Sunday, February 23, 2014

Who Loves You

If you were in front of me, I would sing you this song.

I’m somebody
I am somebody
I’m created in the image of God
And I’m somebody

I’m somebody
I am somebody
I am loved
I am His child
I’m important to Him
~Bill & Gloria Gaither


Sometimes, as a little joke, Carolyn and I will ask of the other, “Who loves you?”

Of course the answer is “I love Carolyn.  Carolyn loves Michael.”

Often we might counter in a teasing way something like this:

“I don’t know for sure.  Maybe Eliot, or Ava” (two of our grandchildren).
  
Unfortunately there are people who go through life never having experienced a lot of love from another human being.  That is a sad fact. 

And if that is a picture of you, I want to let you know this.  The great God of the universe truly and completely loves you.  As we stated in the song above, “I’m created in the image of God and I’m somebody.”

God is the great lover of our souls.  God is the one who redeems you and me, loves you and me, and cherishes you and me, for we are His creations, unique in every way.

I was nineteen years old before I heard the words “I love you” from my parents.  Perhaps I’ll tell the whole story sometime.  It was many years later before I came to fully approve of myself and accept who I was as created in the image of God.

God loved me … ME, just like I was, with a bald head, a few pounds overweight, with my dominant left hand with ambidextrous tendencies, a drummer who loves pecan pie, hates broccoli and black-eyed peas, and simply wants to help people.

I had to learn to like myself and approve of myself.  Yes, I did say ‘learn’ to do all of that.

If you happen to find yourself in the same situation, let me give you a word of great hope and a promise.

~God loves you … yes He does.  John 3:16 says “God so loved the world” and you, my lonely friend, are a part of this world.

~God calls you by name.  In Isaiah 43:1 we are reminded of this:  “I have called you by name – you are mine.”

God’s love is for the whole world, and that includes you and me.  Rejoice over that one.

And if God can call you by name, that is a pretty good indication that He not only knows you, He loves you a whole lot.

And as my mentor Brennan Manning says, “God not only likes you, He is very very fond of you.”

“VERY!”

And now, when someone asks you the question “Who loves you?” proudly say, “I am the one loved by God.”

Here is another lyric to a song meant just for you.

The sweetest story ever told God loves you
The brightest prospect to behold God loves you
When you way is dark as night
He will be your guiding light
By His hand He’ll hold you tight
God loves you
~Floyd Hawkins/Otis Skillings


Now watch this.



My Prayer for All of Us

God:

Sometimes we have a hard time just accepting your love.  The past raises its ugly head, we remember past faults and failures, and we measure ourselves against giants in the land like Mother Theresa or Billy Graham. 

They surely had no faults. 
They surely never failed you as I have failed you.

Yet your love remains.
It remains constant.
It remains available.
It remains open simply for the taking and the claiming.

Thank you God.  As I reach for your hand, let it be the hand of love and acceptance.  I often have trouble accepting myself, so be gentle.

I’m trusting at a snail’s pace here.

Your wary child.

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


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Are You a Grave Disappointment to God

Have you ever been a “grave disappointment” to anyone, especially to God?  When we fumble and falter our inner voice can kick in rather loudly and tell us all our faults, all our inconsistencies and our grave weaknesses. 

And if we listen to those inner voices – well, we fall into despair.

Listen to these wise words from someone I much admire.

“For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Jesus Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change.”
~Brennan Manning

God’s power is not stifled simply because we have fallen in disgrace.  His love can and does reach down through the muck and misery and offers us a hand of redemption.

Brennan continues:

“When Christ said ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened,’ He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged and disheartened along the way.”

So what is our response when we fall and feel we are a “grave disappointment?”

We hold fast to the constant nature of God.  He has said some amazing and encouraging words that have been recorded in His book.

Here are a few.

“Come, and I’ll give you rest.”       Matthew 11:28

“If we confess, He will forgive.”    I John 1:9 

“Repent and Turn to God …”        Acts 3:19


The Lord God is merciful and forgiving, even though we rebel against him.”                                    Daniel 9:9

My feelings of inadequacy seem to melt away when offered such redemptive hope as we find in these verses.

The strong hand of God almighty reaches down, gets a firm grip on us, and lifts us up to a new place, a redeeming place, and He washes us off, gives us new robes of righteousness, and sets us in a right relationship with himself again.

