Wednesday, September 22, 2021

One in the Spirit

 “We are Christ’s emissaries, as though God were making His appeal through us." ~ 2 Cor. 5:20

Adrianne, a young Missionary had been observing the habits and culture of the Xhosa tribe, a South African ethnic group.  When she’d completed her stay, she waited impatiently for transportation to return home.  Helping pass the time before departing, she sang songs and danced with the children before inviting them to play a simple game.

She still had a small bag of candy and some dried dates in her backpack.  Adrianne placed it under a lone Baobab tree before circling the eager participants.  Staging them behind the line she’d drawn in the sandy desert dirt, she explained that when she said “Go!” they should run to the backpack.  Whoever arrived first would win all the goodies.

These were very poor children living in a most inhospitable place – short on food, clean drinking water, modern medicines, and education.  Adrianne expected the competition to be fierce as they raced barefoot across the tall grass and endless scrub in the blistering sun.

But when she said “Go!” they did something extraordinary.  The entire group of children held each other’s hands and ran towards the tree as a group.  Then they sat together around the treasured backpack and enjoyed their treats as a group.

Words immediately left her.  A young Xhosan girl saw the shock register on Adrianne’s face before she could hide it.  A small smile played across her sunbaked lips.

The stunned Missionary asked why they’d all gone together, especially since the first one to arrive at the tree could have won everything in the basket – all the sweets.

The girl replied humbly [translated]: “How can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?”

That moment her words stopped was the moment her heart broke ... Adrianne realized she'd tried to impose her competitive values on them; as if she'd been speaking a language they didn’t understand. 

Yet it was a good breaking; the type that leads to better understanding, heightened compassion, deeper love.  Sometimes a loss for words speaks volumes.

Xhosan Africans practice something called ‘ubuntu.’  It embraces hospitality, compassion, and being willing to go the extra mile for others.  They work hard at making life great for everyone in the community.  

Stated another way, “A person can’t exist as a human being in isolation.”

Ubuntu is an African philosophy.  And it is genuinely Christian too.  The biblical image of men and women, of their being created in God’s image, of their partnership with each other and with God.  Our task to care for each other and the earth seems deeply rooted in the ideas of Ubuntu.  Nothing can exist alone.  All life belongs together.

Maybe we should all consider walking to the tree and enjoying the fruit together.

Almighty Father, help me practice more ubuntu - to be more open and available to others, affirming of others, not threatened that others are able and good.  Remind me that we are all diminished when others are humiliated, diminished, or oppressed.  Amen

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Chose Kindness

 “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should be kind to everyone." ~ Galatians 6:10

Libby saw him out of the corner of her eye when he cut her off on a beeline to his ‘rightful’ place in the pharmacy’s waiting line.  There was tension in his manner, a tightness in his face, hardness in his eyes.  Every move was as if he had some timer racing in his head, perhaps the countdown to his next explosion.

Angry eyes were just the start, then came the impatience, the intolerance and the clipped words.  Annoyed by the purchase, he blamed the clerk for the time he’d wasted in line and the cost of the prescription; verbal hostility in front of the queue that became his audience.

Libby was shocked at the man’s rude behavior.  Some days, it seemed like we’re living in "The Age of Disrespect," she thought.  Such lack of civility seemed to be spreading like a virus - one worse than the  current pandemic.

“I don’t’ know how you do it,” Libby said to the counter clerk when it was finally her turn in line.  “You responded so gracefully, even asking if you could help in any way.”

“Thank you,” The young clerk said with only a slight curve in her lips.  “People are in pain here,” she began, “or are waiting in line for loved ones who are ill.  I’ve been there myself.”  

“In fact,” she continued, “I’d just left my parents’ house and was waiting in line for some meds for my father who was battling cancer, when my sister called to tell me our mother had passed away. I just looked like any other person standing in line at Walgreens that day.”

“Sometimes it takes going through difficult times to understand the importance of being kind to unkind people … they need it the most.”

“Food for thought,” Libby remarked before completing her purchase.  But as she left the store, it seemed like a fifteen-course gourmet meal had been prepared for her while waiting in line.  Wisdom learned should be wisdom shared.

Now she’s trying harder to soothe her impatient self.  As a result, her focus is improving, her relationships more mellow, and everything in her day seemed to work a little better.  

It made all the difference.  Over time she saw others learning from her, relaxing, and the vibe of her friends and family took a turn for the better.

