And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21 (ESV)


I must admit that it was with a certain sense of trepidation that I backed my car out of the drive this morning. I was to speak at a church in another town, but I wasn’t totally certain how to get there. But I did have a rather reliable helper—Siri. (In the event you don’t know Siri, she’s my personal assistant who lives in my Iphone and is powered by artificial intelligence.) Siri told me which streets would take me to the interstate highway I needed for the journey.

And a few miles before I was to turn, Siri would warn me that at a certain point I would turn right or left and the exit number to take. If there were optional roads, she would tell me that my route was down the second (or third) turn. But she didn’t lay out the whole route prior to my leaving. Siri just spoke to me as I traveled. And, finally, after I’d listened and heeded throughout my drive, Siri announced that my destination was on the right. Sure enough, I’d reached the church where I would be speaking, and I was on time. What a wonderful relief.

Now Siri and artificial intelligence (AI) are relatively new aides for the many tasks of our daily lives, but as believers we’ve had access to SI (Spirit intelligence) from the beginning of our faith walks. Jesus told us that the Comforter Whom he would send would teach, guide, help, remind, seal, free, anoint, empower, witness, strengthen, fill, and so many other things. It so happens that our Spiritual Helper is able to do so much more than any earthly power and is instantly accessed with just a call. But, like Siri, he doesn’t tell us the whole route prior to departure. In fact, he guides us a step at a time, and as we listen and follow, we find that we always arrive at the desired location.

If you’ve not read the book of Acts recently, I encourage you to do so. (It is said that the average American watches about 3 hours of television daily, but you could take just a little over 2 of those hours and instead read the entire account of the work of the Holy Spirit in the First Church. And I believe you’ll be so much more enriched than the TV viewing that you miss.) It’s amazing how God took ordinary people and empowered them to do extraordinary things through his Spirit. Of course, they did signs and wonders, and miracles were wrought through those early followers. But the more astonishing thing, I believe, was the radical transformation of timid, unlearned, back-country people into mighty people of God. They were strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit to live and think and act as followers and lovers of Jesus.

They were just like us, and just like them we can open ourselves to God’s infilling and be led and anointed and strengthened to live Jesus-lives, doing his will, and glorifying him. And we never need to be lost in our world. With just a quick call, we have his direction and everything we need for life and godliness.

(Did I mention I also returned home safely and with no hassle?)


Heavenly Father, fill us with your Spirit that we may be everything you want us to be. Lead us, guide us, empower us. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.



I being in the way, the Lord led me… Genesis 24:27 (KJV)


Being in a traveling frame of mind, I am thinking about the various folks I’ve shared planes with in the recent past and wondering who I will meet on these flights to Spain. In our “business” we always pray for divine appointments. While it’s obvious that some passengers are heaven-sent, and others are, well, opportunities, I’ve had some memorable encounters.
Like the man who disrupted the whole section of seats near us when the passenger ahead of his wife abruptly lowered the seat, spilling wine all over his wife. Attendants raced to the scene to calm the husband who temper was quickly escalating. The two combatants were safely and literally separated.
And then there was the extended family that sat on either side of the jumbo jet and proceeded to discuss family events over the heads of the whole middle section at about 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. That was a long flight.
One darling little girl heading to Africa from Europe had obviously just seen the movie “Frozen.” We were all serenaded with ditties for a while. You can guess her favorite: when she got to “To Let It Go,” she did. One could accurately describe her enthusiasm as voce alta, singing with a LOUD voice.
Of course, we’ve experienced hours of crying babies whose little ears were suffering from the altitude, and there was the little girl who sat behind me sobbed silently. I began making little playful gestures with my fingers over the back of the seat. And then I drew cartoons on the pad I always carry just in case. The cartoons caught her interest, and she responded with her own set of drawings. I learned she was flying alone and was scared to death.
But the passenger I won’t forget was Aisha. I had missed my flight from Frankfort to Moscow because of a glitch with my visa and so didn’t make a most important meeting with Dr. Maria Tschernoskaya. God intervened, and I was able to get a new visa and make the evening flight. I prayed that no one would sit near me so I could catch up on the work that had been neglected due to my delay. That prayer was not to be answered.
I tried to appear busy and unapproachable as the plane filled, and an attractive young lady sat one seat over. We exchanged polite greetings, and then I turned back to my papers. But Aisha was not to be daunted. “What takes you to Moscow? What will you be doing?” Just what I wanted to avoid. I curtly answered her questions, adding that I was to have met with one of the foremost experts in care for orphans and vulnerable children.
Aisha listed quietly and then said, “I work with someone who is an expert in care for orphans and vulnerable children.”
Somewhat interested, I added, “This woman has a model project, and we were to meet to collaborate on a program for all of Eastern Europe.”
“The woman I work with also consults with many people who come to see her work in Moscow,” Aisha remarked.
Finally, I described our vision, and Aisha revealed that she was an Oxford professor who had come to work with—yes, Dr. Maria Tschernoskaya. Together they were developing methods that could be replicated in many of the former Soviet Union facilities.
Eating humble pie, I began to question Aisha, and for the remainder of the flight we exchanged notes, and I wrote as fast as my hand would allow. Aisha with her command of the English language was much more proficient in describing the program than Dr. Tschernoskaya ever could have been. Everything I’d planned to discuss with the noted expert was addressed in my evening with Aisha.
As the plane was preparing for landing, Aisha turned to me and said, “I wasn’t supposed to be on this plane.”
“Nor was I.” I added.
What divine appointments will there be en route to Spain?


