Friday, October 31, 2014

God is amazing!

This afternoon my wife and I had some time for a walk in the park.  It was a perfect fall day in Texas so a walk in God's creation is a great way to "reboot" after a hectic week.  

As I look around me I've noticed something....the world we live in is beautiful and quite intricate.  The beauty and design around us screams that God exists.  And this God who exists made everything you see and made it in fine and beautiful detail.  When I see a duck like this I have to respond, "God, you are amazing!"  The beauty, the detail, the variety shouts there is a God.

One of the great themes of the book of Ezekiel is "They will know that I am Lord."  It's a phrase repeated more than 60 times in this book.  God will be known, he will be acknowledged and he will be worshipped.  The only way you could ever declare "there is no God" is to close your eyes and deny everything you know.

God, you are amazing and your work is beautiful.  Well done God!  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quote of the day

I'm in the midst of a study on heaven and came to this quote by C.S. Lewis.  He always says things so well.

“To enter heaven is to become more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth; to enter hell, is to be banished from humanity.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apocalyptic porn

A friend of mine, a Jewish rabbi, used this phrase to describe all the current day hype about the anti-Christ and end times events.  It's a word picture that perfectly describes what we are seeing in the "news" media daily.  

It's "news" that's meant to evoke fear and easily does so.  Apocalyptic porn describes "news" that is, for the most part, fiction and fantasy meant to create panic in the Christian community.  And, Facebook is the perfect vehicle to spread this porn.  Daily I see posts about what Obama is going to do, what the government plans, the terrible things just ahead that we need to "know."  

It would be fascinating if it weren't just so absurd!  Here's an example of a headline a friend sent to me,

"CDC Whistleblower Exposes Ebola Vaccinations Containing RFID Chips"

Not only is this article fear driven, but it plays on the fears of any Christian who believes the "end of days" are near.  What if the government is planning to plant chips in the populace?  What will we do????   Fear, doubt, and panic do their dirty work and we become obsessed with these silly stories instead of sharing the good news with those around us who aren't ready for the end of days.

Apocalyptic porn it is and it's time for Christians to put down the porn and get about the real business of trusting God and doing what he told us to do!

A prayer in the morning

Good morning Father,
It's a beautiful day today.
Thank you for making it.
Thank you for letting me experience it.
Thank you for the eyes to see all you have made,
for the ears to hear the birds,
for the smells of the fall day.
Thank you that all your work is a work of love.
The colors, the sounds, the smells all tell me
something about you.
You are an artist!
I really like your work.
I love the colors of the morning sun.
I love the praise of the birds and their songs to you.
I wish I knew what they were saying,
but it's enough to know they sing to you.
This morning I want to sing to you as well.
You are amazing!
Your kindness, your patience, your goodness are all
shown in what you have made.
Each morning we see your mercy brand new.
Thank you for being God.
Thank you for caring about me.
Thank you for making me your child.
I look forward to the day when I see you face to face,
but until that day I see you each day in your grace 
and mercy all around me.
Today, let me be a vessel of your love to those who need it.
Today, let me give grace to those who don't know you.
Today, as you rule in the world around me....rule in me.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A good God

A friend posted this photo on Facebook this morning. It's a slogan I've heard many times.  I'm sure you have as well.  We all "know" it's true, but if we are honest we would admit that sometimes it doesn't feel like this is true for us.  If we were honest we might rewrite it, "God is good all the time...but sometimes it doesn't feel like it."

Truth and reality are often in conflict in a fallen world.  What we know and what we experience are often in conflict as well. If we were able to be really honest, Job...would say, "I know God is good, but...."  So what is the good we are talking about?  What does it mean that God is good?  

Does it mean that things always go my way, work out for me, that I am always healthy, always happy, always have all I need?  Are my circumstances the good we are to focus on? What does it really mean when we say that God is good?

If we don't define that simple idea we will find ourselves disappointed, bitter or worse....we will give up on this faith walk with God.  The truth is that "God is good" is not at all about my circumstances, but is all about his nature and his character.  Because he is good even my difficult days are a blessing because a good God is in charge of my life. Because he is good I can endure financial troubles.  Because he is good cancer can be part of his kind work in my life.

