Saturday, February 27, 2016

Is God Faithful

One of the great hymns that I still love to sing is called Great Is Thy Faithfulness.  I’ve sung it as a solo and in congregational singing numerous times, and this hymn still moves me.  My heart is stirred every time I reflect on the text.

V1
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, 
Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be

Refrain:
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

V3
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten-thousand besides

Refrain

Even as I key in these words my heart is bubbling over with praise and thanksgiving to the God who has proven himself faithful to me time and time again.

You see, I’ve had bumps in the road, just as you have.  I’ve fallen down a time or two.  I’ve had hardships come my way and I frankly wondered if God was anywhere around. 

My great news for you today is – yes He is.  He is more than faithful. 

Note this:
I broke my arm in the 3rd grade.
He was faithful.
I had a severe attach of appendicitis. 
He was faithful.
I faced my first divorce.
He was faithful.
I faced my second divorce.
He was faithful.
I faced severe financial crises.  
God sent me $3,000 through 
an anonymously gift.
He was faithful.
I went through bankruptcy.
He was faithful.
I faced a few more job changes,
and went through some brief
periods of unemployment.
He was faithful.

I met Carolyn, 
the greatest love of my life.
He was faithful.
We married in 2006.
He was faithful.
I inherited three step-children 
and five (now eight) grand-kids.
He is faithful.
I started a writing career 
as an unknown.
He has been faithful.
I faced the death 
of both my parents.
He was faithful.
We faced the death 
of both of Carolyn’s parents.
He was faithful.

In the good, the bad, the up-hill climb, and down-hill slide, the moments of poverty and seasons of blessing, God has proven Himself faithful.

What are you facing today?  What concerns you?  If I could give you a page from my play book, it would read like this.


We are facing a serious election for president this year.  I don’t have a crystal ball, nor do I know who will win.  All I know is this … God will be faithful and He will keep his hand steady on the wheel of this world.  He will go through it all with us.

Let me share a Bible verse that offers great comfort.  Lamentations 3:22-23

(22) “Because of God’s great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
(23) They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”

Here is a real treat for you.  These guys combine four great hymns,  Be Encouraged.


Thanks be to God!


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


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Second Chances

Let me tell you a story, a fable if you will.

There once was a little boy born into a family to a mother, a father and an older brother. 

And his father loved him very much.

The boy grew.  He became taller and stronger and smarter.

And his father loved him very much.

The boy was an obedient son.  He was kind and good-natured.

And his father loved him very much.

One day, the boy, now a young man, went to his father and asked for some money so he could go and have a good time.  He wanted to see the world, party like there was no tomorrow, and skip this measly little two-bit town in which he lived.

And his father loved him very much.

So the father granted the boy his wishes.  He gave his son his fair share of the inheritance.  And the boy left home.

And his father loved him very much.

Time passed.  The boy spent all his money on wine, women and probably sang a few sad songs along the way.  He treated his new friends to parties and the wild life … until his money ran out.  And then they ran out on him.  He was all alone.

And his father loved him very much.

One day, the boy awakened to his senses and through the fogginess of his brain began thinking.  “My father’s servants eat better than I do.  Here I am eating what the pigs leave when I could be at home by my father’s side doing better than this.  I think I should go back home and beg my father to take me back.

And his father loved him very much.

And that is what he did.  He started the long trek back toward home.

Meanwhile, his father stood each day, as he had since his son left home, looking down the road hoping to catch a small glimpse of his son coming back home.

Because his father loved him very much.

And one fine day, as the father took his post just like he did every day, he saw a sliver of a figure headed up the road toward his home.  He noticed a familiar gait to the walk, and as the figure came closer, the father recognized his son, the very son who had abandoned the family all those months ago.  And the father ran to him. 

He embraced him.  He never ceased kissing him, even in his smelly state, and with the torn and dirty rags of clothing his son had on.

For his father loved him very much.

The father ordered the prime calf to be killed, and a banquet to be prepared, and the best of clothing to be brought for his son. 

For his father loved him very much.

You see, the father believed in giving his son a second chance. 

Now this story is a parable told by Jesus in   Luke 15:11-32 (Click Here)

   It is called the story of the prodigal son. 

