Sunday, August 30, 2015

What Stops God

Can any one thing stop God in His tracks?  What a profound question.  Many of us will readily quote the familiar verse:

Is anything too hard for God? (Genesis 18:14)
  These words were said to Sarah when she was told at age 90 that she was to bear her first son.  In today’s vernacular, that is ridiculous.  That would truly be a miracle.  And it would be considered the ultimate impossible mission. 

As it turns out, God was right, and Sarah did bear a child, who helped perpetuate the nation of Israel as God had promised.

We could continue searching the scriptures for examples, and I think we would continually see how God did step in and accomplish what He intended to do.

So our question – “What stops God” remains. 

There is only one thing that comes to mind that will stop God in His tracks.  Want to know? 

Keep reading.

The closed heart and closed mind of an individual is the one thing that stops God. 

In the verse that says ...
“Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If any man/woman hears my voice and opens up, I will come into him/her and have relationship with him/her and he/she with me.”  

Note a couple of things.  God stands and knocks.  He is asking permission to come in.  He doesn’t barge in.  He doesn’t override the will of mankind.  He asks.  He awaits the invitation. 

When God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He promised one thing – I will never take away your power of choice.  You can choose any course for your lives, any foods you wish to eat, and any other choices you wish to make and I will never take the power of choice from you.

That is why it is so critical to invite God, represented by Jesus Christ, into our hearts, minds and daily decisions. 

If you and I say “No”, He will walk away.  But He will still call out to us.

God is the inviting God.  He says over and over again “Come to me…”

“Come unto me, all who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” 

In another spot, we are reminded of this:

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  

Again, we are reminded to give God some kind of invitation or signal that we want communion, closeness, and that we are inviting His presence into our lives and our world.

What stops God?  It is not His abilities or His desire for closeness with us.  It is our reluctance to issue the invitation. 

And the amazing thing is this … one of the simplest invitations we can offer to God is this:


Can you believe that one? 

That simple four letter word will bring a rush of angel’s wings and the overwhelming presence of God himself into your world and He will begin whispering His love and comfort into your heart.

Will you trust Him?

Will you open yourself to the God who loves you as you are and not as you should be? 

He really wants a close relationship with you.

Please watch this

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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

From Nobody to Somebody

When you feel like a ‘nobody’, remember this – God knows your name and where you are. 

Everybody has had those moments at one time or another – you know the feeling.  We question everything about ourselves – our self-worth, our sense of belonging.  We wonder if we even have some very basic skills that might be useful someday.  We even question our own validity. 

Take a look at some rather less-than-sterling individuals whom God chose to use.

He used a man named Zacchaeus, a corrupt IRS agent of the day.  Zacchaeus’ life was so turned around that he pledged to give back four times the amount he had stolen from his clients, and he also was willing to give one-half of all his possessions to feed the poor.
~Luke 19: 1-10

He used Rahab, a prostitute, to hide his chosen men for a season until His work could be established. 
~Joshua 2

He used Saul, later named Paul, to become one of the major founders of the Christian faith.  Saul was a persecutor of Christians until one day he had an encounter with the Christ.  He changed his ways instantly and turned from a persecutor to a proclaimer of the Gospel and the way of salvation.
~Acts 9

And don’t forget David.  David was a handsome young man who caught God’s eye even from early youth.  He had a rather circuitous route to becoming the man who played a dominant role in Israel’s history books. 

He slew a giant.
He became King.
He had an affair with Bathsheba.
He had her husband killed.
He repented.
He ruled and became a legend.
~I Samuel Chapters 16 & 17

In his early days, Billy Graham wasn’t BILLY GRAHAM.  He started small.  He had small crowds and smaller offerings to support his ministry in the early days.  And he was faithful to the call of God. 

Have you ever wondered who influenced Billy Graham?  I don’t know, and you probably don’t either, but someone did.  Some person somewhere was an instrumental figure in his life to help Billy make the connection between his gifts and God’s call.  God used that nameless person.

Who does God use?  He uses the likes of you and me.  He uses simple, mundane elements like loaves and two fish that a young boy offered on a hillside in Galilee one day.  And with that meager amount of food Christ fed 5,000 men, not counting the women and children. 

He used a whale once to provide refuge for a runaway prophet named Jonah. 

He has used songwriters, living and dead, to change lives, and help redeem those on a less-than-righteous path. 

