Sunday, September 30, 2012

All or Nothing

Making the decision to follow Christ is no small thing.  Its not something that can be inherited from a parent; it must be owned by each individual.  And important to note, especially in our society of mixed loyalties, Christ demands complete faithfulness.  Its an all or nothing proposition.  Listen to what Jesus says:

Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."  Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God."  And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house."  But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."  Luke 9:58-62 (NKJV)

Being a disciple of Christ is a major thing.  So major its the only thing; the only thing that matters anyway.  Yeah, a father might die, but Christ says "let the dead bury their own dead," because preaching the kingdom of God is more important.  Just putting things into perspective.  To the one who wanted to say goodbye to his family, Jesus said, "no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."  Its a serious business.  Being a Christian is everything a man or woman is.  It comes before everything.  Listen again to the words of the Son of God.

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy or Me.  And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.  -Jesus in Matthew 10:37-38 (NKJV)

You can't expect the price of immortality and eternal rest with God to be cheap.  Christ comes first.  He comes before your closest relations.  He comes before every desire, dream or want you ever had.  He must be your first love, and there cannot be another that compares with Him.  And how about the person who tries to go halfway?  We call them lukewarm.  This is what Jesus says:

I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  -Jesus in Revelation 3:15-16 (NKJV)

There is the inherent requirement that every Christian man and woman be zealous for Christ.  Now this doesn't mean that we must put on a show, or in whatever way make sure that people know we are zealous.  Yes, it is good to publicly and unashamedly proclaim the name of Christ.  But we don't put on a show of zeal for men.  Rather, we are faithfully zealous to Christ, and this doesn't show in obvious ways.  A single mother trying to raise her child and do what is right according to God's commands is zealous, but we wouldn't think it.  If she is faithful to Christ in her circumstances, loves Him first of all, and to the best of her ability follows His commands, then she is zealous.  She might not be praised as such by men, but that doesn't matter.  Zeal is a matter of taking God's word seriously.  And taking God's word seriously is a matter of obedience.  Make no mistake about it, if a person does not obey God, that person is not a Christian.  But the person that does obey God, he or she is a zealot.  How so?  Christ says "drop everything and follow me."  Now come on, following that command makes a person zealous.  To the rich young ruler, "sell everything and give it to the poor, then follow me."  Did he obey?  Sure, he followed the commandments since he was young.  Christ loved him.  But he didn't have the kind of zeal required to forget about money and love Christ first.

My encouragement is not to go and act crazy or whatever.  There could be a time for that, maybe, but zeal is a matter of faithful obedience.  Do what Christ says.  Make disciples of all nations.  The harvest is ripe, and now is the time.  Whatever holds you back, you must totally abandon it.  You must obey His command.  Because its all or nothing.  Whoever puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Rapture, Second Coming and Millennial Reign

The idea of a pre-tribulation rapture has been a popular idea for some time.  I'll expound on it in light of certain Bible passages, but first I'll say something out of my own reasoning.  If we were to assume one way or another, the safe assumption would be to assume that a pre-tribulation rapture will not happen.  If we assume that it will and it doesn't, then we are left unprepared for the tribulation.  If we assume that it won't and it does, then we are either taken to be with Christ, or we are prepared to be left behind.  But I never understood why some people are so afraid of being left behind to deal with the tribulation.  Is persecution to be unexpected as a Christian?  So what is so bad about being left behind?  Its not as if that person has no way to heaven.  Its as simple as deciding to die for Christ, and after the brief time of suffering, there is eternal life.  So being left behind isn't so bad.  It might even be better than that, which I will explain later.

Now that I've given my own personal disclaimer on the rapture, I will point out that there are some verses in Scripture that allude to it happening.  There is nothing that plainly states that there will be a pre-tribulation rapture, but there are some verses that give us that hint.  Below are listed those verses.

