Archive for April, 2012

We’re still exploring reasons people have for not being as close to God as He would like. We’ve gone from not even acknowledging His existence to sharing parts of our lives with Him. One of the biggest things that keeps God at a distance is our desire to be in control.

Independence goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve’s sin was that they decided to take control for themselves and to go forward apart from God. Remember, they were told they could be like God, that’s not a bad thing to want it’s just that they were doing it without Him. We still struggle with this today. There are areas of our lives that we allow God to be part of and others that we want to handle on our own. I wish it were easier to understand that what God’s looking for is not taking over control of our lives. What He yearns for is to share our life, to do it all, together.

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Today’s world is full of interruptions. We take our phones with us everywhere we go constantly checking them for email, text messages and facebook posts. Isn’t the computer supposed to be a time saving device? Yet we sit down for a minute and suddenly two hours have passed. Don’t get me wrong I think today’s technology is great and can be an excellent way for us to interact. In fact I highly recommend reading blogs.

However since we’ve been discovering that God’s desire is for us to be with Him or even “in Him” in all we do, we have to be very careful not to let things be a diversion. I often hear the question, “Why don’t we see more spiritual activity in the US like we do in other parts of the world?” I wonder if the answer is because we are so easily distracted?

Can you say that when talking to The Lord? Hell yes. There is nothing He can’t handle with or from us. Being angry with God should not be an excuse to avoid Him it should draw us closer. We have nothing to fear, we can be completely honest with Him. In fact that’s exactly what He’s looking for in our relationship. I don’t doubt scripture when it says we can count it all joy… but that’s not always our first stop. Sometimes we have to wrestle with Him to get there and wrestling is part of the intimacy we need. Nothing builds trust like being able to take anything to Him and getting His perfect love and understanding back.

Many people keep God at a distance because they think they are unworthy or undeserving of Him. Come on, have you seen the rest of us? We’re all a mess! But we’re His mess and there is nothing He enjoys more than jumping into the chaos of our lives and helping us make sense of it all. At what point would we be “good enough”? No one knows us better than He does and there is nothing more amazing than seeing Him take our weaknesses and turn them into our greatest strengths. Our efforts to fix ourselves will always fall short if we leave Him out of the process.

There are many who keep God at a distance out of fear. They may be afraid that He’ll ask them to do something they don’t want to do or send them somewhere they don’t want to go. I’ve even heard some say they’re fearful that if they get too close He’ll take them to Heaven before they’re ready. This is not God. He doesn’t want us to be afraid. He’s not asking to be our boss so He can order us around at His whim. His desire to be involved in our lives is not for His benefit at all. He completely wants what is best for us. You see God doesn’t have some need to “be first in our lives”. There’s no scorecard. We don’t end our day checking off the list: prayer – 1 hour, devotion – ½ hour, served lunch at the mission – 2 hours… slept 7 hours, dang God didn’t come in first. What He wants more than anything is to be involved in all of our life. Certainly study and prayer but also work and play. He wants to be included in our laughter just as much as in our tears. We needn’t be afraid. What He has for us is so much more than what we want for ourselves.

Here’s a great podcast that touches on this: The God Journey

The next degree of involvement some allow God to have is as an insurance agent. They may recognize that The Lord made them and that He is still around but think all He wants is to make sure we get to Heaven where then we’ll begin to know Him. They’ve heard enough to accept His gift of eternity but haven’t grasped the idea that forever includes today, that God’s presence and involvement in their life could be so much more than one prayer and then, “See you in Heaven.”

Another place that some keep The Lord is “in the family.” Usually in this type of relationship it’s distant family. Someone they know well, maybe Mom and Dad or close friends are near to God so they figure they’re covered too. The sad thing about this relationship is that while those around us can be a blessing and we certainly need the love of family and friends, they are no substitute for the uniquely intimate love that can only come from The Father. Believing in God is not the same as knowing Him.

Here we take another look at the deist’s view of God and how we can connect with them. Reason is a huge part of this outlook on God. The deist has reasoned from his observation of nature that there is a Creator but that He is not involved in what goes on here any longer. This creates a big question for me, “Why did He make us? What was (is) His reason?” And as I have asked this over the years, the only explanation that makes any sense is that He wants to interact with us. Not just through scripture or in tough times but everyday, even in the littlest things. Each of us that know Him have stories to tell that can’t be dismissed and through our experience others get to be introduced to or encouraged to better know God. Motive is a really big deal in understanding the people in the world around us. It’s an even bigger deal in understanding the One that made us.

Deists and those that hold various other views of God, often label Scripture as inconsistent or full of discrepancy while many of us believe the Bible is without error. This contradiction causes many to reject the scriptures as a reasonable interaction with God. What turns out to be the case most often though is not that scripture contradicts itself but that man’s interpretations of scripture sometimes differ. One man or group sees that scripture says this and then make conclusions far out in one direction while another man or group sees that scripture says that and make their conclusions just as far in the other direction. From anywhere you stand you can see how confusing this can be.

We mustn’t allow the Bible to be dismissed along with the incompatible conclusions of men. Scripture is clear that without God we are unable to understand it. The Bible is just one of the ways God interacts with us. It’s a good place to start for many but is not all that is needed to know God. Knowing Him is a lifelong endeavor that will occupy eternity for us. We have the honor of helping those who doubt find reasonable answers to their questions so that they can see the God who loves them and wants to be involved in their lives.

This is also known as deism. Deists hold that reason and the observation of nature indicate that the universe is a product of the all-powerful creator. They typically reject the supernatural and don’t believe God involves Himself in human affairs. Essentially, their take is that God set the world in motion and is letting it play out however it may. This is also known as the “Clockwork Universe Theory”. You would think that scripture would be a good tool for discussion with deists, especially as it relates to prophecy and historically documented miracles. However it’s the apparent inconsistencies in the writings that have led many deists to their position. Tomorrow we’ll continue looking at the deist point of view and from there to some reasoning ourselves.