Christianity 201

October 19, 2018

A Beauty Not Found in Open Fields or Peaceful Days

Six months ago I remember being struck by the quality of writing of Sarah Jo who writes at Blind Insanity. Yesterday I returned there and read several articles. I kept coming back to this one. Click the title to read at source, and then take a few minutes to pick another item or two read and enjoy.

There is Light on this Side of the Clouds

June 2, 2018

God As a Thriving Artist

We’re returning today to another excerpt from the 2010 Zondervan book, A Certain Risk: Living Your Faith at the Edge, by Paul Richardson. Paul is the son of missionary Don Richardson. To learn more, check out a story we did at Thinking Out Loud on Mustard Seed International.

God reveals that he is surprisingly nuanced. Story by story, the One who said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,” beckons us into his depth. Reading through the Bible is a bit like finding out that a Herculean offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers writes poetry and bakes rhubarb pie. Just like any individual person, God has personality traits. He relates to others through his heart. He loves, he feels sadness, anger, jealousy and, despite our well-planned, perfectly logical predictions of what he should  be, he even feels regret. God experiences the full possibilities of passion and creates us to know his passionate heart. God cries out in celebration. He listens and he talks.

We are intrigued by statements such as “God said to the woman,” “The LORD said to Cain,” “God said to Noah,” “God said to Abraham,” and “God said to Jacob.” God sits down with Abraham in his tent, and he chats with Moses as you and I would speak to our closest friends. He whispers to a child named Samuel in his room. He spends time with a boy named David in the shade of a tree and breathes music through his harp.

As Elohim reveals his many other names, he delicately invades our understanding. For those who care to know him, Elohim becomes El Echad, the One. He is El Hanne’eman, the Faithful One. He is El Emet, the Truth; El Shaddai, the All Sufficient; El Gibbor, the Champion and Warrior. He is El Roi, the God who sees me; El Chaiyai, the God of my life; El Sali, the God of my strength; El Rachum, the God of compassion. By the time we reach Isaiah, Elohim is no longer far away. He is Immanuel, God with us. From beginning to end, God becomes less distant and more alive. In the matrix of human faith, God reveals himself to the mundane, moving from mystery to increased clarity. God not only approaches in proximity. He approaches in time, advancing from the distant past into this very moment. The God who spoke to Noah, Abraham and Moses becomes my God now.

Throughout his story, Elohim reveals a stunning and invigorating motif. He is a thriving Artist, present in real time, pervasively engaged and continuously interacting with his creation. The psalmist wrote,

“When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:30)

All through the Scriptures, God reveals himself as a craftsman, a carpenter, a composer, a designer, a gardener, a potter and an author. These creative terms don’t refer only to his activities during the original six days of creation, but to his ongoing work in history. Jesus said,

“My Father is always at his work to this very day.”  (John 5:17)

God is the Creator — “the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) The Potter’s hands are still covered with clay. The touch of the Potter’s hands is sometimes painful, but the finished vessel is a beautiful work of art.

Consider God’s creative response to a stretch of desolate wasteland. He shouts exultantly through Isaiah (Isaiah 41;18-20),

I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
and the parched ground into springs.
I will put in the desert
the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set pines in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together,
so that people may see and know,
may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

February 25, 2017

Five Aspects of God’s Glory

Today we return to catch up with Tanya Nemley who blogs at God Speaks I Listen. Click the title below to read this at its source, complete with graphics.

The Glory of God

First before I get into my thoughts and God’s word about this incredible topic of the Glory of God I want to say that my words are PITIFUL!!! Yes…really so pitiful that I almost don’t want to write this because of what Gods’ glory means. Compared to where He is and who He is what can I truly say? I’m glad I’m typing this because my lip can do His glorious majesty no justice!

Exodus 33:18,21-22 Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” Then God answered Moses:

But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” 21 Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.