The father represents God and His great love for His son.  The son represents us - you and me - for we are all prone to want to wander.  We want to go have a good time. We want what we want and we want our own way. 

And when we come to the end of ourselves and wish to return home to the God of love, we are offered a second change. 

Isn’t that amazing?  We are offered a second chance – a do-over.  The feast of a life-time is ordered, the best robe in the house is laid on our shoulders with new shoes on our feet, and we are welcomed and loved and accepted as if we had never left. 

We receive the great second chance of grace and love that Father God offers.

Will we receive it, or will we let our past get in the way?  God is in effect saying, “I forget your past.  I offer you forgiveness.  Come, my son/daughter.  Receive the grace at my table.  Eat until filled and savor my great love for you. 

I am the God of the second chance.

Here is what it says in the Bible.
Matt 11:28-29
“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, I will give you rest. Take my ways upon you, learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; You shall find rest for your soul.”

No matter how large your failure may be, the grace of God can cover your failure and give you a second chance.

Thanks be to God!



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


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Assurances of God

It appears to me that the whole world needs a huge dose of the assurance of God. 

The questions run like this:
~Is God watching?
~Does He care?
~Can I rely on God?
~Is there a future and a hope for mankind?

If you are a weary and scared soul, then perhaps I can offer a cool wash cloth for your fevered brow in the form of words of hope and encouragement.

This I believe:
~God has not abandoned earth for a better or more worthy world.
~God never sleeps.  He never takes a day off.
~He knows where we are at every moment of our lives.
~His power is not diminished.  His strength is not snuffed out.
~He is with us always.

Here are some powerful words from His word – the Bible.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
~Hebrews 13:5

“Be neither afraid nor dismayed, for I your God will be with you wherever you go.”
~Joshua 1:9


“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff comfort me.”
~Psalm 23:4

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither things present nor things to come, no powers, no height or depth or any created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God found in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
~Romans 8:38-39


“God is our safe place and our strength.  He is a real and present help in times of trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth should change and the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; even if its waters roar and foam.  Even when the mountains quake ...”
~Psalm 46:1-3

Have faith dear heart. 


Photo courtesy of Ken Sjodin Photography

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


Saturday, February 6, 2016

God Is Not an Ogre

In literature, movies, books and fables God has been represented a thousand ways.  The one I was most familiar with in my growing up years was the Ogre God. 

I just knew He was waiting for me to step out of line so He could zap me.  I never felt good enough; valuable enough, right enough, and smart enough. 

And if God judged on the kinds of clothes I wore, He surely would write me off His list, for I wore black tennis shoes when white was in style, and my socks never stayed up, for the elastic was worn out. 

As for my shirts, button-down collars were in style and I had maybe one.  Surely God was judging me by my clothes and shoes and shirts, and I was losing every time.

Surely God was an ogre – I thought. He was just waiting to catch me in some fault or in some moment of weakness.  And then He would zap me.

I had lunch with my friend Phil on Friday.  We got onto this topic of the ‘ogre God’ and Phil echoed what I felt.  He too had grown up with that concept of God in his Catholic upbringing. 

Want some good news?  God is not an ogre.  He is not the monster tyrant of our imaginations. 

God is on our side.  He is looking out for us.  His eye is on us.  He never sleeps, nor takes a day off.  He doesn’t even blink.

I read this somewhere a while back: 

I see a God of mercy in that thought.  I see a God of compassion who longs to share His very being with the likes of us.  It has been noted that there are over 300 invitations in the scriptures that speak of God inviting us to “come and partake”.  He wants us with Him.  He wants to surround us with His love and mercy and grace. 

Perhaps you feel you bring a thimble to the banquet of God.  Maybe that is all you think you can afford of God’s grace.  And when God begins to pour out His love and mercy your thimble fills to overflowing.  You just can’t contain all the goodness and grace and love Father God is pouring out into your life.

Will you receive His love?
Will you receive His grace?

He is not an ogre.

He is love and mercy and He invites you to COME. 

“Come all who are weary 
and on your last leg.  
I (God) will give you rest.”

The ogre has left the building, and God Himself welcomes you with open arms.  Fall into His embrace.


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