We all would like to think that we are special in some way before God. We want to be sure of His love for us and His guiding hand in our lives. For most of us, being special translates into a feeling – an emotional response that produces a sense of security. But is that all there is to being special? For the Christian at least there is much more to it. We know that everyone is not called to follow Jesus and we also know that according to the Bible, God does specifically call some to follow. How does this work? How does God get your attention and touch your heart and mind? What makes us want to respond to God and what might make us shy away from responding to Him? Is it easy to recognize when God is seeking us out and trying to touch our hearts?
What would you think of a powerful leader who sanctions rape, pillaging, the destruction of thousands of lives for the wrong doings of one, racism and genocide? No matter who we are, if we have a conscience in any way tuned to the sanctity of human life, we would have to label them a monster – a maniacal psychopathic egotist. Sadly, there are many who read certain parts of the Bible and handily conclude that the God of the Bible – the Creator of all things - is such a being. They call Him out for the horrible and harsh things written in the Old Testament and boldly claim that a God who presides over those things is no god at all – He is instead a monster. Now look – there are terrible things written in the Old Testament, but do they point to a heartless dictator or is there another explanation?
Defining God is a monumental task. The measure of its difficulty is such that very few will ever follow through with it, for the world is overrun with contradictory myths, stories and legends about the nature and purposes of God. So many stories, so little truth! Defining God requires us to look into things beyond our natural sight. It requires us to grab hold of things beyond our physical reach, and it requires us to believe in things that are beyond our earthly capacity. To know who God is means we would know His character, His mind and what drives Him. Can we know these things? Can we know God’s heart and mind? Can we know God’s plans and purposes? Will knowing God help us to better know ourselves?
Promises, promises! Did you ever stop to think about how much of our lives revolve around promises? There are promises at every level of life – those made by a child to secure a privilege, those made when you agree to the conditions of your job, those made between a man and a woman at marriage, those made in political campaigns. Then there are the private promises we make to ourselves and to God. We judge character by the keeping of promises. A promise keeper is a trustworthy person. Then there are the promises God makes to us. It seems like there are a lot of them, but to many people it seems God has not kept them. So, is God a trustworthy promise keeper?
God is love! We as Christians love to bask in the magnitude of that statement as it gives us comfort and confidence that our faith is in a Being that possesses understanding, compassion and wisdom. God is love – that statement just makes us feel good! So was that the reason John wrote it - to make us feel good? Or did he write it to help us not only unlock the depths of God’s character but to also unlock the potential depths of our own characters? Stay with us! This is love as you have never seen it before!
We believe in God. He is the Almighty Creator. But if you look around, what do you see? Watch the news and you will not only get depressed but probably scared as well. Here in our country several Christians were gunned down while at a Bible study. A local sheriff was murdered while putting gas in his car, and a nine-year old girl was killed by a stray bullet in her home while doing her homework. In the Middle East people are slaughtered by the hundreds and thousands because of their religion or sexual orientation. So, what is wrong with this picture? Where is God’s almighty power? Is He even paying attention?
Atheism – for many of us who profess Christianity, even hearing the word conjures up a need to defend oneself and one’s faith. Sometimes we envision an Atheist as one whose objective in life is to ridicule not only us but the mechanism of our faith. And not just the mechanism of our faith, but the very object of our faith – God Almighty. So what do we have? We have envisioned Atheism as an enemy – as an object of our disdain…but wait a minute – Jesus clearly taught us to love our enemies, so what does that mean? Did Jesus himself love those who profess Atheism – did Jesus die for Atheists? If so, then how should we show them the love of Christ?
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." It is one of the Ten Commandments, so it must be important. But, what does it really mean? Is it just about the words we use or is there more to it than that? Can our thoughts and actions also be a manifestation of taking God’s name in vain? What is the end result of carelessly handling God’s name? How do we become more aware of ourselves so we hold the name of God with reverence, honor and respect?
Followers of Jesus today are bombarded on every side with agnostic and atheistic philosophies that erode faith. In science, the theory of Evolution is embraced by many as the best explanation of man’s existence on earth, of course without the necessity of a supposed mythical creator. However, in recent decades the scientific debate over the explanation of origins has taken a turn with the appearance of the theory of Intelligent Design. The result has produced a dramatic and often faith-strengthening debate. For a Christian, this comes at a perfect time, supplying us with additional reasons to accept the Bible narrative of God as Creator. So what’s it about? Stayed tuned for a lively discussion of: Is God Really the Creator?
Love God. It is a simple enough commandment - easy to say, repeat and remember. But what does it really mean? Are there different ways of expressing love for God and does God look for different results depending on what age of humanity we live in? Most of all, is loving God - no matter when and where we live - enough?