Be true to yourself! Imagine your universe in its majesty, order, power and beauty; when we study the earth’s skies, mountains, oceans, valleys and tides, and when we analyze the human body and mind: how they are formed and their complexities, is it not natural to conclude that a great Intelligence is responsible for it all?
Only when you keep calling for God’s help, as a child cries for help from mom or dad… Only when you learn to approach God as a little child… will you begun to understand…So great, yet so tender. So powerful, yet so gentle.
Hand of God NASA
You hold the universe in Your hands.
You hold me, a child on Your knee.
Please, Lord, keep hold of me.
This will give you great hope: Because Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, don’t stop them. It’s to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” And “truly I tell you–whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
YOU ARE INCAPABLE OF FIXING YOUR OWN LIFE
Only when you begin to realize and admit to God and yourself that you are incapable of fixing your life on your own…
Who God is in His Essence, no one will fathom, neither the mind of Angels nor of man. Get to know God by contemplating His attributes: His holiness; His justice; and the third one is His love and mercy. It unites the creature with the Creator.
The Bible tells us that God sayswhen you converse with Him in the depths of your heart, every single grace comes to you through prayer. A sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again. If we do not persevere in such prayer, we frustrate what the Lord wanted to do through us or within us.
God gradually reveals Himself as what we need to know. He does this by selecting one small tribe out of all the nations on earth. He has chosen them to be His own people. He has given them a land, a law and temple in which they are to worship Him. They are to learn who He is and how to live in communion with Him. Of course, they fail Him repeatedly and the BIBLE historyof the Old Testament is filled with stories of these failures. Yet, He continually refashions the relationship and rebuilds this communion. They eventually begin to see more clearly His awesome faithfulness and love.
GOD ACTS IN HISTORY TO ATTAIN HIS PURPOSE.
All of the sacred history of Israel occurs in the full history of the ancient world. This is not a fairy tale: God acts in history and space to attain His purpose.The Jewish people had lived under a succession of foreign empires for centuries. The Jews finally realized that their little kingdom would never be restored without God and His graces. Ironically the Jews are still waiting for God to reveal Himself.
The most interesting developmentin the history of the Bible is observing how God has protected and guided the small kingdom of Judeastarting from 2000 BC. He knew that Jesus Christ was to be born in a small town in Bethlehem in 4 BC. In Micah 5:2(750-686 BC), there is a prophecy that reveals that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah: “But you, Bethlehem, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
After 2000 years, the Bible has been translated into 1120 languages and dialects. We look at the Bible as a historical document, and evaluate its validity from unbiased grounds. Many of the people, places, and things mentioned in the Bible can indeed be verified 100% through modern day archeology.
Who ever heard of the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Medes or the Seleucids, and where do we read about the great defeat of Pharaoh’s army in the annals of Ancient Egypt?
About 1050 BC, Israel’s very existence was threatened. It was on the verge of losing all the fruits of its conquests and all the work of colonization, which had gone on for almost 200 years. It was on the verge of falling under the yoke of the Philistines and facing hopeless slavery. Saul used guerrilla warfare with surprise attacks and hunted the Philistine occupation out of its area. Eventually Israel became an empire from the time of David to Solomon.
When Solomon died in 926 BC, the dream of Israel as a great power was buried with him forever, with the emergence of Assyria. The fact that Assyria had a succession of weak kings allowed both Israel and Judah some respite and peace reigned until 745 BC. When a brutal Assyrian tyrant attacked, Israel submitted voluntarily with tribute of silver until events took their disastrous course. Surely that would mean the fall of the walls of Jerusalem and the seizing of the capital, yet Jerusalem had escaped.
A wild horde burst out of the Caucasus into the Fertile Crescent and inundating the Assyrian empire. Yet within ten years the Asiatic horsemen had disappeared like an evil apparition. Then the Medes and the Neo-Babylonians bore down on the Assyrians on two fronts.
The Fertile Crescent could breathe again. The King Josiah (639- 609) banned the practice of foreign religions in Jerusalem. The little army of Judah marched against the far superior Egyptian force, with the tragic ending at Megiddo. Soon afterwards, Egypt retreated.
We are most challenged to find meaning when we are confronted with suffering. When we lose someone, we cry out, “Why?”. When we witness natural or man-made catastrophes — earthquakes, devastating tornadoes, mass murder , wars, we ask, “If God is good, how can He allow so much suffering? So much evil?”
Job realizes that the answer for the terrible suffering and evil in the world is not for us to know. God knows. We do not. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” Job 42:3
In the meantime, we endure loss, pain, suffering as well as joy, discovery and love. So did Jesus.
