Posts Tagged ‘God’

All Things Work Together for Good

November 29, 2016

“All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.”  Romans 8:28

Someone made the comment the other day that we didn’t have protests by the losers when Obama was elected, although there were surely people who disagreed deeply with his stated positions.  I wondered why that was.  It couldn’t be that the election wasn’t close.  People still protest, even when they are a small minority.  I think the reason is a philosophical difference in the outlook on history.

Most conservatives are also religious–not all, but most.  If a person believes in God, the tendency is to believe that God stands over and behind all governments–indeed all powers on earth.  This God is good, and therefore, whatever happens is ultimately allowed by God for His purposes is the underlying premise.  Human history is part of a grand plan of God for ultimate good.  Having this sort of philosophical underpinning, whether or not it is stated as such, doesn’t promote protest to have one’s own way.  It may promote protest that is issue based, such as the March for Life, where a cause is thought to be  godly, not personal.  But it doesn’t result in protest over the outcome of an election.

Being Honest with God

January 24, 2016

“O Lord, how long will you forget me?  Forever?  How long will you look the other way?  How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?  How long will my enemy have the upper hand?  Psalm 13:1,2

David was expressing something like exasperation to God, and it was almost exasperation with God.  He had been suffering, being cornered by enemies who sought to destroy him, and he was not seeing any action on God’s part.  He had a certain daring.  He dared complain to God, and yet he felt safe enough to do so.  God could have destroyed him.  God had punished the complainers among his people in the past.  But God didn’t punish David.  God actually called David “a man after my own heart.”  What was the difference?

David wasn’t taking God for granted.  He didn’t lack faith in God.  In this same psalm David said “But I trust in your unfailing love.  I will rejoice because you have rescued me.” (Verse 5)  David was just tired, heartbroken, and longing for some reassurance from the Lord, some movement on his behalf that would give him some hope.  He wasn’t distrusting God, but just being honest with God.

Sometimes it feels wonderful to just unburden ourselves, talking about our problems with someone who will listen without condemnation.  God knows how we are made, and He doesn’t mind at all that we ventilate our emotions before Him.   He is pleased that we trust Him like that.  It is good for us to be honest about our feelings, not acting as though we have to play some holy pretend game before God.  It is good for us to unburden ourselves to the only one who can do anything to help us.  And it is good when we then tell God we are willing to do what He wants.  It is good when we tell Him we trust Him to work out our problems for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28)

Too Busy to Listen

October 26, 2015

When I was younger, I had the idea the more I did for God, the better.  I had read a quote from Erma Bombeck about meeting God and telling Him she had no more talent because she had already used every ounce of her talent for Him.  I knew we don’t earn God’s love, yet I wanted to show my love for Him so passionately, I was constantly looking for things I could do that used all my available time, energy and talent.  I actually would wake up in a panic, realizing my life was half over and I hadn’t accomplished anywhere near what I had hoped.

Later, I heard an elderly woman talk about her wonderful son, and how he would come over every week to do all the chores she couldn’t do for herself–the home maintenance, landscape care, etc.  Then she said wistfully, “I wish sometimes, he would just sit and talk to me instead of working so hard.”

I realized suddenly that perhaps God would like me to spend more time in prayer so “I would just sit and talk with Him.”  I tried adding at least 30 minutes of prayer to my busy schedule.  Out of my prayer time came ideas about people I should contact or things I should do that I hadn’t seen until I prayed.  I took these ideas as whispers from God.  Then, I realized I was so busy, I couldn’t add in one more thing.  I couldn’t do all those things I felt God nudging me to do, with all the things I was already doing.

Slowly, I began to realize God probably didn’t want all the things I had decided to do as an offering to Him.  He might not be interested in “my plans” to use every bit of every spiritual gift I thought He had given me.  He might want me to take my cues from Him instead.  Around that time my children were becoming more independent.  They were often going out on their own trying to do good things for me and for others.  A lot of those things ended up in a mess that could have been avoided had we worked together instead..  (One of those episodes involved trying to make hard boiled eggs in the microwave, but I digress.)

Anyway, somehow I began to learn that God was more interested in my listening to Him and obeying what He was showing me than He was in all the things I was doing on my own, trying to use all my time and talents.  So now I just ask every day “Lord, what would you have me do today for you and others?”  Then I just do what I see before me.  It doesn’t mean there aren’t still things on my calendar, or times that I serve on a regular basis.  But these are things I have felt God nudging me to do, without regard to whether I was using all my spiritual gifts or all my available time.  I have found when I do those things I feel God is calling me to do, I have plenty of time for those little “God appointments” He places in my day.  I am also more relaxed, knowing if my purpose is solely to please Him, the Lord will use me according to His purposes (not mine).  And life has become more of an adventure, less hectic, less scheduled, more spontaneous, and more fulfilled..

