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Hazy Copies

“They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.'” Hebrews 8:5

Image result for copy of a copyA copy is never identical to the original. But it is clearer and more accurate than subsequent copies. Meaning, if someone were to make a photocopy, then make a photocopy from that copy and so on, each copy becomes hazier and less accurate than the first.

It’s the same way with our understanding of and patterning after God. We are called to be like Christ [1 John 3:2]. If we are in Christ, our hearts are being built into a living tabernacle, acceptable to God [1 Peter 2:5]. We ourselves are to be a copy of the original.

God made us in His image at the Creation. Christ makes us anew and the Holy Spirit reforms the Father’s image in us, but only if we pattern ourselves after Him.

God is good. While our goodness can never save us, in Christ by faith we do the good works God intended us to do from the Creation [Ephesians 2:10]. Without God, how would even know what good is?

Many, however, accept hand-me-down faith. They attend church from childhood and become a copy of the people in the church. Maybe the pastor is a great man of God. Maybe the choir leader has a great heart for worshiping God. Maybe our teachers genuinely know and love God. Maybe our parents and grandparents are people of true faith. These are all good things. And these people are all good role models.

However, their lives–like ours–ultimately fall short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23]. They themselves are still in the process of being transformed by the renewing of their minds [Romans 12:2]. Patterning ourselves after any one of them will make us an untrue version of another person rather than a genuine copy of Christ.

God is good and we are the light of His goodness to the world around us. Are you patterning your life after the original through prayer and Bible study? Or are you living as a copy of a copy?



We Say God Almighty

“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!'” Revelation 19:6-7a

Image result for God's awesome powerGod’s omnipotence–His absolute and supreme power–will resound in our praises throughout eternity. After this life has passed by, we will see and know God face to face, in the same way that He already knows each and everyone of us [1 Corinthians 13:12]. So we will, uninhibited, lift our voices and take up the song of the cherubim who, day and night, never stop praising our Holy, Almighty God [Revelation 4:8].

Let this amazing truth penetrate the business of your thought life and any doubt or fear that vies for your attention. God is all-powerful. And He alone will be worshiped for eternity because He alone is Almighty God.

Did you feel the Spirit of that sentiment? Read it again.

God alone is all-powerful–everyone and everything else on this earth that presumes to exercise authority over human circumstance will one day take a knee before God alone [Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10-11]. No evil will prevail over heaven’s gates, nor will Satan’s spiritual war tread anywhere near the new heaven and the new earth. None can trespass into eternity. Only God’s adopted children–by grace through faith [Ephesians 2:8-9]–will have a place in His kingdom come.

And we will praise Him alone as should always have been done on earth as it is and will be in heaven [Matthew 6:10].

No one and nothing else even registers on the power scale as compared to God. Cancer’s got nothing. Murdering dictators will fall before God. Peer opinion. The pursuit of popularity. Self-induced panic attacks and world-induced economic depressions. War and death. None of it has any power whatsoever in light of Almighty God.

Let us not do as the world teaches and focus on ourselves. Instead, let’s get back to God’s Word and start living like heaven. Fix your eyes on your Creator God. Recognize His omnipotence at work in the world all around us and give all praise to Him alone.

Respond to His power and authority alone, refusing to succumb to the weak wiles of the adversary at work in the world. When the doctor says cancer, we say God Almighty. When the news says pandemic, stock market crash, war, genocide we say God Almighty. When the world says be your own god, do whatever feels good to you, we say God Almighty. When others mistreat us out of their own selfish godlessness, we say God Almighty. And when our breath at last returns to the Creator from whom it came, we will forever praise God Almighty.

What power holds your attention in this life? The things of this world? Or God Almighty and Him alone?


A Pinch of God’s Power?

“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: ‘Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love;’ and, ‘You reward everything according to what they have done.'” Psalm 62:11-12

Image result for pinch of saltGod is omnipotent–that is all powerful. He is the Almighty because all might [aka power] is in Him alone.

How many human beings have dreamed of attaining to God’s power? Just watch the superhero movies and read the magical fantasies. We as people want so bad to have just a pinch of His might in our beings because it would make us stand out from every other created being. Because then we wouldn’t have to be afraid of anyone or anything else. Because we believe that we would be good enough to wield such power on behalf of our fellow man.

But, if we’re honest with ourselves, at the core of the desire to possess super-human ability is Satan’s lie that we can be our own God [Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 14:14]. The same lie, repackaged with a shinier bow, promising that we can possess power above all others.

