Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The anti-loneliness God

When, in Genesis, God proclaims that man will be made in 'our' image and that it is not good that man should be alone, He is simply reaffirming the fact that this God, a triune God, does not know loneliness.

From conception, we are surrounded by the sounds and warmth of the womb. Most of us enter the world into several of God's creations that work against loneliness: the Family: parents, siblings; the extended family, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins; friendships throughout our lives; our church family where we can rely on for worship, fellowship and support; prayer, the open invitation to talk with the very God of the universe and be assured that He is, indeed, listening...

Even the end of life, which all of us will surely face, has promises that make that experience one we will not handle by ourselves. Psalm 23 comes to mind! I will fear no evil for thou art with me. In his book, One Minute After You Die, Erwin Lutzer assures us that since we are with Christ on this side of the curtain, He will walk with us through to the other side so we are even supported in this most trying time and experience.

It all sounds so promising, but reality suggests that there are some issues, here. The number one cause of death in America, abortion, means that some conceived babies are not born into this world. It is my belief that not one aborted fetus leaves alone, that he or she is just as valuable to God as people living three score and ten, and that they will have companionship as they make their way to heaven.

For those who are born into a world without many of the protections discussed above, and there are many, loneliness can and does become a real factor. Children without parents or a parent,  children unwanted and abused, those who feel alienated and without hope, those in the midst of wars, famine, etc. Even though God does not wish people to be lonely, it still is very possible for loneliness to permeate their lives.

The answer? Jesus Christ. For those of us who have been transformed by the Love and Grace of Jesus it is very natural to believe that He, and only He, can be an answer to the many problems and hardships in life, even when nothing else seems to offer hope. It is the Great Commission: to go into the world and share an antidote to all those whose lives still feel full of hopelessness and loneliness. To be filled with the Holy Spirit of God ends, forever, any loneliness that cannot be tempered by the personal love of the Living God!

Jesus Christ. Share Him. Love Him. Rely on Him. He is the ultimate antidote to loneliness!
Praise our God!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

God's lives matter!

Let's get things real for a starter: when abortion is , by far, the leading cause of death in the United States, then it is a lie to say that all lives matter! 

The recent spike in violence which seems to be related to prejudice on the part of many
has resulted in a lot of "   " lives matter jargon. You see, we creatures are sinful, by nature. That fact makes it very very difficult to avoid human sin-laden traits such as prejudice, pride, me first-ism, etc. When it all comes down to the bottom line, the life that matters most to us is our own.

I am always amazed when people claim that they are not prejudiced. It's another human trait to mistrust and be afraid of anyone who is not just like us. It took an indwelling of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to open Peter's eyes to see his hatred of those who weren't Jewish like himself. Deep down, way down, we are all prejudiced and afraid.

Calling upon people to solve this problem is, unfortunately, always going to fall short of accomplishing true acceptance of others because we can't do it. On a one-to-one basis, we can do our best to reach out to others, say hello, good morning, etc. and mean it. Those types of interactions help, but do not solve the problems of the human heart.

So the solution? God is the solution and, here comes the bad part, He will accomplish a kingdom of people without sin, only after the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, the judgement of this torn world and the establishment of a kingdom truly without sin where people are not filled with traits that they cannot overcome without Divine Intervention. One will not find prejudice in this kingdom! There won't need to be chants of "   " lives matter because God is prepared to exclude all who would continue to be sin-filled based upon their response to His Son. Once the sorting out has taken place, true change will be real and sin will truly come to an end, sin that was defeated at the Cross of Jesus.

God's lives, the ones He created and saved, matter. Does God wish that all His creatures would be a part of this wonderful Kingdom to come, yes He does. It's as simple as opening ones heart to the truth of salvation and surrendering to the will of the Creator. Some have done so, some will do so, unfortunately, many will turn away to destruction.

What about you? Does your life matter? It is in the hands of the God of the Universe. He is just and loving and He listens for your response to His call...

Praise our God!

