Daily Word

Devotional Meditation

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 
Lord, what to do?

In recent weeks, my prayers have been flooded with the question, “Lord, what to do?” Sometimes it had to do with my own personal life, sometimes it was about other people and sometimes it was about church and ministry. Sometimes the situation was critical and then sometimes it was just about a choice I had to make. Sometime the decision impacted others and sometimes it was just a personal decision that affected me only. Sometimes it was about having too many options and sometimes it was about having no options at all. Sometimes it was about something critically important and urgent and sometimes it was something that was not so important and could be continuously delayed. We often find ourselves standing at crossroads with no directional map and no road signs. “Lord, what to do?” What to do about this situation? What to do about this child? What to do about this financial situation? What to do about this man/woman? What to do about this decision that I have to make? What to do about this mess I’m in? This job? … I had chest pains on Monday. A sharp pain in the center of my chest. My wife picked up the phone to call 911. I said, “Wait a little while. Over the years this has happen to me three times before. I do not want to go lay up in some corona-infested ER for eight hours.” The pains got a little worse. “Lord, what to do?” She was saying, and I can hear everybody else in my life who cared for me saying, “You need to call the EMS, NOW!” Wait a minute! You may not have a minute to wait! I laid down for a minute. Well, maybe I better call. I went to the refrig, drank some water and the pain just went away. Yes, it could have been something serious. “You don’t take those kinds of chances.” “Always error on the side of caution.” I awoke this morning at four AM. This question wouldn’t let me go back to sleep. The question was hanging over three situations and it robbed me of sleep’s best time. I got up; I cleared my head of what everybody else was saying I should do. I asked God, “What to do?” Now I know.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your decisions submit them to Him,
    and He will show you the way. (Prov 3:5-6)
 

Wednesday’s Devotional Meditation

May 20, 2020
Stand Still and Look Up

Iwas awakened this morning by a very loud and roaring thunder. It did that just about the time I usually get out of bed. The sound was as if the sky was being torn apart. I can just imagine the lightning that was associated with such thunder. It must have dazzled the skies. My dogs must have been terrified. The rain was coming down. As I lay there, listening to the sound of rain and hearing the thunder continue to roar, I thought about my childhood, how the rain fell on the tin-top house as we sit and laid quietly in the dark. You see, there was this belief that when all of this was going on in the skies, God was taking care of business. He was doing a special work. He was moving and working and handling things. We were told that, that’s what we were hearing. And so, we were told to sit and be quiet and be still while God was at work, least that lightning might hit the house and burn it down. There was a neighboring family, who lived about a mile from us, whose house had been struck by lighting and burned down. My mother said to us, “that what will happen, if you don’t be-still”. In electrical school where I learned the theory of electricity, I was taught that thunder and lightning originated from a natural reaction rather than the movement of God. Yet, when I hear Thunder and Lightning, I still tend to “be still.” I still believe that Thunder and Lightning are messages that God sends to the earth. God is the God of nature, you know. (Psm 19:1) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Listen to these passages;

Zechariah 2:13
Be silent before the LORD, all people, for He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.”

Habakkuk 2:20
But the LORD is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.

Psalm 46:10 
Be still, and know that I am God;

There are many who, each day, look for encouraging signs of a better day ahead. So many overly worried about tomorrow. When will we be safe again? Will I live to tell about it? When will this virus be abated? When will we be able to go back to work? Will my business survive? Will there be a food shortage? Will we be able to feed our families? I need to go to the doctor and get this taken care of before it gets worse. What’s going to happen to America? Will Trump be re-elected? These questions and concerns come from horizontal viewing of what is and what might be. The VERTICAL view is captured in Psalm 46

Psalm 46:1-7,
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

 (I’m adding these two)

D1Though the lightning flash and the thunder roar.

D2Though diseases ravage the earth

 

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
As I sit here meditating on this psalm, I am stuck on vs4-5 …  the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;

Up there where the Most High dwells, God is in that city, up there! Wow! “She will not fall.

I say, “when I go outside this morning, I’m going to look up. Look up into the skies where the Thunder came from, where the lightning flashed. God awoke me this morning with a reminder, “I’M STILL HERE!” Even though the waters are roaring and the mountains are shaking, …on earth. “ I … AM …. STILL….HERE! BE STILL (drake) AND KNOW, “I AM STILL HERE.”. BE STILL (earth) AND KNOW, “I AM STILL UP HERE.”.

I am going to walk outside this morning, STAND STILL and LOOK UP… It’s a beautiful morning, I think I’ll go outside for a while.

