Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A demonstration of power...

I read the story of Lazarus again today, and it kind of struck me with more power than I think it ever has before.

So John 11 opens as Jesus receives word that Lazarus was sick.

The first thing I noticed was how Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus. They sent for Jesus, because they knew that He loved their brother.

Do we know that? Really? Are we totally convinced of God's love... enough to expect that, out of all the crowds calling for His attention, He'll come and answer our request?

The next thing I realized was how Jesus immediately made the decision to wait for two days before He left. He said then, at the very beginning of the story, that Lazarus was going to die and that He would raise Him from the dead. He reaffirmed this knowledge two days later when they left, when He said that Lazarus had already died.

I wonder how the disciples felt? Were any of them filled with anticipation over what just might be the most spectacular miracle of their career? It doesn't seem so. John wrote that they they tried to keep Him from going to Bethany, because Bethany was only two miles from Jerusalem, and Jerusalem was filled with people who wanted to kill Jesus. In fact, Thomas's response to Jesus' insistence in going was, "All right, then! We'll all go with you and die together!" (Thomas may have been a doubter, but he wasn't a coward.)

So Jesus goes to Bethany. Martha meets Him first and professes to believe that Jesus can do whatever He wishes... although she thought, when Jesus first said that Lazarus would rise, that He was referring to the end resurrection. But Jesus asked her if she believed in Him. She replied that she knew He was the promised Messiah.

I wonder... why did Jesus choose that moment to ask for her declaration of faith? Perhaps this was a crisis moment for her... her beloved brother had died, and perhaps their situation was such that they would then be homeless and their home would pass into the hands of the next male relative. I’ve never really thought about how terrible of a ‘storm’ Mary and Martha were going through that week. But suppose their world was literally falling apart. Perhaps Martha needed a chance to reaffirm to herself exactly what and who she was holding onto through it. Because Jesus didn't ask her if she believed He could raise Lazarus from the dead. He wanted to know whether she believed in who He was.

Then Mary came, and the first thing she said was the same as her sister... that if Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died. That’s how sure they were of Jesus’ power and His love for their brother. They knew Jesus... both His love and willingness to help their brother, and His power. But what I think they didn't see, perhaps, was His willingness to help them. They kept repeating that He loved their brother... but did they doubt that He loved them, too?

How often do we do the same thing? We find it easy to think that God loves those that we love, but we find it hard to believe He loves us.

John then tells us how Jesus saw Mary weeping... and He wept. Almost everyone knows this tiny verse, but most of the time people seem to think the same thing that the people there did. They saw Jesus crying, and they said, "Look how much He loved Lazarus!"

But that’s not why He was weeping! At least, I don’t think so. Why would He weep for Lazarus? He knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead! And He certainly wouldn’t have wept for His own loss for the same reason.

No, the only reason I can see that He wept is because He simply saw someone He loved in pain, and He felt that pain. That’s all. He loved them! There was Jesus... knowing that their brother would soon be restored to them... yet still weeping... simply because of the pain they were currently going through.

Finally we get to Lazarus’ tomb. Jesus tells them to roll it aside. Martha says through her tears, “Wait, Jesus! He’s been dead for four days. It’s going to stink really badly in there!”

Jesus turns to her, and I think He smiled as He reminded her that she was about to see the glory of God. He knew what was about to happen. He'd known it for days.

I wonder if Mary and Martha had any inkling of what was about to happen. I mean, what else could Jesus have possibly been up to, other than raising their brother from the dead? Yet... He hadn’t raised anyone from the dead before then, so perhaps it seemed so far outside of the realm of possibility that it never even entered their minds. Perhaps they were totally confused as to what in the world Jesus was up to. I have to admit, I’ve been there!

So they removed the stone, and the smell came rushing out. I wonder if people staggered away and gagged and threw up. Maybe they held their noses politely and tried to pretend it wasn’t bad for Mary and Martha’s sake. Somehow I doubt Jesus made a big deal out of it, though.

Instead, He raised His face toward heaven and prayed something that I find kind-of funny. “Father," He said, "Thank You for hearing Me.” Then He added, “I already know that You always hear me... the only reason I’m even praying this is because these people here won’t believe You sent me unless I do.” And that’s the extent of His prayer!

