Look Out the Window

Take-off was a rush! I never dreamed that the initial thrust would set me back into my seat the way it did. In no time we were off the ground quickly gaining altitude.

As an adult I experienced my first ride on a commercial passenger plane. I felt like a kid. The thrill of take-off put butterflies in my stomach.

Then came the view! I couldn’t stop looking out the window at the patchwork below me. Seeing things from thousands of feet above the earth gives a whole new perspective!

I thought to myself, “God sees the world like this all the time, yet he knows me personally!”

Our Father always has the big picture perspective for our lives, disasters, sins, set-backs, diseases, and celebrations.

Jeremiah told his countrymen who had just been carried off to captivity to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says he LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

We often see this verse on plaques . It is certainly an encouraging verse. It is one I meditate on when I get discouraged.

But the context is a horrible situation of defeat and exile! Jeremiah tells them in chapter 29 in a letter to settle in, build homes, have lots of children and grandchildren, and make the city prosperous and peaceful, because you will be there a long time, seventy years!

Are you going through a disaster or an exile now? Perhaps your disaster has already lasted a long time. Or maybe it is just beginning.

Remember God has the 35,000 feet view even though you can’t seem to see 3 feet in front of you. God’s really does have the big picture.

Honor and love your Father in Heaven in the middle of your chaos. He indeed knows the plans He has for you! He wants your good, not disaster.  So whether He delivers next week, years down the road, or in heaven, He will come through! The LORD is still your hope!

Look out the window.

Our Father, thank-you for the hope, assurance, and confidence that you never lose control of this universe, this world, and the circumstances of our lives. Fill us with hope in the midst of our exiles. Help us to live faithful lives honoring You inside our disasters.

Hello Friend!

The two words just don’t seem to go together. What in the world does ‘friend’ and ‘fear’ have to do with each other? We don’t normally think of ‘fear’ when we think of a ‘friend!’

My best friends in high school, Carl and Tony, do not make me think of being afraid. I think of some happy times together, times we got in trouble together, and standing in for each other’s weddings.

But David, the psalmist, says:

The LORD is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. My eyes are always on the LORD, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies. Psalm 225:14-15 NLT

A healthy respect and holy fear for the awesome Creator of the universe and Redeemer of our souls from hell is the prerequisite for friendship with the LORD Himself.

Who could be a better Friend? It is amazing God would or could be our Friend?! Certainly we can easily see Him as our Judge, Creator, and Master.  But could He really be our Friend?

The perfect Son of God, Jesus, who is always in perfect union with the Father said:

I no longer call you slaves because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. John 15:15 NLT

Isn’t that just like a friend, to confide in you all the intricate details of one’s life! Jesus says we are his friends and has told us everything the Father has told Him. Wow, what a friend we have in Jesus. That reminds me of a song!

A line in the great hymn by Joseph M. Scriven written in 1855 says:

Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Jesus is our friend if we have a healthy, fearful, holy, reverent trust in Him! Walk with your Friend today!  Talk with your Friend today!

Our Father, we gladly bow before you in total respect and reverence. Thank-you for confiding in us as your friend through Your Son Jesus. We commit ourselves today to walk and talk with you as our Friend.

I Love My Dad

He was a strict disciplinarian while I was growing up. Yet he was very generous as well! My Dad is 79 years of age and lives in Glenwood. He takes care of dozens of cattle, plays golf, and goes to the Sale Barn (the cattle auction) every Thursday. He served as a Deacon at First Baptist Church in Glenwood for 40 years before requesting to became inactive due to health issues.

Yes, he generously gave his discipline and his gifts. I knew he had a standard for his oldest son to meet. I knew quickly and painfully when I didn’t meet that standard. Yet I remember vividly on the evening on my birthday one year when he brought home a brand new, red Western Flyer 26-inch bicycle with the plastic streamers coming out of the handle bars, chrome fenders, and lots of shine! Years later, he paid for most of my college and seminary education! So generous!

Yet I remember one little flaw.  He said he would get me a baseball glove when I got a certain age. I don’t remember the exact condition I had to meet to get it. He forgot too. I just remember he promised a new baseball glove. I never got it. A friend had loaned me his old glove. That glove was a good one, broken in, and worked just fine! I used it for years until it was stolen.

