Monday, January 26, 2009


I’ve mentioned our nightmare efforts to fly to Australia for vacation in the midst of a winter snowstorm. But I neglected to mention the heroic efforts of our angel travel agent in Wisconsin and the way God used the situation to bless her in return. I’ve never actually met Julie in person. In fact, until the fateful day of Sunday, December 21, 2008, we’d never even talked on the phone. But that day our family awakened with our bags packed, ready to depart the Portland airport at 5:20pm, but there was snow and ice everywhere. At 7am, I had my first phone conversation with Julie. By midnight, Julie and I were seasoned comrades in our quest against the evil forces of airlines, cruise lines and Old Man Winter. We’d lost several battles and would miss four days of the cruise, but with Julie on a cell phone in my right ear and Alaska Air on the home phone in my left ear, we’d won the war – we’d secured flights for our family on Christmas Day to catch up with the cruise. Julie and I had laughed, cried, grumbled and prayed through the disappointments of the day, so just before hanging up, Julie hesitantly asked if I’d pray for her about a certain something coming up in her life. She’d been asked to sing “O Holy Night” for their church’s Christmas Eve service, and she was terrified! All her life she’d loved music, had been a voice major in college, and then sang for many years at church and civic functions. But a few years ago, she’d endured medical treatments that damaged her vocal chords, and she hadn’t sung publicly since then. Well, I promised to pray, and we said our good-byes, trusting all would be well with her song and our flights. Not so. Julie called us Christmas Eve day to say that she’d checked on our flights, and Alaska had somehow unbooked our four seats on the flight. Julie spent the entire day getting us back on the Christmas day flight, which meant she had no time to think about singing that night – or to practice with her accompanist. She called me just before walking out the door to church and said we were back on the flights and asked again for me to pray – HARD! Of course, we got on the plane the next day, not knowing how Julie’s song went, and by the time we’d arrived home from vacation, I had an e-mail telling me the Lord had done an amazing work in her voice, and she’d already sung at another church! The Lord works in mysterious ways to take our minds off our own fears and concerns, doesn’t He? Do I believe Portland had all that snow so Julie could sing beautifully for her church in Wisconsin? No. But I do believe that our God took a terrible situation, and cares about two women, who became friends because they endured difficult days and watched God do a mighty work in both circumstances. God is the Creator of all things, and He can work any situation together in a beautiful circle of life…

Gen. 1:24-25 – “And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good” (emphasis added).

  • God SPOKE Creation into existence, but He often used the things He’d already created to create the next thing. He commanded the land to produce the living creatures in v. 24, just as He had commanded the land to produce vegetation in v. 11. God could have created spontaneously, but He valued connectedness and He used those things already present to enrich the new Creation.

Gen. 1:26-28 – “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground’” (emphasis added).

  • The Father, Son and Holy Spirit – our singular God – determined to make humankind in His image, and His image and likeness was too magnificent for one human representation, so male and female were created to display the full illustration of God’s image. (We get the whole story in Gen. 2) Since sin marred the image God intended for us, we must reckon with death and its consequences, but it’s important to remember – to absorb this truth – you and I are still, as human beings, the bearers of God’s image (marred, though it may be). And if we are believers in His Son, Jesus Christ, we are TRULY God-bearers since His Holy Spirit dwells within us! How awesome is that?

Gen. 1:29-31 – “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day” (emphasis added).

  • There it is – the meeting of the circle. God did all the creative preparation of the other five days in order that on the sixth and final day of Creation, He could fashion humankind in His image and give every green plant for food. And the sky…and the seas…and the animals…and…and…and…each one enables the other. And humankind is to rule over it.

Gen. 2:1-3 – “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

  • News flash! God did NOT rest because He was tired! On the sixth day, God stepped into the center of the circle of life He’d created and enjoyed every detail of each created item. But for one item, He showed special care. Imagine that you’re these brand new, adult human beings. You just arrived in this magnificent Garden, lush vegetation, paths crawling with living creatures, rivers and streams teeming with fish, sky filled with birds. And your first day alive is spent resting with God, enjoying His finished work. Can you imagine what that day of fellowship was like?

Lord, so often I don’t take time for that rest and fellowship with You – and that’s probably why I miss the connectedness of life and events. I know that when I slow down and spend time with You in Your Word and in prayer, things seem to add up, make sense, fall into place. Please help me to make rest and fellowship with You a priority, Father.

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