Saturday, October 03, 2015

What will we do?


You've felt it, haven't you?

That sudden sense that everything is out of control...

...that the world and the problems you face are overwhelming, too big, too much!

You may have actually said it at one time, "What will I do?!"

It was a question one man asked one morning when he realized what had happened in the night.  Here is the short story from 2 Kings 6,

15 When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.
16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

When all we see is what we know we miss what God is doing around us.  

This servant was in a complete panic because of what he saw, but 
Elisha was sipping his coffee quite calmly.  

He saw something completely different.  

He saw what God was doing.

When panic comes, when fears rise, when the situations you see are overwhelming don't forget that what you see is not all there is.
Unseen is a sovereign God guiding, protecting, watching.
And around us are heavens armies watching over his people.

As God said to the prophet Isaiah he says to us,

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you."

Friday, October 02, 2015

Make room...

  I just finished skimming a new book I wanted to read.  

There wasn't much in it.  One of those books you quickly realize has little to offer, but I did get one sentence out of it....and for that I consider it a success.

Here it is,  "Make some room for God."  

That's it.  But what a sentence!  I stopped and reread it a couple times and began to think about what that looks like in my life. 

I was quickly convicted that I don't do that as much as I should.  I don't make room for God in situations where he is most needed.  

The pressures of the moment make me respond alone, deal with it alone instead of making room for God to be part of the moment, part of the discussion, or part of the solution.

I fear I do this too often without realizing it.  The Jews did it and here was Jesus' reply, "And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message."  (John 8:37)  

It concerns me that my responses will not be healthy or honoring to God when I make no room for him to be part of the discussion or even part of my life.  

So here are a few questions I’m going to work on,

How do I make room for God?
What would that look like?
What can I do to give him a “place at the table” in my life and decisions?

I’m not offering answers for all of this, just sharing my new quest….finding ways, in every aspect of my life, to make room for God.

Choosing joy

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” 
― Henri J.M. Nouwen

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The depth of joy

“And yet all loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies, and itchings that (Hell) contains, if rolled into one single experience and put into the scale against the least moment of the joy that is felt by the least in Heaven, would have no weight that could be registered at all. Bad cannot succeed even in being bad as truly as good is good.” 

― C.S. LewisThe Great Divorce

Quote of the day

“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


For the next few posts I'm going to focus on the topic of joy.  It seems I lose mine far to easily so I want to look at this topic and discover some of the principles from the bible that will help us live in the joy of the Lord.  Come with me on this little study and let's see what we can find.  And, I invite you to share your thoughts and discoveries in your own life on this topic of joy.  

Ready?  Here we go.....

Quote of the day

“What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” ~ A. W. Tozer

What do you want?

"Jesus looked around and saw them following. 
“What do you want?” he asked them." -John 1:38

The most brilliant thought provoker in history was Jesus.  He constantly challenged people with questions, with challenges to their assumptions, their theology, their prejudices, their choices.

In the gospels Jesus was asked 183 different questions.  Do you know how many he answered directly?  

Only 4!  

The other 179 questions were answered by Jesus with another question!  He constantly challenged people to think, to stretch, to look at what they believed and why.  

In the early pages of the gospel of John several of John the Baptist's disciples leave him and follow Jesus.  Jesus turns, sees these men following him and asks a most profound question,

                           “What do you want?”

This word "want" in the Greek speaks of our desires, our longings, the things we chase after.  In other words, what do you crave and hunger for?  What drives you?  What do you want more than anything else?  

These questions are at the very heart of Jesus' question, "What do you want?"  I don't think either of the men following really knew the answer.  They may have never thought it through and so they stumble for a response, "Where are you staying?"  

Imagine he asks you this question today.  Imagine Jesus stops you in your day and asks, "So, Mary, what do you want?"  For most of us we are caught speechless!  If we were honest we might be a bit embarrassed at our initial answers....we want fame, money, happiness, sex.....whatever the answer for most of us it falls far short of our need and the real answer of our hearts.

This question, in just four words, strikes at the very center of our passions, desires and longings and makes us stop and admit.....we really don't know.

What do you want?

It's one of Jesus first question in the gospel of John.
It's a question you need to answer.
What would you tell him in reply?


