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Posts Tagged ‘eternity’

“If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet they latter end should greatly increase.”   Bildad the Shuhite (Job 8:6)

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“…For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” Paul, (Philippians 1:29)

There has been a shift in our view of the personality of God.  I noticed it taking hold of the evangelical church world about 30 years ago, and it has established itself more firmly ever since.

The old fashioned view of a God of judgment was mollified to one of a kinder, gentler God who was more attuned to a loving relationship with His children.  The old brush arbor revivalists were considered too hard in their outlook, mocked in Hollywood films, and brushed aside as narrow-minded zealots who did not understand the mercy of God.  We assumed that we had a better understanding of God because we are somehow more enlightened.

We shifted our focus to the blessings, the love and mercy, and the goodness of God.  Yes, judgment was still there, but was more relegated to the shadows off-stage than out in the spotlight.  The Fear of God, although undeniably written in the Word of God, was analytically digested and has been presented as being more by the precept of men (Isaiah 29) than the emotionally charged issue of actual dread and fear.  God is now our Daddy.

Because there was no momentous outpouring of the Holy Spirit in recent memory, we, like the Israelites of Sinai, felt that Moses had taken too long to come down from the mountain, so we’ve fashioned our own gods that have supposedly delivered us out of Egypt.

Seems to work pretty good.  It feels much better, and it is much more palatable than walking around under the cloud of intense holiness like our forefathers did.

After all, it makes much more sense to the carnal mind.  If you get saved, God will love you and pour out His unconditional Love all over you.  No more dark valleys to walk through, no more refining fire to strip away your flesh, and no more sufferings of the Cross to bear.

It made sense to Bildad the Shuhite.

But not to Paul.

We are inundated with an easy Gospel that promises a wonderful time in Jesus.  We proclaim that there will be a great revival soon, and we sing and dance to the rhythm of the message, but we have not considered the price.  Our pastors who have taken the pulpits in the last 20-some-odd years have regurgitated the message they heard in Bible College, and are not even aware that something is missing.  But hey, it sure feels good, doesn’t it?

So we continue to sing and dance, and line up for someone can touch us so we can fall down on the floor in euphoria, but we never notice our lack of depth and brokenness, nor do we consider that old crucified walk that our fathers have trod to establish the Church.

We want to touch the Cross; not bear it.

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I read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Whatever today’s date is, that’s the chapter I read, and there’s always something in there for me that day. The one that stopped me today was Proverbs 16:4 –
The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” 

Wow. What is that supposed to mean? There’s another scripture in Isaiah 45:7 that says, I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”  There are some other Scriptures in the Bible that can really scramble your theologies about the nature of God if you stop and think about them.

Now, I’m not a genius but I’m smart enough to realize how stupid we are. There are a whole lot of things that I don’t think we will every grasp in their entirety until we get to the other side. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13, it is as if we are looking through a glass darkly – we can’t see clearly – but when we die we will see things the way they really are.  Isaiah said it even better when he said, And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.” (Isaiah 25:7).  There is a veil over our eyes, a covering that keeps us from seeing things the way they really are in the scope of Eternity.

(Sigh) It seems like the more I learn, the less I understand.  But Voltaire once said that to know that you know what you know, and that you don’t know what you don’t know is wisdom.  Yeah, I get it. We really don’t know, do we. We just think we know.

But one thing I do know is that God is really real – not just as a theological idea or a point of belief or doctrine to be argued over, but real, as in more real than real. I’ve had a lot of supernatural experiences with God and I know a lot of other people that have also.  Maybe not everybody gets to hear God speak out of the heavens, but it does happen.  And it is not all that uncommon.  And then there are visions, instant healings, and other sorts of miracles.  I’ve seen this stuff with my own eyes.  And I have heard Him speak to me.  I would never have believed if I hadn’t.

But I get a little reticent when speaking about this stuff because a lot of people have not experienced things like that and I’m always afraid they will start looking at me narrowly if I mention them.  As if to say, “You know, he’s really a nice guy, but he’s just a little nuts.”   Sorry, but why should I be afraid to mention these things?  I mean, I didn’t do them to myself, and by golly, there’s a lot of other people that have had the same experiences, so why, as Paul once said, should it seem a thing incredible?  If God can raise the dead, why can’t He speak?

All I know is that God really is real.  He’s there.  And no, I don’t understand how or why God created evil … but He says He did, and that’s good enough for me.  It says in that same chapter of Proverbs that the highway of the upright is to depart from evil and that he that keeps his way preserves his soul.  I guess that’s all I really need to know.

And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28)

 

 

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