A God of Gobbledygook?

We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God (1 Corinthians 2:12).

In 1948, US President Harry Truman accused his opponents of following the motto, If you can’t convince them, confuse them. Some people claim this is God’s modus operandi.

God talks like a man whose mouth is full of marbles and mush in his mind; His Word can be understood in many different ways. For them, He’s a mysterious being of eternal gobbledygook. The Bible is nothing but a fairy-story full of cryptic babble left for the listener to decipher.

Christianity has always posited that God’s desire is to clearly reveal Himself to His creation. He created the universe to point man to Himself (Romans 1:20); however sin deafens man (Romans 1:21).

The Apostle Peter wrote that the Bible came via holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit and is not of any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20, 21). A Bible of many different meanings suggests an addle-minded Holy Spirit incapable of rational thought, when the problem is a sinful man with a “private interpretation” who has never undertaken to study the absolute reliability nor documented historicity of the Scriptures.

When we receive the Bible for what it says of itself, that every word has been inspired, directed, and preserved by the Holy Spirit to give His people an unmistakable statement of His will, then it is easy to comprehend. Simply stated: God says what He means.

Scripture is only hard to grasp when we desire to find ways to get around what He’s clearly and specifically said; that’s when it becomes a fairy-tale with a thousand different secret meanings.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Truly, does this sound like God is a con-man, playing a shell game with the way to knowing Him and His will?

More Boring than a Wheel

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day (Exodus 20:9, 10, 11).

A CBS News story reported in May that Jews and Christians made up the idea of the 7-day week as a form of time slavery. The “week is man-made, arbitrary, a substance not found in nature.”

Instead of time being a continual revolving cycle of renewal, “Judeo-Christians decided that time was actually linear, beginning at creation and moving toward end times. This idea stuck—and it’s way more boring than a wheel.” To improve the conquest of time, the author of the report said we must elevate the weekend, which she claims was invented by socialist-minded politicians.

If you think that socialism is compatible with Christianity, here’s more proof you’re wrong.

God has a different idea about time than communists. The Bible says that He created the idea of a 7-day week when He created the heavens and the earth in six days and then rested on the seventh. It’s not man-made, it is inherent in His creation.

Instead of conquering time, we must be living circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).

The Beginning and End

beginning-and-endIn the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).

Such simple words, but so very controversial to so many people.

These words indicate, among other things, there there is a beginning to everything … but God. He alone was in the beginning.

If there is a beginning to everything but God, then there must also be an end to everything but God.

The United States had a beginning. The banana you ate at lunch had a beginning. This blog post has a beginning. You had a beginning. This is very scientific!

Are you prepared for the ending?

God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there shall be a time therefore every purpose and for every work (Ecclesiastes 3:17).

First Sung

Like most people, I love music. Martin Luther wrote that Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us. Music is powerful. It can cause a range of emotions from rage to joy to sorrow. It can energize, stir laughter, make us sleepy, and draw tears.

In the Bible, God described His creation of the world and then asked a man named Job a serious question: Where were you . . . when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7). The creation of the universe was celebrated with a song. The song first sung was one of joy, praising the God of power and glory.

All too often we use music for our own purposes and pleasures, but why not join with the universe and make some music, sing a song, or hum a tune to the God who started it all.

Are You Not of More Value

of-more-value-than-theyLook at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26).

Years ago I worked for a computer assembly company. Most of my fellow employees respected the fact that I was a pastor and they controlled their language when I was around. One man played it different. He made a habit of saying every nasty comment, filthy word, and ridiculing jibe he could think of when he saw me.

One day on lunch break he noticed that I was eating a hard boiled egg.

You Christians are such hypocrites,” he said in front of everyone. “You’re against aborting babies yet you’ll eat the unborn baby of a chicken.

The guy wasn’t up on his farming or his biology. He was ignorant of the scientific difference between a fertilized and unfertilized chicken egg. He also didn’t know anything about the differences between a chicken and a human. He believed the evolutionary theory that animals and people are equals.

The Bible tells us that God created Man special, in His own likeness and image (Genesis 1:26). Of all the living creatures of earth, only into Man did God breathe and give life (Genesis 2:7). Of all the works of His hand, only for Man did God give His Son as a sacrifice for sin (John 3:16).

God Himself established the value of human life – born and unborn.

The Broken Branch

brokenOutside my home stands a tree I planted many years ago. I watered it, trimmed it back, and it brought me much joy.

In the Pacific Northwest, our winters are usually mild with an average of 3 inches of snow all season long. A few weeks ago our “usual” was interrupted by two weeks of wild. A thick coat of ice coated everything until we were hit with 9 inches of snow overnight. Once tall and straight, under the load of ice and snow, my tree bowed to the ground and one of its branches bent and broke.

No amount of discussion and counsel has mended the broken branch. My commands, declarations, pleadings, and even prayers have failed to repair the effects of nature. What nature has destroyed, only the Creator can make straight, and in this instance, He has willed not done so.

When God created all things, He made them as only a perfect God can do. When sin entered the universe, it laid a weight upon His work that has left every creature bent, broken, and destroyed. The sin nature adds the only thing it has to offer: more sin; and the weight and destruction grows.

