Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Resting Place


It’s Easter Sunday.  Welcome to Internet Church. 

Today is a day of celebration.  To help, listen to this –

Joyful Joyful
Melbourne Gospel Choir


If the YouTube link does not work, click here -


Wow!  That will jump start your motor.  (If you skipped the above video clip, this previous sentence will make no sense at all.)


On this Easter Sunday I have a question for you. 

Are you a soul in need of rest?
Are you tired of being knocked around, pushed, cajoled, misled, mistreated, misunderstood, and confused?

Do you sometimes ask “Where is peace? Where is rest?”

On Easter Sunday, especially on Easter Sunday, when we want to connect with God, where do we turn?

Here is a bit of good news.  Rest assured that there is a place of quiet, a place of peace, a place of rest and a place of trust.  

I’m basing my thoughts today on an old hymn.  As we spend a few minutes in contemplation on these lyrics we begin to see a glimmer of hope in a God who will offer us rest for our souls, and the answer to our confusion and He offers us the peace that has been stolen from our hearts.

The heart of the Easter story is hope - hope that Christ did emerge from the tomb of stone.  This hope is in a God who showed his love in such a profound way that we can come and rest and be restored.

I’m simply offering a road map to peace and rest.  It matters not the degree of faith we have, or our level of understanding of God.

Our faith is not found in a denomination, or in a church with four walls and a steeple.  It is not in a cross you wear around your neck, or a lucky rabbit’s foot.  We can place our faith with confidence in the God of the universe – the Holy One.  He made us; He stands ready to assist with our confusion, our past, our questions, and our doubts. 

~He offers you and me rest.  Matthew 11:28

~He offers you and me peaceJohn 14:27

~He offers you and me comfortPsalm 46:1

~He offers you and me love. Romans 5:8

That is what the Easter story is all about. 

Allow your faith to come to rest in the God who laid the foundations of this world.  He receives you with open arms.

Consider this passage from the Holy Bible.


Bobby Michaels has a wonderful song for you.  Watch this.



If the above YouTube link 
does not work, click here - 

Here are the lyrics for your convenience.

Verse 1
My faith has found a resting place,
not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

Chorus
I need no other argument,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

Verse 2
Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
He'll never cast me out.

Verse 3
My heart is leaning on the Word,
The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior's name,
Salvation through His blood.

Verse 4
My great Physician heals the sick,
the lost He came to save;
for me His precious blood He shed,
for me His life He gave.


My Prayer for You:

God:
In a world of turmoil and angst, we need rest.  We need a being to whom we can run and find truth that we can trust.  Is that place you, God? 

We want to prove you as capable, strong, reliable, and that you can lead us in good directions.

So we come to you for rest.  Give our weary souls rest from strife, worry, anxiety, sin, mistakes, and conflict.

We come home to you.  Prove to us that you are the God of rest.

Amen.


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Again and Again


Did you ever need a do-over when you were a kid?  You know, you’re playing tennis or golf and you make a flub and ask your opponent for another chance – a do-over.  I had to ask for one a few times.

Do you sometimes need a do-over in life?  You know, we just can’t seem to get it right day after day.  We mess up, we fall down, we louse things up, or we blunder and fall flat on our faces? 

A do-over is a handy gift to receive. 

Know what? 

God is offering you a do-over.  He is offering grace and forgiveness and a chance to try again, to make things new once again.  When we come to God with the attitude of repentance and ask for a new start, we get a do-over.  We get to start from where we are.  He forgets the past, and we begin again with a clean slate.


God has done that for me time and again.  That is amazing to me.  If I were God I’d put me on a leash and after, say, 13 times I’d cut me off and say, “Bad boy.  Can’t you learn anything?  You are banished from my presence forever.  There!”

But not God. 

And what about the invitation.  Time and again God invites us to be with him, to come to him, to dwell with him, to dine with him, to be a partaker with him. 

Oops, we wandered away.  God says, “That’s okay.  Come on back.” 

Oops, we broke our vows, again.  God says, “I will forgive.”

Oops, we lost our sobriety or we relapsed for the 17th time.  God says, “Come to me; try again.  I will give you rest.”

Again and again we are reminded of God’s forbearance, His love, His patience, His goodness and His mercy. 

Time and again we are invited back into the arms of God, regardless of how we smell, how we think, how we live or have lived, or what our nationality might be.

We are received time and again. 

