Changing Times

I am sure that at least some of you are wondering why I haven’t posted anything for the past couple of weeks and there are several reasons that comprise that answer that question.

Heading up the list is the pandemic of the corona virus and the impact it has already made on life as we have know it.  Life as we knew it is gone and we are discovering the new normal.  This has altered our lives in so many ways and people are asking, “Have you ever seen anything like this, before?”  Actually, there have been many things like this before, though with some differences.  Change is the norm for all of life as we know it.  Our environment is constantly changing.  Historians tell us that there have been multiple environmental changes such as the ice age, etc. Even more to our time, the weather patterns are changing back and forth from warming to  cooling; wet and dry years.   I remember the end of the dust bowl era and even a dust storm where the dust arrived as a wall of dust cloud and filtered through even the smallest cracks.  Change was present when we went from traveling in a wagon to a car; getting electricity when I was 7 years old; having running water inside the house, radio, TV, phones, computers, etc.  I am so glad that I saw life without all of these modern conveniences and went through these changes.  Indeed, change has been constant my whole life so that helps me to understand what is going on now.

Not only is our environment changing but our bodies are constantly changing.  First, there was the period of growth, then physiological changes, then family changes, career changes, then middle age spread and on to grand parenting and retirement and all the while realizing that I am not the man I once was.  Someone stole that young body I once had along with all my hair.  Now I can’t see as well, nor hear as well as I could before but I heard that it will all be okay soon as I won’t remember it either.  If there is one constant in life it is that everything is constantly changing.

Going backwards in history there have been sickness and disease tragedies of epic proportions.  A more recent event was the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 and even before that the bubonic plague in England and Europe.  There have been untold numbers of events such as Anthrax, Cholera, Yellow Fever, and even when I was young I had to have polio shots.  Entire cities and town were decimated and even whipped out because of disease.  No, this isn’t the first nor is it probably the last time we have faced pandemic crises. 

Change isn’t even the issue because change is a constant.  It is not the fact that we can face death for it also is a constant as everyone dies sometime from something.  What matters are the choices we make in such times.  Is this a time in which it is okay to betray the values we claim to possess?  Is quitting an answer that is acceptable to ourselves?  Is the cost to great to pay for the victory that can be claimed?  When Israel was in captivity and they were threatened to be totally annihilated, Mordecai told Esther, “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?  I think that it is, as Winston Churchill said to England at their lowest point in WW 2; “May it be said of us the this was our finest hour.”  It is not a question of “IF” we face change, but rather “HOW” we face it that makes the difference.  We should face it trusting the Lord and declaring the HOPE that is within us.  Your response will reveal what you truly believe.

Wisdom

Wisdom can be defined as the proper use of knowledge.  Knowledge is basically information whereas wisdom is the proper use of that information. 

The application of wisdom falls into three distinct arenas.  The first arena is on the personal level and has to do with your personal proficiency.  Itdeals with your skills and abilities.  These skills and abilities can be improved by training and experience.  There are at least five characteristics that enhance an individual’s personal proficiency.  First, they are focused.  They have a goal and it is predominate in their efforts and they are constantly moving toward it.  They do not allow distractions to keep them from it. 

Second, they are organized and they have learned not to waste motion or action.  Any distraction from that goal requires additional energy, resources, and time and can defeat the main effort by exhausting your provisions to reach your goal.  My dad used to advise me to “work smarter, not harder” to underscore this truth.

A third characteristic is efficiency, which is thinking about what you are doing and practicing it repeatedly.  By doing this you discover how to remove wasted motion and the end result is that you make it look easy.

A fourth characteristic is diligence.  They neither give up nor quit.  Staying at the task is vital in order to accomplish it.   After all is said and done it still requires a full investment to do it.  Equally important is protecting against burn out which requires a balance of effort. 

Finally, they finish well.  Completing a job is not only satisfying but it is also a vital part of the effort.  They tie up loose ends with the three R’s of RESTORE, REPLACE and RETURN.  They restore their tool’s function by fixing what’s broken and repairing what is worn.  They replace what is used up and worn out and they return what is to be used again to its place.

