What Do You Believe?

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As the Easter season approaches, it offers us a time of reflection to consider what we know, trust and  believe about God. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said, “If we begin to worship and come to God again and again by meditating, by reading, by prayer; and by obedience, little by little God becomes known to us through experience. We enter into a sweet familiarity with God, and by tasting how sweet the Lord is we pass into . . . loving God, not for our own sake, but for Himself.” We can begin to trust a God who we know and love, but it is difficult to trust someone we do not know personally.

We cannot understand all of God’s ways, but there are certain qualities we can know about him. Where do we begin our journey of knowing him? The Bible gives us glimpses of the High King of heaven and his marvelous attributes. Here are a few of the numerous qualities we learn about God as we see them revealed in the Bible. I have provided just one biblical reference for each attribute, although there are numerous others.

He is:

Almighty (Genesis 17:1)

Everlasting (Genesis 21:33)

All-Powerful (2 Chronicles 20:6)

Abundant in Strength (Psalm 147:5)

Abounding in Love (Psalm 103:8)

Sovereign (Deuteronomy 3:24)

Merciful (Psalm 62:12)

Trustworthy (2 Samuel 22:3)

Our Keeper (Psalm 121:2)

Our Provider (Matthew 6:26)

Our Good Shepherd (John 10:11)

Able—nothing is too difficult for him (Genesis 18:14)

 

I want to get to know a God like this, don’t you? Certainly if God is who the Bible says he is, then he is worthy of our respect, obedience, and yes, trust. Consider where you are with God right now in your life. What do you believe about him? We don’t want to make assumptions about God; rather, we want to explore who he claims to be. As we get to know the God of the Bible, we begin to recognize his abiding love for us. He is worthy of our trust. I encourage you to continue your journey of engagement with God.

Based on what I have learned from the Bible, here’s what I personally believe about God. I believe he is a loving, compassionate, merciful God. I believe he sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for the payment for my sins. I believe Jesus rose again, offering us the promise of eternal life in heaven one day with him. I believe he has provided his Spirit to live in my life to help us, comfort us, and guide us in truth. I believe he will never leave us. I believe he is a sovereign God who can do all things, knows all things, and sees all things.

What do you believe? Take a moment to write out your statement of belief. Consider why you believe what you believe. Don’t just let what you see on television or hear from friends determine your own personal belief system. If you believe there is a God, then he rightfully deserves to be investigated. Get to know him. Search the Bible and see what it has to say about him. If we ultimately want to be able to trust him, we need to get to know who he is. How can you trust someone you don’t know?

John Calvin said, “Our inklings of the realities of God will be vague and smudged until we learn from Scripture to think correctly about the realities of which we are already aware.” He added, “Unless God’s Word illumine the way, the whole life of men is wrapped in darkness and mist, so that they cannot but miserably stray.” We don’t want to wander aimlessly in our misery or stumble in the dark without hope, simply because we haven’t taken the time to get to know the God of the Bible. He is worthy of our trust and welcomes us into a loving relationship with him.

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This is an excerpt from Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive 

 

Blog  Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Inviting the Conversation

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When is the last time you opened up a healthy and loving dialogue with someone who doesn’t share the same views as you? Jesus wasn’t afraid to engage in conversation. He asked questions. He loved and did not condemn. He showed us what it looked like to engage with the culture by reaching into the lives of people who needed His love.

The apostle Paul encouraged similar healthy conversation. In his letter to the Colossians he wrote, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” How do we speak the truth of God’s Word, while lovingly reaching out to the culture around us? We must be both gracious and wise in what comes out of our mouths, recognizing that those who do not know Christ do not see life through the same perspective.

Theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer wrote, “Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting.” Often Jesus answered a question with a question. Questions can help us get to the heart of the matter and lead people toward truth. Recently I had an e-mail dialogue with one of my readers that went something like this.

            Reader: Do you think ___________________is a sin?

Me: Why do you want to know?

Reader: I want to know if God is mad at me.

Me: Why do you care if God is mad at you?

Reader: I want to know if I am disobeying Him. I don’t want to feel far away from Him.

Me: If you care about what God thinks about you, then you don’t need to know what I think about that sin, rather you need to know what God says about it.

I then led her to the passage in Romans 3 that reminds us that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. We all have a sin problem, and yet God in His loving-kindness provided the solution to our sin problem through Jesus Christ. I led her to passages in the Bible about Jesus, so that she could understand His love and mercy, as well as His righteousness and His desire for your life. You see, we need to lead people to the love of Jesus first, because without Him, picking out this sin or that sin is meaningless and unfruitful. When someone is inquiring about sin, they either sincerely want to know what God thinks about sin, or they are trying to get you to say something so that they will feel offended (and sadly this is usually the case).

The message of the Bible is simple: We all fall short of God’s glory, and we all need Jesus. Our objective is to argue less and point to God more. Often our words can be misunderstood or not received in the spirit which we give them. The most important thing we can do is to refrain from surface-level disputes and instead get to the real issue of the heart. Ask questions, listen, engage in conversation, and lovingly lead people to the core issue of Christ’s love. Remember how Jesus handled the woman caught in adultery? The Pharisees brought her to Jesus wanting Him to condemn her. Jesus wisely and gently responded by pointing out the fact that all have sinned. We all need Jesus. Our job is not to cast stones at sinners; our job is to point to the gospel of salvation.

Instead of condemning, let’s choose to be engaging. Our first objective is to live biblically and examine our own hearts and motives, repenting and seeking the Holy Spirit’s help in living righteous lives ourselves. As we humbly reflect the love of Jesus in our words and actions, then we have the platform to lovingly share the gospel with a world that desperately needs Him. Are you willing to step out and touch the people who are different than you, just as Jesus did? It all comes down to asking ourselves, “Am I willing to take the time to engage in conversations and build relationships with those who need Christ?” Let’s get the conversation started.

This is an excerpt from book, Becoming A Woman of the Word.

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