Above All Else

God knew David. He knew the good. the bad. the ugly. God called David a man after his own heart. Even when David sinned. And he sinned badly. But what sin is good? But oh. David stole someone else’s wife. She became pregnant. So he had the husband killed. Lust. Adultery. Premeditated murder. And after all that, God still said that David was a man after God’s own heart.

And God was right. He always is. David is the only person who God says is a man after his own heart. For God knew that David would always do what God wanted him to do. Read it for yourself.

God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’’ Acts 13:22

To be the only one God mentions in that way says something. Oh. God knows everything. So he knows. He knows the intentions of your heart. Even before you do.

God knows if you will do everything he wants you to do.

I have to ask myself. Do I have a heart that runs after God? Do I seek him above all else? Where do my interests lie? Will I do everything God wants me to? Is it even possible? I mean. I want to. But. What are the choices here?

Oh sure. David was human. He messed up multiple times. He did things out of turn. But every time he found himself outside of God’s graces, he admitted it and ran back to God. He was God’s and God was his. No matter what. David served only one God.

Oh. David had his faults. But he had strengths that continued to draw him to God. He was loyal. He loved fiercely. He was humble. He was honest. He had inner strength. He took risks. He served only one God. He spent time alone with God.


How great you are, O Sovereign Lord ! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! 2 Samuel 7:22


There is something for us to consider.  When we fail.  When we disobey God.  When our sins are made known to us.  Who do we run to?  What god do we turn to?  Do we automatically run back to the God of the universe?  Or do we run to the god of the credit card?  Or the god of the bottle? Or the god of the trashy novels?  Or whatever that fake god is we run to to soothe our hurting hearts.

And does it work? That running to false gods? Does it take the pain away? Does it solve the problem? Does it lessen the anxiety? Does it pay the debt? Does it heal the relationship? Does it remove the sadness and unloved feelings?

If you’re not running after God’s own heart, then whose heart are you running after?  Your own?  Most likely.  Who else’s heart would you turn to?

Where could I run to?
Where could I go?

Even then. There is a choice to make. We can always choose to run back to God even after we’ve run far from him. Even when we’ve committed those sins that break us. Even when we’ve hurt others and ourselves. God continues to love us and beckon us back. We can choose to have a heart for God. We can choose to run back to him. We can choose to do everything God asks us to do. We can.


How Big is God

I remember the song. I remember the singer. He had a big voice. He sang big. He was a big man, yet he sang about how small he was. Compared to God. Compared to God, he was a heartbeat. He was a soul. He was loved.
He was part of God’s plan.

But compared to God, what was he?

The man just won his sixth Super Bowl. He won his first Super Bowl in his second season of play. He’s played in eleven Super Bowl games. And some think he should have already retired. But he keeps playing. He says he isn’t done yet. Some people think he’s a god. Some people are tired of him.

But compared to God, what is he?

A billionaire is the President of the United States. Another billionaire is talking about challenging him. Billionaires. Some people think they’re gods. Sometimes they think they are, too. There are over two thousand billionaires in the world today. They’re richer than ever. They can buy anything. Do anything. Live anywhere. Travel anywhere. Have anything their hearts desire.

But compared to God, what are they?


“To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One. Isaiah 40:25


Though man may strive to go beyond the reach of space
To crawl beyond the distant shim’ring stars
This world’s a room so small within my Master’s house
The open sky’s but a portion of His yard

How big is God? How big and wide His vast domain
To try and tell, these lips can only start
He’s big enough to rule His mighty universe
Yet small enough to live within my heart

As winter’s chill may cause the tiny seed to fall
To lie asleep till waked by summer’s rain
The heart grown cold will warm and throb with life anew
The Master’s touch will bring the glow again

–Stuart Hamblen

Only God has held the ocean in his hands. Only God has measured the heavens with his fingers. Only God knows the number of hairs on my head. No one but God knows the number of times this heart of mine will beat. No one but God knows the weight of the earth.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. He doesn’t need advice or instruction. He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them all by name.

