OUR GOD IS THE MASTER OF MULTI-TASKING

September 19, 2016

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)


OUR GOD DELIGHTS IN MERCY

February 29, 2016

What gives you happiness? What do you enjoy? Maybe your delight is found in your accomplishments, a relationship, a hobby, or a vacation. How would you finish this sentence: “I delight in _____.”? There would probably be as many answers to that question as “answer-ers”.

If God were to complete that sentence, He would say, “I delight in mercy.” The Old Testament prophet Micah confirms that: “He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy” (Micah 7:18)

Mercy, according to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly.”

That “someone” is you, and that “someone” is me. We could be treated harshly by our God, but we’re not, because He delights in mercy. God enjoys pouring out His loyal love on us. That’s a good reason for us to praise Him and to trust Him. Doing that, we delight in our God, who delights in mercy.

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


“GOOD” ISN’T A BIG ENOUGH WORD!

August 2, 2013

“…the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting…” Psalm 100:5

I open my eyes this morning and praise God because His compassions are new again today. Just in the first hour of this brand-new day, He pours His compassions on me. God is good, but “good” isn’t a big enough word.

I can think. I open my eyes after a restful sleep. Nothing hurts. I am healthy.  I can see the person He gave me to share life with, who lives out His love to me, and who I’m deeper in love with than I was when I met him. He’s right beside me. I hear “Amazing Grace” being sung on the radio and praise Him for that grace. I get out of our comfy bed. The temperature is perfect. I’m in our own home. I go through my morning routine, enhanced by hot, running water, indoor plumbing, and electricity. I smell the coffee and enjoy breakfast. I taste and savor each bite. I can walk, talk, breath and digest. I have enough food in my refrigerator to prepare my lunch to take to work. I am employed.

I take my steaming mug of dark-roast to my office and sit in my cushioned chair. As I open my Bible and notebook to worship my good God and Savior who makes all this possible, my all-time favorite guitar player is playing a worship melody from his office, right beside mine. “Cuando pienso en tu amor tan bello, y te veo a ti en santidad…te adoro a ti…la razón por la cual yo vivo es para adorarte…” (I worship You…the reason I live is to worship You.)

I pray, “Lord, let me start off each new day with a sense of awe of You; with thanksgiving and praise, blessing Your name. You are our unchanging God. You are good”

At that point my heart nearly bursts with gratitude as I “taste and see” God’s goodness (Psalm 34:8) God is good, but “good” isn’t a big enough Word!


FAITH NOT SHAKIN’, NEVER FORSAKEN!

March 28, 2013

Digging into the “why”, “who”, “when” and “what” of the truth that God does not forsake His children, I uncovered some facts to solidify my sometimes jellylike faith. Maybe you need a reminder…

WHY?
Why does God not just give up on us when we let Him down? Because of who He is!
Nehemiah 9:17,19: “…but YOU are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and DID NOT FORSAKE THEM….in Your manifold mercies YOU DID NOT FORSAKE THEM in the wilderness.”
Even when God’s chosen people were grumbling, dissatisfied, floundering in their faith and rebellious, GOD DID NOT FORSAKE THEM BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS!

WHO?
Who promised to not only be with me, but care for me, even when no one else is around?
Psalm 27:10: “When my father and my mother forsake me, then THE LORD WILL TAKE CARE OF ME.”
THIS SAME GOD WHO WILL NOT FORSAKE ME BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS, WILL ALSO CARE FOR ME!

WHEN?
When can I count on the presence, provision and faithfulness of my God who will not forsake me?
Psalm 37:25,28: “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have NOT seen the righteous forsaken, nor His descendants begging bread. The Lord loves justice, and DOES NOT FORSAKE HIS SAINTS; THEY ARE PRESERVED FOREVER”.
THROUGHOUT ALL THE SEASONS OF MY LIFE, GOD WILL BE THERE AND NOT FORSAKE ME!

