Monday, March 31, 2014

The Upper Room Devotional

When I was in rehab, Earl began reading The Upper Room daily devotions to me before saying goodnight. When I came home, he continued to read them each night. Our conversations about the messages written from around the world were often short but always focused on our Lord’s faithfulness.

As we settled down to sleep one Sunday night, Kari, our daughter, asked from her bedroom, “Daddy, aren’t you going to read The Upper Room?” We had overlooked the reading, having prayed and turned the light off. We never imagined our teen-age daughter was listening to our quiet time in the Lord and would hold us accountable. Earl rolled over, turned the light on, and read from The Upper Room.

I’m still reading The Upper Room devotional more than twenty years later. I receive the devotions in my inbox each morning. They draw me closer to God and strengthen my Christian walk. They increase my knowledge of Christianity in far places and encourage my faith.

We read, “That you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:12 NIV).

You too can receive The Upper Room in your inbox each morning by signing up HERE You can order the Upper Room print edition HERE 

In Christ, 
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Friday, March 14, 2014

The Living Tree

Courtesy of Flickr

After my accident, I developed pneumonia and the doctor put me on a ventilator. He told Earl if I lived, I’d be brain damaged, ventilator dependent and bedridden for life, and he was too young to be stuck with an invalid wife. Then, the doctor offered to let me die - comfortably.

Earl remembered his wedding vows, chose life for me, and had me transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. As soon as I arrived, they cultured my trach. It grew MRSA—that hard to kill staph infection. The staff moved me into a lonely isolation room.

Spring had always been my favorite season, and I had a birds-eye view of the treetops outside my second floor window. I watched tender red shoots and delicate buds appear on tiny limbs, followed by the smallest pairs of green leaves. Those signs of new life brought me comfort.

One sunny morning, I noticed a tree that hadn’t grown new branches or buds. Each day it remained the same ash gray color, and I decided it was dead. I told everyone who came into my room that I wished someone would cut it down so I wouldn’t have to look at it.

After ranting about that dead tree for a week, I looked out my window and saw tiny pairs of leaves on that living tree. I began to weep as I realized that what I’d said about that tree was what the doctor had said about me. Ugly. Useless. Not worth keeping alive.

I knew then that God was with me, telling me my life wasn’t over. After all, by then I was ventilator free, in my right mind, and mobile in my power wheelchair. My attitude changed and I looked forward to visitors. I told each one about God’s grace, the living tree, and the new life he offered.

“Then he told this parable, ‘A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down” (Luke 13:6-9 NIV).

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV).

In Christ,

If this devotion blessed you would you share it with your friends?
Thank you,