But then comes the power. This rather ordinary-looking man stood there facing the tomb. He drew on the power that He knew He had... the power that created the universe, breathed the stars, and formed man to begin with... and He raised His voice and called to Lazarus... into the tomb, through the wrappings, and beyond the power of death itself.

Think about it! The power of His voice reached through the veil that separates the living from the dead, and it found Lazarus and issued a command.

“Come forth!”

And Lazarus did!

I honestly have no idea how, because it says his feet were bound, too... and every mummy I’ve ever seen certainly couldn’t have walked... and he definitely couldn’t see where he was going if his face was bound. It causes me to wonder exactly when Lazarus ‘came to.’ Did he remember waking up in the tomb and wondering what this supernatural power was that was lifting his body and propelling it from the tomb? Or did he remember nothing until they were unwrapping him?

I would have wanted to ask all those questions. But even more, I would love to see God’s perspective that day. Sure, what the people saw was spectacular. But God saw the power that Jesus’ voice carried -- a great rending of the barrier between two dimensions. The power of death suddenly dismantled.

I wonder what else was happening in the spiritual realm? Were demons screaming in horror? Were angels watching in awe? And was God smiling smugly at this tiny demonstration of power? Or was He filled with grief because of those who still refused to believe?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Learning to trust...

Today, it's my turn over on Storm Stories. Here is my story...
____________________________________________

The Lord is not done blessing you yet," she said.

There I was, standing beside my husband and not entirely sure what to think. I knew Betty only slightly... not enough to really know whether she ever heard God wrong or not. And did she mean financial blessing? If so, I certainly wasn’t going to argue... but it didn’t quite make sense. We were already experiencing financial blessings that ranged from a major pay increase and a miracle house, to insurance proceeds and winnings from a drawing we hadn't known we were in. So, while it was nice to hear that God wasn’t done blessing us yet, I’m afraid we’d started to take that blessing for granted.

But then my husband’s company decided to restructure territories, impacting his commission-based income. I remember telling him, “Maybe this is why God gave us that word.”

“What word?” he asked.

“The one that Betty spoke over us a few weeks ago, that God wasn’t done blessing us yet. Maybe God told us that so we wouldn’t worry.”

“I don’t remember a word like that.”

What? Had I dreamed it?

I began to doubt that God had even said it, so I prayed. “Father, if that word was really from You, then give us confirmation somehow.” I added that it be something that my husband couldn’t possibly miss.

A few days later Betty stopped by our house on an errand. She and I chatted a little. Just as she was leaving, my husband came home early – another unprofitable day. He met her in the hallway, and then she suddenly pointed a finger at both of us.“Don’t forget, you two, what the Lord told me," she said. "He’s not done blessing you yet. And He meant blessing you financially.”

I couldn’t help smiling... so sure that somehow, the new work situation was only temporary.

But it wasn’t. In fact, as 2004 changed to 2005, we discovered that we had received a 30% pay cut.

If I told you I handled it well, I’d by lying. I worried. I budgeted. I crunched numbers. Week, after week, after week, after week. I knew worrying was a sin, and I tried to trust God. I did trust God, and He showed me many things. But somehow, no matter how deep my walk with Him got, the trust never went quite deep enough.

We used the credit cards. We weren’t reckless... we only used them when we absolutely had to. But that prompted my very worst fears. My thrifty, penny-pinching, number-crunching mind wouldn’t let me forget exactly how fast our debt would snowball if we didn't find a way out.

And so I crunched numbers over and over and over again, looking for that escape. It HAD to be there! If God, in His wisdom, saw fit to take so much of our income, then it was our responsibility to figure out how to live on what He'd provided. Or so my clueless self thought.

I started questioning God. My belief in His love and faithfulness never wavered, but my willingness to be left in the dark as to why this was happening was fading fast.

A year inched by... a year when revelations of God's goodness battled with worry over finances. Then my mom died. We traveled from Florida to Maryland for her funeral and to be with family. And while we were there, we realized something amazing. That house that God had given us... the one that had been a miracle... was now worth over $230,000. And we only owed $84,000! On top of that, real estate in the little town in Pennsylvania where we'd always dreamed of moving was still very low priced. We could sell our house and pay cash for our little dream house! I sure wasn't worrying now!

The months that followed were a strange mix of grief over losing my mother and excitement. We bought the things we needed to finish one last house project and got to work on it. Yeah, we had to use the credit cards for it, but that didn't matter. We would soon have the money to pay it all off.

