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The Lord Almighty

You, O God “who churns up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD Almighty is your name” (Isa. 51:15b) —
–your power, Lord, is unlimited,
–your wisdom is boundless,
–your greatness is without end,
–your glory is eternal,
–your holiness is without change.
 
Therefore you are worthy of exaltation and fear, of worship and honor, of praise and obedience.
 
Although you are so great and we so small,
although you are so powerful and we so weak,
although you are so holy and we so sinful,
yet you proclaim, “I am the LORD your God” (Isa. 51:15a)!
 
What a wonder, what a joy, what a foundation for life, what a comfort! You, who are so mighty and marvelous, managing the magnificent expanses of space, stoop down to make yourself our God: personal, knowable, loveable, trustable.
 
To have such a great and personal God means an end to fear: the fear of man,
the fear of the future,
the fear of failure,
the fear of loss,
the fear of suffering…
no need to “live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor…” (Isa. 51:13).
 
You are greater than the deceptive devil, greater than miniscule men, greater than puny people who seek to control, hurt, manipulate or use us.
 
You, the Eternal One, have made yourself our shepherd, our rock, our fortress, in you alone can we find rest. May we look in no other place!
May be an image of flower and nature

Isaiah 51:12

“I, even I, am he who comforts you.” Isaiah 51:12
 
Praise you, my Heavenly Father, the King of Glory, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the Guide and Lover of my soul.
 
You are wonderful in your words of comfort: “Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth…’” (Isa. 51:12-13).
 
You are the Mighty One who made the measureless heavens, stretching them out light year after light year, in length and breadth, height and depth. You filled them with stars and galaxies, light and dust, space and nebulae. Your love of beauty, your enjoyment of variety, your penchant for order and the vastness of your power are all on display there.
 
You number the stars and call them each by name. The scope of your power is overwhelming:
–the power of planning to lay it all out;
–the power of creativity to make them out of nothing;
–the power of greatness to create stars so gigantic;
–the power of memory to know each one by name;
–the power of faithfulness to keep each in its place.
 
You, Lord God, are marvelously, amazingly powerful.
 
Then on a much tinier scale, in a little place tucked under one arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, you laid the foundations of the earth. You made the molten core, you clothed it in its mantle of minerals and metals, then you laid over it the garment of water and crowned it with a transparent atmosphere.
 
You placed it in just the right spot, provided it with a sun, a moon and sister planets, gave it just the right tilt, orbit and speed of rotation. Then through the millennia you have sustained each of those so that your creatures are able to live on it.
 
You, Lord God are marvelous in your creativity and wisdom, might and imagination. And this means you also use these in my life, doing things far beyond my imagination. So I can trust you when I can’t see how things are going to work out. If you can manage the universe, you certainly can manage my life! This truth comforts me.
May be an image of flower and nature

More Add-on Eskimo Stories

More from the Add-on Eskimo
 
“Those are really impressive stories,” the teacher said, “Tell me, for you Eskimos, how was the New Way of Jesus different from the old way?”
 
Ayit smiled, “Let me answer that with what happened some years later when an anthropologist came to Sivukuk and sat with a group of us older men.
 
“‘Why did you choose to become Christians?’ She asked. Several of us gave her answers.
 
“‘The New Way is easier, that is, more predictable. In the old way we could never know what the spirits would do, and often it was not good.’
 
 
“‘It eliminated the constant sacrifices—a life for a life—and ceremonies the spirits had required us to keep.’
 
“‘Through Jesus, our God, Apa, has come close to us. Now we know that he loves us and helps us. He is not distant as he was before we came to know Jesus.’
 
“‘The new way is much more satisfying because we will go to heaven when we die, a prospect that is open to all.’
 
“‘Now with Jesus, we can call upon him to use his power to heal us, to help us with hunting, to provide for us. We know he loves us, not like the capricious and cruel spirits.’
 
“‘Jesus healed my son.’
 
“‘Jesus gave us a safe delivery for our baby.’
 
