Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How Big is God?


The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Psalm 19:1

Have you ever just taken the time to lay back and look at the night sky?  

I grew up in a small town in Wyoming.  Even when you were in town you could see an amazing array of stars. I remember laying out in the yard looking at the night sky and enjoying all the stars. When you were able to get out of town the view was even more amazing.  

Where I live now in Colorado Springs the city lights are enough to block many of the stars you can see if you go to more isolated areas of Colorado. (Another reason I love living in Colorado.) If you are fortunate enough to not live near a major metropolitan area or have been able to get far enough away that the light doesn’t obstruct your view, you have been able to catch a glimpse of some of the splendor of God’s creation.  

In Genesis 15:5 God tells Abram to count the stars and this is how his descendants will be. This takes on a much bigger meaning when you look at a sky packed with stars. It truly is amazing.

But this is only looking at it in terms of what we can see with the naked eye. We are told in the book of Job to “Stop and consider God’s wonders” (37:14). Here are a few things we can’t readily see.

 The Cat's Eye Nebula

 The Eagle Nebula

 The Andromeda Galaxy

 The Sombrero Galaxy

These are just a few of the thousands of amazing images that have been taken by various telescopes. You can see there are definitely wonders to behold. This size of these objects is measured in light years and they range from several thousand to tens of millions of light years away (and there are others even further, much further).  Just trying to comprehend the size and the distances involved between us and these and other objects out there is staggering in and of itself.

God tells us that He put each of these objects where they are.   "I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself." (Is. 44:24) 

We all have problems in life. But do we take these problems to God and ask for His help? Sometimes, but not always. Especially if it is a bigger problem. When we do go to Him it is usually for the smaller things but not the bigger things. Or if we do go to God with it, we are soon taking it back to work on it ourselves. For some reason we feel the need to tackle these things ourselves. I know I have been guilty of this.  

I wrote a couple weeks ago about casting our burdens on God. God’s word doesn’t tell us to just toss Him the easy ones. Psalm 55:22 tells us to “Cast your burdens on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.” No qualifiers, just to cast our burdens on Him. Look again at the pictures above. God did all that, and more. Much, much more. I think we can agree after looking at the pictures that God is big. Really, REALLY BIG!

When life gives you troubles, take them to Him. All of them, big and small! There is nothing that can come your way that God cannot handle.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Following the Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me besides the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name sake. 

Yea though I walk through the valley
     of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me in the
     presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23

The 23rd Psalm.  Simple, elegant, packed full of wonderful promises for us to trust God in.  The 23rd Psalm ranks up there as many people’s favorite passage in the bible.  I know it is one of mine.  But do we really take it to heart?  Do we trust in the promises here and believe in them?  Promises for provision, protection, rest.

A shepherd always leads from the front.  He doesn’t prod from behind, he leads the sheep and they follow him.  When we seek guidance from God we generally want to know the destination and then we want to set about heading off in that direction.  Funny thing, God doesn’t work that way.  God steps out front and calls us to follow Him.  We aren’t supposed to worry about the destination, we are supposed to trust the shepherd and follow Him.

Is it hard to follow Him?  Only as hard as we make it out to be.  It’s easy to follow Him when things are going well.  We are content to follow the path He leads us down.  Then something happens, loss of a job, sickness, a wayward child, an accident and then what do we do?  We take our eyes off Him and start trying to fix, cope, or find a solution to the problem.

And it doesn’t have to be anything serious.  We can be following Him but then we get impatient, want things to happen faster.  We want to know where we are going or what we are going to encounter along the way.

As I have been seeking Him I have found it can be easy to take the lead from Him.  I’m diligently seeking Him, heartfelt prayer, lots of good devotional time, studying His word and then something trips me up.  How did that happen? I was following Him.  Wasn’t I?  After a fashion, but I was slowly taking to lead.  Like a child that says, “I can do it myself!”  Relying on my own strength, not trusting in Him.  All those things I was doing are an important aspect of my continued growth but I lost focus.  It’s not about my becoming strong enough to do it; it’s about trusting in Him and His strength, His provision, His protection.  Trusting Him in everything.

I came across a slightly different translation of the 23rd Psalm.  Take a look:

Da Boss above, He take care me,
  Jalike da sheep farma take care his sheeps.
  He goin give me everything I need. 

He let me lie down wea da sweet an soft grass stay.
  He lead me by da water wea I can rest.

