No Limits

www.bible.com/72/isa.40.28.hcsb

Unfathomable. It is impossible to plumb the depths of God. Our minds are used to limits, boundaries, and borders. We have a keen knowledge, but we discover that the more we know, the more we don’t know. Investigation in any single area offers new frontiers to explore. We thought we had it figured out when we discovered the Cell as the basic unit of our construction. Then we looked inside the cell, and discovered a more complex world. We thought we had it figured out when we discovered the atom, then along came subatomic particles. Every time we think we have it figured out, it gets deeper and more complex. As Felix said to Paul, “Your much learning has driven you mad!” When contemplate the work of an infinite God, we will come to a point that we have to stop.

When we see God, it will not be as God is. God will present to us a version of Himself that we can look upon and not die. For if we were ever to look upon God as He is, our minds would blow up. We can’t handle it. That’s why He came to us as a man, to give us a way to relate to Him (among other very important reasons).

Our verse today hints at these truths in a way that gets the conversation going. I encourage you to put your faith in a God so big you can’t understand Him. But a God so loving that He made you.

God bless you today.

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Who Then Can Be Saved?

www.bible.com/72/mat.19.26.hcsb

Jesus’s answer to the question is our verse today. The rich young ruler has just been turned away. He seemed to have everything together. Not only had he kept the Law and was blameless, he was also blessed, bearing wealth and possessions. He was what they in those days (and today) a successful man. He was young, wealthy, and good. He was a catch. Jesus considered him, and told him that his path heaven to heaven was blocked by the very things he considered blessed. Jesus told the young man to sell his possessions and follow the Christ. Note that Jesus doesn’t tell every wealthy person this, but every wealthy person whose wealth is a problem could benefit from his counsel.

The disciples are shocked, because the young man has done everything right. They all wished they could be like him. So they are astonished. If such a man isn’t ready for heaven, how could anyone?

Jesus corrects their thinking. With man, salvation is impossible. You cannot earn by your own ability a ticket to heaven. But with God, even salvation is attainable. The key difference, is God involved in your salvation? Or are you trying to earn it on your own?

There’s no need to make this verse try to say more that what this context suggests. It galls me that verses like this are taken out of context and plastered on a Facebook or an Instagram without reference to its origin and a person will think it applies to anything they wish. Taken on its own, this statement is actually false, because not all things are possible with God. There are things like “can God make a rock so big that he can’t move it?” That is a logical fallacy. If God could make a rock, He would have the power to move it. God cannot make a square circle, or a married bachelor. Not all things are actually possible. But whatever is possible to do, God can do it.

But God is also limited in this: He can not commit evil. That is something we can do that God cannot do, because it violates His nature. He cannot lie. He cannot lust. He cannot technically murder (because He has the power to create life, and resurrect, He has the authority to take life, and only extends that authority to us in capital cases). God cannot sin. With God all things are possible, but only the things it is possible for God to do.

Thank you all for reading today. I hope this has been a blessing for you. God bless you and have a great day!

Looking for a Reason?

bible.com/72/psa.9.1.hcsb

Just take a look around if you are looking for a reason to thank God. God has given to you in abundance. He has given you life and health enough to read this blog today. I thank God For my wife and children, that He raised me in a good family? And gave me the privilege to raise one of my own. I know the things of this life are fleeting, and that I could lose it all in a moment, but I am grateful I have been able to enjoy God’s blessings up to this point. God has been good. I have no reason not to trust Him.

Make today another day to praise and worship Him in thankfulness. Thank you God for all your marvelous works. Praise Your Holy and Righteous Name!

Incomparable

bible.com/72/isa.25.1.hcsb

Who else could do the things our God can do? Who else can rightly be called “God” than the One who made the heavens and the earth by his mighty power and outstretched hand? There is no one else, and thus we have no One else to thank but Him. God is the proper object of our worship and praise today. We were made to praise Him and without Him as our object, our praise feels hollow and worthless. Praising men for their great deeds is good, but praising God is better. Praising a child is good, but praising God, Who gives us all from the liberality of His hands in abundance is far better.

Worship is a natural part of our being, whether we choose to acknowledge God. We will naturally praise someone or something. We will give our allegiance to sports teams, athletes, great thinkers and minds, family, friends, those whom we admire. And we will do it without even thinking about it, because it is an instinctual as breathing. Giving your time and attention to any object or person can be moved into the realm of worship.

