Monthly Archives: March 2016

To whom do you pray?

I’m reading through the psalms lately and really appreciate the (sometimes brutal) honesty of the psalmist when he talks with God. He is as exuberant in his joy as he is crushed (but not destroyed) in his painful sorrows. He tells God how discouraged and broken-hearted he feels. He lets God know he feels abandoned and forgotten. He even gets angry with God. But in all situations of his life, good and bad, he remains faithful and turns to the Lord. He prays just as you and I might when troubles overcome us and we have nowhere to turn:

“Hear my cry O God. Hear my prayer. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I am. You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength. Let me take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Let me dwell in your tent forever.” Psalm 61 (selected verses)

Note how he addresses the Lord by who God is:

  • A high and solid rock, a place to stand firm.
  • A refuge from the dangers and storms of life that beset us all.
  • A strong tower that provides both defensive and offensive might.
  • The shelter of his wings, reminding us of a mother bird that shields her young.
  • A tent that lasts forever.

I am constantly reminded of how much I too desperately need an unshakable foundation for my faith and my life. How about you? I need a refuge of safety to protect my mind and spirit from being beaten down by the storms in my life and my own propensity to worry and fret. I find that looking down at just the work before me makes me limited in my perspective and unaware of the real dangers and needs around me. I too need a strong tower, a place of refuge and high place from where I can see more clearly through God’s perspective. I usually think of a tent as being a temporary dwelling, like my earthly body that lasts until I come to my permanent home in heaven. But the “tent” of God is not a temporary shelter but the house of the Lord forever!

When my children talk with me they call me Dad because that is who I am to them. My siblings call me brother and my mom calls me son. My wife calls me beloved and my friends call me friend. My aim is to be called faithful by God. Our name is how we are revealed to others. God is also known by his character and how he reveals himself to us. As you come in prayer to the Lord today, how will you address him? Have you found him to be your:

    • Cornerstone
    • Firm foundation
    • Redeemer and deliverer
    • Healer
    • Teacher
    • Mediator
    • Friend
    • Creator
    • Abba, daddy
    • Shepherd
    • Daily bread and living water
    • Provider and protector
    • Banner over your life
    • Shield
    • Lord and Savior

When we end our prayers to God with the words, “In Your name” we are really acknowledging who he really is and how he reveals himself to you and me. We can pray confidently in the name of our Lord God because it is the name that never changes and is always dependable.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18:10

Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13






But what have you done for me lately?


John, a teenager at the time, was listening to the exasperations of his mother. I suppose her frustrations we’re fueled by his not helping around the house, or perhaps a disrespectful attitude. She pleaded with him, reminding him the story that leads all teenagers to roll their eyes: “I carried you in my belly for nine months. I gave birth to you and nurtured you. I changed your diapers and taught you to read.” John, looked at his mother and said,

“But what have you done for me lately?!”

I chuckle when I think of this because I know John and his mom. They were actually quite close and both her pleading and his response were said in jest. But I wonder if you’ve asked that same question in the midst of real conflict and sorrow. Maybe your hard efforts go unnoticed, or worse yet, criticized. Maybe you’ve been on the giving end of a one-way relationship that seems to suck the life out of you for lack of a mutual demonstration of love and concern. Maybe you once knelt before the cross and asked Jesus to save you from your sins and to show you the abundant life he promised. Only now, you look at the difficulties in your life and wonder “God you once filled me with joy, but what have you done for me lately? Where did you go and why did you leave me in this life of woe?”

It’s not that God is a magic genie, subject to our every wish and command. He is not the Great Santa whose job is to fulfill our request list. And still, God promises to be with his people always. His promises of abundant life, filled with love, joy, and peace are true promises. They are ours for the asking. And yet, with our eyes focused on our troubles, we forget the promise, thinking, “It must not be true for me.” The reality of life on earth is that we often focus on our circumstances rather than on God.

I wonder how we might respond if God asked us the same question: “What have you done for me lately? What have you done in my name?” The wonderful news is “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-9

We couldn’t earn forgiveness or favor from God. He offers it to us freely. We access his gioodness and power through faith, which itself is a gift from God. Why? So we could be who we were meant to be, a new creation created in Jesus in order to do good in the world. There’s nothing wrong with random acts of kindness, but you and I were created for more than that. We were create to participate in the work that God himself has prepared us to do. We were made for the very purpose of helping others in practical ways and with the expressed intent of showing them the love of Jesus. We were made to experience and express love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Are these not the blessings he has offered to us recently, even in the day before us?

