Would you look at that.

I have been thinking about something.  OK a lot of things but specifically the design of the earth and skies.  I have been thinking about the stars in the sky, the way a tulip opens and closes, the way bamboo grows, and so on.  I know that we can look at these things and explain why they do what they do, or how this has to happen for that to happen but I want to look at it from a different perspective for just a minute.

When I build or draw or create some other way I do it not just for functionality but for expression.  I do it so you can understand a little something about me and about what I was feeling or trying to say at that moment.  I desire that you look at it and say “Mike was saying….”  Should I think God any less seeing as He is the Master Creator?

An amazing thing is to realize is that God does not change (Hebrews 13:8) so if He was trying to say something then He is still saying that thing.  So if He creates so that the heavens declare His glory or so that he skies proclaim the work of His his hands then they are still saying the same thing now that they said then.  I realize that they look different now because of time, pollution, and sin but they are still beautiful and amazing to look at.

So what is God trying to say in this beautiful tapestry of creation?  Is there a message in it all?  I think there is.

I think two things God wanted to communicate with the work of His hand was I am lovely and amazing.  When I look at creation I see beauty and love.  I see a God who says I created all this because I am good.  I am good and I love you.  I don’t understand how you cannot see the love of God in a bise laugh, or the bright sun, or the opening and closing of a flower.

I know there is darkness out there and you can find that if you want, but there is also love and beauty out there if you want to see it.

Just a thought,

Mike

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Smelly Faces

Yesterday was the my wifes first full day back from her missions trip to Haiti.  I had been prepping for her return by doing some reading on how to help them cope with being back in the States, getting ready to just listen, ramping my self up to assure her to take her time not to rush and share what she is not ready for.  I was ready for this.  I knew my strengths and weaknesses but I was ready, or so I thought.

Something that was missing in the articles and advice was something that hit me hard, and kept on hitting.  My wife had a smelly face.  No she did not need a shower because this smell could not be washed off.  It wasn’t just her face though.  All over her she just smelled.  She smelled like Jesus.  I was not ready for it either.  She started with telling some stories, and then showing some pictures.  That was all fine and well, but something started to hit me.  The more she spoke the more it filled the air.  Then she did something that just filled the house with the smell she started putting some stuff away and I do not think her feet hit the ground.  She simply float around the house.  Singing and praising God.

I have seen my wife in a wedding dress, and in pregnancy (the two most common stages of glowing) and neither of these glows could match this one.  It was hard to look at.

See in 2 Corinthians 2:15 is says

“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”  

It means that people should be able to smell God on you.  You should stink with so much Jesus that people either hold their nose around you or smell you like a fresh cake to be blunt you should stink.

While 2 Corinthians 3:18 says

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Which just means when people look at us they should see something different.  It is a little harder to explain but think of it like the glow of love.  People look at you and just know there is something there, something different.

Well my wife came back from Haiti fully polished and pungent, and I did not expect it.  I did not expect that her mere presence would make me feel like Peter when he told Jesus to go away because he was a sinful man, or when the leper broke custom and approached Jesus for healing.  I am not saying my wife is the Messiah but I am saying she has Jesus all over her.  It broke me some to be honest.  I knew in an instant that I need to do exactly what God says and exactly how He says it even though I am still not sure what He is saying.

The hard part now is trying to stop the world from trying to cover up the smell on my wife.

Just a thought,

Mike

That Blows my mind

So I have never technically been late to pick my daughter up from the bus but there have been times when it was pretty close.  I mean look down and go OH CRAP!  I have been late for work once or twice but not often.  I usually miss the right time to say something nice to someone.  I also have a slight tendency to dominate a conversation.  That last one has nothing to do with this article but I thought it best to admit that.

I have these issues and others because I am a little self centered, and a whole lot human.  God however does not have these issues.  He has this amazing ability to be right on time and right on track all the time.  I want to drop three basic theology words on you.

  • Omnipresent
  • Omniscient
  • Omnipotent

Let’s break these words down.  Omni means all.  Present means relating to now or current.  Scient refers to knowing (think science), or aware.  Potent means strength or effective.  When you add it all you get the following statements about God.