So be kind.

That person next to on the bus?  They might be taking themselves to the hospital for chemo.

That bad driver?  They may be rushing home because of an emergency.

That cranky customer?  He may be suffering from chronic pain.

That person who is smiling and friendly?  They might actually be suffering from severe depression.  You may never know how much a small act of kindness will change the trajectory of someone’s suffering.

Gentle Lord, teach me to put into action my better impulses, straightforward and unafraid.  Grant that I may realize that it’s the little things that create great differences, that in the big things of life we are as one.  Amen

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Chance Encounter

 “God’s will for you is good, pleasing and perfect." ~ Romans 12:2

On the day the World Trade Center fell, the Pentagon burned and passengers crashed their own plane, hundreds of aircraft carrying thousands of passengers were ordered to land.  Who knew how many additional suicide missiles were looming in the skies over America?

When the US closed its airspace, tiny Gander (pop. 11,000) International Airport in Newfoundland opened its runways, homes, and hearts, taking in 38 wide-body planes on transatlantic routes. 

The city lacked hotels or restaurants to accommodate nearly 7,000 passengers, but the community knew that the people from more than 100 countries were frantic.  Volunteers across Gander began delivering food and supplies directly to the stranded jets; still others prepared makeshift shelters. 

This is where one of the many inspiring stories of 9/11 unfolded.

Nick and Diane lived half a world away from each other before meeting on that somber day.  Their unlikely friendship began in a line to get blankets and supplies.  Diane commented to herself that it smelled of mothballs.

"It’s camphor," Nick added politely from behind her.

The two started chatting, finding odd humor in the odorous blankets, realizing they'd been on the same flight heading to Texas.  In this strange, albeit welcoming place, that coincidence seemed like something to nurture, at least for the time being.

Nick, a British businessman in his 50s, was heading to Texas for work.  Newfoundland was never on his travel agenda.  Diane was an American divorcee returning from visiting her son, a US airman stationed in England.

The next day, they watched disturbing accounts about the terrorist attacks in Pennsylvania, New York and Washington.  Horrified by the murderous events they decided to take a walk.  A local suggested they hike to the Dover Fault, a breathtaking geological structure formed 410 million years ago helping explain the evolution of the Appalachian Mountains.

It took five days for the relationship to bloom.  But, when it became time to leave, each wondered if their infatuation was merely one of necessity during such a traumatic experience; if their feelings would dissipate once they jumped back on life’s treadmill.

The answer would come less than two months later when Nick proposed to Diane over the phone, 5,000 miles apart.  Diane said, “Yes!!”  Their honeymoon?  Where else but Gander.

Once again, the newlyweds underestimated the extent of the Newfoundlanders hospitality.  They returned to a full-blown wedding reception, complete with a multi-layer cake, champagne, and gifts.  The mayor had even written the couple a song about how they’d met in Newfoundland, fell in love and got married.

“Come From Away,” which immortalized their chance meeting, debuted on Broadway in March 2017, becoming an immediate box office success.  Performances will resume later this month when theatres open again in NYC.  

Nick and Diane Marson have seen the show well over 100 times.

Almighty Father, You keep us guessing when it comes to the details of tomorrow.  Show me Your will, and change my ways so I can obey, make better choices and influence others so I can show them Your love.  Amen

Friday, September 10, 2021

Summertime Dream

 "Ours is a forgiving and gracious God, slow to anger, filled with love and faithfulness." ~ Exodus 34:6

Paula walked through New York’s Central Park on a perfect summer day, her dog Annie in tow.  She immediately spotted a man drawing a hopscotch court in colored chalk on a sidewalk while a little girl waited anxiously for the chance to hop and skip.

A beaked chorus sang as playful as the birds themselves.  Clouds seemed locked to an endless, cocktail-blue sky.  She removed her sandals and strolled the downy-soft grass of Sheep Meadow, inhaling the sweet scent of purity; feeling free and alive.  Kids played kites flew, hardbodies sunbathed.

Further down the path, an elderly couple walked hand-in-hand.  The sat close on a familiar wooden bench absorbing the sun’s gracious warmth, just watching the passersby.  Everyone seemed so busy.

Paula spotted a man juggling several types of sink plungers.  A woman jogged bye pushing a stroller with twin Shih Tzus.  An exuberant wedding party hurried toward Gapstow Bridge as onlookers furiously snapped pictures on their phones.

