The Most High

Be honest. Do you believe in a being who could create everything out of nothing, or do you believe in the Big Bang? There’s a joke I recently heard about God and some evolutionary scientists. As they were discussing which was correct, evolution or creation, they decided to have a contest to see who could create a man. The scientists took a handful of mud in order to begin, and God said “Hold on. Use your own mud!” I love this, because it showcases the difference between creation and evolution.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1 (http://bible.com/116/gen.1.1.NLT)

Simply, eloquently, stated.

“But why is there such destruction and pain and suffering on the earth? How could God allow children to be abused and neglected?” When God created man, He gave them free will. He didn’t want puppets or ‘yes men,’ He wanted us to choose to love Him and to have fellowship with Him. Just look around you. If you are hosting a party or other gathering, and there is a person who is clearly unhappy about being there, how does that make you feel? Our goal as host is to ensure that everyone is enjoying the fellowship and interaction with us. That’s why God gave us free will. He doesn’t force anyone to interact with him. Adam and Eve decided they were better suited to determining what was best for themselves; much more than God, and so they chose to be disobedient and eat the one forbidden fruit… thanks, guys! They had an entire garden (we’re talking acres and acres here!) of the most incredible, delicious fruits to eat, and they decide they just have to have the one, single fruit God said to leave alone. That says a lot about our human ability to make good choices!!

Thankfully, the Lord Creator God gave us a means of rescue from our ancestors poor choice.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my Refuge, my Place of Safety; He is my God, and I trust Him.” – Psalms 91:1‭-‬2 (http://bible.com/116/psa.91.1-2.NLT)

The MOST High; Creator, Savior, Almighty God; LORD of All…

Greater Things

What a contrast. As I was watching a newscast of the destruction in Puerto Rico from the latest hurricane, Chris Tomlin came on the radio with this song. Take a moment, and in light of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the floods in the floods in India and Pakistan; the massive earthquakes in Mexico, and the threat of war from North Korea, really focus on his words.

God of This City

Chris Tomlin

You’re the God of this city
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are

You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city

You’re the God of this City
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are

You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater…”

As the darkness descends in our world, we are seeing record storms and record famines and record floods. We have dictators who seem bent on world destruction. In the United States, we have violence and looting of our neighbors, conflict between the police and the people, and we are being overwhelmed by illegal immigrants who have no desire to come into the country legally. We have politicians who are more concerned with their personal gain than the care of the people who elected them. Politicians and pro athletes and Hollywood actors who blatantly disrespect our flag and our country.

Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God, given to us for our instruction? I do. After you read these verses, tell me, does it sound like what’s happening on the earth now?

“When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” Then another horse appeared, a red one. Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere.

When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.”

When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals.” – Revelation 6:3‭-‬8 (http://bible.com/116/rev.6.3-8.NLT)

As frightening as these predictions are, there is hope for followers of Jesus Christ. Check out these verses!

“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” – Revelation 7:9‭-‬10 (http://bible.com/116/rev.7.9-10.NLT)

Salvation only comes from the Lamb, the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

Food, Glorious Food!

“The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” – Matthew 4:4 (http://bible.com/116/mat.4.4.NLT)

Can you imagine not eating for 40 days? No food, no snacks. I don’t know about you, but most days I have trouble going 6 hours without at least a snack, let alone 24 hours, or a week. 40 days. That’s what Jesus did, and He did it with intention. The scriptures tell us that He did this before He began His ministry, but also this: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1 (http://bible.com/116/mat.4.1.NLT)

He went out specifically to be tempted, and Satan did his best to cause Jesus to give in. He tempted Jesus with hot bread after all those days without food. For me, the smell of bread, fresh out of the oven, is incredibly tempting. Even if I have just eaten, a hot roll or slice of hot bread is hard to resist. Just smelling it makes my stomach rumble in anticipation! When the hot bread didn’t work, Satan went on to another temptation, the ability to fly, really, because he knew – and Jesus knew – that His angels would prevent Him from hitting the ground. I’ve dreamed of flying across the country, and it would be another great temptation for me to submit to. Finally, Satan shows Jesus the world.

“Next the devil took Him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to You,” he said, “if You will kneel down and worship me.” – Matthew 4:8‭-‬9 (http://bible.com/116/mat.4.8-9.NLT)

Imagine! You are offered the chance to rule the entire earth; could you resist? Really? We know that God created the earth, and that ultimately He will rebuild and reshape it into the perfection it was in the beginning. For now, though, and since Adam and Eve, God the Almighty has allowed Satan to rule because of their choices. So Jesus was offered the world…. He knew that Satan was and is the ultimate liar. Even so, it had to be tempting to take back the world in that instant. Jesus, through all of His temptations, gives us the words to get past the temptations we face daily.

