Saturday, September 19, 2015

When God Looks at You

If God were to sit across from you, what would He see?  As He gazed deeply into your eyes, what revelations would come to Him?

Do these questions make you feel uncomfortable?  Does fear strike at your heart at the very thought of sitting down with God in an intimately close conversation such as this?  It probably does for most of us.  Yes indeed, it would be unnerving.

Perhaps there is another way to view this kind of intimate close-up with God.  Keep reading please.

If God were to sit across from you and me, I think the He might say some affirming and esteeming words such as these ...

“You are my beloved child.  I love you with such a depth of love.  I doubt you will ever understand just how much I love you.  The greatest poets and song writers try to un-wrap this love relationship I have with you, but they pale in comparison to the real deal.”

God is still talking.  “Here are some thoughts I think toward you.

“I love you right now, this very minute, just as you are and not as you should be.  I love your torn jeans, your sweaty tee-shirt, your dirty tennis shoes and your bad breath.

“I love your efforts to do right, and I even love you when you are so far from me. 

“I love you as you run away from me and try and drown your fears and angst in a bottle of cheap bourbon or at the end of a needle stuck in your arm.

“I love you when you piously attend church dressed in your Sunday best, though your mind is on the football game, or you are thinking about the last deal you made or the next one coming up.

“I love you even as you pull up to your secret rendezvous to meet your lover.

“I love you when you do your taxes, and when you take a shower. 

“I love you when you are 95 and can hardly move out of bed and need help with simple bodily functions.

“I love you when you discipline your kids, hard as that may be, and I love you in the middle of the madness of an argument with your spouse.

“I love you on Monday mornings on your way to work, and I love you on Friday afternoons at 6PM when you head into your weekend.

“I think of you all the time.  I watch over you.   I hear your angst, your frustrations in conversations, and your laughter in the fun moments and the tender moments you express to that one person above all others who holds your heart’s affections.

“I have used the word love 15 times already, and yet that doesn’t measure the immense amount of compassion and deep feelings I have for you.

“I know your disappointments.
“I know ever fear.
“I know every wish that is yet unfilled in your heart.
“I know what you are best at and what task you dread doing.

“Do you see?  I like you and I love you.

“So, when I say ‘I want to be nearby, just remember I won’t intrude.  I’ll slip only into the places and spaces you offer up to me. 

“However, I will never stop loving you.


Your God!

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

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Light that Still Shines

I want to retell a story from Mother Teresa that is just a wee bit important.

Here goes:

Mother Teresa tells the story of an old man in Australia.  He lived in a small village and he was all alone.  He was worse than alone for he was ignored.

One day Mother Teresa visited him and asked if she could clean his home and wash his clothes.  He denied her this privilege.  She persisted.  He finally relented.

As she was cleaning, she discovered a beautiful lamp covered in dust.  Only God knows how many years had passed since he last lit it.

She asked, “Don’t you ever light your lamp? Don’t you ever use it?

He answered, “No.  No one comes to see me.  I have no need to light it.  Who would I light it for?”

She asked, “Would you light it every night if the sisters came?”

He replied, “Of course.”

From that day on the sisters committed themselves to visiting him every evening.  We cleaned the lamp, and the sisters would light it every evening.

Two years passed. 

Mother Teresa had completely forgotten that man when he sent a message to her:  “Tell my friend that the light she lit in my life continues to shine still.”

She says, “I thought it was a very small thing.  We often neglect small things.”
~In the Heart of the World - Mother Teresa)

This story moves me on two levels. 

First – it was a small thing for the sisters to do each evening.  Their job was to light the lamp.  They were bringing light to the dark corners of this man’s home. 

I’ve never thought of the idea of turning on a light or touching a flaming match to a kerosene lantern as a major event.  It is something we do to brighten the space in which we are for the moment. 

As she pointed out, it was a small task.  It took so little effort that it could hardly be called ministry.

Second – she and the other sisters lit more than a lamp in that man’s world that day.  They lit his existence.  They gave a gift of attention and esteem.  They brought a warmth to his soul.  They said to him, "You matter."  He was worthy of enlightenment in his corner of the world just as you and I are worthy of enlightenment. 

And the enlightenment brought more than physical light. 

It brought significance. 
It brought joy.
It brought hope.

This little old man’s life was transformed in small and lasting ways by this act of charity.

To whom have you and I dispensed light this week?  Whose world have we made a little bit brighter because of some small, random act of kindness.

~Have I brought a smile to someone’s face this week?

~Have I encouraged one to hold on a bit longer, or shown some light on a dark and dismal problem.

~Have I let someone know that there are some people in this world who still have a heart of compassion?

Those gifts, those moments, those random acts of kindness matter as much as giving a thousand dollars in some offering or to some ministry.

Have a blessed day … and pass the blessing to someone who crosses your path this week.

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

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Calming Words

When troubles come, the first thing we want to hear are calming words, reassuring words.  We want to hear words that give us hope.

There is a story in the Bible that I want to relate to you.

Jesus and his disciples have been in a remote place and have just fed five thousand men, not counting the women and children.  They are exhausted.

Even before the last person has left to go home Christ tells the disciples to get in the boat and go to the other side of the lake.  He, Christ, wanted to stay behind to pray and be alone.

As the disciples made their way across the water some terrifically strong winds began to blow and the disciples feared for their lives.

Suddenly they saw a ‘vision’ walking on the water headed straight toward them.  They thought surely they had met their end.  They became very fearful. 

And then they heard a voice. 

Now, do you have the picture?
  12 men in a boat
  Fierce winds
  They are dog tired
  They see a specter
  They hear a voice

What would you and I do in that situation?  We would probably fear for our lives as well.

But the voice … the voice spoke those magical words.

“Take courage. It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”
~Matthew 14:25-27

The voice was the voice of their master – Jesus Christ.  The words He spoke, well they are the words He still speaks into our hearts and lives today.

We face strong winds of adversity.
We face hardships.
We face relationship conflict.
We face financial woes.
We face disappointments on ever hand.
We face loneliness.

And the voice of God comes to us just as surely as it did to the men in that boat. 

Don’t worry.
Have courage.
Be not afraid.
I am here.
I am with you.

He says to us …
~I’ve got this.  I’ve got whatever plagues your life at this moment.
~Are you facing surgery?  Don’t worry.  I am with you.
~Are you afraid?  I’m with you even now.
~Are you thirsty?  I will give you drink.

Our part in this conundrum … listen for the quiet voice of God.  Trust His stable hand to work in spite of circumstances. 

He always has a calming word for us in our greatest moment of need.

Thanks be to God.

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