Jehovah takes pleasure in them that fear Him,
In those that hope in His lovingkindness.
Psalm 147:11

Do you ever get angry with yourself for doing goofy things…things that you should have known better than to do? Picture me raising BOTH hands! Having a bent toward perfectionism, I am harder on myself than most people. But did you know that even when we do goofy things, God is not the One who is hard on us. As a matter of fact, when we call on Him, He will deliver us over and over again, even when the dilemma we are facing is of our own making. What a faithful, merciful and long-suffering Father we have! And the more we trust Him, the more eager He is to intervene on our behalf.

Now those of you who have been following my devotionals for a long time know that I am infamous for telling on myself. I tell you, because first of all, it’s usually funny and can add a laugh to your occasional mundane day…and secondly it may help you to see that we all do foolish things and God loves us anyway!

The above being my preface, I will tell you what prompted this particular devotional. I am an animal lover and feed a number of stray cats. The three I am feeding now are the grown litter of a stray, two of which are females plus the mama cat. I determined that if I did not do something to control this kitty population explosion I would soon be overrun. I found a place that would do spaying on feral cats for a fraction of the usual cost. I managed to trap the mother cat and one of the now grown kittens and have them spayed. But the one I named Cherise, who is my favorite, was much more wile than the others. One time she even followed the trail of food into the trap just up to the bowl where the spring is set, then backed out without tripping it. I was getting desperate, being aware of the fact that spring is the season of new beginnings and new kittens! I prayed, “Lord, please help me catch Cherise, even if you have to send your angels to put her into the trap.” (Okay, I know it sounds a little far out to some of you! But as I’ve said before, God is concerned with any and everything that concerns us.)

I reset the trap although there was no food in it because it was devoured by the neighbor’s cat who had gone in, eaten it, stepped on the trap and wailed until I let it out. But not Cherise…no, not Cherise!

That Friday I came home from work expecting to see the cats sitting on the steps of the side porch waiting to be fed. The neighbor’s cat was there and one of the others, but no Cherise. “Hum,” I thought. “Unusual. Wonder where she is.” At this point I go inside, put down my things and walk out on the back porch and there is Cherise…IN THE TRAP! There was no food there to entice her, so you figure it out. Now what was it I prayed?

Immediately I said, “Thank You, Lord!” But then the wheels of my analytically programed mind started turning and I thought, “I can’t keep her in the trap until Monday. Maybe I could put her in one of my bathrooms…but all weekend?” And before I could even mentally process the entire scenario, I opened the cage and she ran like a turkey without even looking back! Now how goofy can you get?

I went inside and after trying to kick my own behind for several minutes, I called my daughter to vent my frustrations at my own impulsive action. You can just imagine what I was saying! After listening to me for several minutes she said, “Mother, just calm down. The Lord helped you to catch her once, He can help you catch her again. He knows everything. He knew you were going to let her go even before you did it. Stop beating yourself up. Trust Him! He’ll help you again if you ask.”

Not fully convinced that the Lord would give me a second answer to prayer after I had blatantly thrown the first one out the window, I asked Him to please help me catch Cherise again.

The next morning when I went out to feed the cats, Cherise came up to me to be petted. She had never allowed me to pick her up before, but I thought why not try. The most I can get is a few stitches! I picked her up, stroking her and started toward the bathroom. The closer I got the more agitated she got…but I made it! I serve a God of second, third and fourth chances! From the confinement of the bathroom and with the help of my granddaughter, I was able to get her into a cage on Monday and take her to the vet. God is good ALL the time! Don’t ever think that He doesn’t care about even the minutest details of your life. And don’t ever think that He won’t give you a second chance!

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him.
2 Chronicles 16:9a




But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah;
your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you,
and many will rejoice because of his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.”
Luke 1:13-14

Since we are beginning the celebration of Christmas, I thought we could look at those passages in the Bible that preface this glorious season. It is interesting the perfect order in which God orchestrated the birth of His Son. Old Testament Prophets, not only foretold His birth, but they told of a forerunner that would come to prepare the hearts of the people to receive Him. That forerunner was John the Baptist born to the High Priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth.

An angel appeared to Zechariah while he was ministering in the Holy of Holies in the temple. As you can imagine, Zechariah was petrified! In those days if the High Priest had any sin in his life when he came to minister, he was smitten and died. Maybe Zechariah thought the angel was there to give him a death sentence. Certainly he never dreamed that he would be the messenger of such wonderful news. Although Zechariah and Elizabeth were well beyond child bearing age, the angel told him that they were going to have a son. And although scripture indicates that they had been praying a long time for such a miracle, Zechariah doubted the word of the angel. He said, “How do I know that this will come to pass?” I think that is a statement that he regretted for quite some time, for the angel said, “This is how you will know. You will not be able to talk until your son is born.” Talk about something rendering you speechless! The angel went on to say that they should name the child John. When Zechariah’s speech was restored, friends and neighbors asked him, “What do you want to name him…Zechariah, Jr.?” “No”, he said, “We will call him John!” Zechariah was not going to make the mistake of questioning the angel twice!

But like Zechariah, are there times that we have been praying for something for so long that it has become more a ritual than an inspiration? And like Zechariah, if the answer came now, would we be in shock and disbelief? We need to keep our faith alive by continually feeding on the promises in God’s Word. Then we will live expecting our prayers to be answered…maybe even today!

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray,
believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Mark 11:24