I get how non-Christians can live their lives with heavy hearts.  There is a lifetime of sin dragging their hearts down, sadly.  What I don’t get is why Christians can live such heavy-hearted lives, why I, myself, can be so heavy-hearted much of the time.

Okay, that may not be true.  I probably know.  It’s not that people I love are pointing their lives away from God and all that He wants for them, sad as that is.  And it’s not that this world wants to ignore or even deny the God who created us, foolish and tragic as that clearly is.  It is sin that chains an anchor to my heart and pulls me under, keeping me from experiencing the glorious day I can see above the surface.

It’s not supposed to, I know.  I am forgiven; it’s all paid for.  That glorious day has been given to me by Jesus; it’s mine.  I did nothing to deserve it, but nonetheless, it IS mine.  So, why am I hanging out under the waves with the jellyfish, covered in seaweed?

A.J.

 

 

 

Most of us won’t go very far down a particular mental path.  I get it, because thinking very long about this subject can make you feel like you are losing your toehold on the ground where you stand…

On the flip side, though, the more you contemplate this, no matter how great you see God’s power, it will look far greater.  I guarantee it.

You see, we are meant to be awed and completely blown away by the mind-boggling size and complexity of our universe.  So, let’s be awed.  Let’s let nick-owuor-astro-nic-visuals-wDifg5xc9Z4-unsplashGod blow us away.

I posted this last year but very few of you read it.  Maybe because there are numbers involved.  I will do all the math, though.  All you have to do is follow along.

Light travels at 186,000 miles per second and there are 31,557,600 seconds in a year. If you multiply those two numbers you come up with almost six trillion miles.  That is one light year. That’s a huge number, so huge in fact that most of us don’t realize the immensity of it.

So, let’s get some perspective.  Buckle up now, cause this will blow your mind.  A standard piece of notebook paper is around 5/1,000 of an inch thick or .005 of an inch. So, one thousand sheets measure out to five inches, one million sheets is five thousand inches or almost four hundred seventeen feet, one billion sheets is almost four hundred seventeen thousand feet or 78.914 miles. Are you following me?  A stack of one billion sheets of paper would reach almost seventy-nine miles into our stratosphere, beyond it actually, into our mesosphere.  I just learned that word.

Okay, brace yourself.  A stack of one trillion sheets of your standard notebook paper would stretch almost 79,000 miles into space, a third of the way to the moon. Six trillion sheets would reach almost four hundred seventy three thousand miles, twice the distance from the moon to the earth.  That is six trillion times the thickness of a piece of paper.  I am not wrong; check my math if you like.

Now… try imagining six trillion miles!  That is one single light year; ONE!

You better sit down.  I don’t want to be responsible for any injuries if you pass out. According to NASA, the Hubble Space Telescope has detected a galaxy over thirteen billion light years away.

No human can say for sure but it appears from our spec of a galaxy that our universe is infinite; it never ends, unimaginable as that is.  So, really, the numbers don’t matter at all.  A space telescope capable of seeing a hundred trillion times as far as the Hubble will see no closer to infinity?

Sometimes, when I ponder the unending immensity of this universe, I feel like I am shrinking.  The further my imagination travels into infinity the smaller I become and soon I will be in danger of disappearing altogether.  If you walked that mathematical path with me, I know you understand.

I think, though, that feeling smaller because we have a slightly better understanding of infinity is backwards.  Because the Creator of our never ending universe treasures us.  That is awesome enough, right?  But that is nothing, because the love He has for us is as infinite as this universe, as infinite as forever!  We shouldn’t be shrinking–we should be growing, because the Infinitely Powerful God has a love for us that never ends.

How Awesome Is Our God?  There are no words.  Let’s just say–INFINITELY AWESOME! It is as close as we can get.

A.J.

The Wrecking Ball

abby-zavgorodniaia-2pnUEE9vf70-unsplash

I never wanted to do a blog.  I always imagined bloggers as self-involved people who only wanted attention for themselves.  Turns out, in my case anyway, there is some truth to that.

