The Cosmic Creator’s Love

Diann and I were married over 50 years ago. It was June 2, 1972, in Leota, Minnesota, at the church in which Diann grew up. Just minutes before the ceremony, when Diann was ready, all the women cleared out of the bridal dressing room, and according to plan I was invited to go in and see my bride for the first time in her wedding dress, alone with her. Wow! This was my bride! How I delighted in her at that moment, and still do over 50 years later!

I have spent most of a lifetime reflecting on God, relating to Him, studying about Him, and teaching and preaching about Him. Although I have yet so much to learn and apply, what amazes me is how often God (in the Bible) uses the analogy of a groom and bride, a husband and wife, to portray the kind of relationship He wants with us. Human love stories have captivated people ever since we’ve been telling stories. But the greatest love story of all is of God’s love for the people He’s created!

As a groom I promised to be a husband who would love, honor, and cherish my bride. This is the kind of love, but raised to an infinite level, that God has for us. Wayne Grudem, a theologian, writes, “God’s love means that God eternally gives of Himself to others.”

When we think of a relationship with God we often think about what we have to do for Him, how we have to work at connecting with Him, thinking we have to take the initiative. It’s the other way around! He’s taken the initiative at reaching out to us. The great Christian thinker C.S. Lewis wrote of God, “He loved us not because we are lovable but because He is love.” Love is one of God’s wonderful attributes, it’s just who He is.

Many believe that God created and sustains our universe. But what if God is more than creator, sustainer? What if He is also personal, with the intention of wanting the best for what He has created, including the best for us, who, the Biblical accounts say, He’s created in His own image? This means that this world and the vast cosmos is awash in His love!

It was the English theologian John Owen, in the 1600s, who wrote, “The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay upon the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to Him, is not to believe that He loves you.”

There is no more important paradigm shift to make in life than to shift from seeing existence as “sound and fury, signifying nothing,” to use Shakespeare’s words, to instead embracing the belief as expressed in the words of song writer William Cowper (1731-1880), “Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace; behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.”

This universe and all of existence can be seen as being here by chance, mindless, with no purpose or meaning. Or the universe and all of existence can be seen as being here by choice, God’s choice, for His purposes, His good intentions for us, ablaze with His glorious love!

“As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5b)


Dusting Where Only God Sees

Cabinets in our home the tops of which I dusted

Our kitchen cabinets don’t go all the way to the ceiling. On a positive note: the top of the cabinets provide a good location to place interesting knickknacks. On a negative note: the cabinet tops are dust collectors. In the division of domestic duties one of my tasks is dusting. I tried to convince myself that because no one ever sees the top of the cabinets I could restrict my dusting to below cabinet level.

I was reminded of an old legend of a stone carver who was crafting a beautiful bird high up in a spire of a cathedral. Someone asked him why he was putting so much work into a little sculpture that no one looking upward from the cathedral floor would ever see. The sculptor replied, “Because God sees.” I decided I should dust where only God sees!

My doing due diligence with the dusting because of God seeing where people don’t isn’t the real issue. I don’t think God really cares all that much about the dust on the top of the cabinets. But dusting the tops of the cabinets did get me to thinking about other areas hidden from public view that do concern God. Those hidden areas include my thoughts, attitudes, and private activities.

It’s rather easy to convince one’s self that private thoughts, attitudes, and activities that are questionable or wrong and sinful aren’t all that bad as long as we keep them to ourselves. But if we seek to live daily with the reality of God in our lives, then this no longer applies. Our private lives impact our personal relationship to God.

Do we allow ourselves to watch something on media that we wouldn’t if others were sitting next to us? Would we want our fantasies displayed on a big screen TV? Note: everyone has tempting thoughts, even Jesus did; these are not wrong or sinful in and of themselves, not until we start enjoying them, turning them into fantasies! Do we treat a mate, children, parents, close friends, or co-workers differently when no one else is around to observe? It’s been said that character is measured by what one does when no one is watching.

We may resist seeing the positive in the concept of God watching us because it was used to keep us in line as a child. We were also told as a child not to run out into the street without looking both ways, and most of us still abide by the principle as adults. The fact that God is watching is not at all a negative concept that limits life; it can be a powerful concept that makes life better.

