The Friday devotions are a little longer than the rest of the week. Friday is my usual “blogging day.” 🙂 Today’s scripture reading is Psalm 25, Proverbs 26, and James 1:2-18. Tomorrow I’ll give you the readings for next week.
Paul and Honey Vee were our best friends in college. We lived in the married students’ apartments at the bottom of the campus at Trevecca. Doris and I lived on the second floor and Paul and Honey Vee lived on the first floor, one breezeway over. We were inseparable. Sharing supper several nights a week. Playing Rook (Nazarene poker) most weekends. Paul and I learned to scuba dive together. We were poor back then and didn’t know it. When one of us came into some windfall, like our parents sending us forty bucks, we would share that and go out together. They were rare occasions and Doris and Honey Vee made a big deal of them. They would dress up. We would load into Paul’s Chevrolet Biscayne and we would take our brides to some really upscale restaurant like Shoney’s and then go to night court for free entertainment.
Let me pause for a minute and say this was right about the time that 3rd National Bank came out with an amazing invention called the bank card. You could stop at Tammy the Timeless Teller (ask your parents) and get money right out of the wall. Unbelievable. It was an idea we were sure would never last but we took advantage of it anyway.
One Saturday night, the girls got all dolled up and we headed out for a night on the town. Paul’s parents had deposited a little money in his account so we stopped at Kroger on Murfreesboro Road to see Tammy. The girls stayed in the car, looking fine. Paul and I go inside to get the loot when Paul has a great idea. “Hey,” he says, “See if you can guess my pin number.” I punch in four digits and he says, “Man, you got three right. Try again.” I change one of the numbers, the wrong one, and Paul says, “No, only two right. Try one more time.” I use my best ESP and try one more time. This time Tammy speaks, “We’re sorry. You have failed three times to enter the right code. For your protection, your card will be kept. You can claim it at any 3rd National Bank on Monday.”
We have no cash, no bank card, and two very dolled up, very ticked-off girls in a Chevrolet Biscayne in the parking lot. It was not the all-time best weekend of our college experience. To this day just the mention of Tammy the Timeless Teller can send Doris over the edge.
James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers (and sisters,) whenever you face trials of many kinds.” I don’t recall that verse being very helpful that weekend while Doris was banging cabinet doors in our little apartment and I was tiptoeing around. But it has sure come into play recently. Sometimes God comes through in miraculous ways. He spits out answers to prayer like an ATM machine. Our parents get healed. Our enemies are silenced. That promotion comes through. The vaccine is available. At other times, He allows nature to take its course. He seems to leave us to our own devices. He trusts us to endure hardship and “count it all joy.” I don’t know why that is. I don’t know why strange viruses take some people and spare others, why pastor friends move and leadership changes, why we lose jobs, and suffer heartbreak, and get attacked by former friends. I don’t understand all that stuff.
John 10 says that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. The implication is that He will care for us, protect us, look after us, meet our every need. In fact, verse 10 says, “The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.” All of that is true. I believe it. But it doesn’t seem to guarantee that we will not go through loss, difficulty, trials, and tribulations. We don’t just put in a magic PIN number and have only happiness and blessing dispensed.
I do know this. “That the testing of your faith produces perseverance,” (James 1:3) And that when it really counts, we will all “receive the crown of life that the Lord promised to those that love Him.” (James 1:12) His promises are true. His timing is right. His faithfulness is, well, faithful. He will never leave me sitting outside in a Chevrolet Biscayne. I can rely on Him. He’s a good, good Father. And He doesn’t make us pick numbers, or have secret PINs. He just comes through in the end. James says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” (James 1:17) Whether in this moment or at the end of all things, God loves us and He will make it all work out for our good and for His glory. He is far better than Tammy. I just thought you might need to hear that today.
Remember what we are doing.
- time in the Word. Every day this week we read Psalm 25. Read Proverbs 26 today. Ask God to reveal some word of wisdom just for you today. And, James 1:2-18 today.
- time in His Presence. Spend 12 minutes today in prayer. Use the Lord’s Prayer as an outline. 6 parts, 2 minutes each, 12 minutes. On Monday, a video on that.
- time FOR His people. Do something small, and perhaps anonymous, for one person today. Send an encouraging text, pay for a cup of coffee, hold open a door. I’m going to mention that in a minute.
- Start thinking about a small project you could do for your church over the next 6 weeks. God loves His Church. And a small project for the environment, like pick up trash at the local park. God loves His creation. We have time to think about that.
see you tomorrow.