Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Five Words of Hope and Encourgement

My Dear Reader:
I have a heart full of appreciation to you for your loyal readership and for passing these posts along to others who may need a word of hope.  

I am taking a much needed two week break.  Please enjoy these five posts from the past, and feel free to browse through the vast back-list of all the posts in this series. I'll see you with fresh words of hope and encouragement in mid-April. 


Again and Again

Assurances of God

The Ticket Back Home

Sticky Grace

Calming Words

Sunday, March 27, 2016

After Easter

And what do we do after Easter?  What remains to be said?

God remains faithful.  He was faithful before and so he remains. 
He promises to never leave us nor forsake.  And so it is true still.  His abiding spirit still abides.  

His word is reliable.  His promises remain as steadfast after Easter as before.  He redeems.  He restores shattered lives and broken dreams.  He still forgives and helps and heals.  He remains faithful.

He is still the guardian of our lives and our future.  He walks with us in the sunshine and in the downpour.  He is present in health and in illness.  He loves the saint and the less than saintly. 

God is the God of Easter and beyond. 

Call out to Him.  His hearing is as good as ever.
P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, March 19, 2016

How Do You Do God

I grew up in a southern conservative evangelical church.  I've kept my presence in church on a pretty regular basis down through the years and consider myself a Christian man.

In my years of living, I've done God  mostly in the context just described above.  But there's more.

Friday night Carolyn and I attended a vespers service at St. James Catholic in downtown Seattle.  Amazingly, we did God Friday night.  It was different from my southern conservative religious roots, yet was a wholesome and soul satisfying experience. 

God came down and sat beside me in that Catholic service much as He did in my growing up church in Tennessee. 

How do you do God?

Some religious traditions raise hands, utter sounds in indistinguishable tongues, play tambourines, wear special pieces of clothing either on their head or shoulders.  Some use beads, some use guitars and pianos while some sing acapella. 

Thankfully, you don't have to be in a certain building, with the correct label on it or use some secret language to do God

Friday night we/they sang repetitive songs. I didn't sing at all, for I was there for my own reflective thoughts.  The man to my left sang every note and word.  Carolyn, to my right sang a few verses, harmonized a few, and was silent for a few songs.

The organ was magnificant.  The acoustics were perfect with the right amount of reverb.  The  crowd was a mix of races, economic rankings, and stages of dress with a variety of ages present.

In my southern evangelical tradition, down through the years I've noticed we are mostly uncomfortable with long periods of quietness in worship.  Friday night we had six minutes of total quiet.  It was amazing.  I did God in those minutes.  It took me a couple of minutes to focus my thoughts and settle into that time and space, and it was wonderful.

God was present.  We communed.  I can't tell you much of what we said, for there wasn't much that needed saying. In past moments of attempts at meditating I struggled with the fear of doing it wrong.  "Am I in a good body posture."  "What happens if I fall asleep during meditation?"  "How can I control my thoughts and focus on God and avoid wanderings about the need to get gas for my Ford when I leave here, or where will we eat dinner later, and 'boy that one customer at the bank was a real pill today.'" 

At one point I felt God whisper - just to me - "Be at peace.  I am here.  I'm glad you took a few minutes for us just to be."

And that was enough. 

I didn't come away with three blogs, two book ideas and a new poem.  I came away with a heart that had, for a few brief moments, touched the Divine. 

My experience didn't move anybody around me or beside me.  It didn't shift Seattle two degrees off it's axis.  For a few moments I had the privilege of sitting with God, and He allowed me to draw near and be quiet in His presence. 

I really hope you have some God moments equal to this some time. 

I did God Friday, and it was enough.

Internet Church 
Offering Words of Hope and Encouragement

Saturday, March 12, 2016

God Holds the Door Open

Have you ever had a door slammed in your face?  It's no fun is it?  Read this for some encouraging words of hope. 

God holds the door for us.  This is full of good news.

I can think of a few instances when God held the door open for some needy individuals.

A street prostitute was brought before Jesus once.  She needed to gain entrance to grace and hope and love.  God through Christ held the door open for her.  He pretty much put her accusers in their respective places by one simple statement – “If you are without sin, then you may throw the first stone.”  

After her accusers had left the building, Christ opened the door even further.  “Where are your accusers” he asked.  The answer was obvious, for they had all left. 

He then flung the door wide open.  “Then neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more.”  He showed the lady to way to grace and invited her in.  He held the door open.  Amazing!

