The Signature of God

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1 ESV

One of my favorite reasons for going to the beach is to watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Any sunset is beautiful but the most spectacular require some clouds on the horizon, for the sun to light up with amazing shades of red, orange and yellow below the canopy of a fading blue sky.  When my sister-in-law passed away recently, I was reminded of sunsets in our own lives. Our years of day trips into Chinatown, Christmases at the big house when all six brothers and sisters gathered and walks in Golden Gate Park reflected off the clouds of sorrow that came with the phone call telling us of Diane’s passing.

Though grief has settled on our horizon, God is painting the colors of sunset on our hearts with hope. Diane’s hope was not in the doing or possessing of anything here on this shore, but across the other side of the sea with Jesus Christ. The beauty of the hope we hold onto when the blue sky of our passing years fades is His signature which says, “This life is mine, and a new and happier one lies across the sea.”  There we will meet Diane again, where we will be able to run up heaven’s hills and together breathe deeply of its pure air. Our life here is just an unfinished canvas. If we put the paintbrush of our will into the Master’s hands, He will fill our days with His design and sign at the bottom when He is done. Just as every sunset tells us that God has finished another day, so a life that is His will receive His signature, declaring, “This is mine – and all that has passed is only the beginning of all the wonders that lie in store!”

Ringing the Bell

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17 ESV

When I was growing up, my favorite place to play was in my grandparent’s ginourmous back yard. There on summer evenings, my cousins and I liked nothing better than catching fireflies in jars and then watching them flick off and on in what seemed a magical display. We would stay at our game, no matter how late the hour, until my grandmother went out on the back porch and rang the big ship’s bell that my grandfather brought home with him when he retired from the Navy. No matter how loud we were shouting and laughing or how far away we were, the sound of that bell let us know that the time for games was over and we needed to come in and get ready for bed.

Today as we were singing the hymn, “Softly and Tenderly” the words of the chorus suddenly reminded me my grandfather’s bell. I could almost picture Jesus standing out on Heaven’s porch ringing a giant bell as His invitation to “Come home, come home. You who are weary come home.” He is calling all of us, no matter what we are doing or how far we have strayed from God. The clear ringing of that bell is still lovingly and persistently calling us home. Today’s verse spells out, not only an invitation to come to God, but also the wonderful promise of a refreshing river filled with life that waits for us when we come in. Don’t hesitate or linger at catching fireflies, because it is getting late. If you can you still hear His bell ringing; then drop everything you are doing and come home!

He Gently Stooped Low

He Gently Stooped Low

You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. Psalm 18:35 ESV

While the ESV gives us the picture of a Mighty God who is gently on our side, the old NIV renders that same phrase as, “He stopped low. Like Gandalf entering through a Hobbit doorway, in the Lord of the Rings, Jesus had to bend low enough to enter our world through the stable doorway in Bethlehem. He went to begging blind men, destitute widows and outcast lepers. Jesus had compassion on hungry listeners and washed the dirty feet of disciples. Jesus’ right hand was both gentle enough to bless a child and strong enough to lift a paralyzed man to His feet.

And when His time came He carried the weight of His cross to the top of Golgotha where those gentle hands were nailed to the wood. Then as He stooped His lowest in death, Jesus reached lower still as we were falling deep into our sins, and caught us, raised us up and gave us the greatness of His salvation. Oh how mighty and gentle is our Jesus! He gently stooped low enough to save us and then shared His greatness with His children!