Some use his name as a swear word. They take his name in vain without a single thought to what they’re saying. Little do they know that God has many names. Sure. God is small enough to live within my heart. But belittling him and who he is by using his name in vain makes the speaker even smaller. Oh. People do it all the time without a second thought.

He feeds the birds. He cares for the flowers. Won’t he do the same for me? He saw me and knew me when I was in my mother’s womb. He searches every heart. He knows every thought. He sees every troubles.

He sends the snow like white wool. He scatters frost upon the ground like ashes. He hurls the hail like stone. He sends his winds, and the ice thaws.

Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold, overlaid with gold and weighed down with silver chains? The Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. No one can measure his greatness. May his name be praised.

The God I Know

Oh.  Heavenly Father, God and Creator of the Universe.  You knew me before I was born.  You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  You numbered my days before I breathed my first breath.  You alone decided I would be born, and you alone will decide when my days are complete.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made by You.

You alone planned my days.  You know my accomplishments.  You know my failures.  You love me in my most lovely days, and you love me when I’m less than lovely.

You go before me and you follow me.  You surround me with your presence.  You work for me.  You fight for me.  Your heavenly armies follow me.  I can never escape from your Spirit.  Your hand guides me.  Your strength supports me.  You equip me for your work.  I am never far from your thoughts.

You search me.  You know my thoughts.  You read my mind.  You hear my words.  You test me.  You know my anxious thoughts.  Yet you still love me.  You won’t turn away when I call.

You are the first and the last.  The alpha and the omega.  The beginning and the end.  You never had a beginning and you’ll never end.  You are always.  You are eternal.  You are everlasting.

Oh.  You are three in one.  God, you are the Father.  Jesus Christ, you are the Son.  Holy Spirit, you are my Guide.  All of you complete the never-ending circle of the one and only God.  There are no limits to what you can do.  You are powerful.  You are able to do anything and everything.   At any time.

You are the God of peace.  You are kind.  Compassionate.  Loving.  Generous.  You meet all my needs and provide me with blessings.  Your grace is free and undeserved.  Your mercies are new every day.


I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  Revelation 22:13


Your ways are beyond understanding. You are a good good Father. You know best.  You love unconditionally.  You love the lovely and the unlovely.  You are merciful and yet you’re just. You will repay and you will punish.  But oh.  Your blessings are unfathomable. Your love is endless.  Your grace is unearned.

You love everyone. Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in your sight.  The lame. The blind. The sick.  The homeless.  The rich.  The poor.  The thief.  The artist.  The CEO.  The hourly worker.  You love those who are hurting. You love those who have hurt others.  You love the honest.  You love the liar.  You do not discriminate.

You allow Satan to tempt and trick your people.  You allow wars and disease and famine.  You allow untimely deaths and accidents.  Job loss.  Destruction.  Horrible crimes.  You could stop these, yet you don’t.  You allow nature to take its course.  You allow the sun to rise and set every single day.  You allow mankind to choose you or not to choose you.  You’ve given us a free will to live our lives as we see fit.  With you.  or without you.  And through it all, you love us.  No matter what we choose.

You offer forgiveness.  No questions asked.  You stand waiting for us to choose you over everything else we hold dear.  You offer eternal life.  You offer a heavenly reward.  You gave your Son.  For everyone.

Your work is never left undone. You finish everything you start.  You work thoroughly and perfectly.  You are the Master Creator, creating works of art for your pleasure and purpose.  You are the Master Carpenter, building an eternal home for those who follow your ways.

Through everything, you never change. The good. The bad. The ugly. You’re constant. You speak only the truth. You don’t lie. You keep your promises. In your own time.  Because for you a day is a thousand years and a thousand years is a day.  Time is nothing to you. Yet you created time.  In those 7 days, you created day and night.  Dark and light. Sun and moon.  Sea and land.  Food and flower.  Creature and man.