“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your GOD and serve only Him.’ ” – Matthew 4:10 (http://bible.com/116/mat.4.10.NLT)

Are you faced with a specific temptation today? I encourage you to pray about it, and to let the enemy know you recognize his tricks. Saying the words out loud can be a powerful tool. Satan and his minions can’t see into our heads or know our thoughts, but they have had years, centuries, to learn faces and behavior patterns. Be vocal against the enemy! Call him out, and let Jesus in so that He can stand with you against Satan.

Infinitely, Awesome, Epic …. etcetera

I get so tired of hearing these words. They have lost their true meanings by being trivialized in our every day conversation.

“Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” – #CSLewis

“Oh, that’s infinitely better. What an awesome job. Wow, that’s epic, dude.”

How about this: “The heavens are infinitely bigger than we can imagine. We serve an awesome God, Who in His infinite wisdom has chosen humanity to serve and to be served by Him. The new Heaven and the new Earth will be epic for followers of Jesus. God created the Grand Canyon and the Himalayas with such epic proportions that they leave us breathless and on awe.”

Starting to understand? These 3 words convey so much when used properly. Sometimes, a simple gasp at the sight of the incredible and unmatchable scenery God created for us to view and experience is somehow more appropriate than words. This song tells it so well:

How Great Thou Are

Oh LORD my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

Our LORD is Infinite, He is Epic, and He is Awesome. I am so glad to be His child! Can I get an Amen today?

Oh, Proverbs – How We Need to Heed Your Teachings!

“Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.” – Proverbs 4:5‭-‬7 (http://bible.com/116/pro.4.5-7.NLT)

Looking back over my life, it’s very easy to see that I turned my back on wisdom, and pushed her out of my mind and my life when I was in my second year of college. Keeping in mind that I went to a small, conservative, Christian Midwestern college…. No place is safe from the enemy. The first year wasn’t too bad. I had my sister and a good friend from our church to sort of mentor me and help me to stay in my faith. I also was introduced to alcohol and smoking by my dorm-mates, and I experienced snubbing and ridicule from my first roommates. Instead of the Christ-followers I expected, I got professing Christians who took every opportunity to cut me down verbally. It was not a fun first semester in that room, and it seriously impaired the way I began to look at life. Somewhere along the way, I quit reading my Bible, and eventually quit going to church.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” – James 1:22‭-‬25 (http://bible.com/116/jas.1.22-25.NLT)

James points out quite clearly what happens when we walk away from God’s Word. We forget what it says, and it becomes easy for us to follow the wrong paths in life. Anyone else get this? If not, take a moment to look around you. The arrays on our leaders, both verbal and physical. The mockery and cruelty and disrespect that comprises so much of our “entertainment.” Television shows promoting mob justice, commercials showing complete disrespect for parents. It’s wrong to bully, but it’s okay to make fun of your parents? What???

I guess all of these First Amendment supporters think this is all just part of our rights, but I’m pretty sure that being disrespectful wasn’t what the founding fathers had in mind. I’m POSITIVE they would agree that a lawsuit over a display of raw cotton in a vase is completely ridiculous. I think that they would agree that refusing to be respectful of our flag and our service people is a not a “right”. It’s very simple, folks. If you are so upset by being an American, go live in another country. Please. Just go.

We, the Patriots and Christians, need to be on our knees with this prayer as the LORD said to King Solomon:

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 (http://bible.com/116/2ch.7.14.NLT)

AMEN.

Coincidence, or God?

3 years ago today, I posted the following on my Facebook page. 3 days ago, I used that same verse – I had no idea it was going to pop-up in my memories today!

“Psalms 27:14 says to “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”

What a beautiful, and difficult, verse! We want what we want, NOW. No pain, no sorrow, no hardships.

I want my mom’s eyes to be fixed. I want my friend to not have anymore back pain. I want another friend to be well, and her daughter to be delivered from the prison of debilitating physical pain and emotional bondage. I want my nieces delivered from the physical illnesses they battle. For my friends and family to be whole and well.

God often has other plans; plans that are beautiful…. If we just let Him be in control. “Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” Amen!”

My mom’s eyes are much better; my friend had surgery and has no more back pain. My nieces are much healthier. God is still in control! We have new issues to deal with; financially and physically, but we know that no matter what we are dealing with, God is with us.

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.” – Isaiah 40:28 (http://bible.com/116/isa.40.28.NLT)

That’s the promise He gives us!

I Have Sinned

“Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord .” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.” – 2 Samuel 12:13

If God forgives a man who was an adulterer and a murderer, and elevates him to king – why do you think God won’t forgive you?

“… EVERYONE who believes may have eternal life in Him.
For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s One and only Son.”
John 3:15-18

I think that says it all.