God’s care

QUESTIONS THE BIBLE ASKS YOU #4

Have you noticed that life so often seems to be a battle? Instead of out into the world, it can feel like we are going off to war!

A normal day can be like a walk through a briar patch with thorns clawing at us from every side. And who knows when the next monster is going to leap out of a hiding place to attack us.

These monsters are not just in the world, some of them are in our own fears, failures and accusations. God who has saved us forever and is committed to caring for us just as long, reminds us He is our greatest reality by asking us this question:

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Here is God’s question to us in its context from Romans 8:31-39  

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Do you have a confident answer to God’s question?

QUESTIONS THE BIBLE ASKS YOU #2

For many of us worry is as much a part of life’s routine as the daily sun rising of the sun. We think worry is inevitable, necessary, and a part of our life responsibility.

However, obeying God and then trusting His sovereign care is a much better way to approach the responsibilities of life.

Jesus sought to burst our misguided sense of needing to worry when he asked this question:

Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Here is Jesus question from Luke 12:22-31 in its full context:

(Jesus) said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 

And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

How do you answer Jesus?

REJECTION REALLY HURTS

I can vividly remember the time in my life when people rejected me.

It hurts that much!

Rejection often starts early as children find obscure and silly reasons to label someone as an outcast

The pain of rejection is repeated throughout our lives: 

When our parents are too busy, or a parent leaves our life

When a teacher or coach dismisses our honest efforts

When we are always last to be picked for a team

When a friend chooses to join a “cooler” crowd

When a love interest cuts us off

When family members lash out with cutting words

When people at work fail to include us in their conversations, or their lunch excursions

When our failures causes people to scatter from us

When our convictions anger people, or bring out words of disdain

When no one ever hits our like button on Facebook

When in our own church, no one comes up to say hello

Now for the WONDERFUL news!

Christ will never reject those who honestly call on Him to be saved

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” Romans 10:13

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1

“I will never leave you nor forsake you” Hebrews 13:5

Once we have been received by Christ, all heaven accepts us with open arms – always and forever

Romans 8:15  tells us God “adopts” those Jesus saves.

God will never turn away from His children

God will never ignore, dismiss or misuse His children

God will never, never, ever reject us.

Not for anything!

Come to that relationship

Rest in that relationship

Rejoice in that relationship

And may we reveal the heart of God for others who bear the pain of rejection

GOD IS ALWAYS HERE

“Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Or where shall I flee from your presence?”  Psalm 139:7-12

God is present everywhere

It is theologically impossible to ever be alone

The purpose of Psalm 139:7-12 is to convince us that we can never be, where God is not   

However, the nature of God’s presence is not the same with everyone

This difference is a matter of covenant (Ephesians 2:12-13)

Only those justified by Christ can be brought ‘near’ to God’s gracious and intimate presence

Our life takes place in God’s presence

All that God is – is with us 

Each of God’s attributes are brought to our benefit

Every attack must pass through His protection (Zechariah 2:8)

Every difficulty comes attached to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

Every struggle takes place within His hand (John 10:29)  

God’s desire to have us with Him, is the amazing message of the Bible

Christ saves us to remove all separation and bring us near   

The Father adopts us so we can be His children

The Holy Spirit dwells in us, to be constantly and intimately engaged in our lives

Heaven is to live in the glorious undisturbed presence of God 

Why do we struggle to sense God’s presence?

At times God leads us through seasons in the wilderness, but most of our sense of distance is self-inflicted

We view his transcendence as distance   

We misjudge God’s pruning work as distance  

We think God responds to our failures like people do

Our attention is elsewhere

How can we cultivate awareness of God’s presence?

Take the Bible to heart in all it teaches about God and us

Be a worshipper

Thanking Him reminds us He is near

Exalting Him reminds us He is great

Exulting in Him increases our desire to pursue Him

Live gospel centered, for the gospel is at the center of God’s heart and purposes

Live in Biblical community, for God is active in and through His people

The greatest evidence of God being with us, is God working in us

Keep the door open for God to have His way in you, and His presence will be known