Censorship


Our country is losing its freedoms. Videos like this are getting banned on some sites. Why are *they* afraid to allow free speech? What are they trying to control? Why are they trying to control things? What happens when they want something you don’t want? Will you appreciate their control of things then? Think, Americans!!! Think for yourselves!!!

Crystal Clear


Democrat or Republican

It was confusing to me how so many good Christian people could be split over whether to support the Democrat party or the Republican party. It made me wonder who might be seeing things incorrectly. We certainly couldn’t both be “right”.

Each side sees the other side as lying through their teeth, controlling and manipulating! I guess it depends on who you listen to as to what opinion you’ll hold about that. And who knows who is lying or telling the truth as far as media goes? But the media certainly does contribute to shaping our opinions of a person.

I recently read an article by a well-known and respected Christian author who sited our current president’s character as a huge issue. Two things that came to my mind after reading it were: 1) people accused Jesus of having bad character, too 2) depending on which media source you listen to, you can come away with two totally different opinions about his character. And it isn’t just the media who give their opinions of his character–I’ve heard men who read body language as a profession say that this is the most truth-telling president they have seen. I’ve heard them say things like, “he calls it as he sees it”. As in, he doesn’t think one thing and then say another, like most politicians do.

So, the disputes over his character don’t get me anywhere. That left me with just looking at policies–rather than someone else’s opinion of the person himself.

I saw how those on the Democrat side had hearts for people. They didn’t like seeing people hurting. They wanted life to be good and fair for everyone.

But I could see how people on the Republican side were the same!

But they each have very different ideas about how their goals can be achieved.

I’ve voted Republican for as long as I can remember, but the more I heard of Christians I respected totally against the Republican side, the more I wrestled with who was right.

I came to my conclusion in the last couple weeks when I realized something.

God outlines the best ways to do things—and the Bible does not say the government should be taking care of the poor or the hungry or the hurting. Those are things people should be doing for each other.

This is one way some people are doing just that!

More people need to step up to the plate and do things like that!

When it comes to things like abortions, sex changes and marriage, I can still see where soft hearts are engaged. They are trying to make lives easier for people by allowing, and even funding, abortions, supporting sex “orientations”, and gay marriage. They see those people hurting, emotionally, and they want to help.

But it seems they are oblivious to the fact that those things are God’s territory. God gives life and He is the only One with the right to take life away. God is the One Who assigns gender. And God is the One who instituted marriage and defined it as one man and one woman united. When we start making laws that step on God’s territory, we are elevating ourselves above God. We are in essence saying, “God is wrong and I am right.”

When I realized how that is “playing God”, it became crystal clear to me that the Democrat party isn’t anything I want to be a part of.

There are so many other options for women with unwanted pregnancies. If their pregnancy happened during a traumatic event, how does it make sense to put them through another traumatic event to end the pregnancy? Fund counselling for them, if you want to fund something. Find ways to love on them and help them through such a hard trial that carrying that baby to term will be, but don’t burden them with another “evil”.

Same with sex changes. The long-term of such things brings people more grief and heartache than they started with. Allowing them to make such a drastic change is not helpful in the long-term. Find ways to love them well and help them with true help.

As for gay marriages–it’s not a long-term answer, either.

There have likely been some people who have had abortions, or gone through sex changes or are in a gay marriage who “are” happy and content. But generally speaking, those things are not the answers people are looking for and a lot of them end up in a worse place than they were to begin with.

No wonder God designed things the way He did.

Instead of loving people in such near-sighted ways, we need to put on the far-sighted glasses and see how supporting such choices isn’t truly loving them at all. Then we need to find ways to love them through their pain and heartache and show them the way to true happiness and contentment.

Just like we don’t let a heart-broken toddler do things we know will hurt them in the long run, we need to stop encouraging the heart-broken adults to do things that will hurt them in the long run. Instead, let’s hug them and assure them of our love and encourage them to make choices they will one day be so glad they made.

A popular quote I’ve seen circulating in recent weeks is this: “A vote is not a valentine, you aren’t confessing your love for the candidate. It’s a chess move for the world you want to live in.”

I want to live in a world where the government does not think they know better than God; where people are loved long-term; where ALL life is cherished. I certainly can’t say I want our current president for a Valentine, but I do support the policies of the party he represents and I want to live in the kind of world they offer.

Our current president has certainly shown us that he will do what he says he will do.

