Incomparable

bible.com/72/isa.25.1.hcsb

Who else could do the things our God can do? Who else can rightly be called “God” than the One who made the heavens and the earth by his mighty power and outstretched hand? There is no one else, and thus we have no One else to thank but Him. God is the proper object of our worship and praise today. We were made to praise Him and without Him as our object, our praise feels hollow and worthless. Praising men for their great deeds is good, but praising God is better. Praising a child is good, but praising God, Who gives us all from the liberality of His hands in abundance is far better.

Worship is a natural part of our being, whether we choose to acknowledge God. We will naturally praise someone or something. We will give our allegiance to sports teams, athletes, great thinkers and minds, family, friends, those whom we admire. And we will do it without even thinking about it, because it is an instinctual as breathing. Giving your time and attention to any object or person can be moved into the realm of worship.

We worship an invisible God, whose worship and praise must be intentional. He is made evident by the creation we see around us. We are witness to His majesty through His creative acts, and He draws us to Himself by the awe we feel in His works. Worship of God is deliberate. It is something we may fall into, but to worship a God we cannot see requires our intention and concentration. It is so much easier to worship things we can see. God forces us to engage both heart and mind in worshipping Him, our spirit and our will.

So let us engage the Lord with thankfulness for His marvelous works, His blessings innumerable, and the joys He has graced us with in this life. If you have family, be thankful for that. If you have a home, food on the table, children who say “I love you”, a wife who is still a woman worthy of the descriptor “beautiful”, a good job that pays for your needs, you already have numerous reasons to be thankful.

Celebrate and enjoy this holiday in thankfulness and worship. God bless you today.

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Is There Still Mystery?

bible.com/72/ecc.11.5.hcsb

Well, is there? Arthur C. Clarke is famously quoted along the lines that any technology sufficiently advanced will be labeled magic. And yet, we are approaching God’s advanced technology day by day in our understanding of science. The magic is disappearing by the day. For example, a degree in biology can probably tell you how bones are formed in the womb. In meteorology, you can probably credible explain the path of the wind. Isn’t the “activity” of God just around the corner in theology?

But that’s not the question I want to ask. What I really need to ask is this: do I need the mystery? I don’t presume to ever figure it all out, and I never will. But do I need the mystery to believe in God? Do I need a “god of the gaps” to fill in the holes of the things I can explain by supposing they are God’s will, or, that’s just the way God made it? Does God need to be mysterious to be believed?

I think if we pinned our faith on the idea that there are things we can’t explain or understand, we will find our faith on shaky ground. It is like children who grow up to find out Dad isn’t a superhero, or mom doesn’t know everything. As children we believed these things because our parents were the most powerful beings in our universe. As we matured, we learned they were human after all.

So a faith based on God as he Cosmic Bogeyman, or the Great Magician doesn’t hold up. When we grow up, that’s not what we need from God. In fact, the older I get, the more I need of a God who is in control of the things that I know I can’t. My health, my life’s direction, my work, my family, so many things that as I become aware, I just become overwhelmed by the enormity of the universe. I need a God that who looks after me, who cares about me. Even when things go wrong, or if I suffer, I need the assurance of a God who says, “Fear not. I am with thee.” I need the Divine Presence now more than ever.

I guess I’ve moved from being awed by an unknown universe to an unknown future. I don’t need a God to explain how stars work. I need a God to explain that my work matters. Thank you God for continuing to hold me in awe, even as my knowledge improves, you continually lead me forward to deeper and greater mysteries. Thank you God for looking after me even when my eyes aren’t on you. Thank you for loving me, even when I am not lovable.

One Voice in a Choir

bible.com/72/psa.116.1.hcsb

I have to believe that millions of people are probably praying at the same moment I am. If I am listening to someone talk to me, I have to devote attention and focus to keep up with their dialogue. If not, I get hopelessly lost and have to ask them to repeat themselves. But God in His ability to be fully present in all places at once, can hear my voice in this choir of prayer. He can devote absolute attention to my voice, as if I was a soloist, and hear every word. He not only listens to my words, by the voice of my heart, which speaks more truly to Him than my lips.

Jeremiah 17:10

10  I am the LORD who searches the heart, who tests the inner depths to give to each person according to what he deserves, according to the fruit of his deeds.

May my lips match the words of my heart.

Tasting the Goodness of God

bible.com/72/psa.34.8.hcsb

So what comes to mind when you see this verse? Can God be tasted, or is that what God intends for you to take away from this verse? And how do you combine both the idea of refuge with the perceptions of taste and sight?

Many a time, David sought refuge in caves. For him, a Cave was a place of safety. It was hidden, inaccessible but to the ones who know where the caves are. As a boy, he probably spent months exploring the caves while out keeping watch over sheep, looked for caves that he and his sheep could take refuge for the night. This became for him a metaphor for the protection of God.

So what does a cave taste like? Maybe our understanding of what this verse means needs to meet its context. Are there odors so powerful you can taste? And would those odors, associated with safety and comfort arose those feelings in you whenever you smell them?

As we approach Autumn, I begin to smell these things again. Burning wood, Pumpkin Spice, autumn leaves, baked pies and roasted meat. These are smells of comfort, safety, and family. Our senses are reacquainted with home and our anxiety resets when we feel safe. Like David, we feel the surrounding reassurance that everything is going to be ok. Why? Because we are in the presence of God.

Wherever you are, taste. Wherever you are, see. Take in the world around you and be reminded of the goodness of God. He is a certain and steady refuge for the weary of heart.

Nowhere to Hide

Jesus Reached Out

No matter where you run, or how buried you are in work and circumstances, there is no place that God cannot find you. This is a comfort to some, and a fear for others. Don’t add God to your list of fears. When Adam sinned against God, he ran and hid. God called out into the garden and said, “Where are you Adam?” Adam hid because of his sin, but his sin did not hide him from God. God knew exactly where Adam was, just as our parents could always see our foot sticking out or our hair just above the back of the couch. We pretend that we can hide from those that love us the most, but we are only fooling ourselves. God sees us in our sinfulness, our wretchedness, even our busyness, and stills calls to us. He still reaches out His hand. God loves us, even when we sin against Him. God loves you, especially today.