Matthew 24:40-41
1Corinthians 15:51-52
1Thessalonians 4:15-17
Revelation 3:10

Now I won't get into pre/post/mid tribulation.  That can get sticky and pointless.  Point is, there is some indication that a rapture will happen.  And Jesus' words to the angel of the church in Philadelphia do indicate that there will be a pre-tribulation rapture, at least for the church in Philadelphia.  I personally believe it will only be for the church in Philadelphia.  If you want to know what the church in Philadelphia is, I have written a blog about it.  As for other of the seven churches, particularly the church in Laodicea, the tribulation is a time of testing.  This is when Jesus "vomits" the Laodicean church out of His mouth.  Not all of the church, I imagine, but the great majority of it.

The Great Apostasy
It would help the describe how the world will be leading up to the tribulation of the last days.  In three different places Paul mentions a great apostasy of the last days (2Thessalonians 2:1-12, 1Timothy 4:1-3, 2Timothy 3:1-9).  The antichrist is the culmination of the great apostasy.  But for the world to allow the antichrist to gain power, there must be a great apostasy that precedes the tribulation itself.  The last days will be dark days, make no mistake about it.  And Paul writes that we should not be worried about missing the coming of Christ, because we know that the great apostasy will happen before it.  Paul expressly writes that (2Thessalonians 2:3).  It is simply wrong to say that Christ could return at any moment; there are things that must happen first.  Christ Himself says that the gospel will be preached in all the world before the end, and He says that His coming will be such that all people over the world will see it (Matthew 24:23-27).  Its not something that could possibly be missed.  You've probably heard that His coming will be like a thief in the night, meaning that most people will not expect it.  And no one knows the day or hour.  He says that His coming will be like the flood of Noah (Matthew 24:26-27).  But here's something a lot people do not realize: We can know when His coming is soon.  He does not come like a thief in the night for everyone; that's only for the ones that pay no attention, do not read Scripture and are ignorant.  Paul writes to the Thessalonians and says that His coming will not be like a thief in the night for them, because they are not in darkness.  They are "sons of the day" (1Thessalonians 5:1-5).  So keep that in mind.  You might not know the day or the hour of Christ's return, but He did specifically say "day or hour", not ruling out the possibility of knowing the year; and He does say that we will see the signs.  The second coming, as well as the events that precede it, cannot take you off guard if you know what to look for.  

The second advent
As already mentioned, there will be a tribulation period in which the antichrist will rule over the world.  There will be some sort of global governing body headed by the first beast of Revelation.  This kingdom, as I'll call it, is the fourth beast in Daniel 7.  Somehow it will be connected to the ancient Roman Empire, just as the iron of Daniel 2 relates to the iron of Daniel 7.  The city, which is figuratively called Babylon in Revelation, and where the antichrist will establish his throne, is Rome itself.  Rome is known as the "city on seven hills" (Revelation 17:9).  Through deception the antichrist will gain power (2Thessalonians 2:9-10).  The tribulation period is seven years, but that is split into two halves.  The middle of the seven year period is signified by the antichrist setting up an abomination in the temple (a third temple, which, I believe, will be built in the coming decades), and ending the sacrifices made (Daniel 9:27).  Its also signified by the antichrist killing the two witnesses (Revelation 11:7-10).  And then there are plagues, which are written of in Revelation.  At the end of the seven year tribulation, after the antichrist has killed almost all the saints on earth, and after God has poured out plagues on the world in retribution, Christ will return.  He comes as a conqueror, and to kill His enemies.  All of the saints who were martyred, as well as the few who survived the tribulation, are riding behind Him.  Along with the saints and I suppose many angels, Christ conquers the world and establishes His own rule of it.  The greatness and glory of this event is something that is beyond imagination.  I won't even try to put it into words.

