Thursday, June 21, 2018

God Terminiates Tower of Babel - Part 1 - God Can Do All Things Summer Series

Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words... “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name.” ...The LORD came down to see the city and the tower... The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have the same language. And this is what they began to do”... Therefore, its name was called Babel, because the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth. 
Genesis 11:1-9

Photographer: Vicki De La Garza

After the flood, the generations of people from Noah’s lineage begin to populate the earth and, in time, begin to seek their own destiny and glory. With increasing arrogance and autonomy, the people celebrate their own greatness and create a sense of “corporate pride”. Substituting their relationship with God and uniting their human efforts, the people attempt to reach God through their own abilities. God intervenes to stop humanity’s willfulness, His power always transcending mankind’s limitations.

The people are trying to build a migdal, a fortified city with a tower reaching heaven. Increasing in unity with each other, they begin to see less of a need for a Creator. Rebellion repeats itself again. First the garden, then the flood, and now the tower, familiar patterns of rebellion and evil and arrogance emerge once again. God intervenes to save the people from themselves. He creates multiple languages, disrupts communication, forces a scattering of the peoples.
God created us for interdependence, and we can find strength in numbers. Yet God will jealously guard His position as our source of strength lest we substitute other relationships for our dependence on Him. - Blackaby
God desires a relationship with us, but this comes through grace, not human effort. We struggle to find the balance between independence and dependence, between courage and complacency, between strength and humility. What we can trust is that God is both Creator and Comforter, both Sovereign and Savior. He calls us to work independently and together but always for His glory. Over and over God rescues us from our selfish ambitions and renews us with His endless possibilities. After all, God can do all things! -dho

Thursday, June 14, 2018

“Who is like You, God?” - God Can Do All Things Summer Series

“God, Your justice stretches to the heavens,
You who have done mighty things!
Who is like You, O God?
You have made me see hard times: I’ve experienced many miserable days,
but You will restore me again.
You will raise me up
from the deep pit.
You will greatly increase my status
and be my comfort once again.
I will praise You with music played on a harp
because You have been faithful, O my God.
I will sing praises to You with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
I will shout for joy
as I sing Your praises;
my soul will celebrate because You have rescued me. 
Psalm 71:19-23 The Voice

In reading Psalm 71, the Psalmist reflects on God’s faithfulness. The phrase “wondrous deeds” is the Hebrew word ‘pala’ meaning “extraordinary, beyond the normal capacity of humans, a word reserved for God alone.” (NKJV Study Bible) These extraordinary deeds do not exempt suffering or disappointment, do not guarantee success or reward; however, they do point to a God who can do all things. 
The righteous never lose hope, no matter how long God’s answer takes, no matter how difficult the problem. Because they know God intimately, they continue to hope, praising Him continually as they wait on Him. (Blackaby Study Bible, NKJV: Personal Encounters with God Through His Word) 
Take a moment to listen to Natile Grant’s More Than Anything! The words echo the soul’s deepest need: Help me want the Healer more than the healing; Help me want the Savior more than the saving; Help me want the Giver more than the giving; Help me want you, Jesus, more than anything.

LISTEN:“More Than Anything” by Natalie Grant

Romans 5:2-5 reminds us of God’s “radical grace”! THIS is the extraordinary faithfulness of a God who can do all things. - dho

Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace where we are able to celebrate the hope of experiencing God’s glory. And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. Romans 5:2-5 The Voice

You can read about the personal story “behind the song” - click here!

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Introduction - God Can Do All Things Summer Series

Job answered God“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans.” Job 42:1 MSG 
A theme throughout Scripture I’ve been thinking about for sometime - All things are possible with God - sounds full of endless possibilities, but so is God. God’s promises never fail; His character never changes. When life gets complicated or confusing, our frailty begins to wonder about God’s strength and certainty, we question the depth of His love, we lose hope. In the mire of difficult times, we miss the big picture, the Big God, the God who can do all things.
Job suffers enormous loss, endures illnesses, and questions the purpose of suffering, but he listens to God describe His power (Job 38-41) and comes face to face with the limitless provision of God. When Job answers I know You can do all things, and no purpose of Yours can be thwarted (Job 42), he is certain that God has the power to make everything whole, is able to have victory over every circumstance, that any intention of God, any plan or purpose of His will be accomplished. Our trusting God rests in acceptance of not knowing how God’s plan will unfold. Like Job, we must come to recognize the mystery and majesty of God who can do all things.
Jesus calls each of us to come to the table, the table of hope and love, of mercy and redemption, of freedom and community. All are welcome. This summer as we study the immeasruable possibilities of God, Scripture will help us discover or refresh the truth of God’s power and our need for trusting a mighty God who can do all things. - dho