Choices


We have one life on this earth to live. Our choices? Live it for myself, live it for others, or live it for Jesus.

Which option will give us the best dividends?

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

To me, the choice is a clear. I choose to live for Jesus.

Am I Write?


I’ve had my confidence in my opinions shaken lately. Repeatedly. It isn’t so much that I now think I am wrong–it’s more along the lines of, “I could easily be wrong!”

What lies am I swallowing? What lies are others swallowing? We all base our opinions on what our five senses take in and *how* they take it in. What TV stations do you listen to? Are you absolutely positive they are telling you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Do you have a bias that causes you to see, hear—sense things differently than I?–Than *my* bias?

What is the truth!???

A question I’ve asked is: How can a people who are controlled by the same Holy Spirit have such differing opinions? The only answer I have been able to come up with so far is: Perhaps we aren’t being controlled by the Holy Spirit. Instead, we are being controlled by our biases and/or the media and/or others.

May God have mercy.

Just a few minutes ago, my opinion of my own self was challenged! I had been thinking that who I was and how I live my life couldn’t be wrong! But this devotional I read makes me wonder: How does my self-assessment measure up against God’s standards? I’m looking forward to reading what this author has to say in the coming days. I think I might learn a thing or two–and they might be hard things to learn.

Here is the devotional:

“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self. — Benjamin Franklin

It’s fairly easy to get to know your mate. It’s a whole lot harder to be honest enough to get to know yourself and be humble enough to take responsibility for your flesh.

Carol is a counselor who helped my wife and me turn over a new leaf in our marriage. She has talked to so many people about their flesh that she’s identified numerous flesh patterns. Which ones might describe your natural bent?

Performance flesh: The hard worker. Well-adjusted, aggressive, outgoing, positive, motivated, driven, take charge kind of person.
Religious flesh: The “Good Christian.” Passive, nice, sweet, obedient, dutiful, pious, sanctimonious.
Superior flesh: The “snob,” outwardly proud, defensive, conceited, know-it-all. They look down on other people because they’re not as bright as they are.
Comfort flesh: The laid-back easy-going person, cautious, indecisive, unmotivated, and avoids conflict like the plague.
Victim flesh: Negative, complaining, defeated, self-pitying. They are often unforgiving and blaming.
Caretaker flesh: The enabler, rescuer, fixer. Often obsessive, nagging, overly responsible, overly protective.
Pleaser flesh: The nice guy. Compliant, submissive, compromising, self- neglecting. Has a hard time saying “no” and says “yes” to too much in order to feel accepted.
Indulgent flesh: The compulsive person. Obsessive, easily addicted, insatiable, thrill seeker, pleasure seeker.
Hostile flesh: The abusive, antisocial person. Angry, domineering, vengeful, quick tempered, hateful.
Anything sound familiar? (If not, you probably have religious or superior flesh!)

Holy Spirit, make me honest and humble so I can identify the patterns of my flesh. Lead me in the ways of Your love. Amen.” From Experiencing Life Today/Telling the Truth.

I saw myself in a few of those flesh patterns! I never saw all of those things as “flesh” patterns. And I have a hunch that every single one of us sees ourselves in one or more of those flesh patterns and we think our way of living is not wrong—it’s RIGHT!

I wrote the title wrong on purpose. It seemed fitting. So many of our flesh patterns seem right, just like “w-r-i-t-e” SOUNDS like “right”–but it is the wrong word for that context. Our flesh patterns can seem right, but I think I am about to learn the ways in which they might actually be wrong.

As for my opinions? I’m learning to take them to God more than to others. I’m also trusting God to lead me into all truth, and I will rest in that–waiting on Him to change the opinions I hold which need to be changed. My heart is teachable.

“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13

Glory to God!

Who Is Jesus To You?


That’s a deeper question than you might realize. I’ve heard many people answer that question with things like, “He is my dearest friend.”; “He is my rescuer.”; “He means everything to me.”

What if the only true answer to that question is, “Jesus is my Lord and Savior?”

Recently, one certain passage has been coming to me again and again. I’ve been pondering it and wondering things like, “How can that be?” Here are the verses:

Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Two other verses came to my attention yesterday–they are verses I’ve read many times over, but they never struck me before quite like they are striking me now.

Romans 10:9

“When you declare with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead you will be saved.”

