The Mirror of Your Faith

When trials come, how do you react?  One of the things that I have learned over the past 3/4  of a century is that my reaction tells me where I am in my relationship to the Lord.  There is no argument that your responses to the difficulty of life are the exact reflection of your faith in God.  If you are trusting in the Lord then your actions will be one of faith in Him; and if you are not trusting in Him, then your actions will be one of self-reliance or reliance on someone or something other than God. 

The old saying of “you can fool some of the people some of the time.  You can fool all of the people some of the time.  You can fool some of the people all of the time.  But you cannot fool all of the people, all of the time.”  Of all of the people in the world , don’t fool yourself.  Self-deception is one of the most deadly and frustrating lives that you could ever live.  Nothing will make sense and paranoia will most certainly be present.  You will find that you are suspicious of everyone and everything. 

It is vital that you be honest with yourself.  So many times we have a dishonest concept of our self, thinking that we are the greatest, the best, or the answer to whatever comes.  We need to make an honest appraisal of who we are and what we are.  We don’t have to be top dog, standing head and shoulders above the rest.  It is much better to find where you fit in and then you will value the others that are a part of life as well.  Looking at your performance will also aid you in seeing yourself in a true perspective.  Seeing repeated efforts fail can really help you to see the truth about yourself.  Accepting those results is necessary to seeing not only what needs changed but owning them as the truth of your self-observation.

I don’t always like what I see in myself so I am faced with how I will proceed in light of it.  I could justify my actions by some reasoning or I could place the blame elsewhere, or I could deny any fault but none of that will help me the next time I face another trial.  There is only one course of action that will leave me improved and that is to own my actions as the truth about myself.  Only then can I begin to correct my understanding about myself and then change my conduct.  It never works in reverse, I cannot change my actions and then change my understanding about myself. 

As we face this coronavirus pandemic we see various responses.  Some rely only on their-self and they hoard as a means of self-protection.  Some become quite benevolent and make it better for everyone.  Some become anxious and panic because they cannot see a way through it.  Some use the crises to take advantage of others in many ways such as raising prices for profit, offering what they don’t have, etc.  Some come to face their need and turn to the only real solution which is Christ.  Eternal life is only found in Him.

It is not a question of will I die.  It is a 100% certainty that you will die from something, someday.  It is not a question of will I suffer.  That too is a certainty for it is the struggle that strengthens us.  It is not even a question of the survival of the nation for every nation that has ever existed in the past have fallen, but life has continued because God is the one who is in control and holds all nations and people in His hand.  I am amazed that the greatest economy the world has ever seen has been brought to its knees in a matter of a few months.

So what is ahead?  It would be foolhardy for me to predict as the Lord has not told me to share such a message.  I can tell you this.  I am not nearly as concerned about what the future holds as I am about how I stand in the midst of this trial.  My prayer is that I can honor my Lord in how I stand.  My faith is in Him and not in how I come out.  He’s got this and I know that you or I don’t.  He holds all the blessings and we should look to Him and not to a government, a provision or ourselves for the solution.

Getting to know God – 7

God Is Eternal

De 33:2

Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

1Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

As we study the character and nature of God, we find that He is described as The Eternal God.  In comprehending what that means we must first define the meaning of the word eternal and then try to grasp the implications, and the applications

In our attempt to grasp the concept of an Eternal God, we must try to understand the meaning of endless or infinite.  That is extremely difficult in a world of time and space where everything is understood by its measurements of distance, dimensions (height, width, breath) and time.  To conceive of anything beyond that would place it outside of time and space.  It would not be subject to the “laws of nature” and its existence would not be the same as it is within time and space.  The dynamic of life outside of time and space is referred to as Eternity.  God therefore is not a being like we are however we are made in the similitude of God.  Therefore we are not the product of creation (evolution) but since we were in the mind of God before creation and creation was made for us. (Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:) We are the product of God’s plan and we were given the capacity to know Him as the Eternal God.

