Is God schizophrenic….

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Following on from watching a TV programme “Tsunami- Where was God?” some time ago, I got to thinking about how the presenter had talked to those in other faiths (primarily Hinduism, Islam & Buddhism) using the generic term “God” in his conversations with them, asking questions about whether they felt angry with “God”.   The glaring obvious error he was making was in assuming that they worshipped the same God he himself supposedly did in being a somewhat lapsed Catholic.

This is a fundamental error too many make in the world today whether through ignorance or design.   Whether the world likes to know it or hear it, there is only ONE God – and His name is Jehovah.   And the reason I can stand on that statement is not through arrogance but rather revelation.   There is only one God who has not only created everything and told us about it in extensive terms (both physical e.g. creation & written i.e. the Bible), there is only one God who has revealed Himself to the world in human form i.e. Jesus, and there is only one God Who has provided a reason for and an answer to the age old problem of man’s sin/evil, through Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, and there is only one God who has provided the surety of heaven for those who are willing to accept their sinfulness, repent, and submit to Him and His Will for their lives.

The gods of other religions are false and glaringly so much of the time.   The god of Islam is a god of war not peace and promotes fear, deception, and angst amongst most of his followers who have no peace of anything much nor any surety of what will happen to them when they die.   Their religion of “peace” is a facade, a veneer which got overlaid on the faith after 9/11 in a means to appease the West temporarily and to promote the idea that muslims weren’t seeking trouble.   However, the years since have shown that while there may indeed be many peaceful muslims their religion is certainly not one promoting peace with a plethora of verses that provoke followers to kill Jews & Christians wherever they may find them.   Deception and fear are twin cohorts in this faith that uses them when it suits to force people to submit.   And if they don’t – well the edge of the sword will maybe help them but if not, they can be swiftly despatched without concern.  Again, I say – this is NOT the God of the Bible Who is being followed in any sense of the word.   Indeed the glaring obvious difference is that the God of the Bible has a Son – Jesus – who is the Saviour of the World, and I contend that that fact stands whether both Jews & Muslims deny its truth.

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.  By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’  Isa 45:22-23 

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Pride is a colourless killer….

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Have you ever really thought about how proud you are?!  No doubt you maybe consider yourself to be a humble being, not pretentious or overly bearing, and happy to take a back seat, never blowing your own trumpet i.e. being boastful, and thus you’re sitting thinking “I’m not proud”!   Sad to say it’s more likely the opposite.

Have you ever looked at someone else and thought critically about them – how they look, how they dress, what their worldview is?  I know I’m utterly guilty of oftentimes thinking I know better than many of my peers, especially with respect to the Gospel and my view of it.   Many times I think that because I spend a LOT of time listening to religious podcasts usually of sermons, and/or reading scripture, that I know more than even my minister (pastor) does, and sometimes I’ve even been so bold as to tell him!!!  I’ve criticised what neighbours have said or done, and felt utterly justified in doing so, only to be brought up short when in front of the Lord in recognising that all of these errant attitudes stem from the single one of PRIDE!

Pride is a very insidious sin – it creeps in when you least expect it, and hits you in ways you never notice until ultimately it colours your entire life if left unchecked.   It’s considered probably the biggest sin because it was the cause of Satan’s own fall from heaven.   He prided himself on how beautiful he was – and even though he recognised that beauty was down to God’s creativity, instead of being contented and thankful for that, he allowed pride to settle in his angelic heart so heavily as to cause him to commit the first sin recorded in scripture – that of determining he could be like God and ultimately become God.   However, instead, we know that he not only lost his exalted position (which was made even more exalted by his pride), but he was then cast down to earth where he determined to destroy all of God’s creation like a wanton petulant child having had his biggest dream shattered.  The rest is history.

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Is God your grandfather??

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For most of us, grandfathers are wonderful figures to have in our lives – never as stern as our fathers, but not overly soft on us either at times, but certainly great people to have about when you want to be spoilt.   But our fathers – well, that’s often a different story.   Some of us may have a father who has been wonderful and equally spoiling in their manner, as well as being a great role model for us, whilst others may have a father who is so stern as to almost be unapproachable, unwilling or unable to be loving, or incapable of connecting to us.   Whichever camp you fall into I suspect you will still have a warped view of how to relate to God particularly if you’re under 30 and don’t know Him, but even us oldies can fall into the trap of viewing God as some genial grandfather in the sky.  We have grown up for the most part (particularly in the West) with the concept that God is good and we have heard Him described as a Father thus we expect Him to be there to keep us safe, look out for us, heap benefits and blessings on us, and generally be nice to us.   And hence when the tough times hit or things don’t go well, we tend to either determine He’s not so hot after all, or else blame everything on Satan as if God has no control on our circumstances (except on the good ones!).

