How Do You Envision God?

Acts 17:25
Acts 17:25

How do you envision God?

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.

He longs to bless us, keep us, and give us peace.

May God’s Love be with you

*”The God Who Is There” D.A. Carson

The Nerve

Jeremiah 3:4,6
Jeremiah 3:4,6

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.

May God’s Love be with you

Short Distance Relationship

James 4:8
James 4:8

Long distance relationships stink. Anyone who’s ever gone through one will tell you: They are hard and most of them don’t work. Hey, relationships are tough no matter what. Add distance to the equation, and you are almost doomed.

You wouldn’t make a relationship with someone you loved long distance on purpose, would you? Why make a relationship harder if it doesn’t have to be? You want the person you love as close as possible. If it was in your power to close that gap, you would. Right?

Jesus wants a close, SHORT DISTANCE relationship with you. He wants to be the first person you turn to in need. He wants to be there to comfort and guide you. He doesn’t want to be a world away. He doesn’t want to be the fourth or fifth or sixth person you go to. He knows what’s best for you, He knows God’s plan for you, and He wants nothing more than for you to succeed… so He can spend even more time with you.

It is you and I that create the distance. I say, “create,” because, it isn’t there until we put it there. We disconnect. We disengage. We cut the lines of communication. Jesus is always there. Always waiting. Always hoping. He is there waiting and hoping that we reach out to Him.

Skype is cool. Facetime is really neat. But there’s nothing quite like spending time with someone in person.

Take out your daily planner and set aside 10 mins every morning. 10 mins to just catch up with the Lord. Now, once it’s on the schedule, it’s on the schedule. There’s something about actually writing it down that makes it… more official. Know what I mean? You can’t break it… unless, of course, something more important than Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God comes up… then, by all means, take it instead. (Thanks to my Pastor, Dr. Rev. David Cyphers for this practical application.)

Long distance relationships stink. Jesus doesn’t want that. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” It’s in your power to close the gap. All it takes is that first step.

May God’s Love be with you

Up To You

Acts 26:28,29
Acts 26:28,29

It’s not my job to get you to believe in Jesus.

It’s not my job to “sell” you on Him. It’s not my job to make Him as appealing as possible so maybe, if I’m lucky, (fingers crossed!) you’ll give Him a try.

It is my job to tell you about Him. It’s my job to help you realize what Paul realized when he said, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Phil. 3:8 (New Living Translation)

It’s really up to you.

  • It’s up to you if you’ve continued reading this far.
  • It’s up to you if you think this is all nonsense.
  • It’s up to you if you let Him into your heart.
  • It’s up to you where you will spend eternity.
  • It’s up to you, not me.

King Agrippa told Paul that he was “almost persuaded.” (Acts 26:28,29) Almost doesn’t cut it. “Almost” might as well be “Not At All.” Paul gave his witness and then it was up to Agrippa. The ball was in his court. And he dropped it. Big time.

It’s not my job to get to you to believe in Jesus, but I’d be happy to help! Jesus is with me to the end of the age. (Matt. 28:19-20) Is He with you?

May God’s Love be with you always

Spinach In My Teeth

Gal. 6:1
Gal. 6:1

What if you had a bright-green glob of spinach stuck right in the middle of your two front teeth? Then you went the whole day and no one told you. Wouldn’t you wonder, with all the people you came into contact with that day, why no one told you?!

If someone did tell you, it would probably be embarrassing at first. It might even make you feel stupid. However, later on, you would thank them. Right?

If no one told me, I would think that the whole day, people were actually ignoring it. They had to have been distracted by this giant glaring piece of vegetable lodged in my teeth! Oh, you know they saw it, right? I mean, there’s no mistaking it!

Well, it takes guts to tell someone there is something stuck in their teeth. The whole time you’re thinking, “Should I tell them? Nah, it’s not that bad. Maybe someone else will tell them. Maybe it will become loose and just fall out on its own. How do they not know? Look at it! Wow, its huge!… Great, too much time has gone by and it would look weird if I mentioned it now. Ok, this is making me uncomfortable. WAIT! Maybe I’ve got something in MY teeth! AHHHH!”

If I did tell you had spinach in your teeth, how would you respond?