When I make his goodness about my circumstances I will quickly become disillusioned....but when I make his goodness about his nature and how he deals with me then even bad day, difficult problems and health issues change because a good God rules my life.  

Is God good all the time?  YES!  And even when life isn't so good, wonderful, sweet, loving and good God is working through it all for my good and his glory.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


As I write this a sweet couple in our church is in China  for just one adopt a little boy.

Following their odyssey has me thinking about what they are has struck me that to adopt this little boy my friends have had to spend countless hours filling out paperwork.  They have paid thousands of dollars and taken the time to travel to China to get their new baby boy.  It has had to be a love beyond blood for them, a love for someone they have yet to meet.  It has cost them in every way I can, time, love, and so much more for a little boy who has no idea what is about to happen to him.

Right now, today, this little boy is an orphan in a state facility. Soon, in a matter of days, he will have a father.  He will have a father who intentionally sought him out, paid a price and has gone to amazing lengths to make him part of their family.

Adoption is so common that we don't realize the wonderful it is, but it's a decision driven by love for a child unable to be worthy of the gift.

One of the awe inspiring truths of scripture is that the God who made us has also adopted us and made us his sons and daughters. He has adopted us, just as my friends are adopting this little baby. God paid a price, sought us out, loved us even when we didn't know him and made us his children. 

Here is how Paul describes it,

Galatians 4:1 Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. 2 They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. 3 And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world.
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

Did you see these words, "Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child."  Now, if you have trusted Christ, you have a Father.  You were an orphan, without a home, without a hope, but God sought you out, paid a price....made you his son, his daughter.  Now you have a Father...and he's your creator.

Adoption is wonderful.  Now, when I pray, I begin with this word, "Father..."  and approach the creator God, the one who made me, as my dad, my Abba. 

I'm adopted. I'm loved. I have a Father.  The price has been paid for me. Father has sought me out.  I'm no longer an orphan.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Anticipating the day

I'm looking forward to what God will do in my life today. 

I have no idea what that is, but I can't wait to find out.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Unanswered prayer

The topic of unanswered prayer will be the topic for a few of the posts ahead.  I invite your participation as I begin.  

Take a moment and reply in the comment section with this,

"My unanswered prayer is....."

Finish the sentence, share your thoughts, frustrations, questions, and we will begin this discussion shortly.


Thank you for the heartbreak

This is one of my favorite songs.  It speaks of the work of God when things go wrong.  It deals with the pain of what we don't understand.  Sometimes music is the best medicine.  Here's some medicine for the day.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The last day

by Mike Messerli

Come, come, it's beginning
Hurry, everyone will be there
We can't be late
I'm so excited

But wait, have you trusted Christ?
Have you asked him to save you?
Have you accepted his sacrifice for your sins?

If you have you will never regret it
If you haven't you will always regret it

Come, come, we must be going
It's almost here
Everyone will be there
I've waited all my life for this day
Hurry, it's almost time

Where are we going, you ask?
To the great gathering
The day of the king's coronation
Everyone will be there
Everyone must be there

As we near the gathering the excitement grows
There are people coming from every direction
As far as you can see are people of 
every race, every color, every generation

There are billions upon billions here
Many with smiles and laughter, 
excited for the day
Many more with fear, dread, 
wishing they didn't have to be here
But everyone must attend

In the center of our gathering is a platform lifted up
And on that platform someone is seated on a beautiful throne
He is more brilliant than eye could look at
while angels hover over him and cry "Holy"

But there is another throne yet to be occupied
We have all gathered for the events about to unfold

As I look across the masses 
I realize there were angels here as well
As many as the men who have gathered
They stood out because of 
their clothing, their brightness, their beauty

And as I looked I saw other beings I've never seen
Shadow angels is all I have words to use
They don't look happy to be there
I'm sure they wish they weren't

And then I see him
I'm surprised, but in the crowd, in our midst
standing with the rest of us is Lucifer
No one stands close to him, but he is here,
a defeated foe