Monday, July 11, 2016

To Whom am I praying?

One of the things that immediately struck me as I began really praying for the first time in my life was the confusion over who exactly I was praying to. God, of course, but the whole trinity thing made it a bit confusing.

The Lord's Prayer, offered by Jesus, Himself, as a model prayer is certainly and clearly a prayer to God the Father. The more in depth I get in this Christian work, the less I find myself using this prayer, although aspects of inclusion are important when I do pray to the Father. It is a prayer of recognition of God's exalted state, a prayer that asks that His kingdom be realized, a prayer that he would provide protection against the forces of evil and a prayer for our sustenance. 

There are times, however, when I find myself praying to Jesus specifically. A lot of my prayers of thanksgiving are directed at the One who hung on a tree, selflessly, for all who would become part of the family of God. His Incarnation, His teaching, His death and Resurrection all factor into prayers that praise Him for doing what no other person has ever done and thereby providing a way to God for sinners like myself, undeserving thou I am.

When Jesus went to be with the Father, His Ascension, He sent His Holy Spirit to be with us, here on earth. Weirdly, this is the person of God that I most often find myself with in prayer. I am always pleading with Him to help me combat the sin that beckons me daily, asking that He help me because there is no way I can combat this on my own. When I begin each day, it is often in commune with The Spirit asking for protection and behavior that would reflect the glory of God and not grieve Him.

I used to worry about breaking these prayers down into different persons of God, but I have become more comfortable with the belief that they all sort of funnel into a similar place. I would hope that any of the Three would understand my love and dependence upon Them and that any mistaken directive would be shared within God's identity.

The bottom line is that we have been given the privilege of communicating with this wondrous God and we need to use that opportunity as the blessing that it truly is. Have you prayed today to each of the Three? It might be something you would enjoy; I know that I do!

Praise our God!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Just How Sovereign is He?

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8: 28

When someone remarks that they were 'lucky' in a certain circumstance, when someone
sites Karma to explain a situation, when a person mentions 'fate' as a reason why a certain outcome occurs, they are, in essence, saying that God is not sovereign. Sovereignty is one of the many attributes we discuss when trying our best to understand an entity totally unlike ourselves. In God's case, sovereignty means control over all that He has created. He holds together the creation He produced ex nihilo, from nothing.

R. C. Sproul, and I am paraphrasing here, says that if there is one rogue molecule in the universe, God is not sovereign. That's a pretty good way of describing His total awareness and active participation in the events that occur in our space-time continuum. As one clever person quoted, 'Did it occur to you that nothing occurs to God.' No surprises, no do-overs, no alternative measures needed; God is in control, period.

Now some people like to play around with this sovereignty idea. They suggest that God is truly sovereign over the big things but that the small everyday occurrences are not always within His awareness. The whole 'free-will' thing gets tossed into the ring as if God waits for His creatures to move in a certain direction and then, like a chess game, moves accordingly.
I believe that partial sovereignty is an oxymoron when applied to God.

So, and I know you've heard this, how can a sovereign God be in control of a world where horrific things happen. How can a good God allows for bad things? Would we say that God really isn't in control of the bad things that happen? Then He would not truly be sovereign. The first things we sometimes fail to realize is that we aren't at an intellectual level needed to understand God. In fact, in almost any case, He is operating where we cannot mentally go as far as understanding. Many of the 'bad' things that happen probably happen for the overall good in God's plan. I believe that's what Romans 8:28 is saying to us. He, God, is in charge. His promises and goals will be honored and fulfilled. 

Did He promise us a life without sadness and strife, without pain and struggles, without tears and loss, no. What He has promised, through the Gospel of the Cross, is a world to come for those who would believe upon His son, where all will be good without sin, a world of righteousness, peace and rest. How does one 'sign up' for such a place to come? At the moment when you begin to consider accepting Jesus Christ as your savior and Lord, God has already begun the process of drawing you in. All you have to do is surrender and accept!

Praise our Sovereign God!