“MY TEETH? Look at YOUR TEETH! You think YOUR TEETH are so clean? They are just as bad as mine! Not to mention your breath! I’ve been meaning to tell you: Your breath is pretty rank, buddy. Why don’t you use some mouthwash? THEN come back and tell me about MY terrible spinach infestation!”
Of course not. You and I are not like that, are we? We would thank that person and get that dastardly spinach out of our teeth right then and there and FOREVER! Right?

I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. Pride is a funny thing. It can topple even the strongest person. It can blind even the brightest of people. We have to fill ourselves with the Holy Word of God and align our steps with His only Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. That’s the only way any of us even have a chance.

And if someone loves you enough to tell you that you have spinach in your teeth? Thank them. Thank them for being so brave and honest.

God Bless!
#BearOneAnothersBurdens
Ref: Galatians 6:1

Let Go and Let God

Psalms 55:22
Psalms 55:22

Well, I’ve done everything I can do. Nothing left for me to do but pray, I guess.

Ever hear that? Ever say that? To be honest, I have. I’ve thought and/or said that very same thing myself many times.

Psalms 55:22 says “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.

My wife said something the other day that really struck a chord with me, “Let Go and Let God!” How simple. How true.

But, how difficult!

Let Go

and

Let GOD!

Give God the reigns of your life. He is a much better driver anyways. Letting go is hard for us humans, isn’t it? We have to be in control of everything. It’s almost as if we’re admitting defeat if we let someone else take over. If someone is more qualified, then why not? And if anyone is more qualified, it’s the LORD. Why is this such a struggle?! It’s OK to let God in. It’s OK to let Him be the deciding factor.

Allowing God full access to your life doesn’t mean you will be without hardship. In fact, it all but guarantees it. The more the world senses you are a Child of The King, the more it will hate you. The more it will sniff you out. The more it will try to crush you. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18. “You will be hated because of me” Matt. 10:22.

So, be ready.

Think of it this way, Jesus was the first to say Let go and let God! He prayed the hardest prayer: “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42

Submission to the Father is scary but it’s the only thing that leads to ultimate peace and joy. John 16:33 says it all. Look it up. Memorize it. Live it.

Let go and let God! God Bless!

#LetGoAndLetGod #YHWH

Read Something Else

Read Something Else TodayBy the time you’re done reading this sentence, you may feel convicted. Leave this page and go to the real page. Read something worth reading today.

All the rest of this stuff is just filler.

Get into The Word today!

You can read 1 John in three minutes. I’ll time you. Go!

God Bless!

How to not be disappointed

Romans 9:33
Romans 9:33 • mrpatvincent.com

How to not be disappointed:

In Romans 9:33, Paul says there will be a rock that will trip some people. However, people who believe in that same rock will not be disappointed. The rock here is obviously Jesus.

I found it strange to think of Jesus as something negative: a stumbling block? Offensive? I don’t think so! Jesus is my Cornerstone! He is my Foundation! He helps me stand up! He does not cause me to fall down. However, it is all contigent on my hope in Him, on my belief in Him, and my love of Him.

Those who do not believe in Jesus will trip over him. Then it is negative. They will be offended by him.

Have you ever been in a conversation that was going just fine and then you mention Jesus, or God,… or heaven forbid: the Holy Spirit? That will put the brakes on any conversation quick and in a hurry. Suddenly it becomes awkward. The air is let out and people get claustrophobic. People get uncomfortable. Why is that? We can talk about everything under the sun, except The Son. Non-Christians don’t mind talking to Christians about non-Christians things. So why do Christians tiptoe around non-Christians?

Anyone who puts their faith in the Rock of Zion will “not be disappointed.” They will not be let down, wahsed out or discouraged. Instead, they will be vindicated. They will be comforted, blessed, and delighted. Paul was quoting Isaiah. Now there’s a man who knew a thing or two about society’s trepidation regarding Jesus! I’m sure he had numerous conversations that went sour. I’m sure he was on the business end of many eye rolls and people nervously staring at their sandals.

I’m also 100% sure that he was not in the least bit disappointed about any of it.

God bless.
#stumblingblock #believe #therock #Jesus #firmfoundation