The millennial reign
The thousand year rule of Christ is written of in Revelation 20:4-6.  It makes sense, because of the prophecies, particularly in Isaiah, which speak of a kind of heaven on earth.  Where there is complete peace and at least some of the effects of the curse are reversed.  As well as an everlasting kingdom.  Though a thousand years is not forever, the kingdom itself lives on with the new earth, new heaven, and New Jerusalem.  Now its quite interesting, the Scripture in Revelation actually says that its the martyrs of the tribulation, who did not receive the mark of the beast, who will rule with Christ during the thousand years.  I always wondered how that would work, because I always worked under the assumption that everyone that did receive the mark was killed at the coming of Christ.  Yet Revelation does not say that everyone is killed.  Many people are killed, certainly, with all the plagues and bloodshed.  But it says that Christ rules the nations with a iron rod (Revelation 12:5), and the saints rule with Christ (Revelation 20:4).  So if Christ and the saints rule together, who are they ruling over?  I suppose there are survivors from the tribulation period, and these survivors repopulate the earth.  As for the saints that rule with Christ - get this - they have already died and been brought back to life.  That means they have already received their immortal bodies.  So there are, in Jerusalem the capital, Christ and His immortal saints ruling over the entire world.  The city Jerusalem, as I imagine it, will be a remarkable place.  And I would suppose, though its not written anywhere, that only the saints will be allowed inside Jerusalem.  All of the mortal humans will not be allowed inside.  But the immortal saints will have the freedom to go and do as they please, for they will rule the world, with Christ of course.  Some of that is my own speculation, but much of it is based on what is written in Revelation.  We are told that the rest of the dead do not rise until the end of the thousand years.  That is the great day of judgement.  The thousand year reign is only for the martyrs of the tribulation, as well as the few survivors - those saints who go through the tribulation.  So getting back to the rapture question, I told you I would explain why being left behind might not be so bad afterall.  This is why.  If a saint is taken in the rapture, I am not sure if that saint will partake of the millennial reign.  I cannot say either way.  I am pretty certain, however, that those saints who go through the tribulation will partake of the millennial reign.  At the end of it all, there is a new earth, a new heaven, and a New Jerusalem.  Everything is made new, and the saints live forever.  What happens in the meantime can be a wonderful mystery unfolding. 

For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.  Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you beforehand.  Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it.  For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.  Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  -Jesus in Matthew 24:21-31 (NKJV)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Things Prophesied by Jesus

Jesus Himself gave some specific prophecies.  One way to test the truthfulness of Jesus' claims is to see if His predictions came true.  Here are five prophecies that have been fulfilled, or are on the verge of being fulfilled.

Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father..."  John 4:21 (NKJV)

This is when Jesus was talking with the Samaritan woman at the well.  She wanted to know which was the proper place to worship.  The mountain where Samaritans worshiped was Mount Gerizim.  But Jesus essentially tells her that its all irrelevant, because soon the Samaritans will not worship at Mount Gerizim and the Jews will not worship at Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was destroyed in 70AD, and after the emperor Hadrian, Jews were forbidden from entering Jerusalem (which was given a different name as a Roman colony).  And at some point during Roman rule the Samaritans were forbidden to worship at Mount Gerizim.

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace!  But now they are hidden from your eyes.  For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."  Luke 19:41-44 (NKJV)

The Jews revolted against the Romans starting in the year 66AD.  This culminated in a Roman siege of Jerusalem.  Vespasian led an army against the Jews and besieged Jerusalem.  He left the siege when he was named "imperator" (emperor) by the legion.  He left command to his son Titus, and Titus finished the job.  The entire account can be read in Josephus' Jewish Wars.  Jerusalem fell in the year 70AD.  The Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem.  Only a small percentage of Jews inside the city survived the siege, and they were sold into slavery.  No one was left in the city, and it was only later refounded as a Roman colony.  Maybe not in a literal sense, but certainly in a figurative sense, not one stone was left upon another.  Jerusalem was completely destroyed.

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  -Jesus in Matthew 16:18 (NKJV)

The part where He says "shall not prevail against it" might sound like a successful defense.  But gates are not offensive weapons.  So the gates of hell cannot be going out against Christ's church.  Gates are defensive, so if the gates of hell do not prevail against the church, then the church must prevail against the gates of hell.  However you want to slice it, Jesus is basically saying that He will build His church and it will be a success.  That might not seem like much of a prophecy.  You might assume that anyone who founds a religion would very well prophesy success of it.  But it does need to be remembered that this prophecy has been fulfilled.  If we consider it to mean prevailing against the gates of hell, the church has very much done that.  The church has prevailed, even when it seemed like the gates of hell might prevail.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.  -Jesus in Matthew 24:14 (NKJV)

So has the gospel been preached in every nation?  I guess some would say it has, some would say it hasn't.  I'm not going to try to prove that this prophecy has been fulfilled.  But I think its common sense to assume that it soon will be fulfilled.  Maybe the gospel has not been preached in ALL the world, but it won't be long until it has.

Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.  -Jesus in Mark 14:9 (NKJV)

This is about the woman that anointed Jesus with expensive perform.  This is one of only a few stories, other than the events of the Passion, that is mentioned in all four of the gospel accounts.  As it is today, the four gospel accounts usually accompany each other, although sometimes only a single gospel is translated into an obscure language.  In the early days of Christianity the gospel accounts were distributed mostly by themselves.  But whether a person reads the gospel in all four accounts, or a person reads the gospel in only one account, that person will read of what this woman did.  Indeed, wherever the gospel goes, her story goes with it.

There are other things that Jesus predicted which came to pass, like His death and resurrection, or the fact that Peter denied Him three times.  The reason I mentioned these five examples and not the others, is because these examples have their fulfillment after the words were penned.  How could Jesus or the apostles have known that a day would come when no one would worship God at Mount Gerizim or in Jerusalem?  How could they have known that the church would continuously prevail?  How could they have known that the gospel would go out into the whole world?  Yes, if there was only one of these predictions, we might be able to say coincidence.  But we have more than one fulfilled prophecy.  Is it really coincidence?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Defining Love

Love is something that most people cherish.  Without a doubt, its a word that we throw around a lot.  So it should be something that we have a good understanding of.  It should be well defined in our minds.

There is more than one type of love.  There is the love between friends.  There is the love between family.  There is the love between man and wife.  There is the love shown to strangers.  And finally, most importantly, there is the love of God.  Every kind of good love comes from God.  But there are other things that some people call love, which would more accurately be called lust.  The want of sex, money and prestige is certainly not love; if it is love, its a bad kind of love.

Love is not a feeling.  I'm sure you've seen it before in romance movies, someone is so overcome with love they can't help it.  There's the words "I think I'm in love with you," and "I've fallen in love."  The idea of being "in love" or "falling in love" is very far from biblical.  Its the idea of Cupid and his arrows, as if love just mysteriously happens to a person.  Love is a decision and a commitment, not a feeling.  Feelings accompany love, but love is not based on feelings.  Why?  Think of how often your feelings change.  Feelings are fickle.  Rather, love is a choice.  Its much like choosing to brush your teeth.  Nobody ever says "I am suddenly overcome with the urge to brush my teeth," as if Colgate Cupid shot him with his arrow.  But when you choose to brush your teeth, the sensation comes afterwards.  After a person brushes his teeth, he might say, "My mouth feels fresh and clean."  So the basis of the act of love is a person choosing love, not feeling love.  The feelings come later.  They are not necessary for the love to exist.

Love is a verb.  Its something we do.  Its an act of love to give.  Its an act of love to care for someone.  Its an act of love to sacrifice for someone.  Its an act of love to worship God.  Love is motion.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. -Jesus in John 15:13

Love cares for the ultimate good of someone.  We tend to think of being kind as being loving, and its true that love involves kindness, but love also involves rebuke, correction and sometimes punishment.  If a parent really loves his children, he will punish their misbehavior, because he doesn't want his children to develop bad habits.  That's because he cares for the ultimate good of his children.  In the same way, if someone loves their friend, and sees their friend living sinfully, he will warn him.  Rebuke and punishment are not always seen as love in our society because they're unpleasant things, but it is love to care for the ultimate good of someone, even if it means some temporary pain.  All that ends well is well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

About God Pt 3: The Soft Side

In my previous note I pointed out that God is not a big teddy bear.  He is not always sweet and nice and soft and kind.  Yet at the same time, there is a side of Him that is genuinely soft.  I mentioned a couple of the instances where God punished Israel.  The fact is, Israel was constantly rebelling against God.  This is where God's incredible forgiveness shines.  In Joshua God gives the Israelites repeated victories so they could possess the promised land.  In Judges we read how the Israelites fell into sin several times.  Each time God punished them, and each time God saved them from their plight.  Even though Israel was not supposed to have a king, because Yahweh was their king, they asked for a king.  God gave it to them.  God even gave Israel a couple good kings in David and Solomon.  When Israel rebelled against God, He sent prophets to warn them.  His love and forgiveness is so evident in how He dealt with Israel; how Israel sinned again and again, and God still kept His promise to bless them.  And we see His love extend outside of Israel in OT times.  He sent the prophet Jonah to the Ninevites.  This is what He said to Jonah:

