Psalm 19:1-4: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.”

While blogging might be a way to spread the word about God, I see in Psalm 19 another way of doing that, albeit without the use of words! This goes to show that communication is not always based on language, and that there are more languages to the universe than the language that comes out of our mouth. Nonverbal language can be just as articulate as verbal language.

Great examples of silent but powerful witnesses are the skies. The craftsmanship of the skies as seen with the naked eye or by telescope is a huge billboard advertising God’s glory. Looking into space, the first thing that comes to mind is “limitless”. We know that phrase: “The sky’s the limit”, which means that there is practically no limit. Neither does God’s power know any boundaries or limitations.

More silent witnesses are majestic mountain ranges. They are solid as rocks can be, yet God formed them, and if He wanted to, He could move them because nothing is impossible to Him.

The vegetation on this planet is yet another silent witness advocating God’s glory. Whispering trees, home for countless birds, and fragrance emitting flowers and herbs – they all wordlessly praise its Creator.

A not so silent witness is the animal world. Elephants trumpet, birds twitter, wolves howl – they all spread the word without using words.

God’s thumbprints are all over creation, and creation proclaims that God is great day and night, night and day. God’s praise literally never shuts up; actually, it gains momentum with each person realizing what is going on. Human beings can be a bit slow sometimes. When it comes to recognizing God I actually think that the rest of creation is ahead of us. Nevertheless, all of God’s creatures have a place in the choir – and believe it or not: you too belong!

“All of God’s creatures got a place in the choir
Some sing low and some sing higher
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire
Some just clap their hands or paws or anything they got”
(Bill Staines)

Daniel 10:10-11: “Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. And the man said to me, ‘Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you.’”

Around 600 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Daniel received a terrifying vision. It had to do with brutal bloodshed and what he called “a great war.” Overwhelming as it was, he began to fast and pray. In response to his prayers, God decided to show something very special to him. For a brief moment He lifted the curtain revealing that everywhere on this planet there are angels around us.

Daniel eventually wrote a book about this experience. The “man” Daniel refers to in his writings represents a certain angel who had a message for him. He said (Daniel 10:12-13):

“Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.”

Peeking behind that curtain, we become acutely aware of what it means when we say that God is for us and not against us. Indeed, we have armies of angels fighting on our behalf. Just try to internalize this little tidbit of information to see how angels make a profound difference in our lives, often without us even noticing.

Going through hardship, I believe it’s important to detach our eyes from a conflict and take a moment to look up. There is a particular movie scene in “The Fisher King” that comes to mind. Jeff Bridges plays a former radio DJ who is severely depressed because of a terrible mistake he made. While swinging on a rope to break into one of the biggest mansions in New York City he says:

“Thank God nobody looks up in this town!”

Apparently, it’s a human tendency to not look up, but to focus on the things at hand. In fact, we can get so absorbed that we end up seeing nothing else but the one thing that is bothering us. However, as we do look up we have a chance to notice things we haven’t noticed before. Our horizons expand. Looking up, we get to be encouraged because God wants to lift our spirit. So – let’s look up more often, shall we?

Colossians 3:13: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

I came across an interesting statement by Morgan Freeman today:

“Toxic mothers are just as bad as absent fathers, but ya’ll not ready for that discussion yet.”

One of the prime reasons of toxic personalities is unresolved issues germinating below the surface – and lack of forgiveness is one of them.

What happens when we forgive a person? Here is what happens: we address an offense (one at a time) and then we are able to move on. Granted – addressing the offense is hard work and can be very painful. Depending on the gravity of the offense, it may feel very much like reopening an old war wound, which means we’re bleeding all over again. We want to get to the person(s) involved, we want justice. Understandably so! Well, sometimes those people that have offended us can’t be reached. They might be dead or unavailable. Forgiving a person does not depend on the person who offended us. The work of forgiveness is entirely our business. We have to get through this. We have to sort through our feelings. We have to do the house cleaning.

Who wants to live in a dirty house for decades? Nobody! “Well”, you might say, “What about the person responsible for all the mess in the house? That person left me and didn’t come back to pick up the pieces.” As awful as it is to be left behind with a messy situation, here is what I think: Yes, this person violated you and had no right to do so, but after all, this is your realm, your house. You pick up the pieces or pretty soon other offenses will happen to you, and you’ll find yourself in a situation similar to hoarders who can’t enter certain rooms in their house anymore because it’s full of clutter.

It’s not easy to pick up the pieces and let go. However, it’s much more difficult to live in clutter! We may need a third party to go through this situation with us. It’s important to acknowledge that we need help.