This verse seems to be indicating two things that must be done in order to be saved: “declare with your mouth Jesus is Lord” and “believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead”. It seems like both things are requirements.

But it occurred to me this morning that “declaring with your mouth that Jesus is Lord” is not a requirement—it’s an indicator.

The other verse is 1 Corinthians 12:3.

“Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says, ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.”

To me, that is saying that an indication that you have the Holy Spirit living inside you will be your declaration that Jesus is Lord of your life. And, if you do say that Jesus is Lord of your life, I have a question for you: “Does it dismay your spirit when you don’t follow His lead—when you purposely choose to allow the world, flesh or devil to dictate your actions?” If not, do what this verse implores you to do:

2 Corinthians 13:5

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”

The Bible also says, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:14. Perhaps part of what makes the gate so narrow is, people get duped into thinking their belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection as payment for their sin is all that matters.

Jesus wants to “know” you.

Below is a link to an article that will shed some more light on all of this.

https://www.gotquestions.org/I-never-knew-you-depart-from-me.html

Two Important Questions

May it be so.

I Knew What I Wanted–So I Thought


I wanted to get two perennial flowering plants that would be pretty, would be fuss-free,  *wouldn’t* spread, wouldn’t be too tall, and wouldn’t be yellow!  So, I went on a mission to find them!

KNOWing I did NOT want annuals, I bypassed all the tables that held them.  I perused the perennial selections–TWICE–hoping to find what I was looking for.  At one point, I thought I had.  But then I read the care instructions and that plant would require some shade, so it wouldn’t work.  The two places I had for these plants were in full sun.

I also wanted some Sedum as long as it had a flower that wasn’t yellow.  I don’t care for yellow and I already had some yellow Sedum in my garden, left by the previous owner. I wanted a ground cover that would spread and would do well in full sun and sandy soil.  I needed something to fill a space that grew weeds well and was impossible to mow. 😛 Since the yellow stuff I already owned was flourishing, I figured a different color of Sedum would be perfect.

Found it!  They had one pot of it left!  It was quite pretty all by itself, too, with leaves that combined both green and red to them.  But, what color would the flower be?  I saw by the description that they would be red!  Wahoo!  That took care of that!  And, wow, only one left!

I thanked the Lord for keeping it for me and leading me to it, then pressed on–deciding to leave the store and go to another store in search of the elusive perennial that would fit the bill.

As I was standing in line to check out, I saw some pretty little violet bell-shaped flowers with yellow stripes! They were eye-catching!  Someone had just left it up on the front end racks, I guess deciding against getting it.  I was still staring at it and contemplating finding out what it was when I was called to the next available register.

Out of character for me, I brought the cashier’s attention to the plant and asked her what it was.  She said it was a dwarf petunia and didn’t even need to be dead-headed!  By impulse, still taken by its striking color combination, and tempted by the little care it needed, I asked her where it came from and if there might be another one.  She paused for a second, but then walked over to some “annual” display shelves that were close by, found one just like it, and brought it back.  Cool!

I checked out and proceeded to my car–berating myself on the way for such an impulsive decision.  The beauty of the flowers combined with the pressure of being next in line with others behind me, did me in.  I couldn’t believe I had just sabotaged my plan to get perennial flowers for those two spots!   How did I get myself into this predicament!?

Driving to my next stop, I even started second-guessing the beauty of the flowers.  They were in the trunk now, so I couldn’t see them.  Were they even all that pretty?  I’m not a huge fan of violet, either.  But it is a level or two above yellow! And they were annuals!  Ugh!  So much for my preference for perennials!

By the time I had gotten to the next store, I had given myself a pep-talk about how it could be fun to change out the plants in those two spots each year—adding a little variety to my gardens.  I was starting to accept and embrace the predicament I had gotten myself into.  But I was still second-guessing the flowers themselves.  On their own, they would not be all that noticeable.

Outside of the store I was walking towards, I saw some more plants.  My eyes glanced over some yellow ones that could be seen from far away.  Not being a huge fan of yellow, they didn’t grab me.

Once closer, I looked over their other options.  Nothing appealed to me.  At least I hadn’t missed out on some fantastic perennial that might have been found here.

Then I took a closer look at the yellow flowers.  They had a daisy look to them, but they had bright yellow petals–and a violet center!!!!  They were the opposite of the dwarf petunias in coloration and would complement them beautifully!!!  Suddenly I was quite excited about the prospect of those two flowers sharing the same space and playing off each other!  I picked out two of the daisy-like flowering plants, went inside the store, and finished my other shopping.