God…”show me your glory” should be the prayers of us all! Why? Because when you have experienced the glory of God it will motivate you to want more of God. It will also motivate you to want others to see Gods glory through your life. Why else would God reveal any of His glory with us?

There are different aspects of God’s glory so let’s break it down:

  1. There’s His physical Glory or glory from His presence. Revelation 21:21-23   And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
  2. There is the glory that comes from what has been done as a result of His children’s obedience and living a righteous life. Ephesian 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
  3.  There’s the glory that comes from Gods creativity i.e. the universe, planets, and stars. Isaiah 6:3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  
  4. There is Glory that comes from God blessing His children with victories, miracles and answered prayers. John 11:4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
  5. There is glory that can give you strength when you are going through the absolute worst situation. Stephen is getting ready to be murdered.   Acts 7:55 But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;

God gets the glory for everything good and holy that emanates from Him and He gets all the glory for all good things on this earth! No one else is responsible for goodness. Only God has that kind of power and is power.

The word glory according to the dictionary means brilliance, radiance, honor, renowned, highly praiseworthy, fame, admiration or someone impressive. All of these terms don’t come anywhere close to describing God’s glory.

God’s glory is His perfection and His holiness. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 We fall short now because we can’t be 100% holy and perfect. This can only happen when we make the transition to heaven. In fact we will be in it!

God’s glory cannot be contained. The more I speak about this the more I feel I falling short.

As we learn more about the attributes of God such as His glory we will grow to know Him more. We always have to work on knowing Him because we can’t see Him. So ponder about the Glory of God.

Today I challenge you to pray the Moses prayer Exodus 33:18,21-22 Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” I pray that you experience the “Glory of God”!!!!!

Read more: Here’s another more topical article from the same author: Horoscopes and Mediums – Don’t Do It.

July 30, 2016

God’s Imprint on Us

Today we’re paying a return visit to the blog Weeping Into Dancing: Overcoming Difficult Trials, and as last time, there were a number of great topics to choose from.

Godly Imprints

God made you unique

The German composer, Felix Mendelssohn is one of the most celebrated classical music figures of the early romantic period. He wrote many compositions as a child, including 5 operas and 11 symphonies. All are beautiful, unique and special, just like us.

Fingerprints, snowflakes, cloud formations, sunsets, raindrops, and even music are remarkably individual and unrepeatable. God’s imagination is vast and limitless, so He has an endless supply of new masterpieces up His sleeve.

But why is everything in God’s creation singularly special? Each leaf, stone, starry night, animal, and child is extraordinary. Is it simply because the same sunrise and sunset would find our God bored to tears? Maybe it is because He wants to leave an imprint on everything He Creates.

A seal, in biblical times as today, is used to guarantee security or indicate ownership. The Bible says that believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. We belong to God and we have a guaranteed security that He will protect, love, and provide for our every need. What joy it is to be sealed by such a loving Creator!

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NKJV)

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV)

With our seal comes the guarantee of a heavenly inheritance, eternal life in a land where there is no more death, tears or pain. God’s imprint on our hearts is the ticket to everlasting fellowship with our beloved Savior.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:24 (NIV)

On earth, as well as in heaven, God’s imprint on us should make a difference in how we think and act.

“Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19 (NKJV)

The unique gifts and talents He has disbursed to each of us should be used as a special praise offering. Our imprint on earth ought to glorify God. The Creator of the universe has provided us with a means to thank Him. When using our special gifts to honor God, how can He not find pleasure and joy? God rejoices in His works because His works are an expression of His glory.

Whether you have lived 1 month or 90 years, you have left a footprint on the earth. Some imprints are filled with joy, compassion, thoughtfulness, generosity, and love. But then there are the imprints filled with hate, dishonesty, sin, and shame. They are hard to look at and acknowledge. But remember, with the seal of God we have been forgiven. Therefore, let conviction replace any shame that might still harass you.

