Today's Bible Readings
     Exodus 9
     Job 27
     Luke 12
     I Corinthians 13
''Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." (Luke 12:27)
            In Matthew 6:28, notice the simple phrase, ''Consider the lilies, how they grow...'' I want you to notice carefully two words here. Note first of all the word consider. This simply means to be observed carefully. God is saying to all of us that we are to focus on, and observe carefully, the lily.
            The other word I want you to notice is the word how. The word how can mean at least two things. It can mean the method or the manner of something. Someone may ask, ''How did you do that?'' They are speaking about the method and manner of the event.  It simply means how something is accomplished.
            The other meaning of the word can mean the marvel of the lily. Someone may say, ''My, how the Lord has blessed." They mean we are to marvel at the blessings of the Lord. The lily is indeed a marvelous plant. In the lily family alone, there are more than 2,000 varieties among the 100 different species.
            As you marvel at the lily, you must notice several things; first of all, the consistency of its identification. Although there are many kinds of lilies, it is obvious when you are observing a lily. It has been recorded that there are more than 25,000 Elvis impersonations. How sad that people will spend their entire life trying to be someone else. I have discovered from research that the number one problem with teenagers is that they do not like themselves. The devil will lie to any of us. I hate the devil, don't you? It's OK to hate the devil. You must love people, but it is OK to hate the devil. The devil is lying to some of you, telling you that you are ugly, unsuccessful, and a failure. He is the monster of discouragement. It is time to be happy with who you are and content with how God has made you. You are indeed somebody, a marvel of God's creation.
As you observe the lily, notice also the contentment of its location. The Scripture says it is a ''flower of the field." I meet far too many people who are never satisfied with where God has planted them. I want to suggest that we would all be much happier if we would bloom where we are planted, if we would be content with our location and assignment from the Lord. Most discontent with our location and assignment is because we feel like we deserve better than that, and we do not understand that wrong motives rarely means right moves. Please take two tests today.
            First of all, take the test of obscurity. Can you be happy if God places you in a place of obscurity to serve Him?  Take the test of prominence. Can you be obedient, faithful, and effective when God gives you a place of affluence and prominence?
            Remember, pursuing the better can cause you to miss the best. What a wonderful opportunity to consider the lily and to learn from a flower.
            The Republic of Zimbabwe is a country of approximately 12 million people. In Zimbabwe, there has been a great freedom since the independence to preach the Gospel. Literally thousands are coming to know Christ as personal Savior. Evangelical groups are going into Zimbabwe in unprecedented numbers to share, in many ways, the truth of the Christian Gospel. Pray for these new believers and for the training of leadership as the church is having unprecedented growth.
But today, we must pray specifically for the greatest need in Zimbabwe. The AIDS calamity in Zimbabwe is one of the world's worst cases. A combination of government neglect, lack of health care resources, promiscuity, and social reluctance to face up to the drastic measures required are the root causes. Over 25% of all adults carried the virus into the new century. The number of orphans has risen to almost 1 million (9% of the population).                                                            Deaths rose to 700 per week, and  the economy and life expectancy has plummeted . This must be our major prayer - for God to give healing and a great turn around against the AIDS  epidemic.
''Christians are like the several flowers in a garden that have each of them the dew of Heaven, which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other's roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other."
John Bunyan