This leads me to measure my ambitions and personal interests against God’s better plan for me. Indeed, what have I really done for God lately? How have I shown his compassion? How has his power to overcome  my circumstances been evident in my conversations? Is there anything noticeable about my life because Jesus is doing something magnificent for me and in me, not just years ago or even recently, but right now? Is the light of Jesus hidden in my life, or is it able to shine brightly upon the lives of those around me?

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – Psalm 51:10-12




That’s Awesome!


“That’s awesome!”

It’s probably a phrase you’ve heard and maybe used to describe… the best pizza ever, the perfect cup of coffee, or some revolutionary piece of technology. I remember hurrying to the beach near Strahan, Tasmania (Australia) so we could catch an inspiring and memorable sunset before it disappeared. I have experienced the overwhelming peace  of hiking in a beautiful forest filled with the sounds of teams of wildlife. Moments of awe take our breath away and leave us without words to describe the exhilarating beauty of what God has created.

I like the way Jesse Singal puts it her blog “The Importance of Losing Yourself to Awe Once in a While.” (Thanks Elizabeth for sharing this.) Singal quotes Carlin Flora who wrote an article for Psychology Today:

“A sense of awe gives you a break from yourself. All your worries, all that internal chattering — it doesn’t necessarily go away when you’re feeling awe, but it certainly recedes into the background, becoming a distant whisper rather than the incessant hum it often feels like. This provides some … breathing room. When the constant buzzing of ‘me, me, me’ recedes, we might become sensitive to loftier principles.”

Experiencing a sense of awe reminds us that our lives are part of something much bigger than ourselves. I think it draws out our better characteristics like compassion, generosity, humility, gratitude, and love – to name just a few.

BUt how easy it is to miss the marvelous nature of our surrounding world. I remember seeing a photo of a guy on a boat, looking down at his cell phone, and completely missing the incredible view of a magnificent whale surfacing beside him. Sadly, I’ve been guilty of being so focused on a certain project or task that I lost sight of everything else. Probably we all have at one time or another been so wrapped up in our own world, be it filled with pain or joy, that we missed the astonishing blessings God has prepared for us. Focused on work at the expense of our family, on a clean house instead of a comfortable home, focused on me at the expense of us.

We might experience a sense of awe when we look up from our mobile devices and look into the eyes of a child or the intricate beauty of a flower or the astonishing magnitude of God’s glory displayed in a sunset. It might come in the realization that you are deeply loved.

Sometimes I stumble across it by accident. But I realize if I want to soak in the very best of life, I need to be intentional. I have to create margins in my life, spaces of time when I can cease from activity and simply be still. Do you suppose that we might see even the majesty of God and hear his voice calling us if we simply unplugged the ear buds and looked up to see others through his compassionate eyes?

I reserve the word awesome for my compassionate yet all powerful God who spoke and the universe was created. He made man – from dust! He patiently waited for me to turn to him as the greatest satisfaction of my life. He adopted me into his family when I was still sinful and rebellious. He lavishes such love and mercy on me in the middle of my deepest struggles. Rich Mullins got it write when he wrote,

“Our God is an awesome God!”

You can experience a sense of His awe in the most powerful of storms, filled with thunder and lightning, or it might be revealed in the quiet sound of bubbling brook. You might stand in awe of God’s majesty, or you might, in awe, find yourself prostrate before him.

Whatever the experience, it always unfolds before me when I get away from myself and turn my eyes to God.

Don’t you want more “awesome” in your life?!



Does resurrection matter?

Some people, even some professing Christians don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus and therefore question the possibility, of their own resurrection. There are all sorts of opinions about what happened after he died, but this is how the bible describes Jesus after his resurrection:

He spoke saying, “It is I myself.” His disciples saw his nail-pierced hands and he invited them to touch him. He said to them, “I am not a ghost.” Jesus walked on earth in his resurrection body. He stood on a shore where he cooked fish. He invited his friends saying, “Come and have breakfast.” The risen Jesus walked and talked with the men on the road to Emmaus. Mary recognized his voice when he called her by name. Though his resurrected body was physical in every way, he was able to appear in a room with the disciples even though the door was locked. Not only was his body resurrected but we learn of resurrected relationships as we read of how we demonstrated his love for them. He talked with them and trusted them with the great task of reaching others in his name.

