Sunday, May 20, 2018

God Is Here

God Is Here

I’m in a restaurant with thirty-five other customers.  It’s a rainy Sunday morning.  I don’t know any others by name, I don’t know where they live or what they do for income. 

This I do know.  God knows them.  He knows everything about them, whether they go to church, pray, work, have a healthy heart, have aches and pains, make a lot of money or live at the poverty level.  HE KNOWS.

That is just about the greatest thing to contemplate on this Sunday. 

I also know He calls to each of them.  Oh, some probably don’t recognize the call of God yet.  Maybe they are distracted by the curly-headed little boy playing with his straw, or maybe the lady with a brace on her left wrist is too caught up in some residual pain from her carpel-tunnel issue.  But I believe God is speaking to each of them. 

And He knows and calls to you and to me, whoever you are and wherever you live. 

The Bible tells us: 
“The very hairs of your head are numbered.”

That is a pretty intimate thing to know about someone.  I don’t have that fact at my fingertips on Carolyn, nor she on me, however, God knows. 

He sees us as we lie down, when we take our meal, when we sit and think, when we are at our work and at our leisure.

God is what you call an observant God.

So, for today, wherever you go, take an occasional moment to say ‘Hi’, or ‘thank you’, or ask for whatever is a need in your life.

He really does know you, and He cares oh so much.

Hope Encouragement Inspiration

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

When Is God Pleased with Me

When Is God Pleased with Me

“I like to read Robert Ludlum.  Is God pleased with me while I read those books?”

“I play the drums.  Can God like and appreciate my drumming?

“Does God like every word, blog and podcast I produce?”

“Maybe God likes me more when I read a Billy Graham book.  You think?  Now there’s a major player of whom God surely approved.”

“I used to play Rook?  If I called some friends over, would God still abide in my home?  Maybe He favors Scrabble more.”

Okay, enough with that. 

Let me quickly state the facts as I sense them. 

God Loves Me …
When I get a haircut
When I toss a Frisbee
When I hold Carolyn’s hand, or kiss her lips
When I spend time with Wilson, Cari’s dog

God Loves Me …
When getting the car washed
While driving home from work on the freeway
While eating dinner
While watching the latest movie at the downtown theatre

God Loves Me …
When I get upset about some political decision
When Facebook changes it algorithms
When my blood pressure is too high
When I don’t read my Bible
When I miss church

God Loves Me …
If I drink wine
If I look at a pretty girl
If I commit a month of sins
If I tell Him to ‘get lost’

God’s love is not dependent on how good we are.  It is governed by His goodness and grace that flows from His great heart.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

He never abandons us.  He never disappears in our moments of weakness, or sin, or failure, or disappointment.  If we make bad choices, He still is near and has His eye on us.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you) (Hebrews 13:5) pretty much sums up the constancy and consistency of God. 

This is, indeed, great good news!

Have you accepted His love yet?  Have you opened up to Him and invited God into your situation?

The conversation begins something like this:

“God.  It’s me.  I need help.  I need YOU. 
I don’t like some of the things I’ve done lately.  Can you help me with that?  I don’t like some of the choices I’ve made lately?  How do I change? 

“I guess I’m the prodigal in the story.  I wanna come home to you.  Will you receive me as the story says the son was received? 

“I am scared to death.  Afraid I’ve done too much bad, made too many wrong choices.  I’ve gone to too many wrong places.

“I’m just flat out afraid.  And, bottom line, I think I’m afraid to trust that this forgiveness thing is just too good to be true. 

“I’ll never be a saint.  I’ll never get life right.

“But I need help.

“Help me, God.”

Psalm 34:18 tells us this:
“The Lord is close
to the brokenhearted.
He saves those who
have a crushed spirit.”

Consider this today. 

You are talking to the God who loves you and knows what you have already done.  He still offers forgiveness.

He is the God of love and redemption.

Hope Encouragement Inspiration

Friday, May 11, 2018

Molding and Shaping God

Molding and Shaping God

We love making God fit our molds, don’t we?  We like to dictate to Him exactly how to act, when to act, and in what measure.

`On exam day, we need Him as a problem solver.
`When the auto breaks down, we need Him as a mechanic.
`In battle, we need Him as a rescue squad.
`When facing divorce, we need Him as a marriage counselor.
`When facing financial catastrophe, we need Him as a banker.
`When we lose our keys, we need Him as the all-seeing eye.
`When we need peace and order restored, we need Him as a Heavenly policeman.

There are other examples I could write, and by now I think we all get the point.  We want to form God to our image at the moment of our present crisis. 

So, what is God exactly?

I’m so glad you asked.  Now, pull up a chair and let’s chat.

God is …
~The one who listens when we need to confess.
~The one who never leaves our side, though we are prone to wander.
~The great lover of our soul. 
~The forgetful forgiver.  He forgives and forgets – “removes our sins from us as far as the East is from the West”.
~He is the friend of sinners - good sinners and bad sinners.
~He is the friend of alcoholics and addicts, swindlers and cheats.
~He forgives the adulteress, adulterer, swindling tax man, and run-a-way prodigal son.

He IS the one who loves us so perfectly, even in the middle of our imperfections.  He knows we’ll never get this life “right” on earth, yet He loves us anyway. 

He offers pardon after pardon, to each of us. 
He offers grace for every trial.
He offers strength for every step we are called to take.
He offered His Son as a substitute sacrifice for US – You and Me!

These are some of the attributes of what God is.

And all we have to do is accept Him; ask for the abiding presence of God to enter into our miserable existence and clean up our messes.

Oh yeah, the last thing God is … He is an incredible house cleaner.

And one last thought: 

God/Jesus … the friend of sinners.
Hope Encouragement Inspiration