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“Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like His? Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor and clothe yourself in honor and majesty. Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at all who are proud and humble them, crush the wicked where they stand. Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave. Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you.” Job 38:32-36
God asks Job so many questions leading up to this moment. Not because He needs Job’s counsel but, in true God fashion, because He wants to instruct him. In response to His own questions, God challenges Job further. Show yourself to be the God Satan told you you could be [Genesis 3:5; Isaiah 14:14]. Go ahead.
Except that Satan lied, and even Job knows it.
All his life, Job faithfully praised our Creator God. Even when he lost everything and his wife told him just to turn his back on God and die [Job 2:9], Job held firm to his trust in the Almighty. His friends came with less than Godly counsel in his time of greatest loss. And at the end of very long, very judgmental tirades against their buddy, God had something to say.
Show yourself as mighty as I AM. And if you succeed, then you can be your own god. An impossible challenge.
All human strength–whether the might of brawn or sword or schemes–together cannot scratch the omnipotence of God.
Though we can observe God’s steadfast power at work in nature, we can only comply with His laws to maintain the life He created. We cannot create new plants out of nothing. We cannot make plants act other than He designed them to act [i.e. make oak trees grow underwater]. Though we have noted how life reproduces, science can never explain why life generates more life. But God made all things out of nothing [Genesis 1:1]. He designed their every attribute. And He knows the why behind life.
Though we can enjoy the beauty of the sun and stars, for danger of incineration and for sheer distance, we cannot even approach them. But God hung each in place. He knows their blueprint as intimately as He knows each and every one of us [Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7; Hebrews 4:12], and He alone fuels their light.
Though we build ships and airplanes to cross the seas and have circumnavigated the globe and dove to great depths, what human being can control the ocean? God not only reigns it in, regulating its tides, but He dug its depths with a Word.
Every creature, save one, obeys the Creator. Bees pollinate and make honey. Trees and grass scrub carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Cats keep mice populations in check. Ecosystems with their communities and food webs all work together in God’s design. All except for human beings.
We choose not to obey the stewardship commands given at the Creation [Genesis 1:24-26]. We choose not to love God and to love one another as ourselves [Matthew 22:38-29; Mark 12:30-31]. We choose to deny God’s power–though it is evident all around us–in an effort to try to usurp the control for ourselves.
But who are we that God should fear or answer to us?
Does your life flow out of a reverence for God’s omnipotence?
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
God is omnipotent, that is, He alone is almighty or all-powerful.
And He gives us His Spirit [Numbers 11:17; Judges 14:6; Acts 1:8; et al], enabling us, by His power, to bring glory and honor to His name.
By His Spirit, Moses and David led Israel [Numbers 11:17 & 25; 1 Samuel 16:13]. Samson tore apart a lion, effortlessly broke through sturdy rope bindings and battled dozens of men all at the same time [Judges 14:6 & 19, 15:14]. Mary bore the Christ-child [Luke 1:35]. Demons were cast out [Luke 4:36]. And we are empowered to live as witnesses to the truth of the gospel [Acts 1:8].
God’s Spirit doesn’t hide timidly inside us. So neither should we shrink back from a contrary world. Our friends and family might not want to hear about God anymore than they want to hear that eating vegetables and exercising are good for them, but they need us to speak God’s love boldly. They need us to live out the blessings–extreme joyfulness–of the godly, self-disciplined life.
Because–just like we once did–they need God. They need His power to transform their sinful hearts and finite lives into the eternal ones they were made for.
The power of God’s Spirit overflows us with that hope [Romans 15:13]. Did you hear that? Let me say it again. The power of God’s Spirit overflows us with hope!
By God’s power alone we have peace in a war-torn, hating world–even while we ourselves are persecuted for that peace who is called Jesus [Ephesians 2:14]. By His power alone we have joy–though we ourselves get sick, face financial hardships, lose loved ones, get mistreated and threatened for our faith. By the power of His Spirit in our lives we have an abundance of hope that exceeds our finite capacity to hold it, and He keeps pouring the power and hope in and through us until we overflow with hope to everyone around us!
The power of God was never meant to lift us, whimpering, out of the gutter of self-pity or guilt–but it does. And it will do so faithfully and without criticism time and again. When it does–and we have been filled with all the power, joy, peace and hope that we can possibly need–then it’s time to go to work. It’s time to walk around like a fountain with legs and gush God’s power and love into the lives of everyone we meet.
Anything less is denying God’s power in our lives. Anything less is disobedience. Anything less withholds our blessing, locked within the timidity of our hearts.