And best of all, He forgets our transgressions.  He removes them from us “as far as the east is from the west”.  Read that for yourself in Psalm 103:12 

Our job – show enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence by accepting this great love of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

And when we pull out all the stops and jump full speed into the arms that are outstretched we will find welcome, forgiveness, redemption and wholeness and restoration. 

THAT IS AMAZING!

Feeling gravely disappointing?

Come to the one who digs a grave for our failures, falters, sins and slips.  And then He covers them over and never remembers where they are buried. 

How about that?

Redemption
Grace
Forgiveness

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


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Thoughts on Prayer

A person can’t get very far in life these days without coming into contact with the word “prayer”.  Almost all people pray some kind of prayer at odd moments during their day, even if it is of a less than righteous nature, such as, “God strike him down.”

I am an Anne Lamott fan.  In her book Help Thanks Wow she gives us this thought.

“Prayer is us reaching out to be heard, hoping to be found by a light and warmth …”

And we know this “light and warmth” of which she speaks is God himself, the Divine One.

We seek some kind of communication with the Divine one.  We want some of His light to flood our pathway and warm our lives.  Ann says, “We want to be heard.”

Do you want “to be heard”?

“Help.  Help us walk through this.  Help us come through.  It is the first great prayer.”
~Anne Lamott

When we pray to God we are inviting him to enter into the mess of our lives.  We want His peace and a sense of Him to flood our lives.

Perhaps we should just pray.  We don’t have to assume a certain stance.  We can kneel, stand, lie down, exercise, drive, and eat, and still have some prayer time going on. 

God is always listening.  He actually delights in hearing our prayers, for He loves intimate, one-on-one moments with his creations. 

And the amazing thing is … God can handle honesty, and prayer begins an honest conversation.”

Anne Lamott

On some days maybe all we can utter is ‘Help.”  At other times we may feel like lashing out with anger.  That’s okay too.

And sometimes, we hurt so badly that all we can do is gently cry, perhaps moan, groan a bit, or rock back and forth as we examine our pain.

All the while, God is there with us.  He is standing nearby.  He is looking over our left shoulder and listening with interest to our heartbreak. 

God hears and that is enough. 

GOD HEARS!

And what does He say? 

Often, His answers come through the scriptures. 

“Be strong.  Be courageous.  Do not fear.  Do not be discouraged.  I your God will be with you wherever you go”


“Even when I walk through darkness, I will not fear, for I believe you are with me; you comfort me with a rod and a staff.  

“With great confidence we can say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What harm can come from mere mortals?”


I've had encouraging words come through books, magazine articles, and individuals who have crossed my path.

Always remember this - even when, especially when our heart is about to burst, we can call out to God.  He stands ready to listen and offer help.

That is a promise.

Please Watch This



A Prayer for All of Us

God:

I should pray.
I need to pray.

But what to say? 

I need you as my compass, my travel companion.  I can get into so many messes on my own.  I would rather avoid some of those messes and places. 

Help me God.

Amen

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


Saturday, February 1, 2014

God's Sorrow

We all know that you and I have sorrows, but does God have sorrows also? 

I do in fact believe He does.  Brennan Manning gives us this insight.

“God’s sorrow lies in our refusal
to approach Him when we sin
or have failures.”
~Brennan Manning

We humans sometimes become so self-sufficient and we think we can handle anything and everything, even our own salvation.  We try harder after a fall, we go at warp speed when before we went at presto.  We dig in, read more, attend more seminars, and try to earn our way back to God’s good graces.

We dip into the ‘merit badge” theology and think “if I can just go and be and do, then all will be right once again.”

And there He stands, waiting for us to simply approach Him.  He already knows our plight.  Now He simply wants to welcome us back into His embrace and receive the transforming grace and love only He can give.

He wants to give us another clean slate.  His grace is sufficient to handle any weakness, misstep, miscue, sin, slip, confusion and failure we find ourselves in.

He is grace.
He is mercy.

There is plenty of help found when we accept the willing hand of God.

Will you reach for his hand?

Please watch this:



My Prayer for All of Us

God
Yep!  Failed again.
And yet, we are actually encouraged to reach, once again for your helping hand of redemption. 

Why?

Why do you do that?  You see how many times I’ve already messed up.  You know my insecurities, my temperament, and my inclinations. 

Why do you bother with the likes of me?

God, will you help me to be willing to be willing?

I want to be willing.

I reach out in faith.  Take my hand God.

I don’t have much strength left so pull hard and lift me from this pit once again.

Amen!

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