The devil promises to GIVE you things, but he can only TAKE things. He can’t give anything. He’s a taker.
A promise is only as good as the person promising it.
If the source of your promise is, “the father of lies,” then perhaps it would be prudent to check the fine print. If the source of your promise is, Jehovah-Jireh “The Lord will provide” (Gen. 22:14) then perhaps it would be prudent to PRAISE HIS NAME!
The devil was a murderer from the beginning. His very dialect is lies. It’s his native language. There is no truth in him (John 6:63). Is this the type of person you want to make a promise with?
God is/was/will be a Creator from the beginning. His very dialect is life. It’s His native language. There are no lies in Him (Heb. 6:18-19). This IS the type of person you want to make a promise with!
God promises to TAKE things. He’ll take your pain, your hardship, and your fear. God promises to GIVE things. He’ll give you rest, love, and peace.
Why are we here? What’s the meaning of life? What is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?
Well, it’s not 42.
You know, philosophers have spent their entire lives trying to answer life’s big question. Poets have driven themselves insane looking to crack it. Artists have painted and sculpted interpretation after interpretation attempting to reveal it.
I don’t know what all the hubbub is about. Life’s biggest question has life’s simplest answer.
What is the purpose of life? Ok, here it is. Got something to write it down? Are you ready?
The reason we are here is: To glorify God. That’s it. Boom.
God created us for His own Glory, Isa.43:7.
There. Everyone can now rest their pounding heads. You’re welcome.
What did we ever do without GPS? Recently Britt and I went to visit my sister in South Carolina. We didn’t study a map. We didn’t plan out the trip. We just punched in the destination and trusted the GPS. In fact, there were even times that I said, “You know, this doesn’t look right… but, the GPS says to go this way, so… it must be right.” The GPS got us to my sister’s house safely AND at the exact moment it said it would. Amazing.
As Christians we have a built-in GPS of our own: The Holy Spirit. Jesus told the Apostles: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you… But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” John 16:7 & 13.
There is comfort in trusting that the GPS knows what its doing, isn’t there? It’s nice to have a reliable guide right there in the car with you. When you are looking for guidance in your spiritual journey, consult the Holy Spirit. He is there for Discernment, Guidance, and Comfort. Trust Him to get you where you need to go!
GPS stands for: Global Positioning Satellite/System. The Holy Spirit blows that out of the water! He is more than Global, He is Universal! He is Eternal. He is your Eternal Positioning System. But it doesn’t do much good to get the GPS out and then not use. It doesn’t do much good to ignore the GPS and go your own way!
Allow Him to Counsel you. Allow Him to Help you. He will get you safely where you need to go and at the exact moment you need to be there.
In D.A. Carson’s book, “The God Who Is There,” He says there are three main ways that people envision God.
• Model 1. The Soft Grandfather: “God is a benevolent gentleman with a long, flowing beard whose primary job is to be nice and to forgive us.“*
• Model 2. The Distant Deity: “God is incalculably huge and transcendently glorious. So of course you cannot expect him to concern himself with your two-bit existence down here.”*
• Model 3. The You-Scratch-My-Back-I’ll-Scratch-Yours God: “Provided you are good enough, you will get married. Provided you read your devotions every day, you will live a long life. And one day you will go to heaven.”*
None of these models align properly with the Bible.
Model 1 falls short because: Although God is Love, He is also Holy and Just. So when confronted with evil or sin, He is actually angry (Psalms 5:4-6). As Carson puts it, “The grandfather model puts us at the center of the universe and God’s role is to coddle us.”*
Model 2 falls short because: Although God IS huge, He is also intensely personal. If God is so distant and unconcerned, then why are the very hairs of my head numbered (Luke 12:7)?
Model 3 falls short because: It’s a barter system. You trade with someone who needs something you can offer. God doesn’t need anything. You cannot bribe Him. What we consider to be righteous acts are like filthy rags anyways (Isa. 64:6)!
(There is also the Model of God as a Watch-Maker. He made the watch, wound it up, and now leaves it to run on its own. Unfortunately, I think many hold this false view as well.)
So, how should we envision God then?
Turn with me to Acts 17:25. “And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”
God doesn’t need us, we need Him. We are here living and breathing and everything else – because God gives it. It is by His Sovereign Grace that anything and everything happens, including a relationship with Him.
This is a tricky subject and believe me, I don’t have all the answers. However, just because I can’t comprehend all of God, doesn’t mean I don’t trust Him fully or rely on Him completely.
• He is loving, yet just.
• He is incalculably huge, yet intensely personal.
• He doesn’t have any needs, yet He desires a relationship with us.
He is faithful. And I am thankful.
I’ll leave you to meditate on Numbers 6:24-26. This is a Biblical “picture” of who God is:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
My posts are generally pretty light. I believe in Jesus’s greatest commandment: Love each other as I have loved you, John 15:12. However, I don’t want to shortchange you. So, here it is, The Hard Truth:
If you are not saved, this is the best it’s gonna get. This is your heaven. So live it up. ‘Cause it’s only gonna get worse. A lot worse.
I’m talking Epic worse.
If you are saved, this is the worst it’s gonna get. This is your hell. So keep your chin up. ‘Cause it’s only gonna get better. A lot better.
I’m talking Epic better!
While you walk and breathe, it is never too late to turn back to the Father. He is anxiously waiting on the edge of the field for his child to return, Luke 15:20. But once God sanctions your heart to beat it’s last, then that’s all she wrote. Game Over. No do-overs.
Then there will be judgement. God is all about Love. But, God is also all about Justice. “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Cor. 5:10
That’s it. No candy-coated happy-go-lucky froufrou. No God is a pushover that will let me get away with being a spoiled little brat my whole life.