Then, I stopped at one more store for some fake flowers.  A maple tree in one of my gardens holds a hanging basket, but it is a shallow basket and I can never keep anything alive in it, except weeds or hardy little maple seedlings.  So I decided I’d cheat this year. 🙂

Fairly quickly I picked out some pretty pink carnation-like fake flowers and was going to head to the register with those when some yellow and orange flowers caught my eye.  I’d grown yellow and orange double daffodils this year, for the first time, that had stolen my heart.  I had never cared for daffodils before, because–well, come on–YELLOW. 😛  But, I was forced to choose some kind of daffodils since our yards are home to a mole or two and several chipmunks who love to munch on tulip bulbs.  These yellow and orange fake flowers reminded me of my beloved daffodils that had now gone by.

Near them were some vibrant yellow carnation-type flowers that matched these yellow and orange ones really well.  So, I put the pink ones back and got these vibrant yellow ones along with some yellow and orange ones.

I had no idea what was happening to me!  Why is yellow suddenly appealing to me in some contexts!?  I still have not figured that out. 😛

As soon as I got home, I placed things in their allotted spaces and watered them thoroughly.  Well, I watered the ‘real’ flowers, anyway. 🙂  And I have to say, I am tickled pink by all the selections!

I feel God in it all.  He knows me better than I know myself!  He knew what kind of circumstance I had to be put in in order to make the decision that would ultimately delight my soul, since my mind had been made up about getting perennials.

It taught me a lesson, too.  It pays to be flexible and not get myself fixated on what I believe I want. 🙂

 

 

 

Defiant Celebration


Right at this moment, as I begin to write what is in my heart, the song “Even If” by Mercy Me is playing on the radio station. 🙂

We are all going through a rough time with this Corona Virus.  Some of us are going through harder times than others.  But it is taking its toll on all of us to one degree or another.

The temptation is to let it discourage us and cause us to doubt God.

One of my church’s pastors preached a message this past Sunday on the four cups of the Passover.  In his message, he mentioned “defiant celebration” somewhat in passing.  But it stuck with me. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOrgJeWj5ls&t=536s )

My adult life has been one of heartache in many respects.  Sure, there have been a ton of  things to be thankful for!  And I have not, by any means, had the kind of hardships thousands of people in the world live with each day!  I think it is safe to say that most everyone experiences heartache in life to one degree or another.

On top of my usual heartache is now the heartache of this virus and the heartache of  yet another job loss.  If I have counted right, this makes 9 job-losses/changes in about a 12 year period.

I often see posts on FB of “God is good” after someone reports a wonderful answer to prayer or a wonderful thing that happened in someone’s life.  That declaration in that context often makes me cringe because God is good regardless of circumstances!

God is good now!  God is good even when our circumstances are horrible! God is good even through these continued years of job-losses. God is good even while this virus encompasses the world.

None of us have the heartache that Job lived through!  (Read Job in the Old Testament!)  We read in that book that Job did not sin against God, at all, in the way he processed the whole thing and worked through it all.  One verse in that book stands out like a neon sign, “Tho’ He slay me, yet will I trust in Him!” Job 13:15  He lost everyone of his ten children, lost all of his livestock and all of his crops and pretty much all of the life he once knew–BEFORE he stated those words!!!

His was a statement of determination!  It was an engagement of his will!  He was not letting his feelings dictate his actions!

My pastor’s message resonated with me because that is how God has “trained” me over the years.  Like Job, I have learned to engage my will and allow it to control me rather than my feelings.

The enemy of our souls would love for me to “curse God and die” like Job’s wife encouraged him to do, but the rebel in me does not want to give the devil the satisfaction.  By God’s grace, I will NOT play on the enemy’s team.

Instead, I choose to celebrate defiantly!  I will defy my feelings and celebrate who God is.

God is good! (1 Chronicles 16:34; Ezra 3:11; Psalm 145:9; Matthew 7:11 to cite a few.) God is love! (1 John 4:8)  Those are only two of the wonderful things about God.

Too often God’s goodness and love are taught in the contexts of circumstances.  “God wants to bless you abundantly!  If you have enough faith, your lives will be abundantly blessed! God is good and He wants to make your life wonderful!” and so on.

