Thursday, July 19, 2018
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Scripture’s narrative describes Abraham welcoming three heavenly visitors, preparing a generous meal, and learning that he and Sarah will have a son. During the meal, Sarah, inside the tent, hears the prophecy. As both she and Abraham are very old and past childbearing years, Sarah laughs “to herself” at the idea of such. The LORD replies, “Is there anything to hard for the LORD?. A more correct translation would be, “is there anything too marvelous or extraordinary for the Lord?”
Sarah’s disbelief, often like ours, seems to doubt the extravagance of God’s promises. The Gospel Transformation Bible Notes says it this way: “God’s purposes of grace are not held captive by human sin or adverse circumstances. He is the God who works out his purposes through weak and ordinary human beings such as Abraham and Sarah. It is God’s grace, not human merit, that determines the course, and the blessing, of our lives.”
At 100 years and 90 years old respectively, we know that Abraham and Sarah do welcome a son they name Isaac, which means ‘laughter’ - just as the LORD had promised. (Genesis 21:6-7) Sarah declares her joy in this unimaginable gift, “God has made laughter for me.” This is the beginning of the lineage of Jesus, God’s covenant with Abraham to make his descendants into a great nation, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Generation after generation, God weaves His chosen people who will birth grace. Nothing is too hard for God who can do all things. - dho
Wednesday, July 04, 2018
Today is the 4th of July, the day America celebrates independence, remembers the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, when "the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America". For citizens of America, this was the beginning, the foundation of freedom. We don't celebrate the the Constitution, signed September 17, 1787, the written footprint of freedom and liberty that empowered and outlined the responsibilities of "We the people". Those beginnings and struggles to define freedom have been followed by decades of great efforts and epic failures to live out this kind of freedom. America is not about a particular place or group of people, rather America is "a radical and unprecedented idea, based upon liberty and freedom for all". (Eric Metaxas, If You Can Keep It)
Recently, I read Eric Metaxas’ book If You Can Keep It, The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty. The founders of America's document of freedom, The Constitution, believed that "the idea of total religious freedom was paramount." Metaxas writes about freedom and liberty, government and self-government, about virtue and love of country all being part of what formed America's ideals of freedom and what "we the people" must value. He speaks to the fragility of freedom and the uniqueness of America's government. Metaxas describes the heart of America as "the idea of living for others - of showing them a new way of living."
America, with its unique government and struggles to live its principles of liberty, continues to learn and evolve. It is not perfect, nor are its citizens; however, all citizens of America are included in the "we", each shares the burdens and enjoys the goodness. I treasure the freedom to worship as I choose, the freedom of speech to share my thoughts, the freedom to dream and opportunity to achieve dreams, the freedom to respectfully disagree with some and still remain part of this country. Especially on a day that celebrates independence, with both humiltiy and sadness, I do remember that this freedom has not come without its many wounds, some physical others pyschological, losses that linger, pain that divides.
I believe in a God who offers a "radical and unprecedented idea" of spiritual freedom. I believe in a God who loves and chooses to love everyone. I trust in a God who desires a relationship with a sinner like me. I believe in a God who can do all things! -dho
** written Wednesday this week for the 4th of July! Next week, returning to Thursday!
Thursday, June 28, 2018
Thursday, June 21, 2018
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. - BlackabyGod 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
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 Natalie 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
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Thursday, May 24, 2018
“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.
Come To The Table (click this link to hear!)
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Thursday, May 10, 2018
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