Some people treat God like … Santa Claus

Forget Christmas in December or even July, and forget including a baby Jesus in the picture – some people treat God like a year-round Santa Claus … and nothing more. Sure, they’ve heard about the whole naughty or nice list and the coal in the stocking, but they focus solely on the gift-giving aspect in relation to their own wants.

With this treatment comes: Continue reading

#nature-of-god, #santa-claus, #some-people-treat-god-like, #spiritual-illustration

‘Able to know your loving nature’: David Binkley

And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:37-39 ESV)

Иисус же, возгласив громко, испустил дух. И завеса в храме раздралась надвое, сверху донизу. Сотник, стоявший напротив Его, увидев, что Он, так возгласив, испустил дух, сказал: истинно Человек Сей был Сын Божий. (От Марка 15:37-39 Russian)

O LORD God – blessed is your name forever and ever! From your highest place that is invisible to any manmade sensory probes, we are able to know your loving nature. Thank you for showing us mercy when your Son came to this world to bring us freedom from the death penalty we face because of our sins. Forgive us dear Father as we forgive others and purposefully follow Christ each day. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr., Gospel Minister
Cedar Key Church of Christ

#david-binkley, #nature-of-god, #prayer

Hugh’s News & Views (God)

HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS

GOD

God is . . .

1. Eternal. He had neither a beginning nor will He have an ending. He was in the beginning (Genesis 1:1) and created all things that exist (Acts 17:24). “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:2).

2. Unchangeable. “For I am the Lord, I do not change . . .” (Malachi 3:6). With God “there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Continue reading

#hughfulford, #nature-of-god

Hugh’s News & Views (Goodness And Severity)

HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS

THE GOODNESS AND SEVERITY OF GOD

God is not two-faced but He does have two sides!

In a text dealing with the cutting off of unbelieving Jews as the covenant people of God and the grafting in of believing Gentiles, Paul called upon people to “consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity, but toward you goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Romans 11:22, NKJV). (Note: Where the NKJV has “consider,” the KJV, ASV, and NASB have “behold.” The point is that the Roman Christians were to give careful attention to the fact that God is characterized by both goodness and severity).

Goodness is from a word that also is translated kindness and gentleness. God is good. “O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him” (Psalm 34:8). “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You” (86:5). In a passionate sermon to the heathen of Lystra (located in central Asia Minor in New Testament times, the modern day country of Turkey), Paul reminded them that God “in times past allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless, He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:16-17). Continue reading

#god, #hughfulford, #nature-of-god

Why does hell exist?

Note: We do not know the author, Heath Rogers, personally, but since this article was just published in the Iuka MS church bulletin, we believe him to be a faithful brother. We’re always interested in reading about the person of God.

Some find the Bible’s teaching of hell to be inconsistent with their understanding of God. In their minds, they can not reconcile the idea of an all-loving, all-powerful God casting people into a lake of fire to burn for all of eternity. This difficulty has led some to pervert or deny the Bible’s teaching on hell and has led others to deny the existence of God. While it may be a difficult idea for our minds to grasp, there are reasons that an eternal hell exists.

Those who struggle with the idea of God sending men to eternal torment have an unbalanced and unbiblical view of God. While God is a God of love (1Jo 4:7-8), he is also capable of anger, wrath and punishment.

  • “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy” (Ja 4:12).
  • “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God” (Rm 11:22).

It is within God’s character to both reward and punish. Paul said that God

“will render to each one according to his deeds: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness – indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil” (Rm 2:6-9).

God is being consistent with his nature when he grants both eternal rewards and eternal punishment. Heaven is the final outworking of God’s love, while hell is the final outworking of his righteousness.

From the very beginning, God said that sin would be punished. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17). God is a God of love, but he is also righteous and holy. God’s holiness will not allow him to ignore sin. He responds to sin with wrath and punishment.

Hell was created as a place of punishment for sin. “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Mt 25:41).

All sin is rebellion against God. Those who follow the devil in rebellion against God will suffer the same fate. Sin has a wage (Rm 6:23). Those who sin are deserving of punishment. However, those who have rejected the sacrifice of God’s Son are even more deserving of this punishment.

“Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? … It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hb 10:29, 31).

God is holy. God’s holiness cannot allow sin to come into his presence. Thus, one of the consequences of sin is that it separates man from God (Isa 59:1-2). If one dies while in this alienated condition, he will spend eternity separated from God in hell.

Speaking of heaven, John said, “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rv 21:27).

Those who are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire (Rv 20:15), which is an eternal separation from God.

Hell is real, but no one has to be sent to that place of eternal torment. Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, God has made a way for us to be forgiven, thus escaping the eternal punishment for our sins. If we will obey the gospel, heaven can be our eternal home.

#character-of-god, #god, #hell, #nature-of-god

The God we seek

by Bill Denton

Patrick Morley wrote, "The turning point of our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is." The simplicity of the statement belies the depth of truth contained in the words.

Isn’t this a succinct way of stating one of man’s great problems with God? Isn’t it the common experience of human existence, regardless of the age or the society, that humans seem determined to create a God of their own liking (or perhaps even of their own disgust), rather than accepting the God who is? Evidence of this is seen in the fact that those with different beliefs often resort to claiming that the opposition is simply spouting their own opinions, but not truth.

As much as we might hate to admit it, knowing the God who is may not be the simplest task in which we might engage ourselves. Not that God is determined to keep himself secret, for God has always revealed himself. But, God is known by those who seek him. Non-seekers do not know God, and those who seek must continue to do so. Concepts, ideas and beliefs must be constantly tested, compared to God’s revelation, and perhaps revised or even changed altogether. That very prospect frightens us, for we want to think that we have God already figured out. We don’t want to have to keep struggling.

The problem is that once we stop the seeking, it is likely we will have opted for the God we "want" instead of the God who "is." Make sure that the God you know is the real one. What a poor God it would be if He were simply created in our image instead of the other way around.

***

For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.’ Isaiah 45:4-7

"Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day" by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

#nature-of-god, #seek-god

Simon the unwilling carrier

Matthew 27 records Jesus’ crucifixion. When I pillowed my head last night, I thought about reading this chapter. I tend to be squeamish about things, horror flicks are not my bag, blood and violence leave me pale. This morning I woke up thinking, “Today Jesus dies,” the reading of his death fresh on my mind. I pray to God that his death may always be fresh upon my heart.

Simon was pressed into carrying our Lord’s cross, because all his followers had deserted him. Where was Peter? Where was James? Where were the others? When one commentator writes that “discipleship motifs are not entirely clear in this scene, especially since Simon is forced into carrying the crossbeam,” he seems to miss the point. Which is, discipleship is totally absent from this scene!

The soldiers “find” Simon, an unwilling carrier. The disciples should have been there to do it.

• I’m always interested when somebody talks about God’s nature and character. So Hugh Fulford’s post for his “News and Views” today especially caught my attention, on “Antimony of Scripture.”

• Yet more evidence that alcohol is bad for health, even in amounts considered moderate, “as few as three drinks a week,” from the Wall Street Journal: “Regularly drinking, even in moderation, raises the long-term risk of many kinds of cancer.”

• Richard M. shared this link about the FCC giving churches and non-profits a hard time about closed captioning. More heavy-handedness on its way?

• My acrostic poem with a Halloween theme didn’t win. My excuse: I got my entry in at mid-month. Maybe next time. November brings another acrostic contest, on love. I’ve already written a sonnet.

• I’d asked prayers for The Missus’s uncle. He had surgery yesterday, surgeon said he escaped death by hours. He removed a mass and repaired a hole in the stomach. We await biopsy results. Thanks for your prayers. He showed signs of interest in the gospel.

#fcc, #nature-of-god, #poetry, #simon-of-cyrene

Three thoughts about God

Several items from diverse sources. First, Romans 11:22 keeps tumbling in my heart:

“Consider, then, the kindness and severity of God: his severity toward those who fell, but God’s kindness toward you—if you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you too will be cut off” (NET).

When we don’t hold to both, we tend to bounce from one to the other. People who have been taught his severity often go to the extreme to speak only of his kindness. The whole grace-and-law discussion needs to drop back to the kindness and severity of the character of God.

Second, a little paragraph posted to my blog yesterday, on recent experience between the two of us:

When God acts, he often has to ask, “Why did you doubt, O you of little faith?” Why, indeed. Has he not promised to use his power for his people? Has he yet failed to come through?

Third, a clip from the 14th-Century poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the words of Gawain to the servant guide, about the green knight:

However wild
He may be,
God can see,
God can save.

#character-of-god, #nature-of-god, #theology

Daily Nudge: God thoughts — and news

Share a thought, a phrase, a verse, a quote, a meditation, about the person of God. Who he is, how he works, an aspect of his character, something about Him.

We often, very often, see articles and studies about, say, church-going (nobody believes in Heb. 10:25 more than I) or, maybe, baptism (yes, absolutely necessary for salvation, as per 1 Pet. 3:21), but, if my impression is right, far fewer on the person of God. He seems a far more immense object of study, if we may call him that, than any other subject, don’t you think?

Fellows, remember to reply in separate posts. Visitors and readers are free to reply to this post below.

News is always good when we hear about the saints.

#character-of-god, #nature-of-god, #nudge

God Is …

That’s the theme of this month’s Christian Worker magazine, published by the Southwest church in Austin TX. Here’s the table of contents.

…A Merciful God (Rob L. Whitacre)……………….1
…One (Justin Hopkins)………………………………….2
…Not a Man (Troy Spradlin) …………………………..3
…My Strong Fortress (Patrick Hammack)……….3
…The King of All the Earth (Clay Bond)…………4
…My Helper (Andy Baker)…………………………….4
…The GOD of Gods (Justin Guess) ………………5
…Not the God of the Dead, But of the Living
(Kris Groda)………………………………………………6
…A Spirit (Kevin Cauley)……………………………….7
…No Respecter of Persons (Mike Bonner)………7
…Not a God of Confusion but of Peace
(James Gravelle)………………………………………..8
…A Consuming Fire (Cody Westbrook) ………….9
…Light (Don Walker)………………………………….. 10
…Love (Tom Moore)…………………………………… 11

The issue is available in pdf format for free at this link.

These are themes we need to ponder over and over again, the person, nature and character of God.

#god, #magazines, #nature-of-god