Meet Zacchaeus.  He was a nobody.  He was a tax collector, and a dishonest one at that.  He was despised hated by his own clan.  His shortness in stature had nothing to do with his need.  It was a simple fact to put the story in total perspective, for he had to climb a sycamore tree so he could see when Jesus came down the road.

And sure enough He came.  And He stopped at the foot of that tree and opened the door for Zacchaeus to walk through.  He held the door for this wee little man and invited him into the grace place.  And it made all the difference in Zacchaeus’ life.   Luke 19:1-10

Christ met a man named Bartimaeus once.  Now Bart was blind.  His life consisted of sitting by the side of the main thoroughfare into Jericho begging for any gracious coins the passers-by would toss his way. 

Bart heard the crowd grow more excited and he picked up enough of the conversations to understand that Jesus, the Christ was going to be passing near him. 

He began calling out.  “Jesus.  Jesus.  Have mercy on me.”

Bart’s friends tried to slam the door on him by telling him to be quiet.  “Be still.”  “Stop that racket right now.”  “Hold your peace man.”

He cried out more loudly.

“Jesus, Son of David.  Please have mercy on me.”

The sound of Bart’s voice rose above the noise of the crowd and Christ heard him calling.

Jesus stopped a few feet away and ordered that this man be brought to him.

Bartimaeus stood up, dropped his outer garment, and shuffled over to where Jesus stood. 

Jesus opened the door just a crack, you see.  He asked … “What do you want me to do for you?”

What an opening.  Bart could have asked for the moon, but he asked that his greatest need be met.  He said, “I want to receive my sight.”

A bold request. 
An audacious ask. 
A man who was pushed around, ignored, shoved, barely surviving on the streets of Jericho was asking for a miracle of sight.  What nerve?

And the response?

The door opened wider.  Jesus’ words were healing words.

“Go on your way.  Your faith has made you whole.”

And the door flung wide open!

Bartimaeus immediately received his sight, and started following Jesus.

He walked through the door of grace and healing that was being offered him.  Mark 10: 46-52

Do you need God to hold open a door for you?  Is it a door to peace, or healing, or to meet a need?  Is it a need for salvation? Or hope?

Call out.  Present yourself as you are.  Come just as you are, not as you should be.  You don’t have to go home first and repair the damage of the road you have been traveling.  Come just as you are.

And when the door flings open, enter as a child of God, not as a dirt-rag, or a servant.  Enter as a child of the King.  For that is what is being offered to you. 

P Michael Biggs
Internet Church
The Place for 
Hope Encouragement Inspiration

Saturday, March 5, 2016

God Wants You to Know

Here are some strong words of encouragement that God wants you to know.

 Deuteronomy 31:6
“Do not be afraid or terrified.  I your God will be with you.  Never will I leave you nor forsake you.”

Isaiah 43:1-2
“This is what God has to say.  I who created Jacob and formed Israel.  I command you – do not fear.  I have redeemed you.  I have called you by name; You are mind. 

“When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you pass through raging rivers, they will not sweep you away.
When you walk through fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not land on you. I am the Lord your God.  I am the Holy one of Israel, your Savior.”

Psalm 121:1-4
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains? Where does my help come from?  My help comes from God himself.  He is the maker of heaven and earth.  He never will let my foot slip.

“My God who watches over me will not slumber.
Indeed, He who keeps watch over Israel will never slumber nor sleep.”

John 3:16
“God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son, Jesus Christ, so that all who believe on His name shall inherit eternal life.  God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

God showed such great love for us that He sent Jesus to die on a cross and thus extend to you and me eternal life. 

His love is not based on performance, on our being good enough.  None of us are good enough.  Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.  Even before we had a chance to confess any sin, God was standing ready to offer us forgiveness because of what Christ has done. 

In spite of our disobedience, our weakness, our sin and selfishness, Christ loves us and is providing a way to us to have abundant and eternal life. 

Remember His words on the cross?  “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

Even in his death, he was offering pardon for those putting him to death.  And I think He is offering you and me this same level of forgiveness today.  We are often compared to sheep.  Sheep are dumb.  They can’t help but get into trouble, and the Father knows this.  WE can’t help but foul things up.  We try, or not, to be good enough, yet we fail miserably.  And He loves us anyway.

Can you imagine the love he offers us in light of this one example? 

We don’t deserve His love.
We can’t earn it.

But we can receive it with simple faith, and we can pause and give God thanks for the amazing grace that you and I receive today.

Thanks be to God.

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