By all accounts, this fully persuades me to believe that the resurrection story is literally true. Not big news, you say? Why is this important? The real resurrection of Jesus is the foundation for our faith and the model for our future too, and the focal point of our hope. As Paul says, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins…(and) we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:17,19) If Christ didn’t conquer the grave, neither could we. Our sins would remain as testimonies against us. Not only that, but from where would come the power for us to overcome the world of difficulties we face? What if you put a sticky note ensxribed “Resurrection Power!” where you would see it throughout the day? Do you think reflecting on the resurrection power of the risen Jesus would make a rearl difference in your life?

John Piper states, “Christianity is  not a platonic religion that regards material things as mere shadows of reality. Not the mere immortality of the soul, but rather the resurrection of the body, and the renewal of all creation is the hope of the Christian faith.” Whenever we long for things to be better, in a pure sense we are longing for heaven, life as it was always intended to be, full, abundant, satisfying, joyous and meaningful. When you find yourself wishing for a more just and fair world, for more love and less hatred, for a pure uncorrupted body and unspoiled nature, maybe you could take a moment and realize you are really longing for a bit of heaven. Can you imagine, not only a perfect body uniquely created for your personality and nature at peace, but also perfectly restored relationships?! It’s what we work to achieve now and will fully experience in heaven. “Just as we have born the likeness of earthly men, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven (Jesus). 1 Corinthians 15:49

As I reflect on the passion, sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus this Easter season, I realize that what I understand about heaven is essential to the view of who I am right now and where I am headed. We have one life to live. It is not one path on earth going here and there, and a different one in heaven, but one path we walk, eternally connected across the bridge of this life to the next.

Who are you?


Recently, I’ve been thinking on what happens to our bodies, soul, and spirit when we die. We know the body goes to the grave and decays or is cremated and ashes scattered. But what should we think about the rest? Who will we be in heaven? And how does that relate to who we are now?

I confess that my early view of heaven was heavily shaped by popular media. The whole idea of ghosts walking around or being changed from humans to Angels, the bit about the fluffy white clouds and harps, the pearly gates was all I knew. Most of it came from wishful thinking. There’s a lot of things I wish were true. But wishful thinking doesn’t make them true. When it comes to our understanding of heaven or who we are now, we need to turn to the author and creator of both. It’s God’s view that matters, not our wishful ideas.

We learn from God’s Word that our soul and spirit go immediately to heaven (to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord). We read also that we will have resurrected bodies that are wonderful in every way. (Look in the mirror and imagine that!)

But in reading what the bible has to say about heaven, what piece of it we can know now, it occurs to me that I need to better understand who I am now. Like you, I was created and born into this world with mind, body, emotions! and soul. They’ve all grown and matured since those baby days, and continue to change in response to aging. I used to think that we all were spiritual beings living in a temporary earthly body, like hermit crabs, having a living organism inside a temporary shell- like body. But God’s Word persuades me to see myself as body, soul, mind, and spirit all completely intertwined, and that it will be this way not only from birth to death, but in heaven too.  It is what defines me both now and forever, except for the miserably corrupt parts from which will be removed when I die. But in the middle of this process…

Something changed!

As a teenager, I recognized my inability to conquer sin on my own and asked Jesus to save me and be my Lord. At once and over time, I became, as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 5:17, a “new creation.” “The old has gone and the new has come.” But even though I was now a “new creation” people still recognized me, and looking in the mirror, I seemed quite the same. As Randy Alcorn describes his own conversion experience, “I was a new person, and yet I was the same person I’d always been.”

Becoming a Christian doesn’t eliminate who we once were, it transforms us.

What was new was my way of perceiving myself and the world around me, along with my response to that new view. Seeing things through God’s eyes renews my minds and transforms my mind. But still, we continue through birth, salvation, life on earth, death, and resurrection as the mind-body-soul God uniquely created in us. We live one continuous life, destined toward God.

Thankfully, our minds and bodies will be perfectly redeemed in ways we long for but can’t understand. Joni Eareckson Tada explains: “Somewhere in my broken paralyzed body is the seed of what I will become. The paralysis makes what I am to become all the more grand when you contrast atrophied, useless legs against splendor out resurrected legs. I’m convinced that if there are mirrors in heaven (and why not?) the image I’ll see will be in mistakenly “Joni,” although a much better, brighter Joni.” Randy Alcorn, in his book Heaven, concludes: “Inside your body, even if it is failing, is the blueprint for your resurrection body. You may not be satisfied with your current body or mind but you’ll be thrilled with your resurrection upgrades. With them you’ll be better able to serve and glorify God and enjoy an eternity of wonders he has prepared for you.”

Think on that for a moment. In heaven you will become who you were always meant to be. God created you in a specific way and for a specific for a purpose, to enjoy and serve him now and forever in heaven. Who I am is not a compartmentalized collection of work, family, leisure interests, and spirit. We have just one life to live that connects who we are now to who we will be forever in heaven.  I want to live with that in mind. How about you?


GLOW Update March 2016

GLOW Update – March 2016

Everywhere you turn you see hurting people: in your neighborhood, your church, your workplace and across the globe. Some are close and others are “strangers” who Jesus calls “neighbors” we should love, especially those he calls “the least of these.” But you may ask, “What can I do to make a difference?”

starfishThere is an old story of a boy walking along a beach filled with stranded starfish. The boy picked one up and then another, tossing them back into the sea knowing they would otherwise perish. A man watching told him there were so many stranded starfish, he couldn’t possibly make a difference. Looking at a starfish in his hand, the boy tossed it into the water saying, “I made a difference for THAT one!”

GLOW is uniquely positioned to make a positive difference in the lives of hurting people. And your partnership with GLOW (through gifts and prayers) makes you an integral part of changing the world for hurting people, even “strangers” you don’t know. GLOW is organizationally small and nimble, working with missionary partners we know personally and trust. Accountability is high. Last year GLOW raised $14,200 and spent $14,237. No salaries, insurance plans, cars, or buildings. Just money in/money out – bringing the hope of Jesus to change the world for people in desperate situations, one at a time.

A 10-year-old boy in Bolivia has his first pair of new $12.50 leather shoes because a 10-year-old boy here gave his Christmas money.

Syrian refugees who were sleeping on the cold cement in Athens, Greece have warm sleeping bags from GLOW donors and the caring outreach of our ministry partner there.

Aleka with childrencrop -jpgBulgarian gypsy children have nutritious meals and Christian literacy tutors because GLOW donors care. 50 children now have their own native language Bulgarian bibles because many people donated $10 to GLOW.  We are preparing to fund the building of a kitchen & dining area this year to expand the outreach to orphans who have no other support.

Herminia etc with Aunt FranciscaFive Bolivian children (Roberto, Herminia, Deysi, her baby Lucas, and Sabina – pictured here with their Aunt Francisca) were recently abandoned by their mother and stepfather. They know us and remember us from when we first met and prayed with them four years ago. Gifts from GLOW purchased shoes and outfits and backpacks for each of them. Additional gifts have been received to provide for school supplies, tuition, medical care, and food. Even now as their Aunt has stepped up to care for the children your ongoing GLOW gifts continue to enrich their lives.

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6) That’s what your persistent prayers and gifts do. They express your faith through love to “the least of these,” people you don’t yet know.

We also want you to know we’ve made provisions for the gospel ministries of Go Light Our World to continue, regardless of Bryan’s health concerns.

By praying and giving you DO make a difference. Please continue to PRAY daily for:

Roberto, Herminia, Deysi, her baby Lucas, and Sabina, abandoned by their mother and now adopted by their aunt in rural Bolivia.

Tiffany, Roxana, Maria, Mariana, and Sony who lead the Bolivian ministry for children at risk.

Moises and Kely who work to strengthen godly families in Chile.

Aleka who ministers to outcast gypsies in Bulgaria and boldly shares the truth and love of Jesus with all she meets, even at risk to herself.

Andy who pastors a small church in a hard neighborhood in Gracemount (Edinburgh), Scotland and his wife Sarah in her difficult pregnancy. Please pray also for former drug addicts they know who are struggling to know that the hope of Jesus is real for them.

Larry who daily brings the real hope of Jesus to those in prison.Mark and Lyndsey who minister to the homeless in San Diego.

Dawn and Willy who teach people with little to trust in God who wants to richly bless them spiritually.

Chris and Candy who are adjusting to living in Africa so they can reach the Digo tribe. They are dealing with water shortages.

Gary and Cristen who boldly equip college students to get real with Jesus, live fully for Jesus and reach their teammates.

Marcia and Bryan and the GLOW board of directors as we seek God’s continued guidance in all of this, and for Bryan’s full health recovery.

Thank you to our monthly donors and one-time donors. Your investment is well-placed! It brings the hope of Jesus to unreached people through practical ministries including literacy, food, medicine and health.

If you want to be the hands and feet of Jesus, you can make your tax deductible gift to Go Light Our World by

Thank you for partnering with GLOW in giving and in prayer to make a real difference in the lives of hurting people!!

Without God we are lost, BUT GOD intervenes. GLOW is excited to write the phrase, “BUT GOD…” onto the pages of people’s lives!

Because lost people matter,

2016 Go Light Our World Board Members:

Bryan and Marcia Thayer         Chuck Jackson

Janet Johnson                             Dawn Neudahl

Mary Lothe                                 Kathy Trotter

Val Wagner

Greatnonprofits top rated status 2015

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When God speaks, Go.

Marcia and I are reading through the chronological bible this year, soaking in God’s letter to us as it was written in time. It’s been a wonderful time of learning and relearning truths that are meant to help us in our own lives today. Even the darkest times are documented when God’s people rebelled again and again against him. They were written as a warning to us in our present day lives,no we might avoid their errors. (1 Corinthians 10:11)

I know the story of baby Moses is familiar to you. It was a wicked time when the king ordered all baby Hebrew boys to be murdered at birth. But Moses’s mother put him in a specially prepared basket, what would become a “second ark” of salvation for her people, and put it in the river while carefully watching it. The Pharaoh’s daughter retrieved the baby and named him Moses, meaning “I drew him out of the water.” She raised him as her own in the Egyptian palace. Of course, we know also that Moses would grow up to later kill an Egyptian who was abusing a fellow Hebrew and how he fled to the wilderness for safety. In his sudden exile, I imagine it must have been impossible for him to see that he who was drawn from the water would one day be the leader who would figuratively draw the nation of Israel from the dark waters of their captivity. Maybe you’re in a similar place, finding yourself in a foreign land, exiled from the joys you seek. It’s hard to have hope when there is so much despair, to find peace where anxiety rules, to find purpose where everything seems wasted.

But God doesn’t abandon us in those places. He sees you where you are and is aware of your circumstances.  We’re told he catches our tears in a bottle. (Psalm 56:8)  He doesn’t waste pain.

And so it was with Moses. God appeared to him in the form of a burning bush that was not consumed. God spoke to Moses, saying “Here I am,” inviting him to draw closer, but warning him to first remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. Have you ever wished God would speak to you in such a real and audible way? Or to literally write on the wall what he wanted you to know,  as he did in Daniel 5?

Even though I’ve never heard God’s audible voice like Moses did, I’ve found this to be true:

God still speaks to us today.

He speaks through his Word, the bible, through Godly people he brings across our path, through circumstances both pleasant and difficult, and through his Spirit who he gives to all who believe in his Son Jesus. He speaks the sustaining grace of his presence that calms us in the middle of storms, and he speaks truth when we’re confused by lies. He speaks hope when everything seems helpless. And I think that it’s a contented joy he speaks of knowing he is with us even in our sorrow.

What did God speak to Moses? He assured Moses that he would be with him. He quieted Moses’s fear of inadequacy, reminding us that God doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies those he calls. And having done all this, God revealed his plan to rescue his people from their captivity, showing that Moses himself would be instrumental in accomplishing this plan. And then God spoke, “Go. I’m sending you (to rescue my people). I will be with you. I am who I am. This is my name forever.”

This isn’t just a remarkedly great story. It’s an illustration written to teach us that God speaks forever. When God spoke, the universe was created. Imagine the power he bestows on us when he speaks to you and me!

But God’s speaking always requires a response. We might try to run away from him like Jonah did, and boy did that get him in “a whale of trouble!” We might try to ignore him and pursue our own ways, but he will persistently pursue us with his unending love and amazing grace. What God intends and what is most beneficial is that we respond in obedience to his call. He loves us where we are, too much to let us stay there. His call to “Go” mif ht be to leave your job, your house, your community or country. But certainly and always  he will call you and me to “Go” from a way of thinking and living that ignores those who need rescuing in his name.

Draw close to God. Step onto holy ground.  Listen. Go. Rescue the captives in his name.


On being real with God and finding hope


Have you been in a very dark place in your life? Have you known God’s Word of redemption and restoration to be true, but at the same time felt his sustaining grace is not as sufficient as it should be, his strength not so powerful in your weak state?  His promise to never abandon you sometimes seem to elude you?