A recent article, in light of the pope's visit, had this as the opening line-

"Remarks made by Pope Francis at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan have sparked a firestorm of criticism from those that do not believe that Christians and Muslims worship the same God."

In case you were wondering or may be confused this is absolutely positively NOT true...this idea that they are one in the same. The God of the Bible and the god of the Quran are not the same nor does either book make room for such an idea. Any committed Christian or Muslim will deny this simply because the two religions teach about completely different gods. So, one must be true and the other false. That's the issue no one really wants to deal with, that's the key to all of this.... means one God is real and the other isn't.

That's the real discussion our culture is trying to avoid.

Monday, September 28, 2015

God is with you....

My sweet mother is living well and wonderfully active. I get to visit with her on the phone each week.  Often she has related the story of her last visit with the pastor who led me to faith in Christ, Rev. Everett Hovey.  He was a great guy and loved God.  He pastored until he simply couldn't anymore.

Mom tells me of the last sermon she heard him preach and this phrase stuck with her, "The Lord is with you, he's on your side."  She has often quoted that to me as we visit.  It was an important truth for her and I think it's important for any of God's kids to get it.

God is with you, he will never leave you.  You can't run away, you can't hide, he's with you.  But he's not with you as a judge, a critic, but as a helper, a companion, a friend, a comforter.  And, in his presence you begin to see that this one who made you is on your side.  He really wants you to finish the race with joy, to walk with him in peace, to see his grace in your difficult days.

The Lord is with you, he's on your side.  

We all so easily get distracted, discouraged, defeated by life...but do you know that in your darkest moments, in the difficult days that the Lord is with you?  He really likes you!  He's for you, he's on your side and wants you to cross the finish line with joy and without regret.

You have enough opponents in this life.  Isn't it great that the one who made you isn't another one waiting for you to mess up, to trip, to fail...but he walks with you, in you, to help you become like Christ.  His plan is that when your done, when the timer goes off on your life, we will open the oven of difficult days and trials and discover a wonderful thing- you've become like Christ!

The Lord is with you, he's on your side.

"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we 
eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself." Phil. 3:20-21

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The love of God

(I wrote this a few years ago as I thought about God's love and my desire to really know it.  I was suddenly reminded of how much God loves me based on a moment in time more than 40 years ago.  We all struggle with God's love, so I wanted to post this once more.  Do read it and ask God to show you his love for you.  It will change your life.)

It happened more than 40 years ago.  I was at university, sitting on a bench on campus talking to God.  I wanted more, wanted to understand God's love.  I prayed, "Lord, let me see people the way you do."  In a moment a friend, Evelyn, walked by.  We didn't exchange a word, but my heart began to break as I saw how much God loved her.  I began to weep with the weight of God's love for her.  It was more than I could bear, more than I could imagine.  It was too much and I prayed, "Lord, stop, I can't take any more."

I think of that moment often.  It was a life changing moment for me to see others the way God sees them.  His love for us is more than we can understand, more than we can bear, it's wonderfully overwhelming.  I could only see a small glimpse into his love and it broke me, it changed me.  I think of that park bench and Evelyn often and remember the sense of God's love for her and for others as they walked by.

But only recently did I get the full meaning of that moment more than 40 years ago (yes, I'm slow). During this time of sabbatical it suddenly struck me that God loves me the same way he loves Evelyn!  I don't know why I never put those pieces together, but I didn't.  I suddenly realized a message meant for me more than 40 years ago finally got through- God loves me!

Yes, yes...I know all about that from the bible.  I know God loves me, but to really know it, to really understand how he feels about me, the emotion of it...even if it's just a glimpse....has changed my walk with him.  It's a shame that it took 40 years for me to "get it".

There's no way to describe the depth of this love of the Father, this overwhelming love he has for us.  There are no words for it other than what we can see in the cross.  The cross tells us all we can bear about the love of God.  God loves us so much that he gave the eternal son to redeem us, to make us his children.  This love isn't just actions, but it's rich with emotions.  It's a love with a depth we could never fully understand.  It's a love that is overwhelmingly wonderful. 

God loves you, he loves me, he loves Evelyn more than you could possibly imagine.  It's this love that has made it possible for us to be his children.  It’s a love wonderfully beyond words.  A love so grand that the cross is only a glimpse of how glorious it is.  A love that would overwhelm you.....a love for you that is more than you could bear or even imagine.  God loves you.