This summer we will be looking at Scriptures thoughout the Bible that speak to the power of God who can do all things! We began May 24th, and you can read all the posts this summer at Breathing Room For My Soul. Enjoy your summer, and I would like to hear your thoughts about these posts! ~ Donna Oswalt\\

Thursday, May 31, 2018

God is Sovereign - God Can Do All Things Summer Series

Then Job answered the LORD and said: “I know that You can do all things,
and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted." Job 42:1-6 NASB

IF you can find time, read Job chapters 38-41 to fully grasp the magnitude of Almighty God. In these verses, God confronts Job’s arrogance with a series of questions that proclaim the complete power of God Almighty. God asks Job who and where andwhen did you create the world and all its glory? Have you and do you know and can you explain how all things work? These Scriptures expose the greatness of an all-powerful Creator. With great humility, Job responds that God’s power exceeds everything.

The story of Job invites us to witness human suffering up close. From great abundance to complete despair, Job struggles to understand his tragedies, but he misses the most important point. God is Sovereign! God asks us the same questions that He asks Job, and in reply, we must confess that God’s ways are higher, beyond our finite minds. Like Job, we should respond with awe and gratitude, “I've been talking about things far too wonderful for me!” 

Lord, I constantly talk about things I do not understand, worry about situations I cannot control, try to plan my future without even grasping my present life. Expose my pride and weariness, my doubt and anxiety, my self-righteousness. Great is Your faithfulness. –dho

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Come To The Table - God Can Do All Things Summer Series

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG 

Just as summer is beginning, let’s take a moment to breathe... in AND out! The hurry of  school year is ending, adventures with less routine are beginning. Summer gives us the permission we sometimes need to slow down, take a longer lunch, listen to the birds, watch a sunset. In these times we can see ourselves more clearly, identify the stressors we can change, recognize our need for God. 

I’m sharing this song, a newer song from Sidewalk Prophets that is a new favorite of mine. Take a few minutes to listen to Jesus calling... calling each of us to His Table, calling each of us to rest, calling each of us to learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I hope you hear Jesus calling... come to the table! -dho

      Come To The Table  (click this link to hear!)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Holy Wind

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a noise like a strong, blowing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw something like flames of fire that were separated and stood over each person there.  They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak different languages by the power the Holy Spirit was giving them.” Acts 2:1-4 NCV

Jewish history recounts that the curtains in the Temple that separate the Most Holy Place would sometimes move and describes this phenomenon as Rauch HaKodesh, a Hebrew phrase meaning “Breath of the Holies”. In the Old Testament, the Jewish people understand the Holy Spirit to be God’s influence over humanity and the universe. In Psalm 51:11 David pleads with God, “Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” God always desires to dwell in the presence of His people.

After Jesus ascends back to heaven, as promised, the Holy Spirit descends to His followers. The Holy Spirit is the Helper, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. Now, Jesus sits at the right hand of God, and the Holy Spirit becomes God’s Presence with us. This Sunday May 20, 2018, is Pentecost Sunday, the day of celebration of the Holy Spirit coming to be with those who follow Jesus.  

Holy Spirit, come alongside of me and breathe holy life into my thoughts, my purpose, my service. In You I know the presence of the Lord. Holy Wind, embrace me, encourage me, empower me. Count me alive in Christ. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. - dho 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Living Stones

“Come to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by the people, but He is precious to God who chose Him. And now God is building you, as living stones, into His spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please Him because of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5 NLT

Peter’s words declare Christ as the foundation of the church, and those who follow Christ become the living stones that God uses to build His church. This reference does not suggest literal buildings, rather the building of the church as a community of believers. When the curtain in the Temple is torn in two, every believer gains direct access to God. Rejected but resurrected, Jesus creates a New Way back to God. Christ, the Great High Priest, makes the last and ultimate blood sacrifice for sin. Through Grace we can enter into the Presence of God as His holy priests

God always desires to have a dwelling place with His people, first in the tabernacle, later in the temple, then on earth in Christ, and now within each believer through the Holy Spirit. God’s presence resides in the community of believers, the body of Christ, the church. Holy God, infinite in wisdom, I try to imagine Your mystery but cannot understand such love, cannot comprehend such power, cannot explain such mercy. My sacrifice of praise is endless. Count me alive in Christ. Let this living stone glorify You! – dho 

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Spiritual Temple

 “You must make your heart a spiritual temple,
a temple where you can go to adore Him incessantly.”
Brother Lawrence

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”

To effectively spread the Gospel, understanding the cultural language is of great importance. Paul brings the message of Christ to Athens, Greece, a great center of culture and philosophy. Greek intellectuals frequently challenge each other. In an attempt to introduce the Gospel message, Paul reaches into their world of curiosity and idols, uses common language, and draws them into his story. Starting in the marketplace, the Greeks take Paul to their official court, and there he preaches the Good News. While there are some who mock Paul, some walk away unsure, but others believe. The Holy Spirit breathes new life into those whose faith confesses Jesus as Redeemer.

