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Saturday, 30 September 2017

GOD IS: Part Five

GOD IS: Part Five

If you've been following along, you'll know this is the last part of my GOD IS series. I'll admit, these six are a bit random (not the easiest letters to find descriptions for) but hopefully the explanations will clear up any confusion as to what I actually mean. So, here's the letters U-Z of who God is to me. 


God is way beyond what I could imagine. No matter how big I think he is, he’s bigger. No matter how good I think he is, he’s better. No matter how loving I think he is, he’s more. Even when I try to think bigger, it’s not enough. My mind just can’t comprehend God.

I come to God with a little paper sketch of how I think my life should go and he kindly takes it, tells me I did a good job as one would a young child, and then shows me his plan. The wall to wall, ceiling to floor, intricate tapestry with more colours than I could ever name and more details than I could ever remember. Each piece of thread winding tightly around another as people, events and emotions come and go, and God stays faithful.

I can’t imagine how God can orchestrate billions of lives nor have the heart to deal with so many emotions. I can’t imagine how God can watch children suffer nor bad people prosper. I can’t imagine what it must be like to hold so much power in your hands that he could create entire galaxies with a single word.

And I’m really glad I don’t need to! It gives me such peace to know that God is beyond my comprehension. If I understood him, he wouldn’t be God. I like knowing that he knows more than I do and has more power than I can imagine. I used to think about all the questions I would have to ask God when I met him face to face but the truth is, I don’t think I’ll ask any of them. I have a feeling that the instant I see God, all I will want to do is shut up and bow. Because He is God. The unimaginable God.

Job 38:1-6
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.
 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?


“In the end, God wins. If God hasn’t won, it’s not the end.”

I love this quote. I can’t remember where I read it but it’s stuck in my head ever since. God wins. No matter what happens in your life or how dark and unjust it may look, God will win. Maybe it won’t be until heaven but one day, the world will be put back to rights and God will be the winner. Injustice, pain, darkness, lies – they’ll all be vanquished (fun word!) when God reigns victorious. It’s what gives us hope and the strength to hold on. Because in the end, God wins. Don’t give up in the dark. Hold on to hope. God is victorious.

Deuteronomy 20:4
For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.

Hebrews 11:13-16
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.


It probably sounds strange, given how many times I’ve stood in church services or been out in creation but the time I felt the worthiness of God the most – and my subsequent unworthiness to be in his presence – was walking through a garden of stone gods. They were huge. Giant, one to two storey high tributes to Buddha and numerous other gods worshiped by the people in the country I was visiting. They were impressive, for sure, with all their details and flowers and shrines but I couldn’t get over the fact that they were stone. Crumbling stone. 

I’d watched a documentary the day before about the country being bombed and couldn’t help but make the comparison between these statues being worshiped which could be wiped out in an instant with a bomb and the God I served who was alive and real and, unlike a piece of stone, loved me back. I walked outside the garden and sat in absolute awe of the God who was worthy of far more than I had to give. My love, my worship, my life. Everything I had. I could spend my whole life worshiping him and it still wouldn’t be enough.

A whole alphabet almost talking about him and it could never even come close to being enough to describe how worthy God is.

1 Chronicles 16:25
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.

X – X-Files

I’ve written about it in a blog post before but really, following God is beyond anything the world could write about. Angels, demons, spirits – they’re real and they’re at his command. And the Holy Spirit? There is so much I don’t understand about it and I doubt I’ll ever truly comprehend its power or purpose but I am so, so thankful for its presence in my life. To think that God’s spirit lives in me and is available to me twenty-four hours a day to speak with and intercede with God on my behalf when I don’t even know what to ask for. Wow. Mind blown. Scully and Mulder eat your heart out :)

Romans 8:26-27
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Y – Yes

This one might take a bit of explaining but come on, Y is not the easiest one to come up with! Anyway, God is Yes. Or, another way of putting it, God is on my side. There are so many people who think God is just a party-pooper with a bunch of No-laws. Don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t even think about doing that… He’s not. He’s on our side. And there are so many more times he says yes.

Yes, I want what’s best for you. Yes, I love you. Yes, I have a plan. Yes, it’s a really good one. Yes, you’re worth it. Yes, I’m with you. Yes, I’m working in their lives too. Yes, I’m watching over them. Yes, I remember you. Yes, you really are my precious child and I would do anything to win you back. Yes, I can use that stupid decision you made for my glory. Yes, I truly did pay your ransom. Yes, I can’t wait to see you too. Yes, go, follow your dream. I’m the one who placed it in you and yes, I will help you see it through. Yes, there is hope. Yes, I am enough. Yes, I always will be.

Romans 8:31-32
If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Z – Z (Omega)

When all else is said and done, God will still be God. He was at the beginning and he’ll be at the end. The bookends holding us and all our stories and lives together. Above all, God is.

Revelation 22:13
 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

And there you have it, twenty-six descriptions of who God is to me. Thing is, it doesn’t even come close to covering even what I know of God. I would need hundreds more alphabets (maybe without Q, X, Y and Z this time!) to do that, and it still wouldn’t be enough. But what an amazing experience it’s been to try.