2006 brought the news of a 'real estate bubble' bursting. We still weren't worried. God could sell our house in any market. So finally we put out a "for sale by owner sign," and we waited.

And waited.

And while we waited some more, we discovered that the real estate bubble had indeed been real, and it had burst the exact same month we decided to sell the house. Needless to say, I started worrying again.

We decided to sacrifice $15,000 of our profit to list with a Realtor. She recommended that we drop the price on our house another $30,000, and she promised it would sell. We realized that it would be much more difficult to pay cash for what we wanted, but we figured we'd still be doing pretty well. So we did it.

Several more months went by. And now, on top of worry, we started to battle confusion over whether we were really supposed to move or not. Yet through it all, God showed me things during the hours I spent at His feet.

The Realtor suggested dropping another $25,000 off the price of the house, again promising us that it would sell this time. And it worked! We wouldn't be able to pay cash now, but at least our mortgage would be small. I eagerly started packing as closing day drew nearer. I reserved a moving truck, and my husband gave notice at his job. The church prayed for us and gave us a send-off... moving day was two weeks away.

And the sale fell through.

The company let my husband keep his job, but talk about confusion! Were we really supposed to move? Or were we supposed to stay in Florida? Where was God in all of this? If He wanted us to stay in Florida, then why wasn't He blessing us there? But if we were suppose to move, then why weren't doors opening? Around and around and around we went. But God was patiently working inside of me... gently but persistently teaching me the true meaning of trust. I began to experience a roller coaster in my spirit... trusting one day and filled with fear the next.

2007 began and God dealt with us about using credit cards. He showed me that all too often, His people choose to rely on banks and the credit they offer when they should rely on Him. My husband and I made a joint decision to live on cash no matter what. We still weren't sure how we'd have money for food, but we became convinced that this is what we needed to do.

And God honored that in ways that are still beyond my understanding. Work for my husband increased a tiny bit, but not enough to pay the bills. Yet month by month, miracle by miracle, as we relied upon God instead of credit cards, our bills were paid on time. Every. Last. One. And God showed me how this journey of learning to trust Him was really a gift from Him.

But the house still wasn't selling, the real estate market continued to decline, and our confusion persisted. We tried selling by owner again and failed. All around us people started losing their homes.

We decided to try another Realtor. We dropped our asking price again, and again we waited while nothing happened.

But in October, I had a moment that was like finding the garden of Eden in the eye of my storm. In one brief instant, God showed me something that He had accomplished in me over the last four long years. It's another long story, but the joy that I experienced that day and the freedom I found made me grateful for this storm. I no longer cared how severe my storm got or how long my roller coaster lasted. The prize was worth every single moment of it.

November came and we discovered that our house had lost 45% of its value - over $100,000 - in the last year. Our county was listed as having the fastest real estate decline in the nation. And that was hard to accept. Why was God allowing the blessing He'd given us to slip through our fingers? Were we going to end up losing our miracle house? We had no answers, but we started wondering if we should move to Ohio instead of Pennsylvania. So we made another decision. If, for some out-of-this-world reason the house sold, we'd see if my husband's company could transfer him to Ohio somewhere. We thought maybe they'd have something, somewhere in the state.

Six days later the house sold. And before noon the next day, my husband was offered a job in a town only fifteen minutes from family, in Ohio.

Needless to say, we were in shock. We really didn't know what Ohio would hold for us, but we were totally convinced that Ohio was where God wanted us. We even dared to hope that finances would be easier there, even though 80% of our potential profits had disappeared.

2008 found us in Ohio... and things weren't any easier. The profit from our house sale just barely covered the down payment the bank required, and my roller coaster of trust continued... but at least I was riding trust more often than worry. And at least the confusion was gone.

Which brings me to last September, when I found my rainbow.

I was fighting one of the nastiest bouts of worrying that I'd had in a while. I began battling it in the ways that I had learned were most effective, and it was then that God showed me something that blew me away. He told me that His desire is for me to fully realize that I am His slave. That sounded negative... until He showed me what that means.

I was set free. I was given peace. And a different kind of trust was birthed in me... one that I no longer had to strive for. I simply do because of who He is. It sounds so simple, yet it took me four years and multiple revelations to even begin to grasp it.

It's now 2009, and the storm I was in seems to encompass the entire world. Banks are failing. Governments are going bankrupt. The stock market is plunging at record breaking speeds. And everywhere I look, people are drowning in the exact same fear that I fought for so long.

