Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Why God is Happy

God is happy.

The Bible gives us ample reason to rejoice that our God is happy. For example, when Nehemiah encouraged the people of Israel, he reminded them that “the joy of the Lord” was their strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

When Jesus told the Parable of the Talents, the faithful servant heard this judgment from the master: Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master (Matthew 25:23, my emphasis). The master's joy!

Monday, April 23, 2018


One of the best questions I’ve ever heard was asked by a father ashamed of his sons.

The father was the Old Testament judge Eli, and he was ashamed because his two grown sons were corrupt and ungodly men who misused their privilege as priests for their own gain and carnal pleasure. So Eli asked them this question:

“If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” (1 Samuel 2:25a, my emphasis)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Where are You?

My wife is a weaver, and some of her woven wall hangings tell a story. One of my favorites is called “Where are You?” A lonely girl sits at the darkened mouth of a cave. The rough rock around her seems harsh and foreboding. Miserable and hopeless, she cries out: “Where are You?”

Only when you step back do you see that the rock of the cave is formed by two gigantic hands cradling her. The hands have nail marks in them.
We don’t always see things the way they are. Jesus is nearer to us than we realize. There are times when He cradles us and carries us without our ever knowing.

The first verses of Hebrews 1 describe Christ in ways we would not know apart from God’s own revelation. So far we have looked at four of seven wonderful descriptions: Christ is Heir of All Things, the Creator, the Radiance of God’sglory, and fully God.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Just a Janitor?

In the late 1970’s Bill Crawford was a janitor at the U.S. Air Force Academy.* While the cadets’ days were filled with academics and athletics, morning parades, room inspections, and leadership classes, Bill Crawford was cleaning toilets, buffing floors, and emptying trash cans.

He was  shy and unassuming , a gray-haired older man who looked like somebody’s grandfather. No wonder the cadets didn't take much notice.

But then one afternoon one of the cadets was reading a book about World War II, and the Allied ground campaign in Italy. It told the story of a Private William Crawford, assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, who had been involved in some bloody fighting in Italy. Private Crawford had, on his own, taken out three machine gun nests to prepare the way for the advance of his unit.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Staring Directly at the Sun

On August 21, 2017, the moon passed between the earth and the sun – and so blocked it from view in the United States. This is called a total solar eclipse, and it was a pretty big deal last year. We were warned over and over again not to look directly at the sun. Though it was darkened, it could still seriously harm unprotected eyes. Use special glasses or look via reflection.

Looking directly at the sun (darkened or not) is dangerous. That seems an apt picture of the danger sinful people face in the presence of holy God. When the Lord appeared to Israel on Mt. Sinai, His presence was so terrifying that they did not want to hear His voice, did not want to have Him come any closer. They begged Moses to represent them while they stayed safely at the foot of the mountain (see Exodus 19:18-19). Here’s one description of God’s presence: the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain (Exodus 24:17).

Monday, February 12, 2018

Maker of the Redwoods

When my sons were growing up our family camped every summer in the coastal redwoods of California. We loved the state parks – Big Basin, Patrick’s Point, Prairie Creek, Portola, Butano, Grizzly Creek, Henry Cowell. 

Being in an old growth redwood forest is like being in a cathedral. You are humbled by the scale of these trees – both their height and their age. They tower 200 feet above you, and some of them are over 2000 years old.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Heir of All Things!

If we say, Frank owned him in that debate, we mean not only that Frank won and the other guy lost, but we imply that Frank dominated and the other guy was humiliated. Same with “she owned the former champion on the tennis court today.” The former champion didn’t just lose a close match. She was beaten like a drum.

So to start off this reflection by saying, Christ owns us may provoke unpleasant feelings. And of course saying you own someone could remind people of the ugliness of human slavery.With those disclaimers aside, it is still true: you and I belong to Jesus even if we don’t follow Him. He owns us. And for that matter He owns all of creation.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

What Would God Like to Talk About?

My wife and I have a regular route we walk in the evenings through our 
neighborhood. We often use the time to debrief about our day. She’ll say, what do you want to talk about? So I’ll tell her  about my day, a book I’m reading, questions I’m mulling over, or whatever. Then it will be her turn: now what would you like to talk about? And she’ll use the return trip to tell me about her day, a visit we’re planning to see grandkids, her upcoming Bible study, or whatever.

Imagine if you could take a walk with God, and He said, what would you like to talk about? You might bring up personal issues, questions you’ve always wanted to ask Him, and requests for His help. Then it would be His turn. You would say, Lord, what would You like to talk about? I wonder what He would say.