Jun 15, 2019

When God is Still Good

Sometimes days are beautiful.

Like yesterday.  That warm sunshine curled around my loose hair, and we laughed and worked together in the barnyard.  A stranger smiled at me, but his eyes told something deeper - that he smiled because he had Love in him.

I wrote letters.  They said, "thank you" and "I love you" because it was true.  And with cursive on paper, I slipped them away with a stamp so they could fly away to a new home.

And hugs.  Those fierce hugs that mean so much.  The gift in a hand of a friend.  Eyes that smile as much as lips do.

As the day closed, night came.  That trickle of darkness that stained the day.  And I was there, in the middle of my family, laughing, eating, rejoicing in the little things that make life fun.

We slept or at least tried to.  With so many people in the same room, we laughed and talked and said goodnight a dozen times.  And then there's that third bathroom break and "can I get a sip of water pleeease?"

Eventually we slept.

And always, I thought the same thing:  God. Is. Good.

He is good.  Even when days aren't beautiful.

Or maybe every day is beautiful, we just don't see the beauty.  'Cause some days are hard.  I woke up today, my stomach curling like a fist.  When I stood, it lurched, and last night's dinner wanted to escape.

So I missed the group of friends, the plans we had.  With every smell of food, I wanted to run and hide and curl up and sleep without getting sick.

Yesterday, God was good.  It was easy to say.  But today, if things don't go as planned, the rain comes, the lightning hits, I want to still whisper in the storm:

God is good.  Today He is.  And tomorrow He still will be.

When water pours from the skies, I want to let it drizzle down my face and still see through it.  I want to blink from the drops, always knowing that the sun will come.  And when tears replace rain, I want to cry, knowing that He holds my hand.  He hears my prayers.

When the clouds are thick, I want to search for a rainbow.  I want to draw a picture, remember what lies behind the storms.  Even if that means a whispered plea of, "help me."

God is good, and He will still be good tomorrow.

Yesterday was a good day.  Today was too.  God changed my plans, but He gave me different ones that were exactly what I needed.

And He has a plan for you.  It's perfect, but that doesn't mean it's always easy or clean or pretty at all to look at.  Yet in the end, your story will be good because He is.

It's okay to cry.  It's okay to struggle and be sick and wonder what the purpose is.  But in everything, we can have joy because of the truth:

God is still good.

So remember.  He will always hold your hand.  In sunshine and rain.

No matter what tomorrow brings, we can choose to rejoice.  

Dear friend, what's going on in life?

This post ended up feeling like poetry, and I wish life was always like that (think roses and flourishes and fancy words).  That'd be lovely.  But either way, in the end, He is good.

Yet if it doesn't feel like it, know that He is there.  Always.  You're never alone.

Happiness comes and goes like the sunshine, but Joy doesn't.  We rejoice in the Lord.  He is constant, faithful, with us.  So never give up, friend.

Some days are beautiful, and some days aren't.  But still, praise Him.

God is good, and He will be good tomorrow.

That's a promise.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
- Romans 8:28

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
- 1 Corinthians 1:9 


May 28, 2019

This is Why God is Good

A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to a friend, and I thought it was forever.  We had met through a program that she was now graduating out of.  And so I sat down and wrote a card to her.  On the top were the big, painful words:  Final Letter.

But it wasn't, somehow.  God brought us together through another avenue, and my Spanish friend sent me an online message.  As we chatted back and forth, she exclaimed over how she loves God and is seeking Him and is so thankful.  I smiled and responded in Spanish.

"Sí, Dion is tan bueno!"    (Yes, God is so good!)

My fingers paused on the keyboard, waiting.  She began to type back, and a message popped up.  This one was in English.

"Me too and tell me how."

The translation messed up the grammar, but I understood her question.  And I sat there for a minute, not sure how to respond.

Because we say God is good.  We try to sound Christian by using the expression over and over again.  We even use it as excuses for when we've had bad days but still try to sound okay.  

God is good.

But how?

Today I read a beautiful psalm that's actually not in Psalm at all.  It's found in 1 Chronicles.

Oh, give thanks to the LORD!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!

It continues,

...Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name...
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth.

After the beginning of the piece, David does exactly what he tells us to do.  Going back through history, he recounts why God is good.  David talks of God's glorious works, from rebuking kings, protecting His people, and confirming His promises.

 And, in the end, the people respond.

And all the people said, "Amen!" and praised the LORD.
- 1 Chronicles 16:36 

Is that us?

Do we talk of God's wondrous works?  Do our lives show that we are glorying in His holy name?  Do we even remember the times He answered our prayers?

It's true:  Dios es tan bueno.  He is so good.  All the time.

Can you tell me how?  And do you live like it?

Recently, I met a guy who didn't stop talking about Jesus, about the Holy Spirit, how He is working in the man's life, and how thankful he is for God's direction and grace.  And I wondered: if I truly love God, won't I do the same?  Do I talk more about myself than the God I am dedicated to?

I want my life to be a continual outpouring of His grace.  Or in more practical words:

I want to reflect Jesus, not myself.

To talk like Him.  Love like Him.  Smile like Him.

I want to be like Jesus to this broken, hurting world, bringing shalom to the hearts that are hungering for hope.

There's a common phrase in our house that someone always says when we head out on errands or any other trip:  Remember to be Jesus!  That's my goal.  Not to become Him, but to be so much like Him that I reflect the way He lived.

God is good.  But my beautiful, Spanish friend reminded me that it's more than just saying it.  How is He good to me?  And do I live like it?

