You Have Been Known Much Longer Than You Have Been

Jeremiah 1:5 is one of the Bible’s most intriguing verses. It reads, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” This verse is a part of God’s calling Jeremiah to be His prophet.

200,000,000 sperm begin the race to the egg waiting in the fallopian tube. Only 50 will make it. Only one will penetrate the egg’s protective outer layer. Instantly a chemical process occurs locking out all other sperm. The miracle of life is in process. We are a combination of 46 chromosomes, twenty-three from each parent. That union decides what we will look like along with a host of other pre-decided characteristics.

God told Jeremiah he was known before he was formed. There were 200,000,000 chances Jeremiah would have been someone other than himself. God knew which sperm would fertilize which egg, all of which were formed before Jeremiah’s mother was born. Is this all a bit amazing? But then again since God designed the whole marvelous life process this foreknowledge of Jeremiah’s personhood should not be outstanding. It is all in a day’s work for our omnipotent, omniscient God.

There is one more thing. It was not only Jeremiah who God knew prior to his formation. He knew you, too.

Written in 2001

Want Ads

Looking through the want ads can be kind of fun especially if you don’t particularly want anything. Looking for something specific like a job can be very frustrating. Actually when you think about it, the Bible is really one big want ad. God is advertising a great product and hoping, as do all who run ads, that lots of people will respond.

God’s ad could come under several different categories. It could be a personal ad. “Friendly, loving, caring, sacrificing person of means looking for someone to share long-term relationship.” Not bad.

It could also come under real estate. “Mansion. Nice neighborhood. Good neighbors. Glorious views. Offered at sacrificial prices. Owner motivated.”

How about a help wanted ad? “Father-son business needs committed employee willing to travel. Great retirement, good medical, compensation out of this world.”

God could run an ad in almost every section of the want ads. How about this? “Cleaning service. Restore to new condition. Stain removal 100% guaranteed.”

Written in 2000

Very Great and Precious Promises

The English language is rich in modifiers. Adjectives and adverbs flow from our mouths to describe numerous features of a noun. Trucks are old. Dogs are black. Scenery is beautiful. Or we can say old trucks, black dogs, or beautiful scenery. Sometimes that does not seem strong enough so we add the word “very” in front of the descriptor.

In 2 Peter 1:4 Peter tries his best to impress us with an incredible truth. He says, “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” The promises of God are not just precious; they are great and precious. But that was not strong enough for Peter. They are, according to him, very great and precious.

And just what are these “very great and precious promises?” They are promises that we do not have to be slaves to our baser natures. We can break free by actually becoming participants in the divine nature of God. God is willing to move inside our very minds and share His ideas, thoughts and power so we can change into His image. It is all so wonderful. No, it is all so very wonderful.

Written in 2000


A little seven-year-old granddaughter approached her grandma and invited her to play a game of Twister. Soon they were in an amazing array of positions. Finally when granddaughter fell and grandma was declared the winner, the proud seven-year-old turned to her friend and said, “See, I told you my grandma was flexible.”

There is much to be said in favor of flexibility. We live in an incredible world of change. Technology has created a global village. Each day we come across new ideas and have new exposures to different cultures. We visit with people who do not have the same background and see life through different colored glasses than we. We need to open our minds to the reality of other people’s worlds and do our best to understand them.

Often we mistake being rigid and uncompromising as standing firm for principles. That need not be. It is not necessary to sacrifice one’s own standards to understand that others also believe that their principles are important. Their principles are as important to them as ours are to us.

The world is changing and if we are not open to change we will become the antiques of society having a faith that is not attractive to anyone other than those who are afraid to change.

Written in 2000

This Old House

One of the joys of owning an old house is the continual process of repairing aging everything. There is always a broken something that needs attention. One could almost conclude that people who believe in evolution have never lived in an old house. Things in an old house do not become more organized by themselves. Rather an old house is a perfect example of entropy.

The whole process is not much different than humankind’s degeneration after the fall of Eve and Adam. It took just one generation to produce a murderer. And our history has not been exemplary since then. But the whole is made up of individuals. We do not have to look at history as a whole. All we need to do is watch one person born so innocent and watch the selfish process strip away that innocence.

Thus the horrendous need for the plan of redemption, which is not really so much about materially rewarding the redeemed with mansions as it is about restoration to wholeness. That is what we need. Frankly, we can do without the streets of gold. What we cannot do without is regeneration into the image of the One who originally made us in His imagW.

