Use Your Binoculars – The RIGHT Way

Oh, magnify the LORD with me.  —Psalm 34:3 NKJV

Except for a few last-minute items, the camper was packed for our final camping trip of the year. Although rain was in the forecast, we hoped it would hold off long enough for us to hike one of the trails we hiked the previous spring—the Buzzard Swamp Trail in the Allegheny National Forest.

Experiencing nature, to me, is experiencing God. On our hikes, I stop frequently to enjoy the scenic view, listen to the calls of wildlife or the ripple of a brook, or inhale the scent of pine and humus—and thank the Creator for His awesome work. 

Before we set out, we stuff a backpack with our lunch, water bottles, protein snacks, and raingear. We take my walking stick, the camera—and the binoculars. 

We don’t want to forget the binoculars, like we did on one hiking trip. Without them, we miss so much. With them, we can see things in the distance closer, clearer and bigger—that is, if we use them the right way. 

Now, who in their right mind would use binoculars the wrong way? While it does take some fiddling with the dial to adjust the view, it doesn’t take a member of Mensa to know how to use field glasses. It’s pretty obvious which part you hold up to your eyes. If you hold the wider end to your eyes, though, the view becomes smaller, more distant.

We have “binoculars” to help us to see God better, too—nearer, clearer, and bigger. But I fear sometimes we use them the wrong way and thus perceive God as distant, fuzzy, and little. 

One type of spiritual binocular is prayer. Talking to God doesn’t actually bring Him closer, just like binoculars don’t bring what you’re looking at through them physically closer. But they do help you to see distant things as though they were nearer. Remember, God is always with you (Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 139), whether or not you feel His presence. The binoculars of prayer, though, bring you closer to God. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

Another type of spiritual binocular is Scripture. As I spend more time in God’s Word, my perception of Him becomes clearer. 

Another type of spiritual binocular is nature itself. I see God in the sky, the trees, the wind, the rain, the rainbow—everything in nature reflects the Creator, who is much, much bigger than the God I can only imagine. The universe—the heavens, the earth, and all of space and what it contains—cannot contain Him. He is infinite, not limited by space or time.

The problem is sometimes we use the binoculars the wrong way. We hold the wider end to our eyes—and get a much smaller view. 

Maybe some folks are content with a small view of God. It makes them more comfortable, feeling more in control.

But remember, the binoculars are simply a device to improve our perception—it doesn’t change what we’re viewing. No device will make God any smaller or bigger. 

“I AM WHO I AM,” God told Moses when he asked God His name (Exodus 3:14). 

God is who He is—unchanging, eternal, holy, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, all-wise, infinite, good, faithful, merciful, loving, just, true, majestic, and sovereign.

Wow, that’s huge.

Are you using your spiritual binoculars the right way?

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see You in all Your glory. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 34.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. 

Image from Pixabay.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

For the LORD gives wisdom . . . he holds victory in store for the upright. – Proverbs 2:6, 7 NIV

I love baseball!

I often think how guidelines to playing the game translate into wise counsel for living life victoriously. Here, in no particular order and listed as they came to me, is some of the advice I heard my husband give my son during our baseball years:

Keep alert. Be ready for that ball to come to you. Anticipate the next play. The same is true in life. Much comes bouncing, flying straight at you when you least expect it. “Stay alert,” the apostle Peter wrote, “keep a firm grip on the faith” (1 Peter 5:8 The Message).

Listen to your coach. Know the signs and heed them. He’s the coach for a reason—he knows more than you about the game and he sees what you, in your position on the field, can’t. He wants you to overcome the opponent and come out on top. In life, “trust in the LORD and do good,” (Psalm 37:3), for in heeding Him “there is great reward” (Psalm 19:11). (Don’t forget Isaiah 55:8–9.)

Back up your pitcher. Support your team members. I remember the wife of David’s Little League coach cheering for the team to “talk it up out there.” The coach didn’t want silence on the field—he wanted to hear them encouraging each other. And don’t expect the pitcher to do it all. No matter how well he’s pitching, he needs some run support from the rest of the team if they want to win the game. “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Bad calls are part of the game. There’s nothing you can do about them. Arguing, whining, and letting it affect your attitude the rest of the game won’t help you or the rest of the team. Shrug it off. Life isn’t fair, either. Forget what’s behind you and press on to what’s ahead (Philippians 3:13–14).

Rain delays are part of the game, too. Sometimes you find yourself in a waiting period. You can’t stop the rain, but you can use the time to practice patience. (Psalm 37:7, Isaiah 40:31)

You win some, and you lose some. Cut your losses, learn from them and don’t let your wins get to your head. Instead, work on your weaknesses and don’t let pride nullify what strengths you have. (Proverbs 16:18).

Training is necessary, painful, and stretches you beyond your limits. But it also builds strength and character. The difficult things you face in life are the training ground God uses shape you into the person He wants you to be. (1 Corinthians 9:24–29)

Put on your game face. Attitude can make or break you. Like the renowned catcher Yogi Bera said, “Ninety percent of the game is half-mental.” So it is in life—what you think, what goes through your mind day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute—can be the determining factor in winning or losing, in overcoming or succumbing.  (Romans 12:2; Philippians 4:8–9)

You can do a lot on two outs. “The game isn’t over until it’s over” (Yogi Bera). Or in the words of the late Winston Churchill: “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

And in the words of St. Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

 Help me, Lord, be to wise enough to heed Your guidelines. Amen.

Read and reflect on Proverbs 2:1–11.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.