Sunday, September 28, 2008


Many, many moons ago when I was a teenager, my friend would play her guitar and sing a song by Jim Croce. It was my favorite sung by her. It's called "Time in a Bottle". For years she has been battling an illness and that song comes back to me in pieces and parts almost every day.

This morning I looked up all the lyrics and I was amazed. I wondered if Jim Croce ever realized who actually wrote this song of his!

This haunting lovesong tells of a bottle saving time, and I remembered a verse that says, "You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are {they} not in Your book?" Psalm 56:8

How amazing that God would be catching all your tears--tears of sorrow and of joy--in a bottle. Many people wonder if God even cares what they are going through. Know the tears that you cry and drop on the ground or dab with tissue are being caught because God cares that His children's emotions are bursting out of their tearducts.

How big a bottle do you think that would have to be? Another verse hints..."He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle..." Ps 33:7a

If you think about it scientifically...your tears evaporate into the air and eventually return to the earth as rain, and then go out to sea. Where they are kept in their salty container.

Mr. Croce also sings about an empty box, that held a memory of how someone answered a wish and dream for him when they walked into his life. I would imagine he is singing of his son, but did you know that God also speaks of an empty box in the Bible?

"When they constructed the place of worship, the Tabernacle, God said, "Construct the altar in the shape of an open box..." Exodus 27:8a

Every human on this earth has one basic need, to be loved. How much love do you think someone would have for you if they gave their life for you? God filled that empty box, that altar, with His own sacrifice: His son Jesus. He had shown that no matter how many sacrifices His people made with animals and food, it just was not enough. It would take one perfect sacrifice to redeem His children once and for all. No other sacrifices would be needed.

I know that Jim Croce was singing of his lady love and his child. But when I really listen to the words, I hear a lovesong from our Savior.

For the LORD your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song. Zephaniah 3:17

When you are faced with the thought of eternity, I want you to hear "Time in a Bottle" in a new way. Really listen to it and hear that longing and promise of forever. May you be blessed knowing that God sings over you, collects your tears, and has a box with a treasure in it for you.

May you hear His voice today, singing, "you're the one I want to go through time with..."

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Grace Happens

I cannot imagine how people feel in the gulf cities of Texas and Louisiana right now. Yet another hurricane beat a path to their door with water, wind and tornados nearly a week ago. Lovely coastlines were erased, boats were drydocked in asphalt parking lots and cars were moored in murky water.

And the people, they are everywhere except where they want to be. Those that evacuated are trying to get home, while those who remained at home are cutting holes in their attics to be rescued from their rooftops.

And I sit in amazement at the whim of the wind.

"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going..." John 3:8a (NAS)

We thought we would be the ones boarding up the windows and evacuating to the North. Who is to say why God diverted this storm from our coast? Some wonder why God even allows hurricanes.

...for He causes His sun to rise on {the} evil and {the} good, and sends rain on {the} righteous and {the} unrighteous. Matthew 5:45b (NAS)

"How can a loving God allow bad things to happen at all?"

I hear that more and more every day. From the mother of a sick child, the grandson of a man killed by a drunk driver, a teacher in shock after a student's suicide, a woman after her first miscarriage...

It rings in my ears and I have to ask God, "Why?"

And He seems to answer with the wind, the rain, and the alarm on the weather radio. But I wait for that still, small voice that is steady against the static of chaos.

So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; {but} the LORD {was} not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, {but} the LORD {was} not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, {but} the LORD {was} not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 1 Kings 19:11-12 (NAS)

The world will keep spinning on it's axis, people will continue to be human and God will still love us--no matter what we do or say to each other.

In Luke 13:1-5, Jesus talked of calamaties happening and questioned some people about whether the victims had this happen because of their sins.

He said, "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (NAS)

It wasn't about whether the bad thing that happened was because of being bad or good. That was not the point. The point was whether or not they were right with God. Repent means to make a U-turn. (God might've been a terrible traffic cop--He allows U-Turns all the time!)

If tragedy happens, are you ready to come face to face with the possibility of death?

Tomorrow it might be a freak accident, a hurricane or just plain old age catching up with us. We never really know when it's time. But there is one thing we can be sure of, and that's if we've made our peace with God and His son Jesus. (This is one thing you don't want to procrastinate about.)

You don't have to get right first, because He's the one that makes it right. It's no change that we can make on our own. He gives us grace-total unmerited favor-while we're in our guilt!

So tell me, when you see that storm on the horizon, or feel the punch of your airbag, do you know for sure where you'll be for eternity?

"For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. "Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. "Two women {will be} grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. Matthew 24:37-42 (NAS)

My prayer is not a kind one. I pray that you are restless until you have made a decision for Christ. Consider it a dose of holy insomnia my friend. I care about your soul.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NAS)

If you want more information, check out the book of John in your Bible...or ask a Christian friend.

But don't stop until you get the answer you need.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Revelation 22:21 (NLT)