That’s such a minor thing now. But as a child, it seemed like a big thing. An adult said they’d do something and it didn’t happen. (Dad, if you are reading this, I love you and hold no grudge!)

But here’s the deal: words can be so fleeting. Promises can be made and so easily broken. Politicians promise all kinds of things and don’t deliver. A parent tells their child something and then forgets to deliver.

So I am greatly comforted by the words of Jesus when he promises that everything He said is true.  Without a doubt, without a forgetful moment, without a flaw, His words will happen!  Everything he predicted WILL come to pass! What an assurance!

Our perfect Savior, our Lord Jesus said:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35 ESV

Our Father, thank-you for sending Jesus. Thank-you for the assurance that every word you spoke through your Son will happen. We praise you for never forgetting what you promise. Our confidence in You grows as we read and meditate on Your word. This planet with its land and oceans and sky will pass away, but Your words will not! Praise Your Name!

Chirping

That cricket on my back porch is chirping loudly and persistently. He doesn’t let up. This has been something I’ve loved about moving to the Village. I can hear the sounds of nature instead of traffic!

Now, back to that cricket. Chir-rup, Chir-rup, Chir-rup, Chir-rup, Chir-rup … The joker’s chirpper just keeps on a-chirping!

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12 ESV

I was meditating on that verse when I noticed the little chirpper chirping. What an insight! Our believing, trusting, rejoicing, hanging tough, and praying ought to be persistent just like that chirpper!

Rejoice in hope.

Hope is the confident assurance of our salvation and destiny of heaven! Re-joice, Re-joice, Re-joice, Re-joice, Re-joice, …!

Be patient in tribulation.

Patience is being able to see the big picture and hanging tough till the prize at the end is revealed in spite of the troubles along the way. Pa-tient, Pa-tient, Pa-tient, Pa-tient, Pa-tient, …! (Thanks Polly for the “Hang Tough” Sunday School lesson this past Sunday!)

Be constant in prayer.

Prayer is communication and communion with the Father in such a way He can tell us at any moment what to do and we do it. We mistake prayer often as only trying to get God to do what we want him to do. Pra-y, Pra-y, Pra-y, O-bey, O-bey, Pra-y, O-bey, …!

So, do some spiritual chirping today!

Our Father, we rejoice constantly that you have provided complete hope and confidence in our salvation through Your Son Jesus Christ! We hang tough with patience in the troubled times of life because we know how it all comes out in the end! We commune with you all day ready to obey at a moment’s notice.

I Found My Pants!

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 ESV

I’m sure Paul was not thinking about pants packed away in a box when he talked about “groanings.”  But last night I did find my pants!  The one pair I’ve been wearing and Billie Sue has been washing repeatedly can now have a rest.

Life can get very serious at times, even intense. Keeping a light heart in the face of the difficulties of life helps keep it all in perspective for me. If I couldn’t see a little humor in life from time to time, I would go crazy.  There’s plenty of “serious” to go around all the time!

The apostle Paul kept things in perspective. He said that the sufferings of this world are not even worth comparing to the glory we will soon experience! (Romans 8:18)

Even the earth, the rocks, the trees, the hills, the rivers, and lakes, that is, the whole creation is groaning, even yearning for this resolution. The universe is on edge, ready to be set free from bondage caused by sin. (Romans 8:19-22)

And that uneasiness in our own bodies, well it too is a yearning for total redemption.  Yes, we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, but we are yet to see the complete results. Hang on to your hats, there’s a lot more to come! (Romans 8:23-24)

Now back to the present. That’s where we have to live isn’t it. We must live in the “now.” The Spirit is always helping us NOW in our weakness.  Even when we struggle to pray He is there to pray for us. He even expresses our thoughts and feelings to the Father which we ourselves cannot even put into words.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 ESV

Thank-you Father for indwelling us with your Holy Spirit.  Thank-you that The Comforter is always beside us. In grief, sorrow, confusion, pain, disappointment, and obstacles Your Spirit expresses these things to You and You always understand. And thank-you that you even care about the little things in life, like my pants.