Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. But how shall they ask him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? [Romans 10:13-14 (TLB)]

I’d been asked to answer why Jesus moved me to write a Christian daily devotional. There certainly are times I ask myself that same question. I wondered how to reply to that query as I walked the swamp/bird sanctuary this morning.

corkscrew swamp sanctuaryOriginally a city girl, I never would have expected spending at least one day a week on this boardwalk in the midst of water, ferns, cypress, herons, hawks, spiders and gators. A private person, I would never have expected to share my faith journey so publicly either. While contemplating why I do it, I started taking pictures of the swamp. I silently complained that, no matter how many shots I take, I’ve never managed to capture the beauty, mystery and sense of peace I find in this strange place. Neither words nor photos can capture why I love it so—and yet I continue to try. I will admit that I didn’t love it at first. We first visited out of curiosity but became intrigued enough to come again and again and learn more about it. Now, whenever we have visitors, the swamp is a “must do” activity. Being so familiar with it, we can show them where the deer might be found, the gator family lives, the scarlet hibiscus and blue flag iris hide, the baby owls roost, and the woodpeckers nest—all of which we missed on our earlier visits. We can explain how the strangler fig grows, about the cypress knees, which wading bird they’re seeing, and what the seemingly dead resurrection fern will look like after a rain—none of which we knew when we first visited. We didn’t love the swamp at first but, as we came to know it, we grew to love it and want to share that love with others.

So, what compels me to post a Christian devotion five times a week? Just as I want to share my love of the swamp with our guests, even though I’m neither botanist nor zoologist, God has somehow tasked me with the sharing of my love of Jesus with strangers, even though I’m neither theologian nor minister! He’s given me the desire to share my faith and my failings, the peace of God and the struggles of a follower, the comfort of His presence and the guidance of His word so that others can experience the peace, love and joy that comes from a relationship with Jesus and reading the Bible.

My words and photos can’t do justice to the swamp so, if you’re ever in Southwest Florida, be sure to spend some time at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. You’ve just got to experience it for yourself. The words of my devotions can’t do justice to God, either. My prayer is that people will find them interesting enough to encourage them to delve into God’s word for themselves and take their own journey of faith. You’ve got to experience God firsthand and, as we found with the swamp, once you know Him, you’ll love Him. Unlike our favorite swamp, however, there’s no admission fee.

A true faith in Jesus Christ will not suffer us to be idle. No, it is an active, lively, restless principle; it fills the heart, so that it cannot be easy till it is doing something for Jesus Christ. [George Whitefield]

When the Council saw the boldness of Peter and John and could see that they were obviously uneducated non-professionals, they were amazed and realized what being with Jesus had done for them! … [Peter and John replied] “We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we saw Jesus do and heard him say.” [Acts 4:13, 20 (TLB)]

For just preaching the Gospel isn’t any special credit to me—I couldn’t keep from preaching it if I wanted to. I would be utterly miserable. Woe unto me if I don’t. If I were volunteering my services of my own free will, then the Lord would give me a special reward; but that is not the situation, for God has picked me out and given me this sacred trust, and I have no choice. [1 Corinthians 9:16-17 (TLB)]  

swamp lily-great egret-blue flag iris