There is a huge danger in either perspective.   If you are a parent you will know how important it is for children to learn that while you love them, you can’t always give them everything they think they want, because they’re absolutely not mature enough to appreciate that while certain things may seem nice or good (sweets) to be allowed them constantly would not be, and so you teach your children the meaning of “No” – and over time, your children come to appreciate that, for the most part, when you deny them something it’s for their own good.   However, certainly as children get older, they may well resent you for that denial and consider you to hate them, or certainly not love them as they perceive you should.   While a poor analogy, it’s somewhat similar with us and God.   He is outside of time and space, and has created us for His purposes, not ours, (hard as that may be to accept), and that purpose is to glorify Him (certainly if we’re Christians).

My primary point is that if you think that God is there purely for you to use as some cosmic genie in the sky, you may have a tougher life than otherwise as rather than submitting to His Will you will constantly be rebelling against it.   And He has stated numerous times in scripture that His love and mercy are against those who transgress (sin) against Him.  Which brings me back to another post of mine and a repetitive point on the errancy of thinking you’re in any way deemed “good” by God just by nature of your own reasoning and actions etc – dangerous, dangerous stance to take.   Just know this – when you die and stand before God, you will have NO, and I mean NO defence if you’ve not accepted Jesus as your Saviour, and you will thus be under the full weight of God’s wrath against the sin in your life, which ultimately will mean you being under the weight of eternal punishment (hell).  And if you don’t believe in any of this, well, that won’t be a defence either at that point.   But I digress.   The important thing to note is that God is not your God to ask anything of, until you submit to Him and repent so expecting Him to answer your prayers positively is futile before then.   Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because your life’s pretty good you must be ok with Him – read about a rich man who probably thought just that:

There was a certain rich man who was customarily clothed in purple and fine linen and making merry in luxury every day.  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. But even the dogs came and licked his sores.   And it happened that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.  The rich one also died and was buried.  And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame”.  But Abraham said, “Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things. But now he is comforted and you are tormented.  And besides all this, there is a great chasm fixed between you and us; so that they desiring to pass from here to you cannot, nor can they pass over to us from there.”  And he said, “I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house,  for I have five brothers, so that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”   Abraham said to him, “They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them.”  And he said, “No, father Abraham, but if one should go to them from the dead, they would repent.”  And he said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded, even though one rose from the dead.”   Luke 16:19-31

Jesus came and died for a purpose – and that purpose was to pay the price for your sins to His Father – something you can’t do on your own no matter how “good” you are, and you cannot enter heaven unless that price is paid this side of the grave.  In other words, contrary to opinion, you can’t plead your own case and somehow change God’s mind once you’re there standing before Him in judgement.

I can’t stress this point enough, which is why I’m perhaps going on about it a bit longer than usual – it’s so, SO important you take note of this and act upon it if you haven’t done so already in your life, as time is running out so fast it’s sobering.    There’s so much more I want to say on this topic, but it’ll have to wait until another post, another day.   For now, PLEASE don’t waste the precious minutes God gives you but instead investigate what Jesus did for you on the cross and why, and be willing to submit to Him and repent.

All have gone aside, together they are filthy; there is none who does good, no, not one.  Psa 14:3 

What are the foundations of your life built on??

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foundation imageIn this era of so much rampant materialism, broken families, degenerating morality and multiple other dangerous conditions of life, I got to thinking about my own life foundation.  Even me, who likes to think I’m a pretty solid Christian, has been brought up short in recognising that even just saying that is enough to cause problems.   Once you’ve got to a point in your life where you think you’ve no problems, you’ve got a major problem!

Foundations – the most important principle in life the world over – whether it relates to buildings, family, theology, learning – foundations become the base upon which everything else thereafter is built upon. Most of us can certainly relate best to it with buildings perhaps, and those of us who’ve had to buy a house rather than rent would certainly know plenty about ensuring that the foundations of the property are sound.   Yet when it comes to our lives which are infinitely more important, somehow we skimp on the important things, and instead focus endlessly on the inane, temporal, and unimportant.    Most of us take life utterly for granted and assume that we have a right to every breath we breathe as well as everything else and more for our lives.   We fight endlessly for our “rights” in all spheres of life these days, being told it’s our “right” to get whatever it is we think we want, whether that’s peace and quiet, or the “right” not to be offended.   We no longer just “get by” but instead have bought into the lie that money is no object if it’s plastic and not our own, and somehow it doesn’t matter how much we spend, so long as we can eventually pay something of it back regardless of whether that’s next to nothing of the debt, or 3 times more than the original.

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A benevolent God??….

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Ch. 4 Tsunami programmeI’m only now getting to watch a programme that was on TV recently on the topic of “Tsunami: Where was God?”  (You might be able to view it HERE but only if you live in the UK)   The premise of the programme centered around how the presenter (who stated he was a Catholic) found the idea that a “benevolent” God would allow such a dreadful disaster to occur.   He raised questions about how if God was good and if, as many of faith contend, such disasters are as a result of the fall, and if God knew that His creation would have to undergo such horrendous misery then why did He ever bother creating us in the first place??   While he, no doubt, speaks for a large volume of people, particularly those without a faith, I feel he shows that while he may have been raised a Catholic, he was never taught or never heard the proper teaching of scriptural Law and Gospel as they apply to mankind.

I’ve equally often asked myself why God bothered creating man, but not because he was doomed to misery and destruction, but more because we were always going to be so bent towards sin and rebellion against Him!!  He has granted us the most incredible intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, and a constant thirst for information, yet with all of that, rather than acknowledge Him as our Creator and Provider, we’d rather turn on Him, deny Him, and ultimately try to tell Him we know better than He does!   Much of this errant attitude about God is because we have long moved away from any true reverence of Him.   Our Jewish ancestors and even many of those in Israel today have a much better attitude and. while it doesn’t prevent their nation from equally sliding into a humanistic secularistic abyss of their own making, it nonetheless shows us how we should view God.

David spoke often about his views of God in the Psalms and constantly recognised his miniscule position before an awesome and magnificent God:

Psa 8:3-4 When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have established; what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man, that You visit him?

We have turned things around completely – rather than the creation serving the Creator, we instead consider that the Creator should serve us and do so, whether we acknowledge Him as such or wish to seek out the true purpose for our lives.   The Westminster Catechism answers the question of why we were created very appropriately:

“Question. 1. What is the chief end of man?

Answer. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.”

When we only view God as some sort of benevolent grandfather figure in the sky – only ever seeking our “best life now” and just waiting for us to ask him for whatever our “felt needs” may be so that he can jump to attention and provide them, we are as guilty of idolatry and blasphemy as many of those in the Old Testament were and who died for their sin in being so.    God’s Love stems from his other major attributes – His Holiness and His Righteousness – sadly attributes we, as imperfect human beings, rarely seem to grasp or appreciate.   However, not being able to figure what they mean doesn’t take away from how they impact everything God is and does.   It’s precisely because He does love mankind that He has done everything to ensure we have every opportunity to overcome the damage sin does in our lives, and grants us the ability to be restored into the relationship with Him that He intended us to have.    His Holiness cannot look on sin and His Righteousness demands a price to be paid for it, so Jesus agreed to pay that price before the very foundation of the world was laid:

Eph 1:4 …. according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love….

Truly what an Awesome God we have – yes, He is a loving God, but He knows that love alone isn’t all we require to enable us to live as we should, and thus as our Heavenly Father, he equally demonstrates that love through justice and discipline, always aiming to take our focus off ourselves and put it where it should be – on HIM!!

Angels – not quite as cute as you might think….

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If you’re someone who’s heavily into angels for probably all the wrong reasons, and who thinks they’re wonderful, “cute” beings, there to do your bidding and bring you joy, read on – you might be surprised to discover the TRUTH about them – particularly if you’re also someone who’s not into reading scripture for whatever reason.    There’s a huge danger in having the wrong knowledge about these awesome Beings as for some of you,  it could literally send you straight to hell when you die, and I’m not exaggerating in the least in that statement!!

Pastor John MacArthur gives a superb talk on the topic outlining that angels have very specific roles in the lives of both believers and unbelievers alike, but he makes a very poignant point – if you are a Christian when you die, angels will carry you to the Throneroom of God, but if you are an unrepentant unbeliever, they will cast you into hell along with the devil and his angels.

Check out his talk on God, Satan & Angels

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There IS proof God exists….

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I truly believe you can prove God exists in multiple ways, but the best is in firstly accepting that the Bible is His Word to His creation, and thus obviously He will reveal Himself through it.   But aside from the obvious texts where God just states who He is, He has placed a lot of material in there to prove Himself to a sceptical world, and to those who at the very least, are willing to consider it.

clearingThe most important proof is still Creation.   I know many of you who read this blog subscribe to Darwin’s theories, but just stop and think laterally for once.   Aside from the unbelievable twists you have to take to provide any mechanism for getting from goo to a zoo let alone mankind, think about this.   If man had evolved from an ape no matter how many years it might have taken him to get intelligence (personally I think he’d have become extinct before it could have ever been a reality but anyway), after all that hard work and billions of years of evolving why,  but why would he then have determined he needed to create a god in any sense?   Would he not have figured he was a god to have come so far in his own journey of evolution –  it would have been a backward step to consider having any Being above him, let alone a God who would demand so much!???

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