Paula preferred the park’s “Quiet Zones.”  As a Conservancy volunteer propped up some roses in Shakespeare Garden, a man read his Bible under the canopy of a giant oak tree.  She knew its prose inspired peace, love and hope. 

They passed an ornamental pond, best known for its model boats.  A soft breeze sent dozens of toy sailboats scampering across its water.  Further out, weekend mariners in rented rowboats tried not to collide.  Not far away, the statue of Alice in Wonderland’s formed a climbing gym for adoring small kids.

A local Gondolier picked up passengers at Bethesda Garden.  He seemed to enjoy his job.  Who wouldn’t?  Many celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, even an occasional marriage proposal. 

Two young brothers leaned over the edge of Bethesda Fountain, gazing into the water and trying to remove coins with a stick.  Their laughter radiated outward, similar to ripples from a skipping stone; playing as if every drop of daylight were sacred.   

Today’s final stop took Paula and Annie to Strawberry Fields, a quiet place shaded by elm trees with benches for visitors to relax, reflect and “imagine.”  A small but ardent collection of fans gathered there to play guitars, sing and remember the rock star now dead as long as he lived.

Spoiler alert!  Paula was not in Central Park today.  It’s another wet, sunless day in Michigan.  Frankly, she hadn’t yet gotten up from bed yet.

But she’d seen all the things she described and will see them again and many more.  For God is good and there will always be brighter, drier, better days ahead.  Until that next flawless summer day arrives, she’ll live and dream God’s blessings in her mind and praise Him for the goodness that will surely come.

Lord, thank you for Your amazing power and work in our lives.  Thank You for your goodness and for Your blessings over us.  Thank You that for bringing us hope through even the toughest of times, strengthening us for Your purpose.  Amen

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Angel of the Night

 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." ~ Mark 16:16

Her night shift begins and ends the same way - a changing of the guard.  Two nurses, one from the incoming shift and another from the outgoing, circulate through the NICU, studying records detailing treatments in the last 12 hours.  They visit each infant and discuss what still needs doing.  

With the handoff complete, Veronika returned to each incubator to prepare them for the evening as a glorious sunset poured through the windows.

Veronika said a silent prayer every night on her walk from the parking structure: “Lord, be my hands, my eyes and my brain.  Guide me in everything I do to keep these little ones safe.”

Interruptions soon punctuated the night.  Blood must be drawn, feeding tubes and IV’s checked, vitals monitored, oxygen adjusted.  One of her patients had been born so prematurely that they couldn’t do anything to save his life.

His young mother remained stoic throughout the experience.  Veronika felt helpless waiting next to her for the inevitable to happen; short term comfort care only.  

The grieving mother told Veronika she wanted to have her baby baptized before ‘he was gone.’  The nurse immediately called the hospital’s Chaplain, thankful to finally feel like she was doing something useful.  He didn’t answer.

She called every chaplain on the list.  No one answered in the middle of the night.  Veronika returned to the mom and explained that she’d failed to locate anyone officially qualified.  The ritual would have to wait until morning.

Just then Veronika heard an unmistakable subliminal voice shouting, “NOW!”  She asked Mom if were OK for her to baptize the child.  She readily agreed.

Holding a baby bottle of sterile water in one hand and the tiny infant in the other, she poured a bit of water on the dying boy’s forehead saying: “I baptize you, Manuel, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.“  Before she could say “Amen,” he died.

Veronika dried him off before handing him back to his mother.  She held Manuel for a short while, and wrapped him in the soft blanket given by her church before returning him to the incubator.  There was a purity to him; love given and received.

The two hugged and cried.    

In that moment, Veronika fully appreciated what it meant to be in ‘His Hands.’

It’s likely that you’ve been placed in someone’s life for the salvation of a soul.  Even if you don’t know them, pray for the ‘hard cases’ - the lost sheep and the souls farthest from God’s grace.  Make it a daily habit to say the traditional “Angel of God” prayer and entrust all your intentions to the Lord at your side, particularly the spiritual needs of those you love:

“Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here.  Ever this day be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule and guide.”  Amen

Monday, August 30, 2021

"Time Passages"

 “Make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good." ~ Ephesians 5:16

As if her VCR was pressed in rewind mode, images of Nevaeh’s childhood flashed before her eyes.  Youthful memories are a photo album that can be edited.  She kept the best ones - those that brought joy and let the others fade away.

