Saturday, March 29, 2014

Facing Your Tomorrows

Do you believe in tomorrow?  Do you have hope for all of your tomorrows? 

Sometimes, our past can so cloud our eyes that we fail to see that there is the bright promise of tomorrow. 

As I reflect back on my own life, I've faced some dark and troubling moments when I doubted that I would see my tomorrows. 

I've waded through the divorce thing twice now.  The second time through I also had to deal with a drug relapse on the part of the woman to whom I was married.  That period in my life was one of great fear and trepidation.  I wondered if I would survive that episode physically, emotionally and financially. 

I remember on more than one occasion when my ex was out on a drug binge and I questioned whether I would get the dreaded phone call that she had been found in an alley somewhere with a gunshot wound, or dead of an overdose. 

I remember another time when I feared that she would bring her pusher to our home in search of money, jewelry, or to take electronic equipment, clothes or any other valuables that could be turned into cash. 

What about your past?  What has happened to cause you fear as you face your tomorrows? 

Are you full of hope?
Are you discouraged?
Do you dread awakening to face yet another day?

I would like to offer you a word of hope.  It is found in the lyrics of a Bill Gaither song – Because He Lives

Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives

I find great encouragement from these words, for I have lived to experience the hope that my future held beyond the present circumstances I was facing.

I have risen from my bed each morning after the devastations spoken of in the above passage. 

I have faced the next day, sometimes still wondering from where the money would come when the bank account was depleted. 

I have also found great comfort and hope in the scriptures for such times as these.

Be not be afraid nor dismayed, for I the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. 
~Joshua 1:9

And another

For without a doubt I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future full of hope.
~Jeremiah 29:11

My experiences with God have shown me time and again that God can be trusted to get me through this life on earth. 

When I read the news and see what is happening in this world, I wonder about what kind of future we all face.  I ponder the possibilities that mankind can wreck on our existence. 

And then I come back to the scriptures and my own past experiences.  I see the hand of God at work in the middle of these troubles.  And he has never let me down.

It is important to note this – God never promised to keep us from heartache.  He does promise to be with us in the middle of our heartache. 

And so it is true. 

God is with you, right now, in the middle of whatever it is you are facing. 

Perhaps it is time to call on His name.  Ask boldly for what you need, and watch for the hand of God to work in ways beyond understanding.

He is with you and with me in all of our tomorrows. 

I believe!

Please watch this.



My Prayer for You

God:
Sometimes my tomorrows look pretty bleak.  On my worst days I don't want to get out of bed.  Is there hope for the likes of me?

The song above says there is hope. 
The verses of scripture say there is hope. 
I want to believe in hope. 

Mostly, I want to believe in your steady hand on the wheel of this world.  I take a step of faith into your arms Father God.  I trust whatever my future may hold, because I trust your hand that holds me in this moment. 

Amen!

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


Saturday, March 22, 2014

The One Who Listens

The great God of the universe issues you and me a most inviting invitation.  He beckons to us.  He reaches for us, and longs for us, and almost jumps out of his divine skin in anticipation of listening to our heart’s aches and breaks.  You see, God wants to enter into the nitty-gritty of life with you and with me. 

He wants to know where it hurts, who hurt us, how they hurt us, how much life sucks, how distraught we are over certain situations, and how low our funds really are.

He wants to know our druthers, our sad circumstances and our silly whims. 

He wants to laugh with us, smile at us, watch us at our play, and rejoice when the sun shines on us and the wind blows gently across our fields.

In a word, God wants a word with us.  He calls to us, He invites us to come.

“Come to me” he says.  “I’ll give you rest and peace.”

“Cast all your cares on me” he says in another place.

And in another, He uses phrases like “Be still and know that I am God.”

Or “Don’t worry about anything.  Pray about everything.”

Do you see – He is someone to whom we can turn.  We can talk to him.
He is the one who listens.


HE LISTENS!

He will put away His cell phone.
He’ll turn down the TV.
He’ll take his hands off the keyboard.
He’ll push back from the pile of work on His desk. 

And He will turn to you and me and say, “Come, my child.  I am listening to you.  Tell me where it hurts.”

A personal story:
I remember opening a password-protected file on my computer called “Morning Pages”.  This space was dedicated to writing anything and everything that came to my mind, and my goal was to write a minimum of 1,000 words per day, every day for thirteen weeks. 

I turned this into mostly a prayer journal.  It became my safe place to lay out before God a lot of stuff going back to my childhood.  I unloaded a ton of stuff – words, phrases, experiences, people, situations, incidents with which I frequently revisited down through the years. 

For me, that was a sacred space where I met with God time and again, and in a spirit of prayer and confession, remembrance and relief I poured out my heart and connected with God in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before that time.  Many of those issues raised had never been heard by any other human being on earth, but God heard them.  God read them, and He came down and we talked, we grieved together, He comforted, He guided me in the sorting and the processing, and I found THE ONE WHO LISTENS.

He really does, you know.

Find your own way of communicating with Him.  He wants to hear your story as well.  He will listen; no judgment, no condemnation and no rebuke.  Just love, compassion, forgiveness, and peace.

PEACE!

Today, make an appointment with the one who listens.

For He really does listen.

Really!

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


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Running Toward God

His name is spoken a thousand, yeah, a million times a day.  And the amazing thing to remember is this – He hears every call, every cry, every utterance tossed His way.

That is the amazing thing about God.  He hears and He cares.