You are the final Judge.  You will have the last say about how I’ve lived my life.  You alone will decide if I am worthy to enter heaven’s gates.  Oh.  I’m unworthy.  But you alone, God, will determine my eternity.

You correct me when I’m wrong.  You counsel me when I need guidance.  You challenge me to trust you when I’m out of my comfort zone.  You carry me through the most difficult of times.

God, you are fair.  You judge and punish as you see fit.   You are impartial.  You decide who will rise and who will fall.  You allow rain to fall on the just and on the unjust.  You have enemies, but you fight cleanly and fairly.

God, you never change.  You’re always right.  You have the final say in all matters.  No one is better than you.  You alone determine the outcome of all events.  You alone are God.  You are the only God.  The one and only God.  All knees will bow to you at some unknown time.  All lips will confess you as Lord at the appointed time.

Bless your holy name.  Amen.

 

Fair Weather Fan

I am a fan of a certain football team.  I love it when they’re winning.  I cheer for them when they beat their opponents.  I sit and watch the game when they are playing well.  I’m proud to call them my team when they have a winning season.

But there are times when I look the other way.  When the team just can’t seem to do anything right in a game.  When the score is lopsided and not in their favor.  When they’re not playing well.  Well.  I tend to walk out of the room.  I find something.  Anything else to do but watch my team humiliate themselves.  It’s too painful.

I’ve never attended a game in person.  I can say it’s because I don’t like big crowds.  Or that tickets would be impossible to get.  Or that I don’t want to sit outside in uncertain weather.  But really.  What would I do if I went to a game and my team didn’t really show up to play?  I couldn’t sit through it.  I would need a way out.  I would need to escape.  My heart wouldn’t be in the game.

My team is often in the news.  When they’ve won an impossible game.  When they have a winning record.  When their star player makes an incredible play.  When there’s talk of the national championship.  But there are times when they’ve been in the news for all the wrong reasons.  It’s disheartening to hear talk of a great team or coach or player who has played poorly or acted foolishly.  Rumors fly.  Speculation is rampant.  The full story is never told publicly.

I admit it.  I am a fair weather fan.  If things aren’t going well with my team, I look away.  Oh.  I walk away from the game.  Oh.  I love that team.  But my support is only skin deep.  Does that mean I’m not a fan?  Or.  Does it mean I speak with my lips and not from the heart?  I haven’t sold out completely to the team I call my own.  Is that a double standard?


Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.  Matthew 12:30


I am a Christian.  I have asked God to forgive my sins.  I have vowed to follow Christ for all my days.  I love it when he blesses me.  I am thankful when he answers my prayers.  I am humbled when he shows his love to me in ways I never imagined.

There are times when God doesn’t answer the prayers I want him to answer.  Or he doesn’t answer in the way I wish he would.  There are times he allows me to walk a rocky road.  There are days when it seems he’s not fighting for me.  But the thing is.  I have to know and accept the truth about God.  I know he is always fighting for me.  He is working hard for me.  Always.

God is always with me.  He fights my every battle.  He walks every step with me.  When the going gets tough in my life, he’s right there with me.  He doesn’t give up on me when I give up on the situation.  He equips me to do the work he has set out for me.

God loves me.  Always.  It doesn’t matter if I return his love.  His love never changes.  Even when I act unlovely.  Even when I fail.  Even when I turn my eyes to smaller gods.  He still loves me.  When I come running back to him, he’s waiting with outstretched arms.

So how can I be disappointed in my God.  How can I walk away when I know he never gives up on me.  I can count on God.  I can trust him.  And I do.  This is one team I choose to stay with no matter what happens.  God is my God and I am his.  We are in this fight together.

People Watchers

We have a neighborhood cat.  He roams the neighborhood at all hours of the day.  And night.   He walks through everyone’s yard.  Through the wooded ravine.  Down the middle of the street.  This cat knows more about the nooks and crannies of the neighborhood than any kid who lives here.   He’s always out and about.  Checking out the latest happenings.  He pops up just when you least expect him.