He uses writers of books, movie scripts, and blogs and magazine articles to accomplish His work. 

He even uses the non-spiritual to do His bidding.  He used the movie Patch Adams in my life to help me discover my calling and put it into better focus.

If God can use these individuals, and a great host like them, and these elements like bread, fish, books, movies and such, don’t you think He can use you and me? 

I wrote the following blog post in 2012 and it is still appropriate for today’s thoughts.

I’m not much, but I am somebody. 

I like to write books and blogs.  I’m not Thoreau or Twain, Robert Frost or Edgar Allen Poe, but I am somebody. 

I’ve sung a solo or two in my lifetime.  I’m not a Pavarotti or Andre Bocelli.  No, not at all.  You see, I’ve sung a few flat notes in my lifetime.  But I am somebody.

I’ve done a good bit of public speaking in my life.  I’m no Billy Graham, and sometimes I’ve flubbed my speeches, but I am somebody.

I’ve directed a few choirs and orchestras in my years of living.  I’m not in the league of Leonard Bernstein.  I’ve dropped a few batons as a conductor. But I am somebody.

I am a drummer.  I’m not famous like Gene Krupa or Buddy Rich.  At least twice in my drumming life, I’ve dropped my drum sticks at crucial moments in a performance.  But I am somebody.

On most days, when you look at me, you wouldn’t see much.  I’m not the most handsome guy in the room; and I’m not the slimmest.

You see, God emblazons each of us with the gift of his signature on our lives.  He puts within us a stamp of his image.  It is as much a part of who we are as is our DNA. 

If you are like me, you’re no work of art either.  You struggle with life just like all normal people.  But you and I are somebody just because we have the signature of God on our lives.  We have his stamp.  The Bible says we are made in the image of God. 

You and I, and the homeless man pushing a loaded-down shopping cart over there – we are all made in the image of God.

So, though we may not be prized by many people in this world, we are prized by God.

He has stamped our lives with his unique signature. 

“Not much of a prize” you say.
“Nothing to see here” we muse?

Maybe … But when I see you I see the hand of God at work.  I see potential.  I see a future with hope.

I see somebody worthy of the love of God.

Please take 4:33 and watch this great video clip.  It is a perfect cap to everything I’ve shared above.

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

Saturday, August 15, 2015

God Good and Bad

“When I’m good I’m very good, and when I’m bad I’m better.”  Do you know who said that?  Mae West, a less than reputable woman with immense talents:  actress, comedian, singer, sex symbol, and playwright.  She made this tagline famous. 

And so today, are you mostly good or bad?  And regardless of your answer, where is God in the mix of all of that?

Does God only like love us during our good moments, and then abandon us when we are bad?

Hang onto your shoe laces because we are going to dive into this a bit.

God wants to be the God of our mundane moments and our majestic moments.  Therefore – God loves us in the middle of the mundane as well as when we are at the peak of perfection in behavior and attitude.

If you are like me, at times I’ve wondered some things about God and His attitude toward me at certain moments in my life.  Want to tag along for the ride?

~Does God ever get discouraged with me?
~Does He get tired of my asking constantly for some things?
~Does He ever forget me or lose track of me?

~Does God ever roll his eyes at some of the things I do or say?
~Does He laugh at me?
~Does He get mad at me?
~Have I ever done anything that He just can’t forgive?

In a word – what are the limits of God’s love and grace and abilities?

Isaiah 53:6 gives us our first clue.  Here is what it says:  “All we like sheep have wandered away.  All of us have turned to our own desires and wanderings.” 

It appears to me that God knows the nature of the human heart.  Sheep are considered by some to be one of the dumbest animals around.  They don’t have sense enough to stay out of harm’s way.  They need constant care.  

And we are often compared to sheep in the scriptures.  God is extending to each of us His great love and mercy.  In effect I hear Him saying – “I love you.  I care for you.  I will lead you home.  Trust me.”

As for God losing track of us; no way.  In Psalm 121:3 we read – “He who watches over you will not slumber or sleep.”  He is on duty all the time.  He never takes His eyes off us.

