied person ought to have. My favorites:

A showerhead that lights up with different colors, which “can feel as enjoyable and relaxing as being in a spa.” Oh, really?

A toilet seat with a sensor that automatically raises and lowers the seat and lid, because “some men have a hard time remembering to put the toilet seat down after use.” Humph. Men.

The world’s largest CD storage towers that can hold my “2,262 CDs” or “936 DVDs.” But there are only 365 days in a year.                                                                                                                            

A cherry wood luxury showcase for my “24 watches. Over 4 million sold world-wide.” Guess I should have one too—after I buy another 23 watches.

A portable staircase to help my older dog get onto its favorite bed or sofa. (So I don’t have to lift my pet.) Lucky me.

Then there are the skeleton gnomes (midget skeletons with red caps), along with statuary of zombies, and replicas of King Tut’s Egyptian Throne and the Peeing Boy of Brussels. How inspiring.

Oh, how happy I would be if I owned all these things. How happy many people seem to think they will be.

By design, our consumer culture keeps adults thinking and buying like insatiable children.

Then Jesus comes along and tells us to give things up, even our lives. Who would want to follow Him? Seriously, Jesus is not attractive to materialists—which is one reason so many reconfigure Jesus as a palatable religious icon in their own image.

Yet the human heart—whatever it believes—still yearns for something deeper and more enduring. No one can adequately fill the vacuum inside it except the God who put it there in the first place.

So, how filled is your vacuum?

PRAYER: Lord, keep my heart on Your Kingdom, my eyes on the unseen, my mind on the eternal. And let me not be seduced by the allure of possessions.

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21 NIV).

Seize Your Day

February 4, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Peter Lundell –

I paid close attention at my daughter’s promotion from middle school to high school. The student speeches were good, and I was struck by these thirteen-year-olds talking about how “time flies.” Oncey they’re adults, they’ll find out how fast it can truly go.

I reminded myself of the commitment I made almost ten years earlier: When my kid’s name gets called to receive her high school diploma, I will NOT sit here and wonder where all the time went.

If time flies, each of us is a pilot. We choose how it flies. Whether we actively decide what we do with it, or passively let things take their course, we determine how time flies—or doesn’t.

But let’s get real, time doesn’t fly at all. Every minute, hour, and year is a set length (even leap year). The “flying” part is entirely our perception. Ask someone in a penitentiary or someone with a terminal illness if time flies. We all have time when it drags, even if temporarily.

So what should we do with these conclusions? The same thing writers have said for centuries: carpe diem—”seize the day.” But in a way that is more life enriching rather than just living for the moment.

Seizing the day is something we consciously decide every day—otherwise the day’s potentials vanish like mist. We make choices deliberately, and fully engage in what we do, rather than drift through life letting things happen to us. We engage meaningfully with people and events around us, and we nourish a caring heart toward them. We live for each moment rather than wallow in the past or pine for the future. We refuse to live in perpetual busyness, and as in the Luke 10:38–42 story of Martha and Mary, we focus on what is most important.

How will you seize your day?

PRAYER: “Lord and Master of my life, each day I live is a gift from You. Lead me to seize it as a zealous steward of time and experience. Open my eyes to see Your hand in all of it. . . .”

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14 NIV).

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