Writings from L. J. Thomas, Pastor Emeritus
In the middle of the night, Pastor Samuel Baggaga received a call asking him to come to the home of a church member. When he arrived, he found a house engulfed by fire. The father, though burned himself, had reentered the home to rescue one of his children and emerged with an unconscious daughter. The hospital, in this rural Ugandan setting, was six miles (10 kilometers) away. With no transportation available, the pastor and the father started running to the hospital with the child. When one of them tired from carrying the injured girl, the other one took over. Together they made the journey; the father and his daughter were treated and then fully recovered.
In Exodus 17:8–13 the Lord orchestrated a great victory that included the efforts of Joshua, who led fighting men on the battlefield; and Moses, who kept his hands raised while holding the staff of God. When Moses’ hands grew weary, Aaron and Hur assisted by each holding up one of his hands until the setting of the sun and the defeat of the enemy.
The value of interdependence can never be underestimated. God, in His kindness, graciously provides people as His agents for mutual good. Listening ears and helpful hands; wise, comforting, and correcting words—these and other resources come to us and through us to others. Together we win and God gets the glory!
At what times in your life have you benefited from the support of others? Who might you know who needs you to run with them in this season of their life?
Father, thank You for those You’ve graciously provided in my life and for those You’ve allowed me to share life with for our mutual good and Your glory.
When my “chocolate” Labrador retriever puppy was three months old, I took him to the veterinarian’s office for his shots and checkup. As our vet carefully looked him over, she noticed a small white marking in his fur on his left hind paw. She smiled and said to him, “That’s where God held you when He dipped you in chocolate.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. But she had unintentionally made a meaningful point about the deep and personal interest God takes in His creation.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:30 that “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” God is so great that He is able to take infinite interest in the most intimate details of our lives. There is nothing so small that it escapes His notice, and there is no concern too trivial to bring before Him. He simply cares that much.
God not only created us; He sustains and keeps us through every moment. It’s sometimes said that “the devil is in the details.” But it’s better by far to understand that God is in them, watching over even the things that escape our notice. How comforting it is to know that our perfectly wise and caring heavenly Father holds us—along with all of creation—in His strong and loving hands.
Loving Lord, I praise You for the wonder of Your creation. Help me to reflect Your compassion by taking care of what You’ve made.
God attends to our every need.
Sports fans love to sing their teams’ praises. By wearing logos, posting notes on Facebook about their beloved teams, or talking about them with friends, fans leave no doubt where their loyalty stands. My own Detroit Tigers caps, shirts, and conversations indicate that I am right there with those who do this.
Our sports loyalties can remind us that our truest and greatest loyalty must be to our Lord. I think of such unashamed loyalty when I read Psalm 34, where David draws our attention to Someone vastly more vital than anything else on earth.
David says, “I will extol the Lord at all times” (v. 1), and we are left to wonder about the gaps in our lives when we live as if God is not our source of truth, light, and salvation. He says, “His praise will always be on my lips” (v. 1), and we think about how many times we praise things of this world more than we praise Him. David says, “My soul shall make its boast in the Lord” (v. 2 nkjv), and we realize that we boast about our own small successes more than what Jesus has done for us.
It’s not wrong to enjoy our teams, our interests, and our accomplishments. But our highest praise goes to our Lord. “Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together” (v. 3).
Lord, help me to have Your praise be on my lips and to boast in You. Help me to keep my focus on You.
Loyalty is the test of true love.
Cited from Our Daily Bread
A National Geographic News survey in 2006 reported that many young Americans are geographically illiterate. According to the survey, 63 percent of Americans aged 18-24 failed to correctly locate Iraq on a map of the Middle East. The results for US geography are even more dismal. Half could not find New York State on the map, a third could not find Louisiana, and 48 percent could not locate the state of Mississippi. Understanding geography is helpful in daily life, but “God-ography” (finding God) is infinitely more crucial—for now and for eternity. In Hebrews 11:6 we are told that to find God and please Him, we first have to believe that He exists. How can we prove that God exists? Finding God is a matter of faith—confidence in Him and commitment to Him. This confidence and commitment should remain strong even though the objects of our faith are unseen. The writer of Hebrews and the apostle John agree that ultimately the way to find the Lord and please Him is by believing in His Son Jesus (Heb. 11:6; John 14:6). Finding God is solely a work of God. Those who seek Him will find Him because God will give them a heart to recognize Him as Lord (Jer. 29:13-14). I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew He moved my soul to seek Him, as He sought me; It was not I who found, O Savior true; No, I was found of Thee.
To find God, we must be willing to seek Him.
Attention: High School Seniors!!!!! Scholarships are available! The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir San Diego is seeking recipients for this year’s Visual & Performing Arts Educational Grants. Are you a serious artist? Do you need money for further study? APPLY NOW!! Applications and information can be found at www.mlkccsd.org/grants.html
As MLK Jr. Day approaches, it’s important to recognize the significance of Martin Luther King Jr., and why many of us are given the day off from school or work. Not only was he a highly respected father, husband, and Baptist minister, but MLK Jr. was a humanitarian, a civil rights icon, and an activist that all of us can look up to for hundreds of years to come. So this year, make sure to reflect on what MLK Jr. Day truly represents, and why we recognize Martin Luther King Jr. as one of the most important historical heroes.