Sometimes when  I write, I am helping you to think about God and how infinitely awesome He is, which is a good thing.  But, I am getting myself to think about myself and my writing, which is a very bad thing.

I started this page as a way to build a platform to help me sell a book I have written to publishers.  I soon learned, however, that I don’t hate the attention.  I have recently been judging my own posts, not by how well I point to Jesus, but by how many likes I receive afterwards.

So, I am trying to look inward, to recognize my own motives.  Because, if I make this about me, that would be a very bad thing indeed.

This isn’t a blog about my favorite dog breeds or how to make paper airplanes.  It’s not about the best way to raise your kids or manage your money.  The subject matter is Almighty God–The King of Heaven and Earth, His Son Jesus–the Savior of Mankind and one with God Himself, and the Holy Spirit–our Constant Guide and Companion.  If I use Our Amazing God to try to bring glory to myself…  Well, I cannot imagine anything more pathetic.

Humility has never been my strong-suit.  I try to remind myself how GREAT God is and how little I am in comparison.  There is no comparison.  He is the Shepherd–I am a helpless lamb in a sea of carnivores.  He is The Creator of All Things–I am a piece of dust. But pride is a wrecking ball and if we let it go unchecked, we will start to believe the lies that the enemy whispers in our ears–lies of our own greatness, and lies about how we DESERVE earthly recognition and rewards.

So…  if you hear God’s Truth on this page, if anything you read here truthfully points to Him…  know that it came from Him.  Because God’s Truth is His–no matter which pen He uses to write it down.

ALL glory to God, save none for me.

You could, however, send up a prayer for a prideful average joe.

A.J.

 

 

Does the thought of a God loving the often disrespectful and mostly ungrateful creatures he created make it seem like that God is lonely, weak, and maybe even pathetic?

If the Bible is true, there is a God, and he is powerful beyond words. But the Bible doesn’t speak of some force who got the ball rolling and walked away; it speaks of a God who cares about us, a God who loves us. We are not simply talking about him loving the race of humans he created; we are talking about him loving each one of us individually.

However, this God the Bible speaks of isn’t some desperate, lonely, heartsick deity. The God of the Bible is in charge. He is not timid, and Oh My God: He Is Not Weak! Don’t think because some messed up things happen in this world that things have spiraled out of God’s control. His choice to give us free-will and write our own story does not mean anything is out of his control. Don’t blame God for the injustices of our world; the pen is in our hands.

So, an unspeakably powerful God exists, according to the Bible, which also says this God loves us with “a love that surpasses all knowledge”. < Don’t blow past that last statement. His love for us is beyond our comprehension, just like his power. There are no rulers or scales to measure God, or his feelings for us.

It is easy to dislike people who disrespect us or don’t appreciate us, isn’t it? It comes naturally for most of us. It does for me. What is difficult, what takes strength–is to love those people.

Unending Power, Absolute Goodness, Complete Knowledge. That is Our God!

Undeserved Mercy, Limitless Love, Bottomless Grace.
That is what He has for us.

A.J.

guilherme-madaleno-O-rlY0RW9vU-unsplash.jpg

I try to keep this page free of politics.  You can find that stuff everywhere and whatever you read or hear about it all–it will not leave you with a feeling of peace, even when you agree with what you read.  All these hotly-contested political issues gets our dander up–way, way, way up.  Sometimes it should, I think.  It is right to fight against oppression or injustice, but it is not right to hate while you do it.

Liberal vs. Conservative, red vs. blue, left vs. right–all of it looks like American vs. American to me.  I realize that how we, as a people, judge these issues and what policies we put in place regarding them can be incredibly important.  And, I have a certain amount of admiration for the people out in the trenches of the political battlefields fighting for what they believe is right, some of them.  But the gloves have come off on both sides of the aisle and the formerly accepted standards of spirited debate are gone–completely.  Politics in America could not be uglier.  We can blame the other side all we want but even if it is their fault, pointing fingers gets us nowhere.  That has been proven.

