What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Praising God for His Love, Part 2

I know I wrote about God’s love last week, but I came across a verse in my morning reading that shed some new light on God’s love. Psalm 98:3a says,
“He remembered to love us, a bonus
To his dear family, Israel – indefatigable love.
Indefatigable. I didn’t know what that meant – or how to pronounce it. But, it seemed key to understanding this Scripture. So I looked it up. God’s love for His people is amazing. Based solely on this one word, indefatigable, God’s love is unbelievably wonderful. Indefatigable means untiring. So God never grows tired of loving us. It means unwavering. So God’s love for us isn’t strong one day and weaker the next. It is always the same and it is always strong. It means unflagging. So God’s love for us doesn’t decline in its strength or vigor.
Indefatigable means relentless. When I think of something being relentless I think of it as being a go-getter, not easing up for anything. Indefatigable also means energetic and vigorous. So God’s love is active and busy. It’s not passive. He’s pursuing us with His love. He’s always looking out for us and doing what it takes to get the job done, the job of loving us without end.
That’s what God is like. He never gives up on us and pursues us with great energy. When I think about God’s love for us I also think of 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7 because those verses tell us what love is like. Because God is love, those verses also tell us more about what God is like. So God in His love for us is patient. God in His love for us is kind. God in His love for us is not self-seeking. God in His love for us is not easily angered. God in His love for us does not keep a record of the wrongs we have done. God’s love for us protects us and perseveres. Those words could also describe indefatigable.
It’s amazing to me to think about God’s love being all those things. It also makes me want to praise Him all the more for His indefatigable love. His love is far beyond my understanding of it but thinking about all the meanings of indefatigable gives me a glimpse into what His love is like. And, none of it depends on how loveable I am. He loves me even when I am not loveable with the same kind of love. Indefatigable love. Praise Him for His love.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Praising God for His Love

“God is love.” We know it says that in 1 John 4:8. It also says that in 1 John 4:16. That whole passage talks about God’s love. But God’s love for us did not start in the New Testament. It did not start with Jesus’ actions. God has been love all along. Even when God was punishing the Old Testament followers for their lack of faith, His very nature included love.
J.I. Packer in his book Knowing God said that the saying God is love, “is not an abstract definition which stands alone, but a summing up, from the believer's standpoint, of what the whole revelation set forth in Scripture tells us about its Author. This statement presupposes all the rest of the biblical witness to God. The God of whom John is speaking is the God who made the world, who judged it by the Flood, who called Abraham and made of him a nation, who chastened His Old Testament people by conquest, captivity, and exile, who sent His Son to save the world, who cast off unbelieving Israel and shortly before John wrote had destroyed Jerusalem, and who would one day judge the world in righteousness. It is this God, says John, who is love."
Basically, this tells us that God has always loved us and everything He’s ever done has been done out of this love. What that means to me now is that God is still working from a place of love. Everything He does for me and around me stems from His love for me. I may not feel it. I may not see it. I may not believe it. Yet, God cannot act any other way than out of His character of love. It’s out of a very strong liking for us that God acts. He cannot help but like us. We are His creation and He likes what He’s made. He always has and He always will like us.
Don’t get me wrong. There are things He is displeased about in our behavior and attitudes. He has a strong affection for us but that doesn’t mean He approves of everything we do. Just like He had to chastise His followers of the Old Testament, there may be times when we need disciplining, too. But even that discipline comes out of His love for us. He loves us too much to let us go astray. Because He loves us, because He is love, we can trust that anything that happens to us somehow fits into His plan of love.
When we say, “God is love,” it means far more than some flippant expression. It is talking about a characteristic of God that makes Him unique in the universe. He is the only One who is the total embodiment of love. We might think we love, but none of us are love. None of us acts out of love all the time. Only God does.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Praising God for His Omnipotence

God is all-powerful. But what does that mean? It means that there is nothing that He is not stronger than. Nothing. Not physically stronger. Not manipulatively stronger. Not thoughtfully stronger. Nothing is stronger than God.
Right now in my life I’m struggling to really understand what this means. There is a situation in which I want to see God work. God is able to work and He’s able to cause the outcomes to be the way I want them to be. But, what if things don’t work out the way I want them to? Does that mean God wasn’t strong enough to make it turn out “right?” No! It doesn’t mean that. It means that He has a bigger plan than the one I can see right now.
Knowing that He is the all-powerful, omnipotent God, means I can trust that He has a plan. Whether or not His plan is my plan, He’s causing the situation to work out just right. My latest memory verse says it well, which is why I memorized it. Jeremiah 32:17 says, “Alas, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too hard or too wonderful for You.” [Amplified Bible] God made the heavens and the earth and everything in them. He is powerful enough to do that. He is powerful enough to control the things He created including other people, government agencies, political entities, and anything else you can think of.
It is hard to think of what it would mean to be all-powerful because our power is so limited. God is mighty. He is unrestricted. Nothing can thwart His will and His ways. So when I’m trying to figure out what is going on in this world, and cannot quite make sense of the happenings, I can be certain that God’s desires will happen. There’s a bigger picture that I might not be seeing – usually am not seeing. So I pray that His will be done. There’s nothing else I can do in a situation than to trust God to exercise His almighty power and create a situation that is in alignment with His will. He has all the power necessary to do that. Trusting that power is the hard part for me.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Praising God for His Omniscience

Infinite knowledge. That’s what omniscience is all about. No one has all knowledge – except God. That’s one of His qualities. He knows everything that has ever happened, everything that is happening, and everything that is going to happen. He not only knows everything, he works with everything.
I don’t quite get this. It’s pretty hard to grasp because my knowledge of what goes on in the world is pretty limited. I’m limited in what I can know because I can only know what I see. Even if I hear other things from other people, I can’t really know if it is as reported to me. But, God sees everything because He’s everywhere, like I talked about in last week’s blog post about omnipresence. God not only knows what He sees but He knows before something happens what’s going to happen. He’s all knowing in every sense of the word. He knows what is going on and what will happen on the other side of the world.
He knows today . . . actually He knew an eternity ago . . . that there would be political unrest in Egypt. Nothing takes God by surprise. He is not surprised by the outcomes of events in our world. He already knew it would happen the way it happened. He knew that Joseph, of the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat fame, right out of the Old Testament, would be sold by his brothers into slavery into Egypt. God knew that Joseph would become an important man in Egypt and eventually save his whole family, treacherous brothers and all, from a great famine in Israel. God used the seemingly bad actions of Joseph’s brothers for their good. And He wasn’t surprised by the brother’s actions. He knew what they would do and used it.
There are many situations in my life where I cannot see how God is working. Maybe it will take many years for me to know the outcome of a seemingly terrible situation as it did with Joseph. Maybe I’ll never know what God knew about the seemingly terrible situation. However, I can be confident that God knows what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen. And, because He loves us, it will all work out to some greater good, whether it works out the way I want or not. I can praise God for the way He works in situations whether I see Him at work or not. He knows everything and everything is in His control.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Praising God for His Omnipresence

Omnipresence. A big word that means always present. That’s what God is. Always present. It doesn’t matter where you go, God is already there. He’s there before we go there, while we’re there and after we leave. We are finite people. We can only be in one place at a time. It’s not so with God. God is everywhere all the time.
Sometimes I worry about what’s going on where other people are. For instance, my daughter is in Mackinaw City this week. I worry about how she is, whether she’s getting enough to eat, whether she’s staying dry or not, etc. I am not there and even with today’s technology I can’t know what she’s doing every minute of every day or night. And, if I did know, I wouldn’t be able to do anything about any of it anyway.
God knows and is there. He is not bound by time and space like we are. He is with her, just as He is with me, right now. He’s in both places – He’s in all places. He’s not just in two places, Fowlerville and Mackinaw City. He’s everywhere. He’s with you and He’s with all your loved ones. He’s in the United States and He’s in Iraq. He’s in my office with me as I write this and He’s with my husband in the living room as he reads a book. God was in my office ten minutes ago when I wasn’t in my office and He was in the kitchen, too. He’s everywhere all the time.
It’s hard to envision that because we are so tied into our current place and moment in time. For God, it is easy. It’s part of who He is. What does that mean for me? It means that I can be confident that God is taking care of business everywhere. Even when I am unable to know what is going on somewhere else, God knows and is present. Nothing is outside of His presence. Because God is everywhere, He’s able to take care of all the details in other people’s lives. I can be confident that He knows what’s going on and is there, able to deal with whatever situations come up. To be totally honest, he also knows ahead of time what situations will come up. He’s prepared and able.
So I don’t have to be everyplace. God is everyplace and is intimately involved in every situation. I can trust Him to take care of every situation. He is omnipresent.