But I am not. I have found a rock in the middle of the storm... a Rock who is bigger than any storm and a peace that is one of the most powerful things I've ever experienced.

Will the financial blessing that God promised my husband and I four years ago ever come? We believe it will. In fact, we've received several confirmations of it in the last two months. But we now believe that a tremendous responsibility will accompany it... one that we definitely weren't ready for then, and might still not be ready for. It's because of that responsibility that we're in no hurry to receive it, strange as that sounds.

You see... if we are indeed blessed with money in the midst of a bankrupt world, we could easily be overwhelmed with opportunities to meet needs in other people's lives. That has been a dream of ours for years. Yet... if there's one thing these last four years have taught us, it's that financial hardship can be a blessing and wealth can be a trap. And only God knows when which is which. If we had gotten our $150,000 cash two years ago, it might have ruined us. I certainly would have missed out on what I received instead.

Many people cling to Jeremiah 29:11: "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.'" I believe that's true. But I also believe that His plans are deeper and more meaningful than our human minds can possibly comprehend. I believe that, in order to fit into that beautiful plan, we must be willing to become His slave. Totally. Completely.

I don't know what God's plans for my future will look like. I don't know if it has something to do with that word He gave us, or it's to simply be a doorkeeper in His house. And I'm sure there will be more storms that will bring me to my knees.

But I know that He's used storms to work miracles in my life. So while I can't say I now welcome storms, I can say that I no longer fear them. For I know the One who will see me through.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
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 bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush, the cypress will come up,
And instead of the nettle, the myrtle will come up,
And it will be a memorial to the LORD."

-Isaiah 55:8-13

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How can we know?

I came across an interesting verse this morning, and I’d like to share it.

But first, let me ask you a question. How many of you have sat in a church service, listening to someone who’s new to you, and wondering if you can trust what the speaker is saying? Or, have you ever been presented with a book that’s supposed to be phenomenal... the person who’s recommending it says it ministered to them, or changed their life... and for some reason, you can’t help being suspicious?

If you’re like me, that’s happened many times. Sometimes it’s followed by guilt for being so suspicious. Other times, I end up reflecting that I’d be in big trouble if I believed everything that came down the pike. That holds true whether you’re talking about church, school, the Internet, the news, or the home shopping network. Jesus warned that many would be deceived, so it’s vital that we always go to God and the Bible for confirmation of whatever we’re hearing.

But sometimes, if you’re like me, you still find yourself wishing you knew.

I’m reading in John right now. John, of course, was written by the man who would have been called Jesus’ best friend while He was on earth. John wrote his gospel to prove that Jesus was the Son of God... the long-promised Messiah, sent to earth to fulfill the law perfectly so that He could pay the price for the sins of the world and give us eternal life. Because that was John’s purpose, he shares much, much more of the private explanations and instructions that Jesus gave His closest disciples. I mean, here was Jesus, walking on earth among crowds of people who loved Him for His miracles, but who didn’t really know Him. Yet eleven men... eleven out of twelve that Jesus chose... those eleven did know Him for who He really was, and they went on to change the world. John’s goal in writing this book was to share that revelation with the world.

In John 7, Jesus is in Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths, and He ends up teaching in the temple. The people listening were having the same questions that I often have. “Can we trust what this guy is preaching? He’s never been to Bible College. How do we know that he knows what he’s talking about?” (That’s the New Katie Translation of John 7:14-15.)

And Jesus answers that question! I don’t know how or why I’ve never seen this, but here’s what He says.

First He states that He’s not teaching His own ideas, He’s teaching God’s, so His lack of Bible College training doesn’t really matter.

But He knows that their next question will be, “How do we know that it’s really from God, then? How do we know that You haven’t made it up... or that You’ve come to believe a lie yourself?” So He answers in verse 17.

“If anyone is willing to do the Father’s will, He will know whether the teaching is from God or not.” (This is my paraphrase of this verse in the NAS, but this verse is a REALLY good example of how the Message Bible, in my opinion, cannot be trusted. It says, "Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it's from God." It totally leaves out what Jesus says is the important part, according to every other translation I've checked. Jesus didn't say you could test it. He said IF... meaning everything hinges in this... anyone is willing to do the Father's will, they will know.)