And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?  Jonah 4:11

God loves people and has much compassion for people.  To truly realize it we must first understand how much that sin has made a chasm between God and man.  Men are not supposed to sin.  We were not made to sin, and if it weren't for Adam's sin, sin would not be natural for us.  I can imagine how hard it is to show love and kindness to a sinful creature made out of dirt.  I honestly do not think we deserve to be loved.  But God has loved us.  He proved it when He suffered and died on the cross.  This was His way of mending a broken relationship.  It was an act that covered our sins and gave us a way back into communion with God.  Jesus said that there is no greater love than for a man to lay down his life for his friends, and that's exactly what Jesus did.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  -Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30

God gives grace to the humble.  He comforts those who mourn.  He gives strength to the weak.  In Genesis 21, when Hagar and her son were cast out into the desert and the boy was about to die, God sent an angel to comfort her and a well to save them.  When Hannah could not have a child, but she wanted one desperately, and she prayed to God with tears, God answered her prayer.  She bore Samuel, and gave him to serve the Lord, and she had three other sons and two daughters.  God chose David, the youngest and least impressive of Jesse's sons, to be the greatest king Israel ever had.  And when Jesus was traveling through Samaria, He revealed an amazing truth to a Samaritan woman.  A Jew would not normally talk to a Samaritan woman, and this woman had five previous husbands while living with a man that wasn't her husband.  Despite her being in the lowest place in society, Jesus shared great things with her.  Jesus chose men to be His disciples who were just common fishermen.  Repeatedly God has shown much grace to people in the hardest situations.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  Psalm 51:17

God is a giver.  He doesn't withhold good things from His people.  Its one the secrets that we Christians have discovered.  Its something that goes largely unnoticed.  But if you seek God, and you seek the most wonderful gifts that He gives, He will give you them.  I'm talking about spiritual gifts.  God gives His people wisdom, courage, fortitude, patience, inner peace, love and grace.  He provides His people with the skills they need to accomplish His will on earth.  And the storehouse of His gifts is infinitely large.  We come to Him as broken people, bleeding people, sometimes just wanting to touch the end of His garment, and we find healing.  He says, "go in peace," and throughout our lives He gives us even more.  That's the grace of God.  Yes, it involves forgiveness, but people mistakenly think that forgiveness is the end of grace.  No, grace is way more than forgiveness.  Its the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Its the abundant blessings that God bestows on His people, and the hope of eternal life.  A God who gives earthly creatures the chance at eternal paradise is, in my estimation, a most loving and gracious God.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to whose who ask him!  -Jesus in Matthew 7:7-11

Monday, September 3, 2012

About God Pt 2: The Hard Side

Its common to hear people talk about the love of God.  People often quote John 3:16.  And this has led to an impression among most that God is a sort of teddy bear; that He's there to just be loving and nice.  Its unfortunate because this perception of God is contrary to what Scripture says.

God does not let sin go unpunished.  A story I'm sure you'll remember is Noah and his ark.  Its a pleasant warm-fuzzy kind of story, a big boat and all kinds of animals, until you get to the part about God killing almost all the people on earth.  The world population at that time had grown incredibly sinful.  The Bible says that God even regretted making man (Genesis 6:6).  That has to be one of the saddest verses in the Bible, if not the saddest.

When God was giving the Israelites regulations during the exodus, on sacrificing and worshiping, it was a very serious business.  God Himself was there at the Tabernacle.  And at one time the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, were caught up in excitement and offered unauthorized incense.  Fire immediately came from the presence of God and destroyed them.  Not only that, but Aaron did not mourn for his sons because of the fear of God.  To be frank, the regulations concerning Tabernacle offerings were more important than Nadab and Abihu.  The commands were holy; they came directly from God.  The sons of Aaron broke the command directly in front of God.  You can read it in Leviticus chapter ten.