Let us now take an honest look at the trail behind us. A personal relationship with God requires an upright openness. God knows about each imprint we have made. He understands failure and regret but sees our effort and praises our victories. As ambassadors of Christ Jesus, strive to leave imprints that are perfumed with the fragrance of Christ.

June 17, 2013

Filling the Earth

Today’s post is from someone who is a very faithful reader and regular commenter here at C201. Meeting in the Clouds is a great devotional post that you can recommend to a new Christian, a teen, or someone who simply enjoys the power of a great illustration. You are encouraged to read the far more colorful version of today’s post at source, where it appeared as Nature Abhors a Vacuum.

According to the ancient philosopher Aristotle, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Aristotle’s conclusion was based on his observation that nature requires every space to be filled with something, even if that something is invisible, colorless, and odorless air.

From the humid climate of the tropics to the frigid atmosphere of higher latitudes, a garment of vegetation is seen.  Lichens and mosses grow without soil.  Tiny flowers and herbs spring from cracks in rocks. Beautiful white flowers grow deep in underground coal mines. Arid deserts produce magnificent flowers. Then there are fields of agriculture and giant forests and almost impenetrable jungles.

Nature abhors a vacuum.  God did NOT create the world to be empty. 

Isaiah 45:18
For this is what the Lord says –
He who created the heavens, He is God;
He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it;
but formed it TO BE INHABITED –
He says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other”

God did not create the earth to be empty.  He created it to bear fruit . . . and God did not create US to be empty.  He created US to BEAR FRUIT.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

John 15:16
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you,
that you should go and bear fruit.

Colossians 1:10
Walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him,
being fruitful in every good work.

Galatians 6:7-8
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked;
for whatever a man sows, he will also reap.
He who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption,
but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life

I must ask myself . . .

  • Am I fulfilling His purpose in my life?
  • Am I achieving the “good works” He prepared for me?
  • Am I “bearing fruit” in my life?
  • Am I “sowing to the flesh” or “sowing to the Spirit”?

James 4:17
Therefore, to him who knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Thinking further . . .  In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he speaks of being “filled with all the fullness of God”

Ephesians 3:19 (Amplified, emphasis added)
“that you may be filled through all your being

unto all the fullness of God –
that you may have the richest measure of the divine presence,
and become a body

Wow!  That means there is NO room for me – no ‘I, my, me, mine’ but completely filled with God Himself!

Is it possible?  It wouldn’t be in God’s Word if it wasn’t!

Colossians 3:2-3
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
For YOU DIED, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price

2 Corinthians 5:17
If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.
Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

May 3, 2013

The Power of Creation

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Solar Flares - Power of Creation

Today we feature a new blog at Faithful Bloggers, Shereen Lashua’s blog Glorify and Enjoy.  Shareen is an author and has been leading women’s Bible studies for 25 years. This appeared a few days ago  under the title The Sun’s Power. Click the link to view other articles.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard” (Psalm 119:1-3).

CLICK HERE to view the NASA sun flare video

I was reminded of this Psalm yesterday when I saw the weather report. A NASA video of the sun was a featured story. The video showed the cycle of the sun flares over a three year period. It was amazing. I Googled it and found it on YouTube and watched it again.

I was mesmerized. That ball of gold spoke to me of the glory and greatness of God. Verse 1 of Psalm 19 says, “The heavens are telling the glory of God” and verse 2 says, “Day to day pours forth speech”. The sun was speaking to me of the greatness and power of our Creator. I had to learn more.

According to NASA, a single solar flare explodes with as much explosive power as billions of hydrogen bombs all exploding at once. They can be as hot as 100 million degrees Celsius. This information made that video incomprehensible to my simple mind. How many solar flares were on that video? The flares are only a very small portion of the suns overall power. My mind is just too small to comprehend this.

If my mind cannot comprehend the sun and its power, how amazing and powerful is the sun’s Creator? God is the Maker of this amazing explosive power that we depend on for life. I cannot, in my finite mind, begin to understand this much greatness.

But I can depend on it! I can put my trust in someone so great and powerful. He put the sun in the sky. He put it at exactly the right spot to give life to the earth. He put it at exactly the right spot to keep us from burning up from these solar flares. He keeps it burning brightly day after day, year after year. If He can control the sun and its power, can He control my life? Absolutely!

Today I will reverently and worshipfully say with the Psalmist, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer”.

Thank you, Lord, for being so faithful, dependable, and powerful. You keep the sun in check and control its power. You do this for the sake of mankind. Out of your loving kindness and mercy you give us life and warmth every day. You are dependable. You are our rock and redeemer. Your power will sustain me.

 I thank you and praise you. You have declared your glory and I need to worship you. I need to fix my thoughts on you so that what pours forth from my heart and life are pleasing to you. My meditation and my speech need to declare your glory because you alone are worthy.

February 8, 2013

The Sea Was No More

The Sea

Appropriately enough, today’s study is from the blog Cindy By The Sea. That sounds so relaxing right now, doesn’t it?  This is her third selection at C201 — see below for other links — and appeared recently at her blog under the title And There Was No More Sea.

And, I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and, there was no more sea.”  Revelation 21:1

No more sea! Can you imagine that! For those of us who live on or near the ocean, it’s a hard concept to imagine. No more sea. But, that’s what the Bible says.

With three-quarters of the earth made up of water, it’s hard to imagine life without these beautiful and petulant bodies of water; a particularly disappointing thought to those of us who enjoy swimming, surfing, fishing, sailing on or just sitting beach side along one of their beautiful shores.

So, why, no more sea?

I was talking to my daughter Seven Stars the other day, when she brought the subject to my attention. For some reason, she had been giving it some serious thought and had a number of insights with which to share with me.  After our discussion, I suddenly understood, why, there will be no more sea. Something I had never really understood or thought much about before.

The Bible has a lot to say about water – both rivers and seas. And, there seems to be a clearly defined differentiation between the two.  For you will notice, while there is no more sea in the new heaven and earth, there is a river. A crystal clear river that flows from the throne of God.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the lamb.” Revelation 22:1

Now, why might this be, rivers, but, no seas?

Let’s look at a few examples.

Moses was drawn out of the water in a basket which was floated on top of the waters of the Red Sea.

Jesus walked on the water at the sea of Galilee.

Noah’s ark was lifted up and floated on the waters, which covered the earth.

Where does Leviathan reside?  In the sea.

Where does the beast of Revelation rise up from?  The sea.

Do you see a pattern developing? There appears to be a clearly defined difference in the Bible between that which is in the sea  from that which is on the sea?  A difference, which, I believe is key to understanding, why, in heaven, there will be no sea.

The Abyss

There was a movie by this name a few years ago, The Abyss.  The abyss referring to the deepest, darkest part of the sea. But, in the Bible it is a word which refers to the bottomless pit, the underworld, the deepest part of the ocean or hell. This is the place where in Jude 1:6,7 the angels who left their first estate are held in chains. And, it is the sea that is the burial place of the wicked, who died in Noah’s flood, as well as the Egyptians who pursued Moses and the Israelites as they fled Egypt.

It is against this backdrop that we see and understand the importance of Jesus walking on the water in Matthew 14:22-33. For in walking on the water, Jesus demonstrated his power not only over nature but, more importantly over the sea itself.  For to place feet on is to claim dominion. And, in this instance, Jesus clearly demonstrates his power over the sea and over everything in and under it, including the abyss.

But, rivers are something else. Rivers begin high in the mountains (mountain heights are always synonymous with the dwelling place of God).  And, streams like God’s grace flow downward until they reach the hills and valleys below providing life to all living things as they rush along their course.  Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river and it was this same river that Joshua and the Israelites passed over in order to come into the promised land.

Yes, the sea teems with life and, we glorify God for his stunning creation. But, for all their beauty, they will not be found in heaven – for nothing sin stained will  – and while, the sea in and of itself is not evil, from what we are told in scripture, those found within the confines of her deepest regions are …..

“In that day, the Lord will punish with his sword — his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.”   Isaiah 27:1

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee” Psalm 122:6

Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus!   ~ Cindy

Previous articles here at C201  from Cindy By The Sea:

October 2010 — Two Headlines, Two Choices (The Dividing  Line)
June 2011 — After That He Took The Cup
April 2012 — Zombies In The Bible

Also, click through to the original link for this story to see a reader comment with a different interpretation of what is meant by sea in this verse.  There is a lot more depth you can get into on this particular word study; as you begin to explore more references it keeps getting more interesting!

February 17, 2012

For Thy Pleasure They Were Created


Back in the day, there was a worship song, Thou Art Worthy, which used the King James text of Revelation 4:11 —

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

The newer versions indicate a different meaning from “for thy pleasure” than the one we take away today which infers the stars and planets were created for God’s enjoyment; unanimously preferring to translate that along the lines of by Thy will.

But I couldn’t help but think of the song as I read this devotional post by Michael Belote.  Be sure to click through to see the picture that goes with the story. (We used a different one here.)

As I was flying home from Denmark last week, I found myself between two layers of clouds at sunset. I found myself stunned by the beauty of the sight. Out of the window, all I could see were endless fields of cottony clouds, with the sun making a striking red-orange glow behind it.

And what struck me was: this has always been this way. Ever since creation, this view has existed. But with the exception of perhaps a few brave mountain climbers, no one in history saw this sight until the 20th century. For tens of thousands of years, humans saw the clouds only from below; now and only now can we begin to appreciate the beauty from above.

Think that through for a minute. God created the beauty long before someone else was around to view it. For well more than 99% of all sunsets in history, no man’s eye has seen the stunning sight. The same is true for the entire universe: God has created galaxies of stunning beauty, black holes of immense power, supernovas of amazing light…which will never be seen by human eyes. He created beauty in corners far from our reach.

It is entirely possible within the realm of physics that, at this very moment, on some distant planet, dual suns may be setting behind a gorgeous diamond mountain. And no one will ever see it but God. He didn’t make it for us, but for Him.

So often, we humans put ourselves as the center of the Gospel story. We see ourselves as the culmination of God’s creation and the center of His universe. We imagine that we are all that matters to Him, when in reality more matters to Him than we can imagine.

He is the center of the universe; never forget that. He created beauty because it was beautiful, and because He is a Creator–not for our glory or enjoyment, but for His. He created those stunning heavenly sunsets knowing full well that very few men in history would ever set eyes upon it; He created immense beauty in the universe knowing well that it would remain a total mystery to us forever.

Remember who the center of this universe is. Remember why He created it. For just a moment, let yourself step back and realize that even mankind as a whole is not the central character of the Gospel, much less you: the center of the Gospel is about God, and who He is, and how He loves.

Remember that He makes beauty because He is beautiful–whether we are capable of seeing His hidden sunsets or not.

~Michael Belote

September 28, 2011

Unpacking “Fearfullly and Wonderfully”

When we consider what it means to be “fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalm 139:14) we tend to think immediately of the physiology of mankind; the skeletal system, the digestive system, the neurological system, the respiratory system, etc.

But I’m wondering if an infinitely powerful designer did not additionally build in to our “making” various shades of meaning associated with our bodies.

For example, end times literature speaks of the “mark of the beast,” a mark associated with the hand and the forehead.  But why those two parts?  One preacher I heard suggested that it spoke to the “beast’s” control over the work of man (hand) and the mind of man (forehead).  In other words, the positioning of the marks, however practical, was also symbolic.

And then there is sex.  When a woman is a virgin, the breaking of the hymen at first sexual experience results in some bleeding.  To a Hebrew mind, this would associate with blood covenants; and a compelling argument against premarital sex is that it places the  sign of the covenant before the actual making of the covenant through marriage.