Not possible. Any power that we possess is given to us from and ultimately returns to our Creator God.

He alone has the power to make everything out of nothing. He alone has the power to hang planets in the vast expanse of the universe and to light the flame of sun and stars. He alone has the power to create life. He alone has the power to conquer death, hell and the grave.

What human or angel or creature or demon can do any of those things? None. No one but God is able.

And yet, God is willing–no more than that, God desires to imbue us with His power from on high [Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:7]. He desires to work in and through us [Ephesians 3:20]. He desires that we will share in the work of Christ and do even greater things–beyond what we can ask or imagine–to His glory and honor [John 14:12].

Who is like the Lord [Psalm 113:5]? Who can stand against His mighty power [Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:4-5; Romans 8:31; Ephesians 6:11]? Where does your strength come from [Psalm 28:7 & 121:1-2]?


From The Student Question Board: Why Did God Make Us if He Knew We Would Make Bad Choices and Be in Distress All Our Lives?

“His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” Psalm 147:10-11

Image result for jewel eyeSince God is, always will be and always has been omniscient, He knew perfectly well that Adam and Eve would choose to disobey in the garden. He knew that their choice would usher sin into His perfectly created world [Romans 5:12]. And He knew that in the broken sinful world, we would have trouble [John 16:33].

So why did God bother creating us at all?

Because He also knew that He would love us without fail [John 3:16]. Because He also knew that He would send His Son Jesus to redeem His fallen Creation [Genesis 3:15]. And because He also knew that love comes only by choice.

And He desires our love just as He desires to lavish His love on us.

God considers us the apple of His eye [Psalm 17:8; Zechariah 2:8]. This term of endearment more literally equates us to the pupil of the eye. The pupil allows light to enter so that the eye can perceive. When God calls us the light and salt of the world, it is a double entendre–that is, it has two meanings! We are light and salt to the lost around us, but we are also a light of joy and the salt of good pleasure to our Creator God.

He delights in us [Psalm 147:11 & 149:4]!

Remember His love when you are worried or wearied by the troubles of life [John 16:33]. Remember that everything comes to pass in its season [Ecclesiastes 3:1-8]. And remember that the season of human life is just a disappearing mist or a fading flower in the expanse of eternity [Psalm 103:15; James 4:14; 1 Peter 1:24].

These troubles have not come to stay, but if we stay the course we will find abundant life in this life and eternal peace and rest in the New Creation [John 10:10; Revelation 21:1-4].

Do you know who God created you to be? Are you living as the apple of His eye? Do you delight in your Creator as He delights in you?


Seeing God with Human Eyes

“And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.’ Then the Lord said, ‘There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.'” Exodus 33:19-22

Image result for man sitting in rockIt is not permissible to see God’s being with our human eyes, because He wants us to live to tell about Him, and our sinfulness would altogether overwhelm us in His holy and glorious presence.

But Moses boldly petitioned to see God’s glory. And God, in His sovereign mercy and grace, granted that Moses see just His back. In fact, God covered Moses with His hand and only removed it at the first moment when it was safe for Moses to look upon Him.

Why would God not want everyone to see His face?

Can you imagine the world of trouble that human beings would cause creating and recreating the face of God? Painting. Sculpting. Duplicating. Publishing and posting. Especially in our very visual generation. The face of God would be reduced to an all too familiar, flawed representation that in no way compares to who He truly is. And people would come to replace the real God with a mere likeness.

Just the chapter before, the people of Israel demanded Aaron make them a golden calf to worship [Exodus 32]. They sang and made offerings to a piece of over-sized bovine jewelry!

The same danger existed with God showing His face to them. Wouldn’t these same hard-hearted people have desired to sculpt God’s portrait in gold and precious stones? But to whose glory and honor?

Not God’s.

He didn’t want an empty self-portrait. He didn’t need their offerings or to enslave them in religious rituals, prostrating themselves before His image. He wanted their hearts full of love for Him. Just as He wants us to passionately pursue a personal relationship with Him.

In every other world religion, the false god has a face, an image that the followers associate with their worship–because they are no god at all, just an image made by human hands. But the One True God is high and lifted up [Isaiah 6:1 & 57:15-17].

He is holy [Leviticus 19:2; Joshua 24:19; 1 Samuel 2:2; et al].