As Christians, we find great comfort in knowing that God chooses us, forgives us, and calls us through Christ. God marks us as His own with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians says, “The Spirit is God’s guarantee the He will give us everything He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people.”Whether we encounter opposing philosophies or cultural apostasy, the Promises of God always remain. El Shaddai, You are the Great I AM, the All Sufficient One who chooses me! Through Your Promises, I discover my identity in Christ. Your Spirit breathes new life into me, creating a spiritual temple within me. Count me alive in Christ. Praises keep rising to You! – dho

Thursday, April 26, 2018

My Heart Rests in His Presence

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us – set us right with Him… We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He has already thrown open His door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand – out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory.” Romans 5:1-5 MSG

In the chasm between Holy God and human frailty, Jesus stands. In the desolate place between this God of Righteousness and the sinner’s rebellion, Jesus mediates. In the darkness of sin that offends holiness, Jesus lights the path back to God. Only righteousness brings peace that allows one to stand in the wide open spaces with God. The blood of Christ permanently opens the door to God’s grace and glory.

Because of Jesus, we are able to stand before God full of hope. The power of Christ’s resurrection creates a dwelling place for God in each believer. Now, we can experience God’s love, embrace God’s goodness, expect God’s peace. When we consider the generosity of God that flows into us through the Holy Spirit, we overflow with praises. 

Spirit of Love, take my wordless joy to the Father. I stand in a place reconciled through grace, lavished with love, and overwhelmed by glory! Count me alive in Christ. My heart rests in His Presence. - dho 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Christ Reveals the Dwelling Place of God

 “The Christian does not go to the temple to worship. The Christian takes the temple
with him or her. Jesus lifts us beyond the building and pays 
the human body the highest compliment by making His dwelling place, 
the place where He meets with us.”
Ravi Zacharias

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.” Matthew 27:50-51 NASB 

Until this day, God’s Presence dwells on the Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place in the Temple, but when Jesus breathes His last breath, the curtain separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place rips from top to bottom. Before this moment, only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place and only one time a year on the Day of Atonement. Now, the barrier between humanity and God is torn apart. The crucified Jesus reveals the door to reconciliation. 

This long day has been full of betrayals and beatings, accusations and abandonment, interrogations and inscriptions, mockery and miracles. The crucifixion of Jesus reveals His willingness to die once for all, to be the last blood sacrifice needed for redemption. Standing at the foot of the cross, the Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that happened. They said, ‘Truly, this was the Son of God!” [Matthew 27:54] Christ reveals the dwelling place of God. 

Lamb of God, You reveal my imperfections! Some days I choose the world, use words that hurt, simply pretend to care. But because the veil is torn, I can enter the Holy of Holies. Count me alive in Christ. Every day You reveal the unforced rhythms of Grace. – dho

Thursday, April 12, 2018

God Dwells Among Us

 “There is no chance thing through which God cannot speak—even the walk from
the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe that there is a God who speaks at all anywhere. 
He speaks, I believe, and the words He speaks are incarnate in the flesh and blood of ourselves and of our own footsore and sacred journeys.”
Fredrick Buechner 

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

In the first chapter of John, Scripture describes the incarnation of the Word. Jesus, the Word, becomes human and dwells among us. Both fully God and fully human, Jesus enters the world as the visible manifestation of God, His perfect love in human form. This unique Father-Son relationship offers a glimpse of possibility for the Christian. Full of grace and truth, Jesus pitches His tent and takes up residence among the people. 

Throughout all time, God has chosen to dwell in the midst His people, but when Jesus enters the world, both visible and tangible, God literally lives beside His people. Jesus is the Truth that brings Grace because He is the Perfect Sacrifice for all sins. 

Image of the Invisible God, this mystery of You coming to live among the people transcends intellectual thought. Perfect Love, You reveal the Light that darkness cannot cover and become the Grace that sin cannot destroy. Count me alive in Christ.  Be born in me! - dho