But Biblical language contains infinitely more than these examples.  The eye is the opening through which light enters the body and the brain, we think of it in terms of input; but scripture calls the eye “the lamp of the body,” which we could think of in terms that the rest of the body is illuminated or informed by what the eye sees, but also in the sense that the eye is a light itself. Do we not sometimes judge character by the way in which someone looks us in the eye? Or chooses not to? Do the eyes not radiate out something inside us?

Invest yourselves in a word study of hands, feet, eyes, ears, etc.  But also consider “the eyes of God,” or “the hand of God,” or “finger of God.” Bible Gateway makes it possible for you to do in seconds what formerly took several minutes with a printed concordance.  Blue Letter Bible is useful when you remember a verse, but have a few words incorrect, as it narrows down possibilities in its search feature.

Just don’t leave me a comment asking about Psalm 91:4, okay?

March 29, 2011

We’re a Big Deal

Those cute (or annoying depending on your perspective) talking vegetables known as the Veggie Tales cast may tell you that “God made you special and he loves you very much;” but did you ever consider that “being made special” actually brings God glory?  It has to.  The creation speaks as to its creator.  John Fischer, at the blog The Catch, recently blogged this under the title, Big Deal:

Job argued with God. Moses bargained with Him. Jacob wrestled with Him. Nehemiah changed His mind. What do these amazing stories tell us about God if it isn’t that He wants a relationship with us probably more than we want one with Him. What does it tell us about God if He is willing to be persuaded, cajoled, bargained with and wrestled? It tells us He created us like Him so we could participate in a relationship with Him that means something in terms of integrity. It’s no small thing for God to be swayed by a puny human being, but such is the wonder of His will.

The Psalmist has declared a similar wonder when he wrote, “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you have set in place—what are mortals that you should think of us? For you made us only a little lower than the angels, and you crowned us with glory and honor. You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things—the sheep and the cattle and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents” (Psalms 8:3-8 NLT).

In other words: What’s the big deal here? We’re the big deal. Does this bring us glory? Yes, but that only brings Him more. That He would create us with this much power and authority says a lot about our Creator and what He created us for. He created us with intelligence and emotions. He created us like Him so He could relate to us and we could relate to Him. And He gave us the right to refuse Him, accept Him, argue with Him, badger Him—even tell Him to get lost if that’s what we want to do. Think about that. Even unbelief has integrity. What kind of God would create a being that might not even believe in Him? A God who wants a relationship with him when he does.

That’s why the very next verse of this Psalm reads, “O Lord, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills the earth” (Psalm 8:9)! We are part and parcel of God’s glory. That He would do it this way—that He would create a world, people it with beings like Him, and then give them authority over that world—even the opportunity to believe Him or not—says as much about Him as it does about us. You and I are a big part of God’s glory. Imagine what we could accomplish if we really believed this!

~ John Fischer

February 2, 2011

Action Prayers

Paul Clark, Operations Pastor at Fairhaven Church in Centerville, Ohio posted this as the church recently completed an “Action Series” of messages by having the congregation join in this prayer.  As I studied this, I added some emphasis to the action petitions in each section.

Father, I thank you that your beauty and glory are beyond anything I can comprehend. Please open my eyes to your wonders so that my heart is filled with awe.

Father, I thank you that your love for me is astonishing; far beyond anything I can understand. The cross of Christ demonstrates the depth of your love. Help me to believe that Jesus’ sacrifice is the ultimate proof that I am your treasure.

Father, I know that your extravagant love demands something special from me. I offer you all of my life. I will hold nothing back. Help me respond wholeheartedly.

Father, help me to realize that your extravagant love can transform me. It can make my heart pure and holy and acceptable in your sight. Please fill my thoughts with becoming more like you.

Father, I want to love you passionately, from the depths of my soul. Please create in me that kind of love. Help me to feel it intensely. Help me to share it freely. Help me to give it back to you authentically.

