PARCHED! Psalm 23

How amazing is that ancient Jordanian city of Petra.  Can’t put into words the magnitude of this long-abandoned metropolis.  We weren’t petrified by its enormity.  More like Petra-fried by its blistering heat!  120 degrees!  Yes, dry heat.  But so’s an oven, and I don’t plan on hanging around there too long either!

Dry, all-consuming, thirst clutches our throats.  We tote lots of water.  Sufficient for the first hour or two of our all-day tour.  Cardboard soon inhabits our lips, mouths and throats.  Never have we felt such cotton-mouthed thirst.  When later we arrive back at a nearby restaurant, and then to our cruise ship, we drink and drink and drink even more.  Water that is, wise guy!

Psalm 23 pictures a similar desert locale.  I love how the shepherd cares for his sheep, making sure they’re led to suitable pasture, where also fresh water flows.  Psalm 23: 2–‘He makes me to lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.’  King David, this psalm’s poet, identifies the Lord as the shepherd.

Thirsty, hungry sheep have nothing to fear as they follow their shepherd.  If they balk at something or get wedged in, he has a way of moving them along.  He won’t let the flock be decimated or wander off lost and forgotten.

To follow the shepherd is all for our own good.  After all, he knows where food and drink can be found.  He’ll do all in his power to get us there, even when unknown valleys feel like death lurks right around the corner.  But it doesn’t.  We don’t know that.  But he does.  All we need to do is trust and shadow him.  Move out…behind him.  His follower.

Good idea?  To follow Jesus, who calls Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)?  No doubt about it.  There’s much goodness ahead.  Even bucket-loads of water to quench the thirst of Petra-fried folk!


Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being our Good Shepherd.  Amen.




After a nice visit with my parents, my boys and I arrive at Newark airport to fly home.  We walk around to pass the time before boarding our flight.  It’s then that I notice a man sitting all by himself, waiting to get on a jumbo jet leaving for San Francisco.  A solitary figure whom I recognize immediately.

It’s the ‘Yankee Clipper’!  Who?  A bygone Yankee Stadium announcer names him this because he seems to run as fast as the new airplane, the Pan Am Clipper.  Now I’m gazing at Hall of Famer Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio!

Let me say that I first met him years ago when I’m 2 years old.  He visits the polio ward I’m confined to where he gives out autographed baseballs to each of us.  Mine gets stolen.  Oh well.

At Newark airport a thought crosses my mind.  Knowing that Joe D is a shy man, I’m nevertheless impelled to go over and say the following–‘Mr. DiMaggio, sorry to bother you.  But you visited me at the Sister Kenny ward in Jersey City while I was being treated for polio in 1949, and I just wanted to thank you.’  What I’m determined not to do is ask for his autograph, which is almost beyond my control!  All I want is to thank him.  That’s it.  He graciously says ‘your welcome’ and shakes my hand.  Then, as the intended last passenger, he’s ushered onto that jumbo jet.

This Thanksgiving, let’s praise and thank the Lord for being with us as our God, who loves us beyond measure.  Psalm 100:4–‘Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!  Give thanks to him; bless his name!’

Put personal requests on the back burner.  Just for a moment.  Not for long.  I know–we have so many needs this year.  Been such a difficult and scary one.  For us personally, Thanksgiving Day has been blown out of the water.  All family plans scrapped and gutted due to a nasty, unseen bug.

But I’m not going to allow it to put the kibosh on my thanks to Jesus.  No way.  And you?  Time to rise above it.  After all, the Lord loves to hear our thanks and praise.  Means so much to Him.  Remember, He’s not on some jumbo jet, winging His way to parts unknown.  He’s right here.  With us.  Never to leave.  Thank you, Lord!

And a Happy Thanksgiving!


Thank you for being our God.  We love you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


MOTEBECANE MOPED 1 Thessalonians 5

I moped around for months after unsavory thieves did their dirty work on my French Motebecane Moped.  I loved that 2-wheeled wonder.  You could pedal it or move the tiny gasoline motor over the front tire and off you’d go!  I even traversed the George Washington Bridge, chugging through Manhattan, visiting church members in hospital.

This was during the gasoline crisis, when scarce petrol could be pumped only on certain days for so many gallons.  My moped got over 75 miles on a third of a gallon.  Can you imagine?  The gas tank held that tiny amount, meaning I could travel most everywhere, not worrying about running out or declaring bankruptcy !

Until I go downtown to buy a newspaper, carefully watching my moped parked outside the newsstand, but having my vision blocked by what turned out to be some rather shady characters.  Coming out of the store, anxious to get home to read that rag sheet, it hits me.  No moped!   I’ve been robbed!!

The Bible talks about being prepared for Jesus’ soon return.  Soon being a relative term.  Relative to His timeframe and not yours, mine or some know-it-all prophecy, chart-thumping prognosticator.  Whenever it is, it will come just as the Bible says–‘For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night’ (1Thess. 5:2).

Thieves don’t usually send an announcement including their nefarious details.  They didn’t phone me in advance–‘You’ll be robbed Tuesday morning at 9 am at the corner newsstand.  Be there.  Don’t be late.  We’ll be waiting and you’ll be walking home!’

So, get your spiritual house in order.  On highest alert.  Lock up your moped as I didn’t!  Guard your mind and heart by spending time in your Bible.  No speed-reading.  Find out more about Jesus and His ways.  Less about politics (!), money, and time-wasting diversions.  Much less.  Install a security system with spiritual preparedness.

Jesus is coming again.  When?  Whenever.  Don’t be caught off guard.  That’s too easy.  I can tell you.  I just did!


Lord Jesus, help us to prepare for your return.  Amen.



Maybe you’ve heard this expression–‘Faith tastes the goodness of God’.  Hmm.  Really?  Wonder what that means? Sounds like a mixed spiritual and gastronomic metaphor.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Speaking of food, my wife cooks marvelous meals, using spices that add depth of flavor.  The air fills with tantalizing aromas.  And left-overs never tossed out.  Never.  Anticipating dinner is pure joy!

How about your hunger, your taste for the things of God?  Wanting to know Jesus better?  Your Bible an eager daily habit?  Praying more than worrying?  Giving money, bringing God’s Kingdom a step closer?  Sharing Jesus with someone else?  Is that your tummy growling?!

Faith that tastes exhibits a personal experience.  Not some erudite, academic prowess but something from deep within.  Passionate and heartfelt.

Does trusting the Lord leave a bland taste in your mouth?  As when fear nudges out faith?  Or that yummy sweet taste, knowing that our Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd taking care of everything?  Which one?

Frankly, I’m a mishmash of a mixed bag!  Some this, some that.  Hands folded in prayer while biting my fingernails all at the same time!  Didn’t know I was so acrobatic, did you?  But don’t be too hard on me or yourself, for the Lord gets it that we’re dust and clay.  Friable stuff.  Easily crumbled under pressure.

Guess what?  Right!  He still loves us, warts and all.  So imagine the super-sized mercy and compassion, kindness and patience of our Lord for His own.  For who?  Yes!  You and me!  Chew on that this week.  Your faith will taste God’s goodness!  Yum!

Psalm 34:8–‘Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!’

Bon Appetite!


Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me so much.  Amen.