Tag Archives: god is god

Greg Laurie – A Portrait of God

 

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” —Luke 15:20

I heard about a little girl who brought out a piece of paper and some crayons and was getting ready to draw something.

Her mom said, “Honey, what are you going to draw?”

“I am going to draw a picture of God.”

“Sweetheart, no one knows what God looks like.”

The little girl replied, “They will when I’m done.”

The only place we can get a proper portrait of God is in the pages of Scripture. Jesus effectively gave us a snapshot of God, telling us what God is like in the story of the prodigal son. In this story, God is like a father who loves his children. When we are sinning against Him or running from Him, He misses us and longs for our return. It is clearly a picture of a loving father.

But sometimes we may think of God in the same way we think of our earthly fathers. That can be problematic, because if you have a father who is aloof and distant, or worse, harsh and even abusive, you might apply that to God. Then again, if you have a father who is kind, approachable, and fun loving, you might transfer that to God also.

Here is the problem. God isn’t like your earthly father. God is God. He stands apart from everyone else. Regardless of how good or poor of a job your father on Earth may have done, you need to know that your heavenly Father is different.

He is a God of love. He is a God of mercy. He is a God of grace. But He is also a God of justice. He is a God of holiness. He is a God of righteousness. And the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament.

Joyce Meyer – Let God Be God

Joyce meyer

For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge?—1 Corinthians 2:16

It is not your job to give God guidance, counsel, or direction. It is your job to listen to God and let Him tell you what is going on and what you are to do about it—leaving the rest to Him to work out according to His knowledge and will, not yours.

God is God—and you are not. You need to recognize that truth and simply trust yourself to Him, because He is greater than you are in every way. You are created in His image, but He is still above and beyond you. His thoughts and ways are higher than yours. So listen to God tonight, be obedient to Him, and He will teach you His ways. Cast off your care, releasing the weight of all your burdens and sleep peacefully.

 

Alistair Begg – No Cause for Anxiety

Alistair Begg

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice.  Psalms 97:1

There are no real causes for anxiety as long as this blessed sentence is true. On earth the Lord’s power controls the rage of the wicked as readily as the rage of the sea; His love refreshes the poor with mercy as easily as the earth with showers. Majesty gleams in flashes of lightning amid the tempest’s horrors, and the glory of the Lord is seen in its grandeur in the fall of empires and the crash of thrones. In all our conflicts and tribulations, we may behold the hand of the divine King.

God is God; He sees and hears

All our troubles, all our tears.

Soul, forget not, in your pains,

God o’er all forever reigns.

In hell, evil spirits acknowledge, with misery, His undoubted supremacy. When permitted to roam about, it is with a chain at their heel; the bit is in the mouth of the beast, and the hook in the jaws of the monster. Death’s darts are under the Lord’s jurisdiction, and the grave’s prisons have divine power as their jailer. The terrible vengeance of the Judge of all the earth causes fiends to cower and tremble.

Fear not death, nor Satan’s thrusts,

God defends who in Him trusts;

Soul, remember, in your pains,

God o’er all forever reigns.

In heaven there are none who doubt the sovereignty of the King Eternal, but all fall on their faces to do Him homage. Angels are His courtiers, the redeemed His favorites, and all delight to serve Him day and night. May we soon reach the city of the great King!

For this life’s long night of sadness

He will give us peace and gladness.

Soul, remember, in your pains,

God o’er all forever reigns.

 

 

Our Daily Bread — What’s Love?

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 103:1-14

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son. —1 John 4:10

When asked “What’s love?” children have some great answers. Noelle, age 7, said, “Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.” Rebecca, who is 8, answered, “Since my grandmother got arthritis, she can’t bend over and polish her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even after his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Jessica, also 8, concluded, “You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”

Sometimes we need reminding that God loves us. We focus on the difficulties of life and wonder, Where’s the love? But if we pause and consider all that God has done for us, we remember how much we are loved by God, who is love (1 John 4:8-10).

Psalm 103 lists the “benefits” God showers on us in love: He forgives our sin (v.3), satisfies us with good things (v.5), and executes righteousness and justice (v.6). He is slow to anger and abounds in mercy (v.8). He doesn’t deal with us as our sins deserve (v.10) and has removed our sin as far as the east is from the west (v.12). He has not forgotten us!

What’s love? God is love, and He’s pouring out that love on you and me. —Anne Cetas

Our God is God—

His truth, His love remains each day the same,

He’s faithful to His matchless name,

For God is God—He does not change. —D. DeHaan

The death of Christ is the measure of God’s love for you.

Bible in a year: Psalms 49-50; Romans 1

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – House of Hope

Ravi Z

To the people of Israel, the image of God’s house was central to their worldview, a house reaching from the heavens to the places on earth where God caused his name to be remembered. God’s house was seen in experiences like Jacob’s, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it” (Genesis 28:16). It was experienced in the tabernacle that once moved among them as pilgrims, and later in their pilgrimages to the temple. Ever-expanding their vision of God’s house, altars were built over the places where God had appeared to them. Though sometimes as prodigals, their longing for home was a part of their identity as children of the house of God: “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). The house of God as it reached from heaven to earth was occupied by the King. As his people, they had been invited inside, where they longed to remain.

