Saturday, January 31, 2015

God will Take Care of You

Does God care?  Does He know where you are?  Does He even know your name?

Does He see whatever plight you may be facing at this moment?


I happen to know from first-hand experience that He indeed does know and He cares.

Check this out.

“Two sparrows are sold for a penny, yet even if one falls to the ground, I, your heavenly Father take note of that.”
Matthew 10:29 Paraphrased

This verse goes on to talk about how the hairs of your head are numbered.  Verse 31 comes back in and says, “Don’t be afraid.  You are worth much more than many sparrows.”

How about that? 

And so God answers our opening question.  Yes, He cares. His eye is on the sparrow and His eye is on you and me. 

I love this.

We are in our Father’s care.  He knows our steps, the rocky road, the steep hills, the deep valleys, the hassles, the unpleasant experiences, the symptoms of old age, and the losses and lacks that we have faced and will continue to face.

And He cares. 

Be encouraged today.  God WILL take care of you.

Praise be to God.

Please watch this video clip of Mark Lowry singing.  Allow it to inspire and encourage you.

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

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thoughts on Prayer

Millions of prayers are uttered in the course of one 24-hour day.  Some are short, like “Help.”

Some are rote repetitions that have been said a hundred, yeah a thousand times already. 

Some come from those dark recesses of the soul.  They are birthed in anguish, grief, heartache and desperate need.

Is it the actual words of a prayer that matter?  Is it a certain body stance, or certain clothing worn, or perhaps a prayer shawl? 

I am not attacking any one person’s prayer style.  The simple objective for this post is to bring to light some important concepts about prayer.

The brilliant spiritual writer C.S. Lewis wrote:  “I pray because I can’t help myself.  I pray because I’m helpless.  I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping.  It doesn’t change God.  It changes me.”

I cannot imagine that God is listening in on our prayers and has this attitude:

“I’ll give you a ‘2’ for what you said and a ‘9.5’ for your body stance.”


“Wow, those tears really moved me.  I think I’ll sweep down and dump a bunch of goodness on you tonight.”

I don’t think God judges us on the words used, the correct or incorrect sentence structure, the possessive plural or lack thereof in our language during payer. 

I do believe He listens for sincerity, openness to His voice and direction, and a willing spirit. 

I like what Arthur Pink says about prayer:  “Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude – an attitude of dependency upon God.”

The Bible reminds us to “Pray without ceasing.” 
I Thessalonians 5:17

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” 
Romans 12:12

I love Mark 11:24:  “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

This one wakes us up:  “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”  Matthew 6:7

And these greatly encouraging words on prayer:
“Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so as to receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16

Is prayer important?  Absolutely!

How often?  How many words?  What do I say?

Use the above verses from God’s word as guides for those questions.  Above all, find those moments in your day when you pray. 

That is it. 

Oh yes, one final thought.  God hears our prayers. 

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

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Faithful One

Here is a profound quote.  Let it encourage you.

The faithfulness of God can be depended upon.  He works in ways we cannot understand.  He brings us through circumstances in life that, after the fact, we stand back and wonder “how” and “why” and then we find ourselves bowing our hearts and heads in gratitude.

Psalm 119:90 reminds us of this:
“Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it holds fast.”

How has God proven His faithfulness to us?

In heartbreak
In loss and worry
When death comes close

When the job goes away
When the bills mount
When relationships fail
When houses are repossessed

When health flounders
When kids are unruly
When the economy crashes
When governments falter

When I’m at my worst
When I don’t pray

I find God to be faithful in all of these moments and more. 
~He never writes me off.
~He never closes the door in my face.
~He never turns a deaf ear to my cries and prayers.

He has been faithful in the middle of all my lapses and failures. 

He is the Faithful One.

Thanks be to God!

Please treat yourself to this video of He’s Been Faithful.  I pray this song gives you a tremendous surge of hope.

He’s Been Faithful
(Lyrics by Carol Cymbala)

Verse 1
In my moments of fear
Through every pain every tear
There's a God who's been faithful to me

When my strength was all gone
When my heart had no song
Still in love He's proved faithful to me

Every word He's promised is true
What I thought was impossible I see my God do

He's been faithful, faithful to me
Looking back, His love and mercy I see
Though in my heart I have questioned
Even failed to believe
He's been faithful, faithful to me

Verse 2
When my heart looked away
The many times I could not pray
Still my God, He was faithful to me

The days I spent so selfishly
Reaching out for what pleased me
Even then God was faithful to me

Every time I come back to him
He is waiting with open arm
And I see once again

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

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Man's Need for Grace

After writing blogs and books for five years, some themes have surfaced that get more clicks than others.  Two of those themes are “grace” and “hope”.  And they tie together, I think.  We hope for grace and all that it represents when it arrives. 

And what is grace?  In its simplest form, grace means God’s love in action towards mankind who merited the opposite.  Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. 

