Sunday, October 18, 2009

How Big Is (your) God?

Yesterday I spent several hours at a women's event put on by "Imagine" of Newport Church Women. The day was power-packed with honest, straight-forward preaching from two amazing women. The first was the co-pastor of the Newport Church, Diana Wilson. She is awesome! The guest speaker was a world-reknown speaker, Christine Caine. She is from Newport Church's parent church, Hillsong, of Sydney, Australia. I love these Aussies for many reasons but I think the main reason their preaching resonates so strongly in my heart and soul is that it is no-nonsense preaching. No shallow platitudes, no worrying about political correctness or whether or not someone might be offended by the strength of their messages! I love it, they are so refreshing and honest! In one of Christine's messages yesterday she challenged everyone by asking the question, "how big is your God?" She went on to strongly deliver the truth that God is who He is; all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, all-loving, never-ending....
The problem lies in who we believe that He is. So I ask you...what is the size of your God? We either honor, respect and revere him for who He is and what He is or we minimize and doubt Him. It reminds me of the quote from Tozer: "Whatever comes to your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you." Yesterday's message gave a whole new layer to my understanding of this quote. God is everything to me so why do I sometimes doubt or lack in complete trust? One of my favorite Bible verses is found in Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." I read again "assurance" and "conviction". It doesn't say "maybe" or "could be" does it?!
One of the best books on prayer that I have ever read is a very small book called, "How To Get Your Prayers Answered" by a Jewish Rabbi, Irwin Katsof. This small book completely changed my prayer life during a time when I had to be reminded just how big my God really is! One of the most important things I learned from Rabbi Katsof's writings was to first see the answered prayer and then approach God with thanksgiving as if He had already answered it. I will give you an example here: Instead of, "Dear God, please be with Anthony in Papua New Guinea, surround Him with your arms of protection so that he may reach many people with your good news....."
My prayers have changed to: "Dear God, I thank you so much that you are always with Anthony wherever he goes. I have the assurance that you are protecting him and shielding him right now as he shares your good news with many people". Can you see the difference here? I went from asking (which is sometimes begging!) to believing that God is already doing what I am asking...and He is!! He is a gigantic God and He can handle everything all the time. I am going to close now as I am running off to hear another great sermon this Sunday morning. Robert, Christina and I are going to hear Bobby at "The Gathering". I hope this gave you some food for thought and remember that God is blessing you!


  1. Great Donna. - God is almighty. He is always present. So he knows what kind of needs we have. The best is we pray in the presence. Like this. Dear Heavenly Father you are with Donna now and protect her in her blog and in everything she is doing. When ever she has to deal with something you are right there; not, you will be there.Thanks, Amen. Hope my explanation is to understand! Rosemarie

  2. Great post, Donna. I love that Tozer quote. Christine Cain came to Gateway last year -- she's a power house!

  3. My favorite of your blogs yet...Just Awesome

  4. Donna: A very good blog with so much to think about. I will write more later. Bless you for sharing this with us and teaching us.

  5. There is, of course, a place for a 'Christine Cain style' that is good occasionally I think. But there is a much more important place also for a 'Donna Schuller style' which gets the message across in an uplifting but calming, knowing way. Glad to hear you enjoyed it but having heard Christina Cain I could not listen to that style preaching regularly.

    I admire her passion but lose her point as she seems to wear me out!

    Loved your point, Donna on Rabbi Katsof's writings 'to first see the answered prayer and then approach God with thanksgiving as if He had already answered it'.

