What are we all surrounded by? Air. We can’t avoid it, run away from it or live without it; air sustains our lives. According to www.sciencealert.com, “The rule of 3 minutes without air is a good guideline. Hold your breath for longer, and you run the risk of brain damage.” We all agree that every human being depends on air.

If you are God’s child, you are not only surrounded by air; you are also surrounded by His favor. In Psalm 5:12 we read, “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.” That was also Job’s testimony, even while experiencing indescribable suffering. In a discourse marked by agony and complaints, Job acknowledged God’s favor: “You have granted me life and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit.” (Job 10:12)

Whatever our circumstance today, (which probably isn’t comparable to Job’s suffering) let’s do what Job did. Let’s acknowledge God’s favor. He’s surrounding us with it today; and for that, He deserves our sincere thanks!

Please join me each Monday of 2016 as I share more of my quest to know God better.

Silence can be frustrating. No one answers the doorbell. No one answers the phone call. No one answers your question. No one responds.

The prophets of Baal discovered just how frustrating silence is. After hours of desperately crying out to their god, the prophets of Baal faced reality: “…there was no voice, no one answered, no one paid attention.” (1st Kings 18:29).

Just silence.

Moments later, God’s prophet Elijah prayed “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God…” (1st Kings 18:37). Elijah’s God – our God who hears – answered, sending fire to consume the water-drenched altar, the sacrifice and the water in the trenches. As a result, the people acknowledged the Lord as the only true God.

That’s a perfect example of what our God does: He answers, just as He promised: “Call on me, and I will answer you…” (Jeremiah 33:3) Our God always answers us.

God may answer immediately, as in Elijah’s case, or He may delay; but He will answer us.

God may answer in an unexpected way, but He will answer us.

God may answer “No”. (Remember the Apostle Paul’s experience in 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10?) “No” is a valid answer, and with the “No”, God gives sufficient grace to deal with it…because He always answers us.

Whatever your situation, call on God, and trust Him. You won’t be frustrated by deafening silence, because…He promised to answer us!

(Join me each Monday of 2016 as I share my discoveries on my quest to know God better)

The sleep industry is growing exponentially. Because of our collective insomnia, the global sleep aids market was valued at 58.1 billion dollars in 2014, and is projected to reach 80.8 billion by the year 2020. (“Global Sleep Aids Market” www.globenewswire.com July 31, 2015) This profitable market includes medication, mattresses, pillows, sleep labs, music and ambient sounds, and therapy. Yes, sweet sleep eludes many;  millions of people suffer anxiety-induced insomnia.

That was not the case with the Apostle Peter! In Acts chapter 12 we read that King Herod had just beheaded James the Apostle, and Peter was next. The night prior to his scheduled execution, Peter was incarcerated under maximum security under the watchful eyes of 16 soldiers, chained to 2 of them. Five words in that account are worth noting: “That night Peter was sleeping.” (Acts 12:6)

Peter was sleeping…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Let’s face it. Our circumstances may hardly be as difficult as those that Peter was living, yet sweet sleep often eludes us. Here’s a suggestion: Write this verse on a 3 x 5 card: “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8) Memorize that truth and keep the card on your nightstand.

The next time you have anxiety or fear-induced insomnia, turn to the tried and proven best sleep aid – the same one Peter relied on: The Lord. Let our God give you sweet sleep! zzzzzzzzzz

(Join me each Monday of 2016 for more of my quest to know God better)

Walking down a country road, a traveler was struggling under the heavy load he was carrying on his back. When a kind farmer saw the man, he stopped and offered him a ride on his wagon. Both the farmer and his horse waited patiently while the traveler got settled. A few minutes later, the farmer looked back and noticed that the colossal bundle was still on the traveler’s back, and asked him, “Why are you still carrying that heavy load?” the burdened man answered, “I thought it would be too much for the wagon. I’ll carry it.” Unfortunately, the man didn’t get relief from his back-breaking load because he didn’t trust the wagon.

Sometimes we’re like that foolish man. Our cumbersome load may be impossible to carry; we stagger through our days under its weight. Maybe we even pray about it, but keep trying to shoulder it on our own. We find no relief. The Psalmist encourages us in Psalm 55:22: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.”

Let’s not be like the traveler on the wagon. Let’s lay our heavy burden down on the only One who is kind enough and strong enough to carry it. Our God CAN carry our burdens. Ahhh…what a relief!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 in my quest to know God better!)

In the early 1900’s, Harry Houdini (1874-1926) gained worldwide fame as an escape artist. He got himself out of straitjackets, handcuffs and coffins. In his incredible water torture escapes, Houdini would be lowered upside down in a locked glass cabinet filled with water – and escape! He is still famous today for his skillful feats.

Fortunately, we don’t need the skill of Houdini when we are trapped by temptation or immobilized by struggles in our lives; we are promised a way of escape. Our survival in those challenging times never depends on our abilities, but always on God’s faithfulness. The Apostle Paul wrote these timeless truths to the church thousands of years ago in the 1st letter to the Corinthians, chapter 10, and verse 13:

  • God is faithful
  • God sets the limits. He “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.”
  • God provides the way of escape “that you may be able to bear it.”

No one can deny Houdini’s skill; it’s documented. Likewise, God’s ability to provide a way out is well documented throughout history. Reading of His past performances, we find every reason to trust Him, our faithful God, who never fails to set the limits and provide the way out. Let’s thank Him for that!

(Join me each Monday of 2016 on my quest to know God better!)

Guinness World Records 2013 reported that Alex Barron holds the world record for most objects juggled: 11 objects. Intense daily practice, sharp focus and concentration helped get Alex the title. That’s quite impressive, considering that in our daily juggling – also known as multitasking – we can hardly stir the soup and answer a question simultaneously! Thankfully, that isn’t the case with God; He’s the Master Multi-tasker.

Anthropomorphology, applied throughout Scriptures, attributes human characteristics to God. Consider some of the activities He has been performing simultaneously for millennia.

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their cry.” (Psalm 34:15) He is concerned about every detail of our lives and thinking of each of us personally, while also spinning the universe in perfect, precise synchronization. In Psalmist 139:7 we read: “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.”

Alex Barron’s record, while impressive, doesn’t come close to God’s record. I stand in awe of our God who is the Master of multi-tasking; but what really brings me to my knees in worship is knowing that along with everything else He’s doing, He’s thinking about me!

(Please join me each Monday of 2016 in my quest to know God better)

“Simple” is good. Although I love to make homemade pizza, when my schedule is complicated, there’s a simple way to enjoy our Friday night pizza. I speed dial our favorite local pizzeria. Simple!

The Psalmist David also understood that “simple” is good. Take the example of fear. By his own admission, there were times when David was afraid. His antidote for fear was simple: “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4) Simple!

All my fears” included fighting a lion and a bear as a young shepherd, facing the giant Goliath, being on King Saul’s hit list. (That’s when he was being pursued by 3,000 of the King’s choice men. ) As Israel’s king, David also faced innumerable enemies – including his own son Absalom, who’s evil plan was to dethrone David. Even in those hair-raising situations, David knew that when he sought God, God would deliver him from all his fears. Simple!

When complicated unknown situations fill you with paralyzing fear, follow David’s example: go simple. Seek God, trusting Him to deliver you. If He delivered David from all his fears, he can deliver you from all your fears, because that’s what God does. Simple!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 in my quest to know God better.)

Uncertainty enveloped us like the cold, thick fog. The school bus would stop; the driver would turn off the motor before crossing the train tracks. Silence. Then a brave volunteer – often one of my “big” brothers – would jump off the bus and walk across the tracks through the fog. Crossing before us, he assured our safe crossing. This scene repeated itself often on foggy mornings.

God’s people wandered in the wilderness for 40 long years, led by God’s appointed leader, Moses. Now, with the Promised Land in sight and Moses nearing death, uncertainty and fear reined. To dispel the fog of uncertainty, Moses assured his successor Joshua that “…the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) They would safely cross to the other side because the Lord was going before them.

Maybe you are trying to cut through the fog of uncertainty in some area of your life. As often as the scene repeats itself, stop. Turn off the motor. Listen! Be assured that God promised to never leave you. His presence will dispel the fog and lead you safely to the other side. Remember, our God goes before us!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 in my quest to know God better.)

What would we do without caller ID? It allows us to avoid scam artists, political campaigns and telemarketers when we don’t recognize the name on the screen. On the other hand, recognizing the name, we usually take the call; the caller is trustworthy and the message may be important.

In Psalm 9:10, David wrote: “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” God’s personal, relational name “Yahweh” is expressed in that Psalm.

In his book Every Name of God in the Bible (one of my favorite books, highly recommended), Larry Richards explains God’s name Yahweh, based on the dialogue between God and Moses at the burning bush in Exodus chapter 3. Mr. Richards wrote: “In essence, the name “Yahweh” revealed God as ‘the One who is always present’ with His people.” (p. 25); that’s exactly what David said: “For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” That’s the important message: God is always present with us.

Knowing God’s name makes all the difference. We trust Him with all of our needs because He is our ever-present God. We praise Him for His faithfulness, because He’s never forsaken us. Knowing His name, we get the important message: Our ever-present God is trustworthy!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 as I share more of my quest to know God better)

Volumes have been written about God’s greatness, and many songs have been sung throughout the ages to worship our great God; yet the extent of how great He is transcends our finite minds. To keep this article simple, we’ll focus on just one proof of His superlative greatness: the stars He created.

How many stars are there? www.space.com offers an answer – give or take a few billion. By determining that our galaxy, the Milky Way contains 100 billion stars, and there are 10 trillion similar galaxies in space, scientists came up with a “1” followed by 29 zeros. Their count looks like this: 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars!!

star-clusters-11643_1280We can’t be sure of the accuracy of those calculations, but we know this for sure: our God “counts the number of stars; He calls them all by name.” (Psalm 147:4) The Psalmist followed that truth with a spontaneous declaration: “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.” (Psalm 147:5)

Our human minds can’t fathom the number of stars, yet God created each of them, counts them, and calls them all by name! That one small – but immeasurable – example opens my eyes to see His greatness all around me, and prompts me to praise our superlatively great God!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 in my quest to know God better)

%d bloggers like this: