Tag Archives: glory

God Speaks from the Storm

I had to sit down on the step outside my door. I just couldn’t ignore the awesome display of God’s greatness unfolding across the sky. Thunder constantly rolled in the background. Lightning danced from cloud to cloud as mesmerizing as any fireworks display. And the clouds visibly moved across the horizon like rafts floating down a swiftly moving river.

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In both good and bad ways, so much in this world can make us feel so small. Senseless shootings. Political unrest. Terrorism. Poverty. It all feels so overwhelming and makes us feel so powerless and out of control. Thunderstorms. Stars. Mountains. The ocean’s tide. Miracles. They all feel so overwhelming and make us feel so powerless and out of control.

You see, it is all about perspective. We can spend time anxious about all of the things that are out of our control. Or we can relax because we are not in control and be grateful we know the One who ultimately is.

Proverbs 19:1-4, 7 says,

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

    The skies display his craftsmanship.

Day after day they continue to speak;

    night after night they make him known.

They speak without a sound or word;

    their voice is never heard.[a]

Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,

    and their words to all the world.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect,

    reviving the soul.

The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,

    making wise the simple.

The commandments of the Lord are right,

    bringing joy to the heart.

The commands of the Lord are clear,

    giving insight for living.

In times of doubt, anxiety, fear, confusion, anger, or grief, God’s creation proclaims His glory and reminds us He holds all things together. It is so tempting to wonder why this world is the way it is because so often it just doesn’t seem right. But God isn’t done redeeming yet. When Job questioned God about the suffering he had endured, God reminded Job that he was not there when God created the world and everything in it. For an entire chapter (Job 38), God reminds Job of how great God is and just how small Job is. The chapter starts with, “Who is this that questions me with such ignorant words?” I used to imagine God scolding Job and putting Job in His place. I used to read the first verse as the Biblical version of, “Who do you think you are!?” But I’ve grown to read it differently. Now I see God as a compassionate Father telling a beloved son that the way of the world is not his concern, that it is too big for him to understand, and what he must do instead of question is simply trust. Essentially, God is saying, “Job, I’ve got this. I know what I’m doing.”

Isaiah 55:6-9 says,

“Seek the Lord while you can find him.

    Call on him now while he is near.

Let the wicked change their ways

    and banish the very thought of doing wrong.

Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.

    Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.

    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so my ways are higher than your ways

    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

No, this world doesn’t always make sense. Yes there is unimaginable suffering happening everyday. People are capable of causing such great harm to one another. And yet, God holds it all together. He is slow to anger. He is patient. He is full of grace. He is not to blame for the evil. He is responsible for redeeming it. And that redemption process in ongoing. In order for our relationship with God to be real and true, He must allow us choice to either love or hate. And even that truth doesn’t answer or satisfy all of our “why” questions.

So as I sat staring at the light show in the sky and took in the power of the rolling thunder, I was reminded that I have an intimate relationship with the Creator of those things. He created the thunder and the lightning. And He created me. And though I don’t understand it, He wants to relate to me intimately and He loves me fiercely. His ways are so much higher than mine, and slowly I’m learning to trust His way and love Him back.

The Great Invasion of Christmas

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The New Year is upon us and frankly, I’m not ready for it! I’m still celebrating Christmas. After four weeks of Advent – the preparing, the waiting, the anticipating (the rushing, the scrambling, the busyness), Christmas comes and seems to go in the blink of an eye. And I’m never quite ready to move on.

The good news is that I don’t have to. As cliché as it may sound, Christmas really does last all year. The simplicity of a baby’s birth shook the earth and changed the course of history. Peace on Earth and good will to men. Immanuel. God is with us! God has come to save us! However, not all were comforted by this great news. My pastor stated that the peaceful manger scene actually represents a holy invasion and the heavenly battle intensified that night.

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Every year there seems to be one particular Christmas song that touches my heart causing emotions to swell and tears to flow. Each year a different song rises to the occasion and this year, “Glory in the Highest” by Chris Tomlin was the winner. I believe the reason this song found itself on repeat in my car is because it speaks to the earth shattering nature of Christmas. Despite its beautiful melody, there is great power behind the lyrics.

Apart from You there is no God, Light of the world, the bright and morning star. Your name will shine for all to see. You are the one, You are my glory.

And no one else could ever compare to You, Lord. All the earth together declares Glory in the Highest!

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The miracle of Christmas is not just peace on earth, but that the battle has intensified. The King of King’s has invaded to reclaim the creation He loves so much. As the battle rages on, in the darkest of times, we live in the hope and the truth that the war has been won.

All the earth will sing Your praise, The moon and stars, the sun and rain, Every nation will proclaim, You are God and You will reign. Glory, glory, Hallelujah, Glory, glory to you, Lord!

What began in a manger and was finished on a cross, will come to fruition when Jesus returns not as a lowly baby, but as the victorious King of King’s. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord! Oh what a glorious day that will be!

Ready or not, the new year is upon us. It’s a time to look back and give thanks for the year’s blessings (or to be grateful for simply making it through) and it’s a time to look forward to the possibilities of the year to come. So as we pack up the ornaments and put away the Nativity sets and bring out the party hats and watch the ball drop, let’s not put away Christmas. Yes the war is won, but the battle rages on. Instead of setting personal resolutions, how about  committing to a holy resolve… resolve to join the battle by being the light of Jesus Christ throughout this new year.

As I look back at the first year of MND GMZ Ministries, I am profoundly grateful. What warms my heart most is you – my readers, cheerleaders, and prayer warriors. And as I look forward to the beginning of year two, I have VERY exciting news to announce! I have been invited to be the next speaker for the Staley Distinguished Scholar Lecture Series at Central College. The what? This is a program by the Thomas F. Staley Foundation seeking to bring speakers to campuses that can clearly communicate with students on topics of an evangelical nature. So SAVE THE DATES!

“Wounded: Finding healing in the midst of emotional pain” Sunday, February 8, at 9:00 pm at The Chapel at Central College

“Becoming Beloved” Monday, February 9, TBD at Cox-Snow Music Center at Central College

Hope to see you there!