OUR GOD IS SUPERLATIVELY GREAT!

August 22, 2016

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)

Advertisements

Miracles? or MIRACLES?

February 2, 2014

God doesn’t do miracles. He does MIRACLES! Ask anyone who has experienced God’s intervention in their life, and they will testify to that. Ask Joshua.

In Joshua chapter 3, after Moses had died and Joshua took leadership of the children of Israel, they were about to cross over the Jordan River. God instructed Joshua exactly what they had to do to cross the river, mentioning also that He wanted the people to know that, just as He was with Moses, He also was with Joshua; that He, “the living God is among you…” (Joshua3:10)

Joshua passed along God’s instructions to the people, ending with these words of encouragement: “…tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” (Joshua 3:5)  God also mentioned to Joshua The priests who were bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord were to step into the water, and the waters coming down from upstream were to pile up in a heap. That is exactly what happened, and “all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.” (Joshua 3:17)

There are two things that made this a MIRACLE.  First, it was flood season; a time of year when the Jordan’s banks were overflowing. It was not just a trickle that the multitude had to jump over. Second, they passed on dry ground; it wasn’t shallow water and it wasn’t muck or mud. It was DRY ground. Those details point to one truth we can hang on to. Always. God does MIRACLES.

What MIRACLE are you praying for…waiting for…expecting? Will God do it half-way, and leave you with muddy feet on the other side? Absolutely not! Will He do it in a way that goes unnoticed? Never! God’s MIRACLES have a “wow factor”. That’s always the way God works, and He is the God I’m praying to; HE WILL pull off the MIRACLE I’m waiting for! AMEN!


LEARNING FROM A PAGAN PRIEST

January 18, 2012

Everyone can teach us something. Everyone…even a pagan priest!

When Jethro, a pagan priest who was Moses’ father-in-law, “heard of all that God had done”, he ventured out to the wilderness to meet Moses and hear about it first-hand. There, we read that Moses “told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardships that had come upon them on the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. Then Jethro rejoiced for all the good which the Lord had done…and said ‘Blessed be the Lord…now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods…” (Exodus 18:1-11)

Let’s break down “all the good which the Lord had done” for his people up until that time and compare it to all the good which the Lord has done and is doing in our lives as Christ followers:

God sent the plagues and delivered His people from Egypt. (Exodus 3-13)
God “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13)

God protected them as they crossed the Red Sea, and destroyed their enemy. (Exodus 14)
God protects us and destroyed the enemy!  Jesus came “that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1st John 3:8)

God made their bitter waters sweet. (Exodus 15:22-27)
God took our bitter lives and made us new in Christ. “Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5;17)

God sent them bread from heaven. (Exodus 16)
God gave us Jesus, “the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32,33)

God provided water from the rock. (Exodus 17:1-7)
God gives us living water. Jesus said: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13,14)

God gave them victory over the Amalakites. (Exodus 17:8-16)
God gives us His victory! “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

When Jethro heard about “all the good which the Lord had done, he burst out into praise, convinced of the one tru God’s greatness. And THAT is the lesson the pagan priest teaches us by example. We, who have experienced all of God’s goodness, should do nothing less than Jethro! Let’s learn from his example, letting the awe of who God is motivate us to spontaneous praise to our Lord who Jethro discovered is “greater than all the gods”!


A PATTERN FOR TRUE WORSHIP

September 16, 2011

Once Moses was convinced that God’s plan was to free His people from slavery in Egypt and that he was to be their leader, (with his brother Aaron as the spokesman) things started happening.  Moses met with Aaron and told him about God’s plan. Together, they gathered all the elders of Israel “And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses.” (Exodus 4:30) As a confirmation, and by God’s power, Aaron did signs (God-inspired miracles), by which the people believed. Knowing that God heard their cries, saw their affliction and started to execute His plan of deliverance was the best news they had ever heard! “Then they bowed their heads and worshiped.” (Exodus 4:31)

This event in the history of God’s people is a pattern for true worship. We read in Exodus 4:30-31:

  • The people heardall the words which the Lord had spoken” when Aaron related the plan to them. They understood what God had planned.
  • The people saw that God is Almighty, through the miracles Aaron performed as a confirmation.
  • The people believed.
  • The people worshiped.

