Monday, February 20, 2017

Jellyfish Declare God's Praise

Colossians 1:17 - He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.

When my family lived in Connecticut, we were members of the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut. We would visit several times a year and it was always exciting to see what new sea creatures they had on display. We especially loved the jellyfish room. It was a whole room containing jellyfish of all types and sizes. Signs on the walls point out that jellyfish have no brains, no lungs, and no hearts, but are very much living creatures.

One case is filled with jellyfish no bigger than finger tips. Beside that case is a picture of the largest jellyfish ever found. It was the size of a school bus! Imagine a living creature the size of a school bus that has no brain, no lungs and no heart. God was being extra creative when He made that!

As my family loved the jellyfish room because we found it amazing how these creatures could be alive without the vital organs that most other creatures have. After one visit, we discussed how jelly

fish could even live. Without hesitation, my daughter replied, "Jesus!" What a great answer. Though we may not understand the vastness of the universe, every intricate piece of it points to a Creator. That Creator knew how to make living creatures that do not follow the rules that our limited understanding of science uses to explain the world around us. Jellyfish are a reminder that we serve a holy God who created all things and continues to hold all things together.

Lord, help me to find Your hand in all of creation. Amen.

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This devotional is from the book “Heavenly Mundane” by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett. Dr. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:  



Saturday, February 18, 2017

What is Our Life Focus?

Luke 10:30-35 - Jesus took up the question and said: A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.

I remember a road trip my two oldest children and I had when they were in college. We drove from Vermont to South Carolina. The weather was great and somehow we managed to avoid all the road construction and rush hour traffic. We had no delays on the trip, with one exception. As we neared Charlotte, North Carolina, we came up on a long line of traffic due to a tractor trailer that had slid off the road. There was a fire truck, a rescue vehicle and a state trooper on the scene. The line of traffic had all shifted to the far lane to give the emergency vehicles room to work. As we approached the actual scene of the incident, a SUV flew down the road, passing the line of traffic, narrowly avoiding the emergency vehicles, and just kept going. Apparently the driver was unconcerned about anything other than where he was headed in such a hurry.

It occurred to me that many Christians are just like that SUV driver. People all around us have slid off the road of life. In the rush to do everything, we often pass by those who need help the most. We see people mired in difficulty and trouble. Though some Christians respond and, many just keep flying by like spiritual speeders too busy to help. Such spiritual speeders narrowly miss hurting concerned Christians who are responding to needs around them. Spiritual speeders cruise past other Christians who are at the very least slowing down to pray as they see needs around them.

I suspect we all have been spiritual speeders at certain points in our lives. But perhaps we need to learn to slow down and spend more time praying. Perhaps we need to pull over and spent time helping others. Perhaps we need to encourage ministers and lay leaders who are helping instead of putting them in greater danger through our reckless attitudes. Perhaps it is time to actually live like good Samaritans instead of spiritual speeders.

Lord, help us not to become so busy in life that we miss the opportunities to help those in need who are all around us. Amen.

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This devotional is from the book “Heavenly Mundane” by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett. Dr. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:  http://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Terry-W.-Dorsett/e/B00405U4NY

Friday, February 17, 2017

What Foundation is Your Family Built On?

Matthew 7:24-27 - Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!

I saw him staggering across the sand as I packed up our chairs at the end of a great day at the beach. Soon the young man was not just staggering; he was vomiting onto the sand dune. He slowly made his way over the walkway through the sand dunes, stopping to relieve his lurching stomach every few steps. He finally sat down on the steps to the boardwalk and continued to discharge the contents of his stomach off to the side, in full view of others passing by. The young man’s father finally found him and tried to move him over to a more discreet place where he could finish emptying himself of the massive amounts of alcohol he had consumed. The conversation between father and son was hard not to overhear. It was very tense. The son did not seem to understand that his father was trying to help him. The whole scene was sad to watch.

After my family passed by, I said to my own adult son, who was about the same age as the other young man, "I hope we never have a conversation like that." He assured me that we would never have such a conversation because our family was built on a solid foundation. We saw that young man several other times during our vacation at the beach, and it became painfully obvious that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol was only one of that young man's issues.

As I reflect upon that situation, I cannot help but think about the story Jesus told in the Gospel of Matthew 7:24-27. That story illustrates in a powerful way that if we build our lives on the Rock of Christ, when difficulties come, we will find the strength to endure. But if we build our lives on the shifting sands of human opinion and what feels good in the moment, then when difficulties come, life falls apart. That young man, though barely launched into adulthood, was living a life that was already falling apart. This challenges those of us who know Jesus to build our lives on His Word, empowered by His Spirit and in a way that molds us to His image.

Lord, help us build our lives on the eternal Rock of Christ! Amen.

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This devotional is from the book “Heavenly Mundane” by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett. Dr. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:   http://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Terry-W.-Dorsett/e/B00405U4NY



Thursday, February 16, 2017

What a Beach House Taught Me About Poverty

Matthew 25:34-40 - Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’ “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’

My family never had an abundance of money when I was growing up. But somehow we always had what we needed, though often not what we wanted. With the help of scholarships, I worked my way through college. I met my wife in college and she helped me work through graduate school. Eventually I earned a doctorate. Through hard work, and careful planning, my wife and I have been able to provide a middle class lifestyle for our children. Though our children have never been rich, they have also never known poverty.

One of the blessings of being middle class is taking a vacation. For several summers my family enjoying a week at the beach, where we would rent a house for a week. For that one week in the summer, we enjoyed living like we were rich people at the beach, even though we were not. The summer my daughter got married we rented a bigger house than normal for all the wedding guests and we really felt rich. The house looked like something on a TV show about rich people. It helped that the groom’s family knew the owners and got us a good deal! During that week my family discussed how blessed we were to experience this level of luxury, even if only for a week. In the discussion we also talked about what it must be like for people who live in other nations in which such luxury is not possible, even for a week-long vacation.

We specifically talked about Haiti, since our family has visited that small island nation on a mission trip and one of my sons spent a whole summer serving orphans there. The poverty in Haiti is almost unimaginable. Food prices are so high in Haiti that some of the people eat what is commonly referred to as dirt biscuits. The biscuits are made from dried yellow clay mixed with water, salt and vegetable shortening or margarine. Though originally designed for medicinal purposes, the biscuits have now become the staple diet for some people in Haiti. It is hard for those of us who live in America to imagine people being so hungry they would eat a biscuit made from dirt. Yet, that is a common meal for far too many people in Haiti.

As we sat in our rented beach house enjoying our wedding party and eating far too much food, we could not help but think about people in places like Haiti who were eating dirt biscuits to stave off hunger for one more day. Dirt biscuits came up several times in our conversations that week. But it must be more than just a subject of conversation. It must translate into action. That is why our family supports the ministry of God's Littlest Angels orphanage in Petionville, Haiti. We felt compelled to put feet to our conversation.

Those of us who have been blessed by God must do something to make a difference in the lives of those who are not so blessed. The Gospel of Matthew reminds us that when we help the least of these in the name of Christ, then we have served Christ Himself. This is a powerful truth to remember in a world full of inequity.

Lord, help those of us who have so much see the needs of those who have so little and respond in ways that can make a real difference. Amen.

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This devotional is from the book “Heavenly Mundane” by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett. Dr. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: