Friday’s Column: Supplemental Strength
Our Creator is eternal. Hence, he has and will always exist. Having no beginning, He will never have an end. It hurts our feeble brains to try and comprehend this truth, but we accept it, seeing it with an “eye of faith.” Time is a concept held only by the mortal construct of an immortal God. Time means nothing to Him. Since that is the case, a couple of truth becomes evident.
Since God is outside time, He can work out what is best in our life. From our perspective, life is a complex picture puzzle with pieces collected over some 70 or 80 years (cf. Psalm 90.10). Since Adam opened “Pandora’s Box” of sin, those pieces of the puzzle handed to us do not always make sense. Sin may cause a single bit even to hurt us. Yet, God’s Providence ensures it works out in accordance to His Divine Will (Romans 8.28). God knows how the completed puzzle picture looks. No piece escapes His observation. So, even if a part was not what He had hoped because sin marred the edges, He still ensures that those pieces fall into the right place. When we leave this world, perhaps, we will see the completed picture too. Like the apostle Paul, we might gain clarity before our departure. Paul had a good grasp of his life as he summed it up for Timothy (2 Timothy 4.6-8). Hopefully, we will speak as confidently as Paul concerning our future when granted the clarity of life’s impending end.
Since God is outside time, He is longsuffering. I do not seek to diminish God’s love in making this case. I merely emphasize what Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3.8-9:
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (NASB)
Contextually, the two ideas are related. God’s lack of concept of time equals longsuffering. Can you see how that makes sense? Would it not be easier to be patient with someone if you had no idea of time? We lose patience with others since we feel we can quantify progress with a predetermined amount of time: “I asked you to do this a week ago, and you still have not completed it?” (Can you not hear the frustration in that question? Maybe you even read it in your mind with a voice of exasperation.) Yet, time does not constrain God. He sees the beginning and end of our life simultaneously. Thus, that one becoming a worker at the eleventh hour is paid the same wage as those laborers working all day (cf. Matthew 20.1-15).
We could give other examples to illustrate the benefits of God’s existence outside time, such as how that quality of God enabled prophets to write with 100% about events that would occur hundreds of years after the seer’s lifetime. Hopefully, though, we have considered enough to enrich our faith. Yes, God’s existence outside time enables His Providence to work flawlessly and suffer each of us long. We serve an amazing God!
Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog
Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog
Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog
Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail
There’s a magic moment when a child discovers that two different paint colors combined can create an entirely different color. The possibilities seem endless! Red and yellow paints are dumped on a blank canvas and mixed to create a bright orange. That same excitement, on a whole new level, can be experienced when we discover that God mixed with “human nature” creates something far better and more beautiful. God is often the ingredient missing from our potential success as well as those goals we sometimes attempt to make alone. Consider the impact He has on our common life struggles…
1. When God is mixed with our sin – He creates forgiveness (Romans 4:7)
2. When God is mixed with our finances – He creates a healthy view of money and how to use it (Proverbs 13:11)
3. When God is mixed with our relationships – He creates a stronger and more fulfilling bond (Eph. 4:2-3)
4. When you mix God with uncertainty – He creates certainty (Romans 8:28)
5. When you include God in difficult decisions – you find direction (Prov. 3:5-6)
6. When you mix God with depression/anxiety – you discover some relief (1 Peter 5:6-7)
7. When you include God in your work – you will get the best results (1 Cor. 2:9)
8. Add God to any fear – you not only get courage, but a total removal of fear (1 John 4:18)
In short, the more yellow you add to red, the brighter the orange. The more God you add to your life, the brighter the future becomes. If you desire a vibrant life, then God is what needs to saturate your mind, heart, and decisions.
When God is in my mind my mind becomes more holy.
When God finds His way into my heart, my heart develops more purity.
No meaningful and lasting change can be accomplished by sheer willpower and determination— if those two things are not mixed with an all-powerful God.
Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross
In a world facing ever-changing circumstances, we need to be reminded of some truths about God. A great text that can help us do this is found in the writings of the Messianic prophet, Isaiah. He tells us some exciting facts about God in Isaiah 33:5-6. In brief, Isaiah reminds us of God’s transcendence (“exalted…on high”), His trustworthiness (“has filled Zion with justice and righteousness”), and His treasure (“a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the Lord is his treasure”). In the midst of upholding God’s perfect character, the prophet makes this reassuring statement: “And He will be the stability of your times.”
In part, here is what that means to us today…
- There is no minimum distance we have to keep from Him under any circumstance (Jas. 4:8).
- There is no restriction or limit on our access to Him and His blessings, on prayer or His Word (Phil. 4:19).
- There is no chance that you will look for Him and He will not be there (Psa. 50:15).
- There is no possibility that you will learn that what was true of Him yesterday is not true of Him today (or tomorrow)(Heb. 13:8)
- There is no cancellation policy at the throne of grace for the child of God (Heb. 4:16).
- There is no threat or danger that can keep you from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39).
- There is no earthly thing to nullify the truth that “the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid” (Heb. 13:6).
- The more we expose ourselves to Him, the healthier we will be.
- There is zero chance that you will go to Him for healing and have it fail (Jer. 8:22; Luke 5:31).
Scripture calls Him the Rock (Deut. 32:4), the shield (2 Sam. 22:31), my protection (Isa. 27:5), my shield, stronghold, and protection (2 Sam. 22:3), and a strong tower (Prov. 18:10). As Nebuchadnezzar understood, “all His works are true and His ways just” (Dan. 4:37).
Take heart. Take on the day. Take comfort and refuge. “And He will be the stability of your times.”
Thursday’s Column: Dale Mail
In the pantry there’s a package of white foam cups. A small gray mouse struggles to carry a cup out into a man’s front yard one at a time. Just one cup and one each day. The man sticks to a normal routine. He goes to work early, and he comes home late. He watches TV, cooks a meal, tinkers on projects in the garage, and goes to bed. It’s mindless, it’s robotic, but day in and day out the cycle repeats itself. He leaves for work and the mouse drags yet another cup out onto his lawn. It isn’t until his yard is filled with foam cups that the man takes notice. What a mess! He walks through the yard and picks a few of them up. As he examines them he says, “What a waste. Perfectly good cups, now useless and dirty. We have a limited amount of foam cups in our package, and there’s a day when the mouse will grab the last one. We better put them to use. ”
If God came to you and gave you the chance to make a single request, what would you ask for? Our prayer lives are usually filled with our personal wants and needs. There are countless things that tug at different areas of our heart as we approach our Father, the Creator of the universe. He can do anything, He has all the power, and in one way or another we all desire some Divine intervention. I would like my family to be healthy and happy. I would like to live out the rest of my days with no more worries or anxieties. I would like the peace that comes with total financial stability. I wish my dog would live to be one hundred and five. I would like to be successful in everything I put my mind to.
There are five hundred wants in my heart, but what do I desire more than anything? The answer to that question is deeply connected to our spiritual life. What my heart chases after, where my time and energy goes, and even what I ask God for spreads my top priorities before me. David writes in Psalm 27:4, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek. That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon his beauty and inquire in His temple.” David is known as the man after God’s own heart, simply because his heart was after God. David’s one desire was to form a deep and meaningful relationship with God. He understood what truly matters in this life. He even makes that his specific and singular request of the Lord. He puts his faith in action as he seeks that relationship with God. His life was built around this, and everything else is secondary to him. His seeking was that hopeful expectation— the effort he put in to this pursuit was a demonstration of that belief in God’s ability to grant him his one thing. David spent his time wisely. Almost every day that was granted to him he used as an opportunity to seek His Lord.
God is the Alpha the Omega, the beginning and the end. His eyes can see the very point in time in which He decided to create everything. He can also step back and look at His timeline and see the exact moment in which He will bring all things to an end. The Bible is a gift and glimpse into His mind. In it we can see the powerful beginning to the world we live in. We can see how God works in our present, and we can read about a grand event that will come when the days run out.
What is that one thing you want more than anything else? Don’t let the cups pile up in your yard. Let’s all use the time we have to pursue the only thing that matters.
Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog
Some people may not know this, but I’m not much of a runner. In fact, I’m not a runner at all, period. This is because my endurance is terrible. I once tried to go on a run to the kitchen, and I gave up right outside my door. Very much unlike me, Serge Girard, a French ultra runner, has run 14,031 miles in just under a year! To break that down, that’s 1,169 miles run in a month or 39 miles a day! This ultra runner has incredible endurance, and we could even say it’s almost superhuman. Serge Girard has amazing endurance, but it is nothing at all compared to the endurance of God.
Psalm 111 is a beautiful description of how God “Endures Forever.” I’d like to suggest that by reading this Psalm we see that the LORD endures forever. In this Psalm we see three aspects of the LORD’S endurance.
The Lord Has Endurance Through His Righteousness (vs. 3). The Psalmist sets the stage to this psalm by using the Hebrew word for “Hallelujah,” then says, “I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart.” When the writer of this psalm says “with all my heart” this seems to imply he is coming with every intention of giving his all to the LORD.
Applying this to our ourselves, when we come together to worship God are we there with the full intentions to worship God? Or do we just put half-hearted effort into worship? Verse two says, “Great are the works of the LORD; they are studied by all who delight in them.” If we as Christians truly delight in the Lord, then we should be studying the works of the God!
Verse three reveals the first quality of the Lord’s endurance. “Splendid and majestic is His work, and His righteousness endures forever.” As One who was unerringly faithful to His covenant with Israel, God constantly executes justice on behalf of His people. In the bringing of Israel out of Egypt, His works declare His righteousness. This impeccable character of His nature does not and will not ever change. Keeping this verse in mind when we are going through difficulties in our lives should cause great comfort. We know that the God who delivered Israel from slavery listens to us when we pray, and He is always there for us.
The Lord Has Endurance Through His Precepts (vs. 7-8). The writer says, “The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are sure. They are upheld forever and ever; they are performed in truth and uprightness.” This word “precepts” literally means “things God has appointed.” Applying this to the time when this was written, this is talking about the Law given to Israel on Mount Sinai. But applying this to us as Christians today, God never wavers in His promises. He is unfailing just as He was when He wrote the Law on Mount Sinai. What we should focus on is this idea of “forever and ever.” It is hard for us as humans to put this into perspective because we can’t seem to wrap our heads around this idea of someone having no beginning or end. But that is how the Psalmist describes the precepts of the Lord. They will never fail. As Christians we can take comfort in knowing that the God that we serve is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow! We don’t have to worry that God will change His mind on how we get to Heaven or what is and what is not a sin. Unlike us imperfect humans, God will forever be the same.
The Lord Has Endurance Through His Praise (10). He says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.” The Lord not only deserves to be praised forever, but He receives it. Whether it’s from His creation, or through us, the Lord’s praise endures forever!
If we keep these aspects in mind as we go throughout our daily lives, we may realize that we aren’t always living the way we should. We must ask ourselves, “Are we praising God with our Lives?”
Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog
Someone once said, “Excuses are tools of the incompetent, and those who specialize in them seldom go far.” Ben Franklin is quoted saying, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
Jeremiah had a complete list of excuses ready when God called on him to be a prophet to the people of Israel. Many times the excuses of Jeremiah become ours when we are called on to proclaim God’s Word to this world. We see that with every excuse Jeremiah made, God gave promises in return.
First, Jeremiah said, “the task ahead is difficult.” Jeremiah 1:5 says, ““Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” This is God speaking to Jeremiah, and notice what He says, “I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” The task ahead is difficult, so Jeremiah gives off a list of excuses for why he isn’t the one for this job. God gives a promise for Jeremiah’s excuses. He says, “before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” God knew that Jeremiah was the one for the job, even if Jeremiah didn’t think so.
Second, Jeremiah said, “I don’t have the talent.” Jeremiah 1:6 says, “Then I said, “Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.” Many times people blame their cowardice on a lack of talent. They say that it isn’t natural to them, that there are others more suited for the job. But God knows Jeremiah and the great good he can accomplish. In Jeremiah 1:9, God promises that He would put His words in Jeremiah’s mouth.
As Christians today we have these same promises for our worries and excuses. Let’s not blame our cowardice on a lack of talent or the difficulty of the task. That isn’t a good excuse to God. Nothing is. He has promised that He will be with us, and we have HIS Word to teach to others. Let’s trust in that.