On another occasion during the exodus a Levite, Korah, led a rebellion against God's authority, that is, Moses.  God had established Moses as an authority over Israel; to rebel against Moses was to rebel against God.  Read it in Numbers chapter sixteen.  You can even see a sense of panic in Moses when he finds out that Korah and his followers are rebelling, because he knows what God will do to them.  Moses even begs the LORD to spare the followers.  But as for Korah and those who remained with him, the earth literally opened up and swallowed them.  If not for Moses begging for God's mercy, even more people would have been destroyed.

I could go through example after example, particularly in the Old Testament, but even in the New Testament too, of God's wrath and judgement.  There is a very good reason Jesus tells us to fear God (Luke 12:5).

We find in Jesus the perfect manifestation of God.  Jesus tells us, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).  And we can see that Jesus has a hard side.  Read Matthew 23, and that should give you an idea.  Consider Jesus driving the traders out of the temple; the Scripture says of Him, "Zeal for your house will consume me."  The traders who were driven out by a whip probably felt some of that zeal.

People need to read the Bible.  God is not there to serve man; man is here to serve God, even though He needs nothing from us.  God's job is not to make sure your life is easy or pleasant or any of that.  God is God, simply put.  He does not tolerate disobedience.  And why should He?  He made everything there is, including every person that ever lived.  That's why He has total dominion over all life.  So when He makes a law or establishes a certain order, it is the fool that rebels against Him.  And the rebellious soul is destroyed.  That's why we read it over and over again, "fear God."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

About God

Let me start with the first and I suppose the greatest thing God has done: He created the universe.  He spoke it into existence.  If that doesn't show the ultimate greatness in power, I don't know what does.  In addition to making a universe that is beyond big - beyond our ability to measure - He created an Earth that is full of diversity.  There's even a whole bunch of interesting things that go on at the microscopic level.  The world shows us the remarkable creativity of our LORD.

Its pretty obvious, I'm writing a note about God.  This is the greatest subject that I can possibly write on.  And its the most sensitive subject for me, because I sincerely fear God.  I must be very careful of what I write and how I write it.  But its also a pleasure to write about God.

So I opened the note by speaking of His act of creation.  He created the universe, which makes Him the universal God - the one and only God.  Yet He has revealed Himself to us in particular ways.  This makes Him a particular God.  He is not a vague concept or some God of all religions.  He has called Himself the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.  He revealed His name to Moses.  In English we call Him Yahweh or Jehovah.  He led the Israelites out of Egypt, out of slavery, and into the promised land.  So it is said that He is the God of Israel.  He did not choose to reveal Himself through the stars.  He did not reveal Himself in a vague way through the imaginations of people all over the world.  He revealed Himself in specific ways, through a chosen nation, because He is a personal God.  As the Scripture says of Abraham, "through you I will bless the nations."  God chose a nation, that nation is Israel.  And He has revealed Himself through Israel, by deeds, by prophets, by Scripture, and most of all by the Christ.  But never did He go around Israel; He blesses the nations through Israel.

There is way too much to write about God that I could possibly include in this note.  A good way to learn about God is to read the Bible.  He has not left us on our own.  He is not distant or unknown.  He is near to the person that does His will.  His Spirit dwells with him.  Even though He needs nothing from man, for some reason He loves man.  He was willing to suffer and die on a cross the reconcile man unto Himself.  And so He stands at the door waiting for you to knock.  He abundantly reveals Himself to the person that seeks to know Him.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  -Jesus in Matthew 7:7

I've decided that I will continue this in another note, because there is so much to say.


About Me

Unimpressive in person. But always praying that these letters I write will be weighty and forceful. I serve the Almighty as a servant of Christ. I strive to conquer hearts and minds with the word of God. I am nothing, but the Holy Spirit living inside me is omnipotent. By Him I can run and not grow weary, or walk and not be faint. All glory and honor be to God and to Jesus the Christ.