The pattern was plain and simple. They heard. They saw. They believed. They worshiped. They were totally unaware of the fact that they laid out an example of true worship, but it is one that sincere believers in Jesus follow even now, thousands of years later. Can we truly worship God if we don’t hear – or read – His word? Can our worship be sincere if we don’t see how He has worked in the past, and is working right now? Can we genuinely worship God if don’t believe that He hears our prayers, sees our affliction and has a plan in place for our lives?

Let’s follow the simple example they unknowingly left for us. Let’s hear God’s word. Let’s observe His works. Let’s believe Him with all our hearts. True worship will be the natural result!


TRUSTING IN THE GOD WHO IS ABLE

January 13, 2011

The story of the three young Hebrew men who were faithful to God under unimaginable pressure to bow down to the pagan king is fairly well known. (Daniel chapter 3) Given a second chance, and with God’s glory at stake, they declared: “Our God, whom we serve IS ABLE to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O King. But if not, let it be known to you, O King, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (17,18)

Hearing their declaration, king Nebuchadnezzar was in a rage. He commanded the fiery furnace to be heated up seven times more. When they were cast into the furnace, the king was astonished to see the Son of God walking with them in the furnace.

This account parallels with what the apostle Paul wrote hundreds of years later in Ephesians 3:20, 21, that our God “IS ABLE to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…”  Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-nego unflinchingly declared “Our God IS ABLE”, but they DIDN’T expect Him to do the “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” part! They had no idea that God would transform the king’s heart, and that the change in him would affect the entire kingdom! When the king saw that they came out of the fire unharmed, and didn’t even smell like smoke, he was so impressed with their God, that he did three remarkable things:
1. He made a decree that no other god should be worshiped in his kingdom. God was glorified publicly!
2. He acknowledged that “there is no other god who can deliver like this”
3. He promoted the three young Hebrew men in the province of Babylon.

When His glory is at stake, God IS ABLE to do what we ask, and that’s why we can trust Him. As we trust Him, we can also praise Him because He IS ABLE to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”. Just ask Shadrack, Meshach and Abed-nego – and let’s TRUST HIM!


Our Lavish God

July 27, 2010

Everything God does points to the fact that He is generous. He isn’t stingy, nor does He give His blessings by drips or in measurable increments. Observing His creation affirms that He does everything in a big way. How many celestial bodies are there? We can’t count them, and man doesn’t even have the capacity to know. How many grains of sand are there in the world? There’s no way we can tally them up, but He knows; He formed each one of them. Couldn’t He have been satisfied creating just one color, one kind of bird in the sky, or one fish family in the world’s oceans? Wouldn’t it be just as good with one kind of tree to grow in all areas of the earth, or simply one special fruit for all of us to eat? NO! He created countless species of each plant and animal, for His pleasure and for our enjoyment. That is the physical proof of His generosity, and the lavish nature of our Creator God.

In the spiritual realm, God is just as generous, and we have passages in the Bible confirming His lavishness. Look at some of the evidence:

GOD POURS HIS LOVE OUT IN US! Romans 5:5: “…the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

GOD POURS OUT HIS FORGIVENESS! Isaiah 55:7: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God for He will abundantly pardon.”

GOD POURS OUT HIS MERCY! Psalm 103: 8, 17: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy…[it is]from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him.”

GOD POURS OUT HIS SPIRIT ON US ABUNDANTLY!  Titus 3:5,6:  “…the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior…”

GOD POURS OUT FLOOD WATERS ON THE THIRSTY! Isaiah 44:3a: “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground…”

GOD POURS HIS SPIRIT AND BLESSING ON OUR CHILDREN! Isaiah 44:3b: “I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.”

GOD POURS ABUNDANT BLESSING ON GIVERS! Malachi 3:10: “ ‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…and try my now in this’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’ “

                Unfortunately, we are often blind to God’s lavish nature. Asking for little, we settle for much less than He wants to pour out on us, and we live as spiritual paupers. God is lavish; He is generous, and His “pouring out” is always abundantly beyond what we could ever imagine. Let’s not forget how generous He is as we cry out to Him today!

“Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to HIM be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. AMEN.” !  Ephesians 3:20,21                                                             


WHAT IF IT WAS BECAUSE WE PRAYED???

May 4, 2010

Our son and daughter-in-law, Dino and Erin, went to NYC for a vacation this past weekend. They got back on Sunday, May 2, the day after the NYC failed car bomb. That evening, Dino called and told us it was about 8 blocks from the hotel where they were staying, and they did a lot of walking around that area. Later Jorge and I asked the question: “What if  that bomb didn’t go off because we prayed for their safety? What if God allowed the right person to be there just at the right time, tell the right authorities and have the whole destructive plan dismantled – because we prayed?” I “googled” in NYC car bomb, and there were about 18,100,000 results that popped up in 0.16 seconds. What if it was because we prayed??