Father, why am I often surprised at your loving ways? Thank you for always going before us, and thank you that you’re way ahead of us on this flight to Spain. AMEN.


This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24


We’ve awakened today with a gift from God—this very day.  There will be so many choices and opportunities.  What will we do with the gift?

We will enter his gates with thanksgiving in our hearts (Psa. 100:4) reflecting on the benefits we derive by being his child.  Thank you Lord for your abiding peace no matter what may come this day.  Thank you for grace to address every situation.  Thank you for wisdom to deal with complex issues today.  Thank you for strength to handle all my responsibilities.  Thank you for guidance with all the different options in this day.  Thank you that you never leave me even when my senses don’t perceive you.

We enter his courts with praise, confidently abiding in the presence of the Lord.  …in him  we live and move and have our being.  (Acts 17:28)  Today if something should try to shake my rest in him, I will redirect my attention and climb back into his arms.  After all, Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:35, 37-39)

What a great day.


Father, keep us steadfast in your love today, rejoicing in you and not allowing circumstances to determine our attitudes or behavior.  We are your children; we rejoice in you.  AMEN.


The Lord giveth wisdom:  out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.  Proverbs 2:6


Any amalgam of figures beyond basic sums and arithmetic has always been challenging to me.  When my counselor told me that in order to receive my diploma for a post-graduate degree, the final course I needed to take was Advanced Multivariate Statistics, I almost froze in horror.  I protested long and hard—“This is supposed to be the easiest class I have to take.  It’s my last,” I complained.  He had guided me so deftly for years, and here at the end he was putting my high GPA (grade point average) in peril.

I would like to say Dr. Grey was sympathetic but instead, I think he rather enjoyed my plight.  He tried to ease my discomfort by saying that the professor was someone everybody loved and that I would have no trouble.  (But somewhere behind all the protest, I think a smile lurked.)  I left his office wondering how I would ever make it through that final course.

I arrived early the first day of class in order to visit with the professor that “everybody loved” only to discover that her class load hadn’t permitted her to teach the course.  Instead, I was confronted with a very young man wearing hiking shorts and boots and very new to the faculty—someone who, obviously, had to prove himself.  I really was between what we in Texas call “a rock and a hard place.”

After the first class, with material which seemed vaguely familiar, I took my text home and began studying.  AND PRAYING.  Every page was read and re-read and prayed over.  God had created systems and numbers and ways of interpreting data, so I went straight to the Source.  And I went straight to Matt.  (That’s what our new professor told us to call him.  Not Dr. Matt… but just Matt.)  Every time he had office hours, I was there learning from him.  And I prayed.

Advanced Multivariate Statistics is not the only challenge I’ve had, but I learned through that and other similar lessons that I don’t have to lean on my own understanding when I’m in God’s will—that HE gives knowledge and understanding, being all-knowing and the creator of all things.  We do our part (studying, in this case), and he gives us everything we need to follow him and to do his will.  We must never allow circumstances to defeat us.  He either provides the way through or gives us the resources to resolve them or the grace to live in them.

In everything, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus.  I AM NOT A MATHEMATICIAN, but I finished that class with an A.  Yea, God.


Father, thank you that you care about all our cares, even those that seem trivial to everyone else.  Strengthen our faith to trust you in all things and to stand still and to see your salvation.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.



I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.  John 10:10  (KJV)



I just read about a lady who was known for her extraordinary Christian maturity.  One day her pastor asked her to preach the Sunday sermon believing that her experience would be instructive to the congregation.  On the Sunday when the lady rose to speak, her sermon was short and sweet.  “Dear Friends,” she began, “there’s always more.”  And with that, she sat down.