Written in 2000

The Woodpecker

There was a woodpecker in the house. The back door had been left open and the woodpecker came in. The poor guy was panic-stricken. Madly he flew from room to room banging himself against walls. It was not a pleasant experience. The first impulse was to grab a net and try to catch him. But wisdom took over–just open all the doors to the house and get out of the way. Sure enough. In a few minutes the woodpecker found his way out the front door. For the next hour he chattered all over the yard. He must have been telling the others of his horrible adventure.

Chasing him about the house with a net surely would have injured him. Have you ever wondered if when we are in difficult places God opens doors of opportunity for us and then gets out of the way? Sometimes all we need is a chance. He already has given us the brain and talent to succeed. He knows it is best for us to use them because real success is our success and not something handed to us by another.

This however is not true when it comes to salvation. Because we are sinners we cannot meet the demands of the law. It is essential that Jesus’ success become ours. He gives it. We accept, and we grow. We take His gifts and use His strength, and we find freedom.

Written in 2000

The Rest of Your Life

Presidential elections are intense times. After the election one candidate goes on to be a picture on the walls of classrooms in our schools. The other candidates become footnotes in history. One of the candidates will for a time be the most powerful man in the world. The others will sit at home wondering what to do with the rest of their lives.

Do you ever wonder what you should do with the rest of your life? Do you ever think of quitting your job and sitting on a sandy beach for a long, long time? Or perhaps you think of creative ways to be of service in your community. Maybe you think of helping at a food bank or volunteering to teach an adult how to read. Maybe you think of selling your home, putting things in storage and joining the Peace Corps. They do take people of all ages.

Maybe you could become a crossing guard and help children get safely to and from school each day. Maybe you could take a meal to an elderly person each day. Maybe your life is already filled with meaningful purpose. However you plan to spend the rest of your life, you should think of a way to be of service to someone other than yourself. The law of Jesus’ kingdom is the law of service. (Matt. 25:35 ff)

Written in 2000

The Quest

He craved a piece of chocolate, but to his great despair the house was chocolateless. There was no chocolate syrup in the fridge. There were no leftover spoonfuls of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in the back of the freezer. Despondent, he searched the bedroom knowing that his wife, not a chocolate lover, often put boxes of chocolates away until they turned white. What a waste!

Next he went to the china closet thinking by chance there might be a forgotten box of after dinner mints there, but to no avail. Next he toyed with the idea of driving to the store, but his town was not a big city and most everything was shut down for the night. Then it came to him. In a drawer with some herb tea bags there just might be a packet of hot chocolate powder. Swooping down he found it. Nestled among the apple orchard, mint medley, fruit and almond, orange and spice was his reward. He had found some chocolate.

There are times when God seems remote and we are in need of His presence. The writer of Psalm 42:1,2 put it so well. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

Jesus once told us if we will seek we shall find. The real quest will be rewarded as we discover it was God who was seeking us.

Written in 2000

The Provider

A flight attendant came down the aisle with the food cart. When she got to one couple she noticed they were both asleep. Many flight attendants would choose not to disturb the sleepers and just pass them by. However, this flight attendant, quietly as possible, lowered their tray tables and carefully arranged their meals for them. After several minutes passed one of the passengers stirred and joyfully found her meal in front of her.

This is somewhat the way God takes care of us. He prepares a table for us often without our knowing He is doing so. Sometimes we are sleeping or we are very busy with life and do not seem to notice.

In Acts 14 we find the story of Paul and Barnabas healing a crippled man. The people of the city were very excited and proclaimed Paul and Barnabas to be gods. Quickly Paul correct their error and in pointing them to the real God he said, “He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”

Our God knows your needs and provides for you. He will never let you down. Never!

Written in 2000

The Linus Syndrome

Psychologists call them transitional objects. They provide safety and comfort for individuals going through a stressful situation. They are those wonderful tattered, worn teddy bears and blankets that accompany small children through a host of stressful transitions as they learn all about the big world around them.

Sometimes parents become concerned that their children are not normal if they have the Linus Syndrome—named for that Peanuts character Linus and his wonderful blanket. But it is very normal and parents should not worry.

Adults manifest the same syndrome but in different ways. During times of stress they use such things as chewing gum, a hot drink, or a favorite food. Whatever we use, it is for the same purpose. It provides us an island of comfort in a storm of life.

Jesus provides the same thing and lots more. If when things get difficult, we turn to Jesus for comfort or safety He is there. He who knows all our needs will do what is best for us. He is a friend that will never get tattered or worn. He will always be there when you need something safe.

Written in 2000