A Promise


They were desperate.  Their funds had been depleted and their hopes for keeping the ministry alive had been dashed.  They had prayed, but God had not answered.  What were they going to do?

Not surprisingly, they were heart-broken and despondent.  So much blood, sweat and tears had been poured into this ministry through many years, and by many servants of the Lord.  Evidently God’s blessing had been snatched away from them and their work.

So they began the process of shutting down the ministry.  Nevertheless, a few painful days later, they received the glorious news that a promise had been made from thousands of miles away, that their financial needs would be met in full by a stranger!  Needless to say their weeping was replaced with rejoicing!

Though the money would take several days to reach their account, they eagerly began to make preparations to reopen the ministry.  But even before the money arrived, a word from the Lord came.  One of the ministry leaders received a soul-searching revelation he was to share with the entire ministry team.

“Brothers, God has shown me that we have committed a grievous sin.  We prayed to God to meet our needs.  But when we didn’t see Him answer, we lost our faith and our joy.  Yet, just because a person thousands of miles away, a stranger we did not know, promised us the funds we needed, we rejoiced!  We believed the promise of a stranger, and we trusted him to be faithful to his word.  But a promise is only as good as the one who makes it.”

“Now then, we have a Heavenly Father and a Good Shepherd, who we know to be totally faithful and true.  He is no stranger to us, and He has on so many occasions provided for our every need.  And though He has made so many promises to us in His Word, He has never failed to keep even the smallest one of them.”

“How it grieves the gracious heart of our faithful Savior, that we would believe in and rejoice in the promise of a stranger from thousands of miles away, and yet not trust and rejoice in Him?  Has He not promised, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’?  Has He not proved Himself faithful countless times in that promise, ‘He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it’?  Surely the promises of God are infinitely more trustworthy than the promises of man!”

These leaders humbly received this word from the Lord and repented of their sins of unbelief.    Now, will this story compel me to do the same?  After all, His promises and His faithfulness always have, and always will prove worthy of regular and radical trust in Him!  A promise is as good as the One who makes it.

God’s Story Meets Ours

god-touches-adam In the beginning—God created.  He created the heavens, the earth, and life; with all their complexity, diversity, and immensity.  Lastly, He created mankind; in His image, for His purposes.

God also spoke.  He spoke to Adam and Eve, to all the patriarchs, to Moses, and to dozens of others.  Some of what God spoke was also written down.  Over thousands of years God’s words were collected, copied and preserved.  They were eventually compiled into a common volume of 66 books, the Holy Bible, God’s written Word.

God also came down.  He came down briefly on special occasions, but once He came down for over a 30 year period.  When He came down, He also came as a Man.  His Father was God and His mother was a virgin named Mary.  He was fully God and fully Man; unique and without equal.  His life was the perfect example of the life God intends all mankind to emulate.  What may have been confusing and mysterious in the written Word of God, became crystal clear in the life and works of the Son of God.

God also recreated.  For the people who came to Him on His terms, through His Son’s provision, He gave them new life, abundant life, eternal life.  They were born again; this birth was a spiritual one, one that only God Himself could bring about.  Broken people were mended, discarded people were recycled and repurposed, sinners were transformed into saints, and the hateful were recreated as helpful.

In the beginning—God also revealed.   God reveals Himself in His creation.  He spoke the universe into existence from nothing.  Surely His infinite power, wisdom, and glory have been clearly seen in what He has made.  No other god can make such a claim.

God reveals Himself in His inspiration, His God-breathed words.  No other god has such a book as our Holy Bible.  This Owner’s Manual for the human race spells out the instructions for assembling and achieving a fulfilling and everlasting life.  Without question, the Bible has had a greater impact on mankind than any other book ever written.

God reveals Himself in the incarnation, by sending His One and Only Son.  This supernatural revealing of Himself is also unprecedented among any and all other religions.  Our calendars bear witness to the significance of Christ’s first appearance.  Jesus masterfully revealed His Father’s love, grace, compassion, holiness, justice; and so much more.

God reveals Himself in His transformation of human lives.  From a deceiving Jacob to the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, from a Saul who slandered Christ to a Paul who suffered for Christ, from a farmer boy to a preacher man, God still changes lives today; by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

In the end—God will reveal Himself once again.  And if you haven’t met your Maker yet, you certainly will then.  Without a doubt, that meeting will be better now than later.

