I have told you that you are a good man but somehow that slipped your mind.

I have told you I am proud of you for working your way through college but that too escapes you.andreia-alexandre-pVHIT6wVRUk-unsplash

I have told you that you are a good father, and you argued with me.

You hear judgment even when I am telling you how good I think you are, so of course you are going to hear it when I am not.

Between the two of us–you are the only one you are not good enough for.

You are believing lies from the father of lies.

You are TREASURED by Our Infinite God.

Give yourself a break.

Long Live the King!

After the snowplows cleared the school parking lot following a big snowstorm, they would leave behind a gigantic wall of snow probably 30-40 feet long and ten to 12 feet high feet high.  It was perfect…

for King of the Hill.

As a boy, I remember fighting my way to the top many times only to be thrown headlong from my pedestal within seconds by wicked usurpers to my throne. I would have their heads–if it weren’t for the fact that as soon as they threw me from the peak I was no longer king.  So, I would turn and fight my way back up dodging the plummeting bodies of newly deposed kings as I went.  Kids would get hurt every time–and we loved it.

This mayhem is what I imagine going on within us when we allow money, or our homes, careers, sports teams, vacations, or our grown-up toys to become king in our hearts.  Even the people we love do not belong on the throne.

“In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come. Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God had showered upon him.”  A.W. Tozer

There may be nothing wrong with these things or loved ones that we value so much but when we try to crown them king, it is high-treason of the heart.  There is a place within us where only God belongs, and when we allow anything else to enter that place, it is nothing short of idol worship.  Something is deeply wrong when we value our gifts more than the Giver.

As the creator of all hearts, only God is worthy to be King in any heart.

A.J.

Since I was a little kid I have thought about killing people…

I was probably six when I started playing “Cowboys and Indians”.  Not very racially sensitive, I know.  What can I say?  We didn’t call the game “Cowboys and Native Americans”.

Anyway, I faced the dangers, dodged Injun arrows and bullets, then blasted holes in them frisky scalp takers.  They would pretend to dodge and say I missed or that I just nicked them but I would yell back, “No, you’re dead!  I shot you in the heart.”  I always knew exactly where my bullets went, cause I was a great shot.

As I learned and grew, so did my adversaries.  I don’t know how it always ended up this way but I always had to fight and kill the biggest, toughest, and meanest bad guy.  Or, more often than not, two or three of them, while my friends would only have to deal with one little pipsqueak of a villain each.  Just the life of a hero, I guess.  I never got a break.

It amazed me back then that it was always the girls I liked the most that would get kidnapped.  As per usual, I would have to put my life on the line to vanquish the bad guy and save the damsel in distress.  When I did, after I carried them out of a burning building or something just as dangerous, they would fall in love with me, of course.  Another of the burdens I had to bear.

Even as an adult, having had a family of my own, I have imagined what I would do to keep them safe.  What wouldn’t I do?  There is no question I would take a life to save my loved ones.  I am not going to sit on my couch and say God will save them.  His plan for saving them might be by making me as tough and as strong and as deadly a shot as I imagined I was in my childhood games.  Who knows?

Don’t get me wrong.  If something like that happened I would be praying and I hope I would be praying with faith, but I would be doing so as I move between my  loved ones and the danger they face.  Yes, we rely on God, but it is our responsibility to physically protect our family from those who wish to harm them.

Listen, I have never killed anyone and I don’t wish to have to make that choice someday.  The life we live actually belongs to God and it is not our right to take it from anyone.  But if someone, without cause, comes at you or your loved ones with intent to harm, taking that person out of commission is not a good or bad choice, it is the only choice, if we are able.  And that would be on them, not you.

This is not a “right to bear arms” post.  I don’t even know what it is exactly.  I just thought the beginning was funny and decided to see where it led.  Well, it led me here, unsure of how to wrap it up.

The world has been through some horribly dangerous times so I can’t say with any certainty where our era ranks in terms of violence.  I will say that I think there has never been an era where RANDOM violence has been so rampant.  There have been murderous plunderers roaming the earth for thousands of years, but I don’t believe there has ever been a time when so many wanted to kill so many just for the sake of killing.

Maybe every generation feels the same way but we do live in a tough time.  We are supposed to live in faith, not fear of being murdered at the grocery store.  For me, on my own, that is not too hard.  But, throw in my family and it makes me want to be prepared to use deadly force anywhere and anytime.  If I am in a crowd of defenseless people and someone starts shooting, I want to be able to do more than throw myself on top of my family and pray.

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What does God want of us?

A.J.

 

 

 

Infinite Greatness

Sometimes, to me,  it seems pretty silly to write about God.

I mean, think about it.  He is completely indescribable and totally unfathomable.  If I could adequately describe The Indescribable God, no one could understand it.  It doesn’t matter how awesome, stupendous, amazing, and wonderful I say He is; my words are inadequate.  The only thing I can do is sell Him short.

That is why I use the word “infinite” so often in these posts.  But what human can truly understand infinity?  Our God is infinitely powerful, infinitely wise, infinitely good, infinitely faithful.  He gives us infinite love and infinite grace.  I wrote it.  I absolutely know it’s true.  But I have no idea what it means, not really.

I understand we have a giant leg up on those who don’t believe.  We have God’s Own Spirit within us and if He chooses to, He could show us infinite greatness, but first He’d have to give us new brains cause the ones we have would blow up.

I think, through God’s Spirit we don’t necessarily understand God’s infinite greatness, but we understand THAT HE IS infinitely great.

As far as my writing, I guess I just need to rely on The Holy Spirit not only to guide my heart and hand as I write, but to guide your heart and mind as you read.  Because, on my own–these are just words.  But, through His Spirit… they hold the Power of God.

A.J.

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

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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.