Amazing.
          
                 AMAZING!

Has God lost His common sense? 

Never!

He never says “ I've had it with you, you low life.”

No. 

As Anne Lamott says in Help Thanks Wow, “We get to keep starting over. 
What a concept.

A God who invites us back in over and over, again and again.

That is a God I can trust.

Please watch this:

Crystal Lewis Come Just As You Are


Here is a passage from the Bible that speaks to this topic.
 
Matthew 11:28-30
28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


My Prayer for You:

God:
Your invitation is for all of us.  That is amazing. 
You invite us, good threads or rags, money in the bank or flat broke, smile on our face or sad frown, and whether we’ve got it all together or if we’re falling apart.

Your invitation is genuine.  We can trust your outstretched hand.  We can trust your heart of compassion.

We can trust you God.  And we receive your invitation. 

We receive all the love, all the forgiveness, all the changes you bring, and all the revelations and revolutions you want to make in our lives. 

We accept your invitation to come again and again. 

Thank you God.
Amen.


For your convenience, here is a link to The Bible.




P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Father Wants to Hold You Too


Because of the writings of a man named Henri J.M. Nouwen I have fallen in love with Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son painting.  I doubt that the rendering to the right does this masterpiece proper justice, but perhaps it will help.

Here is a snapshot of the story behind the painting.

There once were two sons and a father.  The younger son asked His father one day for his share of the inheritance so he could go out and live the good life.  He wanted to party.  He wanted wine, women and song. 

What he was actually saying to the father was this:  “To me you are as good as dead – give me my inheritance now.  I can’t wait for you to die.”

Strangely, the father complied. 

The son left.

Time passed.

The son awoke one fine morning in the middle of his murky life.  He realized how foolish he had been.  His friends, the women and the wine had all run out on him for he was now broke.  What a sad song.  Sounds like a country music hit from the sixties.

He longed to return to his father’s house and become a hired hand.  At least he would have food, clothes and shelter over his head.

So that is what he set out to do.  And all along the journey he wondered if he would be recognized, and better yet, accepted as a servant. 

Meanwhile, back on the estate – the father longed for, grieved and missed his son every day.  He looked down the road many times every day just in case he might see his son coming around the bend in the road.  But no luck.

Until one fine day he looked and saw a lone figure limping along.  Even from that great distance the father thought he detected some familiar traits, and a certain gait to the stranger’s walk.  The clothes didn't match what the father expected his son to wear, but there was familiarity nevertheless. 

And as the stranger got nearer, the father saw that it was indeed his son.  He immediately began giving orders.

Kill the choice calf.
Prepare the banquet hall.
Pick the best vegetables from the garden.
Clean the best robe.

My son is coming home!

And he threw a party. 

HE THREW A PARTY!

Can you believe that?

The son who had treated him like dirt was back, and the father threw a ‘welcome home’ party.

That is amazing. 

And when the son approached the father, he barely got two words out before the robe was around the son’s shoulders and he was covered with hugs and kisses. 

Christ is telling this story to illustrate how much God in Heaven loves you and me and only wants us to be with him. (See Luke 15:11-32 in the Holy Bible.)

God simply wants to hold you, to wrap His arms around you and receive you back as His own child.  You may have wandered.  You may have lived life with the wine, the women and the song, but that doesn't matter.  If you come home to the Father, He will greet you as a long-lost child. 

God will hold you.
God will embrace you.
God will love you like you've never been loved before.  

He simply wants to hold you in His arms, and He will never let you go. 

What is your response to that?

Please watch this.  You'll get the best sound by using headphones.

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
Westminster Chorus



If the above link does not work, click here

May I pray for you?

God:
To think that you call for each of us by name is an amazing thought.  And to know you still want us after some of the places we've been and some of the things we've done.  

You really do love us.  You wait for us with open arms.  And like the prodigal son, we want to come home to you, to your embrace and to your love.

What kind of love is this?  Teach us more God.

Amen!

If you wish to prayer a prayer of repentance and ask Christ into your heart, there is a sample prayer on the right side of this blog. 
I'm praying for you. 

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, March 9, 2013

He Is Here



9-1-1- is an amazing system.  I had to use it recently.  I was in a retail store when a woman customer went into a series of seizures. 

John, her partner, yelled “Call 9-1-1!”  I responded immediately and within ten minutes the medical team arrived and began assisting this nice lady.