My answer could be a mile long.  God is good because He gives me hope.  Courage.  He brought me a job when I was seeking His wisdom in that decision.  He drew me through the long years of school to soon graduate and move to new adventures.  He gives me a future.  He never leaves me.  He helps me overcome every "impossible" trial and issue I face.

God is good, so good.

Dear friend, it's your turn.  We follow a good, faithful God; tell me how.  How is He working, how is He strong in your life?

But more so.  Let's live like it.  Let's live like we truly believe God is good.  And go tell the world.  Find someone and share why God is good.  Then find someone else.

Share the Gospel by sharing how Jesus is working.  Start with one person and be Jesus in their life.

And wherever you go - remember to be Jesus.

Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Give to the LORD glory and strength.
Give to the LORD the glory due His name...
Oh worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
- 1 Chronicles 16:28-29

~ ♥~

May 23, 2019

I'm a Warrior. You Are Too.

I was outside with my little sister as we cleaned a dirty porch and brushed away cobwebs.  She used a squirt bottle to spray a white chair, and then she wiped the legs with a paper towel.  It came back brown with spots of spiderwebs.  She threw it on the ground with a "yuck!"

I laughed, looking down on my own towel - twice as dirty.  Tossing it beside hers, we began to share stories.

Or rather, I retold a story from Revelation, and she listened.  And somehow, the old tale blew me away.

(ps)       For my 5-year old sister, I gave her a much more concise (and less descriptive) narrative than the one that follows.  People say knowing your story's audience is important for some reason...   =)

The heavens opened.  Lightning spewed like a fountain.  A million rumbles like thunder or like a resounding drum burst in an echoing chamber.  The light had a noise all its own.  It shook me, tore me, made me tremble and fall and hide my face.

And then the storm changed.  Light split the skies.  The noise seemed to quiet, intensifying the emotion that hung in the clouds like a whip ready to snap.

Light growing, growing.  The entire world was the sun, burning my eyes and seeping through every atom in my body.  But I still looked up, still gaped into the blindness.  Until it parted.

A white horse.  Yet not the beast itself, although the steed broke through the clouds in thundering power.  Pure white, brighter than the most stunning flash of lightning, yet the light didn't come from the animal.  The horse arched its neck and pranced from the place between heaven and earth.

My eyes caught on more.  The light.  It came from the One who rode.  He charged like a man entering battle.  With every pounding of the horse's hooves, I heard the Rider's name pulsing through the air.  Faithful.  True.  

His eyes were like a flame of fire, burning sharper and hotter than fire itself.  Crowns adorned His head, sparkling in the colors of the rainbow yet gold all at the same time.  And still His holy names rang through the air, ones I could not comprehend nor grasp.  Yet one caught - The Word of God.  His robe was scarlet, like the blood of His enemies.

An army rode behind Him on white horses, but I couldn't focus on them.  For there was still more, a million things in His countenance that were beyond my understanding.

The armies behind Him stilled as the world was overcome by the Rider's weapon.  Out of His mouth flew a sharp sword.  And with it He struck the nations and ruled.

I just hid there, watching it all, wishing I somehow understood this thing that was too great for me.

Another booming rang, His names continually pouring out.


(story taken from Revelation 19:11-16)

As I read Revelation's story, I'm blown away.  This. is. God.  This is the One we can talk with, love, be a child of.  He calls us His own.

The One who slays every enemy is our Defender.  The One who created the stars says "I formed you."  The One who can melt mountains lifted up His hands, allowed Himself to be marred and bleed, and died for us.

What type of love is that?

And yet, we don't live like it.  We hold onto our little fears, wondering if His plan is good enough.  We forget to pray when it's the greatest honor one could give us.  And we worry that we're not reading the Bible enough, memorizing enough, being a "good enough" Christian.

Guys.  This is God.  Riding on the clouds, knowing your name.  Where does "good enough" fit anywhere?

You are immensely loved.  Every fear you face is also facing a King who fights with a sword that spews from His mouth.  Every word He says is true.  Powerful.  All-consuming.

Yet it doesn't end there.  I told my sister this tale, and then I turned to her.  "This is so cool, right?  But did you know that we also have swords in our mouths?"

God has given us incredible power.  The hugeness of God is something we can never grasp, never comprehend.  And yet He offers us a tiny piece of His glory.

We're His ambassadors to a broken world.  The words we say are swords in the hands of warriors.  How are we using them?

Do we love with the type of sacrifice Jesus had?  Do we fight the enemies in our lives and slay the attackers who bewitch those around us?  Do we encourage and serve because all of us are in a battle, and we all need someone to get our back?  Are we on white horses, trailing after our mighty King who charges from the heavens?

Because if we're not living every moment and speaking every word for Him, we're either waving around a sword like a silly child - wasting our words on trifling moments - or we're slaying our own armies.

Our words and actions show who we are.

The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor,
But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

(see also James 3:5-8)

Let your words speak lifeTruth.

If we really understood the power of Almighty God as shown in Revelation 19, everything would be different.  We'd love more, rejoice more, fear less.  Jesus is changing the world, and He can change you too.

The One we follow is called The Word of God.  He spoke the world into being, and He can also slay the enemy with the power from His mouth.

You have a sword too.  You're a warrior.  Let's fight these battles, following the King who reigns over the oceans and mountains yet call us child.  Every battle can be won by Him.  Every sin defeated.

And despite our minuscule smallness compared to His grandeur, there's a promise.

I have loved you  (Isaiah 43:4).

Exalt the LORD our God,
And worship at His footstool -
He is holy.
- Psalm 99:5