Posts Tagged ‘God’

friends

April 21, 2010

I was in a familiar situation yesterday – looking for something that I knew was in the room but I couldn’t quite find.  And I repeated that familiar prayer, “Lord, you know where it is and I don’t.  Please show me where to look.”

I know a few things about God.

For one, he is not on my time schedule.  In fact, I’m pretty sure he thinks it’s funny how much I worry about time.

Another thing; he knows what I really need, and that’s frequently different than what I think we need.

One final thing I’ve noticed about him.  He wants to spend time with me, just like any good friend.  If I don’t make the time, sometimes he’ll do it for me.

So that’s where the game started.  I say game, because that’s exactly what it was – God was playing with me.  He knew I was in a big hurry to get the thing I was looking for.  People were depending on me.  I’d committed to be at a certain place at a certain time with some equipment.  So I asked him, “Should I look over here?”

“No”, he said.

“Ok, back here then?”

“Ok”

This went on for a couple hours.  By then end I’d found several items not on my “things I need”  list – but which turned out to be critical for what I was doing.  Also he opened my eyes to his plans for my near future that I’d been wondering about – but plans not-at-all related to my pressing dilemma.  And of course, he did finally point me to the thing I originally asked about.  It was in plain view in a place I’d looked before I’d even prayed.

I drove away literally laughing about the good time we had, just hanging out with my best friend, God.  My sense was that he enjoyed it too.

I was extraordinarily late for my appointment.  And it was somehow no problem at all.

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the accusative case

April 7, 2010

I was listening to a youtube by Zo Rachel of Macho Sauce Productions and realized something new.   Revelation 12:10 calls Satan “the accuser of the brethren”, and he certainly is that.  But the first accusation we know of wasn’t against man but against God.

In Genesis 3:1-5 the serpent first implies that Eve can’t trust God, and then that God is holding out on her.  His insinuation is that God somehow has a selfish purpose for keeping her from something that is her right and destiny.

As my friend Mike Johnson says, “God doesn’t owe you nuthin!”, but how many times have we sided with Satan and treated God as if he is keeping us from something good and desirable?  These days  he rarely rains down fire from heaven or has the earth open up to swallow people alive, but it’s a wonder to me how he restrains himself.  How would you feel if you’d rescued someone from certain destruction, then set them up with a nice living, only to have them hurl accusations at you?

I’ve observed mothers bound by a spirit of rejection as they attempt to pass that spirit on to the next generation.  They do it by storing up accusations against the children’s father and rehearsing those accusations regularly in the children’s ears.  Satan set the pattern for that in his first interaction with humanity, and his accusations since then haven’t weakened – or changed.

flip side

June 11, 2009

image borrowed from wearearising.org

It seems to me that two common fallacies about the Kingdom of God are opposites

  • one: there is something i need to do so God will be okay with me
  • two: God will bless me  because he loves me unconditionally

Want a picture?  Go back to the Bible!

Start with Leviticus 16 – Yom Kipur, the day of atonement, one of the biggest days on the Jewish calendar.  Where were the people?  In Jerusalem?  Nope!  At their local synagogue?  Nope (God never told them to go to their local synagogue, btw).  They were at home, fasting and praying.  Why?  Because the high priest did all the work!  Get it?

Feeling a little helpless in your quest to be good enough for God?  Give it up – you’re doomed to failure.  You can’t do what our high priest Jesus has already done.  Most of us know that with our mind, but we still fight with the concept from time to time in our heart.

So what about the blessings thing?  Check Deuteronomy 28.  God promises all sorts of blessings, preceded by the little word, “if”.  There’s a sort of narcissistic myth in the church that goes something like “If i just tell God what I want long enough and hard enough, he’s going give it to me.”

The serpent planted three lies in Eve in the garden:

  1. doubt – you can’t trust God
  2. desire – there is a shortcut to maturity/perfection/completion
  3. rebellion – disobedience doesn’t have consequences

Number three is in play here.  Yes indeed, God trully wants to bless you.  He doesn’t even want you to work for blessings.  Deuteronomy 28:2 says that blessings will run up to you and jump on you!

It’s the “if” word we stumble on.  Salvation is a gift.  “Here, take the keys to this new Lexus.”  “Here’s a million dollars.”  “Here’s the deed for this 14-room mansion.”  All we do is stretch out our hand to receive it.  But blessing comes with obedience.  It requires both relationship – knowing the Father’s will – and the action of doing it.

Think about a family.  If yours is messed up, think about a good family you know or picture an imaginary perfect family.  The dad says, “Clean up your room.”  The child says “I want a new <something>.”  Will the child get the desired thing if they don’t clean the room?  In a good family, no; because the father is working to teach the child obedience and uses even insignificant life situations to reinforce that teaching.  Why should God behave differently toward us?