It seems that he’s always in my yard at the most inconvenient times.  He likes to taunt my dog.  He brings out the worst in my dog.  He knows what causes my dog to go ballistic.  He keeps coming back for more.  I think he enjoys having power over another animal.  He’s always on the prowl.  I don’t know why the neighbors allow their cat to roam.

There are people watchers.

A boss who likes to watch their employees.  Eavesdrop on conversations and butt in when they feel they’re the wisest voice around.  They publicly humiliate others.  They take advantage when it isn’t theirs to take.  They abuse their power all in the name of concern for others.

A teacher who studies her students as avidly as her students study for a test.  She watches her students’ behavior.  She wants to know if someone if cheating.  She gives awards for best performance or perfect attendance.  She looks for signs of abuse and neglect.


The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.  Proverbs 15:3


There are other people watchers.  Watchers not of this world.   Watchers with good intentions.  Watchers with evil intentions.

Satan is known to roam the earth.  He’s even admitted it.  He doesn’t keep it a secret that he watches people.  He looks for people he can devour.  He searches for Christ followers who he can trick into following him.  He makes people sick and diseased.  He slyly convinces people to do things his way.  He pretends to be someone else.  Be on the lookout.  He’s coming for you.

There is still another people watcher.  His eyes search the earth for different reasons.  He wants to give strength to people who are fully committed to him.  He’s looking for the wise.  He’s constantly observing everyone on the earth to see what they’re doing.   He can see the entire human race all at the same time.  He is omnipotent.  He can be everywhere all at once.   He isn’t a magician.  He is God.

It seems to me that God and Satan are watching the same people.  God is watching His followers.  Those who are committed to him.  He’s looking for us, so he can strengthen us.  He will work for those who are fully committed to Him.  We are his job.  He works to protect us.  He is our helper.  Satan, on the other hand, is looking to fool us.  To trick us.  To tempt us.  He’s a deceiver.  He pretends to be a friend, so he can manipulate us into being like him.  That’s no friend.

Whether we want him to or not, God is watching us.  We can’t hide from him.  He has our best interests in mind.  He knows ahead of time the struggles we’ll face.  He sees us at our best.  He sees us at our worst.  He doesn’t take advantage of us.  He loves us.  No matter what he sees.

One More Day

One more day is all I ask.

They died over three years ago.  Eleven days apart.  My parents.  They are in my dreams many nights.  I look forward to seeing them there.  They’re well and happy.  In my dreams.

Since their loss, I think about them often.  I’ve finally realized what I would like to have from them.  One day.  Just one more day with them.  And I get to choose the day.

I can see the day.  In my mind.  It’s a day from my childhood.  Not one specific day.  But a day that was like any other.  It would be a summer day.  My dad, the farmer, and my brothers would be working in the fields.  On their tractors with the hot sun beating down on them.  They would take a fresh jug of ice water with them to parch the thirst that was sure to come as they worked in the heat.

My mom, my sisters and I would pack a lunch for the family.  We would fry hamburgers or make bologna salad sandwiches.  Wrap them in wax paper.  Grab a couple bags of chips, doritos or fritos.  Pull out a box of twinkies, ding dongs or chocodiles.  Nothing fancy.  Fill a refresher jug of water.  And we would hit the road.  The country roads.

We would drive to the field one of the guys would be working in and park under a shade tree.  As the tractors pulled up, we would pop down the back door of the station wagon.

We would thank God and then eat that simple meal.  Together.  Just our family.  Not a special day.   Just a typical summer day.  I didn’t know it then.  But it was the life.  A simple, quiet unassuming life.  Not an easy life.  Not for my parents.  But it was the life.

Oh, the questions I would ask them.  If I had only known that I would lose them.  Oh.  I knew I would lose them.  But I wasn’t prepared.  I wasn’t prepared for all the questions that would fill my mind.  Questions  I never got around to asking.  I wasn’t prepared for all the stories I wanted to hear.  The lessons they had learned.  The do-overs they wanted.  Maybe even the regrets. The stories of their childhoods.  I’ll never hear all those stories now.  I’ll never have all my questions answered.