God recommends forgiveness because it’s a healthy lifestyle. God wants us to have an uncluttered mind and a heart that remains soft and generous versus hardened and unrelenting. The effects of forgiving a person and the ability to leave things behind is both freeing and healing. And let’s not forget that nobody is perfect. As much as we need to forgive others, others may need to forgive us too.

Matthew 7:13-14: “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

If the gate to God’s kingdom is narrow, does this mean that God is narrow-minded? If the highway to hell is broad, does this mean that its inhabitants are broadminded? Is Lucifer tolerant and accepting of you and me because he lets us travel down a six-lane freeway uninhibited, while God seemingly hasn’t upgraded Heaven’s accessibility by holding on to an antiquated narrow little gate that people have to pass through? Not only do we have to deal with a narrow gate but also with a difficult road leading up to it … does this mean that God doesn’t want us in Heaven in the first place?

If something in the Bible rubs me the wrong way this usually piques my interest. It makes me curious, and I want to dig deeper. Nothing is what it seems – especially when it comes to God – and knowing that God has the biggest heart and the sharpest mind, there’s no way that He could be narrow-minded. So, what is up with this narrow gate and the bumpy road leading up to it? Does God just have a weird sense of humor? And is Lucifer being hospitable having a broad freeway leading to his hellish home? I believe we get the point when we not only look at the road but also consider its destination.

The comparison between the two roads is a comparison of lifestyles Jesus is pointing out in His Sermon on the Mount.  One of the eyewitnesses of the day when Jesus delivered this famous sermon is Matthew. Matthew and all the other disciples of Jesus sat down on a mountainside in Israel as an enormous crowd was gathering. According to Matthew’s eyewitness account Jesus opens up His sermon with The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3):

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

I believe this verse is the key to understanding the two roads. Knowing that we need God gives us an idea where to go. Not knowing that we need God makes us drifters because it doesn’t really matter where we go – and we may drift into all kinds of different directions – if we’re moving away from God, we’re on that broad highway. And I’m not saying that highway equals easy ride. It may very well be that we get stuck in traffic. We may bump into each other causing accidents. There’s road rage. It may not be such a pleasant road trip on highway to hell after all, to a point that some may eventually second-guess their initial decision, abandon their car wreck and look for that unassuming bumpy road leading to an unassuming little gate where we will receive a hearty welcome.

Being on this bumpy road for a number of years I can testify to the fact that God has never let me down. Here is an open secret I would like to share: walking with God is the most rewarding experience one can imagine. Forget about road conditions! God with us, Immanuel, makes everything worthwhile. And who knows – to let believers in, one person at a time, the narrow gate may accommodate for a personal welcome. Embraced by the Savior of the whole world and affectionately held in His embrace, we peek over His shoulder and see a huge crowd who preceded our homecoming, the crowd who also – one by one – proceeded to pass through that narrow gate right into the arms of Jesus. What a day that will be! Can you imagine?

“Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel, will I dance for You Jesus, or in awe of You be still? Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing Hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine! I can only imagine!” (Bart Millard)

Habakkuk 3:19: “The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. (For the choir director: This prayer is to be accompanied by stringed instruments.)”

A number of hopping, moving specks on a brick wall is all you can see from afar: Alpine ibexes have taken to scaling the nearly vertical Cingino Dam in Italy. Ibex are very nimble. They can jump more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) straight up without a running start. This helps them roam mountainous terrains with ease. Goats have been using their God-given dexterity to climb high and out of reach for predators; humans have been using their God-given brain to develop strategies to survive in the wild.

The human brain has the same basic structure as other mammal brains but is larger in relation to body size than any other brains. God gave us a large brain so we can think. Our thought processes are intricate. Brilliant minds form think tanks. We think up building structures, complicated machinery, and fast processing computers. We develop technology to negotiate space, we entertain, we cook gourmet food, we create music, we believe in beauty and aesthetics, we create artwork, we can tell a tale, and make stunning discoveries in the micro- and macro cosmos around us.

Unfortunately, our human progress has also progressively affected Earth’s biosphere. A latest study has discovered that humans make up 0.01 percent of life on Earth, but they have caused the loss of 83 percent of wild animals.

Well, this big brain of ours seems to be a blessing and a curse. Or maybe it isn’t. Maybe our brains are a blessing but they turn into a curse when we forget who gave us this brain. Animals may outsmart us in that department. Prophet Jeremiah remarked (Jeremiah 8:7):

“Even storks know when it’s time to return. Mourning doves, swallows, and cranes know when it’s time to migrate. But my people don’t know that I ,the Lord, am urging them to return.

Way up there on the mountain heights of human civilization we need to apply our achievements wisely. God knows mountain heights can be tricky! Surefooted goats rely on their Maker as they negotiate the cliffs. We can learn from the mountain goats. Let’s not forget where we are from!

