Archive for the ‘Understanding God’ Category

Relationships   1 comment

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This week I watched a TED Talk by Robert Waldinger entitled, “What makes a good life?  Lessons from the longest study on happiness”.  He was sharing what has been learned from a study which began over 75 years ago by a researcher from Harvard University.  I encourage all of you to take the twelve minutes to watch this video yourselves.  SPOILER ALERT…..  What the study has determined is that relationships are the key to a happy life.

As I listened to Dr. Waldinger, I had a mixed response.  On one hand, the conclusions which he shared did not surprise me.  Yet, there was a part of me that was surprised the simplicity and truth of these results.  I have contended for much time, based on other’s research, that we were born to be in relationship.  As a believer, I know that God created me (and everyone else) because God desired to be in relationship.  I also know that God intended us to be in relationship with others.

The core of Scripture and all of Jesus’ teachings is relationship.  Specifically, relationship in the context of love.  God created us to live in love.  Love can only be expressed and experienced in relationship.  So we are creatures who crave relationship because we crave love.  This has also been expressed through a song made famous in the musical, Moulin Rouge.  In the song, Nature Boy, we hear the great line, “The greatest thing, you’ll ever learn, is to just to love, and be loved in return.”  Only in relationship can this be a reality.

So today, I encourage you all to consider the relationships in your life.


Something Bigger   Leave a comment

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Sometimes in life it is easy to get caught up in the daily details of your life.  You get to worrying so much about those details that it seems they become huge.  Everyone has struggles and challenges.  Without even noticing it, you can become so worried about your details that you forget that you are not the only one in the world.  Unintentionally, your focus shifts to you and what is going on in your life without giving consideration to the challenges in the lives of other individuals.  This situation is something which Jesus referenced often in his teaching.  He continually questioned people about what is the central focus of their lives.

Then there are days when a person is given the opportunity to be awakened to the bigger aspects of life.  I find this type of day to be a great gift.  I am reminded that there is something bigger.  Without denying the situations occurring in my life, I am made aware of a much bigger life which includes the situations in the lives around me.  I also am given the reminder that there is someone bigger than myself who is much more capable of handling the various situations which create challenges in life.  Also, on days of awakening, I am able to see that there are more positives than negatives in life.

So today, I say thank you to the Lord for the days which awaken me to something bigger.  I say thank you to the Lord for being much bigger than myself and much more capable of handling my struggles and the struggles of my family, friends, neighbors, and those who I have not met yet.

The Master’s Hand   Leave a comment

Sometimes we all can feel that we have little value to this world.  Sometimes people can make us feel as if we are too damaged to be of worth.  The song which I share with you today is one that has reminded me that those feelings are not true.  I was introduced to this song by two wonderful female musicians at church camp many years ago.  I return to it often.  As a believer, I know that the Master does amazing things.  In the Master’s hand, we have great value.  So I share this with all of you.  Hopefully, it will be able to strengthen you on difficult days and also remind you as you look at others, the Master can make the change for all people so be careful of what worth you place on someone.

Eagle’s Wings   Leave a comment

I have a great love for the Bald Eagle.  Whenever I have the privilege to see a bald eagle, I am moved by their majesty, gracefulness, and beauty.  I could sit for hours watching bald eagles.  If you enter my office, you will find the main decorative aspect is all the bald eagle paintings and statues which are throughout the office.  So today I was reminded of a special song that speaks of the strength and majesty of my Lord.

Faith   Leave a comment

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I was led to this quote attributed to St Augustine by my morning devotions today.  I think that many individuals struggle in believing in God, Jesus, or anything which they cannot personally detect with their senses.  I definitely can relate to those feelings since in many areas of my life, I am also one who struggles with not having something concrete upon which to base decisions and actions.  However, when it comes to my spiritual life, this is not the case.

My spiritual life is based on my belief in God.  I may not be able to experience God with my senses directly, however, I have found in my life I experience God in many different ways.  One of the chief ways that I experience God is through other people.  When I receive a phone call from someone which is completely unexpected but extremely beneficial to my particular situation at the time, I attribute that to God.  When I meet someone new who brings to my life an aspect that I have been missing, I attribute that to God.

I also experience God through situations and surroundings.  The beauty of creation around me is evidence of the presence of God to me.  Experiences which I have not planned but occur and give me a different perspective, a new direction, or an affirmation are evidence of the presence of God.  Some of these situations and my surroundings go unnoticed at the specific time but upon reflection I see God.

I know that I can never say that I have heard the audible voice of God in my life.  I know that I can never say that I have felt the physical hand of Jesus in mine leading me somewhere.  I know that I can never say my eyes have beheld the face of my Lord.  However, I believe that I have heard the voice, felt the hand, and beheld the Lord’s face through others and the world around me.

My faith is based not on what I can see, touch, hear or smell but what I experience.  I experience the Lord daily!

Always Sought   Leave a comment

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One of the joys of my faith is the realization that the Lord is always seeking me out.  When you take a moment to think about the concept, it seems almost impossible to comprehend.  This week I am spending time looking at a passage in Ezekiel.  In this passage, the Lord says that God will seek out God’s sheep (people) by looking for them endlessly wherever they have scattered.  This specific reference was in regards to the scattering of the Hebrews during their exile and being overthrown by many nations.  Yet, it speaks to me even now.  For it reminds me that when I go astray and get lost in my life, the Lord will seek me out.

What a great comfort!  For this tells me that even when I do not realize how off-track and lost I have become, the Lord will always seek me out.  There are many times in life when we get so caught up in the day-to-day that we can lose sight of the path we should be on.  There are times when we think we are heading the right way but because our internal GPS is not working, we actually are getting lost.

I am glad that the Lord is my shepherd who comes looking for me and will bring me back.

Still Here   Leave a comment

Passenger planes being shot down by missiles.  Peace shattered in Israel and Palestine.  Mass shootings in various parts of the country.  Ongoing battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Everywhere you turn there seems to be violence, hatred, and death.  These realities in the world can be overwhelming.  As a person looks at all of this, it is easy to come to the conclusion that God is not here.  It would not be the first time in our history that people came to such a conclusion; remember the “God is Dead” statements from a few decades ago?  But this conclusion could not be farther from the truth.

This last Sunday we heard about a man named Jacob who was fleeing for his life.  He felt all alone and had no sense of where to go or what future might exist.  He laid down his head to attempt to get some rest before he continued his flight journey.  During the night he had a vision which appeared to open to the very throne room of God.  God spoke to Jacob and affirmed promises of home and future to Jacob.  God also made a promise that I think we need to hear today, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”  (Genesis 28:15, NIV)  God was still with Jacob even during scary and dangerous times.  God is still here now.

As a believer, I need to continue to pray about the situations in the world that are scary and dangerous.  I need to continue to pray for those impacted by the events of violence, hatred, and injustice.  I need to question why these events continue to occur and seek ways to prevent them.  However, I must never lose sight of the promise that God gave Jacob and gives to all of us today; God’s unending presence with us.  Whether it be on a global scale or the raging battles in my life, God has not abandoned us.