Posted in Life

The miracle of this new day

When my bible study leader spoke a class-opening prayer, he thanked God for “the miracle of this new day.” For some reason, those words touched me and I jotted them down. How often do I consider “today” to be a miracle?

Today would not be, had not God created the first day and set time in motion. Today – any day – is a testimony to the Creator. Today – every day – is unlike any other. It never existed before. It will never happen again. When I wake up each morning, I don’t have to be on the lookout for miracles. I am in the miracle.

I would not be, had not God knit me together within my mother, and given me life and breath and everything else. When I wake up each morning, I don’t have to wonder if miracles still happen. My life is the miracle.

I suppose it’s easy to forget “the miracle of this new day” when you have woken up every morning for the last ten or forty or eighty years or more. I’ve gotten used to it. It doesn’t feel special.

So this simple petition is powerful. If this new day is miraculous, and my life is a miracle, then the miracle worker himself is alive and well and still at work in the world and in my life.

Posted in garden, Life

From Tiny Seeds to Blooming Beauty: The Miracle of Gardening

As wandered through the garden shop’s aisles of colorful and more expensive than ever pots of annuals, I decided, “I’m going to plant some seeds this year.” I had just finished cleaning up my backyard gardens which were now, other than the amaryllis, devoid of color. Having seen the beautifully landscaped entrances to gated-communities near me, I visualized now nice my garden would look in just a few weeks.

The seed display is off in the corner, behind the patio furniture. This store stocks two brands, and each brand offers regular and organic packets of vegetable and flower seeds. Other than price, I doubt there is much difference between organic and non-organic seeds. I’ll look that up later.

I’ve researched what flowers will grow best in my area, so I am armed with a list. The pictures on each packet explode with color. I underestimated just how amazing my garden will look!

I find zinnias, marigolds, and cosmos, but none of the others on my list. I know, I should have just shopped online. But then I’d miss the sights and smells that get my gardening juices flowing. I do find a couple of colorful flower mixes. I’ll give those a try.

Back home, I’m ready to plant. I carefully open the first packed of zinnia seeds. Wow, you don’t get very many seeds in a packet. They’re tiny, too. I carefully pour some into the palm of my hand. Don’t sneeze, or they’ll be gone. Picking up a few between thumb and forefinger, I drop them along a line I’ve drawn in the soil with a trowel. I can’t even see where they’ve landed. Before I know it, they’re gone. Trusting that they have found a home, I gently cover them with a 1/4-inch layer of dirt. That’s not very much, but that’s what the instructions call for. I do this with all my purchased seeds. They didn’t go very far. I will have to buy more for other areas in the garden.

I grab my watering can and moisten all the areas I’ve planted. And that’s it. Done. And what do I have to show for all my efforts? Nothing. My garden looks exactly the same as when I started. Dirt. I know, it takes a few days for the seeds to germinate and weeks before I’ll see any flowers.

The whole process is a simple yet powerful act of faith. Faith that the seed will actually grow. Faith that the plants will actually produce flowers. Faith that color will explode from that little black speck that disappeared into the ground.

It’s a miracle. A lifeless seed comes to life with some soil, sun, and water. And I get to watch that miracle happen.

Posted in 2022 Lent Devotions


“Mirror of the Passion” Lent devotion for March 23, 2022. Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. (Luke 23:8)

So where have you been for the last three and a half years, Herod? You’re the ruler of Galilee and you never got a chance to see Jesus? Entire towns showed up to see Jesus. Crowds followed him from place to place. You could have caught his show at any number of places.

And let’s face it. That’s all it really was for Herod. A show. Herod wasn’t a believer. He was curious, but he was just part of that “wicked and adulterous generation” who always wanted a miraculous sign.

Do we ever come to see the “Jesus show?” Do we ever come to church simply to be entertained by musical talent or an inspirational speaker? Sure we do. And that’s just fine with the church, who will strive to provide entertainment and inspiration so that you’ll come to the “Jesus show.”

I know that’s harsh. But in our culture, we do expect to be entertained. We expect to be entertained all the time. And while there’s nothing wrong with entertainment, that’s not why Jesus came. He didn’t come to do card tricks or make balloon animals or make an elephant disappear. He came to save us from sin and death. He performed miracles to verify that he was the Savior. He performed miracles to help those who were suffering from so many different ailments. He performed miracles because of his great power and his great love. But he never played to the crowd.

There are plenty of folks who would like to see a miracle. I’m one of them. A wise friend commented, “There are miracles all around us, if you just take time to look for them.” How true. We can talk to just about anyone anywhere in the world at anytime during the day. That’s miraculous. A baby is born, breathes, cries, looks up at you, and smiles. What a miracle! The human eye can distinguish over 10 million different colors. Whoa. A really, really good cup of coffee smells and tastes so good. Same goes for bacon and freshly baked bread. Oh, yeah. You wake up fifteen seconds before your morning alarm goes off. How does that happen?

There are a lot of people who would like to see Jesus, too. I’m one of them. But not just for a miracle. Forever and forever.

Thanks for all the miracles, Lord. Amen.

Posted in Devotions, Lent, Ministry

2020 Lenten devotion #6 – Water into blood (part 1)

Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

“If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.” (Exodus 4:9)

So Moses has to convince an entire nation, all of Israel, that he is to be their leader who will bring them out of slavery. Not an easy task.

No problem. God will give you a few tools, a few impressive feats to convince them. A staff that turns into a serpent. A hand that becomes leprous and then whole again. And water from the Nile that turns into blood. You got this Moses!

You had me at “staff into serpent.” You have that kind of power at your disposal? I’m all ears. When do we leave? What should I pack?

Well, maybe. How did he do that? Is this for real? In a world of lies, fake news and scams, who do you believe? Who’s telling the truth? Who should you listen to? We’ve got scripture, history and eyewitnesses to shape our faith. Israel had ancient legends, bedtime stories and desperate prayers. We still have our doubts. So did they.

One way or the other, God was going to deliver his people. It didn’t matter whether or not they believed. It didn’t matter if Moses had to pull out all of the tricks God gave him. These folks were not going to stay in Egypt. They were going home. And they would know that it was God who made all the travel arrangements.

Drops of blood on the ground where Jesus was flogged and where he was crucified testified to the power of God to save us. Travel arrangements, right? Because of that blood, we’ll get to go home, too.

Chances are you’ll pour out some water today and it will turn into coffee, tea, lemonade or soup. We take those things for granted, but it’s really amazing when you think about it. Maybe one of those things will remind you to recall the powerful things God has done and the travel arrangements he’s made for you for eternity!

Thanks for the tickets to go home, Lord. Amen.