Who’s “God” Anyway?

who is godWhen I contrast much of the preaching that I am hearing these days with what I read in the Bible, that is the question that pops until my mind! The King James Version of Psalms 100:3 says: “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Do you see that? It is he that made us, not the other way around! Now I know that there are those that advocate that the concept of God is a human construct, but that seems highly unlikely! It is obvious to me that the God of the Bible is not the invention of humanity because the God of the Bible judges the sin of humanity. It’s just basic human nature to take the path of least resistance, therefore if the God of the Bible was a human construct, that God would not judge humanity’s sin.

But it is because the God of the Bible is a holy and just God that humanity has a problem with God! Man by nature, does not aspire to live up to the standards of God, but rather man attempts to lower God to the standards of man! You can call me homophobic, archaic, or insensitive if you want to, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Bible is very clear on God’s view of homosexuality. Not only is the Bible clear that homosexuality is sin, but it is also clear that other sexual activities, such as adultery, fornication, bestiality, and pornography are also sins! There is much controversy these days about homosexuality, but the truth of the matter is that the adulterer or the fornicator who points a condemning finger at the homosexual is a case of the kettle calling the pot black! In fact, the Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When we read that text in the Greek, we discover that the Greek word that is translated as “fallen short” is parsed as a present passive plural verb! So that text, more properly says that all have sinned and “are falling short” of the glory (God’s idea standard) of God! So the truth of the matter is none of us has the right to point a finger at anybody else with the attitude of being more right than anyone else! However, the fact we don’t have the right to condemn one another does not negate the fact that we do have the right and the responsibility to call sin, sin!

Now this post was not written to discuss the rights and wrongs of sexual life-styles. I merely introduced that topic to illustrate the point that in many cases, man wants to be his own God! He wants to set standards to appease his depraved mind! He does not want to change to please God, but rather he wants to remain as he is and change God to please himself!

But the fact remains: God is God! It is God that made us, we didn’t make God! And no matter how we twist and manipulate scripture, it will not negate that fundamental fact! We can call wrong right as long as we want to, but calling wrong right doesn’t make wrong right!

Who’s God anyway? In spite of man’s attempts to usurp the authority of God, God is still God! If you don’t believe God is still God, take that same alarm clock that you think woke you up this morning down to your local funeral home and see if it will wake up anybody there! Who is God? The God of the Bible is still God and always will be!

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Some “Other” Lessons From Job

Job

The story of Job in the Bible is known for its teachings on faith and patience, but did you know that there are some other lessons we can learn from the story of Job? Here are just a few that I’ve learned that I want to share with you.

First of all, I think the story of Job teaches us that trouble is a trust! Note that God bragged on Job and was confident that no matter what happened, Job would remain faithful! That teaches us that not only are we to have faith in God, but God also has faith in us! Therefore, trouble is a trust! Whatever we’re confronted with, if God was not confident that we could handle it, God would have never allowed us to be confronted with it! So whatever you’re facing today, you can be confident in the fact that God would have never brought you to it if He thought you couldn’t get through it! We may waver in our faith in God, but God never waivers in His faith in us! So stop complaining about your troubles and understand that the presence of trouble in your life is a sign of the trust of God.

Another lesson we can learn from the story of Job is the fact that our lives are not really about us! Ultimately, whatever happens in our lives, God wants it to be for His glory! Your success, your prosperity, your blessings are not about you! According to Paul, God works everything together for the good of those who love the Lord and who are the called according to his purpose. The good that Paul spoke of was not our comfort, but rather that we might be conformed to the image of His dear Son (Jesus). So, ultimately, everything that happens in the life of a Christian, God uses it to shape that Christian into the image of Jesus.

We can also learn from Job that there is always more going on than what we can see or comprehend! Sometimes we don’t know the reason, but we can rest assured that there is one! It is at that point that we have to (as the old folks used to say where I come from) trust God even when we can’t trace Him! Don’t ever think you know the whole story! There will always be the “X-factors” or the unknown variables; that’s just the way life is!