And then a voice speaks, as if from everywhere
"Welcome to the coronation of the king.
You are all here to witness the glory and honor
of the Father given to his son, Jesus"

And when the voice spoke that word, "Jesus"
Everyone bowed. Everyone. Even Lucifer
Every person bowed and kneeled
Every person, every angel, every demon, even Lucifer

And everyone, as if directed by an invisible choir
director, declared together, on their knees,
"Jesus Christ is Lord"
And the Father was glorified

As I looked around I saw many smiling, 
glad to voice their faith
I saw others with their heads bowed, 
reluctantly surrendering

I saw the angels rejoicing, 
Lucifer cringing
But everyone bowed
and everyone declared
that Jesus Christ is Lord.


And then I realize, to my surprise, 
that others had gathered behind us
Animals of every kind, mammals, reptiles, 
birds and more than I could see
Now it seemed to me that all of creation 
stood together for this final moment

And then it happens, I had read about it many times, 
but never imagined it would be so glorious, so wonderful

A trumpet sounded. It was so loud I wanted to cover my ears,
but so beautiful I didn't dare

And then, as if on cue, every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and all things in them I heard saying,

"To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."

And then King Jesus sat on his throne.

The crowds shouted with joy,
but some cried and trembled
I was so excited I couldn't contain myself
It was if my champion had finally won
And every wound, every scar, every pain
had simply been wiped away

King Jesus had taken the throne
The battle was over
The pain is done, there will be no more tears
No more sorrow,

The first things are over, The last day has happened
Eternity begins with King Jesus on the throne.

Come, come,
he invites us all to be part of that great day
Because one day we will all get to witness the
Coronation of the King.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Passing through....

I am studying a passage of scripture that most of us do not think about much. It's the passage of Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth and his thoughts on "passing through" begin in chapter 4:1 and following. It's an amazing passage, but today I want to focus on just these few verses in chapter 5-
2Co 5:1-5 For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven--God-made, not handmade-- and we'll never have to relocate our "tents" again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move--and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we're tired of it! We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less. 
We have a hard time letting go of these old tents of ours. I can't tell you how often I have heard family members say at a funeral of a loved one, "I can't believe this has happened to us!" And through their tears they are looking for an answer from me. Did they forget that everyone dies? Don't they know that the mortality rate for the human race is still 100%? What did they think would happen when their loved one got old and ill? It's amazing how we live in denial that the fate of all mankind will be our fate as well. How do we get so attached to these frail, windblown tents of ours? I think that many I encounter have no hope of anything beyond this, so "hold onto your tent as long as you can" is their philosophy. But for us who know Christ, who have trusted him as savior, we know this is only the beginning of our lives, and these dwelling places, like tents, are temporary and will soon wear out. The hope we have is not only for our salvation, but for our new bodies...the permanent bodies that will never wear out, get sick or hurt again.
As a "tent dweller" myself I long for that permanent residence that Christ promises me when he returns because, frankly, I'm beating this one up pretty badly. As one of my old friends tells me, "old age isn't for sissies." Age has a way of prying our fingers off of this life and making us quite aware that this will all soon end. When this life is over what's next? Have you planned for the next life by trusting Christ as your savior? If you have, then the transition from this life to the next will be like moving from the tent into a mansion. Being part of the nomad tent dwellers of planet earth I can't wait for the day when I see Christ and discover how he meant for us to live all along. Since you are just passing through this life make sure you are prepared for the life after this. I'm tired of living in tents.....I'm ready for that eternal home built on the rock.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fearing the right things

There is a quote, I've heard it many times, but in these days it's more appropriate than ever before.  Here is my paraphrase of it- 

The man who fears God fears little else.

As I read the morning news it's clear that fear is the driving emotion of nearly every article.  Fear of Ebola, fear of ISIS, fear of financial collapse.  Fears abound and if you aren't careful they will overwhelm your soul and steal your peace.  You need only fear one thing- God. The rest is in his hands and what's the worst that can happen?  You lose your life and enter eternity.  

