Monday, June 29, 2015

And it Came…to Pass


[Drawing nof a mother reading to a child]

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has
also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can
fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
—Ecclesiastes 3:11

I never stopped to think about the phrase, “And it came to pass.” Because, like the phrase “Once upon a time” that often appears in fairy tales, it repeatedly comes up in Scripture with the regularity of a “Verily, verily” or “Finally, brothers.” But, this time I paused in my reading to realize that, at some point, all the instances of our lives “come to pass.” They may have begun, but they also will end. They have “come to pass.”

As much as we like to hold on to the familiar, we are told in Matthew 24:35 that even:

Heaven and earth will pass away.

Things come…to pass.

Now perhaps that kind of statement shakes your foundation a bit. If we believe that God is the “Blessed Controller of all things,” we can relax in the knowledge of a wise and loving Father God planning out and executing the unfolding of our futures.

In Revelation 21:6 we read the words of Jesus Himself:

“I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.”

We also have the word of God in Psalm 139:16 that:

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Another way to look at this phrase, “And it came to pass” has to do with troubles in our lives. Sometimes we think they will never end—that God has ordered something and we have to deal with it forever. Not so. We should remember that troubles too have “come to pass.”

The psalmist in Psalm 42 and 43 was downcast because of trouble in his life. But he spoke these words to himself three times:

What are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

In a sermon I heard once, the pastor called this “the eventuality of God’s work.”

We can rest in the knowledge that our wise and loving Father knows just how long our troubles will last. Whether they have their ending at some point down the road on this earth, or at the moment of we die here and live anew in Eternity, they will end.

And, oh yes, if you are a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ, you can know for a certain that not only do things “come to pass”—but that truly, we will live “happily ever after.” How’s that for an end to the story?



Monday, June 22, 2015

Watch This!


[Photo of a little girl on a balance beam]

“I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing
to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.”
—Psalm 104: 33-34

“Watch this!”

If you stay around children long enough, you’ll hear that call. They want to be noticed, to be thought of as funny, or cute, or smart, or adventurous. In my experience, it seems that the children who get very little attention from adults crave it the most.

My sister and I would often put on “shows” for our Grandma. She lived in her own side of our large farm house, so it was easy to call on her to watch our silly dances, or songs, or whatever. She was always the first person—and usually the only one—who bought lemonade at our stand by the road. She noticed us and applauded. She was our go-to audience.

God created us as part of a community. Even as He belongs as a member of the Trinity, and all members of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—fellowship and share love between them, we need to feel that we matter to others and to Him. Even Jesus craves our applause. Think of it! In John 17:24, Jesus prayed:

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

The Psalmist in Psalm 8:4 asks the question:

What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

It seems incredulous that such a great God would watch us, and pay attention to little ol’ us!

In the Sacred Romance, John Eldredge writes that God’s intent from the beginning was for intimacy with us:

When we turned our back on him he promised to come for us. He sent personal messengers; he used beauty and affliction to recapture our hearts. After all else failed, he conceived the most daring of plans. Under the cover of night he stole into the enemy’s camp incognito, the Ancient of Days disguised as a newborn…God risked it all to rescue us. 1

God has done more than send us an annual birthday card or a present from time to time. He gave us Himself and planned a grand rescue of us so that He would be in fellowship with us for all eternity. We don’t have to call to Him, “Watch this!” We can be sure that He not only watches us, but cares for us, and wants our fellowship in this life and the next!


1 Curtis, Brent and John Eldridge. The Sacred Romance. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, © 1997. Pp. 87 and 88.



Monday, June 15, 2015

Flying Debris


[Photo of flying debris from a windstorm]

“They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this?
Even the wind and the waves obey him!””
—Mark 4:41

Many of us remember the movie Twister that came out in 1996. Remember the flying cow? The story made for good entertainment. But, it also showed the deadly nature of the debris from such a storm. People became fascinated with tornadoes and I even found a website called “” devoted to facts about such storms.

Did you know that every tornado has its own color, sound, and shape? In 1931, a tornado in Mississippi lifted an 83 ton train and tossed it 80 feet from the track. And, speaking of debris, a tornado destroyed a hotel in Oklahoma and people later found the motel’s sign in Arkansas!

Sometimes life feels like a tornado. We can seem caught in the path of “flying objects” that threaten to kill or maim us and change forever the way of life we’ve known. Often in such a “storm,” we don’t know where to run or hide. Nothing makes sense. And, even the familiar landmarks we had always used to guide our way seem to have disappeared.

The story of Jesus calming the storm, found in Matthew 8:23, tells us that the storm came “without warning.” Meteorologists struggle to predict tornadoes and other such deadly storms. These storms appear suddenly with little time to warn people in their path.

So, what does Scripture tell us about surviving storms, whether we get hit with debris or not? Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith. He wants us to trust Him and remain at peace—hardly an easy task when we see the terrifying objects swirling around us.

In Matthew 7:24-28, Jesus told His disciples that in order to stay standing when “the winds blow and beat against the house,” we need to build a strong foundation of hearing God’s word and obeying it.

I like the story of Elijah who had fled to Horeb. He was fleeing a “storm” in his own life. But, the Lord had an even bigger lesson for this prophet. In 1 Kings 19:11-12 we read:

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper [still, small voice].

