Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Ups and Downs of the Moment

The President is liked.
The President is hated.

News is fake.
News is real.

The stock market soars.
The stock market tumbles.

Russia is a friend.
Russia is a foe.

Isis is defeated.
Isis lives next door.

On any given day, from any news source, we hear it all.  What a roller-coaster ride.

Where is reliability?
Where is truth?
Where is constancy?

A line from the March issue of Christianity Today jumped out at me recently.  Krish Kandiah wrote this on page 55 – “Habakkuk knew that true worship was about living in the ups and downs of the present, knowing that God is in control whichever way things go.” 

That is quite a statement. 
Actually, it is a pronouncement!

"God is in control 
whichever way 
things go."

I think we’ve lost sight of that along the way in a lot of ways.  When I look at our life today in the 21st century, I have to cling to some foundational truths, otherwise I would give up and drown too, which seems to be the mindset of many. 

Here is what I see. 
The world is not going to hell-in-a-hand-basket because of a political party that is in power, or one that lost the election.

Isis may strut their stuff for a time, but this too shall end.

Prices may rise, inflation may be on a galloping horse, however, things can fall as quickly as they rise.  Remember 2007-2009 in America?

What I DO cling to are some fundamental Biblical truths as I understand them.

II Chronicles 7:14 speaks to us today:
God says … “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my will, AND turn from their wrongful ways, then will I hear from Heaven. I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.”

That is a tall, impossible order.

I know.  But then we serve a God who majors in the impossible. 

Hebrews 13:8 reminds us: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.”

God’s/Christ’s nature never changes.  His techniques may change with the times, but His truths do not change.

My final point is one on which I have written a dozen times.  I still keep a firm grip on this one.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Joshua 1:9 tells us that.

So, when the ups and downs come riding the winds, may we cling – CLING – to the solidness and consistency of the God we serve.

Offering Words of
Hope Encouragement
One Word at a Time

Thursday, March 23, 2017

When Life Is Not a Straight Line

 Truth or untruth:  The Christian life is a straight line.

Oh my.  I wish it were true.  I wish I could sit here and declare that my life, my living on this earth thus far, has been a straight-as-an-arrow life.  I wish I could declare that every decision, every action, every word uttered, and every thought thought has been as straight as a straight man might be.

However, I’ve been bent, I’ve been off my
mark, I’ve made some miss-guided decisions.  No, my life has not been lived in a straight line. 

Has yours?

Probably not.  Well then, I have some good news for the two of us … along comes grace. 


Anne Lamott throws out this question in her book – “Does God know how messed up I am?”  (Anne Lamott Help Thanks Wow)

Anne is saying that her life has not been lived in a straight line. 

We have questions – about God, and how He views our less than straight-as-an-arrow life. 
  ~Does God get mad at us?
    ~How can we get out of this mess? 
      ~What if I’m too far gone?
        ~Am I a doomed loser?
          ~Do I still have worth?

If I were to diagram my life, it would be a short straight line, a curve, a few circles, more curves, a hill, a valley, a few round-abouts with seemingly no exit point, and a few more twists and turns and curves and on and on and on.

You see, my life has not been a straight line. 

And then comes grace.

And it comes in through Romans 5:20 – “where sin abounds, grace abounds even more.”

Grace abounds more!

Where sin increased, grace increased even more.  How incredible is that?

I don’t know your life.  I don’t see the twists and turns you have made, nor the bad decisions that haunt you. 

I just know this --- God’s grace is more than sufficient for any and every flaw you might have in your life.

So, if your life can be described more like a circuitous pilgrimage of loops, lapses, heartaches and hurrahs, then be encouraged.  “Where sin abounds, grace abounds more.”

I love the refrain of this hymn

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

I rest on this truth today … when life is not a straight line, along comes grace.

Thanks be to God!

Offering Words of
Hope Encouragement
One Word at a Time

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Is God Still in Control

Have you ever seen such a time as this? 
~Global warming … or not
~America elects the President nobody wanted
~Isis in control of Washington
~The Trojan Horse is alive and well in
~Oil runs out in 2028
~Big Brother is everywhere
~The Anti-Christ implant is coming

Wow!  What fantastical events we possibly face – and all of these pseudo-headlines are out of my own imagination.

Okay, take a deep breath and consider this. 

Yes – we have some horrible circumstances brewing in this world.  We have some brilliant world leaders on stage, and we have some despicable desperados. 

Now what?

Hang with me for another minute. 

I read this a few minutes ago …

Though the fig tree does not bud
And there are no grapes on the vines,
Though the olive crop fails
And the fields produce no food,
Though there are no sheep in the pen
And no cattle in the stalls

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights.
(Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Despite it all, God is our strength.
He makes me sure-footed like a deer,
I can climb higher … just because HE IS IN CONTROL!

The old hymn assures us of this …
     When all around my soul gives way
     He then is all my hope and stay

Need strengthening?
Don’t go to LA Fitness, or Gold’s Gym, or your local weight-lifting station.


And I cling to that today.

Thanks be to God!

Offering Words of
Hope Encouragement
One Word at a Time