Father, I am amazed that you have chosen me. You have a future for me that’s worth everything. Please give me a vision of eternity so that I would live each day on purpose, being one step closer to that day.

September 5, 2010

Worship In The Woods

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I know nothing of the author of this poem, which I had memorized when I was much younger; in fact I had always thought it was written by Tennyson.   However, the words came back to me this week as we spent several days communing with nature in a more remote section of Ontario, Canada.   Some will suggest the third verse is a bit pantheistic, but I love the premise of the first verse and last verse especially.


Scott, Frederick George

THIS is God's house--the blue sky is the
 This wood the soft green carpet for His
Those hills His stairs, down which the brooks
   come stealing
 With baby laughter, making earth more

And here His friends come, clouds, and soft
   winds sighing,
 And little birds whose throats pour forth
   their love,
And spring and summer, and the white snow
 Pencilled with shadows of bare boughs

And here come sunbeams through the green
   leaves straying,
 And shadows from the storm-clouds over-
And warm, hushed nights, when Mother
   Earth is praying
 So late that her moon-candle burns ill

Sweet house of God, sweet earth, so full of
 I enter at thy gates in storm or calm;
And every sunbeam is a joy or pleasure,
 And every cloud a solace and a balm.

August 28, 2010

Finding Your Worship Moment

I have written and spoken many times on the concept of finding a worship moment; that time when you are just overcome by the beauty of creation and you have to stop and thank God for what He has made, and worship Him for being able to make it.

But not all worship moments involve emotional intensity, there are some that equal the fervor of a Sunday morning worship time in a Charismatic church, but there are others where you don’t respond the same, but in your heart, there is no doubt about giving credit to Whom credit is due.

This little forest is nested in a town park not far from our business.   It’s been awhile since we grabbed a sandwich and took a half hour to enjoy some time together, but on Thursday we did just that.   Mrs. W. was quite excited about owning — for the first time in her life — a truly decent camera and was snapping picture after picture of leaves, and tree trunks, and tiny little spiders.

“Hurry up,” I kept saying; “No more micro pictures, you need to take more macro pictures.”   For me, the beauty in creation is always the big picture scenes;  I tend to choose Niagara Falls over the little drops of water running down the rock; although, when I was thirsty this summer at High Falls Gorge, the water from the rock proved much easier to access than the torrent racing down the gorge itself.

Each one of us has different things in creation which remind us of the  greatness of God.   The heavens do indeed tell the splendor of God’s glory (the macro) and the earth provides the details of His creative engineering (the micro).   Day after day, nature repeats this message to us like a flashing beacon; night after night nature provides the information.   What matters is that we need to formulate some response to all that we see.

But for me, the beauty of the forest, is the more appreciated.   This time around I wasn’t exactly overcome with worship, but again, you see it all differently when you know the Maker.

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Portions of today’s thoughts are taken from Psalm 19.

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June 18, 2010

Finding a Worship Moment

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:24 pm
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Today I got to share my “worship moment” place with a guy who was visiting our town.   It’s a spectacular path through a wooded ravine that is always impressive.   You could go back in an hour and the sun would be at a different angle and it would look totally different.   You could go back at the same time the next day, but the colors would be different.   It’s just that amazing.

I wish I had a camera that could do it justice.   I don’t.  Here’s Psalm 19:1 in The Message:

God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.

The strange thing is that the rest of the day was terrible.  Nothing went right.   Nothing at all.   But at least I’ve got that morning walk to remember.  Here’s some photos I didn’t take!!

Well, okay; one picture.   I found a few pictures of the kind of ravine, or woods, or forested area I’m talking about, but every single one of them was a copyrighted image.   Every one.   I spent about 15 minutes on it.

Hey Mr. Photographer, did you make those trees?

I’ll have to get a good camera and take some pictures.

For more devotional reading today, check out my other blog, Thinking Out Loud.