As they worked on her, I stood back and prayed for this lady.  My prayers took the theme of “God be present, be with her, be with her partner.”

Almost instantly, it seems that God spoke to me and said,

“I am already here.  
I've been here all along.”

What a comforting thought. 

I am blessed to have people from ninety-five countries who read my blogs.  They represent a variety of cultures and religious thoughts. 

Want to know the most amazing thing – God is with each of them, just as He is with you and me right this very minute.
  
I am reminded of a verse that has been an anchor in my own life.  It is from the Old Testament, Joshua 1:9. 


The phrase “wherever you go” jumps out at me. 

As I reflect on my past, I am reminded of God’s steadfastness in my life.

God was there …
-When I had more bills than bucks
-When I faced relationship strife
-When I faced job challenges

God was there …
-When my loved one faced a medical crisis
-When I was discouraged
-When I was fearful

God was there …
-When my parents died
-When my grand-kids were born

God was there …
-When I graduated from college
-When I needed my first job 
-When I experienced joy beyond belief

God has been there in every moment and in every situation I have faced. 
     He has never gone to sleep.
          He has never taken a break
               And He has never abandoned me for someone more 
               successful or better looking. 

Remember what you read above? 

“I will be with you wherever you go.”

What a comforting thought.

My prayer is that your God-concept will expand enough to include these attributes of God - He is BIG enough. He will meet you in the middle of your need.  
Please watch this video:

 

(If the link above does not work, please click here.)

He Is Here
Verse 1
I sense an awesome moving of the Holy Spirit.
And I see His countenance resting on your face.
I know that there are angels hovering all around us.
For the presence of the Lord is in this place.


Chorus
He is here, hallelujah.
He is here, amen.
He is here, holy, holy.
I will bless His name again.

He is here, listen closely.
Hear Him calling out your name.
He is here, you can touch Him.
You will never be the same.

Verse 2
I searched for peace among the shadows dark and lonely.
Gave up on finding that strong and lasting love.
I tasted all the things that sin could think to offer me.
But today I feast on manna from above.

Chorus
Repeat Chorus

He is here, you can touch Him
You will never be the same.
(Words and Music by Kirk Talley)

My prayer for you:

God:
You are amazing.  You are with us in the middle of the mundane and during times of great abundance.  Thank you God.

May we acknowledge your presence in a more acute way, and may we offer you the center stage of our lives – from here forward.

Thank you for being here, right now.

Amen!
  
P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, March 2, 2013

God Is not Fragile




Some of the best news I could give you today is this:

God is not fragile

We sometimes treat God as if He is anemic.  We think He can’t handle certain conditions of our lives, our thoughts and our mannerisms.  We think He will break if we dare even utter certain words of disgust and frustration to Him in our prayers. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

I saw this on a Twitter post recently – Life is fragile – God is not!

Well said.

When I was in college working in a Kroger’s grocery store, I worked with a man a few years older than I.  Jimmy seemed to delight in yanking my chain about God. 

One day he turned to me, got in my face and said, “God sucks!”

Whoa.  That set me back on my heels.  I felt offended for God’s sake. 

But you know what – God kept right on loving Jimmy, watching over him just like He did me and you and the rest of the world.

God is not fazed by our thoughts, our whims, our inclinations or our waywardness.

He is not fragile.  He will go with us to any place we choose to go: 

-Hell and back
  -Whore houses
    -Drug dens
      -War
        -Marital strife
          -Thievery
            -Gambling debts

And on and on.

Isaiah 59:1 says this:

Listen!
The Lord’s arm is not too weak
to save you, nor is his ear
too deaf to hear you call.
  
Does that sound like a fragile God to you?  Not in the least.

So the next time you feel down, angry, disgusted, and defeated, let God know about it.  He already knows it, but sometimes He likes to hear your heart, regardless of your pain or state of anxiety.  Unload on Him. 

He can handle it.

He will not break, and He will never ignore you.



Watch this inspirational video version of A Mighty Fortress Is our God by a group called Glad.



(If the above video link doesn't work, click here

My prayer for you:

God:
We recognize that you are a God of great strength, great power and great understanding.  You know us, you made us and you see us at our best and at our worst.  And your love keeps right on reaching out to us.  You love us in all the seasons of our lives.

What a great God you are.  You are not fragile.  You are the Great One.

Thank you God.

Amen!



P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time