Are you ready to be a walking conduit of God’s power to this lost and dying world?
“(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.” Romans 2:14-15
In a world where conscience has become synonymous with being true to self, which in turn equates to self-as-god, let us return to the root meaning.
And as Christians, we can take this one step closer to the reality of eternity and understand that conscience is living with THE Knowing One.
God is omniscient–all-knowing. The fear of the Him is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom [Proverbs 1:7 & 9:10; Psalm 111:10]. Does that mean that we need to be afraid of God? Actually, the phrase the fear of the Lord refers to our reverence for God. If we respect Him to the fullness that He deserves, then we are on the road to true knowledge and wisdom.
He Himself becomes our wisdom [1 Corinthians 1:30]. Because–while we can never plumb the depths of the mind of God [Isaiah 40:13; Romans 11:34]–we have received the mind of Christ [1 Corinthians 2:16]. Therefore, we can tap into the wisdom from on high in any situation we face.
We have His Holy Spirit to remind us of everything that God, the Father and Creator, has spoken to us [John 14:26]. His Word is alive and active, judging every thought and attitude of our hearts [Hebrews 4:12], shaping us–as we allow Him–into the image of Christ.
When we live conscientiously or with THE Knowing One, then we have direct access to the truth of our situation. We do not live reactively. We do not live in fear. We do not live in slavery to our doubt, anger, sinful desires or anything else.
Our conscience, that is our God With Us, counsels us. It’s how we can rejoice always, even in troubled times [1 Thessalonians 5:16]. It’s how we can pray without ceasing while walking through our everyday life [1 Thessalonians 5:17]. It’s how we can give thanks to God regardless of our circumstance [1 Thessalonians 5:18]. And it is precisely God’s will for us [1 Thessalonians 5:18].
Do you live with The All-Knowing One? Or is your conscience synonymous with self-as-supreme authority? Are you on the path to true knowledge and wisdom?
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
Since time only exists for Creation–aka we human beings and our environs–God sees, knows and understands our chronology, but it doesn’t apply to Him. Meaning, if we were to draw a timeline on a piece of paper–as C.S. Lewis explained–God would be like the paper. The timeline of human existence from beginning to end is fully contained in God, but He Himself exists outside of and is wholly unaffected by our linear frame of reference. He can see the beginning and the end, and every moment in between.
In ancient Greek, this kind of time was referred to as chronos [hence words like chronology, chronological and chronicle.] It is sequential. Exact. Measured and quantifiable. However, there was a second term for time as well, kairos.
Kairos time is qualitative–meaning its measure is in quality, value rather than number. Also, used as the word for weather, kairos time referred to an auspicious time for action and decision. The crucial moment when conditions are exactly right to decide and to act for the most effective outcome.
God reaches into our chronological beings, working kairologically. That is, He doesn’t make His decisions based on a clock or a calendar or after a preset passage of time. Rather, He wills and acts when the conditions of hearts and minds, the condition of world history, the condition of sin have come to the most optimum moment.
And being omniscient, that is all-knowing–seeing everything that has happened, is happening and will happen–He is not slow in keeping His promise to send Jesus again to the earth [Matthew 24:6]. On the contrary, in His infinite love and mercy He is patiently waiting for that precise moment of optimum conditions so that as many people as can come to know Him and accept Him as Lord and Savior will do so, thereby receiving eternity.
We must be so careful not to transfer our understanding of chronology onto our kairos God. To judge Him in human terms is to misunderstand Him entirely. And all who bind their understanding of God to human time, struggle to reconcile the two in their mind. Ultimately, many get frustrated in this struggle and lose faith in God. Remember, just because we cannot fully understand, does not in anyway diminish the truth of who God is. Hold tight to your faith [Hebrews 10:23]!
Is your life and faith bound up in this chronos world? Will you let God begin to reveal His everlasting kairos nature to you through His Word?
“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?'” Acts 2:37
As previously mentioned, God is self-existent. He created us–you, me and everyone. Therefore, He is our authority. He is in charge of everything that He created. [Are you with me so far?]
But because of sin, we are born with the sinful-natural desire to reject God as the Sovereign that He is in our lives. We are born with the desire to be our own authority.
And because it seems so naturally ingrained in us from birth, we each justify this desire to throw off God’s sovereignty as normal, right and good. Yet it is the essence of sin in us. Every act of sin stems from this base of rebelling against God’s authority [Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Timothy 1:9-11; Revelation 21:8 & 22:15].
He is the moral standard–the One who distinguishes between right and wrong, good and bad–because He created everything and the order within which it all works. When we truly come to recognize this truth–I am a sinner and God is holy, righteous and good–we can’t help but respond like the crowd at Pentecost, What shall we do?