Sometimes it seems that storms come one on top of the other. And, we cannot get our bearings, even enough to hear what God says to us. But, we can be assured that He will stay with us in the boat. He does cover us in the wind and the earthquake and fire. Eventually, we will hear His voice speaking peace to us. “Everything is under my control. Don’t fear the flying debris. My love surrounds you!”



Monday, June 8, 2015

Extreme Makeover—Heart Edition


[Photo of a living room with a fire in the fireplace]

“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down,
abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you
be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love.”
—Ephesians 3:17 Amp.

Do you enjoy the house remodeling shows on television? I always enjoy seeing the contrast from the old building to the new. Everything always looks so inviting, as though this would make a wonderful home.

Unfortunately, a beautiful house does not necessarily make a beautiful and inviting home. I agree with the way that King Solomon addressed this issue in Proverbs 25:24:

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

In other words, a beautiful house needs peace in order for the inhabitants to enjoy it—and best of all, Christ’s peace.

In the little book, My Heart—Christ’s Home, author Robert Boyd Munger uses the illustration of a home and its rooms to describe the way Christ would like to inhabit each of His children’s lives.

Munger speaks of Christ’s entrance into his own heart-home:

One evening that I shall never forget, I invited Him into my heart. What an entrance He made! It was not a spectacular emotional thing, but very real. It was at the very center of my life. He came into the darkness of my heart and turned on the light. He built a fire in the cold hearth and banished the chill. He started music where there had been stillness and He filled the emptiness with His own loving, wonderful fellowship. 1

The rest of the book tells about the rooms of the house, each closed up at first with its own secret and sometimes with embarrassing furnishings. Munger tried as well as he could to clean up each room. But, the minute one room pleased him, dirt would show up in the corner of another. It became a toilsome, burdensome process. He wore himself out throwing stuff away, painting, and moving furniture.

Finally, the man, hungry for fellowship with Christ, but worn out with trying to please the Savior, turned over the title to the house. Here’s how Munger put it:

Running as fast as I could to the strong box, I took out the title deed to the house describing its assets and liabilities, its situation and condition. Then returning to Him, I eagerly signed it over to belong to Him alone for time and eternity. “Here,” I said, “here it is, all that I am and have forever. Now You run the house. I’ll just remain with You as houseboy and friend.” 1

God wants to fellowship with us, to settle down and live with us in a house He has cleansed and made livable—a house He has made into a home. All he asks is our obedience and submission to Him as Lord of the Manor. Maybe you have been trying to keep house for God, but find You can’t keep up with the work. Even when you get done cleaning, the job isn’t sufficient for such a holy God to inhabit.

Hear Christ say to you today the same words He said to people in Galilee so many years ago, as recorded in Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


1 Munger, Robert Boyd. My Heart-Christ’s Home. Madison, WI: InterVarsity Press, a Division of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, ©1954. (Note: Reprinted from HIS magazine.)



Monday, June 1, 2015

The “Sponge” and the “Mule”


[Photo of a woman pulling on a donkey]

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you
should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have
no understanding but must be controlled by bit
and bridle or they will not come to you.”
—Psalm 32:8-9

As a teacher, I have seen many “sponges” and many “mules.” Unfortunately, teachers spend far more time fretting about how to approach the “mules,” win them over to learning, and control their negative behaviors. Sometimes the teacher changes tactics and wins not only the “mules” with new excitement, but the “sponges,” as well.

Far too often, though, the “mules” weigh us down and no matter how many hours we’ve planned or how ingenious our lessons, they refuse to cooperate.

Many years ago, the song, “Swinging on a Star” became popular by Bing Crosby. You could either decide to “be better off than you are” or play the negative role of mule, pig, or fish. About the mule, the lyrics say:

A mule is an animal with long funny ears
Kicks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny but his brain is weak
He's just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
And by the way, if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule ¹

Teachers love “sponges.” These students show eager delight in learning. They ask questions, read their assignments, love their teachers. Teachers mentor these kind of learners and pour themselves into loving and specially designing lessons for their abilities and unique qualities.

According to Psalm 32, God too loves to instruct, guide, counsel, and watch over “sponges.” He sees the teachable spirit and mentors those who readily come to Him for instruction in righteousness. There grows a bond of fellowship and deep knowing between Teacher and student.

What a wonderful offer comes to us from God’s desire to lead and teach us His ways. But, how heartsick He must become when we rebel against His careful and loving instruction. Check yourself for the way in which God must look at you when it comes to sitting at His feet.

When Jesus visited the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, as recorded in Luke 10:38-42, He told Martha that Mary chose the one thing needed:

“Mary has chosen what is better, [sitting at His feet], and it will not be taken away from her.”

When report cards come out, would it not please us more to have the Lord commend us, rather than to hear the kind of comment He made about Martha’s attitude?

Pray that when the Master Teacher wants to teach you, you will receive His instruction like a “sponge” rather than a “mule”—that you will delight His teacher’s heart with a “sponge-like” eagerness to learn from Him the lessons He has for you.


1 Burke, Johnny (music) and Jimmy Van Heusen (lyrics) Swinging on a Star, © 1944 as recorded by Bing Crosby on Decca Records Disc No. 18597 and as sung by Bing Crosby in the motion picture Going My Way. Music Manuscript published: New York: Bourne Company, 1944.