Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Playing Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is probably a game that has been played by children and adults for as long as
there have been children and adults. I have played it in some unusual places, one being in an orchard where one could climb from tree to tree over several acres and never touch the ground. It's generally a safe and sweet game to play.

The problem is that we, as humans, play a dangerous version of this game with God. You see, we hide from God for the most part because we do not want Him to find us. Our natural inclination is to run the other way because, quite frankly, WE want to be God. We want to sail our own ship, to do what we want to do and to avoid surrendering our 'freedom' to a creator God who might try to bring us in line. Rich Mullins sang that..'surrender don't come natural to me.' He was so very correct.

God, on the other hand, seeks us out. No matter where we stand on the whole predestination issue, there has to be an action initiated by God, a reaching out and tapping us on our shoulders, before any progress can be made in reconciliation with a Holy God who hates
sin. Does He reach out to all people? That's a question, one of many, to which we simply do not have an answer; yet, anyone who has been regenerated in the heart, who has been saved into the light from the darkness of sin, has been saved by the grace of a God who loves them and desires a relationship with them.

We love to hide and He loves to seek. We want and need to lose this game, and it's a game whose ramifications are eternal. We need to pull down the walls, remove the defense mechanisms open our hearts and 'listen' for His wooing. The problem, one more time, is that this is not the normal way we act or react. 

If we have been freed from the slavery of sin, it becomes our job to soften those around us that are not saved. Maybe it's simply smiling and initiating conversation, sharing a good book or sermon or welcoming someone to church. We want to welcome them to be unnatural. We want to throw a pebble in the pond and start the ripples, we want them to meet a God that beckons them with love.

God is waiting and reaching out because He IS an awesome God!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Let there be light.. again and again!

Genesis 1:3
....And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light!

We all, most likely, have been in a situation wherein there was total darkness. Visiting the Ohio Caverns, back home, many many feet underground, the guide would always take a moment and turn off all the cavern lights. Total darkness. Waving one's hand directly in front of the face would not have been seen! It was a really creepy experience, even after having it happen several times.

Well, out of TOTAL darkness, the God of creation spoke light into existence. Can you imagine the brightness that must have been there? There is no irony in the fact that this light was the very beginning of God's creative energies because God is light. His essence is glory; a light that shines out of purity, holiness and good. 

Well, He wasn't done, was He? It came as no surprise to God that mankind could and did not live up to the expectations set forth by a loving God. The immediate inability to resist temptation literally ruined everything, including our world and man's relationship with a God that, all along, wished to commune with His creatures and be their God. There was darkness, thereafter, in the hearts of men and darkness in their relationship to One who is light, personified.

Out of this darkness, God understood the need for 'light' to enter the world in the form of, yes, God Himself. His purpose in coming into our existence was to share His plan for redemption and to self-sacrifice for those who were lost and covered in darkness. His death on the cross defeated the powers of darkness, death, itself, and opened the door for light to literally enter the hearts of those He planned to regenerate.

Light into darkness. Total darkness. Life from Spiritual death. Eternal salvation and life from certain judgment and damnation. When He reaches out and beckons, we must accept the gift of grace and, from our knees, call on the Lord Jesus Christ to save us. The result: total forgiveness once for all. The promise of life with God in the new heaven and new earth. An end to the darkness that constantly creates a battle for our very souls.

Let there be light. Let there be LIGHT!

Praise our God!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The heavenly dimension

Where is Heaven? To my knowledge, no one has gone up into space or looked through even the most powerful telescope and seen Heaven. We all seem to picture it as UP, but where is this UP?

Stephen's vision of an opening and sight of Jesus standing at the court of God, along with some of the prophetic visions in the Old Testament are the extent of our 'glimpses' into the whereabouts of Heaven. Clearly, it just isn't anywhere where we can see it. Any believing Christian has faith that such a place exists, that it is inhabited by the saints and the Lord Jesus Christ and that a new Heaven and a new earth are to be revealed at the very end of the age.

Along with this mystery is the realization that when we lose loved ones, they cannot communicate with us any longer. This is a sudden and sad reality. We do have the blessing of serving and worshiping a God who does, in fact, communicate with us through various ways. Since He reigns in Heaven, it is obvious that this place of His residence is not so distant as to prevent Him from being involved with His creatures and creation.

I am not a physics scholar. The only thing I can clearly remember about my physics class is the girl that sat beside me. Yet I feel relatively certain that there are mysterious multiple dimensions to this universe, some of which are just not visible to us in our space-time
continuum. In other words, I believe that Heaven is indeed UP there, we just cannot see it.

I believe that it is a measure of God's wisdom that we cannot see this place or speak to those who have preceded us there. Does this mean that those saints and loved ones are unaware of us back on Terra Firma? not necessarily.

To have a glimpse of what is in store might very well be so wonderful as to make us over-anxious to be there. It is probably physically impossible for our loved ones to speak across this dimensional divide. We just have to have faith and be patient.

God is the master Creator. This is His universe and it works through His principles and processes. We are here for a limited time and then we all, all humans, face one of tow destinations. I give you the Great Commission. The destination we encounter will be permanent and eternal. Make sure, please, that you are right with the Gospel and with God. Your very soul depends upon it.

Praise our God!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

What a glorious six days....

It must have been. Out of nothing: creation. Amazing is our God!

I have a daughter who paints and draws. This gift from God was there almost from the beginning. She could, and can, look at a blank pierce of paper and imagine the finished product. She sees the world quite differently than myself, who cannot draw a straight line with a ruler. She, in the image of God, is a creator.

But that all pales when compared to what occurred when God spoke things into being and His Son made them so. Just imagine nothing. In an instant, the power of creation was initiated and the universe was. Scientists spend time searching for the beginning, seeking to understand where and when this was. They simply aren't equipped to even understand the immense creative power that was unleashed when things began. Search as they might, they will not have those answers, at least in this lifetime.

I have to believe that there was tremendous joy associated with this process. God saw it and called it 'Good." The beauty of what was created, in some degree, exists today, and declares the power and majesty of the God who created it. Imagine creating the myriad of plants and animals, the stars in the heavens, the processes that govern existence and make things sustainable. I believe God must have smiled a lot.

When He created human beings, His plan from the beginning was to dwell with them and have them worship Him. Well things went awry. This did not catch God by surprise for a plan was already in place to redeem, to judge, to make right for all eternity this creation so glorious. From everlasting to everlasting, God was to become incarnate and enter into our time-space to spread light, love and a plan for our salvation, a plan to forgive and redeem the pinnacle of His creative genius.

Wouldn't it be glorious if we, someday, would be able to see, from the darkness of nothing, creation exploding from day one to day six. I am convinced that we will have that chance, and that we will be in awe of what took place. I am also convinced that, within those six days, He created a place more wonderful and amazing than any of is can even imagine. A place that we will see if we have accepted Jesus into our hearts, for only in Him can real peace ever be found.

He is The Creator. He is the almighty God of the universe. He loves and cares for His creation... including you!

Praise our God!