Over the course of this uncertain and unexpected journey through cancer and repeated infections,  I’ve written quite a bit about suffering and the God’s power to overcome our painful circumstances.  I’ve also tried to be transparent along the way. I have strong faith, thanks to God for that gift and the wisdom to exercise it in times of good and plenty. But strong faith doesn’t make the trials go away. It didn’t reduce the heat of the refining fire in whose furnace I find myself. Some of you have been in that place and know this to be true.

Faith hasn’t always calmed the storm around me, and I’m not always persuaded that it calms me in the midst of every storm. And yet, day by day I press on, because God’s grace is indeed sufficient even when it doesn’t feel that way. His strength is magnified in my weakness because I am left with no recourse but to depend on the one who has always been and will always been my refuge, my fortress, my God in whim I trust. (Psalm 91:2) Where else could I turn but to my loving God?

Faith makes all things possible, not easy. Thanks be to God for the measure of faith he gives and the amazing grace he pours over us!

I don’t know any “Super Christians” who are “Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!” No one who is invincible to pain and sorrow. Do you? The sorrows and challenges of life don’t stop at the Christian’s door. They march right in without invitation and cause havoc and destruction wherever they settle.

What does empower me to press on is not “Why?” or “How long?” but “How?” The answer to this vital question is found in God’s Word. “How will you have me respond to this difficult challenge?” And he answers, “With my help.”

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. – Isaiah 43:2

His presence which I’ve so often ignored in my pursuit of self is the peace I need in the chaos of pain. His grace is sufficient for my needs, if not always my wants. HIs strength helps me persevere when I am too weak to carry on in my own power. He carries me even when I am not aware of being in his arms. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters. He refreshes my soul.

It’s natural to want to avoid and escape pain, but I’m learning that sometimes I shouldn’t be so quick to pray it away. I’ve discovered some of the very richest blessings in my darkest moments, knowing for sure I am not alone, knowing my hope in God is secure.

We can’t escape pain; it demands our attention. But we don’t have to focus exclusively on it.  I’ve found that doing so is to my peril. I can’t let my circumstances define who I am. Only when I turn my eyes off the pain and onto Jesus do I find relief.  Where is your determined focus?

If you are in a dark place, tell him if you’re angry or disappointed. Let him know if you feel abandoned. This is how David prayed, and God called him “A man after my own heart.” Because David remained faithful, the most essential life measure, and ended his prayers with “And yet still I will praise you and trust in you, my God.”

Be real with God and continue to draw near, clinging to the hope of your faith in his sustaining grace and good plan for you – even in the midst of your storm.


Beyond the curse in your life


The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10


Are you enjoying a rich abundant life, full of passion and purpose, blessing in each day, a cup overflowing with goodness? Or do you feel lately that too much joy and prosperity have been stolen from your life and see life as a glass less than half full? If we find our days abundantly filled with goodness, it seems that it doesn’t take long for something to come along and threaten to steal that away from us. It’s the nature of the life we live in a world that has been cursed since the fall of man. In Genesis 3:14-17, God cursed the devil for deceiving the woman and because man did not listen to God, he cursed the ground as punishment, making life one of toil. You might wonder, “Will it always be that way?” Thankfully, the answer is NO.

While it seems Satan foiled God’s good plan for you, nothing could be further from the truth. From the very beginning, God promised he would send a rescuer, a redeemer, the very one we desperately need to restore and renew our lives, to recover and return us to how he designed us to live.

God’s plan is to save you for an eternal life of joy with him and to give you an abundant life on earth, invincible to the circumstances that come upon you. Satan’s plan is to snatch the souls of men and women before they accept Jesus, or to destroy their joy and make them live miserable lives as defeated Christians, never feeling good enough. He wants us to give up on God, or at the very least to become so busy that we easily forget him in our daily lives.

God’s plan is “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, Jesus.” (Ephesians 1:10)  ALL things, not some. All joy and strength, love and grace, truth and hope. While God lives in heaven and we live on earth, his plan is that there be no separation between the two. Randy Alcorn states, “There will be no more divided loyalties or divided realms. There will be one cosmos, one universe united under one Lord – forever. This is the unstoppable plan of God. This is where history is headed.”