God, after all, is a loving God and only wants what is best for us. A great deal of what we’re tempted to engage in privately that we would not want to go public eventually does go public, to our embarrassment, harm and to the harm of others. Who hasn’t entertained persistent negative and judgmental thoughts of someone, expecting to keep them private, but in an unguarded moment letting loose with them?

I’ll continue to schedule the dusting of the top of our kitchen cabinets, where only God sees. It’ll be sort of a sacramental act, a reminder that God sees more than the dust on the top of the cabinets!

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” Psalm 139:1-3

The Goodness of God

We live in an astonishing and amazing universe! When we look up at the sky at night we see it filled with stars. But many of those sparkly objects aren’t stars but entire galaxies! In fact, there are at least a hundred billion galaxies with something like a hundred billion stars each! There are black holes that can consume stars. Then there are stars that go super nova, exploding in an unimaginably huge amount of energy. Close to home, we look at the mountains, the oceans, all the diverse life around us, the life we have.

It’s amazing! Even a person who thinks it all came about on its own without God doing it is amazed. But those of us who live with the conviction that this all needed God to bring it into existence see it in an even more wonderful way! After it was all created the Biblical record states that “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) God Himself declared everything that was made as good. One of the psalmists reflected the idea right back to God, declaring of God, “You are good, and what you do is good.” (Psalm 119:68a)

What does it mean for God to be good? Arthur W. Pink, in his classic book, The Attributes of God, writes, “The goodness of God is his inclination to deal well and bountifully with his creatures.” What this means is that God always has our ultimate best interest at heart! God is always good, never bad!

It seems to me that this attribute of God being good is one we often question more than many of His other attributes. There was the time Jesus’ disciples were in a boat crossing the lake with Jesus. Jesus was asleep in the boat when a terrible storm came up. The disciples, several who were seasoned fishermen and had experienced many a storm, were scared to death. They woke Jesus up, presumably because they knew He had the power to do something about the situation. They asked Him, after awakening Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38) It doesn’t seem they doubted He could do something about the storm. What they doubted was whether He cared.

I know the goodness of God is something I’ve questioned. When our grandson Danny died, I realized I didn’t question that God had the power to heal Danny. I knew He could if He wanted to do so. I didn’t even question God’s wisdom in choosing to not heal him, as we all wanted Him to do. What I questioned most was God’s goodness! In my heart I didn’t feel as though God was being good to us! This feeling surprised me at the time, and still does. I know in my mind that God is good, but not always in my heart.

This is why it’s important to regularly affirm the fact that God is good. Occasionally in a gathering of Christ-followers the speaker or leader will start a back and forth dialogue. The person up front will say, “God is good,” and the people in the audience will reply, “All the time.” Then the person up front will respond, “All the time,” and the audience will reply, “God is good.” Yes, God is good, all the time, God is good!

Life isn’t always good. It’s a broken and sinful world, that’s for sure. Yet in the midst of all of that which is not good we can and should affirm, but God is good!

The psalmist in Psalm 34:8 gives us this invitation, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

The Good Anger of God

Having been married to my wife Diann for over 50 years, we know each other quite well. One of the aspects of our long-term, close relationship is that, on occasion, we’ve been angry with each other. I know, the expression of anger is not something that quickly comes to mind when we think of love, but it is.

In fact, it could be argued that you really don’t know someone very well and aren’t very close to them until there’s been anger expressed at some time. It’s true for all relationships in this fallen, broken world where everyone is a fallen, broken person. Appropriate anger is a part of any healthy, long-term relationship.

Take parenting as an example. Can parents be good to their children and also be angry at their children? Well, of course they can! When children do what’s wrong it’s good and right for the parents to be angry with them. If a parent was never angry at what the child does the child would be a very spoiled child!

Anger being a part of any healthy, close relationship means that God’s relationship with us, His people, also will include this element of anger. Hear me out on this. Our tendency is to buy into the popular view of God where this side of God is ignored, that God is like a gray-haired, kindly grandfatherly-type being who overlooks the grandchild’s misbehavior. Actually, I’m one of those gray-haired, kindly grandfathers, but I also get angry sometimes with my grandchildren when they misbehave!