This self-as-sinner before the holy-sovereign-God recognition should bring us to repent–not out of fear, but out of right understanding. Though scripture warns us to be careful not to harden our hearts instead [Psalm 95:8; Hebrews 3:8 & 15, 4:7]. Because many realize who God is and shake their fist at Him, daring Him to make them do something contrary to their own free will.
He won’t. Not in this life. But eventually, everyone will see God for who He truly is and recognize their own rebellion against Him. On that day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess His lordship [Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10-11]. But for many, that day will be too late, because the revelation will come after this life has passed. When all is stripped away and they stand face to face before God Almighty at the judgment.
Do you know your createdness? How do you respond to your Creator? Who decides what is right/wrong/good/bad in your life? Have you been cut to the heart with the recognition of your own sinfulness?
“Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord! And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12
From the Messianic prophecies, the Jews expected a conquering king to right their political wrongs. Someone to overthrow their Roman oppressors so that they could continue to live comfortably in their earthly home and traditions.
But God’s plan was so much bigger.
A tiny baby.
You see, He didn’t force Adam and Eve to obey Him. He gave them a choice and the understanding to make that choice [Genesis 2:9 & 16-17]. He wanted His Creation to love Him as He loved them–by their own free will.
When He saw it was time to send His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world as the Savior, God again wanted His Creation to choose to love Him. Israel wanted a conqueror, but God didn’t want to hold them at sword point and demand their belief. He didn’t want to coerce by fear, but to receive love in return for the love that He so freely gives.
So He sent a baby. The very image of irresistible love. He wanted us to see Him the same way that He sees each of us, and to desire to hold and cherish Him as He does us–by our own free will.
He could have sent that conqueror that we thought we needed and wanted. Though God would never break His promises, he could have just wiped out the whole world in another flood, showing mercy in His wrath by saving only the righteous.
But instead, He showed mercy mild–mercy in His love and grace to save the whole world through His son, the Christ child.
Today, as we remember the birth of Christ, will you receive His mercy mild?
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8
Because the Word is double-edged [Hebrews 4:12], scriptures often list those who will not inherit the kingdom of God in contrast to those who will [i.e. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-25]. Just as light would not be understood without the contrast of darkness, the life that God desires for us is not always clear to the human mind without looking at that which is in opposition to God’s will.
Since God is holy–meaning no impurity or sin is in Him–and since He is the sovereign of heaven–the authority before whom we will stand judgment–it is imperative that we understand what God expects of us, both to do and not to do.
So why does cowardliness make the list? Remember that this letter of Revelation is being circulated among the churches in the Roman province of Asia Minor. Jesus, through John’s writing, tells the churches that they were going to face persecution, hardship, imprisonment and even death for His name’s sake [Revelation 2:3 & 8, 9-11 & 13; 3:8-9]. In each instance, if they held boldly to their faith, if they did not cower from the physical, social and cultural threats of the world [Matthew 10:28], they would be called victorious and receive the inheritance of eternal life. We are not of those who shrink back from the world in fear, renouncing our faith to save our skin [Hebrews 10:39]. Rather we are to stand firm in our faith [1 Corinthians 6:13; Ephesians 6:11-14], boldly proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ. The cowardly turn their back on God when times get tough. They do not acknowledge Jesus before others; in turn, they will not be acknowledged before God [Matthew 10:32-33].
Obviously, those who do not believe in God will not be saved. For it is, by grace we are saved through faith [Romans 1:5 & 5:2; Ephesians 2:8]. And even if we continue to struggle against sin we can experience God’s grace and, by faith, salvation in our lives. But if we do not have faith, then we will never see heaven.
Vile means morally corrupt. Since morals–standards of belief and behavior–are established by God who is holy, corrupted morals are anything that deviate from His norm. It makes sense then that those who buy into Satan’s lie that we can be our own God and make our own morals [Genesis 3:5; Isaiah 14:14], will never inherit the kingdom of God.
This corrupted moral system includes murdering, any sexual behavior that deviates from God’s plan of one man and one woman within the confines of marriage for life, trying to summon magical powers rather than rightly seeking the power of God, creating images of false gods and praying to/worshiping them, and telling lies. Many of these were addressed in the well-known 10-commandments [Exodus 20:1-17]. All of these are natural desires of sinful people, but can be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us, and are completely forgiven us through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Who is God in your life? You or God? Not sure? Well, whose standard of right and wrong are you living by? Yours, the world’s or God’s?