Why God?

Why God?

  When our nation is impacted by numerous disasters such as hurricanes, fires, tornadoes and flooding, people always ask, ‘where was God in all this?’ or ‘why did God allow this?’, or just simply – why? The answer to the first question is to know that God is Omnipresent meaning He is everywhere present. But the answer to the second question, as I perceive it, is there is no answer we can determine. No one can fully answer the why question. And so you ask, why do we not have an answer? It is because there are things about God that are unsearchable – things we will never have an answer for. If you take a look at what the Bible says about the things of God that we do not know, you discover the unsearchable things of God. First, the biblical meaning of the word unsearchable is “that which cannot be sought out or known by investigation, examination or inquiry.” And so if some things of God are unsearchable, what are those things? Marvelous things – those are extraordinary things separated by a distinguishing action that can only be accomplished by God himself. They are beyond our power to do and too difficult for us to understand. We see the word unsearchable used in Job 5:9. Job was certainly a man looking for answers. He had lost everything, was doubted and accused by his friends, yet he said of God “He does marvelous things, wonders and miracles that are unsearchable.” His greatness – We cannot understand the greatness of God because it is an attribute of God. It is in reference to the magnitude and majesty of God. It is who He is, His great and majestic actions. (Psalm 145:3) He is worthy of our praise, but His greatness is unsearchable. His judgments, His ways are past finding out. Ways = a course of conduct, manner of thinking, feeling, deciding. Judgments = matter to be decided, decisions. The decisions God makes and acts on are things we will never be able to search out and examine. Oh, we can try, but will not come up with the answers that only He knows. If you have ever been in a courtroom waiting for a judge’s decision, you sense the anticipation of his thinking, deciding and acting upon his decision; but you cannot know what he is thinking until he reveals his decision. So it is with God. Only He knows what He is thinking, feeling and deciding until it is revealed to us in some way. (Romans 11:33) “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and inscrutable his ways.”...

Read More

We Are Surrounded

We Are Surrounded

“But you LORD are a shield surrounding me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head.” Psalm 3:3   As I read Psalm 3 this morning, the word that caught my attention was ‘shield’. What is a shield anyway? In Ephesians 6 we read about the armor of God which includes the shield of faith. That shield is one that we lift up for protection from the enemy rather than dragging it behind. But Psalm 3:3 tells us that we are surrounded by a shield. That shield is God Himself. It is not one we have to lift up. It just simply is a fact. The shield is for protection and defense. This verse tells us that God is our protection and defense. We need to know that today. We need to trust this today. God has entrusted us with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and will protect that within us. It is permanent and eternal. But because of the decay of society by sin, there are times when we question God. We question our faith and become ensnared by the horrible things going on around us. When that happens, we don’t look like Christians. Our witness is damaged by our actions and words. When we feel surrounded by evil and fear for our safety, we need to remember that God is everywhere present. He is our shield of protection, not just in front of us, but all around us. We are surrounded by Him! If I back away from a difficulty, He is there. If I move forward to face the circumstance, He is there. If I turn to the left or right, I will hear His voice saying, ‘this is the way – walk in it. He is there guiding, protecting, defending and speaking. With the world in turmoil, with death and destruction taking place to terrorize us, it is hard to see God’s shield of protection sometimes. But we need to trust that it is there. We need to protect the cause of Christ by speaking and acting like Christians in spite of what social media tells us. Respond in love asking ‘what would Jesus say’. We must check the facts before speaking so we are speaking truth that benefits rather than assumed truth that harms. As believers in Christ, we simply cannot continue beating each other up with our words. Rather, we should trust the one who surrounds us to guard and protect our hearts in Christ Jesus. When King David penned this Psalm, it was at a time when his own son was trying to kill him and take over the throne. But when others said of him, ‘there is no...

Read More

Sit With Me in the Rain

Sit With Me in the Rain

“Let us strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land.” HCSB We have a promise from God that as we strive to know Him better, His presence in our lives is a sure thing. And by His presence, He will teach us in a way that we flourish and grow. We have His promise that He will stimulate growth in us as we open our hearts and minds allowing Him to make conditions right for learning. Many years ago, I went with friends to a retreat in Colorado that was held on a ranch. The theme was “Loving Jesus”. On the last day, the speaker challenged us to take our Bible outside, find a place of solitude and listen for the Lord to speak through His word. Being a ‘girly girl’ back then, I didn’t want to get my hair messed up or my clothes dirty so I looked and looked for just the right spot. Finally I saw a slab of concrete and prepared to open my Bible. But just about the time I was settled, it began to rain. Oh my goodness, you can’t believe the grumbling and complaining coming out of my mouth and God heard every word. As I gathered my things to go back inside, the Lord spoke through a still small voice as if He were standing right there in front of me. He said, ‘Virginia, don’t you love me enough to sit with me in the rain for a moment.’ Whew! My knees gave way and I immediately sat again knowing I had heard a word from the Lord. The funny thing is that as soon as I opened my Bible again, the rain stopped! But funnier still is that the passage I opened to was Hosea 6:3. As I look back on that occasion, I realize that God was testing my love and obedience to Him.  He wanted me to recognize that my priorities were messed up; that I was more concerned about my appearance, my hair and clothes than I was spending time in solitude with Him. God wanted to stimulate spiritual growth and maturity in me. Even though it has been at least 20 years since then, I remember it as if it were yesterday. God wants us to love Him enough to sit with Him in the rain if that’s what it takes to get our attention so we can listen, learn and grow. God got my attention that day. In James 4:8, it tells us that when we draw near to God, He will draw near...

Read More

Perspective

Perspective

Putting Things in Perspective “…should I not have compassion on Nineveh?” Jonah 4:11 This is an excerpt from “Facing Fears, Quenching Flames”, a devotional book on overcoming fear and anger. Available on amazon.com and christianbooks.com.     Scripture Reading: Jonah 4:1-11 “Do you have good reason to be angry?” Jonah was so angry that he wanted to die. But what God recognized in him was an outburst of anger for a surface issue that covered a deeper problem. The surface issue was a plant that had died. The real issue was Jonah’s attitude toward God over circumstances that he could not control. He was still angry that God showed mercy instead of judgment for Nineveh, but the anger he expressed was related to taking away his comfort. His attitude was so resentful and despondent that he no longer wanted to live. But what purpose does it serve to be angry at God? I think we learn from Jonah’s example that it serves no purpose other than to make us miserable. There was a pattern of behavior in the life of Jonah that God was trying to get him to acknowledge and change. His attitude led him to a place of despair and self-pity. Jonah was trying to control God and His actions, so the results would be the way he thought they should be, rather than according to God’s character of mercy and compassion. God’s point to Jonah was the value of life. He pointed out that Jonah was angry over the death of one insignificant plant, but God was concerned with the lives of 120,000 people. This story is a picture of how anger distorts our thinking until we have unrealistic expectations of others and of God. When those expectations are not met, emotions plunge to despair. As difficult as it may be for us, God wants us to put things in perspective. Whatever it is that has caused our anger, we may never know the why or the circumstance which caused it. And so, in order to survive this frame of mind, there are several things to do that help in getting our emotions to a place of healing.   Acknowledge that God is wiser and more powerful that you are – Isaiah 40:21-27   Identify the root of the anger before you become bitter – Hebrews 12:15   Give your emotions and circumstances to God – Psalm 55:22, Psalm 69:19   Be forgiving and merciful – Ephesians 4:32   Re-join the land of the living – Matthew 22:32, 37   Hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ – 2 Corinthians 10:5 This book of the Bible ends in a very strange way. It just...

Read More

The Blank Page

The Blank Page

It is a new year! I can’t say I am sorry to see the last one go. 2016 was filled with tension, conflict and transition for our nation, for many of our lives personally. For myself , it was also filled with tension, illness and transition as my husband and I moved from a metropolitan area where we have lived for many decades, to a remote area by a lake. This move meant saying goodbye to lifelong friends, our church home of 35 years and everything near and dear to us. It meant saying goodbye to teaching Bible Study that I had done for years. When we moved in the summer, I had already committed to teach before I knew we were moving. So my sweet husband told me that if I wanted to keep that commitment for the fall, that he would drive me the five hours each week so I could complete my commitment. And that is what we did. It happened that I was teaching from the book of 2 Timothy. This book of the Bible is the last letter the Apostle Paul wrote and the last word Timothy heard from him. So, it was very emotional for me because it was my goodbye to a class of women I had taught for many years. For some reason in the fall semester, I used a different Bible than I had normally used. This one was new and I was not as familiar with how the books and chapters flowed on the pages. Then, in the last week of my study, as I read the last few verses of the book of 2 Timothy, I turned the page for more. The page was blank. As I looked at that blank page, I was overwhelmed with grief and thought, “this is what my life looks like right now. Blank. I don’t know what is ahead for me.” No sooner had I thought these things then I sensed God in my spirit saying “What looks blank to you, I have already filled. I know exactly what your future holds – trust me.” Trust means to be confident and secure in something or someone, and as I thought about it, I remembered one of my favorite passages of scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 In that moment, I had immediate peace like a weight had been lifted because I knew I could be confident in my security with Him. I began to pray “Lord, I do trust you with my life and my future and...

Read More

Candles in the Dark

Candles in the Dark

“I AM the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV It was a great idea! My friend Laura wanted to host a neighborhood social and have a craft project for her neighbors. And so, I volunteered to teach candle making. I had the supplies – all we needed was heat to melt the wax and power to plug in the glue gun. The day arrived and we were excited! Then I received an early morning call on the day of the event. “We have no power”. The storms had affected the power lines in Laura’s area. We decided to proceed anyway hoping for a quick repair. Thankfully her stove was gas but with no power, we were working in the dark. I commented to Laura, “This is a good lesson for why we need candles – to shine light in the darkness.” As I looked at the candles around the room, each had a soft glow of light in a dark place. In order to see what we were doing, we were drawn to light from them. It reminded me that as believers, we are to be that glowing light of Christ wherever we go. There may be dark places we are required to walk in our schools, work places, community, government or even family events, but our light is to shine in those places. We can be a light in the darkness because Jesus is our power source. Extending love and kindness to those around you, no matter where you are, is letting Him shine through you. Or maybe you are in a dark time right now. Be encouraged to know there is light for you. His name is Jesus. He will shine on the path before you to light your way and direct your...

Read More