2 Corinthians 5:21 puts it this way:  “God hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

The most common terminology of grace sounds like this:  the undeserving favor of God.

A couple of ideas jump out at us as we read these words.  The phrase “grace means God’s love in action towards mankind who merited the opposite” for instance.

What is the opposite of love?  The words “hate”, “despise”, and “condemnation” come to mind.  So, without grace at play, we would get condemnation, judgment, and the weight of sin that no man or woman can bear. 

The second thought that speaks loudly is this:  “Grace is undeserving favor.”

As a Boy Scout I understood the merit badge system.  If I accomplished a certain task, then I earned a badge of honor.  Some of the Scouts in our troop had a sash across their shoulders and those sashes were covered with dozens of merit badges.  They earned those badges by doing what was required. 

And then along comes grace.  Grace says just the opposite.  You don’t deserve it.  You don’t earn it.  You can’t be good enough, or say enough prayers to earn God’s grace.  It is freely given.  It is yours for the asking. 

Let’s revisit a familiar parable from the scriptures.
A group of workers were hired for a sum of money at 9AM.
Another group of workers agreed to work and started their day at 12 noon.
A last group didn’t start until 5PM.

The “stop working” bell rang and the workers lined up to receive their pay.

Those who started at 9AM received what was promised.
Those who started at 12 noon received the same pay as the 9 o’clock crowd.

And when the 5PM gang came to get paid, they received the same as all the others. 

The 9AM crown was mad.  They wanted more; after all, they had worked all day.  They wanted their merit badge sash to glisten with more gold, after all, they had been at it longer.

But Grace said, “It is not about showing up first, doing the most, or being the best.  Grace is about the love of the giver.”

Wow!  A dozen times WOW!

God is the giver.  Grace is his to dispense to whoever calls out. 

No matter if you are 8 or 88, a simpleton or a wizard, President or pauper, in God’s economy of things, you share equally at the grace place.

Stow your merit badge.  Put away your hang-dog look.  You get to step up to the table of God’s grace whether you have plenty or need plenty. 

Whether you win the merit badge race or lose your sash.  You are welcomed because GRACE is freely bestowed.

Let’s revisit these words from a cherished old hymn.

Verse 1
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Verse 4
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You who are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Grace, grace, God’ grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, God’s grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin

Do you see the thread of hope found in these lyrics?  It is something like this:

There is hope for you and me.  Some say …

I’m not the best dressed, the most talented …
I have lots of sin in my life.
I’m a lousy husband.
How could God love me in my despicable state?

Is there any hope for anyone?

You and I are as welcomed as anyone else at this table of grace.  What an amazing concept. 

So come on in – all who wish to partake in the grace of God this very moment.

You, especially YOU are invited.

Please watch this.

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

Saturday, January 3, 2015

What Will Your Verse Be?

It is amazing to me to consider all of the ways that I hear God speak.  Having grown up in a rigid church tradition, one would think we can only hear God in sermons on Sunday and from books and other materials produced only from a “church” printing press.

To think that I could hear God through Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, or have a spiritual moment in Leavenworth, WA in the middle of a spectacularly lit Christmas display while holding my wife’s hand – well, that would have been beyond belief thirty years ago in my understand of God and how he works.

I see God in so many ways and in so many places, you might think of me as a “worldly Christian writer” should I begin to list such times and places and experiences. 

And yet, that is my point. 

Let me continue with this thought, based on Walt Whitman’s poem.  The first part of this quote is taken from the movie Dead Poets Society starring Robin Williams.

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute.  We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.  And the human race is filled with passion.  And medicine, law, business, engineering; these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.  But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. 

And then he quotes from Whitman:

O me! O life!

Of the questions of these recurring;

of the endless trains of the faithless,

of cities filled with the foolish;

what good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer: that you are here

that life exists and identity,

that the powerful play goes on

and you may contribute a verse.

Oh yes. That last line cinches it for me.

“… and you may contribute a verse”

And God expects your verse from you. And if you pass on without making your contribution to this world, what a sad hole you may have left.
In whatever state your life may be, YOU have a verse to write, a contribution to make to me and to my life; to your kin’s lives; to your neighbors and friends.

It matters not what your life looks like now. It matters not the condition in which you find yourself at this particular moment. There is still time to add to your verse.

Are you living an addicted lifestyle?
Are you once, twice or three times divorced?
Are you bankrupt?
Have you just won the lottery?
Are you bald?
Do you have hair on your knuckles?
Does your arthritis bother you at night?

You still have a verse to contribute. Yes, even YOU!
Read this passage slowly, pausing occasionally to think about the words.

1. O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.

3 You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.

4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.

7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.

17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand;

~Psalm 139: 1-18

This scripture tells me that God had a plan for you from the beginning. He put a verse inside of you expecting you and me to sound it out, live it out and proclaim our verses to the world.

May we do that very thing starting right now.

God is with you. Take the first step toward Him and He immediately meets you right where you are.

I will be praying for you.

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