The second arena of wisdom is in Proper Prudence.  Thisarena addresses professional practices with others and involves living a productive and generally successful life.  In this arena you deal with people and all of their faults and failures.  They are not always kind or helpful but rather they are mostly selfish, short sighted and hurtful as they are in darkness and have not know God or his ways.  Here it is not a matter of just being right but a reflection of the grace and wonder of God, Himself.  Sometimes we must bear the burden of their error in order to reach them in their darkness. 

Honesty and fairness in your business dealings are good examples of how to relate to people who are walking in darkness.  Truthfulness and dependability are also spotlights that expose God.  Humility is the alternate to the proud, and respect will set you apart from those who ridicule.  These are but examples of proper prudence that say you are important and I value you.  This wisdom comes from God and requires a dependence on Him to work His wonder.  It is not a compromise nor is it flattery but must be genuine in its application and an expression of faith in the Lord.

The third arena of wisdom is Philosophical Principles.  This arena addresses the profound issues of human existence such as good vs. evil, human suffering, the basic questions of life (Who? What?  When? Where? And Why?) with an emphasis on the Why of life.  Answers in this arena come down to the Sovereignty of God and ultimately we must trust Him; especially when we do not understand.  Yet, struggling with these principles we come to understand God better.  The book of Job is a classic example of this arena of wisdom.   Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. In the book of Proverbs, wisdom is personified (looked at as though it was a person)as a woman who would bring many blessings when heeded and curses when it was rejected.  It is contrasted to three types of persons; the inexperienced, the mockers and fools, all of which reject wisdom and its ways, and ultimately end in death.  Life is full of challenges and difficulties and wisdom will enrich the journey while life without it will be an endless struggle and ultimate defeat.

Judge Not

I have attached a list of Scriptures below that should be studied together to see what the Lord had instructed concerning the common directive that is so often quoted out of context.  The phrase is “Judge not lest ye be also judged” and is used to silence those who disagree or would condemn an action. 

The verses (Matthew 7:1 and Luke 6:37) were a part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount, where Jesus was instructing those who would live righteous in this world.  They were not given as prohibitive and all encompassing laws but rather the prohibition of devaluing others.  The words “judge not” simply means do not pass judgment or condemnation and has to do with a person’s worth.  It does not mean to have no opinion or discernment about an action but rather to not allow that discernment to lessen that person’s value to you or to God. 

A good example of this is iron in its natural state is rust mixed with soil and has no apparent value.  When that Iron is mined and processed, the impurities are removed and heat is added, along with other minerals is specified amounts, it becomes steel that becomes quite strong.  Because we see others in their raw and impure form we should not consider them of no value, but God knows what He has in mind for each of us and that is of great value to Him.

When placing these verses along with the other verses such as I John 4:1 where we are commanded to “try the spirits”, it sounds like a contradiction, but it is not.  Even though we are forbidden to pass judgment on a person’s value, we are commanded to measure the spirit behind the action and to know if that spirit is of God.  These are two completely different responses to two completely different applications for two completely different reasons.  Judging deals with another person’s value in his service for comparison, while discernment addresses the spirit behind the action for the benefit of the fellowship.

Further, discernment is based upon the fruit of the individual which exposes the spirit directing the action.  Mt 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.   Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  Jesus went on to say in John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.  It simply cannot be that we are directed to “judge not” in one place and then “Judge righteousness judgment” in another place unless there is a difference of application.  The answer is that we are forbidden to pass judgment based upon appearance (respect of persons) but we are commanded to discern the force behind the actions.  We are commanded to examine the fruit and the witness of the Spirit of God. 

Another point is that we should listen and follow those whom God has placed as our spiritual leaders who have given their lives into His service and have grown into spiritual maturity.  These gifted leaders are chosen by God and given to the church to equip the membership.

In summary then, we are not instructed to disregard sinful or evil activity, but rather, to stand on principles and against evil spirits, not against people.  The person is not the problem but the evil spirit must be confronted.  This is why we should pray for our pastor and church leaders as they stand between evil forces and the church and we are to support them.

