Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Musings on Faith and Life -- 1

I'm in the process of reading the book, The Explicit Gospel, by Matt Chandler. Matt is a young pastor of a large church in the Dallas area. I first heard of him at Together For The Gospel in 2010 (T4G) At the time he was dealing with a very serious cancer that now seems to be in remission. I had the opportunity to hear him speak at this year's T4G conference. He is very passionate about the gospel and is able to clearly explain it to today's generation.

One of the things that I appreciate about his book is that he starts where we always need to start and that is with God. That is where the Bible starts – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” I believe that we won't have a true perspective of who we are as people and what our predicament is until we consider who God is and what he is like. The Bible presents that for us throughout its pages. So let's look at that a little bit. What is God like?

In Job chapter 38, God responds to Job's questioning by basically asking, “Who are you to try to counsel me?” God goes on to ask Job where he was when God laid the foundations of the earth. He wonders if Job knows how the planets work or how the sea stays within its bounds or how light and darkness work and on and on it goes. God created everything there is and he owns it all. In the poetic language of Isaiah 40, God says that he has measured the waters of the earth in the hollow of his hand. He says that the nations to him are like a drop in the bucket.

So throughout the Bible we have God presented to us as an all-powerful, all-knowing spirit who has always existed. He is the one who created all that we see around us. He is described as a being who is actually a person in the sense that he thinks, creates, knows, and communicates. In other words he has a personality and is not just a force.

This God does not need our counsel or advice. We live at his discretion. Paul told the Athenians that God has given us life and breath and all things. He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not dwell in temples made with hands. He doesn't need anything since he is the one who has provided everything we have. He is the one who has made all people from one blood and has determined their preappointed times and boundaries for their existence on the earth. See Acts 17 beginning with verse 24 for the complete account of this discussion.

The thing I want us to think about today is the fact that we often go around defining everything the way we want it to be and flaunt our opinions as though they were significant in the whole scheme of things. Bring up any topic related to religion or morality and you will get countless opinions. Sentences start something like this, “My God would never ….. !” “It wouldn't be loving for God to....” “God would never forbid such-n-such because he wants us to be happy and to be self fulfilled.

I think it would be wise for us to take our many thoughts and opinions and submit them to evaluation by God's own statements of the way things are. We can wish all we want to have the God of our own creation, but that's actually not possible. We need to live in the real universe with the God who is really there, not in some imaginary place where there is a god of our own invention.

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