There she was, age three, building a sand sculpture on the beach ... feeling the warmth of bright sunlight shining down on her cute, angelic face.  Nevaeh imagined a birthday cake fashioned of sweet caramel sand with candy grains of golden sugar and creamy frosting.

Time flew as those tiny hands morphed into stronger ones building a castle from Lego bricks.  Bold colors, dancing unicorns and Princess Nevaeh holding court. 

Holding one hand and one foot, Daddy would spin her around faster and faster, calling it an "airplane" ride.  She felt giddy with pleasure ‘flying’ above the tall grass and meadow wildflowers.

Hopscotch, with colorful chalk amid the beating sun was how she and her grade school friends spent the last of each Indian summer.  Without computers or iPhones, they drew squares on crumbling sidewalks; cheapest entertainment money could buy.

Moving still faster now.  Those same hands grasped a pencil tightly they while taking her first math test.  Later yet, only slightly more relaxed, they held onto a steering wheel, driving along with family and friends.

Their wedding was perfect – a simple ceremony that celebrated the purity of their love just as a simple frame accentuates the beauty of a photograph.  It was like basic air and water rather than fireworks; unpretentious with one another, their commitment was forever.

Tearful cries interrupted Nevaeh’s dreamlike serenity as her husband burst into tears.  His glossy eyes turned to Nevaeh.  In an almost-broken voice he spoke gratefully of their beautiful daughter.

Through her exhaustion she smiled, letting her eyes leave his face to take in the newborn she brought to chest.  Her eyes were more brilliant than she could’ve dreamed they’d be, her hands more delicate.  She felt so light, looked so perfect, smelled so divine.  Only minutes old and her tiny girl began to root, content smile, instincts strong.

Hers had been a childhood of innocence, wonder, security, and of love.  Nevaeh (Heaven spelled backward) now understood that children hold the future in their delicate hands.  Perhaps God had given her a second chance ... a chance to relive her childhood again; maybe even better this time! 

She must enable this infant child to shape that future, to inspire her to dream of hope, peace and love; to empower her with the values and skills to make those dreams come true. 

As parents, it’s ultimately our responsibility to instill those foundational principles purposefully if we want a peaceful, thriving world.

Almighty Father, our time on earth goes by so fast.  Help me make it count by contributing to Your Kingdom.  Inspire more leaders to step forward and teach the next generation how to lead and love others in Your name.”  Amen

Thursday, August 26, 2021

God Choices

 “If you need wisdom, ask God.  He’ll never rebuke you for asking." ~ James 1:5

For Westerners, coming of age brings to mind quinceaƱeras, sweet sixteens and bar mitzvahs.  In China, Zhuazhou is held before a child even takes its first step.

For centuries, a Chinese baby’s’ first year passed cautiously due to the country’s high infant mortality.   Reaching its first birthday was cause for celebration.  

But, Zhuazhou isn’t an occasion for grand feasts and elaborate gifts.  No invitations are sent out; relatives and friends arrive spontaneously with modest gifts: food, coins, simple toys.  The custom dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279) as a means for expressing good wishes and reflects how the elders will encourage the child’s future.

There’s an old Chinese saying: "You can know a child's future when he is very young."  Feng Zikai chose a Chinese brush pen at his Zhuazhou (or “birthday grab”) ceremony.  His family encouraged him to study literature and he became a famously influential writer. 

For baby Wang Li, his big day had arrived with much anticipation.

Zhang, his father, placed several objects carefully on the floor while guests gathered to watch.  Whatever item Li picks up and gives to his parents might signal the child's future career or personality types.

A book, calculator, pen, currency, stamp and ball of yarn were carefully arranged so that no item was unfairly attractive to the boy.  After several adjustments, Li was finally allowed to peruse each object while his anxious parents waited patiently.

He touched the calculator and skimmed over the book cover.  Grabbing the pen next, he examined it thoroughly.  Seemly content with its weight and shape, he unexpectedly dropped it also.  Neither the cash or stamp received any consideration. 

He’d already rejected writer, financier, business executive, entrepreneur and party official.

The last item had been selected for its blue color which represented immortality and optimism.  He drooled on it briefly before turning abruptly and crawling back into his father’s arms without any object.

Tears flooded Zhang’s eyes - tears of profound joy.  He hadn’t realized that he was one of the choices.  Everyone in the room began clapping for Li's choice.  