“‘Jesus gave me shelter in the storm, saving my life.’
 
“‘The new way is much less complex. Jesus’ love is so simple. We don’t have to perform endless rituals. We only need to obey what we know to be true about him. It is a much better way!’
 
“The reasons went on, each showing that the speaker’s faith was not theoretical, but based both on the Word and seeing God reach into their lives. They were convinced that this was the right way and were committed to living it.”
 
Ayit leaned back and smiled at the young teacher. “Following Jesus is the best way,” he said. “Jesus is God. He is powerful. He is good. So, as I chose Him those many years ago, I continue to follow Him in His wisdom and grace. I continue to be what my family calls me: the Add-on Eskimo. I continually strive to add to my faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. I hope you also follow Him like that!”
 
The young teacher smiled weakly, knowing that, compared to Ayit’s, his faith was feeble, incomplete and inadequate for life.
 
As the days and weeks rolled by, the teacher became tired and discouraged. His work was never ending, there was little social outlet, he could go nowhere and buy only what was in the sparsely stocked village store. He was stuck on the island.
One evening in November as he at sitting at the table in his little house when suddenly he had a realization. Although he had come with the purpose and desire to help people, he was doing the opposite. His students had no desire to sit in class and learn about George Washington, verbs and new math.
 
They wanted to be out hunting seals, driving dog sleds and visiting the reindeer herd. He was, he thought, only teaching his students to hate school, hate him and hate white men. With this realization, the teacher fell into a depression that deepened each day.
 
Before coming to the island, he had spent quite a bit of time seeking a philosophy to live by, examining religion and different worldviews. The one answer he had settled on was that his purpose was to help others, but now this proved inadequate to provide the support he needed. If a philosophy was to be valid, it must work in every situation.
 
As he thought on it, he had three possible choices. He could end his emotional and mental pain by committing suicide, which he thought seriously about doing, but as he contemplated what that would do to his parents and his students, he decided to make that the last option.
 
Second, he could quit and leave the island and go home. But he innately realized that this was the most important juncture of his life and he needed to work it through.
 
Or third, he could find a new philosophy of life. He decided to start there. He went to Jim, the principal, and asked him what his philosophy of life was.
 
“Well, life is like building a stone wall. When you are gone, people will say, ‘Jim was here.’” The young teacher shook his head; that wasn’t much to live by. Besides the principle teacher wasn’t doing well himself.
 
No answer there. So he determined to look elsewhere, not realizing that the Lord had an answer coming for him in the near future.

Picture: the young teacher with a white fox pelt given to him by one of the Eskimos.

May be an image of one or more people, people sitting and indoor

 

Beauty

As you , Lord Jesus, “lead me beside the still waters and restore my soul,” I am learning to think like you, rather than being swayed by my feelings. This growth is your doing, Lord God, to your glory, in line with your greatness.
 
I praise you for your faithful, deep work, your gracious goodness in bringing this change as I spend time gazing upon your marvelous Character. You truly are Glorious, Great and Gracious!
 
You definitely lead me in paths of righteousness: warning, guiding, teaching, disciplining. You nudge me when I am about to say something negative, out of bounds, unhelpful or gossipy.
 
And when I heed your warning, there is a sense of freedom—freedom from the selfish desire to give myself a thrill by being the one to pass on information or to be the authority in some matter. To deny self, to obey you, that is following you in the paths of righteousness.
 
I praise you, Father, for you have set your Spirit in me to lead. I praise you for your great patience in working with me to help me to quit worrying, to reject complaining, to refuse to feel sorry for myself, to walk away from disappointment and discouragement, choosing instead to walk with praise in the demanding paths of righteousness that you have prepared and where you lead me.
 
I praise and thank you for your wonderful shepherding, for your faithful goodness, for your continued, gracious patience. You are marvelous, merciful and magnificent in your persistent, powerful, positive transforming work in the lives of your children.
 