Mt 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

 Lu 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

 Joh 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

 1Co 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. {judgment: Gr. day}

******************** versus *********************

1Jo 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Mt 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

 Mt 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

Joh 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Why the Trials?

For the past two weeks I have had computer problems and could not log in to my own site.  I just got the problem corrected and now I am back on line. 

For some time now I have had a problem that I continually had to work around.  I could not open my start button.  It (my computer) suddenly decided to stop working and I spent days trying to fix it with two different IT specialist who also had trouble with it.  I finally had to save my documents and completely wipe my hard drive and then reload everything.  When I got it reloaded for some unknown reason it would not recognize my password.  Just a few moments ago that problem was resolved and now you are getting my apologies for my lack of input. My computer is now working properly and it is so great to have it fixed.

During the time I have been wrestling with this problem it seemed that everything had been turned upside down.  My schedule was in shambles and my control was nonexistent.  This is much the same as the world dealing with the Corona virus or any other chaotic moment you may be going through.

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  In looking at this verse I realized that it is not an uncommon event in the lives of Christians, rather, it is the norm.  Christians will have multiple such events that push them beyond their limits.  There is a very good reason for that because it isn’t until you are put under such condition that true growth can happen.  A body trainer will tell you that this is where you get stronger than you were before.  This is where your limits are stretched, your vision expands, and your faith is validated.  It was in this light that Jesus said in John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  The discipleshad hoped that Jesus would set up His millennial kingdom and that they would reign with Him.  They knew nothing of Jesus’ death and the coming of the Holy Spirit who would lead them into all truth.  The journey was vitally important in preparing them for the final destination. There will be a time when we can rest with the Lord, but now is the time to be molded and sharpened into His image.  The journey through the trials is how we change our minds about everything, and how we are transformed and fitted for eternity.

Trials do another thing for us in that we learn how to think.  The natural man’s inclination is to avoid problems, pain and pressure, and when confronted with them we look for a way out.  This is known as escapism.  The favorite verse for the escapist is 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.  This verse is not for facing trials but for facing temptation.  These are not the same thing. Trials deal with barriers to be overcome while doing God’s will but temptations deal with diversions from doing God’s will.  We are not directed to become escape artist but rather we are to be over comers.  There are few rewards that compare to facing a difficult or impossible task and overcoming it.  It does something to you that gives you confidence, and a sense of accomplishment that builds you up in a way that makes it worth the effort.  We think different about difficulty much differently from then on.

It also brings hope.  Before the trial the picture looked impossible but after the victory, we have hope.  Hope that other difficulties can be overcome and that the possibilities can become realities.  We discover that the objective was not in our defeat but in our victory.  The trial only brings out what God had put there in the beginning. 2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.  Our cheering section is lead by God, Himself.

For Thy Sake

Genesis 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Sometimes we read a Scripture that just doesn’t seem to make sense and may even seem contradictory to how we understand life.  One such verse is found in the above verse in Genesis 3:17.  It all seems okay until we get to the highlighted portion of the verse.  We expect God to judge man for his sinful acts of disobedience so the curse of the ground seems right, but the addition of the phrase “for thy sake” just doesn’t seem to fit.  It is because of what we do not know that makes it seem like a displaced phrase.  It would seem that if God wanted to do something for man that He would have made it easier, yet God did just the opposite and made it harder.

In order for the verse to make sense you need to put it in context with God’s plan for man.  Go back to Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  God did not intend that man would be completed by simply forming a body and breathing life into him.  His plan is far more complex and wonderful than that.  The making of man’s body was but a part of the creation of man.  Remaining was the completion of his soul and spirit.  Notice the different words used to describe His work.  First, He “created time and space” (make something out of nothing) and then He made man (fashioned a body out of the dust He had already created.  We know that because the Scriptures uses different words to describe His work (Created and made).  Further, we know that because of the description of the finished product.  Man would be made in the image of God, that in the similitude of God, or in a similar way.  The Bible teaches that God is a Trinity which means that God is known in three persons (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit), yet there is only one God.  The best illustration that I know of a trinity is that we are also a trinity.  I have a body, but that is not all there is to me.  I also have a soul containing my mind and will, yet that does not include all there is to me either.  Thirdly, I have a spirit and yet that is not the whole of me.  It takes all three; body, soul and spirit, to describe the whole of the person I am.  I am body, soul and spirit, yet there is only one of me.  I am made in the image or similitude of God.