He is beyond understanding and compare [Exodus 15:11; 1 Kings 8:23; Job 36:26; et al].

And we will behold God when we stand redeemed before Him in heaven one day [1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2].

Are you living to see God face to face?


The Heart of Idolatry

“And God spoke all these words: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” Exodus 20:1-4

Image result for heart statueWriters often use figurative language to help readers visualize their words by comparing one thing–possibly new or unknown–to something that is well known. Scriptures use many metaphors and similes to help us gain an understanding of who God–who is beyond human comprehension–is and what He is like.

A metaphor attributes a quality to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable, as in, guilty people, whose own strength is their god [Habakkuk 1:11]. Human strength is not God. And even if people choose to treat their brawn with the same worth-ship, as should belong to God alone, it does not make our muscle a god.

A simile describes an object or action by comparing it to something else using the words like or as. For example, we should not think that the divine is like gold or silver or stone–an image made by human design and skill [Acts 17:29]. Even though God’s feet are compared to polished bronze refined in a furnace [Revelation 1:14], He is not actually made of the metals and rocks that He created. Even the stones that we call precious gems can never begin to attain to the worth of our shared Creator God.

The human mind is so desirous to comprehend and appropriate Godhood, that we all too willingly accept metaphor and simile–figurative language for literal personage. We give our affections to created materials fashioned to represent the unportrayable Godhead. We accept Satan’s lie that we ourselves can be our own god [Genesis 3:5; Isaiah 14:14].

As A.W. Tozer put it, the heart of idolatry is assuming that God is something other than who and what He truly is. It is substituting an understanding of God that is made in the likeness of the Creation, rather than conforming our lives to His likeness as Creator.

But God said, don’t do it! Don’t have other gods ‘al pa-na-ya, literally, before the face of me. In other words, don’t have any other gods at all. Not, don’t prioritize or favor others over me. Don’t create anything at all to worship. Recognize me for Whom I Am, the One True God who created and loves you.

Are you guarding your heart against idolatrous notions? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God to you through His Word. Has Satan’s lie seared your conscious? Refuse to accept counterfeits and substitutes for the power and love of the One True God in your life.


Whose Image Is It Anyway?

“Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” Exodus 3:13-14

See the source image‘Eh-yeh. The Hebrew word, translated I AM here also translates I have been/was [2 Samuel 15:34; Psalm 50:21] and I will be [Joshua 1:5; Isaiah 47:7; Hosea 14:5] in other scripture passages. Past, present and future. Eternally existent, in a word, is the Word through whom and by whom all things were created [John 1:1-3].

Remember that repetition was the biblical way to bold-type, italicize, highlight or otherwise emphasize an idea. So in giving His name to Moses, ‘Eh-yeh aser ‘eh-yeh, God emphasizes His existence. Not just the eternality, but the primacy or preeminence of Him. God was the first [Genesis 1:1; Revelation21:6 & 22:13]. All existence comes from Him alone, and without Him nothing and no one exists [John 1:1-3].

Not only so, but He created human beings in His image [Genesis 1:26-27]–our existence derived from His. So why is it that in 1637, French philosopher, Rene Descartes, coined the popular phrase, Cogito, ergo sum–I think, therefore I am? Satan’s perpetual lie to humankind is that we can somehow attain to God-status–or at least shed our need for Him–by attaining mere knowledge [Genesis 3:5; Isaiah 14:14].

Such thinking denies the truth of who God truly is. It tricks our finite minds into believing that we can reject His image in us and remake Him after our own image instead–that we can live, whether wholly or in part, of our own accord without any consideration that there is an infinite, sovereign God in heaven.

Through Asaph, the psalmist, God wrote that those who forget God are guilty of thinking that God, in His patient silence, is somehow like themselves [Psalm 50:21]. His quietude condoning their unrepentant sinfulness. But Paul says, they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator [Romans 1:25]. An offense for which we can be forgiven, but for which we need to wholeheartedly repent.

God is not like you or like me. He is God. If we are to rightly know Him, we must start by putting ourselves aside and learning to understand Him for who He truly is. We mustn’t shade or in anyway manipulate His person to ease our conscious. Rather, we must allow Him to shape us and to purify us from all the unrighteousness that weighs down our consciousness before Him, the Holy God [1 John 1:9].

Are you remaking God to fit your image of who you need/want Him to be? Or have you surrendered everything to the Divine Potter’s hand, allowing Him to form you once again in His image?