God fights for Us

October 21, 2015

“The Lord says, ‘Don’t be afraid!  Don’t be paralyzed by this mighty army!  For the battle is not yours, but God’s!”

This was about the Jewish people, one of the times they were being attacked.  But promises such as these pertain to all God’s people, for God never changes and His Love toward all His people is eternal.  So for us the message is:  When you see great enemies, powerful foes, things too big and fearsome for you to fight on your own, the battle is the Lord’s.  Whenever God’s people are obeying Him and trying to do good, there will always be opposition.  Our enemy the devil is very real and very powerful, although at this time God has him on a short leash.  When we are frightened by the greatness and terribleness of the opposition, we need to remember, God is in control, and He will fight the battle for us.  We are to keep our eyes on Him, keep our faith and keep our courage.  God is the ultimate power, and there is no being in the universe that can prevail over Him.  As Jesus said in Matthew 28:18 “All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me.”  He’s got us covered.

Let us make man in our image Man and maid He made them.

August 11, 2015

God is one.  Yet the mysterious comment “Let us” gives us pause.  What does it mean?  Could it mean God and the angels?  I don’t think it does, for nowhere does it say the angels helped God create.  Later in the scripture it says Jesus was present at the creation as well as the Spirit.  It certainly appears that God is one, yet a community of one.  God lives in community in some mysterious way, and theologians have tried to explain it in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.  What is most interesting though, is that God should desire to live in community.  He who said “It is not good for man to be alone”, doesn’t live alone either.  It is also a mystery that God said man is made in God’s image.  Many have speculated on what is meant by that–is it our ability to reason, or our ability to create?  From these short two verses–Genesis 1:26 and 27, it would seem that the image God has in mind is the image of relationship–deep relationship that has the quality of creating out of plural a unity.   The male and female come together to create a unity.  Indeed it says in chapter 2 of Genesis that “the two become one flesh”.  God made male and female to complete one another for the purpose of not only companionship and helping one another, but He told them, “Multiply”.  The two are different, yet a singular entity, with the purpose of re-creating human life and extending relationship.  God did that too–in creating humans and desiring relationship with them.  In fact, in God’s picture of his relationship with Israel, He uses the bridal metaphor. He is the groom–Israel, was his bride.  Perhaps that is why God was so insistent on the purity of marriage–only the two for a lifetime.  Two whose oneness  could only be broken by death.  The violation of marital purity defaces the image of God which the couple represents.

In the Beginning

August 9, 2015

“In the beginning, God…” The bible opens with these four words, and they are infinitely appropriate. They separate the bible account from other beliefs or philosophies humans have followed. “In the beginning” assumes there was a beginning. Evolution doesn’t assume that. It assumes atoms were on earth, but it never explains where they came from. It assumes laws of chemistry, but can’t explain where they came from either. There is no beginning, but some things simply exist–i.e., atoms, molecules, laws of chemistry, energy etc. The word “God” assumes God existed at the beginning. Not all belief systems assume that, either. Some assume many gods, spirits, aliens, or simply nothing. These four simple words set up the framework for all that will follow.

“…God created…” This sets God as the creator of everything, from light, earth, heaven, Sun, moon and stars, earth and water, and all that is present on the earth, including all living things. Nothing happened by chance, nor did anything evolve. For those who feel they must try to work evolution into this, I would ask “why?” As a professor once said to me “Evolution doesn’t answer everything, but it is simply the best explanation we have if we can’t accept a creator. And Science can’t accept a creator because it is outside the realm of science, which must be able to see and measure what it studies.” Well, ok, but evolution can’t be seen, measured or replicated either. We can only conjecture what happened, and a lot remains to be answered there as well. It is a faith-based philosophy when it can’t answer the questions either of its own statistical impossibility or the problem of irreducibility. I heard another professor say “We believe all the questions about how evolution is possible will someday be answered when we have discovered more.” Thats faith.

Beauty is an Awareness of God

March 6, 2014

I love to look at pictures and videos of beautiful places.  I find on the one hand it relaxes me.  It also creates in me a longing that is almost a sadness, something that can bring me to tears.  Its not just that I wish I could visit the place.  Its a longing for a beautiful place that I can call home.  I do love my home, but I sense an impermanence about it.  I think the longing I feel for the beautiful place is tied up with longing for God, for perfection, for perhaps another time and another place where things are more than they are here.  Beyond that, I am perplexed by it.  C.S. Lewis says our longing for a perfect home or family (and he knew what it was to long for family) really comes from our being made for another place.  Our hearts long for the fulfillment of what we were destined to be, to have and to do.  Or as Augustine said “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts find no rest until they rest in Thee.”

There is a God

March 6, 2014

I have heard probably 90% of the philosophical arguments for and against the idea of God.  I believe God, but not because of any philosophical arguments.  I have thoroughly studied the accounts of Jesus and His followers.  I have studied these accounts for their historical accuracy and find they are equal to or more reliable that any other history from that era, or even more recent eras.  The accounts of Jesus life and that of His followers contain so many miraculous events that nothing can explain them except God was in these things.  I also look at some particularly majestic or beautiful place in nature, and I just know God made that.  Evolution just can’t explain the culmination of all the things that had to happen together.  It takes more blind faith to believe it all happened by chance than to accept that God made it.  Then there is answered prayer.  When I have called out to God, He has answered me.  The ways are unique and personal.  Things happen that cannot be explained.  Coincidences that have a personal mark, meaningful to me, just happen when I pray.  

I personally think that disbelief in God comes from wanting autonomy.  Unbelievers don’t want to admit they do not wish to be subject to anyone, not even God.  They want to be free to set their own standards of right and wrong based upon their own personal value system.  Of course, if one believes they are in charge of their lives, they have no hope of help or of life beyond this realm.  It is truly a high cost for autonomy.  

Hubble Telescope

March 26, 2010

Looking at pictures taken through the Hubble Telescope makes for a marvelous trip.  As the earth fades into the distance, our solar system fades into the distance, and eventually our galaxy fades into the distance.  Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is so fantastic in its beauty.  I thought it would be a milky white cloud on a black background, but it has color.  Amazing!  Then as the Milky Way fades into the distance, other galaxies appear, and they, too, have color.  As they fade into the distance, we see something like the electron cloud of an atom, as it is portrayed by artists.  Countless galaxies form a colorful cloud around something that appears to be in the middle of it, yet is invisible.   350 Billion galaxies are in this cloud!  Its just unfathomable.  Children would see it with wonder in their faces.  How many of us have any of that wonder left, or do we just say “ho hum, so all of this just happened, maybe someday scientists can tell us how.”  Children see the infinite mystery, and wonder Who did it.  That would explain why Jesus said unless we become like little children we will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.  Maybe the door to Heaven has a key called worship!!

Jesus in my Purse

March 26, 2010

Crazy Love by Francis Chan is one of the most profoundly life-changing books I have ever read.  It is truly counter-culture, both in terms of American culture and Christian culture.  Ultimately it asks, “How much do you love Jesus?”  How much do we think we love Jesus?  How much do we love the real Jesus?  How much of our love is devoted to a Jesus who fits our own image of what a God should be?

I think American women really want a Jesus they can fit into their purse.  If Jesus can fit into my purse, the convenience is amazing.  He’s small enough that I can carry him wherever I go, not a big God who (God forbid) carries me!  He’s  easily hidden so he doesn’t show up and embarrass me.  I take him when I please, and leave him home if he’s too much trouble to drag around wherever I’m going.  If  he’s with me, I want him to be sort of like a small spray can.  If I’m lacking confidence, poof!  I have it.  If I’m scared, poof!  I have  courage.  If I’m feeling weak, poof!  I have the Power!!  If I need money, the right words, a parking place, I name it and poof!  I have what I need instantly.  Oh yes, I’m grateful.  I’m always saying “Thank you Jesus!”  People think I’m really religious since they hear my thanks so often.  I even try to do things for Jesus to keep him happy there in my purse.  God forbid he should jump out and quit taking care of me.

Oh wait!  I have just broken the second commandment and broken it in a huge way.  I’ve made a Jesus in my image.  This is NOT the Jesus who came to earth to teach me who HE is and what HE wants of me.  This is not the Jesus who “set his face like flint” and headed to Calvary so He could die for me and the boatload of silly, selfish, foolish users just like me who treat the Lord of Heaven and Earth like my personal assistant.  This is not the Jesus who asked me if I would take up my cross and follow him.  This is not the Jesus who told me to love God with all my heart(passion), all my soul (emotion), all my mind (faith), and all my strength (commitment), and actually commanded me to love the other person (any other person in need) as much as I love myself.  No, the real Jesus won’t ever fit in my purse, and I have to ask if He will fit in my puny life.  My life is about keeping my shoes clean, looking good and not breaking a nail.  My life is the life of a “nice” lady who is only beginning to realize the depth of her sin and the enormity of the loving grace of Jesus.