So, yes, God, who is perfect in all ways, including being perfectly good, also expresses wrath at that which isn’t good and perfect! The psalmist declared, “God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.” (Psalm 7:11) Anyone who ignores the wrathful side of God has not looked seriously at the Biblical text. References to His wrath abound.

I know, some of you have been raised with way too much emphasis on God being wrathful, or have had a church experience where God’s anger was the main focus and drove you from Him. This is, of course, wrong! What you need, if you have been spiritually wounded in this way, is generous input on God’s forgiveness and love to counterbalance the imbalance. In the end, however, there needs to be a comprehensive understanding and experience of all of God’s attributes, and that includes His wrath.

To put it all in perspective it’s important to realize that God’s anger toward us and our sinful nature and behavior is balanced by His love for us. Actually, it’s an anger generated out of a deep love for us. He’s angry at what keeps us from being the people He wants us to be (which is the best of what we can be) and from being close to Him.

The good news that the Christian faith proclaims is that we can be forgiven by God through the amazing action of Jesus, the Son of God, as our savior. Of course, as a forgiven and saved follower of Jesus I still sin. The sobering truth I need to recognize is that this angers God. He’s angry that I would think, say, or do that which is against Him and His perfect will for me.

I seek to do what pleases my wife primarily because I love her, but, in all honesty, sometimes the extra motivation that I don’t want to make her angry is helpful. The same is true with my relationship with God. I want to conform my life to God’s will for me primarily out of the motivation of His love for me and my love for Him, but sometimes it helps to have the extra motivation that I don’t want to make Him angry!

Embracing an accurate, multi-dimensional view of God means recognizing the healthy place for His anger in a relationship with us, and this prompts us to rejoice even more in his goodness and forgiveness!

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime…” (Psalm 30:5)

It’s a Process

It’s a process, raising and releasing Monarch butterflies. We regularly turn our screened-in porch, called a lanai here in Florida, into a butterfly house to carry out this process. We place a potted milkweed plant purchased from a nursery in the lanai. If it’s been in the open any length of time it has been visited by a female butterfly who’s left a number of her eggs on the underside of the leaves.

Within days we spot tiny little caterpillars crawling about on the leaves, feeding continually. Their ravenous appetite allows them to grow at an incredible rate, and within a couple of weeks the caterpillars are the thickness of a crayon and leave the decimated plant to crawl up something vertical for their next stage.

When they find the perfect spot they begin to attach themselves to it by their back end. They then curl into a shape like the letter “J” and grow still. Then the skin behind their head splits, and they wriggle out of their caterpillar skin, the skin rolling up toward the tail end, exposing a chrysalis. The newly revealed chrysalis wiggles and wiggles some more until the rolled up skin of the previous caterpillar stage falls to the ground. Then they grow still, for over a week, while a hidden miraculous transformation is in process.

The green chrysalis slowly becomes semi-transparent, revealing distinct butterfly wings folded inside. Within days the chrysalis splits open at the bottom out of which the butterfly emerges, wings pleated and wet. The butterfly hangs there, at the end of the empty chrysalis, slowly pumping its wings with fluid, expanding them to full size for flight.

The butterfly slowly flaps its wings back and forth, strengthening them or perhaps testing them. Eventually it takes flight and flutters about the lanai at which point we gently catch it in, you guessed it, a butterfly net, and release it outside. It soars into the blue sunlit sky and freedom.

Yes, it’s a process for a butterfly to go from a nearly invisible egg under a leaf to a colorful creature fluttering across the sky and swishing down to one flower blossom after another. Most of what happens in our own lives is also a process, which we don’t always appreciate. Just as my wife and I have sometimes been impatient with the drawn out process of a butterfly emerging, so we can be impatient with the process of circumstances changing, events unfolding, relationships changing, or our own growth as God’s person. Yet, this is how God works, not only with butterflies, but with us.

Before I take a hike on a park’s path, I check on a map to see where the trail ends. That’s my destination, but the main reason for getting there is to enjoy the hike from here to there.