Decades ago I came to understand the word “good” differently than many preachers would lead us to believe.  To say it succinctly, “good” equals getting a painful shot or having a painful surgery just as much as it equals getting a gift on our birthdays or for no reason at all.  And “love” has the same fullness to it.  Sometimes true love can hurt. (Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”)

So, even though my heartache continues and is even compounded right now, God is good!!!

You know what makes God good?  It’s because He made a way for us to be reconciled to Himself when our ancestors broke this world through their choice to rebel against him and brought sin into our bloodline.  (Adam and Eve)  He is good because, even though we are significantly less than He, He chooses to be mindful of us!  (Psalm 8:4) He doesn’t need us.  He could wipe all of us to non-existence and His life would still be full and complete.  His goodness invites us to share in His complete fullness.  His goodness made a way for us to spend eternity with Him in a world with no more tears or pain or sorrow.  His goodness desires for us to know Him fully and to realize that we are known fully and fully loved, just as we are.  (And, as the saying goes, He loves us too much to leave us that way.)  His goodness wants to see us refined.  He wants us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)  He wants what is good for us.

We think we know what’s good for us.  Just like a child, if we had our way, we would always have “candy” to eat.  We would never have to work.  We could always do what we want, when we want.  But, if we “spoiled” children with those things, where would that leave them?  They’d grow up weak, unproductive and have a mouth full of cavities.

God knows what is good for us!  His definition of good includes more things in it than our definition of good usually does.

Right now, while this virus is wreaking havoc on the world, God is good.  While we, personally, are facing another job-loss, God is good.  While my heartache continues, God is good.  God’s goodness never changes.  He is good and He is worthy to be praised–always.

Therefore, I am choosing to celebrate!  Every day, in some way, I will find a way to celebrate Him!  I will offer Him praise!  I will play praise music!  I will bless others for His honor and glory!  I will worship Him by preparing meals for my family.  I will honor Him by being respectful and loving to all people because they are made in His image and therefore sacred.  I will spend more time counting my blessings rather than focusing on my circumstances.

My hope is that you will do the same!  Praise Him!  If you don’t feel like it, spend 5 minutes a day doing it anyway.  Write out all the blessings you can think of.  Put a praise song on and sing with it.  Recount all you know about God.  Worship Him and Him alone!  Because, He is worthy!

The lyrics to two songs will be posted below.  The first, “Even If” by Mercy Me and the second “Is He Worthy” by Chris Tomlin.  Enjoy!  And, here is a praise video for you to enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuuZMg6NVeA (“Every Praise” by Hezekiah Walker)

Get your praise-groove on! 🙂  Have a defiant celebration in God’s honor! 🙂

And, may God be honored and glorified!

“Even If”

They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can’t
It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You can
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
“Is He Worthy”
Do you feel the world is broken? (We do)
Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do)
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through? (We do)
Do you wish that you could see it all made new? (We do)
Is all creation groaning? (It is)
Is a new creation coming? (It is)
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? (It is)
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? (It is)
Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave
Is He worthy? Is He worthy
Of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is He worthy of this?
He is
Does the Father truly love us? (He does)
Does the Spirit move among us? (He does)
And does Jesus, our Messiah, hold forever those He loves? (He does)
Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does)
Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave
From every people and tribe (People and tribe)
Every nation and tongue (Every nation and tongue)
He has made us a kingdom and priests to God
To reign with the Son
Is He worthy? Is He worthy
Of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Is He worthy of this?
He is, He is
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
He is, He is
He is worthy, He is worthy
He is

Take a Step of Faith


I woke up this morning feeling very worn out–like I could go back to bed and sleep for several more hours.  But I made myself get up and get on with the day.

The weather was favorable for some yard work and I had the time to put into it, so I had hoped to spend this day getting some of that done.  But my fatigue caused me to procrastinate.

I prayed God would give me the energy–I asked others for prayer–and I asked Him to work in me to will and to do.

God answered the last prayer first.  Sometime after 2 in the afternoon, I got my shoes on, bundled up and went outside.  I was still dragging, but I hated passing up a day like this when there was so much that needed to be done.

My mission for today was to get all the leaves out of the gardens.  I worked on the first one and noticed within a few minutes that the fatigue was gone and I was actually feeling energetic!  I ended up cleaning 4 of my 5 gardens as well as some other miscellaneous raking and also sweeping out the garage and the driveway.  I was outside for at least three hours.