As the Great Shepherd, you are leading, guiding, disciplining, protecting, providing, commanding—therefore you are worthy of all exaltation, worship, glory, honor and praise. It will require more than eternity to give you what you deserve, and I glorify you for that!
 
Prayer: “Today, may my drinking of the pure waters of your Word and my walking in the path of righteousness you have prepared, bring glory to you, Lord, and transformation to me so that I may give you more and more honor each day. Amen.”
May be an image of nature, lake and tree

The wonder of the Word

“…he leads me beside the still waters., he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”Psalm 23:2b
 
Glory be to you, my Good Shepherd, my Lord Jesus, for leading me beside the still waters. Every day you call me to your Word to drink deeply from the waters of Truth, to be refreshed with the revelation of your character, to be washed with the water of the Word.
 
I actually don’t see a great deal of change on a daily basis, but you are definitely at work, altering my soul, bringing growth, deepening and transformation. You are restoring my soul, moving it in the direction of its original, pre-fall condition so your relationship with me can be more profound, more transparent, higher and deeper.
 
Praise be to you, my Great Shepherd–
my Heavenly Father,
my Heavenly Brother,
my Heavenly Spirit
–for this faithful, powerful and wonderful work in my life. As I spend time with you in worship each day, you have been giving me strength in my soul, you have been quietly transforming my being into the likeness of Christ, so that when the disappointments of life come, there will be strength in me to pass through them with your endurance.
 
As a result of your work, my soul is no longer weak and flabby, able to be pushed this way and that by circumstances, feelings, and discouragements that come in life. You are making my soul strong, firm, muscular, able to stand in the face of opposition.
You are removing my fear of man, empowering me to make tough decisions for the good of the people involved without letting fear of how they will react control me.
 
You are teaching me to think like you, rather than being swayed by my feelings. This is your doing, to your glory, in line with your greatness.
 
I praise you for your faithful, deep work, your gracious goodness in bringing this change as I spend time gazing upon your marvelous Character. You truly are Glorious, Great and Gracious!
May be an image of nature and tree

Trust and Acceptance

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
Ephesians 3:16b,17
 
Recently a friend was giving away old books, and I got one called Don’t Just Sit There, Have Faith by Ron Dunn. Faith, the author points out, is our response to the revelation of God’s character (the Almighty One, the Holy One, the Faithful One, the Just One). Faith is looking beyond the visible to the unseen: “My grace is sufficient for you” no matter how things seem (2Cor. 12:9,10).
 
Here’s a quote from the book, telling the story of a pastor’s wife’s illness and death, an illustration of walking in faith. The pastor wrote: “I had hoped for the miraculous healing of Sara and that we might bear a dramatic testimony to the direct intervention of God. I had a sermon ready. But it was not to be….
 
“My disappointment was intense but sober thinking has changed my view. If a dramatic experience of healing had been ours it would have been sensational, but…. Most of us do not have such miracles. Our loved ones die…and we need a word for those who walk the Valley with no happy ending to the story on earth.
 
“So I preach and write for a host of fellow travelers through the Valley whose hopes, like mine, were not realized and whose deepest wish was not granted. If we can move through the Valley and come out in victory, we have found a greater blessing than if our personal wish had been fulfilled in some miraculous way.” (Don’t Just Sit There, Have Faith by Ron Dunn, Here’s Life Publishers, 1991)
 
Truly, knowing Jesus is enough for joy, period. If He answers our prayers with “Yes” or “No” or “Wait,” faith says, “Fine, Lord, I trust you to do what is best.” Our focus must be on Him rather than the answer. Then, in the light of His wisdom, goodness, power and grace, we can accept with praise what He gives.
 
Prayer “Lord, may this day be one with my knowing you better, and growing in faith, living a life with the keynote of praise. In my exercise of the faith you’ve given me, may I be an encouragement, beacon and help to all those around, like this rainbow in this picture. Amen.”
May be an image of nature and sky

Chapter 42 Family Travels

 
In September Josh had his first birthday. We had hoped to have another child by the time he was eighteen months old, but so far, there was no sign of any new life on the horizon.
 
Josh celebrated his birthday by beginning to walk. He was so small for his age that he looked like a little windup toy as he walked around.
 
One day Barbara took him to the screen door to point out a cow out in the field. Josh, however, chose to focus on a loose screw in the screen door and fiddled with it. This was a harbinger of what Josh would naturally focus on in life: machines and how they work. During his childhood he stuck his little hands into so many dangerous places as he explored machines that we were glad he grew up without losing one.
 
One time when we visited a friend and were talking in the kitchen, Josh turned the dial of the washing machine and was startled when it began to work. But before he ran away, he turned the dial back to “off.”
 
Another time, he put his hand on the hotplate of a stove and turned the dial to the highest setting. The plate was instantly hot. He screamed and jerked his hand away, but already there were blisters on the end of each finger! He never did that again!
 
Following the advice of Dr. Goodell, our linguistics professor friend, Barbara spoke only German with Josh and I only English.
“Any child can learn up to three languages without mixing them up,” Dr. Goodell had said, “as long as the child has a physical stimulus for each one, a native speaker for each language.”
 
Josh’s first word was German, “Vogel” (bird) and his second was English, “turtle.” That winter, when Barbara would take him shopping, dressed in his little fuzzy blue coat, he looked way too little to be able to trundle down the aisles as he did. When Barbara would speak to him in German and he would respond, the other shoppers were amazed. “So young, and already able to understand German!” people would exclaim.
 
We did not realize that Josh’s linguistic abilities were somewhat unusual until his brother came along. Before Josh could actually speak, he was making puns. One time while he was riding on my shoulders, we passed through a low doorway.
 
“Duck!” I said. Josh lowered his head and then said, “Quack, quack!”
 
On the day of his second birthday he asked me, “What does ‘I wonder’ mean, daddy?”
“What do you think it means?” I asked.
“ ‘I wonder’ means you’re thinking about things a lot,” he said. Not only was he speaking in complete sentences, but he was thinking in abstract concepts! However, when his brother turned two, all he could say was, “Mommy, Daddy, food.”
 
Nat exhibited a different talent, though: when he moved from crawling to standing, he didn’t just start to walk, he took off running, his little pigeon-toed feet flying over the grass. Each child has his own strengths and weaknesses.
 
As I mentioned before, right from the beginning Josh was more of a little adult than a child. One morning when he was between two and three years old, he walked up the lane, crossed the road to the mailbox, got the newspaper and came back past our house to my parents’ house.
 
He knocked on the door and when my father answered it, Josh said, “ “Hello, Grandpa. “Is your wife at home? I’d like to talk with her.” Dad told that story for many years. Not only was his speaking extraordinary, but his diminutive size made it even more amazing.
 
There are two things that every German seems to want to visit in the US: Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. We had made a brief visit to Niagara Falls on a trip after our wedding. Now Barbara talked about going to the Grand Canyon.
 
Knowing that there might not be another chance if we were going overseas to work, in late September of 1977 we set off for Arizona in our old Dodge Dart.
 
Those were the days when the speed limit was 55 miles an hour, so progress was slow. We first visited Diane, whose husband Rip had pointed me to the BIA. She and Barbara talked about some physical problems Barbara was having. After listening for a short while Diane, a nurse, suggested that Barbara take a pregnancy test. The next day she announced to us, “The rabbit says, ‘Yes!’” So now there were four of us on the trip!
 
There followed five full days of driving, twelve hours a day, at 55 miles an hour. Those were also the days before people had tape players in their cars, so we did a lot of reading to Josh. To this day we can repeat from memory a number of the poems he wanted to hear over and over again!
 
We finally arrived at the Grand Canyon in early October. It was a crisp fall morning when we stood at the south rim, looking out over the astounding, awesome beauty of this mile deep wonder. It is absolutely true that no photograph can captures the canyon’s scope and grandeur.
 
We had our backpack carrier and with Josh safely in it, set off down the trail into the canyon. As we descended it got hotter and hotter, so Barbara made a little hat for Josh out of my handkerchief.
 
Along the trail we saw evidence of mules that had come by. Josh asked what that was. When I told him it was mule dung, he commented, “I guess the muumuu’s need a diaper!” We laughed, as we often did at his comments.
 
When we reached the first level of descent, we made our way to the Indian Springs oasis. Barbara elected to stay there in the shade with Josh while I hiked on a couple of miles further to the edge of the plateau. I wanted to look down into the canyon itself.
When I returned, we started back up the trail, passing several people who were too tired to go any further. They had called for mules to carry them out.
 
By the time we reached the upper rim we were exhausted; I’d never felt so worn out physically in my whole life; this was worse than a ten mile cross country race! And Barbara made the trek while pregnant! She might not be strong, but she sure is tough.
 
We dragged ourselves over to a cafeteria, and while standing in line felt like we were going to die of starvation. The whole thing was a definite adventure!
 
On the long trip back to Connecticut, we passed through Colorado, (one very long state!) and Missouri where we visited with my mother’s mother, Grandma Haslip. She lived til 99 and had a clear mind until the end. She said, “I’ve tried old age and don’t recommend it!”
 
We got back home just in time to plunge in as the tire business picked up for what turned out to be a very profitable and busy fall.
Picture: my little helper:
May be an image of child, standing and outdoors
May be an image of child and outdoors

Unbelievable Love

I am so thankful, Father, that against all logic and law, you have chosen and transformed me. I was a seditious slave to sin, a fool fully controlled by my own folly, a criminal correctly condemned to an eternity without any good. I was a captive of Satan’s kingdom, a slave of my own evil desires, without goodness, without power, without hope.
But, in spite of what I am naturally, you called me to yourself, along with all the other sinners in this world. And for those who were willing, you made it possible for us to believe.
 
You forgave me, transforming me into a new creature, with a new heart after yours, with the beginning of being like Christ. You placed your Holy Spirit within me, you gave me sonship among your children, citizenship in your Kingdom, and fellowship in your family.
You saved me because, against all reason, you mysteriously delighted in me and I now stand before you dearly loved, deeply cared for, doted on and delighted in—what a wonder!
 
And this is all because of your great and gracious heart of love, your wisdom, grace and goodness. I do not deserve this, but I am deeply thankful that you have given me such marvelous and mighty grace.
May you be exalted throughout eternity for your illogical, counter-conditional, outrageous love! May I bring you honor today as I live in the light of your presence, whether I feel it or not, believing you, forgiving myself, accepting myself, loving myself as you do! And by faith joining you in what you are doing.
Picture: Jesus took us out of the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of light
May be an image of sky, nature, twilight, grass and tree

Preaching the gospel to myself.


Today, Lord, as I awoke I felt far from you. Thank you for this opportunity to walk by faith, to be reminded that all depends on your unchanging character, not my senses. Although all around me seems barren and brown, the Son of your love is shining into my life.
 
Praise you, Lord, for your great and gracious presence, whether I sense it or not, whether I feel close to you or not, for in your faithfulness you have promised to never leave or forsake me.
Your plan, your power, your purpose, your persistence are the basis of our salvation, not our feelings or will, actions or obedience. I praise you that you have provided all we need for life and godliness and our part is simply to respond in belief.
To you belongs the glory of having prepared all through the sacrifice of Christ;
 
to us belongs the privilege of faith and repentance.
 
To you belongs all honor, glory and worship, for you are the pure, perfect, positive and powerful One who has done all necessary to redeem us;
 
to us belongs the privilege of being invited into your work.
 
Praise for your love of partnership, calling us to join you as you move history to a conclusion; help us to join you consistently in your plans great and small, seeing as many as possible enter your Kingdom.

Picture of partnership: God created the seed, we planted it, He brought the flowers!

May be an image of flower and nature

More from the Add-on Eskimo

 
“One thing they prayed for was that God would send another missionary like Mr. Campbell to help them. Finally, in 1934 the answer to their prayer arrived on their shore. A US Coast Guard cutter came by for a visit and had on board a nurse, named Ann Bannan. She was actually headed to a different village, but when she came ashore with the sailors, and met some of the Christians who told her of their prayer for another missionary, she took this as God’s calling and decided to stay.
 
“She was known as the praying nurse and stayed eight years, leaving only because the US government told her had to leave in 1942 because of the danger of a Japanese invasion of the island.
 
“She entered into the social fabric of the village, caring for medical needs, comforting and encouraging people. She especially supported the little prayer band of men who had prayed her to the Island. One non-Christian researcher said she was, ‘remarkably effective.’
 
“Around 1940 the Yukon Presbytery sent a pastor to baptize the believers in Sivukuk and Savoonga, and to form an official church in each village.
 
“This was followed by several spectacular conversions. In one case, a hunter was out alone when a severe storm descended on him. He was disoriented and cried out to Jesus for help. Shortly thereafter he stumbled upon an old trapping cabin and spent two days there waiting out the storm.
 
“When the storm was over, men from his village came out to search for him, expecting to find him dead, but he was very much alive. Crediting Jesus for his survival, he surrendered himself to God, accepting Jesus as his Savior.”
 
“So, he was saved twice! Once in the storm and once for eternity!” said the teacher.
 
Ayit smiled and continued his story, “In another case an older man died. They had to wait three days for his brother to arrive before they could bury him. And a good thing, for on the third day he came back to life!”
 
“What?!” said the teacher. “Is that possible?”
 
“It must be possible because it happened,” replied Ayit. “After coming to life again, this man told all that he had experienced after dying. At first, he was unconscious, but then he woke up outside the house. It was night and all was very calm with no wind, only a few stars for light.
 
“He said he walked along and came to a river. Someone ferried him across, and when he got to the other side the grass was very tall, not at all like the stunted grass of the tundra. There in front of him were two paths, one wide and hard-packed, one narrow. He chose the narrow one, and as he was walking along, he met his deceased aunt.
 
“‘Come,’ she said, ‘you are not going to reach the light now. You are going back where you came from.’ She turned him around and took him back to the river, which had shrunken to a small creek.
 
“When they got to his house, there was his body lying there, but it was very dirty, in fact filthy.
 
“‘You need to raise your hands to heaven and pray to Jesus so he will save you and you will no longer be filthy!’ said his aunt, then added, ‘You will come back to life, then after five years you will die for good.’
 
“And, so it came to pass. The man surrendered himself to Christ and walked with him the next five years until his second death.”
“That’s a true miracle, just like what Jesus did,” the teacher commented.
 
“That’s because Jesus did it,” said Ayit. “Another man named Wongitil was at summer camp in 1940 when his son became very sick with whooping cough. The boy kept telling his father that Jesus would heal him. And he was healed! That impressed his father greatly.
 
“On the same day Wongitil lost his dogs and searched for them, but in vain. Then he had a dream in which he went to the top of a small mountain, and there he saw a verse, 1 Peter 3:9, ‘Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.’
 
“The next night he had another dream in which he had gathered his family around him in a circle. He had his Bible in his hand and planned to read to his family and have them all pray together.
“Suddenly he heard a voice behind him, ‘You are now a Christian. Your fellow Christians will come and help you!’ The next day he left to go to Sivukuk and on the way met three other dog teams which were coming to help him. What the voice had said came true! Wongitil concluded his story by saying, ‘From that time on I always trust the Lord!’”
 
“Those are really impressive stories,” the teacher said, “Tell me, for you Eskimos, how was the New Way of Jesus different from the old way?”
 
Ayit smiled, “Let me answer that with what happened some years later when an anthropologist came to Sivukuk and sat with a group of us older men.”
To be continued….
 
Picture: Eskimo hunter like the one caught in a great storm
May be an image of 1 person