  • God is Always Present (or Always Current and that will preach).
  • God is All Knowing (or Always Aware and that will preach).
  • God is All Powerful (or All Effective and that will preach).

I am reading through the Gospel of Matthew right now and I noticed in the first chapter there are 4 fulfilled prophecies regarding the Christ.  It’s like watching a movie huge explosion or when it starts with the main character dying.  You’re like WOW where can it go from here.  That is chapter one in Matthew.  I mean there are like 300-400 prophecies pertaining to Jesus and you get 4 in chapter one of Matthew.  Then there are another 4 in chapter two.  It’s like woe hold on let me get back in my seat first please.

God can do that because He knows everything, is everywhere, and can do everything.  Try and think about not having time.  Go ahead I’ll wait.  Ok done?  I bet you couldn’t.  I know I can’t.  We were created in time so we have that limit.  Try and remember what it was like to be born.  Go ahead I’ll wait again.  Done?  Did you?  No you couldn’t because you have a limited memory and limited knowledge.  Try and pick up the house.  You can’t do that either.

Now I want you to try and think about this.  God exists outside of time.  To Him there is no yesterday or tomorrow, but instead everything is current.  He sees your birth and death at the same time.  I mean it boggles the mind to try and comprehend but He our yesterday and tomorrow are His now.  WOW!  That blows my mind.  What blows my mind even more is God sees me failing and falling short 10 years from now.  He sees it as if it is happening right now, and yet He loves me the same anyway.  That is just amazing.

Now think about this; If the same God who sees everything, and was able to prove the coming of Christ ahead of time can then make it happen can’t He also take care of you.  One of the most amazing things I read in Scripture is when Jesus talks about the sparrows and hairs on your head in Matthew chapter 10.

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

What Jesus is saying here is actually very profound.  He is saying that the all knowing, all seeing, all powerful God knows you personally so don’t worry.  Again I say WOW!  How can I possibly worry about tomorrow when I know that God says it is in His hands.  My fear is just that I will lose the false sense of control and power I think I have.  I think that tomorrow is in my hands but it is not.  I have no more control over tomorrow then I do control over yesterday.  I mean sure there are things I can and need to do but ultimately it is not in my hands.

We have a saying in my family when life gets all jacked up; Who’s hands?  It is about trusting that God is in control and when He is in control we can relax.  Our job is just to walk out His will.

Right now I am struggling with direction (par for the course).  There is something I want to do but see no way to do it.  I am torn as to if it is my will or His.  If it is His I should and will trust that He knows what He is doing.  If it is me then well lets not go there.  So what do I do?  I trust that the one who knows everything, is everywhere, and can do all things loves me and knows my name.  I trust that if I ask Him then He will tell me when the time is right.

Just a thought,

Mike

To all the single parents

I am in no way comparing myself to a single parent, but I do have much more respect for them after this week. Being the only parent in the house I am exhausted. Every single thing that needs to be done falls to you. Rest ha! Relax ha! Have a thought that does not involve doing something for someone else ha! I am very fortunate to be able to work from home so I can do dishes on break (in theory) or do laundry at lunch, but even with that I still do not sit down to rest until about 9. Then I still have stuff to do but I can do it from the couch.

So to all the single parents regardless of why you are a single parent I salute you! Keep up the good work, and continue to fight the good fight, because those moments where you see them smile and put into practice something that you taught is absolutely priceless.

OK breaks over time to do dishes….

Thy word is a head light unto my tires, and a light unto the road

When you were a kid did your parents ever tell you to go tell someone something?  I have four younger brothers so I was always telling them what mom said.  But I was smart enough to only go as far as what mom said.  I do not think it ever occurred to me to go beyond that and add a little extra (I easily could have though).  I could have added a little something for myself like “mom said clean your room and make Mike a sandwich.” or even just a little more for emphasis like “mom said clean your room or you are grounded.”  That sounds like something my mom would say but I knew that if mom said tell your brother to clean his room then I needed to only tell him to clean his room.

It is the same thing with God.  Sometimes God tells us something very specific and we are only to go as far as what He says, and not a little extra for ourselves or for emphasis.  Sometimes the word is an actual word like “tell Tom I love him” or “tell Gina she is precious to me.” But sometimes (and more often than not) it is a directional word like give the church $10,000 and say nothing of it, or drop off groceries to the neighbor, but it could be a million different things.  Whatever it may be we are to do it faithfully and only to the extent of the direction given.

There is a story in Mark chapter 11 that helps us with this.  It is known as the Triumphal Entry and before Jesus enters He tells two of His disciples to go into town and get a young colt and tells them that if anyone asks just say “The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”  They had direction and words.  What I find interesting and great is that they followed the direction and spoke the words with no more or no less than what was given.  They could have thought that they needed to add a little more to it, maybe a little payment or something to grease the wheels.  But they did not do that.  No instead they did as Jesus said to do.

It echos another story John 2 where Jesus’s mother tells the servants to “do whatever He tells you.”  Again there is this theme building where Jesus gives commands or direction and we are to follow it to the letter.  There is a lot that can and has been said about that right there but I want to just focus on only going as far as the direction.  If God says take 2 steps then take two normal standard steps.  Do not take small or large steps but just take two standard steps.  We can easily want to and think we need to do a little more or add a little something to it when God speaks but His words are true and accurate.  Some of the biggest trouble I have ever gotten myself in is because I have done a little more or a little less than I was directed to.

Psalms 119:105 is a great verses to memorize.  I have it memorized in the King James for some odd reason “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  No we do not walk around with lamps or even flashlights often but most of us drive so we could think of it like this “Thy word is a head light unto my tires, and a light unto the road.”

When you drive your car you only drive as far as the headlights will let you.  Yes they are always present before but you cannot out drive them.  If they stop working you stop driving because you cannot see.  You also drive a little slower in unfamiliar territory because you have to only rely on your lights.  You have not been there so you cannot go too fast.  You need the lights to illuminate the road you do not know.  Even on roads you do know you need the headlights to make sure you are staying in your lane.

That is the Word of God and a word from God.  You should only go as far as directed.  Not faster than needed and not slower than needed just two standard steps.  This is also why daily Bible reading, prayer, and worship is not only healthy but necessary.  It is light shining on our path that we walk every day.

My wife and I are working with a church plant right now and there are so many paths and directions we can take.  So many ideas and thoughts but the ones that are important are the ones God wants us to take.  We need to wait for a word from Him and then take that step just as He directs.  Not a little more and not a little less but just two standard steps.

Just a thought,

Mike

Dancing before God

I was just thinking about David dancing before the LORD.  If you read through the story starting in Chapter 5 you see that David defeats the Philistines and then wants to bring the Ark back to his home.  After he places the Ark on a cart it goes to fall Uzzah goes to brace it and the LORD struck Him dead.  God said in Leviticus 10:3 that He is holy and will be revered as holy by the people, but David and Uzzah forgot this for a minute.  David being afraid decides not to take the Ark back with him but leaves it Obed-Edom, but once he hears that God has been blessing Obed-Edom he decides to bring the Ark to his house.

David now has a better insight into who God is.  He is capable of punishment but He also the provider.  David is so happy and has so much joy that he dances the whole way.  He was dancing in such a way that his wife was embarrassed to see it.  She even tells him this in 6:20.  But David’s response is what I want to focus on.  He says in 6:21-22:

It was before the LORD, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel.  Therefore I will play music before the LORD.  And I will be even more undignified than this, and I will be humble in my own sight.

When David understood how great God, and how God is the one who gave him his position he knew he needed to praise God.  He knew he needed to praise the one worthy of praise.  God is so big, so mighty, so powerful, so amazing that He has to be praised.  Not that He should, but He must.  One day everyone will praise Him anyway.  Praising God is not about sounding good (Heaven knows I don’t), it is not about looking good.  It is about humbling yourself before a mighty and amazing God who is bigger than your prayers and desires.  It is about seeing God and then seeing how small you really are.

Just a thought,

Mike