Secondly, God said that we were to be made in the likeness of God.  We know that Adam and Eve sinned and that event changed man from a man without sin to a slave of sin.  His will was no longer to serve God but it had been changed to serve himself because the very nature of sin is to reject the authority of God and to make ourselves the authority that governs our lives.   God is great enough to make a way when there was no way to redeem man.  The damage was done and now God had the task of redeeming fallen man and then to complete His image and likeness within man so that his conduct would be in complete agreement with the nature of God. 

To complete God’s likeness will require man to undergo a complete overhaul from a rebellious selfish being into a new creation of God (2 Corinthians 56:17).  Man now must be confronted with his sin and see it for what it is.  The truth of sin is horrible for sin is a degenerating, destructive, degrading, deforming, decaying, and deliberate attack on the authority of God. That nature must die in order for new life to begin.  We will not reject sin until we see it for what it is and reject it like a poisonous snake. 

At this point we are now ready to choose for ourselves who and what will reign over us.  Just as in the garden of Eden there are two choices, The Tree of Life (Jesus) or the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Satan).  You will choose one or the other as there is no other choice (Romans 6:16).  To choose Jesus you will follow Him by faith in Him and His Word.  Once this choice is made, God promises to lay all the charges against you on Jesus; you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide you and to teach you; and you receive the promise of New Life through this world and for eternity.

So getting back to the original question of why is the curse for our benefit.  It is because it is the problems of life that God uses to teach us His ways and His truth.  Without them we would have no way of discovering the consequence of sin and turning from it.  I learn more from my mistakes and failures than I do from my successes.  As I build my life on truth, righteousness and knowledge I begin to take on the appearance of my new life.  Without the struggles we would never let go of sin.

Video Conferencing

Greeting to all my followers:

I have been quite busy for the last couple weeks getting set up on Zoom which is a video conferencing program.  I  now have a license and we have been doing our Sunday Bible Study via Zoom for the past two weeks.  For those of you who are not familiar with Zoom or have little to no tech savvy, it is a program that does not require much knowledge of computers.  It is a means by which you can both see and hear each other as though you are in the same place, even though you may be thousands of miles apart.  Think of it as a telephone with a camera and multiple people can be on at the same time.  It has become very useful during this pandemic crisis.

I know that you have been impacted by the Coronavirus in many ways.  We are living through a life changing event that will impact us for some time.  Hopefully, you or your loved one do not have the virus, but even in that event, I know that there are many questions and few answers.  Life as we have known it may very well be changed permanently.  All of this is not bad news for there are some good things coming out of this event as well.  For example, we now have more time than we have ever had and can focus on those “other things” that we never could get around to.  We are forced to reevaluate our priorities and our attention is being placed on other things.  I know that there are many people that have been praying for revival all over the world for many years.  In order for revival to come, our grip on “things” had to be broken and this could be the time for real life changing revival.  When I had stage 4 cancer, I heard someone say, “don’t waste your crises”.  As a result I saw many wonderful things happen as a result of the cancer, and then came the amazing miracle of total healing from the cancer, now going on 8 years.

One of the benefits of this world wide crises is that video conferencing has become available for not cost.  I am now wondering if some of you would like to also connect via Zoom?  All you need is a computer, laptop or phone that is equipped with a camera and microphone as well as an email address.  If you will send me your email address and let me know that you would like to connect in a video conference, I will set up a meeting and we can see and talk with each other.  If you speak another language, we can chat because I have a translator.  My email address is  vball_one@hotmail.com .  If you will contact me I will send you and invitation to meet me on a video conference call and then I can walk you through the process as it is very easy to do and you don’t need to be an expert with the computer.  It will not be possible to use this service if your government has blocked you to the outside world.  I am also considering doing a weekly Bible Study video that you can watch but will not be able to participate with directly.  Please contact me via email or through this web site.  New things are ahead.  Life as we once knew it has once again changed.