Author Kelly M. Kapic writes, “God doesn’t fret about process, but seems to enjoy and value it. In fact, although God clearly can do whatever He wants and as quickly as He wants, He doesn’t tend to do things instantaneously… God doesn’t rush when He works.” (You’re Only Human, p 147)

Life’s a process in all kinds of ways. Though we have a goal, an objective, or a result in view, God values the process and has His purposes in it for us. We should value that process too!

The words of Jesus to His disciples, indicating that His teaching among them involved a process, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” (John 16:12)

Soil, Sun, and Wind

On several occasions while on a walk in nature I’ve reflected on God by doing three things. First, I pause, stoop, and pull up a small plant, usually a weed, along the path. Then I do something you might find strange. I smell the dirt-covered roots. They say smell triggers the memory like none of the other four senses. I agree. The smell of fresh earth takes me back to growing up on an Iowa farm. I would often take lunch to my father when he was working the fields. He would sit down on the ground, his back leaning against one of the big back wheels of the tractor, and eat the lunch I had brought. The aroma of the newly tilled soil would be strong in the air. Smelling the fresh earth on the pulled up roots reminds me of my earthly father, which prompts me to reflect on the fact that I have a Heavenly Father. I was blessed to have a good earthly father, so that helps me relate to God as my Heavenly Father. Note: even if you had an absent or not very good earthly father, you can reflect on what a good earthly father would be like and affirm that your Heavenly Father is infinitely better than what you can imagine. As I continue on my walk I’m mindful of God, my Heavenly Father.

Then, as I walk, I look at the sunlight all about me, perhaps even feeling the warmth of the sun, and remind myself that God is like light in different ways and that, specifically, the Son of God, Jesus, is called the light of the world. Basking in the light of His presence in my life is what gives me real life, spiritual life (like the sun makes physical life possible). And just as light helps us see things more clearly than we can in darkness, so as the Light of my life He helps me see myself and everything else more clearly and truthfully. I reflect on the Son of God’s light in my life.

As I continue to walk I note the breeze, maybe even a wind. I don’t see the movement of the air, but I note its presence by the rustling of leaves, the swaying branches, and the feeling of the wind against my skin and the blowing of my hair. The invisible wind reminds me that God is not visible, that He is spirit. In fact, both the Hebrew and Greek words for wind (the two original languages of the Old and New Testament) can also be translated as spirit. When I experience the breeze or wind I’m reminded that God is Spirit.

And so as I take my walk I reflect on how God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is triune in nature, that’s how He’s revealed Himself.

When the angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus without benefit of a human father, Gabriel said that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High (the Father) would overshadow her and that God’s Son would be born to her. Gabriel mentioned all three members of the Trinity in his announcement to Mary. When Jesus was baptized the record states that the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove and that the voice of the Heavenly Father boomed forth from Heaven that He was pleased with His Son. All three members of the trinity are in the account. Then too, Jesus’ parting words as He ascended to heaven was for His followers to baptize people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Wayne Grudem in his book, Systematic Theology, states, “We may define the doctrine of the Trinity as follows: God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.”

We can’t understand how God can be one God and yet three persons, but we shouldn’t let that bother us. We don’t understand how our own bodies or minds work; no wonder we can’t figure God out! We don’t have to understand the trinity, just believe that this is the way God is, and enjoy God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God [the Father], and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

The Sixth Sense of Faith

We have five senses that connect us with the world around us; sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. And with how many of these five senses do we connect with God? Zero, zilch, nada, zip. Why is this so, and just how are we supposed to relate to God when our five senses can’t help us?

The reality is that God is not physical in being, He’s not material in nature. Sometimes people refer to the “man upstairs” and/or picture Him with a long gray beard and flowing robe, but most of us realize that these are caricatures and not at all accurate. Actually, it makes perfect sense that God is not a physical or material being; if He were it would mean He was like all of creation, but He can’t be, for He’s the creator of creation. Jesus put it simply when He said, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 ESV)

Stephen Charnock, in his theological volume, The Existence and Attributes of God, states, “And when we say God is a Spirit, it is a negation; He is not a body.” Yes, it can be easiest to understand what it means that God is spirit by saying He has no body. I know, we sometimes talk about the face of God or the hand of God, etc, even the Bible does so. We need to remember, however, that these are anthropomorphic statements, attributing human characteristics to God so we can better grasp how to relate to Him. The fact is, God has no body, He is spirit. So, just how are we supposed to establish and develop a relationship with God who we can’t experience with any of the five senses?