I lean heavily in the expected direction but my political leanings are not what define me. First, second, last, and always… I am a child of God.  What I do and say and how I vote reflects on Him.  I must weigh my political opinions on what He has shown me is good and right and true.  All of it.

I too get really angry at the other side at times, especially when they put God or God’s people in their crosshairs.  I can’t even express how angry I can get.  Like I said, though, we can’t pick and choose which of God’s directives to uphold today.  I can’t look at where God’s Word says “an eye for an eye” without considering that Jesus said, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” or where God said, “revenge is mine”.

Listen, I am both the pot and the kettle here.  I can be as bad as anyone.  But our opinions and responses are supposed to be measured by God’s Truth, all of it.  Part of that Truth is that Jesus did not come for the healthy, but the sick.  He came for the diseased, for the ungodly.  He came for us, whatever our political leanings, and he came for them, whatever theirs.

A.J.

harshil-gudka-455166-unsplash

All our lives people have been telling us, “It’s not about you!” But it turns out… It Is About You after all, at least for God it is.

You don’t have to be good. Heaven is not earned; it is a gift–for you. It does not matter how bad you have been, and the gift does not depend on how good you are now. It does not even depend on how good you are after you accept the gift.

Crazy, isn’t it?

There is not a never ending line of holiness hoops you have to jump through. Your good deeds to not have to outnumber the bad. There is only one thing required of you; faith. You have to believe that Jesus aimed his earthly life towards the cross for YOU, that he purposely laid down his life to pay YOUR debt to God–to free YOU from guilt, to free YOU from shame, to free YOU from judgement.

God Himself came down from heaven in the person of Jesus–for YOU. It is personal. HE died for YOU. HE loves YOU.

Believe it.

A.J.

 

Image may contain: sky, mountain, nature and outdoor

Saying the Lord is my Shepherd implies that I am a sheep…

I don’t want to be a sheep.  They are weak, dumb, and helpless.  Whereas, I am a strong, smart, independent creature, right?  Or am I?

I work hard and pay my own way in this world.  I shield those in my care from many dangers.  But if the sun varies in its intensity by a small fraction of its current strength,  myself and everyone in my care would die along with the rest of the creatures on Earth.  I will admit; I don’t have any control over that.

If the moon’s orbit changed and it were suddenly much closer to us, the earth would be inundated with apocalyptic global floods multiple times per day.

Moon

Ummm… okay, I can’t keep the moon in its correct orbit either.

If anything happened to the magnetic field surrounding the earth, we would lose our atmosphere and all die.  If just one contagious disease cannot be contained, we could all die.  If mankind’s immune systems stop working we will all die.  If, if, if…

Any of these things could happen.  What has kept our planet and mankind functioning for as long as they have?  It wasn’t me, and it wasn’t you.  Could it be someone looking out for us, like a Shepherd?

Do you think some of the sheep in the pasture think they are strong and smart and independent.  They protect their lambs from bigger sheep, they are smart enough to bend their neck down to eat the grass, and they don’t rely on any of the other sheep for anything, right?  Maybe a few of them even follow their dreams and try to fly.  But, if they venture into the woods it is only a matter of time until they are devoured.

I think of this world as mankind’s pasture, in a way.  Sure, some of us are very competent.  We work hard and keep our lambs safe and we travel all around our beautiful pasture doing great things and thinking great thoughts.  Some of us have even ventured into the woods for a minute and lived to tell about it.

Not one of us, though, can keep us safe from solar storms.  We can’t keep the Earth from tilting off its axis or from falling out of its orbit around the sun.  We can’t keep moon sized meteors from wiping out our world.  We can’t make the rain start when we are thirsty or stop when we are drowning.  We are as dependent as it is possible to be.

We are so much more than sheep–compared to sheep–but not compared to God.  Like a little lamb in the woods with a thousand mutton-loving carnivores ready to pounce, we are helpless without Our Shepherd.

A.J.