We worship an invisible God, whose worship and praise must be intentional. He is made evident by the creation we see around us. We are witness to His majesty through His creative acts, and He draws us to Himself by the awe we feel in His works. Worship of God is deliberate. It is something we may fall into, but to worship a God we cannot see requires our intention and concentration. It is so much easier to worship things we can see. God forces us to engage both heart and mind in worshipping Him, our spirit and our will.

So let us engage the Lord with thankfulness for His marvelous works, His blessings innumerable, and the joys He has graced us with in this life. If you have family, be thankful for that. If you have a home, food on the table, children who say “I love you”, a wife who is still a woman worthy of the descriptor “beautiful”, a good job that pays for your needs, you already have numerous reasons to be thankful.

Celebrate and enjoy this holiday in thankfulness and worship. God bless you today.

Is There Still Mystery?

bible.com/72/ecc.11.5.hcsb

Well, is there? Arthur C. Clarke is famously quoted along the lines that any technology sufficiently advanced will be labeled magic. And yet, we are approaching God’s advanced technology day by day in our understanding of science. The magic is disappearing by the day. For example, a degree in biology can probably tell you how bones are formed in the womb. In meteorology, you can probably credible explain the path of the wind. Isn’t the “activity” of God just around the corner in theology?

But that’s not the question I want to ask. What I really need to ask is this: do I need the mystery? I don’t presume to ever figure it all out, and I never will. But do I need the mystery to believe in God? Do I need a “god of the gaps” to fill in the holes of the things I can explain by supposing they are God’s will, or, that’s just the way God made it? Does God need to be mysterious to be believed?

I think if we pinned our faith on the idea that there are things we can’t explain or understand, we will find our faith on shaky ground. It is like children who grow up to find out Dad isn’t a superhero, or mom doesn’t know everything. As children we believed these things because our parents were the most powerful beings in our universe. As we matured, we learned they were human after all.

So a faith based on God as he Cosmic Bogeyman, or the Great Magician doesn’t hold up. When we grow up, that’s not what we need from God. In fact, the older I get, the more I need of a God who is in control of the things that I know I can’t. My health, my life’s direction, my work, my family, so many things that as I become aware, I just become overwhelmed by the enormity of the universe. I need a God that who looks after me, who cares about me. Even when things go wrong, or if I suffer, I need the assurance of a God who says, “Fear not. I am with thee.” I need the Divine Presence now more than ever.

I guess I’ve moved from being awed by an unknown universe to an unknown future. I don’t need a God to explain how stars work. I need a God to explain that my work matters. Thank you God for continuing to hold me in awe, even as my knowledge improves, you continually lead me forward to deeper and greater mysteries. Thank you God for looking after me even when my eyes aren’t on you. Thank you for loving me, even when I am not lovable.

One Voice in a Choir

bible.com/72/psa.116.1.hcsb

I have to believe that millions of people are probably praying at the same moment I am. If I am listening to someone talk to me, I have to devote attention and focus to keep up with their dialogue. If not, I get hopelessly lost and have to ask them to repeat themselves. But God in His ability to be fully present in all places at once, can hear my voice in this choir of prayer. He can devote absolute attention to my voice, as if I was a soloist, and hear every word. He not only listens to my words, by the voice of my heart, which speaks more truly to Him than my lips.

Jeremiah 17:10

10  I am the LORD who searches the heart, who tests the inner depths to give to each person according to what he deserves, according to the fruit of his deeds.

May my lips match the words of my heart.

Tasting the Goodness of God

bible.com/72/psa.34.8.hcsb

So what comes to mind when you see this verse? Can God be tasted, or is that what God intends for you to take away from this verse? And how do you combine both the idea of refuge with the perceptions of taste and sight?

Many a time, David sought refuge in caves. For him, a Cave was a place of safety. It was hidden, inaccessible but to the ones who know where the caves are. As a boy, he probably spent months exploring the caves while out keeping watch over sheep, looked for caves that he and his sheep could take refuge for the night. This became for him a metaphor for the protection of God.

So what does a cave taste like? Maybe our understanding of what this verse means needs to meet its context. Are there odors so powerful you can taste? And would those odors, associated with safety and comfort arose those feelings in you whenever you smell them?

As we approach Autumn, I begin to smell these things again. Burning wood, Pumpkin Spice, autumn leaves, baked pies and roasted meat. These are smells of comfort, safety, and family. Our senses are reacquainted with home and our anxiety resets when we feel safe. Like David, we feel the surrounding reassurance that everything is going to be ok. Why? Because we are in the presence of God.

Wherever you are, taste. Wherever you are, see. Take in the world around you and be reminded of the goodness of God. He is a certain and steady refuge for the weary of heart.