Maybe this illustration can help. When we take out our cell phones we’re counting on having a cell signal. Look around, do you see the cell signal? No. Do you hear it? No. Do you smell it? No. Can you taste it? No. Can you feel it? No. But it’s there (usually). When we want to use our cell phones we have to punch in a code to access its features, including utilizing the cell signal that our five senses can’t pick up but that we, nevertheless, believe is present.

There’s what you could call a code to connecting and relating to God, who is spirit and who we can’t see, hear, taste, smell, or touch. The code is five letters: F-A-I-T-H.

Faith is being sure about something even though we have no tangible proof or solid evidence; we utilize it all the time in our everyday lives. We have faith that the chair we’re about to sit in will hold us up. We have faith that the meal we eat at the restaurant is safe. We have faith that our car will start when we get in it to go some place. We put our faith in people, trusting them to come through for us in one way or another. I know, this faith in people is often broken, and they let us down. The chair we have faith to sit in may collapse, as one did under me (but that’s a story for a different time). The food at the restaurant may give us food poisoning, and the car may not start. Yet, we express faith countless times every day, even though our faith is in that which gives no guarantee to be trustworthy.

God has many attributes, including His being unchanging and faithful, so He is supremely trustworthy, the One in whom we can have complete faith. We may not be able to experience and relate to God with our five senses, but He’s given us a sixth sense, FAITH!

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see… And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1 & 6)

God’s Grace Is for You!

I’ve been stopped by the police a few times over my 50-plus years of driving. Most of those times I’ve received a ticket. I felt terrible! Once or twice I didn’t get a ticket when the officer could have given me one, extending me grace. I felt great! There are other times when I’ve been extended grace by different people, often by my wife. Every time I’ve experienced grace from someone I’ve felt great!

There’s no greater giver of grace than God! Whatever God does, He goes all out, and that includes His extending grace. Just to be clear on what God’s grace is, here’s how A. W. Tozer defines it in his book Knowledge of the Holy. “Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving.” Putting it in my own words, the grace of God is His undeserved favor toward us. It’s only by God’s grace that we can have a right relationship with Him.

There’s a video on YouTube of a street preacher being asked a question by someone listening to him. The person asked, “What are the parameters to get into heaven?”

The preacher replied, “Perfection.”

The woman asked, “So is anyone in heaven right now?”

The preacher said, “Yes.”

She asked, “And they were perfect?”

“No,” the preacher replied.

“How’s that possible?” the woman asked.

The preacher replied, “Grace.”

The preacher then gave her the good news about God’s grace in a nutshell. He said something to the effect that we’re all sinful and deserve judgment, because God is just and has to have sin paid for. (This should not surprise us, even we mere mortals want justice to be done.) But, God had a plan; He sent His own Son to be born as one of us. This Son, Jesus, never sinned while on earth, but He died for our sins, taking our punishment upon Him. Because of what He did we’re offered His free gift of forgiveness. All we have to do is accept it. We can’t earn it; it’s a gift we can only receive.

If you’re looking for a specific place in the Bible where this good news about God’s grace is put in the proverbial nutshell you can do no better than go to Romans 3:22-24. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Note the operative word “grace” in the passage. No wonder the most loved of all Christian hymns is “Amazing Grace.”

