The View From Here

full moon

So far, yet so close

In a National Geographic story it stated that somewhere in the universe a star explodes into a supernova every second. It also mentioned that if a star exploded anywhere near us (<15 light years away) we would be wiped out by the blast. That made me ponder just how big the universe is, and how small our planet is in comparison. Personally I would not be able to locate my own solar system within our galaxy (one star among 100-150 billion), or even pick out the Milky Way from among all the millions of galaxies that are out there (over 125 billion from observation by Hubble space telescope). With this vastness of the universe how is God, who is over all, even concerned about me? I exist for such a short time, one of over 7.5 billion people who populate this insignificant planet coursing around an insignificant star tucked away in one of billions of galaxies. How do I know that the creator of all this even cares? It comes down to one word, Jesus. I do not fathom His love for me, or how He even knows me, but because Jesus the creator of the universe came and died for me, this says God loves me and will not lose me in the vastness of all His stars. Even the hairs on my head are numbered. What an amazing statement of God’s concern (Matthew 10:30). Oh how wide and deep and beyond my imagination is the love of God for me in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:18).

The Grandeur of God’s Love

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So large it is hard to comprehend

Some things are hard to explain even seeing a picture does not fully reveal the enormity of what you see. The Grand Canyon is one of the most photographed places in the world but no words can describe, or picture convey the enormity and grandeur of that place. You have to experience it for yourself, even then it is more than the mind can wrap around. This is also how it is with John 3:16

I will never fully comprehend the height, width, or depth of God’s love. But, when God blessed me with children, I read John 3:16 with new insight. I looked at my child and cried at what God allowed to happen to Jesus because of His love for me.

To hear ugly words used against your child hurts.
To see your child keep quiet in the face of accusations is hard.
To see your child rejected, causes deep pain.
To see your child in sorrow brings terrible heartache.
The thought of your child suffering is unbearable.
But to stand back and allow your child to die is grief beyond compare.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. John 3:16

I Feel Small

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Looking up

Trees sometimes make me feel small. Especially, when I look up and and see them pointing at the sky.

In a similar way, Ephesians 3:17-19 fills me wonder at the immensity of God’s love, and the smallness of my understanding.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

“Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!”
Refrain from “And Can It Be, That I Should Gain?” by Charles Wesley

Morning After Nightmares

Awaken to the Morning

Sunrise against the clouds

I awaken just short of being devoured.
The fear lingers on.
My mind is stalked by the night terror.
I call out to Jesus and He comes to hold me like a mother holds her child.
Together we review the truth,
The verses of His compassion and faithfulness.
The depths of his love explored.
The nightmare cannot come it is left outside.
I am made ready for the day.

Traversing the Mountains (Ps.103)

Iceberg Lake Trail

Traversing the mountains along the Iceberg Lake Trail, Glacier National Park

After wandering through the trees the Iceberg Lake trail breaks out to traverse the slopes of mighty mountains. I feel so small.

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:10-12

God through His love yearns to give us compassion and forgiveness. Not reluctantly, but in great quantity. These great mountains are dwarfed in comparison to the great love God has for those who fear Him (hold Him in highest esteem).

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him: for he knows how we are formed, he remembers we are dust. Psalm 103:13-14

God loves HIs children. He knows our weaknesses, our needs, and our failures. So when we humbly bow before Him, He treats us with compassion not as we deserve.

As I hike along the Iceberg Lake trail and marvel at creation, it puts me in awe of God, my Father, and His great love for me.

When Anxiety Presses In

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Fear of Fire

There are certain memories that I can’t allow my mind to dwell upon, or my anxiety takes charge. It is like thinking of sharks when you’re swimming in the ocean. When my angst starts to rise I must fall at the feet of Jesus and ask Him for help. Otherwise, I get all wound up and stress out. On the last occasion, when my fears started to rise, the Holy Spirit reminded me of John 17:26.

I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.

According to Jesus’ prayer for me, He will continue to make the Father known to me “in order that the love God has for Jesus may be in me.” Wow, how amazing is that? The love God has for the Son is placed upon and in me. The simple reason for this is the Holy Spirit places Jesus in me. Think of it, the creator of all things in me. When I set my mind to dwell upon this prayer, my anxiety and depression begin to bow before Jesus, and I can start to breath again.

Morning Feast

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Morning taste of glory

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love  Psalm 143:8

As I begin this day my thoughts gravitate to my failures, lack of discipline, lack of prayer, too much TV, wrong thoughts, and I feel pulled down unable to enjoy the day due to my shame. But then a voice says it is by grace you have been saved (Eph. 2:8-9). Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:16). I grab hold of these words, laying aside my self-doubt and shame, to begin this day again in Christ. Renewed to pray for my family, trusting that my failures will not foil God’s love and provision for them. That His love has not diminished and remains as wide and long and high and deep for me as it is for the greatest saint (Eph. 3:18). By faith the day changes from one of struggle with sadness and shame to one of victory and thanksgiving unto the LORD. Knowing He is good, His love endures forever (Psalm 136). This is my morning feast, my wake up coffee.

O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!  Psalm 34:8

Hidden

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Hidden grandeur

This picture of a mountain looking through clouds reminds me of my understanding of God’s love. Sometimes I am angry at God and cannot see His love. Sometimes I am ashamed of myself and cannot think anyone could love me. Occasionally my vision of God’s love is clear and I am swept up in the wonder. But most of the time I know it is there for I can see it vaguely as through a cloud.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…God is love.
1 John 4:9-10, 16

How good it is to know that God’ s love for me is not dependent on the clarity of my love for Him — it is because that’s who God is. Even though you do not see it clearly that does not diminish the fact that it is there in all its glory — I just have to trust Him for it.

The Love of God at the Far Ends of Life

Beauty when life nears the end

Beauty at the end of life

The love of God is not dependent on competence, nor diminished by the wilting of abilities with age. He loves the old on their last day of life. He loves the newborn (and the unborn) on their first day of life. He loves those suffering from mental illness unable to function. He even loves the demon possessed man running naked among the tombs of the dead (Luke 8:26-27). God loves us regardless of our condition or accomplishments.

Sadly, our natural abilities can be a hindrance to receiving God’s love, because success can so easily become the desire of life, pushing aside God. It is at the far ends of life that we set aside dignity and run to the love of God. Allowing him to bath us in forgiveness and hold us in his loving arms.

“For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). God’s love has no boundaries except the ones we impose by our foolish pride.