My friend Morris had a heart scare recently.  He already runs with God and on this occasion he ran toward God even more quickly.  And God was there.

My grand niece is facing some serious health issues for a small child.  Her parents, grandparents, great grandparents and others are running toward God on VJ’s part and in support of her.  And God is there.

My nephew is facing cancer.  He is running toward God.

I know some people who are facing financial stresses.  They are running toward God.

I read a story of a prostitute recently who has a two-year-old daughter.  Every night, after finishing her trade, she comes home, tucks her little girl into bed, retires to her own room and runs into the outstretched arms of God.  And she finds grace. 

I run toward God.  I am needy.  I am sometimes a fragile man in need of redemption and the close redemptive love of my God.  And I find His grace to help in my time of need.

Do you feel that need?  Then I have some assuring news. 

God is here – now.  He is waiting just for you.  He knows your name, and what you need. 

He’s just waiting for you to come running to Him. 

What is your battle?  I read some tremendously encouraging words tonight in Exodus 14:14. 

God will fight the battle for you.

There are no qualifiers listed here.  It simply says God will fight for you, no ifs, ands, or buts’.

Need forgiveness? 
     He’s fighting for you.
Need redemption? 
     He’s fighting for you.
Need peace? 
     He’s fighting for you.
Need a fresh start? 
     He’s fighting for you.
Need reconciliation? 
     He’s fighting for you.

Whatever the size of your battle, always remember – God is fighting for you.

You are not alone.
You are not abandoned.

You have Team God on your side.

Trust!

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


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Is There Absolute Redemption

We have posed a serious question with this subject matter today.  The question of redemption, first of all, is one with which many grapple.  Can we find redemption for all sins?  And if by chance we do find redemption, is it absolute?  Are our sins absolutely and completely redeemed?

Ultimately, we are asking this:  Can we trust God to do what He says He will do? 

Let us start with a good understanding of the word “absolute.”

The synonyms I find are these:
   Total
    Complete
     Utter
      Unqualified
       Unconditional
        Unlimited
         Supreme
          Fixed
           Unmodified
            Unquestionable

That is quite a list of descriptors for the word “ABSOLUTE”.

And when we couch redemption in with the absolute mindset, well, we stand amazed.  Some scratch their heads and ponder this imponderable.

And we come back to the question “HOW?”

How can we achieve absolute redemption?
How can we be forgiven of some of the nasty stuff in our bag of life?
Does God really know who we are and what we’ve done, and for how long? 

Yes
Yes
And YES!

I am reminded of this great story by Earnest Hemingway in his short story The Capital of the World.  He tells the story of a father and his teenage son who lived in Spain.  Their relationship became strained, and the son ran away from home. 

Soon the father began a long journey in search of his son.  Finally, in desperation, he decided to put an ad in the Madrid newspaper as a last resort.  His son’s name was Paco, a very common Spanish male name.  The ad simply read:



As Hemingway writes, the next day 800 men named Paco showed up at the newspaper office seeking forgiveness.

We ask the question – Is there absolute redemption?

Yes, my friend.  A thousand times “Yes” and here is why I believe in absolute redemption.

My Bible tells me this:

The Invitation:  “Come to me all who are so very tired, weary and worn.  I’ll give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)

The Promise:  “God loved the world so much that He gave His son, the Redeemer – Jesus Christ.”  (John 3:16)

Our Part:  “If we confess … He will forgive our sins and remove them from us as far away as the east is from the west, and will never remember them against us any longer.” (I John 1:9 & Psalm 103:12)

Either we believe God’s word found in the Bible or we don’t. 

God is all about grace.
He is all about second and third chances, and fifty-three chances. And forgiveness one-hundred-and-one times over.


He forgives.

He redeems.

And you can absolutely count on it, for it really is absolute redemption.


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


Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Presence

Since I've never seen God in the flesh the only way I have of relating to Him is as a presence I often feel/sense around me.  During my ministry days in churches we would often pray prayers asking God to come down and be with us. 

Does God need an invitation to visit with us?  Do we have to invite Him to go with us tomorrow morning, or to join us at breakfast each morning?

I don’t think so.  Rather, I believe I need to tune in to God.  He is already with me.  I just need to acknowledge Him and choose to be in relationship with Him.

You see, God is here, now, with me on a Saturday night as I write this post, and He is with you right this moment, at whatever time it may be, in whatever state or country you may reside as you read this.  God is present NOW!

Isn't that an amazing thought?  We don’t invite him to join us.  We move closer to him.  We focus on Him and His presence.  And we find him.  He is close.  He is near.  He is present.  He is available. 

Available.  I like that.  God is available to me and to you wherever you are at this moment.

The concept of omnipresent is a huge one.  God is the only deity capable of being a presence at all times and in all places.

“Am I not present everywhere, whether seen or unseen?”

“The Lord watches over us constantly; He keeps an eye on both the good and the evil.” (Paraphrase by PMB)

Somehow, I take great comfort in that fact.  God is with me.  God is watching me.  He is present ...
 In the good the bad
  The easy times
   The difficult times
    The joyful moments
     The sad experiences
      The abundant times
       The poor times

God is present.

No begging required.
No posturing to get His attention.
No bribing Him to show up.
We don’t have to wear special clothes.
We don’t have to eat certain foods.

He is present.

He is here, now. 

Do we sense Him?
Do we embrace His presence?

Bottom line … you never leave the presence of God.

Maybe it is time to fully embrace the God who is present, now, in this moment, in this space.

He is waiting for you to notice Him.

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