There are many religions in the world, and we ought to respect everyone’s right to believe what they want. All religions have their unique aspects, and one aspect that makes the Gospel of Christ (Christianity) unique is that it’s all about God’s grace. Most religions focus on what we need to do to earn favor with God, to get right with Him. Not so with the Gospel about Jesus. We don’t have to work at earning a right relationship with God, in fact we can’t. It’s only by the grace of God that we can be His person, in a relationship with Him, now and forever. There’s great relief in believing that. Yes, God’s grace is great!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Jesus in Disguise

While I was pastoring our church in Toledo, Ohio, Bill started attending the church. Bill lived alone, down the street, in a small ten foot wide mobile home that most would refer to as a trailer. Bill’s social skills were limited. He was a nice man, but, admittedly, not the type of person people would naturally be attracted to. Bill had this habit of suddenly inhaling a breath of air, sniffing every few seconds. Being the preacher up front, it could be distracting. One week my wife made him an apple pie, having packed it in a flat cardboard box. Bill expressed his gratitude, took the boxed pie, turned it on its edge, then tucked it under his arm, and started walking toward home. We’ve always wondered about the condition of the pie once he unpacked it at home.

Over the years of pastoring we’ve had other folks come to our church who were a lot like Bill, often with marginal social skills, sometimes having grooming habits that would be considered substandard by most others. I figured out what God was doing, so I determined to see these dear folks as Jesus in disguise.

We’re going to come across people different from us in ways that make them less appealing. They may be a relative, a neighbor, a co-worker, or even a fellow church attender. I’ve often said there are people I wouldn’t mind being holed up in a barn with during a snowstorm for an extended time, and there are others I would not want to be stuck with during a snowstorm. It’s those folks that I’d rather they find their own barn that I’m referring to.

God calls me to love all people, even those I don’t like, or at least don’t like as much as others. It’s those I would not like spending much time with that I’ve come to see as Jesus in disguise! I’ll be honest with you, over nearly 40 years of ministry, Jesus showed up disguised as quite a number of people!

We all have people we’re naturally attracted to, people with whom we have much in common, those who are in many ways like us. Then there are those to whom we’re not naturally drawn. We have to recognize what God is up to here. As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow He will put people near us who we’d rather not be near!

As a Christian I’ve come to see that this is a test! It’s an opportunity for spiritual growth. These folks I’d rather not be stuck in a snowstorm with are Jesus in disguise. He cares a lot for them, and how I treat these folks is how Jesus sees me treating Him; He takes it personally!

Jesus told a story to an expert in religious law about a man who was mugged along a road. Two religious guys, a priest and a Levite, passed by the injured man, but a Samaritan (Samaritans and the Jewish population had, at best, a strained relationship) helped the injured man who was Jewish, a man to whom he would not have been naturally drawn.

Jesus asked the expert in religious law, “’Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:36-37)

Ordinary Days

God must love ordinary days, for He’s made so many of them! True, we all have days that include a mountaintop-type experience, and we all have days that are a valley-type experience. We may even have a string of such days. But for most of us a majority of our days are rather ordinary.

Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” So, how can we better spend our many ordinary days so they add up to an extraordinary life?

Well, first of all, even ordinary days are intruded by the beautiful and amazing if we but take notice. Pause to reflect on the multitude of colors in soapy suds that bring God’s sky-hung rainbow into our kitchen or bathroom sink. Consider how a butterfly with its paper-thin broad wings navigates from flower to flower effortlessly in a stiff wind. Gaze closely at the frost on a window that spreads out in delicate, lace-like, swirling patterns. Savor that first taste of tea, coffee, or juice in the morning. Tune the ear to the song of the bird that’s nearly, but not quite, drowned out by the sound of the traffic. Blessings of the beautiful and amazing abound in every day!

Each day is saturated with the spectacular! We can magnify the delight of it all by being grateful to God for the extraordinary input we’re receiving in such an ordinary day!

Then, too, we can always identify something extraordinary to do in an ordinary day. Mitch Albom wrote, “You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.” Opportunities abound for us to add value to someone’s day, if we but look for them. It doesn’t have to be something big and spectacular. Louisa May Alcott wrote, “The humblest tasks get beautiful if loving hands do them.” It just takes a minute to give a few words of encouragement. If we can spare a few minutes we can offer a person tangible assistance that will help them with their day. And, again, we can magnify the delight by doing it primarily to please God, who’s put us in such a position to make a difference!

Ordinary days can end up being something special, even extraordinary. We just have to be intentional about making it happen!

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness.” Psalm 89:15-16