According to Chinese tradition, he was destined to become a humanitarian - one who cares about others and the alleviation of suffering; a man gentle and compassionate.

As the most critical part of the celebration was over, Li’s uncle brought out a birthday cake.  Amid a chorus of the Chinese version of "Happy Birthday," the little birthday boy passed another hurdle in his life's journey.

Did you ever wonder if your "good" choices are "God's" choices?  That they’re the ones we do from a sense of love and duty for others rather than for self?  God’s will for our lives is more obvious than we may think.

Merciful God, give us the courage and fortitude to accept Your will in our lives – even when doing so will demand much of us.  Help us to cling ever more tightly to Your Son, that we may have no doubt about Your plans for us.  Amen

Friday, August 20, 2021

"Don't Stop Believin"

 "Happy are those who believe that the Lord's message will come true!" ~ Luke 1:45

Jon, like so many other struggling musicians in the late 70’s was ready to quit the Sunset Strip and move back home to Chicago.  Everything had been going wrong: he had no rock band prospects and had recently split with a girlfriend.  Worst of all, his beloved dog had been nearly killed by a car.  Unpaid vet bills were climbing faster than inflation.

Nearly out of cash, he called his Dad for another loan.  It was Jon’s father who’d gotten him into music at an early age.  By his teens, he played piano, bass, and harmonica.  Jon’s Dad encouraged him to pursue a music career.

As a child, Jon survived a horrific fire at the Catholic school he attended that killed 92 of his classmates and 3 nuns.  That experience formed a resilience that would carry him through both tragedy and success.

“Don’t come home son,” Dad urged.  “God gifted you many talents.  Stick to your guns!  Don’t stop believin’.  Jon scribbled the phrase in a notebook he kept for song ideas and took the advice to heart.  Dad sent the money and things started to happen – not all good things.

“There were many broken promises and rejections,” he’d later recall.  “The Lord kept saying ‘Not yet!’  “It wasn’t until I surrendered; emptied out.  Lord, please lead me!”

He never abandoned his vision, eventually getting his big break with Journey, a San Francisco rock band, writing songs that became the soundtrack of a generation. 

The band needed one final song for its 7th album, “Escape.”  Lead vocalist Steve Perry asked Jon if he had any lyrics or melodies that might work.  He went home, paged through his spiral notebook, and found his father’s quote from their long-distance call years before: “Don’t stop believin.’” 

“I wrote the chorus, and we all finished the song together,” he confided.  “It was magical!”

The song’s inspirational message became a megahit, helping propel Escape to multi-platinum status worldwide.  While it never topped the charts, Don’t Stop Believin’ captured our culture in countless ways: the “Sopranos” series finale and that memorable “Glee” pilot.  Rarely a wedding or party happens without it. 

While he gives credit to his father, Jonathon’s Cain’s aha moment came when he realized that his Dad was a conduit for the Lord’s message.  “It was always God talking,” he admitted humbly, feeling the need to pay his blessings forward today by writing and singing Christian music that he hopes will one day be as "timeless" as Journey's 1981 hit single.

Cain has released eight solo Christian albums since 2016.   Additionally, he serves as the Worship Leader at the City of Destiny megachurch, where his wife Paula White serves as Senior Pastor and Spiritual Advisor to President Donald Trump.   

Father God, thank You for loving, forgiving, and showing me my worthiness.  I’m in awe of You Lord and submit my heart to You.  May Your Holy Spirit transform me and make me like You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Stolen Girls

“How wonderful when we all live together in harmony!" ~ Psalm 133:1

Smiles often reflect a universal language of happiness.  Their message can be misleading though.  People also smile when they’re frightened, embarrassed, or intimidated.  Such was the case in this photo capturing the “Stolen Girls’” expressions.  More on this photo later.

Inspired by Dr. King’s peaceful protests, more than 200 people marched from Friendship Baptist Church in Americus, GA to the Martin Theatre in July 1963 to protest its segregative practices.  Police responded with brute force: water hoses, cattle prods, and nightsticks.

Protesters were arrested.  Some were adults, but the vast majority of those taken into custody were teenagers.  When the city jail filled, dozens of young girls were housed at the Leesburg Stockade, an unremarkable, concrete structure at the end of a lonely country road.