And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

~~Ed Bruce


I realize now that there’s someone else I need to spend more time with.  There’s someone who calls for me to get to know him.  To ask those questions.  To hear his thoughts.  To read his Word.  While there’s still time.  Because there still is time.  Right now.

He calls me to spend each day with him.  He calls my name.  Sometimes I’m too busy.  I just don’t take time for him.  Sometimes I ignore him.  Oh.  He’ll still be here when I’m ready.  That’s what I tell myself.

He’s calling me to get to know him more.  To spend valuable time with him.  Each day.  Not just when I feel like it.  Not just when I need something.  But to spend time building a closer relationship with Him.

I’d like to imagine a day with him.  First, I would read his love letter.  He wrote a book telling me of his never ending love.  His perfect plans.  His gift of sacrifice.  I would thank him for those things.  His love.  His plans.  His sacrifice.  I would ask for wisdom.  I would listen for him to speak to me.  I would be silent and just listen.

I would walk among nature.  I would see the trees and flowers, fruits and vegetables.  The beauty that he created.  I would feel the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze.  I would see the stars and moon later in the evening.  Knowing he created this for me.

It’s not too late to spend more time with my Maker. The lover of my soul. The forgiver of my sins.  The God of the universe.

One more day.  One more day is all I ask.

My Crush

I remember his name.  I remember that he piqued my curiosity.  I’m not sure why it was him.  But it was.  I thought he was the most handsome guy I’d ever seen.  I listened to his every word.  I noticed what he wore.  I thought about him every day.  I watched him playing sports. I tried to memorize his schedule, hoping to run into him.  I listened for his voice.  When I walked past him, I hoped he would make eye contact.  I wanted him to notice me.

I could imagine our first date.  He would hold my hand.  Smile at me.  Whisper sweet nothings into my ear.  We would pack a picnic lunch and sit under a tree.  Just the two of us.  It was a sweet dream.  Never a reality.

I’ve crushed on many boys during my youth.  Most of them didn’t seem to know I was alive.  Some were personal friends.  Others were classmates.  Still others were long distance crushes.  They were all very real to me.


I have found the one in whom my soul delights.  Song of Solomon 3:4


I know someone who has a crush on me.  He knows everything I think.   He sees everything I do.  He hears everything I say.   He wants only the best for me.  He knew me before I was born.  He says he loves me.

He teaches me lessons.  He gives me tests.  He lets me make my own decisions.  He fights my battles.  He protects me.  He provides everything I need.  He’s an artist.  He’s a creator.  He is original.

Sometimes I feel like he’s trying to get me out of my comfort zone.  Then I realize he’s the one who made me.  He knows my strengths and my weaknesses.  He knows I need some pruning, and he knows there are parts worth keeping.

I’m not sure why he chose me.  After all, I sometimes ignore him.  At times, he’ll ask me to do something and I get so scared.  I think he asks too much of me.  Other times, I just don’t feel good enough for his love.  I want to be like him, but I feel like I’ll never measure up.  He still says he loves me.  No matter what.

There are some things about him that I just love.  I can talk to him anytime.  Anywhere.  For any reason.  Plus, he is always faithful.  He is always available anytime I need him.  He never leaves me.  If I mess up and confess, he forgives me.  Every time.  He’s the best.

He has one son.  He asked his son to die for me.  So he did.  He died for me.  He. Died. For. Me.  I read that he died for you, too.  He said he did it because he loves me.  He lives in a place called heaven.   He asked me to move in with him someday.  He’ll let me know when that day comes.  Until then, he’s getting my new home ready.  He’s also preparing a feast for me.  He said the invitation is for anyone who will accept it.  All we have to do is believe.

I’ve accepted his invitation.  Now I wait and do my best to become just like him. I want him to recognize me when he sees me.  I want him to welcome me home with open arms.

This guy’s a keeper.