I never imagined when I had this idea how much I myself would benefit from it. To sit and worship God in this way and be able to share it with others along the way. What an absolute privilege!

I hope you’ve been encouraged by it and maybe even challenged to think about what you love most about God or what words you would use to describe him. May you be blessed today by his goodness.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

GOD IS: Part Four

GOD IS: Part Four

Ah, life can get pretty crazy, can’t it! These past few weeks in my house have included Father’s Day, two kids’ birthdays, three kids vomiting, two adults with the flu, four trips to the doctor, one ear infection and, just to keep life interesting, one allergic reaction to an antibiotic. Fun times. It was so nice to sit down this morning in the quiet of dawn to not just write this post but purposely focus back on God. Not just the ‘help!” prayers I’ve been tossing heavenward lately but really think about who he is.

So, here’s the next five letters in my GOD IS alphabet.


It’s easy to feel battered by life. People misunderstanding or making assumptions, never-ending decisions having to be made often with no good options, diseases, work, sleep-deprivation, hurt people hurting people... I love that God is my protector. No, he won’t always stop the pain or protect me from the world but he will always be there by my side as I face it. As the words of a song I love go, ‘He will stand with me as I fight the fight, he will stand with me through the darkest nights…” God is my protector.  

Deuteronomy 3:22
Do not be afraid of them. The Lord, your God himself, will fight for you.


I love God’s quiet voice. It’s the whisper in the middle of a whole heap of shouts. The voice that’s always there when I take the time to listen. I heard once that the closer you are to a person, the quieter they can be. That the most intimate things God says to us are the quietest. I love those. I love lying in bed at the end of the day, just being with God in the silence. Love knowing he understands me even without words. Often better without words. God is quiet.

1 Kings 19:11-13
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.


Okay, I know, another seeming contradiction after I said God is quiet to now say he’s resounding but it’s not really. I love that God’s voice is louder than the rest, even though it’s often the quietest. It’s one of those things that’s really hard to explain but it’s like through all the other voices shouting, God’s is there – the quietest yet the most resounding. Some people would call it one's conscience. I know it's God's Spirit in me. I hope it always remains the most resounding. 

Genesis 1:3
And God said, ‘Let there be light,” and there was light.


It’s hard to go past Saviour for S. If not for God choosing to make a way to save me, I’d be nothing. A song that brings me to tears almost every time I sing it is My Chains are Gone by Chris Tomlin, the line where it says ‘my God, my Saviour has ransomed me’. I don’t know what it’s like in real life but it seems in all the mystery books I read or movies/tv shows I watch, the general procedure it not to negotiate with kidnappers. They rarely pay the ransom asked.

But God did. God looked at me, pitiful as I was, and decided not only that I was worth the ransom but that he’d pay it in full. I was worth nothing to him, and he paid everything.  

Romans 5:6-8
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Truth seems very subjective in this world. I’m one of those people who really likes things to be black and white and it frustrates me no end that so few things in this world are. Yet, God is truth. What he says is true. I can not only believe it, I can base my life on it. What God says, who he is, is true. My plumbline in this crazy ‘your truth is what you make it’ world. I can count on what he says. I can count on who he is. I love that God is true.

Psalm 33:4
For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

So thankful for my faithful God. I pray this week you know the peace and strength of having God stand by your side. The God who loves you, sings over you and spent everything he had to pay your ransom.

Only Part Five to go now. Anyone have any suggestions for X,Y and Z???? Eek!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

GOD IS: Part Three

GOD IS: Part Three

Straight into it this week :) 

God is...


I love royalty. Admittedly, I’m just as drawn to the romantic, totally fictitious side of it as I am the truth but there’s just something about royals that has me in awe. I love reading about them – both the real, live ones and those gracing the fairytales and novels on my bookshelves – and I love writing about them. Queen Elizabeth II will always be one of my absolute heroes.

It only struck me recently, though, what it means that God is King of Kings. Crazy, I know, since I grew up reading and singing about him by that name. But maybe that’s why, because it was so familiar, I never thought to consider it. King of all Kings. The most powerful kings and queens on earth answer to God. They’re powerful, their mere name or approval of something can set in motion wars, life and death. And yet, they’ve got nothing on God.

I love the reminder of this in the story of Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6). King Darius was the most powerful king the world then had ever known. But he wasn’t powerful enough to save Daniel. Only God could do that. Where Darius couldn't change the law he'd made and was forced to throw Daniel into the den of lions, God closed the lion's mouths. The king spent a sleepless night worrying. God spent the night in complete control. God is the King of Kings.

Daniel 6:25-27

Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:
“Peace and prosperity to you!
“I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.
For he is the living God,
    and he will endure forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
    and his rule will never end.
He rescues and saves his people;
    he performs miraculous signs and wonders
    in the heavens and on earth.
He has rescued Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”


God is love. It’s written on almost every piece of Christian paraphernalia you could ever imagine. It’s probably the first thing I ever learnt about God. And with good reason. It’s true. Truer than we’ll ever be able to comprehend. God doesn’t just love, he is love.