WHAT?
What can my response be, having the assurance that He will never forsake me? BOLD TRUST!
Hebrews 13:5,6:Let your conduct be without coveteousness, be content with such things as you have, for He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear.’ “

MY FAITH’S NOT SHAKIN’,
‘CAUSE I’M NEVER FORSAKEN!
AMEN!


IN A DRY AND THIRSTY LAND

March 24, 2013

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless you while I live. I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied…
and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips
.”
Psalm 63:3-5

When he wrote this, the Psalmist David was not peacefully strumming on his harp, gazing on his satisfied sheep in lush green pastures. Nor was he reigning from his throne, oblivious to pain and suffering of the masses. In fact, when David made the declarations of Psalm 63, he was running for his life. King Saul’s plan was to kill David for fear that this young, popular warrior would take his throne.

This Psalm finds David in the desert, after he escaped from hiding in a cave. Even in this wilderness of Judah, David did not let his seemingly hopeless situation eclipse his worship. Here’s how David worshiped in that “dry and thirsty land

Your lovingkindness is better than life” … even life in this dry and thirsty land.
My lips shall praise You” …even though they are parched in this dry and thirsty land.
Thus I will bless You while I live”…even in this dry and thirsty land, You are worthy.
I will lift up my hands in Your name”….trusting You in this dry and thirsty land.
My soul shall be satisfied”…because I know You are with me in this dry and thirsty land.
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips”…You created me to praise You, even in this dry and thirsty land.

Your “dry and thirsty land” isn’t a wilderness; neither is mine. You are not running from the authorities to save your life; neither am I. But our “dry and thirsty land” might look like pain, disappointment, grief, uncertainty, fear, loneliness, loss. When we have to deal with those issues, like David, we must focus on the fact that God’s “lovingkindness is better than life.” Believing that, we will be motivated to worship Him…even in a dry and thirsty land!


FAMOUS LAST WORDS

March 9, 2013

A few days ago, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died after a long struggle with cancer.  According to Gen. Jose Ornella, the Chief of the Presidential guard, the President’s last words were: “I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die…” words of despair and helplessness.

That detail about Mr. Chavez’s caught my attention, because a few days earlier I was thinking about “Famous Last Words”. Researching internet, I found some were interesting, some were cynical, and others very straightforward. Here’s a sample of what we can read on www.mapping.com:

Lady Nancy Astor (1879-1964) “Jakie, is it my birthday or am I dying?” (Seeing all her children assembled at her bedside in her last illness.)

Louis XIV (1638-1715) “Why are you weeping? Did you imagine that I was immortal?” (Noticing as he lay on his deathbed that his attendants were crying.)

Elvis Presley (1935-1977) “I hope I haven’t bored you.” (Concluding what would be his last press conference.)

George Washington (1732-1799) “It is well, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go.”

We can also find the last words of men of faith in the Bible. Let’s look at three of them: Joseph, Moses and Joshua.

Joseph proclaimed the certainty of God’s faithfulness in the future. Joseph knew that God was always with him, and he never stopped believing in the promise that God made generations earlier to his forefathers. In Genesis 50:24 we read: And Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Moses gave words of blessing and assurance. Moses personally experienced God’s eternal arms holding him up throughout his lifetime, and often saw God fight the enemy for His people.  In Deuteronomy 33:27, after Moses blessed the children of Israel on his deathbed, he assured them that “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will thrust out the enemy from before you.”

Joshua reminded the people of God’s faithfulness in the past. Joshua experienced it all: the miracles, the journey across the wilderness, the giants, victories in battle, and the Promised Land. Knowing his time was short, he reminded his people of God’s faithfulness in the past. In Joshua 23:14 we read: “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.”

We’ll all have last words one day. Will they be words of despair and helplessness? Expressions of regret?  Will they be words of blessing and assurance? How we live our lives now determines what our very last thoughts and words will be. The last verse of “Bless the Lord” (10,000 Reasons) by Matt Redman  reflects my desire to praise God, even to my last breath!   Please take time to listen to it and make it your prayer, too!