I am so often prone to attempt things only God can do. In my own well-meaning but stubborn strength, I seek to fix what sin destroys. I end up a frustrated, irritated, defiant, drained and failed wanna-be saviour. Then am I reminded that He is God and I am not.

Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no saviour. Indeed before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it? (Isaiah 43:10, 11, 13).

You Are Not An Accident

you-are-an-accidentWhy are you here?

The other day a young man explained to me that he and I are just random blobs of carbon-based substance or a figment of some computer imagined Matrix. We are an accident of the universe and that accident makes our existence both meaningless and without purpose. This is the product of atheism and evolution.

The Bible says that God has both a reason and a purpose for my creation.

Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him (Isaiah 43:7).

Christian, you are the direct handiwork of a loving God, created for His glory. That’s a purpose to live for.

The Lamb of God

Cold grey mist lingered in the air just above the ground, typical this time of the year. Another spring morning in Bethlehem, and the thin layer of green grass poked through the littering of rock.  Legend is that when God created the world, the angel carrying rocks from Heaven accidentally spilled most of his load all in one place: Israel. Any visitor to Bethlehem might wonder if the legend isn’t true.

Only days before, shepherds began leading their flocks out into the fields to pasture. The weather had been too cold up until then for the ewes and their little lambs to be in the fields all night. Today would be their first to remain outside together. In a few hours the fog would burn away, the sun warming the ground and the sheep’s fine wool.

The morning of anticipation was added to by the arrival of a man and his wife into the cave the sheep called home. There was plenty of room with the flocks leaving for the pasture lands, but many would wonder at the wisdom of these city folk in a sheep pen.

The night grew dark except for the pinpoints of a thousand stars in the sky above. Sheep lay still in the short-walled enclosure while shepherds warmed themselves by the fire, telling tales of mysteries of long, long ago. Without warning the black sky burst with a brilliant light as thousands of tiny stars erupted into glorious figures of heavenly angels singing with choral voices: GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, AND ON EARTH PEACE, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN (Luke 2:14)!

The shepherds hurriedly made their way back to Bethlehem and the cave they had abandoned earlier in the day. There, these keepers of sheep and little lambs found a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. This newborn Child, hailed by the host of Heaven and seen by keepers of sheep, was the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

God is Patient

god-is-patient

When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law (Galatians 4:4).

Patience is an evidence of mercy. God’s patience and mercy are often linked in the Scriptures (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Psalms 86:15). Mercy is compassion toward that which is pitiful and miserable; patience is the power of self-control to bear with the weak or the wicked.

A woman once complained when a group of homeless men were told they couldn’t sleep on the front stoop of the church when we were meeting. She had mercy for them. When I suggested she take them home to sleep on her porch, she revealed a personal impatience for such a suggestion. It was the last time she ever attended our church.

Nahum 1:3 says that God is slow to anger and great in power…. He is slow to anger because of His power; He is ever in control of Himself. His mercy is a response to the condition of the creature; His patience is a restraint of Himself because of His self-control.

Unsaved men look at God’s self-control and think it means He doesn’t exist or judge. Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of me is fully set in them to do evil (Ecclesiastes 8:11). But God can only be what He is. While emotion flies off the handle even at evil, God is patient.

Mankind sins at a breakneck speed, openly defying Him and celebrating what He forbids. Yet God doesn’t wipe out the sinner immediately for his sin. Why? God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy … even us (Romans 9:22, 23, 24). He’s patient with the wicked because He is patient with us (2 Peter 3:9).

He was patient sending Jesus because the law had to be shown to be a complete failure at saving anyone. He gave Israel 1,400 years to live by the law, but not even a prophet, priest or king could keep the Commandments. When the time was right, Jesus came!

God is Mighty

god-is-mighty

And the angel answered and said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”(Luke 1:35)

God is all-powerful. In fact, God is not only all-powerful, Mark 14:62 reveals that one of the Father’s names is Power.

Most of His power is hidden from us. When He appeared at Mount Sinai: His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, and there His power was hidden (Habakkuk 3:3-4).

Consider the great power it took for the incomprehensible God to become a zygote in Mary’s womb. For nine months His immeasurable power was hidden within a teenage girl’s uterus, yet He held the universe together by His power (Colossians 1:17). For thirty years He hid His power because the time to reveal Himself had not yet come (John 2:4).

Psalm 62:11 says, God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God. Unlike us as parents, God’s power means that He has only ever needed to speak once. The One who spoke once and created light (Genesis 1:3), called forth a dead man with one command (John 11:43), spoke once to calm the storm (Mark 4:39), and demons and sickness obeyed His one word (Matthew 8:32; Luke 5:13).

We need tools and materials before we can work, but He made all things when He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast (Psalms 33:9).

His power gives Him control over all things. He holds the oceans in their place (Job 38:11), bridles Satan’s hatred (Job 1:12), keeps us alive (Psalm 66:9), and reveals His power in His patience (Romans 9:22). The whole universe trembles before Him while sinful man stiffens his neck and raises his fist (Psalm 2:1-3).

We adore and praise the Almighty. He is the Great, the Mighty God. Ah, Lord God! Behold You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You (Jer 32:18, 17).