The implications of this truth are simply amazing.  For example; since God is eternal, He is incapable of changing.   If God could somehow become greater than He already is then He would not be eternal.  Likewise, if He could become less than He already is then He would not be eternal.  To be eternal means that God can neither become greater or less than He already is.  Another implication is that since God cannot become less or more than He already is then He must also be immortal, that is He cannot die or be destroyed.  A third implication is that He must possess eternal power.  That is His power cannot be lessened or increased.  It cannot be exhausted or used up nor can it be overpowered, all of which would mean that He is changed and therefore not eternal.  A forth implication is that He cannot be surprised.  He must have all knowledge or He would be evolving and therefore not be eternal.  These and other implications are all tied to this one truth that God is Eternal.

The applications of this truth are equally amazing.  Everything God has ever promised is accompanied by certainty.  It absolutely will come to pass.  That is one of the reasons that the test of a prophet was that he was never wrong.  Prophecy simply means speaking forth God’s Word, therefore a prophet of God could not prophecy anything that was not backed up by God Himself.  Have you noticed that every promise of God is an eternal promise, while every promise of Satan is a temporal (temporary) promise?  Consider that God promises Eternal Life (promised no less than 21 times in the New Testament); Eternal joy; Eternal peace; Eternal Salvation and an Eternal inheritance.  Because He is an Eternal God, He is good for it and you can count on it being so. 

For those who reject God’s promised blessings there is but one other promise and that is Eternal Judgment.  He isn’t just trying to scare you but He is trying to warn you and it is just as certain as all of His promises for good.  There are consequences of both good and bad and the choice of the outcome is up to you.  You really should get to know God.

Getting To Know God – 6

God is Spirit

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The correct translation of Jesus’ words are “God is Spirit” for there is no article in the Greek language.  He is not just another spirit for there is none other like Him nor is His composition of a common spirit.  He is the sum of the Eternal Spiritual realm.  The Eternal Spiritual realm does not have it’s equal in the physical realm of the creation for He is before creation and therefore is not subject to it.  Neither do we have a clear picture of the essence of God for all we know is based on our understanding of the created and from within the creation.

However there are some things that God has revealed about Himself that helps us to comprehend who and what He is.  For example, Jesus said in Luke 24:39 A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having.  He is not composed of matter such as is all of creation for He is before creation and by Him all of creation exists.  He is Spirit which is existence before and beyond time and space.  This raises a question about places in the Scripture that reference God as having body parts, such as hands, feet, eyes and ears.  These Scriptures are what is called anthropomorphic and symbolic representations to help us within the finite to comprehend something of the infinite and to give us a concept of a real and personally involved God.

The second revelation of God is that He is invisible.  The Bible states that He is the invisible God (Romans 1:20, Colossians 1:15, I Timothy 1:17).  The Israelites recorded that they saw “no manner of form” when the Lord appeared before them at Mt Horeb (Mt. Saini).  Further, God told Moses that no man can see God and live (Exodus 33:20).  John stated “No man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18).  There is the promise that the redeemed will eventually see Him (Psalms 17:15, Matthew 5:8, Hebrews 12:14, Revelation 22:4).

The third revelation that God has given is that He is alive.  The Bible declares Him to be the living God 30 times in Scripture (Some examples:  Joshua 3:10, I Samuel 17:26, Psalms 84:2, Matthew 16:16, I Thessalonians 1:9).  In John 14:6 Jesus declared that He is “the Life”.  When Adam’s body was formed from the dust of the ground, God breathed into his nostrils, the breath of life and man became a living soul.  We have our existence out of the very breath of life itself.  He is not only alive but he is the source of all life (John 5:26, Psalms 36:9).  This includes all plants, animals, human, spiritual and eternal life.  Since all life forms originate from God, they do not equate to God, but only aid in our understanding of Him.  Because nothing physical can properly portray the glory and majesty of God, man was forbidden to make an idol of God.  It is noteworthy that all of the idols of man are dead, whereas God is alive.