7.The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge
.
 

Monday Meditation

May 18, 2020
Psalm 37:25 (KJV)
25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Iawoke this morning thinking about my children, more specifically, my granddaughter. She graduates from High School this year. What a great time to be young and to feel grown up. Just turned eighteen! I’m an adult now. But I’m still a dependent. Can’t beat that. So much to look forward to. So many choices available. So much to dream about. So much time to do it (at least that’s how it seems). Treasure the moment baby. I (granddaddy) am saddened and worried. Saddened because she won’t be able to enjoy the festivities of graduation time (prom, senior trip, senior outings, commencement). I’m saddened because her family won’t be able to shout and cry when her name is called out; me and Nanna won’t get to go and spend the week with her, to see her march. I’m saddened for the many other children and families who will share the same experience. I also worry because of my cynical outlook. The residual impact of the pandemic and how difficult it will be for them to navigate the treacherous path to the future. I pray they will not get discourage and quit. My granddaughter has told me what she wants to do, what college she will attend. Yet I worry that hard times will get in her way. Then I remembered that hard times got in my way. I remembered when the pathway to my future was uncertain. I had a family who love God. I had seen what God will do, in hard times, for people who love Him. I had seen how my father prayed for us. I’m OK now. Thank you God for looking out for our children. Thank You for guiding and protecting Kennedy through school. I’m praying for Kennedy. I’m praying for the graduates of 2020. “She gon’ be alright.” “They gon’ be alright.”

Psm 37:25 (NLT)
Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.
Friday’s Devotional Meditation
May 15, 2020
Psalm 91:1-12
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day.
 

Yesterday when I got out of bed, I hit the ground running. I had a thousand things to do. I had ten people needing my attention. Now! I had to go pick up some medicine. I had to go to Lowes. I had to make some phone calls. I needed to check on my sister. I had to feed the dogs. I had to….. You get the message. As I grabbed a cup of coffee and kissed my wife on the way out, I told the Lord, if He didn’t mind, I would do my devotion later in the day, when I didn’t have so much on my mind. Need I tell you, you probably have been there, things got even more hectic as the day went by. I looked at the clock at 4:00PM when I bowed to pray. By then, I could not focus. Yes, I said my prayers. Yes, I confessed to God that I was wrong to let the cares of this life take away His time. I, the preacher, should have known better. No, I did not have quality time with God. No, I did not commune with Him, No, He did not speak to me. Yes, I said my prayers….. but I didn’t pray. You do know there is a difference. Because of the redundancy in saying our prayers, we can easy recite the words of a prayer without praying. Prayer is communication with God. The hymn writer says, “Prayer is the soul sincere desire, unuttered or expressed. The motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast. When we have everything else trembling in our breast, what room will prayer have to tremble? And so, all too often, we think God has ignored us, but it was that He just didn’t listen because we weren’t talking to Him. We were just saying our prayers. And so, I robbed my soul of its sincere desire. Today, is different. I got out of bed (before 6AM), alone I kneeled. I communed with God. He heard me. He spoke to me. He gave me the Word I needed for today. This is it.

Psalms 91 NLT
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

In my prayer this morning, I said to God, You are my refuge, You are my Fortress. All this day long, I will continue to ask of Him to be my refuge and fortress today. Keep us safe under your wings.

The psalmist spoke to me and for me today.

Tuesday’s Meditation
May 12, 2020 
(Psm 16:15) Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
(Matt 10:29-31) What is the price of two sparrows—one penny? But not a single sparrow falls to the ground without your Father noticing it. 30 Every strand of hair on your head is numbered. 31 So don’t fret; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
(Luke 12:6) “What is the price of five sparrows—two pennies? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So, don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Each week on the back page of the Southwest Georgian newspaper is displayed the pictures of the weekly victims of the Coronavirus. Each week I have a jaw-dropping moment when I recognize the face and name of someone that I knew who had died. Someone I didn’t even know they were sick. It seems to me that the one thing that a life deserves is to have a funeral, a memorial. A time when family, friends, kindreds, love ones, fellow saints and associates can come together and grieve and cry, to share memories and to reflect …. to say good things about me. It may sound like a vain thing but we all have imaginative images of our funeral. Funerals bring closure. They put our memories in a mental safe deposit box. They help us transition from yesterday to tomorrow. They help us to go on without. Without funerals the dead keep living, living in obscurity, living in absence. It is sad that so many will die during this pandemic and then be put away with ten people or less gathered around their coffin in a cemetery. Then dropped in the ground and covered. No long processions, no viewing, no repass, no family gathering. And, because there are so many dying now, in many ways, their deaths will go unnoticed, except for family and close friends. This is what animals do. It’s like a sparrow falling from the sky and the other sparrows keep flying on. I was hunting one day and a large group of blackbirds were on an electric powerline. Then one just fell to the ground. All of the other birds flew down to the ground where the bird had fallen. In a moment, they all flew away and left it. They didn’t have a bird funeral. They just took a moment to say good bye. (at least that’s what I imagined). Families are trying many ways to make sure their loved one have a have a meaningful memorial service. They are trying to give their dead loved ones what their lives deserve, a proper funeral. Most will come away feeling that it was inadequate.