He give me new kine life.
  He lead me in da road dat stay right,
  Cuz I His guy.

This is from the Pidgin Bible translated in Hawaii.  I love the simplicity of what is stated here.  He is going to take care of me, give me everything I need, take me to the grass and water, give me a new kind of life, and lead me in what is right.  And why does he do all this?  Cuz I His guy.  It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd and we are likened to the sheep under His care. (John 10)  As our shepherd, Jesus is promising to take care of us and meet our every need.  We need to stop getting caught up in everything and thinking we have to deal with it ourselves.  We need to trust in his promises. 

So where do I find myself now?  Seeking Him, gaining a better understanding of what it means to trust in Him.  Learning how to recognize and catch myself when I start trying to take the lead and relying on my strength rather than His.  Learning to accept His promises and not to question why. 

 The why is actually really simple.  Why does He promise me all these things?

 Cuz I His guy.  And so are you!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Enjoying God's Creation

It was cloudy and cool today, mostly overcast after a couple cold and slightly snowy April days.  As I left work today and was headed to my car I was able to see the Spanish Peaks standing out in stark contrast to the grey sky.  The picture above is the Spanish peaks in southern Colorado (taken from much closer than where I was in Pueblo).  They don't normally stand out so clearly so it was a pleasant surprise.  I felt my spirit lift as I enjoyed the sight.  Honestly it was like God said, "Here you go.  Look what I did just for you." 

I love the mountains, it is one of the reasons I live in Colorado.  Since the mountains are always there I can go for days at a time without really "seeing" them but there are times the light hits them just right and, Wow!  I just have to pause and thank God for the beautiful mountains and that I get to be witness to His handy work.

Life can definitely be chaotic and we can miss it if we don't stop and look around from time to time.  When I look at the wonders of His creation I have to stop and think about if we have these amazingly beautiful mountain vistas to enjoy now, how much better is it going to be in heaven?

Stop and take a breath from time to time.  Take a look around.  Enjoy what God shows you.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dancing With God

I’m sure most of you have seen the poem called “Footprints” where the guy has a dream he is walking with the Lord.  He notices the footprints and finds out that during the hardest times of his life God was carrying him. A very inspiring and reassuring poem.

Have you ever seen the other Footprints poem?  I came across this several years ago and I don’t know who wrote it but it has just as powerful a message as the original.  I wanted to share it here.

FOOTPRINTS...A New Version

          Imagine one night you have a dream that you and the Lord Jesus are walking down the road together.  For much of the way, the Lord's footprints go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying the pace.  But your footprints are a disorganized stream of zigzags, starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures, and returns.  For much of the way, it seems to go like this, but gradually your footprints come more in line with the Lord's, soon paralleling His consistently.  You and Jesus are walking as true friends!

          This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens: Your footprints that once etched the sand next to Jesus' are now walking precisely in His steps.  Inside His larger footprints are your smaller ones, you and Jesus are becoming one.  This goes on for many miles, but gradually you notice another change.  The footprints inside the large footprints seem to grow larger.  Eventually they disappear altogether.  There is only one set of footprints they have become one.

          This goes on for a long time, but suddenly the second set of footprints are back. This time it seems even worse!  Zigzags all over the place.  Stops.  Starts.  Gashes in the sand.  A variable mess of prints.  You are amazed and shocked.  Your dream ends.  Now you pray:  "Lord, I understand the first scene with zigzags and fits was a new Christian; I was just learning.  But You walked on through the storm and helped me learn to walk with You,"

          “That is correct."

          "And when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was actually learning to walk in Your steps; followed You very closely."

          "Very good. You have understood everything so far."

          " ... When the smaller footprints grew and filled in Yours, I suppose that I as becoming like You in every way."


          "So, Lord, was there a regression or something? The footprints separated, and this time it was worse than at first."  There is a pause as the Lord answers with a smile in his voice.

          "You didn't know?…
                         …That was when we danced."

Wouldn’t that be amazing?  To have a relationship with God that is so close, so intimate that you now dance with God in your daily walk.  I feel God tug at my heart every time I read this and as I continue to grow in my walk with Him I find that I am looking forward to the day that we dance.

God wants so much for us, Jeremiah told us this, that God has plans for us (Jer. 29:11-13).  And Paul tells us that it is going to be “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).  These are fantastic promises, we need to accept them.

Stop resisting! Answer the call He has put on your heart.  Seek and follow Him.  Look forward to the day that you can dance with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.