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)

Proverbs 11:2: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

I used to be one of those people who tried very hard to blend in. Not a lot of confidence and no desire to be in the spotlight whatsoever! At school I kept to myself, stayed away from cliques and when the time came to choose my profession I was mortified to just imagine myself teaching in front of a classroom full of students. My Art Teacher believed I was exceptionally talented. “I’m not going to be a starving artist” is all I said. “And teaching? No way am I going to teach!” We can be blinded by fear. I didn’t choose my profession based on my passion. I chose my profession based on fear.

We can also be blinded by pride. When I think about the times when I thought I knew something and didn’t pay attention to anybody else’s input, I wince today because it never bode well for me. When I’m convinced that I am right (and everybody else is wrong) then my ears are shut and I have a hard time taking in what others have to say. That’s how pride operates. Pride is exclusive, not inclusive. There is much to be said about seeking a second opinion. We always need to be curious enough to listen to both sides of a story.

With an open mind comes humility, and with humility comes wisdom.

Humans can produce false humility, even though humility can’t be faked. It is not humble to say: “Oh I’m no good!” False humility is supposed to make us look humble by exaggerating how bad we are. Let’s not forget that God created us – don’t you think He did an amazing job? God created us to be His children and to walk in power, love and self-discipline. This certainly does not resemble the little-worm-mentality suggested by fake humility.

There is no shortcut to genuine humility. It develops while walking with God. He is using our life experiences to humble us. And it takes time – a reason why the less experienced among us may have trouble relating to humility. However, the good news is, regardless who we are, where we are from, which culture we grow up in, walking with the Lord will gradually change us over time.

Like a landscape artist, God fertilizes and prunes us to the point that we are sprouting, branching out, and bearing fruit. When God looks at us, He sees potential. He gives each of us something special to do. We are meant to be a blessing.

Thanks to God we get to know who we really are. That’s so exciting! He also keeps us levelheaded as He helps us through the tougher times. He frees us to be humble, and humility is the best! Nothing is impossible to a humble person walking with God Almighty.

1 Chronicle 29:9: “The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.”

The love of God is generous in nature. I’m sure the word “stingy” is not even included in Heaven’s vocabulary.

Depicted in the first book of Chronicles, King David had inspired his people as he went ahead and donated all his resources, even dedicating his personal treasures to the building of the temple. This was a happy day for King David. An outpouring of generosity marked this very special occasion. Everybody chipped in with gifts.

Common pitfall for humans is to hold back. I guess, we’re rather safe than sorry. There is such a thing as generosity abuse, but it only happens when the love circle is broken.

Circle of love, here it is: God loves us generously, and we love God generously. It would disturb the love circle if we loved any less. The love circle breaks as soon as one recipient of love holds back. When one party only gives and the other party only takes, the reciprocity of love is undermined, and that sucks the life out of any love relationship.

It’s like magic: the more we love, the more love we have to give. God knows this secret. He has lavished His love upon His creation since the beginning of time, and He is famous for His unfailing love. God’s love bucket is always full to overflowing, and He does not hold back. Under His wings life flourishes.

Generosity stirs up more generosity. This is what happened on King David’s happy day. He generously devoted all he had to the One he loved with all of his heart – and the crowd followed in his footsteps.

May the Lord of Life and Love stir you up and move you to respond with the love language you’ve got. Love translates into many diverse transactions – whether it’s giving of your time, your expertise, your talent – each giving experience is unique and special but has this one thing in common: all love transactions are coming straight from the heart.

Heart to heart – that’s how we are connected to the Lord Almighty, and that’s how we are all interconnected. The blood flow of interconnection is generosity.

Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Gentleness is a rare gem.

To put us at ease, Jesus says of Himself that He is gentle (Matthew 11:28):

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Prophet Isaiah wrote about Him (Isaiah 42:3):

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

Gentleness is paramount in dealing with the bruised, the broken, young and tender. Rudeness is able to kill those who are in this precarious position. However, we all could use a little gentleness. A kind word goes a long way!

After moving into our house, my husband Bill built a nice little home studio. We’ve started recording at the beginning of the year with the purpose to finish our Christmas album by October. The recording process can be arduous. Technology can be bitchy. Vocal cords don’t respond the same way on any given day. There are hang ups. There are road blocks. Working on this project together as a husband and wife team, it is important to be gentle. Yesterday, due to an oversight, previously recorded tracks disappeared and we had to rerecord. Bummer! It would have been impossible to do without patience. I guess patience and gentleness go hand in hand.

