Tag Archives: God

He calls

The Father

1 Corinthians 1:9  God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

We like to make much of what we do for God and what we’ve done to change since becoming Christians, but we leave out how much of the work was done by God himself.  Much of what we take credit for was initiated by Him and we merely carried out what He called us to do.  Let’s step aside for the moment and consider His calling.

God calls us into fellowship with himself through Jesus.  He wants us to be His.  He’s a loving Father who adores us and would have us all follow Him in love.  He calls us into good works.  He wants to see us do something with our faith, not just believe but show our love for Him by serving others and serving Him.  We’re His vessels here on earth to do His will, but it requires us letting Him have control of the wheel.

He calls us to repentance.  God wants us to seek after Him with a sorrow for the things we’ve done to keep us from Him.  We can’t serve sin and God, so when it comes down to it, He’s calling us to genuinely give up the sin and follow Him.  He calls us to holiness.  We can’t be perfect, but we can be in a right relationship with God through Christ.  Holiness and righteousness are His in which to cloak us and we receive them when we follow Him.  He calls each of us to ministry.  Not all of us will leave our careers and become pastors and preachers, but we all have a ministry in which God can use us to expand His kingdom and bring glory unto himself.

He’s calling even now.  There’s something tugging on your heart that you know you ought to do.  You read something in God’s Word that the Holy Spirit emphasized in your heart.  You are being called and your response does not mean that you are doing anything on your own.  Your answer to the call is out of obedience.

He created

The Father

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Any discussion of God the Father has to begin…in the beginning.  God existed before there was time and then, He created time.  This is confusing to almost anyone and we won’t spend much time discussing eternality, but the basis of discussing God is the creation of time and all things in existence.  Before He spoke it, it didn’t exist.

Clearly, Jesus played a role in creation. Colossians and the Gospel of John make that very clear.  But God the Father has the authority to speak things into existence, and so it was with the creation of the world.  He spoke, and there was light.  He spoke and there was night and there was day.  He spoke, and His words were so powerful that whatever He said happened.  Now why is it again that we question whether God is powerful enough to help us in our lives?

There was nothing but Him, and then there was what He created.  That’s pretty simple, yet it’s so incredibly complicated. How did God exist from eternity if nothing else existed?  How did creation take place?  Was it a big bang?  These are honestly mysteries that aren’t going to be answered easily. We can never know everything about God, but we do know this, our Father set the universe in place, and all things hold together because of Him.  We can rely on Him for all of our lives’ issues.

 

True security

Psalm 91:2  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

Just as we seek satisfaction and pleasure in meaningless things in this life, we also seek security in equally meaningless things.  We have a tendency to think that having enough money will keep us safe from disaster or unhappiness, that enough respect will keep us free from loneliness, that enough power will keep us secure from threats.

But the day comes for everyone when that stuff isn’t enough.  The economy tanks, a mistake is made that ruins a hard-earned reputation, the job that seemed stable is lost.  These things, for all they promise, can’t provide security.  Only he who puts his trust in the Lord will find true refuge.

God is able to be our shelter from life’s hurts, our fortress from attack, our deliverer from danger.  Only He is enough.  Only He can live up to the promise of security.  Dwell in Him and He will prove faithful.

———-  Think of one thing that you’ve put your trust in, only to have it fail to live up to its promises. Now compare that to God’s faithfulness shown in Scripture.

To God be the glory

1 Corinthians 10:31  So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

What is the meaning of life?  It’s a question that’s been asked throughout the ages.  What am I here for?  Why did God make me?  These questions will be asked for many ages to come, yet the answers are right before us.  They aren’t hidden from us.  Within God’s Word is the meaning of life.

Many attempts have been made, many guesses at the meaning of life.  From the simple yet naïve “Happiness” to the more discerning “helping others”, we’ve tried to figure it all out.  But we need not guess.  God did not leave this question open-ended.  He spoke and we should listen.

We’re told repeatedly in the Bible that all things were made by God and for God (Colossians 1:16, Romans 11:36).  This includes us.  You and I were made by God for God’s glory.  We’re made in His image! (Genesis 1:27)  I love how Psalm 8 describes God’s creation and our relationship to it. Salvation comes from Him and Him alone.  Not one of us is worthy of one bit of the glory. We are the created but He is the Creator, the Sanctifier, the Redeemer, the Savior.

