Tag Archives: God

I Heard The Bells

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

On April 8, 1966, the Time magazine cover asked, “Is God Dead?” In a world where we have a telescope in space looking to the far reaches of the universe and using the Hadron Collider to try to find the “God particle”, many people wonder if there is a need for God in order to explain the creation of the universe and our existence. They see God only as an uneducated person’s explanation of the universe instead of a deity involved in our lives.

When we reduce God to just an explanation for creation, we allow Him to be seen as of no use today and dead to society. When bad things happen in our culture, people always ask, “Where is God? Why did He allow that to happen?” But when we fail to put logs on a fire, we don’t ask, “Where is the heat? Why are we being allowed to freeze?” We can’t kick God out of our culture, schools, and government then ask where He is when bad things happen.

He sent His Son into the world to bring life and light into our darkness. John 1:4-5 says, “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (NLT). He was sent to right the wrongs of sin and to chase away the darkness that it brought. The star above the stable was representative of what He was doing. He was sending light into our world that will lead us to salvation.

There is a Christmas Carol called “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”. It’s very powerful and moving. Here’s the verse that stands out to me:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on earth, good will to men.”

God is not dead, nor is He simply an explanation for our very being. He is a loving God who is involved in our daily lives. We were created with purpose and our lives have meaning. To think there is no God and that we are simply here by random chance is to say there is no right or wrong and that life has no meaning. God sent His Son to us to show us that we matter. He sent Him to show He cares about our struggles mentally, physically, and spiritually. He came to right the wrongs, to bring peace on earth, and goodwill to men.

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God’s Compassion 


Several years ago, we had a pair of cats. One Sunday morning, as we sat in church, my mother in law called. You could hear the cat wailing in pain as she explained it was trapped. My wife heard the cat crying even though she wasn’t on the phone. She had compassion on the cat and said she had to go save it. As she tried to get him loose, he scratched her. She kept working on it and eventually set him free from his predicament. 

Many times, we find ourselves in a similar predicament. We’re stuck or in a bad place, and we call out to God for help. When He shows up to alleviate the pain and situation, we attack Him. He still does what a parent does to rescue His children though. Despite what you may believe, He is full of compassion for us. If you’re stuck and need to be set free, call out and He will come. He loves you and wants to set you free. 

Here are some Bible verses on God’s Compassion for you.

1. For the Lord will give justice to his people and have compassion on his servants.
Psalms 135:14 NLT

2. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalms 103:13 HCSB

3. He is good to everyone and has compassion on all he made.
Psalm 145:9 GNT

4. Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.
Psalms 51:1 NLT

5. The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
PSALM 145:8 AMP

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Drop Your Demerits


I went to a high school that gave out demerits. If you got a certain amount, you went to the office. The next level was that your parents would be brought in. Finally, if you got a certain level, you would be expelled from school. I had one teacher that loved giving out demerits. In fact, when I would walk into class, he would hand me a blank one and say, “Go ahead and fill out the top. We can keep a running total throughout class and you can write down the final number at the bell.”

It always felt like a threat, but more than that, I couldn’t concentrate on what I was supposed to be doing. In my head, I was just thinking about how not to get a demerit. I would tell myself not to talk to anyone so I wouldn’t get one. But then again, he was demerit happy. I could just have the wrong look on my face and get one. It was the same every day in his class. While I can remember the teacher and location of the room, I have no idea what class it was.

Sometimes it’s easy to think that God is like that teacher. We think He’s up there waiting for us to mess up so He can punish us. It can cause you to live in constant fear of God, and to worry that you’re going to mess up and ruin everything. It can even distract you from fulfilling your calling and cause you to be a fruitless Christian. In the words of a friend of mine, “Relax! God’s in a good mood.” He’s not angry all the time looking to smack you for doing wrong. 

Psalm 130:3-4 says, “If you, GOD, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped” (MSG). Don’t fall for the lies of the enemy that God has handed you a demerit and is waiting for you to fail. God wants nothing more for you than for you to succeed and to fulfill your purpose. Forgiveness is His habit, not punishment. Put down the demerit you’re holding on to. Walk in the forgiveness that has been bought for you by a His son. 

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God’s Kindness


A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I can tell you that usually it is an adjective or an attribute. So many think of God as a disciplinarian in the sky waiting for us to mess up so He can send us to hell. I don’t believe that description is true. Who would spend everything they have on something, then wait around and hope it fails? God paid for our sins with the death of His Son. That description doesn’t make sense. 

One that does, and we rarely discuss, is His kindness. It’s not usually how we choose to describe God, but it’s one of the most accurate descriptions of Him. He is kind to you and me because of how much He loves us. He is constantly doing things for our good, and we hardly give Him credit for it. Today, let’s reflect on God’s kindness and look for the areas where He’s been kind to us. You’ll find that He’s shown you a lot more kindness than He has wrath. 