I can’t imagine God ever rolling His eyes at us, for I am reminded of this:  “Yes, my child, I have loved you with a never-ending (everlasting) love.  With love and kindness I have drawn you to myself.”
~Jeremiah 31:3

Nor does God laugh at us or get mad at us.  He often laughs with us but never at us.  Tonight I played a beanbag game with my grandson.  We laughed and tossed those beanbags at the hole in the boards.  We moaned and groaned at the near misses and we cheered each other on at the hits.  I like to think that God was watching our game and cheering us on as well and laughing when we laughed and chuckling when we missed and all-in-all enjoyed TJ’s and my game. 

As for burning the bridge between God and me, I don’t know of anything that is unforgiveable.  God loves the worst sinner, the worst murderer, the worst thief and especially the guy who sleeps in church every Sunday. 

It seems to me that God has some amazing abilities and a heart that is large enough to include you and me and the whole bag of our past that we each tote around. 

I read a quote tonight that is a nice summation for our thought.  It is by Corrie Ten-Boom. 

“It is not my ability, 
but my response to 
God’s ability that counts.”
~Corrie Ten Boom

We’ve seen a bit of God’s abilities in this study.  God is able to love, forgive, heal, lead, guide, restore, resolve, redeem, and reach.

All that is required is for us to TRUST the great hand of God offered through Christ Jesus.

Will you do that?

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

Saturday, August 8, 2015

When Chaos Reigns

I long for a calmer time, a simpler time.  Lately I’ve been watching a lot of old Andy Griffith reruns.  What a simple life in a simple little town.  I long for that.  

Not so today.  The rule of today’s headlines is CHAOS!

Everything is in uproar.  Everything is up for grabs and subject to ten interpretations.

I could continue listing today’s newspaper headlines and news stories, but you catch my drift as to the troubles we face individually, as a nation, and as a world.

Is there any hope? 
Is there an answer?

And then God himself reminds us of his gifts of grace and peace for such a time as this.  Here is what He says. 

John 16:13 tells us this:  “In this world you will have trouble.  Hang on.  Take heart.  I your God have overcome this world.”

Joshua 1:9 says:  Be not afraid nor dismayed.  I the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go.”

In Matthew 28:20 we read:  “I am with you always, even to the end of the ages.”

 Psalm 121:3-4 reminds us of this:  “He will not allow your foot to falter or slip.  He who keeps you never slumbers.  He who keeps Israel will neither doze off nor sleep.  The LORD is your watchman.  The LORD is your shade and protector.”

The great God of the universe is on duty.  He knows about the chaos and He guides us through it. 

Thanks be to God.

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

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Where Is God

If we listen to today’s news reports we often hear frightening words to describe our world today.  Iran has atomic bomb making properties.  Beheadings are on the rise.  Oil supplies could be threatened.  The world is near its end.

We have bad news on every hand, don’t we?  Seattle’s latest worry is that “when”, not if, the great earthquake hits, we are going to be missing a large chunk of real estate west of the I-5 corridor, not to mention thousands of lives and immense property damage.

When an enemy of the U.S. threatens death to America, we wonder what in the world is going on.

And sooner or later, we ask the ultimate questions – Where Is God?

Where is God?

Allow me to give you a few words of encouragement on that subject. 

He is here, now.  He has not left the planet.  He has not left for vacation or taken a nap.  He is here and He is watching over all of us.

Pause for 4 ½ minutes and watch this.

Here is a powerful story from Brennan Manning that helps us understand this idea of where God is.

Once upon a time a two-story house caught fire.  The family – a father, a mother, and four children were on their way out of the burning building when the smallest boy became terrified, tore away from his mother and ran back upstairs.  Suddenly he appeared at a smoke-filled window, crying. 

His father, who was now outside, shouted, “Jump, son, jump!  I’ll catch you.”

The boy cried, “But, daddy, I can’t see you.” 

“I know,” his father called, “I know.  But I can see you.  I’m here my son.  I’m here.”

Where is God?  He stands with outstretched arms ready to welcome you when you jump.  He will catch you, have no fear of that.

And now, here are some words from His word to help us.

“Call on me in your time of trouble.  I will rescue you.”  
Psalm 50:15

“In the day of trouble I will call upon you my God, and You will answer me.”  
Psalm 86:7

One more:  “If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.”  
John 14:14

Where is God? 

He is waiting for your call.

He simply wants you to be with Him, and His invitation is a standing invitation.  Will you accept it?

It can start with the simple words "HELP GOD!

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