It occurred to me that God was just waiting for me to step out in faith before he answered the first part of that prayer.

How many times do we pray and expect the answer to come before we get moving? I can think of many instances where that might be true.  Like me, our prayers could be for energy.  Others could be for courage, humility, strength, boldness, etc.  How many times do we conclude that God didn’t answer our prayer when all along God was wanting us to take the first step before He answered!?

I am reminded of Joshua 3:13 “And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”  God parted the waters for the people to pass over the Jordan AFTER the priests stepped into the water!  Verse 17 “Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.  I wonder if their clothes and feet became dry along with the ground they stood on. 🙂  They stood on dry ground!!!  Not muddy ground.  Dry ground!

Carman’s song “Step of Faith” goes along with this:

Above the noise, I hear the voice
Of God givin’ the choice for me to say
I do believe and will receive
Within the heart of me the seed of faith
He does accept a baby step
As long as I have kept His word inside
But Jesus knows that I must grow
And tells me I must go ahead and try
Well, all right, okay, I guess it’s up, up and away
I’m takin’ a step, takin’ a step of faith
Walkin’ out on the promises God made
Takin’ a giant leap in the air
Steppin’ out on nothin’ and findin’ somethin’ there
Tellin’ the doubt to wait, wait, wait, wait
I’m takin’ a step of faith
It turns me out to think I’d doubt
Someone with so much clout from up above
And yet I see the way that He
Can work with me and do it all in love
The past is gone, the future’s long
And I need someone…

Taste And See


““Suppose you took all your sand in your sandbox and scooped it into a little mountain in the yard. Then suppose you went everywhere in the world and got all the sand in all the sandboxes of the world and added it to this mountain. Then, after you got all the sand in all the sandboxes, you went to all the beaches of the world and got all the sand from all those beaches and continued to add it to your mountain of sand. Then, at last suppose you went to all the deserts of the world and got all of that sand and added it to the mountain. Finally, you would have a terribly large mountain. Then, say you licked your index finger and went up and stuck it on the side of that huge mountain. When you drew your finger back, some grains would be stuck to your finger. But let us suppose that you took your other index finger and flicked away all of the grains that had stuck to your finger, except for one grain. That one grain of sand would represent what we know about God, and the mountain that is left would represent what we have yet to learn about him.” Calvin Miller

That had a profound impact on me when I read it yesterday.  My mind has been mulling it over off and on since then.

What I know about God, He has revealed in His Word and through creation.

One question I have asked myself, I am pretty sure I have heard asked before, is this: Can the creation be greater than the creator?

As I see it, that’s not how things work in our world.  Great architects make magnificent buildings, but the buildings don’t breathe, talk, walk, run, love, reason, etc. like the creator does.  Artists paint pictures; Chefs create delicious meals; Scientists create robots.  But none of those creations are greater than the one who created them.

God made everything I can see and countless things I can’t see.  The universe itself is huge, and filled with monstrous planets, innumerable stars and tiny atoms.

From the Bible I read that God is good, He is love, He is compassionate, He is all-powerful, as well as numerous other things.

God made me.  God enables me to think, reason, breathe, run, walk, feel compassion, have understanding and gain wisdom.  My abilities have limits, though–His are infinite.

The word picture, about the grain of sand in relation to the mountain of sand, gives me a perspective I hadn’t before considered.

As mind-blowing as this new perspective has been to me, I now realize that my prideful self had put God in a box that was more manageable.  The God Who is now coming into focus is much harder to wrap my head around!

Yes, the previous God of my box was still huge to me, but in the sense that earth is huge compared to the sun. Now the comparison is more like the earth to Betelgeuse.  No, actually, it is more like the earth being compared to the universe.

To think that anyone that magnificent would be interested in me!  That’s akin to me creating something out of Play-Doh and carrying it with me everywhere I go, being mindful of it wherever I am.  (Psalm 8:4)  I say “akin” not only because humans are a far more significant creation than a blob of Play-Doh could ever be, but because I had to have some Play-Doh to start with!  God made humans out of the dust of the ground that He created in the first place!

God is so creative.  The varieties of trees, flowers, bugs, animals, fish, water-ways, rocks, gems, clouds, precipitations, etc. all give me the impression that He will never run out of ideas.  Just when scientists think they have found the last kind of toad or flower or weed, they find another one they hadn’t noticed before.