I remember sitting one day in church, daydreaming about what it must have been like for the disciples to actually walk with Jesus. What he must have been like. It wasn’t a vision or anything but the Jesus in my imagination turned and, through the crowd, stared directly at me. I’ll never forget his gaze. It was only a split second of a moment, but time ceased to even exist as I basked in the absolute love I saw there. He saw me. He knew everything about me – good, bad, secrets, shame, triumphs – and he loved me. It was an acceptance that went beyond anything I’d ever known. I wasn’t just another face in the crowd. He cherished me. He wanted the best for me. He would have done anything for me.

I’d always wondered, reading the accounts of Jesus asking the disciples to drop everything and follow Jesus, both how they could have obeyed so instantly and whether I would have had the same courage. In that instant of seeing Jesus’ gaze, I knew both why they had and that I would. You can’t see that love and walk away. God is love.

1 John 4:16

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.


One of my favourite quotes is this: “Odds mean nothing in eternity” (Kathy Tyers, Firebird). I love it because it reminds me that, no matter how unlikely something looks, or how utterly impossible a situation is, if God wants it to happen, it will. God made the world and all its people. If he wants to stop the world turning, he can. If he wants to make a virgin girl pregnant, no problem. Take two completely different people living on opposite sides of the world and bring them together? Easy.

The Bible is full of miraculous stories – stronghold walls falling down with a shout, fish jumping into nets, blind people seeing, dead coming back to life, food falling from heaven, water coming out of a rock. One of my favourites, and the one that encourages me the most to believe for the impossible, is Saul/Paul’s conversion.

Here was this man who was an absolute terror. On his personal authority, Christians were being wiped out. Horrifically. He hated Christians and made no secret of it. And then, one day, he had a vision of Jesus and his whole life turned around. He didn’t just stop terrorising Christians, he became one of the greatest evangelists the world has ever known. Talk about a miracle! God truly can do anything. He is the Miracle Maker.

Matthew 19:26
With God, all things are possible.


F was Far. N is Near. Perhaps it sounds like a contradiction but it’s not. I love that God is far enough away to not get caught up in my little problems, but I also love that he’s near enough to see them and care. It’s the little things that remind me just how close God is. Things that really aren’t all that important, and yet, they mean the world to me. Things only God would know.

I wrote once about getting pyjamas for my kids in the mail. I have story after story of God coming near like that. Times when it felt too inconsequential to even pray about something (which, coming from me who pretty much prays about everything, says a lot) but God did it anyway and I was left, once again, in complete awe of both how close God is and how much he cares.

Not only that, but he came to earth! Or, as The Message puts it, God put on flesh and moved into the neighbourhood. How cool! There’s Jesus, walking his dog down the street. Up at the local park, chatting with a bunch of guys as their kids play. Turning snags on the BBQ at Bunnings. Watering his garden. Hardhat in hand as he heads off to the construction site. Sitting in Emergency, waiting for x-rays back on a possible broken arm.

He could have stayed far away but he came near, choosing to be part of this world. So that we would know that he knew what it was like. God is near.

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. 


Big word but hey, it starts with O. God is all-knowing. Or, another name for him, El Roi – God who sees. God knows everything. That should scare me – someone knowing everything about me, everything everything – but it never has, because he’s on my side.

Though I’ve totally forgotten where I read it, I’ll never forget the story I read once of a cleaner mopping floors. He cleaned them shiny once, then they got walked on. So he went back to the start and did them all over again. And was just finished when another heap of dirt came in. So he did them again, and again, they were messed. He was standing there, dejected, staring at the messy floors he’d just cleaned three times when God spoke to him. “I saw you the first time.”

Okay, so I probably missed all the details of the story but the gist was there. God sees. Having little kids, including one in a high chair who likes to dump whatever he’s not eating on the floor, I can totally relate to that cleaner. I’ll vacuum and mop the floors and two minutes later, it doesn’t look like I did anything. To say it’s discouraging feels like an understatement. I do the same thing, over and over every day, and by the end of the day, it doesn’t look like I’ve done anything at all.

But God saw it. He saw me try. He saw me find the strength to get out of bed, he knows the courage it took to talk to someone who scares me, he knows when I’m disappointed or discouraged, he knows how I’m really feeling when I dodge the question of ‘how are you?’ and how much the virtual bunch of bright yellow flowers my little sister messaged me this morning meant to me. 

He hears the prayers I pray, over and over, and fills in the blanks when I don’t know what or how to pray. He sees beyond the person I let the world see, the person I think I am, to the very heart of me. He sees both who I am and who I will be.

God sees me. And that makes all the difference.

Genesis 16:13
Hagar gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

May you be encouraged this week by the all-powerful, miracle-making king who loves you, knows you and sees you. No matter how you’re feeling. I pray God finds you where you are and that you let him draw near. He loves you more than you could ever imagine.

Over halfway there! Eleven letters to go. Wondering what X, Y and Z will be? Stick around to find out. And if you missed Parts One and Two, check them out too!