From: Our Daily Bread
The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind. Psalm 115:16
The “big browns” are spawning in the Owyhee River—brown trout beginning their fall nesting ritual. You can see them excavating their nests in the gravelly shallows.
Wise fishermen know that fish are spawning and try not to disturb them. They avoid walking on gravel bars where they might trample the eggs, or wading upstream from the nests where they might dislodge debris that can smother them. And they don’t fish for these trout, though it’s tempting to do so as they rest near their nests.
These precautions are part of an ethic that governs responsible fishing. But there is a deeper and a better cause.
The Scriptures stress the fact that God has given us the earth (Gen. 1:28–30). It is ours to use, but we must use it as those who love it.
I muse on the work of God’s hands: a partridge calling across a canyon, a bull elk bugling up a fight, a herd of antelope far off in the distance, a brook trout and its kaleidoscopic rose moles, a mother otter playing in a stream with her pups—I love all these things, for they have been given to me for my delight, out of my Father’s great love.
And what I love, I protect.
Heavenly Father, You have put us here to enjoy and ponder Your marvelous creation. May everything You have made remind us of Your goodness, love, and care.
Care for creation honors the Creator.
The Big Picture
From: Nina Keegan, author and CBN
Have you ever tried to put together one of those giant jigsaw puzzles that has at least a thousand pieces? At first glance into the large box of tiny freeform pieces, it’s hard to imagine they will form a picture. One tiny random piece doesn’t look like much of anything on its own; but once you start putting them together, the formation of a beautiful picture begins to take shape. If even one piece is missing, the puzzle will be incomplete.
Puzzles are like life sometimes; except for one major difference, we get to see the end results of the puzzle before we begin the long toil of assembling it. The full picture of the completed puzzle is always on the box-top. We already know how it will turn out and we are not the least bit surprised by its ending. Even though one piece on its own does not look like much of anything, together with all its counterparts, a wonderful picture emerges.
I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will. Isaiah 46:10 HCSB
God is the creator of our great puzzle called life. Each one of us has our own unique box with an amazing picture on the top, The Big Picture — the picture God carefully designed for each of us. Only God himself knows what our finished portrait will look like. He is working diligently on our behalf, tirelessly arranging all of our puzzle pieces into a wonderful order of abundant blessings on a pathway of unspeakable joy.
When we are going through a tough time, we must remember that this is just one tiny piece of our puzzle, without it we would not be complete. We need all the pieces — good and bad, easy and difficult — to shape us and guide us on our uniquely individual paths. We may have to be uncomfortable for a bit. We may have to weather some unwelcome storms. But I guarantee you those times of difficulty are never wasted. We learn through times of uncertainty. Our faith is fortified and strengthened. We learn to relinquish control and let God take the reigns. He has the bird’s eye view. He has the miraculous ability to look down and see our entire timeline, start to finish, beginning to end and every single second in-between. He sees the whole puzzle at once. We see only the one tiny piece we seem to be stuck on right now. He sees exactly where that piece belongs.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV
This Scripture tells us we were created for good works that God has already prepared for us ahead of time. So no matter where we seem to be or what issues we may be facing, they will be used for good because God has already gone before us and prepared the way. He sent His beloved son to pay the price in advance for everything we could ever need.
We must put our focus and trust in Him. Our trials build faith in our wonderfully omniscient God. If we knew what God knows, we would never change a thing. We would see the magnitude of impossibilities we could never face without God going before us to clear the way and secure our footing.
Enjoy your life piece by piece. Do not worry about tomorrow today. Let God be God!
Run to win that which has already been won for you. No matter what things may look like, a new piece of the puzzle is coming. God is already searching in the box for the perfect piece with the answer you have been praying for. God always sees The Big Picture.
From: Our Daily Journey
At the height of an African government’s struggle with a terrorist rebel group, the president turned to the church for help. As people began to pray, an army chaplain declared that the war wouldn’t be won in battle, but through prayer. Thus began “Operation Gideon.” A team of intercessors gathered for several weeks of prayer and fasting. In time, a systematic breakdown of the rebel group’s influence occurred.
When Judah’s king Jehoshaphat received word that “a vast army from Edom [was] marching against [him]” (2 Chronicles 20:2), he “was terrified” and “begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help” (2 Chronicles 20:3-4). In response to the nation’s passionate plea for help, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon . . . Jahaziel son of Zechariah, a Levite [who declared], ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. . . . Stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you’ ” (2 Chronicles 20:14-17).
Taking God at His word, Jehoshaphat “appointed singers to walk ahead of the army [into battle], singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. . . . At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.” Not a single enemy escaped (2 Chronicles 20:21-24).
Prayer might not always seem like the best strategy in your daily battles, but in reality it’s the most effective of all—for the battle and outcome belongs to God (1 Samuel 17:47). Turn your struggles over to Him, and praise Him for His powerful work in your life.