Is Fairness Overrated?

young pilot with tie on plane               It wasn’t fair, but I was a late bloomer.  In other words, I was an easy target for cruel remarks in my younger years.  I’ll never forget the time our high school chorus teacher asked me to sing a few lines of a song we were working on.  She (naively) pointed out to all my (snickering) peers how fascinating it was that my voice hadn’t changed yet!  Sadly, she had no clue that I would be the brunt of many cruel jokes for weeks afterward.

The ridicule from my high school basketball teammates wasn’t fair either.  As a freshman, I started out as the scrawniest kid on the team.  Taking showers in the locker room with the older guys who had gone through puberty years ahead of me often brought condescending remarks.  I figured the best tactic to avoid the insults was to sneak out of the locker room after practice without taking a shower.  Unfortunately, my well-meaning (also naive) coach quickly put a stop to that!  He wasn’t about to have anyone on his team go home with body odor!

Fast forward several years after graduating from college.  I had a wife, a son, and was a licensed, experienced, and professional pilot.  I remember picking up one of my first air taxi clients only to hear something like, “Are you sure you are old enough to fly this airplane?”  I assured him that I was and was eventually able to prove my competency to his satisfaction.  Nonetheless, his sarcasm had taken its toll.

Fast forward several years later.  The embarrassing remarks had disappeared and some encouraging ones had begun to surface.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my previous pain had somehow turned into a present gain!  The flip side to all those old insults was new complements.  Interestingly, neither was deserved. Once again, it wasn’t fair; I had absolutely nothing to do with this characteristic of the way God had created me.

I have a suspicion that you may have at least a characteristic (or two) that you are not happy about and that you have no control over.  Right now you may have a hard time seeing the possibility of any silver lining behind the painful clouds swirling around your life.  For mysterious reasons beyond understanding, you may face more than your fair share of circumstances that appear unfair.

Do trials, especially the ones that you have no control over, indicate God is not in control, or that He doesn’t care?  I think not.  God not only has the ability to see silver linings you can’t, He can make them a reality.  All things work together for the good of those who love God.

Trying times are a fact of life.  We can complain that they aren’t fair and feel sorry for ourselves.  Or, we can cooperate with God as He does His refining work in our lives.  Let’s have confidence in the wisdom and goodness of our Heavenly Father.  One day the silver lining will appear.

The Power Behind the Pen


We hold these truths to be self-evident…”  So began a declaration, penned by Thomas Jefferson, signed by fifty-six of our forefathers two hundred and thirty-eight years ago, that instigated the Revolutionary War and conceived a grand experiment in democracy; one nation under God, the United States of America.


According to the Declaration of Independence, this country was founded upon truths readily evident to all who would see them.  But these truths would prove costly to defend and uphold.  Accordingly, the signers of the Declaration of Independence acknowledged their support “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor.


Tradition tells us that of the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence, five were captured by the British, tried as traitors and tortured before they died.  Nine fought in the Revolutionary War and died from the wounds or hardships they incurred.  Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.  Two lost their sons who died serving in the Revolutionary Army.  Another two had their sons captured by the British.  Freedom wasn’t free.


One hundred and fifty-one years ago, our 16th president, with our nation embroiled in the midst of the Civil War read from the words he had penned, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”  Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address reminded us once again that truth and liberty are precious enough to preserve and protect at great cost.


Lincoln’s speech aptly charged our nation to ensure, “these dead shall not have died in vain.”  But, “that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Freedom still wasn’t free.


One hundred and fifty-one years later our nation continues to be reminded on a regular basis that truth and liberty are tenuous to hold on to, and costly to preserve.  While we have fought many enemies since our nation’s conception, foreign and domestic, I can’t help but wonder if our greatest present risk is domestic.


It is self-evident that a democracy is only as good as the people who empower it.  If the majority of the people who constitute our nation have little or no commitment to the once self-evident truths, the marginalized unalienable rights we were founded upon, we are very well on a slippery slope headed to self-destruction.  Freedom still isn’t free.


We may need another Thomas Jefferson, or Abraham Lincoln, to powerfully articulate to our present generation an urgent call to return to our roots; the truths that our Creator has endowed us with, and that our forefathers so passionately wrote about.  While positive change won’t come easily, thankfully, the pen still has the potential to be mightier than the sword.