Tag Archives: God

God the Father


Here is a thoughts from our John reading today….

One of the things that is standing out to me as I read through John this season, is the relationship between Jesus and God. Jesus was very serious about doing only what his Father wanted. Jesus really did have a very deep Father-Son relationship with God.

Part of this relationship is described to us in John 14:8-14. Jesus, at one point, says to Philip, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” Jesus will not do anything without knowing that it is what his Father wants him to do! It’s an amazing relationship…

It makes me wonder what would be different for me if I worked on deepening my relationship with God…

John 14:8-14

English Standard Version (ESV)

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.



One of the things that has been standing out to me during my readings through the book of John, is Jesus’ relationship with the Father. Jesus sincerely relied on God the Father. Here are a couple of passages where I see this. What do you think? What do you learn from them?

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. (John 5:19-27 ESV)

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge;the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment— what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12:44-50 ESV)


Thanksgiving


It is coming and it is coming quickly! That wonderful time of year that we spend eating too much, having party after party, and trying to juggle extra time with family and friends. Yep, we have entered the “Holiday Season.” And while it does bring some extra busyness, it is also one of the most incredible times in our year.

As I was preparing for some of the Thanksgiving lessons and scripture readings, I read through Psalm 107. Have you read that Psalm lately? It’s amazing. There are many passages that I read and remember past times that they stood out to me, but I cannot remember this particular passage. It was exciting to find a “new” passage! So I wanted to share a bit of what stood out to me and see what stands out to you.

It starts off with:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.

A phrase I’ve heard before, but as I read the rest of the Psalm, it began to give a different perspective for me in regards to giving thanks. The Psalm takes this turn and begins to talk about various people and their circumstances. The one that really stood out to me is in verses 10 & 11:

Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom,
imprisoned in iron chains of misery.
They rebelled against the words of God,
scorning the counsel of the Most High.

There are times when I have felt like I sat in “darkness and deepest gloom.” I can think of times when I did not listen to the counsel of the Most High. But here is what is amazing about each of these circumstances, and the others mentioned–

Each time the people finally cried out to God, God answered.

I get the impression that many of the circumstances in which the people find themselves, they created themselves. And yet, God answers. But not all of them are in circumstances they created. For some, it is just life in all its overwhelming force and they need help. They hit rock bottom and cry out. And God redeems. God leads. God calms. God transforms. God rescues. That is why we can give thanks…

The last verse says this:

Those who are wise will take all this to heart;
they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.

So what is in your history? When have you been redeemed, led, calmed, transformed, rescued? During this next week, while everyone is thinking of what they are thankful for, I would encourage you to think about what God has done over this past year and give thanks. Or maybe you are in the middle of the place where you need God to answer your call. Either way, I hope God minsters to you through this Psalm!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Before the Miracle


One of my good friends had this statement on his status the other day, “Every miracle from God begins with an impossible situation!”

I have been thinking about that for a few days now. It is one of those thoughts that when I hear it (or read it) expressed, I think, “Oh, of course. That makes sense.” But then it causes me to pause. The statement makes sense to me- every time I read about Jesus performing some miracle in the New Testament, it’s because someone was in an impossible situation. Doctors could not help, science could not explain, people could not reconcile… then Jesus stepped in. A miracle was the only solution.

But what this statement has been causing me to really think about the last few days is the time before the miracles. I thought about the guy at the healing pool- in John 5. The guy was an invalid for 38 years. That’s a long time. For 38 years, his situation was impossible. I was also thinking about the poor blind guy in John 9. The poor guy was born blind. He spent his whole life in an impossible situation. Then there’s poor Lazarus. The guy had to literally die before a miracle happened. Talk about impossible.

But if you are anything like me, you’re thinking at this point, “Well, those are nice stories. But miracles don’t really happen anymore. Impossible situations, yes; miracles, maybe not so much.”

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I got a message about a young guy I’ve known for a few years. He was in the hospital waiting for a serious brain surgery. The doctors had discovered bleeding around his brain and needed to take care of it. But they were concerned about his coming out of the surgery without being paralyzed, or with his eyesight, or even alive… It was very scary for him and his family. The surgery happened, everything went really well, and at the end of it, the doctors and family talked about the smoothness of the surgery being a miracle. He’s expected to make a full recovery. But the waiting before… not what anyone wanted to go through. It felt like life was impossible.

Another friend of mine shared this on August 27th, “We’ve not received any answers yet on my brother’s vision. They’re doing an MRI this morning to explore some possibilities. Please keep him [and his family] in your prayers. This is a frightening time. As of right now, he’s experiencing complete blindness.” A couple of days later, this was the report, “Latest info: still no vision and now is heart rate has dropped to 43.” Then just a few hours later, this is posted, “God gives sight to the blind! I just talked to my brother who called to tell me that while some friends of his were praying with him this morning, and while he was listening to the song “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (He gives and takes away), God touched his eyes and restored his sight… Do not be afraid, I AM is with you!” One moment there is no sight, the next, the guy can see. It seemed impossible…

Now, I haven’t got a clue why God seems to do miracles in some situations and not others. Honestly, it frustrates me to not know why. But I also have to admit something. I’m not sure I always expect God to show up in impossible situations. Too often, I’m more overwhelmed by the situation than expecting God to do something. So maybe packed in that little statement is more of a challenge on how to view my impossible situations. Maybe there is something to learn during the impossible part that makes the miracle part that much more significant. I don’t really know. I don’t have an answer about it all… But here is what I do know and what I need to return to no matter what:

God is still God of the impossible situation.


Exodus


We started a new series at our church in the book of Exodus. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at the stories in this book and listening to what God is teaching through them. It should be exciting!

In preparation last week, I was reading the first couple of chapters of Exodus and a couple of thing stood out to me. These two things have never really impacted me before. But this time around, they were key to my understanding of what God was doing in His people at that time… and ultimately, it has shown me what I think God does now.

First, we need to understand a bit of the background leading into Exodus. Way back, God called out a guy named Abraham and made a promise to him. Genesis 12:1-3 says, “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”” Over the next few chapters, God begins explaining and defining His promise. In chapter 13 He tells Abraham, ” I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.” Later God says to him, ““Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”” God promises that Abraham’s family will have a country of their own. A few chapters later, God really solidifies His covenant (promise) with Abraham and says that it’s not just about Him and Abraham, but also about Abraham’s descendants (the Israelites).  God will be with them, give them their own land, and make the entire family a blessing to all nations.

Well years go by, and a few children are born, but they are still a relatively small family. Abraham dies and eventually his grandchildren all end up living in Egypt. This is where Exodus opens. Living in Egypt was not really the ultimate goal for the family of Israel. Part of God’s promise was that they would have their own land and it wasn’t Egypt. But there they were- all waiting around for something to happen. And something did happen. But not exactly a good something.

Egypt did not like this group just living there and not really being part of their kingdom. So they enslaved the people. They did not want the people to grown in number because they may soon outnumber the Egyptians and take over. So they worked them into forced labor.

I have always thought about this opening chapter of Exodus as just setting the stage to answer the question: How is God going to get the people out of here so he can fulfill His promise? But this last time around, I saw something different.

Exodus 1:7 says, “But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.” Then again, in 1:12, “But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.”

This is when it hit me: It seems like nothing good is happening… that God is not present. Yet right here is God fulfilling the first part of His promise. God is actively bringing about His promise. The people are becoming numerous. They are growing! When it seems like God is not doing anything special, God is actually fulfilling His promise. (We learn a bit later that the people really didn’t think God was active. That God had forgotten about them.) But here in the everyday, in the years of waiting, God is active. God is being faithful to God’s promise.

Things where not exactly rainbows and butterflies, but God was working. Even in their great oppression, God was blessing. The more they were oppressed, the more God blessed… The greater the oppression became, the more we see God being faithful to God’s promise- the people grew in number. This wasn’t the absolute fulfillment of God’s promise, but God was active and God was being faithful.

It got me to thinking. There are times when we don’t believe God is doing anything. Or our situation in life feels oppressive and overwhelming. But what I learned from the beginning of Exodus, is that these may be the times that God is actively working to fulfill His promise. God is being faithful. God is blessing! I just may have need to change how I look at the situation. It doesn’t mean I like the situation or the circumstances of life, but I should remember and hold to God’s promise. Because God is working. He has not forgotten. He is faithful and blessing….


Song of the Month


I really like music. I like listening to all kinds of music and I like when I can make music. I just really like music.

I think one of the things I like so much is how powerful words seem to become when they are pared with music. There is just something about the combination of melody and lyric. I think there was a day and age when poetry did what song does for us now. I believe in our time, our poetry is our song. So here is a song that just moves me to the core.

The first time I heard it, I was forced to stop. The words totally caught me. What made me stop was this thought: I spend a lot of time focused on God’s love (which is a really, really good thing), but I spend very little time amazed by the holiness of God. If I begin to bask in the holiness of God, though, the God’s love becomes even more amazing…. But do I really allow the reality of God’s holiness to wash over me? What about you? What do you think?….