Even the worst thing we can imagine isn't so bad when God is in charge.  Fear God, worship him madly, live with a smile, hug, care for and listen to people. Eternity is ahead and if you know God it's all good from here.

Thursday, October 09, 2014


This morning a friend sent me a text with a verse that is familiar to anyone who has read the bible.  It's an encouraging verse, but I want to dig deeper this morning in light of these words.  Here is the verse and then some thoughts,

Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,'  
-Jeremiah 32:17

These words were spoken by God to the prophet as he explains what he is going to do.  I think Jeremiah was in utter disbelief that what God was promising could ever happen and so these words were spoken to help the man of God with his perspective.  What was the thing that made these promises possible?  God used the heavens, the creation as his model for what he can do so what's the big deal about a little thing like the promise he made to Jeremiah?  If God can make the heavens then nothing is too hard for him.  

But, sadly, this is not the first time God has had to say these same words.  Here are a few other quotes to encourage you that we are not alone in wondering if God can do the impossible things we hope for.

"Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” -God to Abraham in Genesis 18

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” -God to Jeremiah (again) in Jeremiah 32

 "Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?’ declares the Lord of hosts." -God to Zechariah in Zechariah 8

And looking at them Jesus said to them, With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”" -Jesus to his disciples in Matthew 19

"For nothing will be impossible with God.” -Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1

"But He said, The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” -Jesus, once more talking to the disciples

When faith is a problem, when the problems are overwhelming, when you feel all is lost....look up at the stars, the multiplied trillions of stars...God made them all and he says he knows them ALL by name!  Isn't that amazing?  

If he can do that...if he really is the all powerful loving God he anything in your life too difficult?  Really?  Look at the stars and renew your faith.  NOTHING is too hard for our God.  NOTHING!

He invites us to trust him with our big things because he wants you to know he can do anything.  After all, he made the stars.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Signs in the heavens

This morning we were able to witness a lunar eclipse, a blood moon. What a site!  Many see these changes as signs of the end days.  They may be, but I fear we are looking in the wrong place to see what is ahead.  

The bible is clear to reveal, in amazing detail, the events ahead of us.  No other book, no other literature speaks of future history as if it were already done, but the bible does.  All through the text prophets tell of coming events and they came true, just as told.  One of the great prophets of the Old Testament was Daniel, a man dearly loved by God.  In his book, in chapter 11, he gives amazing detail of the complete history of the human race....right to the end.  

The heavens declare the glory of God, but the bible declares the plans of God.   One tells us there is a God, the other tells us what that God is up to.  Once we see his grand plans and amazing love for our little species it displaces fear and gives us hope.

Do the signs in the heavens mean anything? Maybe, but I have a much clearer picture of the days ahead and at the end of it all...when everything is finished...God wins and is ultimately worshiped by every man, woman, boy and girl who has ever lived.  

Now that's a happy ending!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The girl in the yellow dress

What I'm reading now....

Theology of the day

There is no God but Yahweh and Jesus is his son and our only savior.

Children of promise

"And you, brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise."

These words come from a treatise Paul makes to the Galatian Christians.  "Children of promise" stopped me and I began to reflect on the story of God and his promises to his people.  The words have dynamic and ongoing meaning for those who are described by this phrase, "children of promise."  

The promise goes all the way back to God's relationship with one man, Abraham, his friend.  God looked for a man who would walk with him and one through whom he could begin to unfold his grand plan.  

Abraham was that man.  In a unilateral covenant with Abraham God promised that "in him all the nations would be blessed."  In this man, who trusted God, the promise began to unfold.

What are the terms of the promise?  What are the benefits of this contract God made with this man thousands of years ago?  As I thought about the story of God I began to unpack the elements of this promise and have listed a few of them below.  This is, by no means, comprehensive, but it's a start.  I have intentionally not included scripture so you will begin the dig into the treasures of what it means to be "children of promise" for yourself. 

Children of promise include anyone who has trusted Christ as savior.  I won't deal with the theological details of that, but will mention the only qualifier for this exclusive club:  If you have trusted Christ you are a child of the promise.

