And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20

I clearly recall a time of great trauma in our family life. It seemed that the world, as we knew it, was disintegrating. Relationships were tried, finances were stressed, and there was no clear sense of direction. I was preoccupied with the circumstances. And then one afternoon, a clear witness issued from the living room.  My mother sat at the baby grand and sang, almost defiantly:
“I’ve seen the lightning flashing,
And heard the thunder roll,
I’ve felt sin’s breakers dashing,
Trying to conquer my soul;
I’ve heard the voice of my Savior,
Telling me still to fight on,
He promised never to leave me,
Never to leave me alone.
No, never alone,
No, never alone;
He promised never to leave me,
Never to leave me alone.
Mother was the rock who reminded us that, no matter what the circumstance, God was always there and was always faithful.
Through the years, I’ve often needed that reminder, and if I look and listen, it is always there. Jesus told us in Matthew 28:20 that his presence would be a constant. William Barclay in his study of “Acts” said that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was just another way that Jesus was assuring us that the promise of his presence would be fulfilled. Through the indwelling Spirit, we can know that we are not alone. He lives inside.
And then Oswald Chambers in My Utmost… says, “The reality of God’s presence is not dependent on any place but only dependent upon the determination to set the Lord always before us… when once we are based on Reality, not the consciousness of God’s presence but the reality of it, [we realize] he has been here all the time.”
Jesus keeps his word. He will be with us until we go to be with him.


Jesus, I cling to your word and your truth. Thank you that we are never alone. AMEN.


Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Occasionally, we are called upon to do something that is virtually impossible—there’s not adequate time; we don’t have the resources; we don’t have the skills; we don’t have the knowledge; and dozens of other seemingly valid excuses. When that happens to me, I am reminded of an impossible situation in which there seemed no way out.

It was my senior year in undergraduate school. I was approaching the end with a 4.0 GPA and really wanted to finish well. I’d foolishly left my math course until the final semesters (procrastination?), but I boldly asked the department head for permission to take trigonometry with no prerequisite classes. After telling him about my GPA, he signed my registration card, and I was set.

Until my first class. Dr. Turwey began writing equations on the board for us to solve, and I knew my pride would be my undoing. I signed up for tutoring, which didn’t seem to help at all. I was in an impossible situation. By this time, I just wanted to get enough credit to graduate.  Forget the GPA.

In desperation I remembered Jane from a church party. Pretty little demure Jane had off-handedly volunteered to help me if I ever needed math tutoring. “Hah,” I thought. That sweet young woman wouldn’t know a thing about trig, but I gave her a call. “Oh, yes,” she replied, “I taught math at Southwest State.” She invited me to come to her home after classes, and we’d see what could be done.

That point of desperation was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Not only did Jane make sense for me of trigonometry, but it actually became fun, and while I didn’t make the “A” I would have wanted, I was prouder of the “B” than any other grade I’d made at Trinity. God took an impossible situation; humbled me to ask for help; provided the perfect tutor; and gave me a friend in addition.

In later times when I knew I couldn’t succeed in the area to which I was called, I learned (and am still learning) to trust in the Lord with all my heart rather than leaning on my own understanding. Of course, he expects us to discipline ourselves to work with the resources he provides, but with God, nothing is impossible. He is always able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can think or ask. It’s just a matter of humility, trust, and obedience.

Father, thank you for providing everything we need for life and godliness. AMEN.


I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.  II Timothy 4:7

Sometimes, the secular world describes life in terms of battle: minefield, attacks, ammunition, weapons, strategy, defense or offense, and so on. Whether or not you believe in spiritual warfare, I think it must be acknowledged that there are times that it seems a battle is being waged against us by powerful adversaries. Things occur that just don’t have a rational answer, and rational responses seem to be ineffective. Whatever language we use to characterize our circumstances, we can be assured that “the one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world.” (I John 4:4)

Looking at my hero Paul who often spoke of fights, I see that he had to endure many things I’ve never experienced. Just look at his suffering. In II Timothy 4:13 Paul asks Timothy to bring his “cloak” and “books and parchments” when he comes to Rome. One can only wonder if the cold, moist circumstances in which Paul found himself were uncomfortable, making him want to have at least the consolation of his cloak? The winters could be difficult without adequate warmth.

Paul was in Rome ostensibly to appeal to Caesar. He reports, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me.” (II Tim. 4:16) Then, of course, he famously said, “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea…” (II Cor. 11:25)  (Thank God, I haven’t yet experienced those kinds of adversities.)

But, in summation, Paul explains, “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12) Time to stop looking at the people around us as enemies but instead to see the spiritual forces that motivate them.

Paul goes on to tell us how to fight these impossible battles: “… take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.” (Eph. 6:10-18) And returning to the Old Testament book of II Chronicles (20:15), we must remind ourselves that “the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Knowing that we are destined for battle, let’s not be surprised when onslaught begins. Fully armored, let’s fight to ,knowing the victory is already ours through the cross.

Father, let us not lose heart and give way to fear. You’ve already empowered us to fight your battles, and you’ve already won. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

I love working in Uganda. The people seem to wake up in the morning expecting God to do something wonderful. On Sunday morning, the preacher begins his sermon with, “God is good.” The people respond, “All the time.” He continues, “All the time.” And the people say, “God is good.” Then together everyone finishes, “Because that is his nature.” God’s nature is goodness, and that is what they believe.

Do we begin our days thinking of God’s goodness and watching for signs of his presence? Do we expect God to be present in our day? Have you noticed that our days usually follow the outlook of our mornings? We look for God, and he shows up; we grouse around in the morning, and the day is filled with gloom.

As I’ve thought about this the last couple of days, I’ve become aware of the God-sightings that have brought joy. Yesterday, I had an delightful outing with someone I love and enjoy, a gift from my Father. Then today as I was praying for expertise to help with a ministry we’ve undertaken, I looked across the room and saw an architect and his designer wife. When I approached them, I discovered that they already had an interest in the ministry and were happy to be engaged.

I think expectations might have something to do with relationship. If we, as good parents, want to do good for our children, how much more does our heavenly Father desire to exceed our expectations? How many good things does he have planned for us that we fail to see because we don’t expect him to appear? We don’t expect his goodness?

His plans are for our good, to give us a future and a hope. That’s his nature.

Sweetest Father, may we remember that you are good and love to bless us. Thank you for what you’ve done and for what you have planned for our future. Amen.