Finally, we come to the fourth revelation that God has given of himself and that is of individuality.  We speak of God in the singular and quote: Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  God is one and beside Him there is no other.  Some accuse Christians of having three Gods; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Though it may sound like they are three separate Gods, they are all one in the same way that we are individuals.  I have a body but that is not all there is to me; I have a soul and mind, yet that is not all there is to me; and I have a spirit nor is that all there is to me.  The body, soul and spirit are all one person and only describe different dynamics of this complex person that I am.  God is a trinity and he made man a trinity so that he might comprehend something of the dynamic and complexity of God.  God is described as having intellect, sensibility and volition.  He is represented as speaking, seeing, hearing, anger, compassionate, etc.  We speak of God as one being, in three persons.  In answer to the question, How can that be; it is answered in the same way that I am one person, with three dynamics of physical, volitional and spiritual.  I can be at the same time; a father, a husband and a son, depending on the position of consideration, and be without conflict.

In our efforts to know God, our difficulty is not in the teaching of the Scripture, but in our own limitations that we place on God.  He is greater than all that we can comprehend or know.  It is like viewing the mountains for the first time.  At first they seem to be quite small and insignificant but as you draw closer to them they seem to grow bigger and bigger until they seem to each to the sky.  The truth is that they were always that big but your understanding is what has grown.  Getting to know God will change your perception of Him.

Getting To Know God – 5

God is Righteous

When we look at the righteousness of God it is like a cut diamond.  There are so many different facets that the sum of each facet works together to compose the beauty of the whole.  The one word righteous is a description of the character and nature of God, diffused into all areas of life. 

The word “righteous” is defined in the Old Testament as “just, lawful, and equitable”.  It is both stable and consistent in all situations.  It is fair and therefore reasonable.  It is does not excuse the guilty but it does not stand in the way of restoration.  It considers all possibilities for all that is involved to find the most equitable resolution. 

Righteousness requires that the standards of righteousness be met.  Jesus asked, “can two walk together unless they be agreed”.  In order for God and man to be in agreement, they must meet on common ground.  Since God cannot change, then man must meet God on His terms.  This presents a real problem because man is sinful and God is Holy.  Man cannot raise himself to God’s standard because of his sin, and God cannot change to become sinful, we have an impossible situation.  No amount of effort or good works can change the sinful nature of man, therefore God has provided a way for man to be reconciled to God in His meeting the demand for justice in paying the cost for man’s sin (Death) in meeting that requirement Himself on the cross, and there by giving man the choice to be justified for his sin nature.

It is the righteousness of God that made the way for helpless and hopeless man to be justified.  God didn’t look on man’s condition as one of alienation but as one that can be redeemed.  He isn’t against man but He is against sin for sin is a rejection of His very nature. Man must make the choice to either accept God’s nature or choose to keep the old sinful nature that he is born with.  To make that choice is to also choose the consequences that it brings.  Therefore man chooses his outcome and destination.  God doesn’t want anyone to end up in hell as the Bible says, “It is not God’s will that any perish”.  Hell wasn’t made for man but was made for the devil and his angles.  God doesn’t send man to hell but man chooses to go there because he rejects the transforming work of Christ in refusing to follow Him.   

Some of the facets of the righteousness of God include fairness, justice, discernment, purity, Holiness, purity, virtue, and deliverance.  These (and others) are seen in the ways and works of God.  God is often seen as the Judge of all mankind.  While this is true, that alone is an incomplete statement.  He is not just a judge, He is The Righteous Judge.  2Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. He sees beyond the simple act to the intent of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 

It is important that we see God as righteous.  While that does include discernment of the truth about ourselves it also includes His love and mercy toward us.  His desire is for us, that is He is ever longing and working for our good and bringing us to Himself and separating us from our sin that would enslave us and ultimately destroy us.