None of this is by accident, none of it coincidence.  We’re all created with a purpose and that purpose is God’s.  We’re here for Him.  So what do we do?  Live like it!  Whatever we do: when we work, when we play, when we create, when we marry…when we die…  We can do it all for the glory of our God.

 

God Helps Those…

overcastJohn 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

One of the most often quoted theological statements is “God helps those who help themselves”. The troubling thing about basing one’s view of God on this idea is that it’s just not biblical (The statement itself is most often attributed to Benjamin Franklin). One of the main themes of the Bible is that man is incapable of helping himself. Apart from God we are depraved, unable to life ourselves out of the pit that sin has led us to. We cannot help ourselves.

But God, in His sovereignty, chooses to help us anyway. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). In other words, He helped us though we were not helping ourselves. Even if we tried to gain some ground without God, our best efforts are useless (Isaiah 64:6). Our Lord knew we would be helpless. His plan is to be our refuge, our shelter (Isaiah 25:4), our comforter (John 14:16), our advocate (1 John 2:1). The list goes on. Why would God have such descriptive names of one who defends and provides for the helpless if we were able to doing anything for ourselves?

Secular theology may find it reasonable to accept that we must do something to earn God’s favor, but to the Christian it’s irreconcilable with The Word. God helps those who cannot help themselves. Find rest in that. Live with that hope.

Fix your mind on God

lightstock_152996_medium_user_3963721Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

The saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” This is as true of the heart as it is of the mind. If we fill up our lives with the wrong stuff, there’s no more room for the right stuff.

This past week, as I was teaching the elementary school aged kids in church, I spoke on this topic. I talked about Romans 12:2 and being transformed by the renewal of your mind and how that meant that you need to spend time with God daily by reading what He has said in His Word. We talked about how we can have peace in times of fear or comfort in times of worry if we have our minds set on the Lord. Sensing that the kids were getting it, but needed a bit more, I gave an analogy.

If we were to only feed our bodies once a week, we’d be incredibly weak and may even starve. That would be nonsense, yet we do it spiritually by not spending time in the Word more than once or twice a week. How could we expect to know God’s will or to have peace when we haven’t been with the one who leads and comforts? It’s ludicrous.

The truth is, to be truly healthy mentally, we’ve got to have the right thoughts. In order to have the right thoughts, we’ve got to put the right things into our mind. We’ve got to feed our minds with the Scriptures, our spiritual food. That’s how we stay fixed on God.

Can I challenge you, if you’re not already reading the Bible daily to start with a Bible reading plan? There are some great ones available online.

Meet with God daily

lightstock_152996_medium_user_3963721
Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.

 

 

 

 

In the world of Christianity, we’ve come to refer to prayer time spent with God as “quiet time,” but in my life there’s very little time that could be qualified as “quiet.” With three little kids running around, it’s not easy to etch out time for a daily devotional time. Waking up earlier is not always an option, because certain kids in my home (who shall remain unnamed) wake up at incredibly early hours. So am I doing this quiet time thing all wrong? Am I less of a Christian if I don’t follow the many people who get up SO early and spend that time dedicated to the Lord?

The thing is, when we boil down time with God to a few minutes first thing in the morning, we do two things: 1) we cause people who don’t do well at that to feel very guilty or like a failure, and 2) we make prayer to our Father into something that can just be checked off of a list. Time with God is so much more than something to get us going in the morning, though it’s a great way to start the day. It’s an ongoing conversation throughout the day with Him.

Reality check: All that said, if we don’t take some time every day to intentionally meet with God, it may never happen at any other time during the day. If you’re like me, that may not mean you do “quiet time” when you first wake up. I’m willing to be that many of you, like me, don’t function at all until the first cup of coffee has been consumed. I spend time with God after I’m capable of processing what I’m reading from His Word and able to communicate coherently in prayer. Maybe that’s not the way everyone does it, but the important thing is that I spend time with my Lord every day.