The question is not only who will reign on earth forever but who reigns in your heart right now? Does God have full dominions and authority in your life? Does he fuel your ambitions and goals? Or does he just have a tiny slice of your morning prayer and Sunday worship? Do you know anything that is able to reclaim, rebuild, restore, and redeem the woes of your life like God? Before sending his disciples out to spread the good news, baptize, and teach those they met, Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Do you know why he said that? It’s because his same all powerful authority was available to them through the power of his indwelling Spirit in them.

That same authority is available to you and me – today. His authority, if we accept it, has authority over our pain, our disappointment, our sorrows, and our despair. While the day is yet to come in heaven when there will “no longer be any curse” (Revelation 22:3), we have victory over the power of the curse now, through themthe indwelling Spirit of Jesus.  It’s realizing the paradox that God’s answer to our prayers is “already and yet to come.” We pray confidently because we know he has already won the battle and his good outcome is secure.

My very best days are those I remember to begin by asking the Holy Spirit to take over my agenda, to interrupt my “precious” plans, and to heighten my senses so I will be aware of those around me so I can see them through his eyes.

Observes Alcorn, “Under the curse human culture has not been eliminated, but it has been severely hampered by sin, death and decay. But have hope. One day, sin and sorrow will be forever thwarted and his goodness displayed as far as the curse is found. The curse is real but it is temporary,”


While we wait with eager anticipation, let’s live with the resurrection power of Jesus in our lives now.


Are you experiencing heaven on earth?


God restores.  He doesn’t have to. He could divorce us, walk away, and start over. But he is, has always has been, and always will be in the business of:

And reclaiming

His plan to restore his creation is the centerpiece of his work on earth and and will be completed when the new heaven comes down to the new earth. (Revelation 20-21)  But God’s plan is not only for a new earth later, but renewal and restoration in your life right now.

Ponder this list, one by one. Is there an area of your life that needs reclaimed and redeemed by God for your own good? What about the good of others close to you? How would they benefit from your surrendering of all things to the control of God’s Spirit? Unconfessed sin, negative thoughts and emotions, and even apathy can set up strongholds in our minds. We try over and over to tame a critical tongue, a tendency to gossip, our penchant for personal gain, worry, fear, and our wasteful obsessions with things that don’t matter at the expense of those that really do. Oh, how we work to be “better Christians.” But it will never work out on our own. It is one of the paradoxes of the Christian life. We win only by surrendering. Only by consistently and persistently and relentlessly surrendering these strongholds to God’s control will we conquer them. And not only is he able to free us, it’s his desire to do so. It’s part of his master plan.  It’s part of the bigger picture of his redemptive plan to salvage his creation.

Have you ever wondered why God left us here on earth after he saved us? Why didn’t he just take us right away to heaven? Was it to work hard to serve him? The way I see it, we are left here to enjoy him:

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”  (Westminster Catechism – though I agree with John Piper, that it better reads “Man’s chief end is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever.) It’s the job description not only for our time on earth but for all eternity. We exist to glorify God, because he alone is worthy of our praise. How do we glorify God? By enjoying him and being fully satisfied in him.

You already know what it means to enjoy time with a trusted friend, a walk in the park, and shared joys with close family. What does “enjoying God” mean to you? Can you imagine intimate fellowship with the one who loves you most, sitting at the feet of the master, watching his light disperse the darkness from your life? Could you marvel at his splendor, his wisdom, strength, his mercy and grace, and the depth of his unending love he lavishes upon us? Do you know what it is to experience firsthand his restorative work in your life, even as we dance trials? To possess the one thing that positively impacts those around us and our passion for living well, even in the midst of trying circumstances?

We experience “heaven on earth” by dwelling in his presence now. It’s how Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.” It’s a precursor of the new heaven those who are redeemed will one day experience. It’s his restoration plan to proclaim good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim freedom for the captives, and release them from darkness. (Isaiah 61:1)

There will come a time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, when God will redeem and restore all his creation. His Word says that all who believe in the name of His Son, Jesus, will enjoy it forever. Shouldn’t thinking of this grab our attention now?

Randy Alcorn quotes British theologian J.C. Ryle: “I pity the man who never thinks about heaven,” and adds “thinks correctly” about heaven. “It’s our inaccurate thinking that causes us to think so little about heaven,” he says while noting that heaven has fallen off our radar screen.

I hope thinking of heaven inspires you and gives you hope. More over, I hope that you will enjoy  the “heaven on earth” he offers to all who believe and keep on believing in his Son, Jesus, the rescuer of our souls.