Here’s some Bible verses that discuss His kindness. 

1. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:6-8 NLT

2. But You, O GOD, the Lord, show kindness to me, for Your name’s sake; Because Your lovingkindness (faithfulness, compassion) is good, O rescue me;
PSALM 109:21 AMP

3. As the scripture says, “He gives generously to the needy; his kindness lasts forever.”
2 Corinthians 9:9 GNT

4. As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.
2 Corinthians 6:1 NLT

5. How happy are the people who worship you with songs, who live in the light of your kindness!
Psalm 89:15 GNT

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Assumptions 


There’s an exercise I do with people to show how our minds jump to conclusions and we assume. We observe a conversation where a lot of things are left open, and then I ask them questions about it. The group doesn’t know that I’m exposing how their brain works. As I ask the questions, they typically make assumptions. I keep asking questions to get as much detail from them as I can to see how much they’ve made up.

I keep asking questions until someone inevitably says, “I don’t know.” I then go back to what was said and ask, “So what do we really know?” I sometimes have to go through it several times before they get it. Most of the answers they give are based on their assumptions and not on what they know. I then like to ask, “How much of your life is based on what you’re assuming versus what you know?” It’s a heavy question that I usually leave several seconds of silence after while they think.

Job was a righteous man in the Bible. He honored God in all he did and even fell down to worship God when he lost his kids and his wealth. As time went on and he was struck with boils, his friends began to question his integrity. In their conversations back and forth, it’s clear that they make many assumptions about his predicament and how God is doing it to Him. They don’t know that Satan is behind the whole thing and is the one tormenting Job. 

In Job 19:25, Job makes a great statement. He says, “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives” (NLT). We may not know why we go through certain things or why things happen, but we can know that our redeemer lives. We can live with assurance that He is in control and our lives are in His hands. We need to stop our assumptions that God is behind everything bad that happens in our lives. We know that it’s the enemy who steals, kills and destroys. It’s God who brings life. So they next time things happen, don’t make decisions based on assumptions. Go with what you know. 

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Busy Work


I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand busy work. I hate being given a task just for the sake of having something to do. I see it as a waste of time rather than a time filler. Nothing truly productive comes from it. I’d rather save my energy, brain power and time doing nothing rather than doing meaningless tasks. Whether it’s at work, home or wherever, we’ve all been given busy work since we were kids.

Sometimes doing things for God feels like busy work. I can’t see the purpose behind doing what He’s asked, so it feels like busy work. Whether it’s busy work or not, I obey because it’s God who is asking. Many times it’s simply to go somewhere, pick someone up, say something to someone, serve at an event or something like it. When I don’t get to see the impact or reason, it can feel like busy work to me.

I was discussing this with one of my pastor friends recently. Then I recalled a couple of events that really I could barely remember doing, but the people I helped acted as if I had saved their life. The “busy work” on my part had a significant meaning to the person God was directing it toward. It was a great reminder that often what we do for God may feel like busy work at times to us, but to others, it’s life changing stuff.

Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 15:58, “Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless” (GNT). If you’re feeling like God has given you a lot of busy work lately, take heart. Nothing you do for Him is useless. It’s not a waste of your time, talents or resources. Often you’re changing lives without even knowing it. God doesn’t give out busy work to keep us occupied. He gives us work that we’re to stay busy at because eternity is at stake.

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Million Dollar Moment


If you were on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”, and you were down to the final question with the Phone a Friend Lifeline left, who would you call? Is there anyone in your life you trust that much when that much pressure is on and so much is at stake? Believe it or not, I imagined that scenario over and over again when the show was popular. Only a couple of people came to mind who had the knowledge and poise to deliver in that moment. 

When you think about it, that’s a lot of trust you’re putting in that individual. When everything is on the line, you’re saying, “I trust this person with my future.” You may or may not be able to think of someone off the top of your head. When Satan appeared in Heaven one day, God asked him what he had been doing. He replied, “I have been walking here and there, roaming around the earth” (NLT). Then in Job 1:8. God said, “Did you notice my servant Job?”

Satan then accused Job of only trusting God because he had been blessed and was protected by God. He asked, “Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it?” God then allowed Satan to take away everything Job had. God trusted Job in that million dollar moment. When so much was at stake, God looked at him and said, “That’s my guy. I trust him.” And if you’ve read the book of Job, you know that when Satan took everything from him, he fell down and blessed God.

I wonder if God would trust me in that moment. Would He trust you? Is our faith based on who God is or is it based on the blessings in our lives? It’s easy to serve God when the blessings are flowing and things are easy. Would we have the same response as Job if we lost everything? Would we be able to drop to our knees and praise Him no matter what? It’s a tough question, but one that must be asked. What would be your response in that million dollar moment? 

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