God is…

To answer the question: Who is God?… we must state the obvious.  He is LORD.  In the first two installments I introduced three basic tenets as a foundation for spiritual understanding.  God as Lord is… in control of all things, speaks with absolute authority, and is present with us, His creatures, all the time.

But the question, “who is God?” really is asking for more than this simple view, right?  So over the coming weeks, my articles will be like taking a leisurely stroll through some Bible passages that help us see, know, and understand God better.

This will be a glance into the nature and character of God, as His word reveals it.  The vast expanse of Bible material to cover would overwhelm us both, if we tried to cover it too quickly.  So little bits of tasty morsels is all I will give in any one article.

Psalm 34:8
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Where to begin?

One of the mysteries of scripture is how God reveals Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit. We call this the Trinity, although this word is not found anywhere in the Bible.  Three in One we say, and the Bible implies it is so.

Deuteronomy 6:4
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

You will notice right away that I will also use this threefold pattern to help bring clarity to the topics discussed.

The Bible reveals God to us by

  • showing us his ACTS,
  • by giving us authoritative DESCRIPTIONS of Himself,
  • and by revealing just a glimpse of the relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit.

The ACTS of God are all about demonstrating how God the LORD is in control of everything.

The DESCRIPTIONS of God the LORD help us understand the demand on His creatures to yield to His authority and will for our lives.

And the glimpse of the TRINITY tells us that even before God made the world, He was in personal relationship – committed to one another in love, and perfectly PRESENT to one another.

Now, here’s the thing…

Some of the work you’ll have to do on your own.  If you don’t own a Bible, you need to borrow one, or buy one, or link to an online website that makes the Word of God available to you.  I simply will not be able to give the text of every reference, every time, but will give you the source to look up for yourself.  It will have great benefit for you, if you look it up and read it for yourself, trust me on this.

In all of God’s acts, descriptions, and glimpses of His inner life (Trinity) He puts Himself on display as LORD.  Everything He does, everything He says, every glimpse is so that you and I will be like those first chosen ones.

Exodus 29:46
They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.

Are you ready?

We begin tomorrow with “How God Acts”


 

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Life Giving Breadcrumbs

crumb

Bread is my weakness.  Rhodes Dinner Rolls are my favorite, for several reasons.

First, the dough making part of making rolls is time consuming, and I really don’t want to do it.  If I get in the mood to make bread I have a bread maker which will make the dough and bake it if I want.  All I have to do is make precise measurements and dump the ingredients into the mixer/baker.  Or it will just make the dough, and I can cut and shape it how I desire.  But if I want rolls, why would I go to all that trouble, when Rhodes has labored so hard to provide me these delicious morsels ready to bake?

Second, these rolls remind me of my mom’s cooking.  She made dinner rolls that tasted as good as these or better, and I loved ’em.  Each time I take the time to bake some of these goodies, I think of her, and it’s like life-giving breadcrumbs to me.  I miss her still.  I’m hungry for her bread, and thirsty for her sweet iced tea, but she’s no longer here to make these for me.

When the hunger and thirst for such things as these rages into cravings, nothing else will do.  This truth is why Jesus taught:

Matthew 5:6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

John 6:27
Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.

John 6:35
I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

I freely testify to you today, it is not my mother’s sweet iced tea that quenches my soul’s thirst, nor her succulent bread rolls which feeds my soulful longing for satisfaction in this life.  Only the LORD of heaven – the bread of life, the living water – can do this for me… and for you.

People struggle along in this life on the crumbs of the world’s offerings, and they are starving and thirsting to death spiritually.  However, today, you can know true satisfaction deep in your soul.  You can experience the answer for hungering and thirsting after the fulness of life, and be satisfied.  But only if you look in the right place.  Don’t settle for the crumbs when you can have the whole roll.

Psalm 34:8
O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

Crumb

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Clucking and a Plucking

Daily Post: Pluck

Pluck

Personally speaking, I don’t particularly like chickens.  When my family would go to visit my maternal grandmother, I wouldn’t go out in the yard with the hyper-active chickens, or that crazy rooster; it was mean and chased me.  The only chicken I had any interest in was one that wasn’t clucking anymore.  I wanted the one which had been plucked clean, chopped into bits and deep fried.  I wanted the leg or the thigh, along with some mashed potatoes and cream gravy.

The photo here is of the wild feral chickens which roam the Hawaiian Islands.  The native Hawaiians will all share their version of how to prepare this wild bird for a feast of “chicken stew.”  The recipe is usually a version that goes like this:  “Place one wild chicken in a pot of boiling water.  Add spices.  Add lava rock for flavor.  Simmer for minimum 12 hours until lava rock is tender.  Discard chicken.  Eat the rock.”

On a bus tour, one tour guide explained how the “mua” (red jungle fowl) were originally brought to the islands by Polynesians as a source of food.  The birds thrived in this environment because they faced no real predators to trim the flock.  However, I also heard just as many store clerks say the masses of wild chickens that exist on Hawaii’s islands today, is because the tourists feed them.  Perhaps both perspectives are true in a sense.

Today, at least in the USA, there are any number of “Cluck in a Bucket” type fast food restaurants where you can feed your family original recipe, crispy fried, roasted or grilled chicken, in parts, or as a whole bird.  Whether you prefer white meat or dark meat, (or no meat if you are vegetarian), the non-feral chicken can be prepared for consumption in any number of ways, offering sustenance and nutrition.  The feral version… not so much.  Few could live or thrive on a steady diet of this rangy fowl.

That’s all very interesting, but one might ask, “where are you going with this?”

God’s word, believe it or not, in many churches around the world, might be compared to these descriptions of feral or non-feral chickens.  When men or women stand and present the word of God to a congregation or Bible study group, each teacher/preacher will explain, engage, and extract the thoughts they want to teach from Scripture.  When they do this, some will “pluck” singular thoughts, from obscure text references, to prove their personal belief system or agenda.  In this way, the meanings of God’s word are mis-spoken, perverted, twisted, or changed altogether.   I call these “feral” (wild) lessons dangerous, because they may sound like the truth, when in reality they are distortions of truth.  Our pastor just finished a series of sermons he called “Gospel-ish.” In those sermons he helped our congregation understand the True gospel message first, so our church could tell the difference from what they might hear from “false” teachers on the radio or television today.

The Bible says, both God and God’s Word tastes good.

Psalm 34:8
O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

1 Peter 2:1-3
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

When presented with a gospel-ish-type feral teaching from God’s word, many have responded favorably.  However, these teachings lead to malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander, leaving people acting more like infants, rather than grown up mature believers.  Yet, when folks dive deep into the study of God’s word, going further than just the milk-and-cookies style of preaching so prevalent today, we grow in “respect to salvation.”

The perversion of God’s word, much like the feral chicken, often does more harm than good.  God will hold those who distort His word on purpose, accountable for the truth they destroy.  John issues this grave warning…

Revelations 22:18-19
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. 

 

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