As with any group with a clear vision of inside and outside, belonging and not belonging, the Israelite’s understanding of the house of God could have easily been rationale for excluding foreigners, neighbors, and outsiders. Yet not long after God had called the people of Israel his own, God instructed them very specifically on the treatment of such people: “Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt” (Exodus 23:9). “The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34). The house of God was to be a house of hospitality, for such a spirit reflected the God within it: “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19). Called to ever-remember their status as foreigners, the people who were invited into the care of God’s house were to become a sign of that care themselves.

Followers of Christ live by the same: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:2-3). Similarly the apostles command: “Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13). “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:9-10).

For those who know these ever-expanding rooms of God’s house, hospitality is a posture we are simply called to embrace. Along with the one who has welcomed us inside, we are to go out “into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” The master of the house has prepared a feast and calls for the tables to be filled: “Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full” (cf. Luke 14:15-23).

While images appear daily of people displaced from their homes, disconnected and abandoned by tornado or flood or financial downfall, there are at the same time those who open their homes, churches who respond with food and shelter, hospitality that is given in places where distress and exclusion offer no rest. In these unlikely places, images of the house of God appear, startling us and other observers once again with its dimensions. Where lives are being touched by the “eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” the body of Christ is living its identity, offering a sign and a foretaste of the kingdom of God. The writer of Hebrews comments on this vital role, “Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast” (Hebrews 3:5-7).

Startling us with its reach and calling us to hospitality, the house of God is occupied by one who prepares a place for the foreigners and outsiders and neighbors all around us. Whether prodigals or pilgrims, in this house we discover the God who longs to welcome the multitudes home.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) 2 Corinthians 5:1-2.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The God of the Old Testament

 

One currently fashionable pretext for repudiating the God of the Bible is to question God’s character, especially as God portrays Himself in the Old Testament. In contrast to the allegedly irresistible meek-and-mild New Testament deity depicted by Jesus, the God of the Old Testament is assumed to be a capricious, vindictive, and insatiable Being who exerts prompt reprisals on his enemies upon the slightest of provocations.

Such a reading of the biblical text betrays discomfort with the fact that God is God and that human autonomy must be recognized to lie somewhere beneath God’s sovereignty. That is to say, whereas a human being cannot rightfully determine the length of time allotted for another in this world, the Creator has the sovereign prerogative to number our days—a fact we implicitly recognize whenever we accuse others of “playing God.” Moreover, without a morally perfect Being responsible for the creation of the universe, we have no grounds for recognizing any act as immoral, so any such pronouncements must be made on the basis of God’s moral nature and commands.

Apart from the misconceptions inherent in the above claim, one could also assess the testimony of those who were closely associated with God in the Old Testament itself. Did they think of God as a vindictive Being? The answer is a resounding no. Examples abound, but let us highlight just a few. Given the choice whether to be punished by God or by his enemies after sinning against God, David replied, “Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men” (2 Samuel 24:14). Jonah preferred to end his life in a treacherous sea rather than take the message of judgment to the Ninevites. His reason? He knew that God is “a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity” (Jonah 4:2). In other words, he feared that God might be too nice to his enemies should they choose to repent.

But Moses provides one of the most striking examples of what those who knew God in the Old Testament really thought of this God. In Exodus 33, God threatens to abandon his plans of accompanying the Israelites to the Promised Land. Since God is faithful, He vows to keep his promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by giving the land to their descendents. He would send an angel before them to drive out their enemies and the land would still be flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 33:1-3). Did you catch that? They would not even have to fight for the land, and its provisions would still be available. The catch? God Himself would not be among them. Now there’s a real jackpot! Imagine the possibilities—having all of God’s blessings without God telling you what to do with them! Many popular expressions of Christianity today rarely rise above the attempt to manipulate God into relinquishing his blessings without much regard for God Himself.

But Moses goes into the tent of meeting and says to God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). Is Moses under the spell of a vindictive, malevolent spirit, or has he learned that God is worthy of being loved with all of one’s heart, soul, and mind—the Absolute Object of infinite delight? C.S. Lewis was right when he said that he who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God alone. Nothing short of chronological snobbery would make us think that in contrast to God’s biblical followers we are better placed to judge the character of God. Biblical saints expected God, the judge of all the earth, to do what is right (Genesis 18:25), and it was not out of delusion that their hearts panted for God as the deer pants for water.

God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, is worthy of all our devotion and love. We must also remember that God executes perfect justice, as both the Old as well as the New Testaments demonstrate. Not only is the innocent, sinless Son of God sacrificed for the sake of humanity, but the just reward of eternal separation from God incessantly sought by those who reject God is also affirmed in the New Testament. Until the Spirit and truth of the gospel strips us of all our fleeting fortitude, presenting us before God bereft of any hope outside his mercy and grace, we will never lack excuses for resisting Him.

J.M. Njoroge is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.