God “hates with a passion” those who are wicked, Psalms 11:4-7. That’s the NIV. The KJV says, “his soul hateth” the wicked. Psalms 5:4-6 says God “detests” the bloodthirsty, the deceitful, and those who tell lies. “Evil people are not welcome. The arrogant cannot stand in Your Presence. You hate all who do wrong.”
Jesus said “If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.”John 15:10. Let us never forget that we serve a Loving God but also a God of Justice. This is serious business.
Sorry for the tough love but tickling your ear doesn’t do you any favors. And you know what, I’m not sorry. So, there.
Just the other day, I came home from work and discovered that my dog, Annie, decided she would turn her nice bed into tiny little pieces and then spread it all over the room. She also thought it would be fun to chew up a laundry basket and then shred some paper while she was at it. Hey, once you start, why not go all in.
Needless to say, this was not the homecoming I was looking forward to.
I had gone out of my way, to make a nice, comfortable space for Annie. She had the entire garage actually. It was equipped with a super-nice dog bed, multiple chew-toys, and treats. In her mind, however, the chew-toys and treats did not look as appetizing as her bed, a laundry basket, and a bunch of paper. I can only surmise that in her mind, I had left her alone, abandoned her without revisions, and couldn’t care less how she was doing.
Here’s the kicker: just moments later, she was begging for some pizza that I was eating. I looked at her and actually said out loud, “You’ve got to be kidding me. After how bad you’ve been today, you expect a treat from me? Are you out of your dog-mind?!” (What? You talk to your dog like a human too, right?)
Lately I’ve been studying Jeremiah. This situation made me think of Jeremiah 3:4 & 5. This is Jeremiah speaking for God to the Israelites: “Have you not just called to me: ‘My Father, my friend from my youth, will you always be angry? Will your wrath continue forever?’ This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can.”
Are we constantly complaining to God? Why did this happen? Why did that happen? Yet, we do all the mischief that we can. We try to get away with as much as we can! Then we have the nerve to ask God for His favor. God has got to be saying, “You’re kidding, right? Look at the mess you’re making! Can you not just love Me and follow My Son’s example? I have not abandoned you. The rules I gave you are for your benefit. They are meant to free you, not to enslave you. Don’t you realize that I love you? Don’t you realize that I am coming back soon!”
Truth be told, I did share my pizza with Annie.
Even after she went against my commands. Even after she did whatever she wanted. Even after she created a big mess. I couldn’t resist her.
I love her, even when she’s very bad… which is a lot.
This has become my life verse. It is what I live by: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”Matt. 5:14-16.
I used to treat my faith, my beliefs… my God as something… personal. It was a private matter. You know, society tells you: “Avoid politics and religion in polite conversation.” It’s a touchy subject. People’s feathers get ruffled. So, keep it to yourself. Keep it internal. That’s between me and God.
Then I read Matt. 5:14-16 and it was like a lightning bolt to my heart. It leveled me. It left me in tears. It changed my whole life.
You don’t buy a lamp and then put it under the table. Who in the world would ever do that? You put that lamp where everyone can see it. You put it in a special place so the whole room is lit up. Without that lamp, the room is in darkness. You would stumble around and bump into everything. Turn the lamp on… and suddenly the room is easier to navigate.
My love for God and my service to Him is too big to hide under the table. It’s too important to me to keep it internal. Sorry, if bringing up Jesus Christ makes you uncomfortable because it makes me uncomfortable NOT bringing up Jesus.
You can’t hide a city on a hill. It’s impossible. It’s up there, man. It’s lit up for all the valley to see. Why would you even want to hide it? What do you want to do? Move it? Dig a big hole and bury that city underground? Who wants to live like that? You’ve taken the thing that makes that city so beautiful and snuffed it out.
So, the lamps in my room are all on the table. The city where I live is not hidden. In fact, we’ve added new brighter lights and a “bat signal” light like in Batman. We might even have fireworks tonight, I don’t know. But I can tell you this: We aren’t hard to find.
As an avid P90X user, I can tell you that the old adage: “You get OUT,what you put IN,” is absolutely true. I mean, you can get by with only doing Plyometrics half way, but what’s the point? Why even do it if you’re not willing to give it 100%? If you want maximum gains, you have to give maximum effort. If you kinda sorta try, you kinda sorta get results. Anything less is sort of… a waste of time.
Many Christians want maximum gains without putting in the maximum effort.
“I don’t feel God’s presence.” “It’s like God is not listening to my prayers.” “My faith is not as strong as it once was.”
Ever have questions like these? I know I have.
Well, instead of asking God questions, let’s ask ourselves some hard questions: Have I been spending time in study and meditation? Have I been putting in the time in prayer. Let’s get serious, have I been giving God my 100%?
P90X requires dedication and commitment. Without dedicating myself and committing to the grueling schedule, I cannot complain about what kind of shape I am in. The harder I work at it, the better the results.
Let’s be more intentional with our service to the Lord. Let’s be more dedicated to cultivating a relationship with Him. Let’s commit to giving Jesus our 100%. Then we can sit back and watch God do some awesome new work!
If my wife agreed to go on a walk with me and then took off in a different direction, would you say we were walking together?
Amos 3:3 asks a similar question.
To walk together, you have to be in agreement. Our “walk” with Jesus is a metaphor for our way of life, but it’s also ture literally. There are many accounts of people walking with God; Adam & Eve, Noah, and Enoch. Jacob even wrestled God!
How is your walk with God? Are you in agreement? Or have you taken off in a different direction. If so, like the Matt Maher song says, “All you gotta do is turn around.”