Monday, May 18, 2015

Short devotion: Fly Girl - psalm 99:3

Psalm 99:3    Let them praise Your great and awesome name - He is holy.

            I've just been reading about Jackie Cochran, who was the first woman aviator to break the Sound Barrier on this day in 1953. She was born in a tiny Southern timber mill town of Muscogee, Florida, just north of Pensacola. The year was 1906 and she was a child of a very poor family, whose humble beginnings she tried to conceal in later years by claiming to be adopted.
Originally, she trained to be a nurse, and then a hairdresser, working for years in Pensacola. Eventually, she ended up in New York City, after being hired by a very prestigious salon. In the 1930s, Jackie began flying lessons and was so proficient at it, that she learned to fly and control an airplane within three weeks. She never looked back after that. Flying became her life. She won several special air races that were common at the time, broke many speed and distance records than any other pilot, flew a bomber across the Atlantic in World War 2, and eventually broke the Sound Barrier after being encouraged to do so by her long time famous pilot friend Chuck Yeager.

She did all these amazing things, but hardly anyone outside of aviation knows of her name. If she had died tragically, mysteriously, and young like her contemporary Amelia Earhart, more folks would have known about her. She accomplished much more than Earhart ever did, and could have been NASA’s first woman astronaut if the male participants in the early Mercury and Gemini programs had not objected to a woman being allowed to go through the training. However, her spirit was undaunted by any setbacks. She often spoke of her road to success with these words, "I might have been born in a hovel, but I determined to travel with the wind and the stars."

            In today’s psalm, we read the words about God’s glorious name which is revered and blessed throughout history because of His holiness, greatness, love, and mercy. There is no other god worthy of our worship; there is no other deity deserving of our devotion. God is our Creator whose mighty deeds have never been equaled, and whose works of salvation can never be diminished or forgotten. We bless His name because we are the beneficiaries of what His Only Son Jesus accomplished by His sacrificial death on the Cross. Christ may have been born in a hovel, but God was determined that He should follow a pre-destined path that would enable sinners like us to be embraced by His Spirit on Earth, so that we could at last reach for the stars of Heaven.

Questions for reflection
How grateful am I for Christ’s work of salvation? How do I honor His sacrifice with my life?

(If you would like to read more about Jackie Cochran’s amazing life, visit this PBS link: Jackie Cochran).

Prayer:          Lord God, we thank You for Your mighty and wonderful works of Creation which still amaze and astound us. However, we are infinitely more grateful for the precious gift of salvation that You have bestowed upon us through the life, death, and resurrection of Your Son Jesus. We can never repay the everlasting debt that we owe You, but we can remain eternally grateful by serving You in this life and the next. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to ask questions or make comments about today’s message, he’d be happy to receive them via email. Send them to

Today’s attached image is one of John’s latest drawings of a Tiffany lamp. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on this link: Tiffany.

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