I am often amazed at the wonders He created that no one ever got to even see and appreciate until our day and age when we have been able to take cameras down into the depths of the ocean and use microscopes to see things our eyes couldn’t.  Side question: How could He create those exquisite neon jelly fish or those teeny tiny amoebas and wait so long for His work to be admired?!  Simple answer: He doesn’t need any of us to admire them in order to take delight in them Himself.

This is also fascinating: we are the only things in His creation that *can* admire those things!  Trees, rocks, gems, clouds–those things can’t appreciate anything.  They just are.  Even animals can’t admire a jelly fish or an amoeba–or anything.  They don’t wonder over how it got here or marvel over how exquisitely it is made.

Humans are the only thing God created that has been blessed with god-like abilities.  As the Bible says, we were made in His likeness.  (Genesis 1:27)

The Bible says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good”. (Psalm 34:8)  In thinking about that verse today, I pictured a delicious dessert–it looks delectable, it smells heavenly, my taste buds are watering.  I touch my finger to it ever so slightly and lift the finger to my mouth, landing the lusciousness on my tongue–I can’t wait to have more!

God gave us the ability to reason, think, retain knowledge, exercise wisdom, experience and enjoy His creation; and all those abilities came from His gracious goodness in the first place.  All those things are only a “taste” of who God is; all of them fit in that grain of sand from the giant mountain of sand.

No wonder His ways are far above our ways and His thoughts are far above our thoughts! (Isaiah 55:8, 9)  Our ways and thoughts fit in that grain of sand along with all our knowledge of Him; but He is that mountain of sand.

My “taste” of God makes me long for more of Him.  He IS good.  No wonder God offers eternal life to us if we want it (as opposed to thousands of years more or some such finite time-span)–we will never come to the end of enjoying Who He is and all of His goodness.

Gift or Giver


Do I want the gift or the Giver?

That question has been rolling around in my head since I woke up.

Would I want the gift from that “free gift” offer and not think twice about the company offering it to me?  You bet!–I’d only think about the gift and how much I enjoyed it.

Would I want the gift my close friend has for me, but never give my friend another thought?  Of course not.  I would enjoy both and think of my friend often, and occasionally get together.  But if it came down to gift vs. friend, I’d absolutely take the friend.

Would I want the gift a dear family member has for me,  or my family member?  Hands down–my family member!  No gift in the world could replace them!

What kind of relationship do I have with God?

There was a time when our relationship was more like the free gift offer.  He’d bless me with something and I’d virtually say, “Gee, thanks, God!  See ya around!” and not give Him a second thought.

For the majority of my life, our relationship has been more like the friendship category.  In recent years, He’s moved up to the “close friendship” category. I totally appreciate His gifts and I think of Him often and spend time with Him–lots of time with Him.

But when close Friendship-God seems to be constantly forgetting my birthday, it makes it hard to *feel* that close friendship-thing.  The battle to keep feeling close to God begins.  Thoughts like, “If He really cared about me, He would give me that gift I have been talking about for ages” plague my brain.  It makes me question whether He is even my friend at all.  And it can be hard for me to maintain my end of the friendship.  I can excel in actions, but the feelings can all but disappear.

I have grace and mercy for my close friends–even for my other friends,– but it takes some actions on their parts to keep proving to me over and over again that they are truly my friend.  And when I dictate what that action should look like, I might lose a great friend because of my stupidity.

But dear family members are in a different category.  They can miss birthdays and special occasions.  They can fail to *show* me their love in a variety of ways.  Do I expect gifts from them?  Yes.  Do I get angry with them when they don’t give me anything for my birthday or a special day?  No!  Absolutely not! Hurt, maybe.  But never angry.  Does it make them less of a family member because they forgot my birthday?  No!  Would I demand they gift me *that* gift or they will be dead to me?  How crazy I’d have to be to do something like that!

I feel God moving me from my Close Friendship-God relationship to a Family-God relationship.  He’s remaining my friend along with it, but we are going to a higher level.  Family trumps friendships.  When it comes to my family, “offenses” are more easily explained away.   Grace and mercy abound.

But, with God as my family, He doesn’t need grace and mercy from me.

He is family.  He is my Father.  But He is a perfect Father.  Perfectly just, loyal, loving, good, and kind.  I can fully trust His heart.

So, when the birthday gets forgotten; when the gift gets withheld…it’s okay.  He’s my perfect Father.

I definitely want the Giver.

I’d be a fool not to.