On a recent vacation to my hometown I discovered that they were in the process of tearing down my old high school building. A sudden sadness came over me as I began to reminisce about the years I spent walking the halls of those old buildings. I got in my car and drove by the site and saw only piles of rubble of what used to be a place of learning. A plastic orange fence surrounded the site but I was able to reach through and secure an old brick to take home with me. The brick would serve as somewhat of a memorial of my high school years. In that old building I met my high school sweetheart who became my wife. I also watched the first lunar landing during one summer school class in that building. I have so many pleasant memories that flood in when I look at that old brick.
The children of Israel were told to build not a pile of bricks but a pile of stones in Joshua 4 as a memorial of a wonderful miracle. God had dried up the river and the people crossed over into the Promised Land on dry ground. Two piles of stones were to be erected. One pile of 12 stones was deposited in the middle of the Jordan River and the other 12 stones were placed on the banks of the river. Joshua 4:6,7 tells us: “…when your children ask in time to come, saying, what do these stones mean to you? Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever”.
We all need to be reminded of the good things that the Lord has done for us. We need to recall those clear acts of God on our behalf. Has the Lord parted some waters for you? Has He protected, provided, and empowered you lately? Let’s be sure to remember His mighty works on our behalf.
We have a family of muscovie ducks that are attracted to our pond. I am not particularly fond of them because of the mess they make in my back yard but they are a part of nature and I tolerate them most of the time. There is another pond in our neighborhood probably a block away. The other day I was watching 3 muscovie ducks waddling their way from our yard to the other pond. It was surprising to me that they preferred to walk that block when they were fully equipped to fly the distance in no time. Perhaps muscovie ducks are not much in a hurry. Perhaps they like the scenery. I have no idea why they walk when they can fly.
God has some encouraging words to His children as we make our weary way through this world. Our walk gets tiring as we struggle with temptations, trials and obstacles to our faith. The prophet Isaiah tells us that we do not have to slog through our journey, walking in our own strength. He informs us in Isaiah 40:29, 31: “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary they shall walk and not faint”. God promises if we look to Him, if we wait upon Him, He will help us to soar above our difficulties. We are not consigned to trudge through relying on our own power and wits. We can soar high above through the strength that God promises by His Spirit.
What weary walk are you slogging through today? What difficult problem are you trying to deal with in your own strength? His Word gives us all the wisdom we seek and His Spirit gives us all the power we need. We may not be an eagle or even a muscovie duck, but the same question applies to our spiritual lives. Why walk when we can fly?
It is inevitable. I seem to always get one of those shopping carts that have a defective wheel. It makes the whole time of pushing it through the store a little bit more difficult. It also has a tendency to veer off to one direction. Then there are those carts that go thump, thump all through the store. Have you been stuck with one of those wounded shopping carts lately? I never have asked but I wonder if they have a special guy whose job it is to fix up the wounded carts? Perhaps they even have a shop that is dedicated to repairing to useful service those carts that need some attention.
As I was thinking about this the Lord brought to mind one of the duties of His church. We are called to help those fellow believers who also are wounded. In this special shop called the church we are to “love one another fervently” (1Peter 1:22). We are instructed to be involved in restoring those who have been overtaken in a fault, but we must consider ourselves lest we also be tempted (Gal. 6:1). We are to bear one another’s burdens, encourage those who struggle, and to be there to lift up those who have fallen. There are those who get so frustrated with the wounded cart believers that they advocate to just put them aside and forget about them. But our Lord Jesus taught us what God thinks about those wounded carts. He told us the story of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. In each of these situations a special effort was made to restore what was lost to a place of usefulness.
How are we doing in our own shopping cart repair shop? Are we abandoning those who do not perform up to acceptable standards or are we doing everything we can to get them up and running again? We must remember that we do have a special guy in our shop that is an expert at fixing the broken, and the wounded, His name is Jesus. Bring the wounded carts to Him.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation