Why do we stiff-arm God?

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Why are we all so afraid of God?  We must be, for we hold back giving Him ALL of our hearts and All of our wills. How do I know this about you?  I know my own heart. And I consider myself a Christian!

Let’s imagine a happily married couple. They have learned to live secure and content in their relationship. They savor one another’s company.  People who know them observe how they exude mutual requited joy and trust.  The man and woman skillfully craft beautiful, creative works of art. They can work side by side for hours, marveling as beauty emerges from their able hands.

One day their thoughts turn to opening their home to children in order to include others in their happiness. Their motive?  Simply this: they understand the fundamental design of the universe, that a pleasure shared is a pleasure multiplied and intensified.  As they make plans to expand their family, their exuberance grows at the prospect of bringing new family members into their happy union.  They eagerly talk about the children on whom they will lavish love.  They discuss how they will expose them to Truth and Beauty.  They talk about training these little ones in the pursuit of Goodness and authentic creative happiness so they can share their parents’ joy.

Do they NEED these children?  No, for they lack nothing.  They aren’t looking for children…

  • to complete them
  • to work for them
  • to fulfill unmet dreams in their stead

Their exuberance just bubbles over.  Love abounds and seeks a recipient.  No strings attached.

The longer I read the Bible, the clearer grows my understanding of God.  We, humans, were created in the image of this happy, triune divine Creator and Lover. The perfect God already lives in relationship as Father, Son, and Divine Spirit.  He lacks nothing. He is the archetype of perfection.  By nature, Joy overflows.

Luke records my favorite passage in the Bible about the loving ‘Father-ness’ of our God.  “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)

Why do we hold back from running to embrace Him? We have nothing to fear.  Taste and see that the Lord is good! Psalm 34:8

The fallacy of multi-tasking

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I used to take pride in being able to multi-task…

…and  feel smugly superior to those who merely did one task at a time. Of course I never considered the quality of my work; the only purpose of splitting my focus was to move more stuff off my TO-DO list in less time.

Gradually, in the past 3 years, I have come to admit that I can’t multi-task at all! Whether it’s because I”m over 50 or I’m growing spiritually, I am seeing my limits and not railing against them.

Actually, multi-tasking is not the way God calls us to operate.

Eccles 4:6 – Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. 

So if we aren’t to toil double-fisted, how ARE we to work?  

  • Consciously, with His glory in view,
  • Depending on HIS energy,
  • Remembering that we serve both as an ambassador of Christ’s AND a servant of God.

If people can judge us by our work, then we want it to be representative of the family we belong to! Moreover it is axiomatic that completing or performing a job well takes time. 

My husband’s colleague used to quip, “Why is there  never enough time to do something right the first time, but there is always enough time to do it over?” 

If we’re just fooling ourselves about our ability to do more than one thing at a time, does that mean NO ONE can handle simultaneous activities?

Actually there is someone who can – God!

Here are two illustrations – one from the New City Catechism –  Catechism link  and the other, a quote from John Piper.  First the catechism – this comes from Question 37 – How does the Holy Spirit help us? 

Answer: The Holy Spirit 

  1. convicts us of sin
  2. comforts us
  3. guides us
  4. gives us spiritual gifts
  5. and the desire to obey God
  6. and he enables us to pray
  7. and to understand God’s Word

When I meditated on that, I realized that He is doing that ALL the time, perfectly.  And we aren’t even addressing what God the Father and God the Son are doing at the same time. Our triune God is the ultimate multi-tasker.  And that is how John Piper views him.

His comment below in the picture comforts me.  I can trust God to accomplish far more than I can ask or imagine simply because He IS God and a good one, to boot.

So take heart, dear ones.  We were never meant to do more than one thing at a time.  It’s okay to do a task well, completely, thoroughly and excellently (without striving for perfection).  Let’s resolve to slow down and trust God’s sovereign control over our time.  And leave the multitasking to the Godhead!

Pity, Pride and Promises

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Several of my dear friends have been struggling with the very real and insidious satanic snare of: 

  • self pity – look at how terrible my circumstances are!
  • pride – these circumstances should not be happening to me!

The trick of Satan is to mask his role in promoting these depressing and self-righteous feelings!  Instead, we think they are OUR true assessment of reality.

One friend is struggling with her marriage and wishing it were otherwise.

The other friend is struggling with his vocation and wishing it were otherwise.

Who can rescue them (and us when we are so attacked) from this downward spiral that seems unending?

One version of an endless cycle

Thank God that He exists and has come that we might have life.

The other day I, TOO, felt that descent into murky grayness as I was meditating on some difficult circumstances. But before I hit dark despair, the Holy Spirit brought to mind God’s promise in Romans 8:28:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Then I recalled

  • the FACT that God is sovereignly controlling all my circumstances
  • the FACT that God is always doing 10,000 plus things in every circumstance that touches me
  • the FACT that God predestined me to work, to help, to pray, to give, to worship, to trust in activities and projects of His own choosing
  • the FACT that God chose to give me life today for His purposes
  • the FACT that I can trust God of all ‘people’ to be consistent and true to His Word

All those thoughts got my mind OFF of my circumstance and reversed the trend of my feelings.

So dear friends, I am praying that the Holy Spirit will remind you hourly:

  • that you can trust God
  • that God is close to the broken-hearted
  • that He is allowing this circumstance, at the moment, because He has good in mind for you, for those involved and others about whose situation you might not know

So……relax, trust and remember how He has come through in the past and what He promises for your future.

1 Cor 2:9

Love rolls downhill

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“Love me, love my dog!” were words we often heard when we would have dinner with my dad.  He had 2 spoiled poodles that he adored.  And that love was definitely requited!

It seems to me that God, the Father exhorts us likewise:  “If you love me, then you’ll love my Son!”

I’ve been reading a book about the Trinity.

And already, having enjoyed my way through the introduction and into Chapter 1, I’m hooked!  Michael Reeves asserts straight away that a primary characteristic of God is His Fatherhood.  He’s always been Father. And for Him to BE Father requires God the Son to have eternally existed as well.

We know that for God to BE God means that He doesn’t change.  What follows then is this:  He couldn’t have been single God who created the Son, thus adding ‘Father’ to His résumé.  God as Father and God as Son have co-existed since eternity.  (I won’t expand this discussion today by delving into God the Holy Spirit)

Of course I pray most often to God as Father. Furthermore I know that the Bible is replete with references to God as Father.  Yet, I’m seeing divine Fatherhood in a wholly/holy different light.  I’m noticing how often God is really called Father in both the Old and the New Testament. Although more developed in the NT, the Fatherhood of God is nonetheless THERE – for example:

          “The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.” (Deuteronomy 1:30-31)

          “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

So….you say, what’s new about that? Just that, Father-love is different than love between equals.  Hear me out…I’ll try not to be heretical or introduce the idea that God the Father and God the Son are not one.  They ARE one and they DO exhibit the same essence and same nature, BUT…their roles are different.

·         The Father loves the Son and the Son delights to obey the Father. But it doesn’t stop there.

·         The Son loves the Church and the Church is called to lovingly submit to/obey the Son.

·          Husbands love their wives and wives are called to delight in respectfully and lovingly helping (and submitting when necessary) their husbands.

·          Moms love their children and children are to respectfully and lovingly help and submit to their moms. (Dads are to train their kids)

·         Humans love their animals and their animals, if well trained, will devotedly and joyfully follow their masters.

In other words, love flows downhill.

I used to feel guilty because I sensed that I loved people unequally.  For example – I always knew my mom loved me with an intensity that I didn’t reciprocate. Yet when I became a parent, I understood that kind of love.  I think Mike and I love each other differently, too.  And we definitely love our cats MORE than they love us. (Think about our fears as our pets age!)

What does the fact that God loves us more and differently do for our security? (Take as a given that His love for us is qualitatively/quantitatively beyond our capacity to imagine.) For one thing, it lifts the guilt I have always felt?  And I feel more reassured and secure that God’s love won’t ever depart from me.  He can’t NOT love me;  it’s His nature to love His children.

I’ll leave you with this question– How do you see love between friends?

 PS:  I’ve just started a blog entitled about Logic for the ordinary person – in it I discuss in bite-sized measures what I have learned from teaching formal and informal logic to young teens.   Surprised by Logic

 

Divine Geometry – The Trinity

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Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the Triune God –  (John Wesley)

You were created by a community to exist in community made in the image of a God who has never known anything except community – (author unknown to me!)

**

I’m treading difficult waters, as you can see by the first quote.  Yet, since community is in my blood, so to speak, God wants me to grapple with this complex but real entity.

Ever since my friend shared with me an idea of how the trinity is more than just 3 dimensional, I’ve been secretly snacking on this never-ending concept.  Her point is that there’s a synergistic, multidimensional – MORE THAN THREE- nature to the trinity.  Somehow God’s math adds a mystical, multiplier affect.

Presuppositions:

1. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are 3 in one.  They are ONE God.  We are monotheistic people, yet…it’s complicated:

  • Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
  • And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. (1 John 5:6b)
  • Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
  • “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Is 9:6)

2. To be born again, you first have to die with Christ.  Given spiritual life, you now have a new nature.  You are forever different.

Your spiritual DNA has changed:

  • “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)

3. Those who are born again, have the Holy Spirit in them permanently:

  • “And it is God who ……  has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Cor 1:21-22)
  • “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:13-14)
  • “…..Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27)

So by means of some simple logical deductions, we can conclude that –

If you are a Christ-follower (born again child of God), then you have the Holy Spirit IN you permanently.  And since the HS is part of a triune divine spiritual being, you actually have all 3 members of the Godhead in you.  And these 3 members are FAR MORE than 3-in-1.

**

When I wake up in the morning, I used to say, “Good morning God!”…then I got more personal and offered, “Good morning, Father!”….now I am addressing a community of 3 supernatural persons  – eager to join me for my day. “Good morning, Holy Community!”  They’ve been awake and active all night (no need to sleep!) keeping the universe going and bringing about the per-determined circumstances for the day.

Just think – this is no mere 3 dimensional divine figure.  We’re talking about a joy-filled, dancing, creative, celebratory, energetic, personal, compassionate, no-limit, über-everything , multi-dimensional God inside of us. And He wants/they want to be totally involved in all that we are doing this day.

Let’s enter the joy!

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