Children of promise have, as part of that promise,

-a relationship with God
-by faith alone we have all God offers
-are made children of God, adopted by the creator himself!
-have eternal life and will be with God forever!
-they are eternally loved by God, really loved!
-Children of the promise will never see death (the final death)
-all their sins, past present and future are completely, totally, eternally forgiven
-they are made perfect and are becoming like Christ
-they call God "Daddy, Father, Pappa".  They have a relationship with their creator!
-they have peace, real peace
-they have life, real life
-God watches over them....ALL the time!
-they are indwelt, for all eternity, by the Spirit of God and can never lose that
-they are completely accepted by God.  He really likes his children of promise
-they can approach God, the eternal God, anytime they want and talk to him, ask anything
-they have hope!  For them this life is not the end, when it's over it really only just begun
-they are secure
-they have a real joy available that will never end
-they will never be alone, NEVER!
-they are now and forever children of God!

My mind races on with the list that begins to cascade in my thoughts. Beyond these few are a hundred other things that are only the beginning of this promise, but I'm sure by now you see how amazing these promises are for us.  We are children of promise and we don't yet know all that means but it is wonderful.  

Today, as you live in the world of broken, wounded, fallen things are a child of promise and God wants everyone to be part of this promise.  Take time to discover what is wrapped in this wonder gift called the promise and you will bubble up with excitement at the amazing and wonderful love of God provided for anyone who will trust him, who will believe his promise.

Today, celebrate being a child of the promise.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

A little thing

Last night I was in another city serving a dear one who needed help. I can't tell you about it or I'll lose my reward, but I was thinking how easy it was to say "yes" to this small thing and really make a difference in the life of someone else. It isn't hard, it's just taking time, caring,'s really pretty easy.
So I wonder how God views these little things that we might see as annoyances to our time, our busy lives, to the things we need to do. I wonder what he will value, what matters to him. I wonder if it isn't these small things that make him smile the most. I don't say that because I'm doing one of them now, but because I really sense his pleasure as I serve this person in need.
The gospels say that the things we value God detests....and the things we seem to think of little value God loves. Last night, as I waited, I wondered about the heart and smile of God. I wondered how surprised we will be at what God really loves in our lives as we try to live for him.....
Just thinking a bit about, 

Matthew 6:2-4. "When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you."

Friday, October 03, 2014

Quote of the day

Indeed, all human troubles come from thinking of God wrongly, which then means, thinking about ourselves wrongly.  -Dallas Willard, from his book, "Hearing God"

Fearsome days

These are scary days we live in.  ISIS/ISIL beheadings weekly, wars breaking out on every continent, earthquakes, floods, plane crashes, Ebola, zombies, politicians (or are those last two the same thing?), and the fear inspiring news!  If you are tempted to fear, our culture and the news will help you.  

These are fearsome days.  Every day we are given new reasons to be afraid and yet the bible invites us to a different focus, a different direction for our vision and emotions.  These words from the last book of the bible invite a different look, a look up, a look away from fearsome things in dreadful places to a person...but not just any is the invitation to a different look,

“Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave."

Don't be afraid.  Why? Because there is one who is the A to Z, the living one who died and lives forever, the one who holds the keys to everything.  In those few words following the command, "Don't be afraid" are all the reasons you need to not fear anything ahead even as the fearsome days get worse.  

This person, as John discovers, is Jesus Christ, risen King, eternal Lord, God of everything.  

In the fearsome day Jesus' invitation is this, trust me.  I have all of this under control, I'm Lord of it all.  Nothing happens without my permission.  I'm fully in charge and I will take care of you.  Will you let go of your fears and look to me?  Will you change your focus from a fallen world to a risen Lord?  

Don't be afraid!  The King of Glory, Jesus Christ, is alive and Lord of all.  Relax, enjoy your day, pray for the suffering, love the lost, help the poor, let go of your fears and know that God is sovereign even when it appears "all hell has broken loose."  Don't be afraid.  The King is king of even this, even now, relax and rest in him.