FROM PREDICAMENT TO PRAISE

January 3, 2013

Predicament: “an unpleasantly difficult, perplexing or dangerous situation.”  (www.dictionary.com)

Were you ever in a predicament? The Psalmist David was. In Psalm 57, he journaled one of the most intense situations he ever faced. King Saul and 3,000 of his chosen men were chasing David; they were out to kill him. (1st Samuel chapters 22-24) Hiding in the cave of En Gedi, David poured his heart out to God, and ended up with a beautiful exclamation of praise.  For our benefit, God allowed David’s chronicled journey from predicament to praise to be recorded for us! Let’s look at Psalm 57.

David’s predicament: Running from King Saul and 3,000 men, he was hiding in a cave. He wrote: “My soul is among the lions…they have prepared a net for my steps.” (v.4,6)

David’s plea: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!” (v.1)

David’s perspective: Trust! “…for my soul trusts in You.” (v.1)

David’s position: In the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge until these calamities have passed by.”  (v.1)

David’s promise: “I will cry out to God Most High…” (v.2)

David’s peace: “He shall send from heaven and save me…God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.” (v. 3)

David’s persistence: “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and give praise.” (v.7)

David’s praise: “Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth.”

David’s predicament didn’t immediately improve; but his heart was in the right place and God was glorified, even in the cave! When we face predicaments of our own, let’s challenge ourselves to follow David’s steps from predicament to praise!


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”!


FROM THE LOWEST PIT

January 5, 2012

The prophet Jeremiah served God’s people for over forty years, but his warnings were not taken seriously. He was put into prison, cast into a well, and exiled against his will. Rejected by everyone around him, Jeremiah stood alone and obeyed God faithfully. In chapter 3 of the book of Lamentations, attributed to Jeremiah, we read some of his most comforting words of testimony that encourage Christ followers  even today, after so many centuries. One in particular stands out:

I called on Your name, O Lord, from the lowest pit. You have heard my voice: ‘Do not hide Your ear from my sighing, from my cry for help.’ You drew near on the day I called on You, and said, ‘Do not fear!’ “ (Lamentations 3:55-57)

Many of us have not experienced the trials and pain that Jeremiah had; probably nothing even close to them! But when we are in our “lowest pit” (whatever that might be), these words give us comfort and assurance! Remember this:

GOD KNOWS all about that LOWEST PIT!
GOD HEARS ME when I call on His name from the LOWEST PIT!
GOD DRAWS NEAR ME when I call on Him, even from the LOWEST PIT!
GOD SAYS “DO NOT FEAR!”  when I’m in that LOWEST PIT!

Let’s praise God for these comforting words – even if we are in the LOWEST PIT!


THOUGHTS FOR THE NIGHT

May 14, 2011

Nights are dark. Sometimes they can be long; very long. Looking at some verses in the Bible that refer to night, I found how much God is involved in our lives, even in the night.  Here’s what I found:

GOD’S PEACE: Psalm 4:8: “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Praise God that HE gives us peaceful sleep!
GOD’S PRESENCE: Exodus 13:21,22: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light,…He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.” Praise God for His presence with us  – 24/7.
GOD’S PROVISION: Job 35:10: “…God my Maker, who gives songs in the night.” Praise God that HE gives songs in the night!
GOD’S PROMISE: Psalm 30:5: “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Praise God that HE promised that the morning will bring joy to replace our tears!
GOD’S PROTECTION: Psalm 91:4,5: “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day.” Praise God that HE protects us day and night!
GOD’S PLAN: Psalm 119:148: “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.” Praise God that we can meditate on HIS word when we can’t sleep!

Next time our night seems too long, let’s rest in His peace; thank Him for His presence, protection and provision, and rejoice in His promise that joy WILL come in the morning!


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