So Jesus says that they'll know if they were willing to do the Father's will. If this is also true today, then if I want to know whether someone’s teaching is from God or from man, I must be totally submitted to God's will in my life.

That seems so odd. How would being willing to do God’s will make you able to see and know whether someone’s teaching is from God? There doesn’t seem to be a connection. Yet I don’t see any other way to interpret this verse.

All I can think is that the necessary revelation is God’s reward for my willing heart... perhaps because that teaching might guide my life, either for right or wrong. So when I’m willing... when I'm submitted to my Heavenly Father, He will protect my heart by showing me if someone’s teaching is wrong.

Would anyone like to share their thoughts on this? Do you think I’m seeing this interpretation correctly, or do you see a different meaning here than I do?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Storm Stories...

I pulled out a four-year-old journal yesterday and read for hours. My journals are a hodge-podge of dreams, pain, prayers, revelations, and day-to-day happenings, so you might expect my experience to be what it partly was... a bittersweet realization of dreams that didn't come true... a reliving of the pain I felt when my mother died, or when marriage wasn't much fun... smiles and laughter at renewed memories of when my kids were four years younger.

But I got something else I certainly didn't expect. As I read prayers I'd poured out to God about struggles in my marriage... struggles in my personal walk with Him... struggles with doubt and worry when money was tight... I was filled with praise and awe. You see, the Katie who wrote those words is not the Katie who is writing these to you now. And the man I'm married to isn't the same now, as he was then.

I was in awe at just how much God has done in my husband and I in four years. Somehow, in the midst of never-ending petitions over struggles that are still ongoing, I had totally forgotten about those that had disappeared. I'm afraid that in many of them, God's deliverance had been so subtle and gentle that I never even recognized it when it came... being by then consumed with the new storm that was hovering on the horizon.

But that deliverance had come! As I read my own words of pain on days when things seemed unbearable, and as I remembered just how hopeless that situation seemed, I realized with a start that somewhere along the line, God had moved! He'd moved in my husband and He'd moved circumstances, but most of all, He'd moved in me. He'd made me into a person that could no longer be intimidated by that particular variety of storm.

Life is full of storms. Everyone knows that. But not everyone knows what it means to go through those storms with God watching over you. Sometimes we don't even realize what it means to have God there in the middle of our storms.

The world sees people who claim to be Christians, yet who are drowning and dying without hope, and they come to the conclusion that Christians are pretenders. I certainly won't deny that there are a wealth of pretenders out there, of all varieties.

Others see people who they think live charmed lives, and they come to the conclusion that it's easy for those people to love God... God's never let anything happen to them. Surely they'll think differently when a real storm comes their way. Yet, as Darla so accurately stated, "The intensity of the storm is the same for each of us, no matter how any of us sees it. If it brought you to your knees, if you cried, if you felt the desperation, if it looked like the bottom feel out and felt like it too, if the walls were closing in, if the night felt like it would never end…it was a storm."

The world has also seen the full force of storms that some Christians have gone through, and they wonder why those Christians haven't given up on a God who let that storm come just the same. The answer is based on what happens in the center of that storm... what happens when the wind is howling at its loudest and fiercest, and God meets you and breathes into your spirit the strength that you needed far more than the easy calm that you had before the storm... what happens when you emerge from a storm and realize how God carried you through it, and that the reward is worth every bit of pain you went through.

And so was birthed Storm Stories. I'm not sure exactly how my sister met Nor, but that's not important. What's important is that God led him to collect and offer, throughout the month of January, storm stories of Christians who were willing to offer a window into the middle of their storm... to offer the world not only the assurance that Christians do go through storms, but also show them why we don't give up on a God that allowed those storms in the first place.

I've been reading them as Nor has posted them, one or two each day, and working on choosing which storm story I will share when my turn comes later this month. But after I read Cindy's story on Thursday, then Rachel's story today, I realized that I need to share these stories with those of you who might not have already found them.

Go ahead. Read Cindy's story. Read Rachel's story. Read the others in case different stories speak to you. Then write your own. Give yourself a record of what God has brought you through, and allow Him to show you what you gained by it. Or if you're in the middle of your own storm, get on your knees before Him and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. He will!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Power births peace...

These past few days have been full of awe for me... awe at who my God is, how powerful He is, how He works, and what He's done for me. I'd like to share a tidbit with you.