How does God feels about this? What does Jesus say about this?
(Psm 16:15) Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
(Matt 10:29-31) What is the price of two sparrows—one penny? But not a single sparrow falls to the ground without your Father noticing it. 30 Every strand of hair on your head is numbered. 31 So don’t fret; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
(Luke 12:6) “What is the price of five sparrows—two pennies? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So, don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

In these two sets of verses, we can see that during the times of Jesus, sparrows were bought and sold. Cheap! Buy four, get one free. Pick all the feathers from a sparrow and you have nothing. Why even fool with it.
I’m praying today that those who must see their loved ones put away, during this dreadful pandemic, with only a small number of family members at the gravesite will be spiritually and consciously aware that God is with them, grieving and memorializing His saints. I pray that He will do the reflections, He will do the hugging, He will bring the closure. He will do it because, He Cares!

Saturday’s Devotion & Meditation

May 9, 2020

I have been thinking about my mother this week, a lot. Wondering how we would have handled our traditional gathering, meeting at her house, showering her with beautiful and costly stuff, telling her how much we love her, how much we appreciate her and then, once again, as her children, eat at her table. She was so happy to see us all grown and gone. She really enjoyed parenting from a distance. It was not always that way. My mother was an incredible woman. I realize that even more now than ever. Her ability to “make a way out of no way” dumbfounds me even today. She gave to us a faith that we (her children) believe can see us through any storm. I saw her weather many. Thank you, Momma. Thank you for being a GOOD ONE and for teaching me how to find a GOOD ONE.

Thank You God for putting in my life so many good mothers; my mother, my wife, my daughter, my sisters, my aunties, my church members, my friends.

I love you mothers!!!…. I do!

I read Proverbs 31:10-31 (Eugene Peterson – The Message Bible.)

He’s talking about my mother and the mother of my child and many mothers that I know.

Prov 31:10-31

A good woman (mother) is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband (and children) trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him (them) generously all her life long. She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
    for her family and organizing her day. She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day. She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor. She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
    their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear. She makes her own clothing,
    and dresses in colorful linens and silks. Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women (mothers) have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman (mother) to be admired and praised
    is the woman (mother) who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves!
    Festoon her life with praises!

She Really Deserves It!!!

Friday’s Devotion & Meditation
May 8, 2020

I awoke this morning with Ahmaud Arbery, the young black man who was killed by two white men. Shot down in the street with a shotgun while he was out jogging. I awoke with him on my mind. I’m thinking about his mother and the pain and heartache she will endure on this Mother’s Day. I’m thinking about the ease it is for a young black man to lose his life by violence and hatred. I’m thinking about how far we have come and how easy it is for hateful white folk to still get away with lynching. I’m thinking about the coincidence of a video recording of the murder and without it there would have been no arrest. I’m thinking about these men will probably end up going scot-free, because there is so much disparity, discrimination and inequality in the Justice System. I’m thinking about the movie, staring Samuel L Jackson, “A Time to Kill.” I’m thinking about my Tuesday’s Meditation Scripture, Phil 4:6-7;

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I need God to guard my heart and my mind because quite a few bad thoughts and feelings are trying to get in. I’m praying that prayer this morning, for me, for us.

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:19-20) NIV.

Right now, I cannot produce the righteousness that God desires…. I’m too angry.

Pastor Butch Knight, the white pastor of First Baptist Church of Albany, sent me a text earlier this week expressing his feelings about this and told me he was praying for me. He and I prayed together when Walter Scott was gunned down in the streets of South Carolina. I felt the same way then. I thought the same things then. He saw it. He prayed. I healed. My gratitude to him. Yet another wound has been open. Pastor Butch included in his text Psalms 13;

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
    How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
    with sorrow in my heart every day?
    How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
    Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
    Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
But I trust in your unfailing love.
    I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord
    because he is good to me.
I’m led to another Psalm 37
Don’t worry about the wicked
    or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
    Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
    and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the Lord,
    and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
    or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop being angry!
    Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
    it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed,
    but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.