The building was a relic from the 1940’s.  Rusted bars covered its windows giving mosquitos and roaches free rein.  The only water came from a dripping shower head; the lone toilet didn’t flush.  They ‘dined’ on egg sandwiches or rare hamburgers and slept on cement floors.

Many had joined the march without their parent’s knowledge.  Their families had no idea where they were for more than a week, when the local dogcatcher eventually broke the silence.

They spent 60 days imprisoned for defying segregation.

Word spread.  A 21-year-old volunteer, Danny Lyon, snuck into the stockade, and shot about 20 photographs including the one above.  A Chicago newspaper ran the images under the headline, “Kids Sleep on Jail Floor: Americus Hellhole

Shirley Green-Reese, one of those jailed and now an Americus city councilwoman is often asked why she was smiling in the photo.  “I wasn’t smiling because of the situation,” she later admitted, “but because at 13 years old, I was happy to see anyone.”

The girls were finally released in mid-September.  They were never charged with any crime, but their parents each had to pay a two-dollar boarding fee.

Today, they’re speaking out about their experiences after more than 50 years in hope of getting closure and the recognition for the injustice.  They speak as one voice, telling the long overdue and hidden story of their illegal, abusive and degrading treatment.

It goes to show that the prettiest smile can hide the deepest secrets.  If you read stories written by the suicidal, some have been saved by a stranger’s kind word or a phone call to a suicide hotline.  Sometimes it can make all the difference.  Keep your eyes open.

Don’t disregard friends that smile all the time or ignore the ones who never talk about their problems.  They may need you the most.  So, how do you know if they don’t say anything.  I just like to assume everyone needs a friend and be available as often as possible.

Thank You Lord for my friends; those who walk alongside me, encouraging me, and loving me.  Help me to be more gracious to them, appreciating them and accepting their help.  Bless those who I call friends, that You may ever be in our midst.  Amen

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Fix My Eyes on Him

“See what God has done!” ~ Numbers 23:23

Born the eldest son of a well-known clergyman, young Sam had a passion for exploring things he didn’t understand – photography, electricity, human interaction.  But his real passion was for sketching, which consumed much of his idle time.

Educated at a Christian boarding school, and later at Yale College, he took a job working for a printer and bookseller.  And hated it. 

Despite his belief that being an artist was not a suitable occupation, his father agreed to send Sam abroad to hone his painting skills.  As his talents matured he gained notoriety for a few works while in Europe.

Upon returning to America, Sam earned money painting portraits of subjects including President James Monroe and French General Lafayette.  One large painting called ‘Representative Hall’, which displayed the House of Representatives in session, gained widespread attention.

Though his income was irregular, he generously supported missionaries and institutions training clergy.  He even established one of the country’s first Sunday Schools in his home church.

His work often took him away from his wife and children.  In 1825, while 300 miles away in Washington D.C., his young wife died suddenly in Connecticut.  He wasn’t able to attend her funeral as it took 10 days for the news to reach him by mail.

The tragedy of her passing fueled a passion to develop a faster method of communicating.  With some assistance from a university science professor, he spent the next 11 years developing a working prototype employing electro-magnets and a series of relays through a network of stations.  It used a simple code of dots and dashes for the letters of the alphabet which were transmitted as short and long electrical impulses with gaps in between.

He laid insulated wire across New York harbor in order to promote his invention publicly.  But when a ship’s anchor cut the wire, he unfortunately received more ridicule than support.

Penniless and frequently hungry, Sam never took his eyes off God.  In 1843, the federal government agreed to finance his ‘telegraph.’  Despite a number of technical difficulties, he successfully built the first telegraph line from Washington to Baltimore.

Early the morning of May 24, 1844, onlookers gathered in the Supreme Court’s chambers to receive the fateful transmission from Baltimore.  Sam had promised the daughter of a lifelong Christian friend the honor of choosing what would be said.  

Electricity raced through the lines with the message “What hath God wrought!”  She chose the words from the Bible (Numbers 23:23) because she recognized that it was God who had inspired and sustained Samuel Morse throughout.

Morse remained a humble Christian to the end of his days, describing his life’s work by saying that it was God’s work.  “Not unto us, but to Thy Name, O Lord, be all the praise.”

Father God, when we pridefully boast regarding our talents and accomplishments, we fail to appreciate Your role in all we do.  Remind us that none of us can succeed on our own strength or wisdom.  We need You!”  Amen