Just begin to ponder that simple message:  there’s always more.  The God of the Infinite, the one who promised to meet all our needs, the Alpha (beginning) and the Omega (ending), the great Creator never operates in scarcity.  He never runs out of any resource—of love, of grace, of mercy, of patience, of whatever we need.  And there’s no end to the delights of knowing him.

Think of what this means in your present circumstance.  As a parent, spouse, friend, employer:  there’s more wisdom, there’s more understanding, there are more ideas, there’s more love…  As an intellectual:  there’s more to contemplate, there’s more to learn, there’s more to investigate, there’s more for growth…   As a leader:  there’s more direction, there’s more discernment, there are more resources, there’s more creativity…  As a disciple:  there’s more to discover, there’s more to obey, there’s more to abandon, there’s more to enjoy…  We could fill in the blanks indefinitely.  Suffice it to say, that in Christ, there is abundance.

Lest we consider God as having limited resources, just look at his provision for the Children of Israel in the wilderness; for Elijah in hiding; for Ruth in Bethlehem; for David in his wanderings; for Israel in exile; for feeding the four thousand and five thousand; for rescuing you and me; and for the times he is always there for his people.  His hand is not shortened that he cannot save nor is he deaf that he cannot hear our prayers (Isaiah 59:1).

We sometimes treat our spiritual beings as add-ons.  They’re peripheral to our real lives.  But Jesus says I’ve come to give you abundant life, more than we’re currently experiencing.  If we’re not living in abundance, there’s more.  God has more for us than we can think or imagine and waits for us to move beyond our impoverished selfishness into his endless provision of more.  Wherever we find ourselves, there’s always more.  Dare we take the challenge?


Father, charge our spiritual imaginations that we reach out in faith to you to receive more from your goodness.  Move us beyond our spiritual poverty into the richness we have in Christ Jesus.  Gratefully, we pray in Jesus’ name.  AMEN.


Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.  Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV)


Does anyone remember the original comedy film Ghostbusters in which a team of zany parapsychologists save New York City from a giant marshmallow?  After their heroic success, New Yorkers knew whom to call whenever imprisoned ghosts threatened their very existence.  Throughout history, the threats encountered at various times have been more ominous and deadly than giant marshmallows, and we haven’t always made the right call.

Take, for example, Rehoboam, Solomon’s foolish heir to the throne.  Initially, Rehoboam summoned the wise men who had served his father for their direction concerning the kingdom.  The older men counseled Rehoboam to treat his subjects with kindness.  Then the new king called in younger men, his contemporaries, and posed the same question to them.  These untried young men suggested that Rehoboam impose harsh, strict law enforcement.  When Rehoboam followed the young men’s advice, he lost most of the kingdom (I Kings 12).

King Ahasuerus (also known as Xerxes) had a relatively simple domestic issue.  After this powerful emperor and his allies had spent six months in a drinking orgy, Ahasuerus called his beautiful wife, Vashti, to appear at the party (Esther 1).  Historians say that Vashti may have been pregnant or that she may have been called to appear naked before the inebriated nobles, but whatever the reason, Vashti refused.  Instead of downplaying the action, Ahasuerus called for his counselors who advised deposing Vashti.  AND they notified the whole country that Ahasuerus had been humiliated before all his allies…  (Of course, God providentially used this event to bring about the salvation of his people.)

And then there was King Hezekiah.  Outnumbered and against terrible odds as the massive Assyrian army threatened to annihilate Jerusalem, the military emissary sent Hezekiah a letter boasting of military conquests against other nations and gods, insinuating that the God of the Israel could not deliver his people (II Kings 19).  Instead of turning to his counselors, Hezekiah took the menacing letter, went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before Israel’s God.  Hezekiah went directly to God, and he prayed.  And God answered by destroying the enemy’s whole army.

Our personal crises will not be as monumental as those described above, but the question remains:  On whom do we call in our times of trouble?  Do we depend on intermediaries who can only give us their best counsel?  Even the wisest human mind can never know all the details of a situation, the innuendoes of conversations, the history of the problem, and the hearts of all the players involved.  God knows it all.  There’s no need to spend valuable time in multiple counseling situations just describing the problem.  God is already there and knows even more than the participants.  Yes, counselors are good and have their roles, but they can only point to the One who can intervene and heal and redeem.  Why not go straight to the Mighty Counselor (Isa. 9:6) and trustfully watch him work?

Do you ever wonder if God is grieved that we only turn to him when every other resource has failed?


Father, take away our fear and teach us to trust your wisdom, love, and power.  Forgive us for trusting other resources far more than we trust you, and show us your glory.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.