A recent trip took us far from our desert home to a land of crisp air, dressed in brilliant gold, burnt orange, and deep red autumn leaves. Always awed by water, we reveled at the sight of running rivers and the measureless ocean. Soaring past snow-covered peaks with luscious forests and enlarging lakes reminded us of the perfect design of God’s majestic creation.
Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” ~ NIV
I encourage you to take time this week delighting in what God has created for us, whether a newborn baby, an expectant mother, changes in weather, a starry night, fluffy clouds in a backdrop of blue, the fragrance of flowers, the feast of flavors in the produce section, the songbird, or the silence of a sunrise. Our Father Creator, not Mother Nature, reveals Himself to us through His creation. Romans 1:19 says God makes Himself plain to us. If we listen, His creations whispers or shouts, “I am here. Let me show you Who I am. I want you to know Me better. I have so much in store for you.”
May we witness His eternal power and divine nature.
Messages and emails, articles and updates, news reports and nonsense, all filling our phones and inboxes and consuming our precious time. Every day we choose which items to read, reply to, and delete. Talk about overwhelming! And don’t forget to check that ‘Junk’ box, because some random digital force in the universe might place non-junk in your ‘Junk’ box, and that’s no ‘junk.’
Let me reassure you of something that is not junk, that you will want to read…a real, live letter. A love letter from your Heavenly Father, the Creator of all. A love letter…to you. The Bible is full of God’s expressions of love. His love for you is so far beyond what you can imagine that the apostle Paul wrote, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” ~ Ephesians 3:17b-19 (NIV)
Wow! That’s a mouthful, actually a universe-full of love…for you, a love beyond understanding. Stop. Soak it in. Accept that love into your heart. Let it penetrate deeply, healing all your hurts and hang-ups. Breathe it into your being and allow it to rescue you as you read and re-read your love letter…from God.
May you experience His love today.
Rejection sucks! There’s no other way to say it. We all remember and dread not getting the job or promotion we’d hoped for, or not getting a date with you-know-who or a positive response to that ‘Friend Request.’ For authors, it’s a manuscript being turned down…again. For those doing auditions, it’s not receiving a ‘call back.’ As children, we may have been rejected by a parent or as parents, we may be rejected by our child. (Rejection from teenagers doesn’t count!) Everyone experiences rejection of some kind.
But here’s the good news. There is One who always chooses you. He always chooses you to be on His team. He always chooses you to be His friend. And, He has chosen you to do a special work for Him. Isaiah 41:9 says, “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.” ~ (NIV) So smile and look up! You have been chosen.
I remember trying to land my bike after attempting my one and only jump on a neighbor kid’s homemade ramp. Instead I landed on my knees and still have the scars! Like a klutz, I have fallen off high heels, fallen into an accidental cartwheel while snowboarding, and fallen off the back of a moving pickup truck! Many have fallen for scams or experienced falling in and out of love. But all of us fall into temptation.
When we make those wrong choices, or sin, we need to acknowledge it, straighten things out with God and the one(s) we hurt, get help as needed, and then move on. Falling is expected but we are not expected to stay down or continue making that same stupid ‘fall.’ Let’s learn from our mistakes and do all we can not to repeat them. Falling is costly. It has consequences and leaves scars, but does not need to be permanent.
Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” ~ (NIV) The Message Bible’s contemporary translation says, “Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners…and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.”
Wow! Jesus took the ‘fall’ for us, giving us the opportunity to stand in righteousness with Him!
This city slicker loves to fish. Even after hours of no nibbles, I will not be deterred. I cast my line for the umpteenth time, imagining a different outcome, to feel the double yank in which I respond with alternating pull and reel in, eventually netting the big one…or anything big enough to keep! Why do I continue against all odds and rolled eyes of onlookers? Hope.
Without hope, we’re sunk! We all need hope. Some hope for that illusive hole-in-one, a homerun or goal. Others hope for a successful crop, a good return on an investment, a sunny or rainy day. At times our hope is for small, insignificant things. Other times, it’s a lifeline. Most importantly, our hope must be placed in the One higher than ourselves.
Isaiah 40:31 reminds us, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (NIV) Preacher Robert Morris explains that soaring like an eagle provides a better perspective of our circumstances; not becoming weary means we have extra energy stored up for later; and not fainting indicates we have a deeper determination to persevere.
At times hope may disappoint, but keep casting. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NIV)
In both the Old and New Testaments, God is constantly working behind the scenes to protect, provide for, raise up, and help His people. The apostle Paul miraculously escapes numerous murder plots. A destitute widow suddenly has plenty to sustain the needs of her family. And, a simple Jewish girl is chosen as queen in a foreign land, preventing the annihilation of the Jews. These are just a sprinkling of God’s handiwork.
As in the past, God continues to work in the lives of His people today. Isaiah 64:4 encourages us with these words, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” (NIV)
Know that God loves you more than you can imagine and is even now working on your behalf. Wait and experience His goodness. In the smallest of details, perhaps where you least expect Him, the One and Only Almighty God is doing something amazing for you!
Wait and see!
You just got that text, or call, or test result and the news is not good. Or there is a possibility that it may not be good. Or there is an inkling of a hint of a chance of a possibility that it may not be good. Your stomach drops and your mind begins the ‘What if…’ attack. STOP!
The apostle Paul gave us a strategy for these moments.
- Turn and talk to the Lord.
- Give thanks for this opportunity to see God at work, or for God’s faithfulness in the past, or for God being with us and helping us through this situation, or all of the above!
- Ask for His protection, guidance, intervention, healing, help, whatever we need.
When we surrender our worries and stresses, God sends His promised peace. Release and receive His peace. It’s a choice.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)