We really have to have a sense of the Big Picture of how it all fits into the deeper questions of ultimate purpose and meaning of life.We need wisdom to know what it is all about.
We need to find a purpose for our lives, a reason for getting up in the morning. Just as we must find meaning in each of life’s events, so we must find the purpose to live.
We have been given an intellect and a free will. We are made to know the truth and to seek the known good of things. Then we are able to spur ourselves into action to achieve that good. God is the good to which we are striving and the happiness for which our Creator has made us.
For some of us, our will wants what it wants and the intellect has one function and that is to carry out the will’s commands. In the end this form of human happiness is at best a fleeting grab at passing pleasure.
This is called Relativism and it espouses that there is really no truth – only my truth or your truth. The same holds for goodness – only what each determines to be good for him-or-herself. Everyone must decide what is good and evil for them. This is a vague attempt to be tolerant and nice. It is also an attempt to shut anyone up that disagrees with you.
PURPOSE AND MEANING
“God is love.”1 John 4:8 By saying God is love, we are saying God is a movement toward the good of the other. Love seeks the good of the beloved. God is love and therefore personal. He is revealed in Scriptures as a person. He is not just some free flowing divine power.
We have been made in God’s image and likeness. Genesis 1:26-27 reveals, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness’ … God is our Creator: our shaper and our author and hence the authority and we owe obedience to Him.
We are not at the final stage yet of the Big Picture. The last chapter of the world has yet to be written; the story has not been resolved. The way things are now are not the way they will always be. There is a Second Coming of Christ, a final judgment and an ultimate resolution of all the evils and injustices of the world. We will be caught up in communion and unity with God where we will live, love and rejoice forever.
There is just no other story in the world like this. It’s a shame that its familiarity has caused us to be indifferent. God became a man! Really??
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” John 1:14 God the Son through Whom all things were made became a human being. The all powerful God became a baby, a young man, a suffering man, a corpse.
He healed and gave life. He overcame evil spirits and forgave sins. He proclaimed a new kingdom. He emphasized mercy. He called disciples to follow him and the appointed twelve became the foundation of the Church. There are 2.2 billion followers or 32% of the world’s population who can’t be all wrong.
And then He died. The death of Jesus on the Cross and how it affects our relationship with Him can be difficult to understand initially. To begin with, Jesus died in obedience to His Father’s will. This death in some fashion wins us forgiveness of our sins and opens up heaven to us. It is analogous to the offering of a sacrifice to God in a Jewish temple. The difference is that this is a perfect sacrifice with the power to cover the sins of the whole human race forever. His death saves us so Jesus is our Savior.
Disobedience (sin) breaks this communion with Him: it unplugs us from the only life source that there is. Sin ultimately leads to death – the place of no-God, no-life, no-goodness and no-life. It doesn’t lead to striking us to death for our sins – it leads us to a dead end. But death is defeated and robbed of its power. Heaven is open to us, because Christ has harrowed Hell: it is no longer a threat. Life is real and the grave is not the goal.
LABORATORY OF A MAD SCIENTIST
Our world does seem bizarre at times but there is a Creative Intellect of our God that has infinite wisdom. So we are in good hands. So God created us that we can both know and love the world that He made and join with Him in its ongoing creation: we become co-creators with God in our own existence.
“Then the Lord God formed a manfrom the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (matter), and the man became a living soul (spirit).“Genesis 2:7Spirit flies at the speed of thought to the ends of the world and back. Matter must adhere to the laws of time and place; it is rooted like a mountain in some place. Both are good and both come from the creative will of God. But they are different from one another.
MATTER AND SPIRIT: THAT’S US.
Our body-spirit may seem strange to us. Decartes called the human person as a “ghost in a machine”. Your body is you and your spirit is you. You are body and spirit together. We are a spirit being, we live in a body and we possess a soul. The real person inside of us is our spirit. Our soul consists of our mind, will and emotions. The moment we accept Christ, our spirits become brand new.
This opens for us a new chapter in your human story. It is a new beginning, which creates hope for us. God opens up a space at the table for us, inviting us to share and participate in His goodness and life. God washes us clean, makes us a new creation and fills us with His Spirit. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”2 Corinthians 5:17
THE PERSONAL GOD
Our whole life is meant to be shaped and fashioned to its intentional end. God and our communion with Him is the only true and absolute end to our lives.
“Do you not know or have you not heard? The LORD is the eternal God, creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint nor grow weary, and His knowledge is beyond scrutiny. He gives strength to the fainting; for the weak He makes vigor abound. Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” Book of Isaiah 40:28-31.(740-681 BC)
Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.