Instructions On Life

Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

1Jo 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him

My wife and I have two favorite Bible teachers that we listen to regularly.  They are Chuck Swindoll and David Jeremiah.  This morning we were listening to Chuck Swindoll and he was teaching on raising children.  He made the point that we need to not just know about our children but that we should really get to know our children on the inside.  After the program, we were discussing his teaching and my wife made the point that one of the reasons that we have difficulty knowing our children is because we don’t know who we are either. 

The conversation then turned to the fact that this is a precipitating characteristic, in that I know who I am partly because of my parents teaching and how I am understood.  If my parents did not know who they were and did not know what values were critical for life, then I would struggle in knowing who I am.  Further, this knowledge comes only from God and His Word.  Therefore, it is critical that we study the Scriptures (Bible) to discover who we really are and what that means.

Another observation we made is that the basics, such as the importance of repetition; respect of authority; consequences; values; relationships; etc., are not emphasized, and in their place we substitute social values (how I am seen) and worldly values of personal gain, enjoyment and position.  Happiness is not a goal, but it is the product of choices. 

A third observation we made is that just one of the great benefits of regular Bible study is that it regulates and directs our prayer life.  All of the answers for what life is about and who I am are in the Bible and if we do not spend time in Scriptures we will only be guessing what the real answers are.  I can never know how to live until I discover the giver of life, Himself.  It is then that I discover His plan for me and how and why I was made. 

Sadly, too many Christians are like the ones in Hebrews 5:12 listed above who are like the baby birds in a nest that always want to be fed but contribute little to securing their own nourishment.  They continually look for someone else to package it in a manner that is entertaining, conclusive and simplified, that requires little from them.  The picture in their mind is that they are the audience at a worship service and the service is for them.  However, the Scripture paints an entirely different picture.  The observing audience is God who sees us following His Word in our individual roles.  We are there to give God glory and honor in the exercise of our faith in Him.  Some will do that by exhortation, some by music, some by carrying out different roles of the service but the one that is least understood and possibly the more important is that of the assembly that we call the audience.  What is their role?  It is multiple and universal in that there are several ways you can demonstrate your faith in God which is the purpose of everyone present.  You can demonstrate your faith in God by your giving.  It is your physical demonstration.  You can demonstrate your praise of God through music which is the expression of your heart.  You can demonstrate your faith in God through your reception and application to your practice, that is take it personal.  God is instructing you.  The preacher is not making the application but it is God, Himself speaking to you through His word.  You can apply your faith in God by your response to His Word in changing the direction of your life to conform to His Word.  That may require a response to the invitation but it may also require you to follow up on how you make decisions, express your love, help, etc.  The worst thing you can do in a worship service is to remain unchanged by the presence of God.  He is worthy of your worship.

We concluded our conversation with the second Scripture in I John 2:27.  There is not excuse I can find that allows me to go on through life floundering because I don’t know how to live.  If my parents didn’t know me well enough, they did teach me what they knew.  No parent knows it all so all of us are to take what we are given and add to that what we can gain.  We shouldn’t blame them because of their failure, rather we should thank God for giving them to us for what we got.  We shouldn’t blame the church because of their failure to provide us with simple answers for life requires us to apply ourselves. The answers have been provided by God, Himself in His Word.  Look again at this verse in I John.  You don’t need anyone to be your teacher for The Holy Spirit is your teacher.  Everyone born of the Spirit has the personal teacher, the Holy Spirit.  It does not matter what kind of situation you come from, whether it was a terrible environment, physical handicap, or even persecution; you have what you need to know what God wants you to know.  Even if you were born to unbelieving parents, in a place where the Scriptures are forbidden, and there are no missionaries and limited means of substance; if you will follow the light you have in doing what is right, it will lead you to know Him.  Where are your choices taking you? The most important choice is to choose to follow Christ and be born again and you will receive the Holy Spirit to guide you.

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.