I’m thinking, I’m OK

Thank You Lord

Wednesday
May 6, 2020
Eph 4:1-7NIV
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

In the apostle’s letter to the Church at Ephesus, he addresses the problem of ecclesiastical division. No doubt he has seen how division can cause so much conflict and confusion that collective efforts can be futile. Collective Effort?  The daunting task that this nation faces today, along with the rest of the world, will rise and fall on the nations’ ability to unite together. The main reason why we are so far behind in defeating this virus and have lost of so many lives is because we have not had a national strategy to work together. No national policy, no national plan, no national leadership. As a result, instead of states and cities working together, led by national leadership, they are in competition with each other, resulting in counter-productivity and futile efforts.

The Albany Coalition of Churches, led by a group of ecumenical pastors and churches; a diverse group that includes different denominations, different ethnicities, different cultures, different ages and different church sizes. In an effort to provide leadership and support for successful effort, these pastors and churches have agreed to strategize and work together as a Unit.

In his letter, the Apostle Paul speaks to the church congregation at Ephesus. The wisdom in his admonition for unity can be applicable to any group of people who needs to be singularly focused; the Church, the Community, the Family, an organization, a city, state and the country.

This is a good thing, particularly in these times that we live. Laying aside our differences to fight a common enemy is worthy of our calling. It is true that in spite of our differences, there is but One Body, One Spirit, One Baptism and One God and Father… of US ALL All, Over US ALL, and prayerfully, in US ALL. 

I pray that we can pull it off. I’m all in!

Pastor Theodus Drake   

Pastor’s Daily Bible Meditation

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 My wife and I went fishing on Monday. We thought, “this is a good day to spend some time together, to get away from the demands of ministry for a while, to get out of the house where we have been ordered to shelter-in, to get out on the open lake as far away from the infestation as possible and to catch a few fish.” So, we went out, far out, on the lake. I had my ear speakers in. With my satellite connection, I was tuned in to MSNBC and CNN, getting the latest update, listing to the statistics and musing from the crazy stuff coming from Washington. My wife had been very quiet for a period of time, so, I said to her, “you’re not talking.” She responded, “to who?” It was then I realized the great opportunity I was missing to intimately fellowship with the love of my life and my bestest friend. (I know that’s not a word. I have a certain prerogative, you know). So, I took the ear speakers out of my ear and begin a wonderful day with her. What I notice was that I developed a certain sense of calmness, an absence of anxiety, a connection with Nature; with God. It only confirmed to me that anxiety can rob you of your connection with God’s greatest blessings He has given you and with Him. I became even more grateful, even more peaceful. I’m still in that mood this morning.

I’m not anxious for anything and in my prayer this morning my request is that God will deliver us from the anxieties of the trials of life and then shield our hearts and minds so that we will stay that way.

You know, it is in our hearts and minds where anxiety begins and ends. If we keep it from our mind, it will not have a doorway to our heart. Because if you let it get into your heart, there goes your peace.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

Monday, May 4, 2020
Phil 4:4-7
 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

On this past Saturday, I went to Lowes to pick up a few household items. In spite of the dangers of the Coronavirus, there were a large number of people there. However, very few were recognizable. Seventy-five to Eighty percent of them had on face mask. I even walked by a member that is a regular church attendant and did not recognize her until she called out my name. I always have to think twice. Instantly, I make a move to touch, to hug or to shake hands. But I have to remind myself, “can’t do that.’ With the face mask and social distancing, I pictured the seen as “the walking dead’… zombies!!!! What’s going on? How long will this last? Will we ever get back to normal? How close have I gotten to this thing? If I catch it, would I survive? Is this cough a symptom that I already have it?
There are times when our thinking can go awry. No doubt these are relevant questions. Questions that would be in all of our heads. The problem is, not one of them can be answered by humans, no, not even the experts. Why think about questions that cannot be answered? Why not fill my head, not with unanswerable questions but with the “Blessed Assurance” of a faithful God to His people. Just doing so changes my mood, my disposition. It opens the door to Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Have Joy in the Lord all the time. Don’t give mental space to unanswerable questions. Do it! Do it!!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be calm in proclaiming to everybody, “The Lord’s Got It.
I’m Going Fishing!!!!5