God of Our Fathers
God of our fathers, Whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.
Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.
From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.
Lyrics:Daniel C. Roberts – 1876
Music: George W. Warren – 1892
Photo by Marge McCoy
The man of integrity walks securely,
but he who takes crooked paths will be found out. (NIV)
O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NLT
Photo by Cheryl Cook
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27: 1
Photo by Elizabeth Melton Parsons
This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
A few weeks ago I went to the garden center to pick out a few bedding plants to brighten up the yard. They beckoned to me: Gazania, those cheerful orange and gold daises.
I paused for a moment to appreciate their beauty as they stood proudly on their stems amid their lustrous, crimped leaves. Blooming in profusion, they seemed to burst with joy.
I almost passed them by. I have tried my luck with these perky, fussy beauties before. They would blossom for a day or two, and then simply stop producing blooms.
As I stood debating whether or not to take another chance on them, a woman approached the table and began putting them into her cart by the armload. “Lovely, aren’t they?” she said. “So bold, and yet so shy. They open their petals happily to the sun, but on cloudy days, they close up and hide.”
We began to chat, and I told her of my past experience with Gazania. The trick, she said, is to plant them where they will get the morning sun. And they like their roots damp, but not wet. “And you see this?” She pointed out a spent blossom and deftly pinched it off at the base of the stem. “You have to nip these down close.” Armed with these secrets for success, I added a couple of six-packs to my cart and took them home.
Some of them, I scattered along the fence, where they would get the morning sun. The rest, I planted in pots and put on the front steps. A hungry bunny promptly came along and feasted on the ones in the yard, but the ones in the pots thrived. What a cheerful sight they make each morning, a profusion of orange and gold faces greeting the sun.
It occurs to me that sometimes I am like these Gazania. I require just the right conditions in order to be joyful. Hiding my face when the clouds roll in, I wait for a better day to praise God, a more convenient time at which to serve Him. On these days, I must remember that THIS is the day that the Lord has made. And come sunshine or clouds, I am called to glorify His name.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for this little corner of the world in which You have chosen to plant me. Thank You for giving me opportunities to serve You. Help me not to wither on cloudy days, but to keep my eyes turned toward heaven, and even when it is not visible, to bask in the glorious light of Your Son. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Photos and devotional by Jean Pike
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Poem Anyway by Mother Teresa
Photo by Aaron Paul Lazar
Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest
Exodus 34: 21
Photo by Cheryl Cook