Speaking of gentleness in relationships – I don’t think it’s possible to be gentle with pent-up anger inside. Anger is usually a symptom that something is wrong. If the wrong of a situation remains the unaddressed elephant in the room it soon grows to be a monster. Like it or not, there is no true harmony without voicing our concerns. There is no true intimacy without addressing offense. We don’t need to bury simmering anger for long to see it reaching boiling temperatures. We know how misdirected anger blows up in our face with lots of collateral damage.

Thankfully, there’s constructive anger. When we see dog poop on the floor, we better eliminate it, or it will be carried all throughout the house and cause a lot of stink. I guess we all know what that means. Constructive anger does the house cleaning. We address the wrong and eliminate those emotional triggers that make it unsafe to be around. And removing those triggers ultimately paves the way to gentleness.

Let’s be honest – so we can be gentle.

Hebrews 9:28: “So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

Sin is a peculiar word; it carries the sting of judgement. I don’t know of anybody who likes to feel this sting – nobody likes to be judged. Nevertheless, we all like to be understood.

When we sit down in a movie theater and watch a documentary about somebody’s life, then we walk out of the movie theater feeling more connected to the person portrayed in that movie. More than just passively watching our lives unfold on Earth, God has always been deeply involved in our lives. However, it’s still quite another matter when He took on flesh and blood and sat with us through scorching heat and drizzling rain. That would be like us getting up from our seats in the movie theater and all of a sudden become an integral part of the action in the movie. Well, actually, in a manner of speaking, that’s exactly what happened 2000 years ago when the Son of God entered the scene. He partook in the human experience by becoming human.

Jesus appeared – not just out of thin air; He was assembled in a mother’s womb, born to his doting parents Joseph and Mary, grew up transitioning from boyhood to adulthood, ran a business and for the later part of His life ran a ministry. All that to come alongside the human race and deal with our predicament called “sin”. Jesus dealt with sin like a champion by taking the bull by its horns. An innocent man, He eradicated sin by taking all the blame and shame. He had himself judged and executed.

So, thanks to Jesus sin has been dealt with, once and for all. On to the new chapter of salvation! Jesus can definitely free us to live the quality life we were created for. To reap such benefits we need to believe. Faith in Him is key.

Life on earth can be very distracting, to say the least. It’s important to keep in mind the good future God has in store for us. Stop what you are doing from time to time. Take breaks and remember. This will help us deal with life’s inevitable curve-balls. Let’s not forget that God comes through for us every single time! He guides us through steep canyons and valleys, and all through our challenges we learn how to love. Love is a lifelong project. If we stop loving we die spiritually and physically.

We can’t take anything with us when we die, but love carries over to the next life. It’s also the only thing of value we leave behind: love always leaves a legacy.

We all start here – and we love forever!

Posted in Sin

Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

John’s jubilee towards the end of his book of Revelation is famous and source of comfort for the tormented. Heaven is a good place. Heavenly features to look forward to are God’s loving presence, His overwhelming joy and peace and the absence of human sorrow and pain.

However, does this mean that there is no pain in heaven? What about God’s pain of losing His creatures due to their free will? Since we don’t have to choose Him (God being no dictator) pain is inevitable, because apparently there will always be creatures opposing the Eternal One. They will be harvesting ongoing pain, and consequently, God will go through the parental pain of not being able to help them. If God is in pain, how can we be oblivious to that when we’re right there, in heaven, the place God calls His home? Don’t we share both His joy and pain, especially as we get closer to Him?

Personally, I think Heaven would be one-dimensional if we had it any other way. Joy has more depth to it if we are unafraid of pain and embrace the undesirable feeling of sadness.

My husband Bill and I cried more than one tear when we lost our cat Misty. We had her going on 15 years. She came to us when she was a kitten and left her paw prints permanently in our hearts. I remember the puzzled look on the face of some people when I came grief-stricken to a meeting, and assuming I lost a dear friend or relative of ours came to find out we had lost a pet. Obviously, not everybody will be able to relate, but trust me: somebody will!

The worst part of being in pain is thinking we are alone in this. That, quite frankly, is a lie. Even if (hypothetically speaking) nobody should be able to empathize with what you are going through, God certainly can. However, the reality is: people can usually relate. We don’t have to go very far to find out that another person has been dealing with some kind of grief. When pain bears the fruit of empathy it will create community. If nothing makes sense in pain, this always will: Your pain will equip you to be the best friend you can be to the person next to you who is facing some major challenges.

We are made for one another. God has created us not only to beat loneliness but to make life a whole lot richer.

Here it is, plain and simple written in the skies: Money does not make us rich. Relationships do!