He pardons all your iniquities; He heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction; He crowns you with kindness and compassion.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. Not according to our sins does He deal with us, nor does He requite us according to our crimes.
Psalms 103(102):1-2.3-4.8.10. (1034 BC)
Remembering the Lord loves and cares for you.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all — how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”Romans 8:31-32
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:10-13
We invite you to use this as your new Christian Card: add your own name and particulars. People will be grateful to you.
Yet, the unity of body and spirit is fragile: it is imperiled by our fallen disorder. The body has its own rejection of the mind: we want what we want when we want it. There is also simple laziness. Our bodies tend to resist putting out any energy to embrace any good.
Let us not be misunderstood: this life is not boring. Celebration is really important in living godly life in the world. God has made a good world that is full of things to delight in, to laugh about and to rejoice over. Just be careful about all the shiny toys that modern technology offers: don’t waste your time on trivialities, amusements and diversions. We just have to walk away from the machines from time to time. They can be so dehumanizing – just drifting along on the current of life.
We have to live deeply, think seriously, and be alert in our minds, our spirits, and our senses to the most essential questions in life: the Big Picture.
We invite you to attend a good Bible–based churchin your area.
Why doesn’t He give everyone more tangible and accessible proof of existence of God? Why does His mysterious strategy seem to be that of playing hide-and-seek with His creatures? Why is God hiding?
Why isn’t there more concrete proof of God’s existence? Why does He seem to hide Himself, almost playing with His creation? Shouldn’t it all be much simpler? Shouldn’t His existence be obvious?
God’s self-revelation comes about in a special way by his “becoming man“: the revelation of the invisible God in the visible humanity of Christ.
Even the day before the Passion the apostles asked Christ: “Show us the Father”John 14:8. His response remains fundamental: “How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? — or else, believe because of the works themselves….The Father and I are one” John 14:9-11; 10:30.
We are not worried about your behavior. It is more important to change your beliefs about who God is and who you are in Christ. Some don’t understand the dramatic changes which occur in themselves the moment they trust in God. Because you are in Christ, every one of these characteristics are true of you:
I have been rescued from the domain of Satan’s rule and transferred to the kingdom of Christ. Colossians 1:13
I am firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built up in Him. Colossians 2:7
I have been given a Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
I have been given precious and magnificent promises by God, by which I am a partaker of God’s divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4
I have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Contemporary man has rediscovered the sacred, even if he does not always know how to identify it.
We learn from Plato and Aristotle: “Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses”
Is man truly capable of knowing something beyond what he sees with his eyes or hears with his ears?
Man recognizes himself as an ethical being, capable of acting according to criteria of good and evil, and not only those of profit and pleasure. He also recognizes himself as a spiritual being, capable of putting himself in contact with God.
Prayer is the first verification of such a reality. That is how a conversation begins with your Creator.
Of course, there are those who say “I believe in Jesus Christ”, but they don’t affect the way they live. The answer is not that we now have to add hard work to our faith; rather, we haven’t truly understood or believed in Jesus at all.
Some people say that Jesus is just a crutch. They obviously have never had an encounter with Jesus.
Today’s people who live through near death experiences are talking about the same thing Jesus was talking about two thousand years ago.
Near Death Experience
The proof of heaven starts with thousands of people around the world who claim to have had near-death experiences. (NDEs).
When you make adjustments and obey, you come to know God by experiencing Him. Experiencing God involves obedience and a love relationship.
1. God is always at work around us.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3
Deep within the hearts of every believer are a desire and a need to commune with God. There is a world of difference between knowing something is true in your head and experiencing the reality in your life. Many church goers hear about God, but they do not have a personal, dynamic, growing relationship with God. They never hear His voice; they have no idea what God’s Will is. They have no sense of divine purpose for their lives. They may know a lot about God, but they really don’t know Him.
We either know God is all-powerful or we don’t really trust in His power. It is one thing to believe in God’s power; it is quite another to live your life in obedient response to an all-powerful God.
“Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance. In Thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in Thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” Psalm 89:15,16
There will be times when you do not comprehend why He allows certain things to occur, and that is to be expected. He sees the eternal ramifications; we don’t. We must learn to praise God always for everything even the seemingly bad things in our life.
God’s Will is always best! God is all-powerful. His directions are always right. He can enable you to accomplish His Will. We can trust that God Will always gives His best. If you really believe God is love, you will also accept that His will is always best.
He said, “Always remember this song I have taught you today. And let it be a warning that you must teach your children to obey everything written in The Book of God’s Law. The Law isn’t empty words. It can give you a long life in the land that you are going to take.” Deuteronomy 32:46,47
God does not want you to miss out on the fullness of life. God’s instructions do not restrict; they free you. God’s purpose is that you prosper and live.
God sees beyond our current limitations and is constantly leading us to grow into the person He knows we can become. He knows our future.
2. God pursues a continuing love relationship with you.
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21
You did not initiate a love relationship with God; He initiated a love relationship with you. Long before you began your life on earth, God demonstrated His love for you on the cross of Christ. What is the foremost thing God wants from you? He wants you to love Him with all your being. Your experiencing God depends on your love for Him.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3
Calling on His name indicates we are seeking His presence. To praise His Name is to exalt Him. He is worthy of our praise.
3. God invites you to become involved with Him.
“My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure… I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it. I will also do it.” Isaiah 46:10-11
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4:34
So what is God’s will for your life? A better question is, “What is God’s Will?”, because people are naturally self-centered. We tend to view the whole world even God’s activity with our own eyes. Your focus has to be outward on God and His purpose, not inward on your life. We must come to a place where we renounce our self-focused approach to life and turn the attention and control to a God-centered outlook. You must focus on God’s purposes, not on your own plans.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, andhe who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24,25
“For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
You have heard the complaint: “don’t just stand there – do something” so we wear ourselves out and accomplish very little for the Kingdom of God. Rather God is saying to us:”don’t just do something – stand there!” He alone can initiate His plans through you:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
God accomplishes His purposes through you. This experience is not designed to be exhausting or burdensome, but exhilarating and fulfilling: you will find rest in your souls.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
If you have an obedience problem, you have a love problem. If our love relationship with God is not as it should be, nothing else will be in order.
God did not create the world and then abandon it to function on its own. He has been actively involved in human affairs throughout history. God is actively at work redeeming a lost world. He chooses to involve you to help carry out His plans.
Unless God opens your spiritual eyes, you will be blind to His presence and work. When God reveals to where He is working, that becomes His invitation to join Him in His activity.
4. God communicates to us through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will use the Bible, prayer, circumstances and other believers to guide us. It is best to have confirmation from other of these sources.
“He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” John 8:47
The concept of spiritual gifts is contrary to much of what is taught today. Spiritual gifts are a manifestation of the Holy Spirit working in people’s lives to enable them to obey what God asks them to do. When God gives an assignment, He equips the person to accomplish what He assigns. A person who has never accepted an assignment from God does not need to be spiritually equipped because that individual is not undertaking a divine task.
5. God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a Crisis of Belief that requires faith and action.
Whenever God is involved in anything, there are always eternal, divine dimensions and possibilities. To follow God, you will have to walk by faith because without faith it is impossible to please Him:
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
A life walking close to God is both exciting and rewarding.
6. You must make major adjustments in your life to join God
God has a right to interrupt our life. He is our Lord, and we must adjust our lives to what He is doing and to the ways He chooses to accomplish His work.
To get from where you are to where God is requires significant adjustments to your life. You can’t stay where you are and go with God at the same time.
When you do what He tells you, no matter how bewildering it may seem, God carries out what He proposed through you. Not only do you experience God’s power and presence, but so do those who observe your life.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17,20
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you”. John 15:16
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6: 31-33
7. You come to know God by experience as you obey Him.
While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Luke 11:27-28
The moment God speaks to us, that is the time we respond. If you hear the Word of God and do not apply it to produce fruit in your life, your disobedience will cost you. “Therefore, take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him” Luke 8:18God does bring discipline, judgment, and wrath on those who continue to live in sin and rebellion against Him. This discipline is based on love. “The Lord corrects the people He loves and disciplines those He calls His own.” Hebrews 12:6
Suppose that five times out of ten, when the master had something for His servant to do, the servant said, “Sorry, that’s not on my agenda”. What do you think the Master would do? He would discipline the servant, of course. Eventually the servant would remain outside the activity of the Master and the servant will not be working in or through the Master’s life, which becomes a secular life.
Nowhere in the Bible does God promise to stop us from making mistakes! We are human and we are prone to making mistakes. It is foolish to walk carelessly through doors of opportunity without seeking God’s guidance, blithely hoping God will work all thinks together for good.
On the other hand, when God called Abram, He said, “I will bless you, and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.”Genesis 12:2 That means:” I will develop your character to match your assignment.”
In the meantime, waiting on the Lord should not be an idle time for you. Let God use times of waiting to mold and shape your character. Let Him purify your life and make you into a clean vessel for His service.