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

He is Unthwartable

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 “I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted…”

Job 42:2

 

When is the last time your plans were thwarted? Given any day and our plans can be redirected, realigned and reworked.  But not God’s plans. No purpose of God’s can be thwarted.  He is un-thwartable!  We cannot mess up His purposes. Job declared God’s un-thwartableness after he had been through some of life’s worst tragedies.  He lost his possessions, his children and his health. Surely there was some mistake and God’s purposes for Job got mixed up with someone else’s blueprints – right?

Not according to Job.  As he wrestled with understanding why this happened, God made it clear that His plans and purposes are much bigger than what we can see. He is in control of the entire universe. Nothing slips through His fingers. Nothing messes up His plans. He is able to bring redemption from even the worst of situations.  His ways are not our ways. No one can take away the purpose He has set out for us.

 

This is an excerpt from Karol’s book, Pursuing God in the Quiet Places

Why does God Allow Tragedy?

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This week as Americans reflect on what happened 16 years ago during 9 /11, we also face the current challenges of fires in the west and hurricanes in the east. Many questions are floating around social media asking, “If God is God, then why doesn’t he prevent such difficulties and loss?

Such a complex question is not easily answered. In fact, as I read the book of Job in the Bible, it is clear that we cannot understand all of the ways of God. We may not know all the answers to why God allows tragedy, but we can know some of the answers as to who  God is and how He works in our lives. We can learn about His attributes as we look to the Bible for guidance, wisdom, comfort and strength.*

One thing I do know, the Bible doesn’t promise us a storm-free life. If God allowed the tragedy of His own Son dying on the cross for the purpose of redeeming His people, then there are reasons beyond our understanding as to why He allows pain and suffering through hurricanes, fires and attacks.

Even as we mourn what happened in 9-11, we see that God brought good out of loss. We know that through our sadness, He strengthened our character and our unity as a nation. We were humbled, yet we grew in courage and perseverance. Now, through our current tragedies, we have the opportunity to grow in compassion and unity as we love and serve one another.

Instead of asking why, let’s turn our question to how. How can we serve and help? How can we pray and give? How can we grow through the challenges we face?  May each of us turn our hearts and minds upward at this time, seeking hope, direction and strength from Him.

 

*This week, on my facebook author page, I plan to examine some of the attributes of God from A.W. Tozer’s book The Knowledge of the Holy.  Be sure to follow us, so you won’t miss out.

His Righteousness

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God’s righteousness is like the mighty mountains.
Psalm 36:6a

The grandeur of a mighty mountain range makes us seem so small and insignificant in comparison. If we were to stand next to a mountain, we would look like a tiny little speck. This simple verse in Psalms reminds us that there is a vast difference between God’s righteousness and our own. It’s easy to think that our righteousness is good enough to please God and maybe even get us into heaven, but the Bible is clear that all have sinned and come short of God’s glory. Thankfully it’s not our righteousness that saves us – it’s God’s. The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:12

God knows that our righteousness could never be perfect or “good enough,” that’s why He sent His perfect Son to offer His own life on our behalf. It’s amazing to think that the One who created the mountains – the One who is completely righteous – has given us His righteousness through Christ. The apostle Paul, who was a pretty stellar guy, wrote to the Philippians, “Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”

Paul went on to say, “I want to know Him.”

What about you? Do you want to know Him? No matter where you are at right now, His arms are open to you.  Seek to get to know the God of the Bible.

I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10

If you want to chat with someone about a relationship with Christ, please go to chataboutJesus.com right now.

POPM- 2015 The Power of a Positive Mom, Revised and Updated

By Karol Ladd

Photo by Adam Patterson on Unsplash

When We Wonder Why

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This past weekend, my husband attended the funeral of a young man who died in the prime of his life. Often tragedies like this can lead us to question why. Why would God allow someone to die when it seems like there is so much of his life yet to be lived? Perhaps you have had similar questions about circumstances in your life:

Why did this happen to me?

Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?

Why didn’t God rescue me out of my misery?

The problem of pain and suffering is an age-old philosophical question. In the Old Testament, we read about a man named Job who found himself in the midst of struggling to understand why. His vibrant, fruitful world came to a crashing halt when God allowed him to suffer the loss of his possessions, his children, and his health. He couldn’t understand why this would happen to him especially because he was a noble and upright man.

God lovingly responded to Job’s unsettled questions. Instead of explaining the reasons Job suffered, God kindly directed Job back to an authentic trust in a God he could not understand. God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.” God led Job to a deeper understanding of His almighty power and omniscience, helping Job see that God’s ways are far beyond human comprehension. Job finally declared to God, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”

We must ask ourselves, are we willing to trust God even though we don’t understand His ways? It’s hard, I know. Direct answers would be much nicer. How do we grow to the point of trust? How can we rest in the arms of a loving God when we can’t understand why he allows certain difficulties in our life? Just as a child would rest in the arms of a loving parent, so we can come to a place of resting in God’s care as we grow to love Him as our Father. Certainly we cannot know all the answers, but as we begin to get to know who God is – that He is a good, kind and loving Father, we develop a trust for the God who loves us. In Job’s response, notice he said he had heard about God, but now he has seen Him with his eyes. Job moved from a point of knowing about God, to a place of truly experiencing Him.

Job was able to put his trust in a God who had become real to him, not just someone he had heard about.The same is true with us. We can find people’s opinions about God from books, commentaries, editorials, and even sermons on Sundays, but we must get to know Him for ourselves. A search for knowing the true God will lead us to see his faithfulness and love. It’s one thing to know about God in a distant sort of way; it is another thing to experience Him up close and personal.

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 fall into the arms of a God whom we know and love, but it is difficult to trust someone we do not know personally.

Where do we begin our journey of knowing Him? The Bible is God’s revelation to us about Himself. We read about His power, His goodness, His sovereignty and His unfailing Love in the pages of this magnificent book. Seek to know Him, not simply to know about Him. Draw close to Him. Open the Bible, and as you do, ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a very real way. He loves you and invites you to know Him personally.

To chat with someone about a relationship with Christ, go to: www.chataboutjesus.com

A portion of this blog is from Karol’s book, Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive.