Fitting God into My World

For in Him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28a).

A Venn diagram is an illustration used as a way of picturing the relationship between two different groups of things. It is made up of two or more intersecting circles. The intersecting parts of the circles show characteristics that they share; the outside parts of the circle show characteristics that are unique to each.

Let’s compare dogs with cats as an example. The outside part of the cat circle might have “climbs trees” or “grooms itself.” The outside part of the dog circle might have “barks” or “has to be bathed.” The intersecting or overlapping parts of the circles would have characteristics they share like “has four legs, a tail, fur.”

Where am I going with this (Please tell me that your brain leaves the box sometimes, too)? I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s place in my life. There are obvious things that I can’t do without God’s “intersection” like breathing and living in the world that He created. And we definitely intersect on Sunday morning. But there are areas where I more or less ignore God, telling Him, “I got this one.”

How do we enlarge the intersecting parts of the circle? The scriptures give us some great guidelines—Pray without ceasing—recognize God’s presence in every situation; Work as unto the Lord—not unto our boss; In all things give thanks—those dirty dishes mean that I ate today.

Jesus desired for us to have this relationship with God when He prayed, “I in them and You in me–so that they may be brought to complete unity.” One with the Father.

We really don’t need to fit God into “our” world. He is already there, waiting patiently for us to recognize that His circle completely covers or interposed on ours—a total eclipse.

For in God we live (physically), are moved (emotionally), and are (intellect and will).

 

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Hope

The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put heir hope in His unfailing love (Ps 147).

When Jesus asked the Father if it was possible for “this cup” to pass from Him, what He was about to face involved even more than the suffering, it was even more torturous than the crucifixion. It was what would happen when He assumed our sins—He would have to be separated from the Father.

Although I’ve never come anywhere near close to what Jesus faced, I can’t even imagine what life would be like if I couldn’t go to the Father. Although, in reality, I don’ t control much, the lack of hope would be unbearable. I call on Him so often in my minor emergencies and He is always there, faithfully, lovingly guiding me in the way I should go if I choose to obey.

If you think about it, it truly boils down to hope. A person who is about to call it quits in any situation, or on life itself, can do an about-face when given the smallest glimmer of hope.

It is unfortunate when we chose to anchor our hope in money, power, armies, governments, or even loved ones. These are all shifting sands, as fickle as an adolescent.

The old hymn was right on—my hope should be in nothing less …wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

 

Go and Sin No More

Go and sin no more (John 8:11).

At present I attend two ladies’ Bible studies, both different in a number of ways, but in both the word “judge” came up. In one, the focus was on a person; in the other, as an action. In a well-known scriptural passage, the adulterous woman was brought before Jesus and He was asked, “What do you say?”

The goal of these religious leaders was to trap Him, but His response neither dismissed her sin, nor condemned her. He turned to the accusers and said, “Let the one who never sinned throw the first stone.”

Whenever we point the finger of judgment (accusation) at someone, three fingers are pointing back to us. The ONLY sinless person, the ONLY one who has the right to judge said, “I do not condemn you.” The woman hadn’t even asked for forgiveness!

God’s character is one of both love and justice. Aren’t you glad!? He doesn’t dismiss our unrighteousness (justice); but He doesn’t use it to condemn us (love). Rather His motive is to draw us into an even closer relationship with Him.

So where do I fit into this scenario? Here is my role as a judge—DON’T. And as an unrighteous woman—Go (without condemnation) and sin no more.

Recognizing the Enemy

For Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14).

In one of Priscilla Shirer’s studies she notes that there are two mistakes that we make concerning the enemy. One is that we overestimate his impact on our lives and are therefore laden with much fear and anxiety. The other is that we underestimate the impact of his influence.

I would guess that in our sophisticated culture that we don’t recognize that many of our societal and personal problems are coming from Satan, the father of lies, the master deceiver. How many “forbidden fruits” are now thought to be not only acceptable, but even worth pursuing? In our culture, he doesn’t work in black and white, but in shades of gray, slyly whispering, “How could this be wrong?” or “Don’t you have rights?” or “Did God really mean that?”

Our relationship with the Lord is vital for a clear vision and the only way to evaluate situations with discernment. As a child of God, we have defensive weapons to protect us, and offensive weapons to unleash power through the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and prayer because greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.

Recognizing God’s Presence

The Lord, your God, goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut 31:6b).

Did you notice that you have more Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in the year than your wedding, birthdays (thank goodness), graduation, and Christmas? Our God is faithful. He promised not to abandon or reject us in the special times, in the joyful times, in the tough times, or in the “beige” times (He’s here, too).

This verse is actually repeated three times in scripture—twice in the Old Testament where we are told to be strong, courageous and unafraid; and once in the New Testament where we are told to be content with what we have because God is here, too.

He promises believers that He will supply all our NEEDS (as defined by Him in His infinite wisdom). So whether we need courage or peace and contentment, His presence will never be withdrawn.

Random Thoughts

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (I Cor 13:4-8a).

Today’s discussion is not exactly about relationships; it is about prayer. It has been said that in order to communicate with God effectively, we need to discipline our mind. I know that personally I like to start with a prayer of thanks, but often I end up with random thoughts a thousand miles away. My question today is, “How do we know whether or not a thought comes from God.”

This is why I chose Corinthians 13 as the verse. God is love. Any communication that comes from Him follows the principles outlined in these verses. If our thoughts are selfish, revengeful or even prideful, they did not come from the Father.

We can certainly be honest with God about our feelings, but His answer once we leave our “secret place” (Matt 6:6) will never direct us toward any idea or action but love.

These are just beginning thoughts on understanding God through prayer, but it seems that time and time again, the right answer to most questions is love.

Walking with God

Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away (Gen 5:24).

There are so many principles in scripture that sound so simple, but because of our human nature and the attacks of the enemy, are not easy. This verse tells of one. One translation says that Enoch walked in close fellowship with God.

Now I have days when I feel very close to God—when I spend time with Him in prayer and scripture, and when we “text-talk” while I’m doing daily tasks. But many days, when I pray at bedtime, I think to myself that I only spent a few minutes out of today’s thousand, even thinking about Him.

Hebrews 11 tells us that Enoch was commended as one who pleased God. We know that there was only one perfect person who walked on the earth. Enoch lived for 365 years. There had to be times when Enoch fell short.

It is my desire to please God, and I know that my forgiveness is a done deal. I pray that when He looks at my heart, as with Enoch, that He will be pleased.