Do We Clearly See?

Sun sets on the Hawaiian Islands, and the crowds stand along the shoreline with their cameras aimed westward while frothy surf tickles bare feet. Hundreds of eyes—young and old, round and almond-shaped, brown and blue—glued to the grandeur of a huge orb of fire, slipping serenely into an aqua sea. The sky is ablaze in hues of pink, lavender, and orange.

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I want to shout, “To God be the glory!”

But I’m a silent observer. My heart heavy with the weight of a world who pauses to experience a breathtaking sunset while often ignoring, if not denying, the Creator who made this very moment possible.

The people see, but can they hear the heaven’s declaring God’s glory?

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

I’m not passing judgement on a band of international tourists on holiday. Who knows what eternal thoughts (if any) came into their minds as they witnessed the daily miracle unfolding. Most people don’t wear a T-shirt proclaiming their faith. But imagine the eyebrows I might have raised, if I’d kneeled in the cool sand and raised my hands towards the sky, praising God’s name. Would anyone have joined me? Whispered, “Amen!”

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I’m not a bold witness when I’m alone among strangers. And yet, I’m convicted. How can I not proclaim the gospel that is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes in Christ Jesus?

A Japanese couple takes a selfie with the sun peeking over their shoulders. When they gaze at the sun, are they privately worshipping Amaterasu—the sun goddess—who is a major deity in the Shinto religion? According to the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in Japanese mythology, the Emperors of Japan are considered to be direct descendants of Amaterasu.

Curious, I search the internet for “sun gods” and a long list of names from cultures around the world reveals mankind’s desire to define and worship the sun, or link the sun to a god or goddess. When the Apostle Paul wrote the Christians living in Rome, the culture worshipped the sun god, Apollo.

Does it matter what we call the god who created and controls the sun? Does it matter if there’s a god? 

According to Acts 17:23-31 . . . it matters very much.

That’s why Paul talked to the religious people of Athens about their statue to “an unknown god.” Paul stood in a crowd and assured them, they could know “the God who made the world—the Lord of heaven and earth.” He explained….

  • God does not live in temples built by hands.
  • God is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything because he gives all men life and breath.
  • God desires that men would seek him and reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

I wonder if Paul and the crowds paused that day to watch the sun set on Athens?

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What were they thinking when the sun seemed to brush the earth with a goodnight kiss? Did they credit Apollo with another sunset, dismissing Paul’s words as foolishness? Or, were their eyes opened to clearly see their Creator’s invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature so they could believe and worship the One, True God.

Something to consider even in this . . . glorious God-ordained sunset that happens everyday!

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Best Day?

“That was the best day of my life,” exclaimed a little girl to her parents.

Her blond curls bounced as she skipped down the gravel pathway in her cowboy boots.

And my heart skipped with her causing me to chime in, “Me too!”

Her parents turned around and nodded. We’d just listened to a free symphony concert in the park. Notes from the William Tell Overture twirled in my head.

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Like a keepsake rose, I pressed that “best day” into my memory bank.

Do you remember one of the best days of your life?

Those sweet spots on this earthly journey when your cup runs over and it feels great to be alive.

If only we could rejoice…be happy, joyful, pleased, glad…every day.

Even on those rotten tomato days when it feels like the worse day ever.

The Bible says we should rejoice. (Psalm 118:24)

  • Rejoice because God has made this day. And He is fully present, longing to be part of our day.
  • Rejoice because inducing happy thoughts changes our perspective and makes us glad.
  • Rejoice knowing that our best days on earth don’t hold a candle to one day in God’s house. (Psalm 84:10)

That evening, I sat beneath a canopy of stars, swaying to the melodic notes of that orchestra which reached a spine-tingling crescendo, and I envisioned God’s angelic choir singing “Hallelujah. Worthy is the Lamb.”

The image gave me goosebumps.

For if that symphonic high is a glimpse of God’s glory and the joy of being in His presence one day,

Then it’s possible to rejoice today and always. (1 Thess. 5:16)

The only sad thing is…no one can make us rejoice. Choosing to be glad is up to each individual. 

Even in this moment.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

IMG_4473After two days of summer rain, the morning sun reappeared, chasing away the grey.

Birds came out of hiding. I watch them soar and dip through the clean air, chasing one another like children playing tag before landing on the bird feeder to holler, “Safe!”

Raindrops, glistening in the sun, cling to the emerald blades’ of grass and evergreen bushes. And the colors in my yard—green, fuchsia, and coral—are more brilliant after the cleansing rain.

On this blessed morn, I saturate my senses. And praise God for the drenched earth that was parched a few days earlier.  For it is the Lord who “brings the rain on the just and the unjust.”

 With a full heart, I open my Bible and turn its dog-eared pages until I find this scripture:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and breads to the eater;

 So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:9-11)

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Like Moses, I  too have longed to see God’s glory.

But on this summer morning, His glory surrounds me, reflected in His creation.

How I long to linger in God’s presence, soak in His Word, but I have an appointment. At the risk of being late, I grab another morsel of scripture and trust God to accomplish what He desires.

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.” (Is 55:2)

I listen.

I eat.

I delight myself in abundance.

Until I have no choice, but to rush out the door with dishes in the sink, towels that need folding. Chores left unfinished goes against my grain, my task-oriented brain. But the dishes and towels can wait.

I chose what is better, and it will not be taken away from me.

I am satisfied.

And I am ready to face the day.

“For you will go out with joy, And be lead forth with peace” (Is. 55:12).