When I woke up late New Year's Day morning, I was still under this awe I've been talking about. I also wanted to spend some time in my Bible... sort of dedicating this year to Him.

So I turned to Psalms.

I flipped through and found my way to Psalm 29, which was one of those written by David. Let me show you what I found... what blew my mind.

The first two verses are basically commands to worship the Lord because only He is worthy... something we know, but I think we don't really have a clue how worthy He really is. Perhaps David agreed, for he then went on to describe not God in His entirety, but merely God's voice. Look at some of his descriptions.

The voice of the Lord is like thunder. We're kind of used to that analogy.

The voice of the Lord is powerful and majestic. To me, majestic means that it would blow our mind if we could really see it or fully comprehend its power.

It is so powerful, David continues on to say, that it breaks the cedars of Lebanon. Now, the cedars of Lebanon were considered to be the most perfect building material of the day. This is what David and Solomon used for their palaces and what Solomon paid a king's ransom for, to build the Lord's temple. It was the best of the best... and the Lord's voice could break it! If David were living today, he would have said that the Lord's voice can break the strongest steel girders used in the largest sky-scrapers and the toughest materials NASA has developed for the extreme temperatures space craft must endure.

His voice not only makes mountains move, but it makes them skip and dance!

His voice cuts fire and shapes it however He wills it to be. Are you all aware that stars are fire? I'm going to back up for a moment here.

I'm not sure how many of you who lurk around this blog watched the two YouTube videos I posted last week. My sister was the only one who commented... and quite honestly, I don't know how anyone could watch them and not be blown away by the power of God. Since no one else commented, I'm going to assume that, perhaps, many of you are on Internet connections that don't show videos well... or that you were (understandably) too busy to watch it. So here is a brief text version of the first two videos... just to make sure that the page you're on is somewhere near where I'm at right now.

Here are the planets in our Solar System:

See earth there? Not all that big... especially compared to Jupiter, which is 318 times more massive than this planet we call home.

Now let's add the sun... you know, that star from which the earth and everything on it derives all of its energy... which is thankfully 90+ million miles away, otherwise it would incinerate us, because it is one sample of the fire that God's voice cut and shaped.

Jupiter no longer looks all that big. Neither does Earth... but at least we can still see it.

But lest you think that the sun is big...

Here are a few more stars. Earth is now invisible... not to mention you and me, who find our home somewhere on it and like to pretend that what life has dealt us is a big deal.

I'm not done yet, for Arcturus isn't the largest star man has managed to somehow measure. Let's go up a few more star-sizes:

Find Arcturus. See the massively huge star we call the Sun? That tiny pin-prick which, a few seconds ago made Earth look like a pin-prick? Can you see it?

Ready to go bigger?

The largest star that man has managed to measure is Canis Majoris. Let's see what it would look like next to our Sun:



Now here's the kicker... straight out of the Bible. Let's go to Psalm 33:6. It says, "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host."

Think about it! With every breath that you or I take, we breath out microscopic molecules of all kinds of things. But when God speaks, he breathes out stars.

He breathes out stars! He shaped them with His voice!

Let's go back to Psalm 29.

God's voice also causes the wilderness to whirl around, and can strip the leaves off every tree in every forest of the world, because of its power. That statement is now quite understandable. If He breathes out stars, then stripping the forests of their leaves would take only the tiniest puff.

And it is this God who was King when the Flood covered the earth (which now seems like it wasn't really all that big a deal), who is King today, and will remain King forever.

Those facts alone are amazing. In David's weak, human words, he does his best to describe just a little of how powerful God's voice is... something which modern science can now give us a slightly better grasp of.

But that's not the end of the Psalm.

There are two more statements. The first is that this powerful God gives strength to His people... and if anyone would have strength to spare, I think it would be a God whose mere voice has so much power we can't comprehend it. And somehow, despite the vastness of Him and the smallness of us, He cares about us enough to want to lend us His strength.

But get this... the last line of this Psalm.

This God, whose voice can make mountains dance... this voice that releases so much power that it formed and shaped stars that are billions of times larger than us... He uses His voice in yet another way. All that power... all that majesty and glory... is turned toward little tiny microscopic-in-comparison us. And He speaks and releases His power again...

...to bless us with peace.

"The Lord will bless His people with peace." - Psalm 29:11

Does this mean anything to you? Does anyone else feel compelled to say, "Wow?"
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