Psalm 147:1-9 (NRSV)

1 Praise the Lord!  How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. 2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. 3 He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. 4 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. 5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. 6 The Lord lifts up the downtrodden; he casts the wicked to the ground. 7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre. 8 He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the hills. 9 He gives to the animals their food, and to the young ravens when they cry.

Isaiah 43:4-5 (NIV)

4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. 5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.

DEVOTION – Gerald McCann (Western Cape, South Africa)

My wife’s cousin, Isabelle, lives on top of a massive coastal dune.  Over the years, despite the sandy conditions and with the help of lots of careful toil and compost, she has established a veritable botanical garden of flowering plants.  She delights in showing people her garden and, with obvious pride, will tell you the name of each plant, where it came from, and when it flowers.  Some of her plants were gifts from friends; some were bought from rare-plant nurseries; many were from cuttings she collected throughout the country.  A few were rescued from trash heaps!  Isabelle delight in her beloved flowers is a joy to behold.

Today’s scripture reminds us that we are like precious plants in God’s garden.  Our Creator, who “determines the numbers of the stars and calls them each by name,” knows our names and everything about us.  Some of us God brought out of terrible situations; some God found in unexpected places; others God gathered from all parts of the earth.  God rejoices when we bear flowers or fruit, no matter how insignificant it may seem.  We are of great value to God delights in us.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Though each of us is different, God delights in us all.

LINK2LIFE:  To see a photo of Isabelle in her garden, go to devotional

PRAYER: Thank you, God, for seeing something valuable in our lives and calling us to be your own. Amen.