    With His presense in all I percieve and that which I have not yet even contemplated
    J-M (Toronto, Canada)

  6. Thanks J-M,
    Thank you for the note and compliment regarding my speaking style.
    I believe that God gives me what I need when I need it. As part of my healing and growing process I needed to hear the passion and strength with which Christine delivered her message to women on Saturday. I also took Robert back to the church service last night after hearing Bobby preach in the morning. Two totally different styles but both deeply touched me in unique and powerful ways. I had much food for thought this weekend and I love that!
    Rosemarie- yes, pray in the presence, for sure! Thanks also to Cysradill, Mary and Angie for leaving comments.
    God is blessing you all, Donna

  7. Donna, thank you so very much for this blog. I realize that my prayers lately have been, lets say lack luster. I think I had forgotten that God is always in matter what is going on in our lives he is always in control. I've been feeling down, not sure why but being reminded that God is gigantic and can handle anything is exactly what I needed to hear. Blessings, Dana :)

  8. God is blessing you and your family Dana, even when you can't feel it or see it. He loves you and He is bigger than any of your challenges. :D

  9. "How big is my God" I read your
    entry quickly Donna as I was then
    involved with an emergency with
    my husband. I found out how
    BIG GOD IS" when I was travelling oversea during the
    1980s. It didn't matter which
    country I was in. i.e. Germany
    Switzerland, Canada and the USA
    Where ever I was God was there
    with me. He protected me and
    looked after me..

    God bless you all
    Barbie M

  10. I greatly appreciated this blog, Donna, as well as the quote from A. W. Tozer.

    Romans 8:28 is probably my all time favorite verse, and I hate to correct you, but you were quoting from Hebrews 11:1 about faith, which is also one of my favorite passages.

    Romans 8:28 is "and we KNOW that ALL things work together for good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to HIS purpose." ... We don't think, hope, or wish, we KNOW that ALL things... EVERYTHING in life, including those things that are not good in themselves, are working TOGETHER for God's best for us, which is told us in Rom. 8:19, to conform us to the very image of Christ.

    THAT is something we can rejoice about, even when we are 'getting through the getting though stages" to quote someone I believe you are very familiar with.

  11. Thank you very much! I know both Romans 8:28 and Hebrews 11:1 as two of my favorites and it is common for me to reverse! I should have checked it out first. I will correct now! I do appreciate it. Donna

  12. That's OK. I do that too. In fact, I just noticed a typo - Romans 8:29, not 8:19 tells us that God wants us to conform us to the image of Christ. Because of what we KNOW, we can then "rejoice always" when we are experiencing "trials of many kinds" (James 1), because we know that the end result will not be our destruction, but our glorification, which, in God's eyes, has already been accomplished.

    When we rejoice, when we praise God, when all hell is breaking lose, when defeat appears imminent, it not only glorifies God and demoralizes the devil, but it ushers us into the tangible presence of God, for God dwells, and is indeed, enthroned, in the praises of His people. HE is our healer, our provide, our counselor, our deliverer.

    In HIS presence, is fullness of joy, and the joy of the Lord is our strength, to get through "the getting through stages."

    You don't need prozac to overcome depression, you need to "put on the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness". Praise, not prozac, any time.

  13. Dear Donna.October 16 my life has changed completely. I lost my job after working 23 years with much pleasure.An entire department is closed. It involves 26 people,all very dear colleagues.Over the years we shared joy and sorrow with each other.It feels like I’m in a spinning wheel at the moment. I know that everything is for a reason and therefore I put my trust in the Lord! So I prayed: heavenly Father, please help me through this painful period in my life, I know you will, and when the time is right fill my empty hands with new challenges.
    Today I learned from you how to change my prayer, thank you for the eye opener Donna. This came at the right time for me.
    My prayer should have been, heavenly Father, I KNOW you will help me through this painful period in my life and I have the ASSURANCE that when the time is there you WILL fill my empty hands with new challenges. A different approach indeed. God knows the beginning and the end doesn't He?
    I know God is in control, always, therefore I move forward with the promise of Romans 8:28!!!
    Thank you Donna for your blog and your love for us.

    God bless you all, Ria

  14. Ria, I am so very sorry that your whole department was closed and 23 years there, with friends and a job you liked suddenly gone?!!

    Now Ria, you are such a bright spirit I wonder if you will be the steadfast post that your co-workers will need to lean against? Certainly, as hard a life as you may have endured, that may be something that may now give you the stength and wisdom to help others who will be lost in the loss of their jobs! I am praying you are and will be able to use your Faith and help the friends at work.

    Are there co-workers you can link with and share how this all affects their present and future plans along with your life changes, Ria?

    Is this an opportunity to do somethimgs you never had time for, due to your job?

    I was very fortunate to have had only 3 jobs since age 13; A school-time job for 4 years, a musical career and then 27 years in one business firm so I cannot feel your pain, only imagine it!

    Lord, please lead our friend Ria and her friends to see that you are not abandoning them but are more with them than ever as they struggle with the emotions and sweep away any clouds that may leave them feeling lost. You are right beside them, I know. Show them how they can turn this change into an even better future with your Grace. In the name of Jesus, Amen

    With His love through all your friends here

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  16. Donna, I went into Christine Caine's home page. Her personality and what she is doing sounds great to me. Maybe I'll read one of her books. - Blessings Rosemarie

  17. Dear Ria,
    I am so sorry about your situation but you are correct that God is with you through all of this. He is most definitely surrounding you with His power and protection as you go through this very, very trying time in your life. In my own way, I can relate, and so can Robert. I worked for the Crystal Cathedral Ministries for 24 years and Robert worked for them for over 30 years plus he spent his entire life helping to build it. We felt discarded and hurt (not to mention all kinds of other not-so-good emotions) when we were "forced out." I am guessing that you are feeling similarly. Don't minimize your feelings or spiritualize them away. Yes, God will help you through if you lean on him but the situation carries with it uncertainty and a whole set of emotions. Spend time in prayer and journaling. Go outside whenever you can and enjoy all the beauty that surrounds you. Remember that you are one of God's children and He loves you very much.
    So do all of us in your blog church. You are in my prayers.
    God is (still) blessing you, Donna

  18. Dear Ria: When something like this happens it is hard to know how you feel except you know your life has changed and let God help you . Tell him how you feel even if its sounds harsh. Everytime your emotions want to take over go to God . All this will take time and you will have alot of different emotions befor you see the reason why. Stay close to your co-workers they are your support group and you need each other. God will carry you through the days till you see the reason this happened. I will pray for you and your co-workers, Bless you All and may you find comfort .


  19. Donna, you and Robert must have felt like they pulled the rug out under your feet. - I was shocked too! But you both have always been in my prayers and thougts. I never forget my pastor and you Donna. - I have been recected in my life many times . For not haveing the same opinion as my oposit or because I didn't correspond to their conception. Or a lady used my friendship just for her purpose. Now as I get older, it no more destroy my soul. If somebody think I do not correspond and is rough because of that, in the end I walk away in peace. Job and in my private life. - God, Jesus are by my side and love me.

    Ria, do not be to sad. God closed one door, when it's time he opens a new. - Blessings to you all - Rosemarie

  20. God is ALWAYS faithful and I know He is just waiting for His children to ask...He WANTS to bless us. Ria, I will be praying for you to find the perfect job. Thank you, Donna, for your beautiful and powerful thoughts. We are all blessed by your transparency as you share your walk with the Lord.

  21. Thank you so much for your understanding and encouraging words Donna. You are a wonderful person and a good example for people around you and for us in this blog church.
    You and Robert went through an extremely difficult and sad time, I cannot fully compare my situation with yours though.The humiliation, the untrue statements that were made, etc. We all know.
    Yet, you moved forward and look here how God is using you through this terrific blog!
    You are a source of inspiration.
    I can't really explain how I feel right now.
    Confused, numb, I don't know, and my co workers experience the same.
    Thank you too J M, Cysradill, Rosemarie and Cheri for your sympathy, your uplifting words and prayers. They give me hope and strenght and I feel blessed that Jesus loves me.
    Blessings to you all


  22. Donna,
    This blog really touched my heart. Very often when I pray for something I do feel like I'm begging and in a way that is doubting God. Thanks for opening my eyes to that. I shared this blog with my husband Ric, and we are both changing the way we pray now. It's comforting to approach God with our needs in this way...knowing that he is already answering our prayers. Mary

  23. God is blessing us all in different ways, even when we can't feel it or see it. More later on "Leaning Into God When Life Is Pushing You Away."


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