He’s always got something to say to me, and I’ve always got something to say to Him. It’s time well spent. Better than anything else I could be doing, as a mater of fact. If you don’t take specific time to meet with God daily, will you give it a try? Start today.

Everlasting to Everlasting

Psalm 90:2  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Our God is eternal.  He has existed from before time and will continue in existence for all eternity.  From everlasting to everlasting He is God.  You’ve probably heard this truth before, but have you taken the time to meditate on it?

There’s assurance in the fact that the God to whom we belong has always been and will always be.  He knew you before there was a you.  He’s aware of your every struggle and He cares about your every pain.

Unlike the false gods of this world, our God lives and cannot die.  He is present in your life and seeks a deeper relationship with you, His child.  Take comfort in knowing that the Creator of all things has everything under His control.  He is capable of being our dwelling place because He is eternal and unchanging.  Abide in Him.

Continue reading Everlasting to Everlasting

Falling from grace

Galatians 5:1-6 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

What does it mean to “fall from grace”?  We have this impression in our minds that when someone commits a serious sin or gets found out for some secret sin, that all of a sudden grace is gone and the person is left to the wolves, unable to be saved.  But when that person is already saved, when that person has already been forgiven for every sin they’ll ever commit…how can they “fall from grace?”  This is contradictory to the gospel.

I was reading a book earlier today called Jesus + Nothing = Everything (I highly recommend reading it), and one part in particular struck me.  It struck me because I had never thought of things in the terms of the author, but they were no less true.  He pointed out the passage I’ve quoted up above and caused the reader to look at the part where Paul tells the Galatians that some have fallen from grace.  Notice he doesn’t say that they fell from grace because of some heinous sin.  He says they fell from grace because they accepted legalism as a way to salvation.  Legalism is the enemy of grace.  It is literally the WORST enemy of grace.

For those of us who have been redeemed by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, those of us who have saved by grace through faith, we have been set free.  That freedom means we’re not under legalism anymore.  We’re not under the yolk of slavery that legalism brings.  We’re free to obey the law, not oppressed by it.  So when we fail and miss a step, either intentionally or unintentionally, it doesn’t mean that Jesus’ grace doesn’t still cover us.  His grace is sufficient for all our sins, for all time.  No sin can separate us from Him once we’ve already been justified and found not guilty.  He already paid the price for our sin, so we can’t just fall away from His grace because we did something wrong.  No, we can only fall from grace in one way.  If we don’t trust in Him alone for that justification.

When we begin to think that it’s Jesus plus some other act or ritual that gets us to God, we’re not accepting grace, we’re trying to win God’s favor through our actions.  That’s just not the way things work.  He forgives us in one way and it’s through Jesus.  When Christ died, the holy, sinless Son of God took on the sin of the whole world and bore the punishment for us all.  In exchange, when we believe in Him for our salvation, we gain His righteousness, the perfect standing before God that only someone who has lived a perfect life can every receive.  Because He already won the victory, we don’t have to worry about losing His grace.

God’s grace is powerful.  It’s so powerful that once we’ve received it, we’re set free in a way that nothing else could achieve.  His grace is enough.  We don’t have to add to it.  We’re not only saved by His grace, He continually works on us through His grace (sanctification) and ultimately brings us to Himself through grace.  We can depend on that, we don’t need to depend on ourselves to earn standing with God.

Our refuge

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Where do you turn when things get tough? Your answer to that question reveals a lot about your faith. Do you put your trust in things that can’t deliver? Do you find comfort from that which cannot guarantee it? There’s only one safe place to turn. God is our refuge.

The very same God who spared Noah’s family from the flood, delivered His people into the promised land, defeated an army using only 300 men, and sent a Savior to earth will be there in your struggles. He’s there fore you in your loss, in your surprising diagnosis, your layoff, or your broken relationship. You can turn to Him when you’re hurt, afraid, worried, depressed, confused, or unsure. He’s been there. He understands your needs, frustrations, and heart-felt desires.

Your heavenly Father can deliver on anything because He owns it all. Most of all, He can provide comfort. That other stuff – money, therapy, alcohol – none of them make a good refuges in which to take shelter. Only in the arms of your loving Father can you truly be safe and secure. He loves you, He cares for you, and He’s available anytime you need Him.