There are many other lessons we can learn from the story of Job, but these are just a few that jumped out at me. There is much more to the story than just the patience of Job and we would do well to learn some of the other lessons as well.

God Doesn’t Come To Take Sides: God Comes To Take Over!

God in ChargeThere is an interesting meeting that happened in the Bible (Joshua 5:13-15) on the evening prior to the Battle of Jericho. The Bible says that Joshua was out on a recognizance mission when he encountered a man with a drawn sword in his hand. The man looked pretty impressive to Joshua and so Joshua figured that whichever side this warrior was fighting on, that side was bound to win the battle! So Joshua asked the man: “Are you for us, or are you for our enemies?” The man replied, “Nay, but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come!” In other words, the man said to Joshua; “I didn’t come to takes sides; I came to take over!”

Well, in light of that, I am amazed today by the number of people and groups who strongly advocate that God is on their side. I even read of a preacher who made a prophecy prior to this year’s Super Bowl that God had revealed to him that the Denver Broncos would win the game. As I read about this, I begin to reflect upon how trivial we have made the deep things of God. But God cannot be manipulated by men! God is not a Republican,neither is God a Democrat. God is not a liberal nor is God a conservative! God is not even an American and God is certainly not a Denver Bronco or a Seattle Seahawk! When we seek to align God with our various groups, ideologies, political parties, philosophies or even sports teams, we fail to recognize a fundamental fact about God. God is sovereign! God is the “Holy Other!” God is above and beyond all of our clichés and classifications!

The real question today, no matter what political or ideological view we might hold, is not whether or not God is on our side. The real question is whether or not we are on God’s side! We must always remember that God doesn’t come to take sides in our human affairs; God comes to take over! God is not in the business of pushing or even helping us to push our various agendas because God has an agenda of his own! God’s agenda is the Kingdom of God: The rule and reign of God!  Everything God does is for His glory and His Kingdom! Remember!  God doesn’t come to takes sides; God comes to take over!

In The Name Of Jesus

In Jesus Name

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”

John 14:13-14 KJV

“And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.”

Jeremiah 14:14 ESV

There is not a Sunday that goes by and there is not any time when one can engage in or hear conversation with people who profess to be Christians that you will not hear the phrase: “In the name of Jesus.”  People use the phrase a lot and use it to justify just about anything they do “for” God, but the question is: Do they really know what the phrase: “In the name of Jesus” really means? I have a sneaking suspicion that most people who say it really don’t!

We have made it and use it as a religious phrase, but it is actually a legal phrase. It is not a magical formula like “abbra-ca-dab-bra” or “open-says-a-me” that gives power or authority to whatever is tacked on to it! The term: “In the name of Jesus” is the use of the power of attorney. When one has the power of attorney, they are legally authorized to act and/or transact business in   the name of someone else. In other words, if you have been given the power of attorney, whatever you do in the name of person who gave you the power of attorney, the law looks upon it as if the person actually did it themselves. When you function in their name, you function as their authorized representative to transact business in their stead and on their behalf.

In the legal field, the power of attorney is carefully spelled out with stipulations as to what a person can and cannot do with it. So it is also in terms of using the name of Jesus. What we can and cannot do is spelled out in the Bible, which is the legal document of the Kingdom of God. We can’t just do anything in the name of Jesus! We can only do those things that we have been authorized to do! When we function in the name of Jesus, we act on Christ’s behalf and God looks at whatever we do in Jesus’ name as if Jesus was doing it himself! Hence, anything that is done in the name of Jesus must be consistent with the character, purpose, and will of Jesus. So, I can’t kill anyone in the name of Jesus, because killing someone is inconsistent with the character, purpose and will of Jesus. So, just saying we are doing something in the name of Jesus doesn’t make it so! It is only done in the name of Jesus if: (1) We have been authorized to do it and (2) It is consistent with the character, purpose and will of Jesus.

We should be careful in using the name of Jesus, for in using that name, we represent ourselves to be his representatives, transacting his business on earth on his behalf! We don’t want to be guilty of practicing Christianity without a license or of being unauthorized representatives of the Lord.