We may never know. And it really doesn’t matter. But what we know for sure is that when we pray to our Heavenly Father, we know exactly who we are praying to. Every time we lift up the name of our children, or any loved one, or ask Him to intervene in any situation, we are praying to the unchangeable, all-powerful, all-wise, eternal God!

He is the same God who Daniel prayed to. God shut the lion’s mouth and Daniel walked out of the lion’s den unharmed. (Daniel chapter 6)

He is the same God who Hannah cried out to because she could not have children. God blessed her with a son – the prophet Samuel – who Hannah dedicated to the Lord’s service. (1st Samuel 1)

He is the same God that King Hezekiah of Judah pleaded with when the Assyrian king threatened to wage war against him. God’s angel took care of the 185,000 Assyrians during the night. (2nd Kings 18-19)

He is the same God that King Asa of Judah cried out to when the Ethiopians came out against his people, a million strong. The Lord struck the Ethiopians, and the Ethiopians fled, were overthrown and could not recover. (2nd Chronicles 20)

He is the same God that the prophet Elijah fervently prayed to, and God withheld rain for 3 ½ years. “And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain…” (James 5: 17, 18 and 1st Kings chapters 17, 18)

He is the same God that the early church constantly prayed to when Peter was in prison facing sure execution. God sent his angel to escort Peter out of the prison. (Acts 12:5-17)

He is the same God who invites us in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” HE IS THE GOD WE PRAY TO!…Maybe it WAS because we prayed…


GOD ANSWERS PRAYER – IN A BIG WAY!

March 1, 2010

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

Learning Spanish: Part of God’s plan

God takes our prayers very seriously. When we ask Him for something, we might never know the ramifications of that prayer. We can’t imagine how big the answer may be. My prayer went something like this: “Lord, I want to visit Argentina some day. But to do that, I have to learn Spanish first.” It wasn’t until looking back at the incredible way that God chose to answer my prayer that I was able to see that He really DID show me “great and mighty things” which I did not know!

How did that happen? My Dad was a preacher. When I was 10 years old, he and Mom, along with a group of several church leaders made a trip to Brazil and Argentina. They met a lot of wonderful people there, and kept in touch with some of them. The summer after my Freshman year at Chippewa High School, Esteban Gava, one of the pastors from Argentina, came to the States and spent some time with our family. I was immediately captivated by his accounts of a growing church, vibrant Christ-loving young folk, and passionate outreach programs. That’s when I prayed that prayer. I wanted to go to visit Argentina, but I’d have to learn Spanish first. One week later, when I went back to start my sophomore year, Chippewa High School offered Spanish classes for the first time in history! I was more than willing to switch from Latin to Spanish, and took three years of high school Spanish. Answered prayer? You can be sure of that! However, it never occurred to me that God wasn’t done answering it! He allowed me to learn Spanish not ONLY to visit Argentina when I was 21, but He also did the following “great and mighty things” because learning Spanish was part of His plan for me:

  1. He allowed me to marry a man from Argentina a few years later, who spoke only Spanish…and we could actually understand each other!
  2. He let me not just visit Argentina, but to live there and speak Spanish for 27 years.
  3. Not only did I speak Spanish, but we raised 3 children in that country, with Spanish as their mother tongue! Although they are all totally bi-lingual, we still talk almost entirely Spanish with our kids, who all live here in the States.
  4. He gave me many, many wonderful friends – all of whom speak only Spanish!
  5. He gave me the privilege to teach, evangelize, mentor and work for Him in Spanish.
  6. When we returned to the USA, He gave me full-time employment as a Spanish bi-lingual Customer Service Rep/Administrative Assistant for an international company here in Ohio. I use the Spanish I learned all day at work!
  7. He let me keep my full-time employment. When the country first experienced the present economic downturn, we were warned that we would possibly be working four days a week. The next day, my boss assured me, “Even if everyone in this company goes to four days, we need you here for five because of your Spanish.” Thank YOU, Lord!

Yes, God answers prayer. And He does it in a BIG way. When you pray, remember Jeremiah 33:3, and get ready to experience those “great and mighty things”!


%d bloggers like this: