God

HOW CAN WE KNOW?

A woman recently asked how she should respond to an accusation that we have all heard in various forms:

All religions are the same

There are many ways to God

No one can say they have the truth

How can you speak for God?

Here is a synopsis of my answer to her:

If God exists, then it is completely unreasonable to think that He has not communicated Himself to us. If God is wise and good, then it is beyond doubt that He has communicated in a way that is obvious and clear.

As people, we don’t want to be misunderstood. In fact, we become offended if we hear that someone is misrepresenting our thoughts, feelings, values, and opinions.

If clarity about who we are is important to us, how much more is this true for God. Having people get the truth right about ourselves is usually simply a matter of our pride. But getting the truth right about God is about our eternity!

In the end, it is ridiculous to admit that God exists, but then deny that anyone can know the truth about him. It is equally absurd to question whether there is a clear truth about him.

This leaves us with the question of how can we know the truth about God.

Many people in our world speak as if they can simply derive what God is like and what He will do from within their own mind. The problems with this are many.

How can anyone know what is in the mind of someone they have never met?

How can we determine the values and thinking of a Being who is eternal and transcendent?

What God will or will not do is certainly not bound or compelled by our opinions

The essential question is not, has God spoken?  It is how has God revealed himself?

The truths of God are first revealed in His written Word, the Bible. When it comes to the trustworthiness of the Bible, there is no religious book that can come near to its veracity.

God is revealed secondly, in the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ trustworthiness as God in flesh was verified when He arose from the dead, demonstrating His authority and power.

If there is truth about God that you don’t know – do you want to know it?

Are you willing to ask God to reveal Himself to you?

Are you willing to read the Bible and allow it to speak to you?

Are you willing to call upon Christ to lead your life?

Are you willing to respond to the reality God gives you?

 

OH, WHAT GRACE!

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Think about grace.

It is such a sweet word.

Oh, what implications exist in the proclamation of grace.

Particularly God’s grace!

Grace is the name of the treasure box in which all the gospel’s goodness is held.

“In (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us” Ephesians 1:7-8

“When we were dead in our trespasses, (God) made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” Ephesians 2:5

Believer, in Christ you are never without grace – lavish and rich grace.

Grace sets us free from all the guilt and eternal consequences of sin

Grace brings us into an unblocked relationship with God

Grace keeps us in that relationship – forever

Grace completes us so we can fully enjoy that relationship

Take a moment and bring to mind the weaknesses or limitations that tend to discourage you.

God’s grace is in those weaknesses or limitations, so they no longer need to be discouraging. God tells us:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

What are the circumstances that burden you? God’s grace is with you to find rest; for you are his and all his wondrous intention and promise remain true for you. It is a theological impossibility for anything to enter your life (even what is sorrowful, hurtful and evil) without God ensuring that his grace is attached to it.

“For those who love God all things work together for good” Romans 8:28

We have grace upon grace

God’s grace doesn’t drizzle on us – we have been immersed in it as fully as we are by the air around us. Grace shapes our destiny even more than our skin shapes our bodies.

John 1:16 tells us that “from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace”

2 Corinthians 9:14 speaks of the “surpassing grace” upon us

“Surpassing grace” means that grace surpasses everything else that we know, that we can imagine, and that touches us!

Grace so Full – deserves careful attention in our minds. It should dominate all our thought processes.

Grace so Real – deserves to direct the actions of our lives, however big and however ordinary.

Grace so Wondrous – deserves to bring praise from our lips with the same constancy with which it pours forth from God’s heart to us.

GOD IS NOT CUSTOMIZABLE

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Have you ever noticed the way people who leave God on the periphery of life feel free to tell Christians how we are following God incorrectly?

They blithely declare how the church needs to act differently in terms of support for social, political, economic and even sexual issues. They will even go so far as to accuse Christians of this head scratcher: we are being unchristian, if we will not agree and go along with other religions.

Accusations such as these reveal that the accusers don’t believe God is real, and they don’t believe His Word has any authority.

Sometimes they will throw out a broad and out of context biblical statement as to justify their accusation, but generally their opinions rest simply on the fact that they want Christians to think and act different.

G Shane Morris wrote an interesting article on this topic for The Federalist entitle “Dear Media: Stop Trying to Teach Christians Theology”.

We shouldn’t be surprised when unbelievers act this way, people will always be desperate to silence the voice of God from their lives.

But what about professed Christians, do we ever act as if the Bible’s authority over our preferences is questionable?

When believers pile up days without giving time or thought to God, how do explain the difference between our life and that of an unbeliever (many of them are nice and moral too)?

God is Creator, Sustainer, Lord of all, Almighty, Glorious and Perfect. He graciously is quite interested in hearing from us, but God has absolutely no interest in adjusting His will and Word for us.

The Bible is clear; if we love God we will bow before him and we will follow his Word. This particularly includes when God’s Word is running against our preferences.

As Shane Morris points out, God is not “customizable”.

 

WHAT RIGHTS DOES GOD HAVE?

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The Bill of Rights which we in the United States cling to tenaciously, contains what are known as “The Five freedoms”: Freedom of religion, Freedom of speech, Freedom of press, Freedom of assembly, Freedom to petition

What rights does God have?

Obviously God has any rights that he wants. To think we have the power to limit the rights of God in any way is an arrogance that surpasses rationale thought.

The more accurate question: What rights do we consider God as having?

In practice, the average person thinks in ways that would deny God many of the rights which they consider basic to their own existence. Here are some examples (if you can think of others, please share them with us under comments).

Does God have the right to an opinion?

What does God think about how we as people approach him and please him? We have strong opinions about how people should treat us and about what we think is acceptable behavior toward us.

But it is considered arrogant of The Church when it declares that God has established a clear path in what it means to have life with him

Does God have the right to free speech?

We have the right to say what we think, but God is not allowed to have a book that shares his definitive thoughts. The world doesn’t mind that there are many different books describing what God is like, but when we say God has one book in which he declares himself – that is ridiculed as arrogant and narrow minded.

Yet how else could God make his thoughts clear to everyone on earth unless he has a clear source for that. If every religion’s sacred books (which contradict each other) have the same validity – then no can ever know what God’s true voice is.

Does God have the right to patent his inventions?

God has the right to define marriage, because God created marriage. It was his idea – his “invention”.

However, human governments now declare that God does not have the right to define marriage, even though it has been clearly understood since the dawn of humanity.

Once gender can no longer be part of the definition of marriage, that same logic will eventually declare that age, numbers of people and even species cannot be used to define marriage and family.

Does God have the right to bring justice?

Theoretically we love to see justice enforced. But when God agrees and then adds that he will exercise perfect justice against all sin (rather than merely arbitrary justice against some sinners and some sins), people become angry. They claim such a God is unloving and hateful.

Does God have the right to determine the nature of his own kingdom?

We get to decide who lives in our home and who can inherit our wealth. But God is despised for daring to declare who can enter his eternal kingdom, be called his child and receive his mercy.

Does God have the right to disagree with us?

We might claim that we don’t limit God in this manner. But when we have a strong opinion regarding what we hold dear – then the claws come out if God says we need to change how we think or live.

We go beyond saying we have a different perspective than God; we are offended that he would dare to intrude upon our way of life

How many of these rights do you agree God has?

If these rights all belong to God, are we living in acknowledgement of them?

DELIGHT

It is delightful when we

Taste a rich dessert

Hear our favorite song

Hold a newborn child

Relax on a quiet beach or mountain cabin

Watch an exotic animal

Catch up with a dear friend

God gave us the capacity for delight – because He takes delight in our joy.

God made the world a fascinating place and God implanted in us the desire to be amazed

Why would we keep our time and distance from such a marvelous God?

Why would we not recognize that His Kingdom is a far more wondrous place than ours?

Why would we fight His will, or wander from His path which is glorious?

By all means, seek wonder in this world that God created to amaze us. But even more diligently, seek to know the God behind it all!

Look into the gospel of Jesus Christ and find the greatest heights of amazement

Grow in communion with the Triune God: Father, Son and Spirit. There you will experience delights which cannot be equaled and will never diminish in their splendor

A Christian should be a delighted person, because we are now restored to the founder of all that is delightful

Love for God will fill our soul with delight, because God is the most fascinating person

True holiness will make life more delightful, because it fills our life with God-likeness

The habits of prayer / worship and Bible reading become streams of delight, when they are times of active engagement with God

When God is our delight, our delight is full

BEAUTY

It is said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

What we should remember is that beauty flows from the heart of God.

God invented color, shape and texture.

He filled creation with vibrant pictures of beauty, and then He gave us the ability to enjoy it

Creation displays beautiful sights that deeply move us, but nothing can compare to the beauty of God Himself

We can see beauty around us, because the God we cannot see is beautiful. This is not a statement of His visual attributes, for God is an unseen spirit being

The beauty of God is every aspect of His character. He is all praiseworthy and awe inspiring.

When we behold the beauty that we can see, it should draw us closer to the beauty that encompasses who God is and what He does.

Learn to appreciate the beauty of God, not only for its inherent value, but because Christ has brought us into communion with the beauty of God              

The beauty of His character 

The beauty of His plan

The beauty of His works

One day we will be all beautiful, because we will be like Him. So let us grow in that beauty today

One day we will dwell in only beauty, because all will obey Him. So let us increase the beauty of our life

Every day God is all that beauty can be. So let us daily draw near to have our hearts soar for the beauty that is our God

POWER

The sound is deafening

The power is deadly

The sight is awe inspiring

Niagara Falls conveys power!

Spread over the borders of United States and Canada, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world.

In high water season’s more than 225,000 cubic feet of water rush over it every second

Over 5000 people have died going over the falls

Yet, all the waters of the world came into existence by God simply calling for them to exist

The vast oceans are mere drops in His hands

If we want to talk about real power, we must talk about God, for no power exists except for what comes from Him.

God is the source of all power and He rules over every vestige of it. No power can escape from His rule or overthrow His control.

This is why God never fears or becomes anxious. This is how He can make huge and powerful promises that are always kept. This is why at His coming every creature on earth, in heaven and in hell will bow and declare He is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

We serve this God

We call upon this God

We trust this God

We are held by this God

We are kept by this God

We find rest in this God

We are confident in this God

Our God who is Power

MORE THAN A RESCUE PROJECT

God has rescued us

But we are not a rescue project to Him

Often we view our salvation as if it is God’s big rescue program, similar to when people rescue birds caught in an oil spill. God washes us off and sets us free to live happily once more

Yes, we have been rescued (and washed) by Jesus death and resurrection for us. But God saving us contains much more than that!

God saved us to make us his children who will live in His household

God saved us to be glorified with Him forever

God saved us become the beloved Bride of his Son

God saved us so we can dwell forever in His wondrous love

God saved us so we would love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength

Our salvation is not merely a project of God. It is the fulfillment of why the entire universe was created in the first place. Our salvation is bringing us into the highest joy possible for any creature

If we don’t think of our salvation in these terms, we rob God of glory we owe Him. And we fail to have a clear understanding of what the Holy Spirit is daily laboring to fulfill in us!

 

WHAT ARE YOU BUYING?

God is good

His paths are all and only

God is perfect

His Word is unfailing and helpful

Christ kingdom is glorious

Deeper communion with Him is the greatest blessing we can add to our life

Righteousness enriches our lives and satisfies our soul

Sin,

well, sin has the opposite effect of all of those things

It lies . . tears . . destroys . . poisons . . corrupts . . blinds . . hardens . . deceives . . enslaves

Sin doesn’t care about the condition of your life when it is done

If we are to be serious about wanting life to work, we must be clear about the effects sin has on us.

We also need to be clear concerning how beneficial obedience, righteousness and love for God are for us.

Is there ANY comparison?  

If you are living in a half-hearted relationship with God, you are living in deception, and you are foolishly robbing your life of the goodness that more God brings.

Tim Challies wrote this article entitled “6 Evil Effects of Sin”. It should sober us just as considering the goodness of following Christ should enliven us.

Which reality are you buying?

GOD HAS NEVER

We rightfully praise God for all that is true of Him. 
 
But, God is also praiseworthy for all that will never be true of Him!
 
God has never been overwhelmed, puzzled or apprehensive
God has never been deceived, surprised or bewildered
God has never known defeat, weakness or ignorance
God has never experienced intimidation, dread or fear
To God, nothing is unknown or misunderstood
God has never been tired
To God there are no mysteries or struggles
God has never been without an answer
God has never wondered, what will happen next
God has never been off his throne, or out of control
God is never forgetful, neglectful or uncaring
God has never, and never will, lose anyone who is in Christ
Our God has yet to fail
 
Our lives are strengthened, our hearts are lifted and our faith is increased as we firmly hold onto and praise God not only for what is true of Him, but also for what is not true – and never will be. 
 
This is the God who saved us and holds us