Majesty Of God

What do you think of when you think of the Majesty of God? If you’re like me you come up with numerous different ideas. And most of them reflect years of flannel graph stories from Sunday School lessons taught by little old ladies in sagging nylons and pilgrim shoes. Or as was my case, maybe you learned at the knee of your older sister as she led you and the three other children in the little country church that met in the tiny school house on the corner. The simplest process for determining the Majesty of God would be to look up in your reference Bible all the scriptures that refer to each character of God. However, I’m going to attempt to challenge you to look beyond the normal references to the Majesty and Power of God. Webster’s Dictionary offers this definition of majesty (n): sovereign power; greatness or splendor of quality or character; awesome wonderment. Awesome wonderment, I like that. Think on that for just a moment. What do you think of when you ponder awesome wonderment? It’s the essence of the mysteriousness of what God can do for each of us through His incredible majestic grace. I’ve spent the better part of the last 40 years at the very least influenced by Mount Shasta in one way or another. As a kid, I used to think the snow-covered mountain was Alaska as we drove north on California Interstate 5. Years later, as an ornery dad, I used to tell my own kids that on a clear winter day they could see Alaska while driving north bound Interstate...

Means To An End

“Better do it again.” I didn’t want to hear those words. I had already labored to put three coats of mud on the joints of my house. My neck hurt. My arms were tired. I was sick of the dust. It looked acceptable to me. But when my mentor came through to examine my work, his comment was, “Better do it again.” I knew he was right. It wasn’t smooth enough. Too many places where I had skimped with mud, or over-did the mud. I could have said “No”, but I did, down deep inside, want the house to look nice. Now, 15 years later, I’m so thankful for my mentor. I can look at the house with pride in my labor, rather than wishing I had done another coat. Discipline is painful. The author of Hebrews says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11) I don’t enjoy being disciplined, and really don’t enjoy the pain of disciplining myself. That is, until I look at the results. That’s what makes the pain worthwhile. When I focus on the pain, it hurts. (Duh!) But when I focus on the final results, I can find joy even in the pain. There is a purpose for the pain – to make me better at whatever. There are times we need mentors to push us beyond ourselves. Coaches will challenge their teams to work beyond their natural inclination, to run until it hurts, and then run some more. The goal is...

Remember!

John and I were walking down a country road in northeast India with some of our Indian friends. It was late afternoon and the colors of the blue sky against the green of the rice paddies and brown mud of the dykes surrounding them created a pleasant backdrop to great conversations. The farmers were herding their goats and prodding their cattle back home with sticks. Their wives and children were also hurrying home to their simple suppers cooked over an outside fire!. For them, it was a daily reality. I wanted to capture this scene forever. For us, it was one of those special moments that won’t be repeated and I didn’t want to lose its savor. By the end of the walk it was only a memory. The value of remembering came sharply into focus with recent happenings in our lives. Losing three of our parents, who were very much mentors, created a desire to know more about the legacy that they left. We are discovering a wonderful heritage of their godly lives as we sort through their files and belongings. Our visit to Washington DC in June reminded us of the Christian roots of our nation. We left knowing that freedom, especially freedom of religion, has a price tag attached to it. Our time in Switzerland (my ancestral home) on the way home from India opened our eyes to the history of my family and their determination to live their lives by God’s Word. Our God calls us to remember. He says, “Remember the former things long past, for lam God and there is no other; I...

The Big Picture

Debbie and I just returned from a great trip visiting our church-planting pastors in India again. We had a wonderful time seeing our friends, seeking to encourage them with our words and prayers and love. And they encouraged us so much, to keep focused on the big picture. Can you imagine a football team that practices only the basics of punting, blocking and correct footwork, but forgets that the ultimate purpose of the game is to move the ball down the field and score points? That’s hardly imaginable, is it? But sometimes that’s how we approach the Christian life. As we grow in knowledge as Christians, we have a tendency to focus more and more on the details of Christian living (not wrong in itself), and forget that our main purpose here is to fellowship with the Living God and invite others to fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ as well. We lose sight of the forest because we are just looking at the trees. We get hung up on ‘churchianity’, and forget that this is supposed to be living in relationship with God. Debbie and I observed the negative side of this while studying our family history in Europe. Very shortly after rediscovering salvation by faith through grace alone, our spiritual ancestors began to focus on ‘details’ and lost sight of the big picture. Disputes arose over the meaning of Communion, the relationship of church and state, and especially over baptism. Believers began to separate from other believers over these disagreements. Soon major divisions arose in the church, and in those difficult days people even killed one another...

Plodding

We’ve reached the dog-days of summer. Maybe that should be spelled ‘daze’. The heat is oppressive, it’s tough to sleep, and I feel just like kicking back and doing nothing. Motivation is tough in the hot weather. I wonder how I’ll be in India, where it is 98 degrees and raining, and cools off to a brisk 85 at night. Actually, though, it reminds me of my Christian walk. There are times when it just gets tough to stay motivated. Maybe it’s a lack of pressure or problems, but sometimes I just want to kick back and let the world go on without my involvement. I get tired of doing the same thing day after day, week after week, month after month… you know how that is, don’t you. But then something happens to remind me that what I’m called to do is critically important. A word of appreciation from an unexpected source; a cry for help from someone that I didn’t realize needed help; a special time with the Lord. And suddenly I find my energy again. Suddenly I’m motivated to be all that I can be for the Lord. Thank God for those special times. We need them in our lives. Times that challenge us, times that reawaken us, times that motivate us. But what do you do between those times? William Carey, early missionary to India, said, “I can plod and persevere in any given endeavor.” Sometimes we just have to keep on keeping on. The Christian life isn’t a whole bunch of ‘highs’, of challenges and exciting events. It’s mostly just doing what we’ve been...