Psalm 90:2,4: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”

Mountains loom. They can get to us. Some go out of their way to conquer them – the rising death toll of people trying to conquer Mount Everest speaks for itself. Mountains seem to have been around forever. However, that’s actually not the case. Mountains do have an issue date. They were formed, and that takes time. There are three different methods when it comes to mountain forming, and all of these methods take millions of years:

  • Mountains grow under pressure as a result of Earth’s tectonic plates smashing together; 
  • Or they emerge based on volcanic activity;
  • Or they are carved through erosion; Case in point: The Grand Canyon.

The story of the Grand Canyon is pretty fascinating. The hot debate over the age of the Grand Canyon has raged for over 140 years. The most recent findings support the following theory: while the Colorado River has been carving the Grand Canyon for only 6 million years it is flowing through canyons that date back about 70 million years.

Talking about old mountains here: The Himalayas are generally thought to have arisen from the collision of India and Asia 55 million years ago – although experts are split over the age here as well! Some go as far as 450 million years. Well, whatever the issue dates, the age span of mountains puts our own issue date into perspective. Mankind has not been around long enough to watch and record the forming of the mountains. There are many things that have preceded us. Our own time table shrinks in comparison to the time table God operates with. God certainly took His sweet time to form mountains. And logically, He was there before the mountains were born.

When it comes to relying on the Rock of Ages we’re in good company. All of creation does! Mountains do. They were millions of years in the making. Maybe that helps us realize that some things may not materialize in our life time and be OK with it. Microwaved solutions smell of impatience, and impatience accomplishes little!

Impatience leaves destruction in its wake while patience builds mountains over millions of years. “Well” – you might say – “I don’t have a million years!” Personally, I think if we thought beyond our own generation, if we thought of generations to come, then we would go about our business in a slightly different fashion. It starts with preserving this planet for our grandchildren and great grandchildren and their great grandchildren.

The earliest fossils of anatomically modern humans are from the Middle Paleolithic, about 200,000 years ago. How long it takes our species to destroy a planet which took billions of years to evolve is yet to be seen. We certainly have built enough weaponry to blow up our planet many times over.

On a much smaller scale, let’s fill up our patience meter and be a peacemaker today. I believe that every small effort we make in this department forms a mountain in its own right: a mountain of peace, a monument of God’s love. Your lifetime maybe short compared to real mountains, but your impact will go way beyond your own lifetime.

Ephesians 3:17-19: “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

Higher than our highest expectations, before the conception of the space time continuum, deeper than the deepest mystery, wider than this universe, that’s the measurement we apply to God’s love. In other words: it can’t be measured; and if God’s love cannot be measured, nothing can contain His love.

God gave Moses permission to gaze upon His beauty, albeit only from behind and without giving him even the smallest glimpse of His facial features; in the book of Exodus we read this compelling encounter between Moses and the Almighty (Exodus 33:18-23):

Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”

 The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.”  The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”

God’s immeasurable love, condensed in the expression of His glorious face, is forever exuding from Him, permeating the entire universe.

This is why we encounter bits and pieces of God’s love everywhere we go. It is easy to see how God lavishes His love generously and passionately on His creation. A trip into the outdoors with the astounding variety of animal and plant life paints the picture. It’s similar to visiting a place with thoughtful design, tasteful decorations and brilliant architecture. Planet Earth is one astounding monument of God’s creative energies and love.

Ever looked into the eyes of a dog adoring the ground you walk on – or into the eyes of a person falling in love with you – or into the eyes of your sons and daughters as they touch your nose and smile that toothless smile when they are still very small? That’s God’s love in small dosage. That’s the stuff we’re made of because we were created out of love. I am writing this with caution, aware of how tainted love can be and how it has become almost unrecognizable in the dark corners of this world. While the darkness is devastating, it’s simply robbing us from the truth. The reason why we’re here is not an accident. We’re here because of love and we will always be attracted to love because that’s where we are from, that’s where we belong and that’s where we are meant to return – you guessed it: we are meant to return to God, Who Is Love.

Meanwhile we can witness how God’s love spreads like wildfire. His love creates and endorses life to the point that it conquers the destructive forces of death. That’s the potent power of God’s love! And while we may enjoy the measured love-approach here on Earth, my hope is that once we are immersed into Heaven’s surroundings we will not only see God’s frame and notice His footprints but we will also have the privilege of directly smiling at Him.  We are promised a new heart, hopefully a more suitable container of His love.

This is my hope: that you and I get to see God’s glorious face and that we are able to mirror His love into the world, endlessly into space, and ultimately back to God.

“Right back at ya, God!”

I say that, of course, with a twinkle in my eye. No disrespect intended!

”I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul rejoice!
Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear” (Laurie Klein)