Family Devotion: Groundhog Day


Photo Credit: rongto via Compfight cc

Verse to Remember: 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIrV)

Talk About This:

Where do you look when you want to check the weather? Do you watch the Weather Channel?  Check a weather app on the phone?  Or do you chase down a furry rodent to see what he has to say?

Groundhog Day is a funny holiday, isn’t it? All across the country people watch a cute little groundhog come out of his hole just to find out if he can see his shadow. The tradition says if he sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter weather, but if he doesn’t see it, we can expect an early spring.

Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it? Do you think a groundhog can really predict the weather? Of course not.   It’s just a fun tradition and an excuse for people to celebrate.

If you really want to know what the weather is going to be like, you check with the experts. Weather forecasters have all kinds of scientific instruments and computers to help them know if it’s going to be hot or cold, wet or dry, windy or calm or something in between.

Can you imagine what would happen if we relied on the groundhog instead?  We’d show up for school on a warm, spring day wearing a toboggan and gloves or we’d end up in shorts and flip-flops when there was snow on the ground.

Of course no one really thinks a groundhog can predict the weather.  No one decides how they’re going to dress or when they’ll go outside based on what the groundhog says.

When it comes to weather decisions, we listen to the experts.  But what about other decisions?  Bigger decisions,  Who do you listen to when you have to choose between right or wrong?

Continue reading



When you’re setting up your children’s ministry rooms early on Sunday morning, the last thing you expect to hear is a rooster.  A real, live rooster.  Up close they don’t make a cock-a-doodle-doo sound.  They sound more a woman shrieking.

For five years I worked at a church in Indianapolis that met in a gym.   We had classrooms all around the perimeter and a kitchen right next to the stage.  My children’s worship room was in the very back so it didn’t matter much if we got a little noisy.

Every Sunday morning, I would show up at the crack of dawn to make sure my room was set for the kids.  We had a tiny stage in the corner with a free-standing folding screen to give us a small backstage area.

At that time of day there weren’t many people around.  The church was as quiet as a graveyard, except for the morning I got attacked by the rooster.

Continue reading

Hot Foot

You have to be careful who you listen to these days, because you never know what kind of advice you’re you going to get.  Take yesterday, for instance.

I had to go to the ATM before work, but I didn’t have much time.  Unfortunately when I pulled up to the bank, heavy equipment blocked the entrance.  They were repaving the parking lot and starting by the ATM, but I didn’t have much of a choice.  I needed to transfer money to cover some checks, and I had to do it before the day got started.

Undeterred, I pulled into the other entrance and caught a bank employee as she was leaving the building.  She was wearing a suit.  She looked respectable.  I thought, surely this is a person whose advice I can trust.

“Is the ATM open?” I asked.

“Oh yeah,” she said, “The bank’s open all day.  Sorry about the mess.”

I still wasn’t sure how this was going to work.  The construction guys were paving right down the ATM drive-thru lane.  Obviously I couldn’t drive my car over, so I got out, walked over and asked the guy driving the big roller if it was okay if I went to the ATM.

“Sure,” he said, “Go on over.”

He looked like an expert.  He was wearing an orange vest and everything.  Surely this guy knew when it was and was not safe to walk on fresh blacktop, right?

By the time I made it to the ATM my feet said otherwise.  Hmm, that’s funny, I thought.   The blacktop is so fresh it’s still warm.  Halfway through my transaction, though, I realized it wasn’t just warm.  It was hot, so hot, in fact I was feeling it through my sneakers.

Every second I pecked away at the ATM keys, I swear I felt myself sink another inch into the pavement.  Visions of dinosaurs and tar pits filled my head.  I finished up my business, grabbed my receipt and yanked my feet free.

Back at my car I checked out my shoes, which of course, were now caked in blacktop and underneath that, melted rubber.  Then I started to feel it in my feet.   In fact 24 hours later I can still feel it in my feet.   It had actually burned me through my shoes.

I bet that construction guy does that to people all the time.  It’s how he gets his jollies.  He probably posts video of dummies like me on YouTube and gets a million hits.

Like I said before, you have to be careful who you listen to these days because you never what kind of advice you’re going to get.  It could be well meaning but misguided advice like my banker friend, or it could be advice designed to intentionally lead you astray so that your advisor can post video of you on YouTube with the title, “Hotfoot Harry and the ATM.”

Either way, you still end up in the same place.  Bad advice is bad advice.

Maybe that’s why the Bible says, “Walk with the wise and become wise for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).  Of course walking with the wise is hard to do when your feet are burned, but if I’d had somebody wise with me to begin with, maybe I wouldn’t have ended up in that mess.

We’ve all heard it said, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the fire,” but I say, “wise friends keep you out of hot situations.”  Good advice?  I guess it depends on who you ask.