Bloom Excerpt

Old Faithful

My husband and I have had the opportunity to vacation in Yellowstone National Park on several occasions. No matter how many times I have seen the sight, I love to watch the Old Faithful Geyser erupt and display its beauty. As it spews steam and water into the air, I am totally in awe of the fact that God created something that is so beautiful. This past trip I was able to record the eruption and I have watched the video numerous times. It is such a powerful sight and one that I truly love. Old Faithful has faithfully erupted approximately every ninety minutes for years. Yet it’s faithfulness is nothing compared to the faithfulness of the Creator of such beauty!

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) tells us, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” I think faith is an element of my life, which has grown stronger over the years. When I reflect on situations where God was faithful, it helps build a new faith within me. I can recall moments in my life where I was struggling, yet God was there. I didn’t see Him at the time, but when I look back, I see His hand was at work in my life through every situation. Through the good and the bad, the happy and sad, the moments of joy and the times of tears. I can truly say that God has always been faithful.

God has faithfully sent me wonderful Christian mentors and friends who keep my feet firmly planted in His Word. God always shows up when I need Him the most. He always leads me when I step out in faith to serve. Most importantly, He is always faithful to listen. I simply need to seek Him in all situations.

God has not only given me an opportunity to serve, but He has also blessed me with the opportunity to work with many of His faithful servants along the way. I am blessed to know this faithful God. He is the one who created Old Faithful as a reminder that He is more powerful and more faithful than any geyser which He created for our enjoyment. He is more than I can fathom or understand, but I know He is always there. To me, God is Old Faithful!

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior.

You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.

You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength.

You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations.

Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders.

From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.

Psalm 65:5–8

Bird Poop

This devotion is for my husband, Jim, because he said, “You can’t write a devotion about bird poop.” And when I told my friend Angie about my analogy she must have been speechless because she didn’t even reply. But the next morning she had a good chuckle when she couldn’t see out the rear window of her van because of all the bird poop.

Our deck continuously gets plastered with bird poop. At first, we thought a gaggle of geese visited during the night. It was atrocious! Down the sidewalk, up the steps and all over the deck. Every day, I hose off the deck (multiple times), and they poop all over it again. The cycle just continues. We never see the culprits but there must be a lot of them based on the mess they are leaving behind!

Isn’t life sometimes just like bird poop? You step into unexpected problems and what a mess. You feel like you are sitting in bird poop when shocking news comes your way. The worst is the unexpected bomb shells that take you by surprise. News like: Your spouse wants a divorce. Your teenager has a drinking problem. Your pregnancy ends unexpectedly. Your friend has cancer. Facing bankruptcy. Admit it sometimes life really is just like bird poop. We can wallow in it, or we can remember that there is One who will help lift us out of the mire and set our feet back on clean ground.

Take a look at the story of Abigail. Nabal was not your model husband and he definitely never won the husband of the year award! He was “crude and mean in all his dealings” (1 Samuel 25:3). She had to feel like she lived in bird poop, but she learned to make the best of a bad situation.

David and his men had protected Nabal’s men while they were sheering sheep. In return David sent word that they were going to pass through the area. He requested that Nabal and his people please provide some provisions for them. But Nabal, in his selfishness, refused to share and as a result David planned an attack.

Now Abigail had just been pooped on one more time! Her and the people were about to be murdered because of her husband’s bad attitude. Abigail didn’t wallow in the poop. She didn’t walk around worrying or pointing a finger at Nabal. Instead she stepped forward, developed a plan and sent the servants out to greet David and his men with a feast. As David approached, Abigail bowed low and begged him for forgiveness for her husband’s lack of hospitality. David instantly saw the wisdom that she possessed. She was a hero for her quick thoughts and actions.

“Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. For I swear by the LORD, the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would still be alive tomorrow morning.” Then David accepted her present and told her, “Return home in peace. I have heard what you said. We will not kill your husband.” (1 Samuel 25:32– 35)

Abigail later told Nabal about the near disaster he had caused by his uncontrollable temper. The news caused him to have a stroke, and death shortly followed. Nabal was not the model husband, but to be a widow in biblical days was just another douse of bird poop. Abigail probably just wanted to say, “It is enough Lord!” The story doesn’t tell us how she reacted but considering her past example, I’m sure she handled it with dignity and confidence. We do know that God rewarded Abigail for her heart of gold and her wisdom. When David heard of Nabal’s death, he requested her hand in marriage and she quickly accepted.

Abigail was able to see beyond herself to the greater good of the people. She didn’t focus on the bird poop that was dropping all around her. She focused on the big picture and the One who could rescue her from uncertainty. She wasn’t a prestigious woman, but she was very wise and capable.

For your focus today, look past the bird poop of life and focus on the good that lies ahead. God will take all your poopy situations in life and turn them into good someday. He knows your past, your life today, and He holds your future.

Suggested Scripture Reading • 1 Samuel 25

The Lost Sheep

Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” (Luke 15:1–7)

Over lunch one day my friend Angie asked how the book was coming along. I shared that I had written almost one hundred devotions and was going to stop there and send it to the publisher. She looked at me and said,

“No, ninety-nine.”

“Why ninety-nine?” I asked.

“Because of the lost sheep,” she replied.

What an impact that simple statement had on my thinking and I quit writing devotions at ninety– nine. If you don’t believe me, take the time to count the devotions and you will find that there are ninety-nine writings from the introduction through the conclusion. Why ninety-nine you ask? A reminder for you and me to pray for the lost sheep, because they are so precious to Jesus.

I recently watched the movie War Room and was so moved by the movie that I built my own war room in our basement. I have always believed in the power of prayer, but the portrayal in this movie ignited a new passion within me to not only increase my prayer life, but to pray more boldly. The room is simple, but just what I need to spend time alone with God. It is a mixture of old furniture to block the view of the furnace, an old area rug, a sheet to cover a bare wall, and a piece of fiberglass board which I use as a dry erase board. No money involved, very little time, a few decorations and a chair turned some useless space into a quiet room where I can pray.

You will find at the top of the dry erase board the words, “Lost Sheep.” It is my reminder to pray boldly for those who are not walking with Christ. I ask God to move in their lives, that they may someday find Jesus. I pray God uses the stories and the words He has given me to reach the lost, and that this book will have an impact on their lives. Throughout the process of writing I have often wondered who would want to read my crazy stories. Along the way, many encouraged me to publicizing them, and so I did. Writing devotions has become my passion and my form of journaling my thoughts. What I gained from this process far outweighs any time spent writing, because this book hasn’t been about me or for me. This book is God’s message to reach the lost. I am glad I persevered, because when one lost sinner turns toward Jesus, there is wonderful rejoicing in heaven.

Regardless of where you are in your walk with the Lord, please know that I am praying for you. I pray for the ninety-nine, asking God to help them remain bold in their faith so they may lead the lost one to the path of grace and forgiveness. And if you are the sheep who is lost, know that we may never meet this side of heaven, but you are always in my prayers. God loved you before you were formed, He loves you with all of your sins, and He loves you even more when you run into His arms of grace.

Suggested Scripture Reading

• Psalm 139:13–16

• Matthew 9:9–13

• Romans 3:22–24