Archive for April, 2008

Can God do Anything?

God created the universe and everything in it in just 7 days.  He keeps the earth spinning today.  While He lived on earth, he healed, cast out demons, and revived people from the dead.  Today, the Spirit of God lives inside me.  He comforts, heals, provides, brings peace, gives wisdom, offers strength.  He can orchestrate seemingly random encounters between people to bring blessings to others and glory to Himself.  And this is only the tip of the iceberg of what God can do.  He can do anything, right?

 I do struggle with the idea that God can do anything–only because of the whole free will concept.   For example, if I pray for someone to decide to follow Christ, then I am praying in faith and believing that is God’s will, but God can’t make someone accept His authority over him.  If that person refuses God’s invitation, then the answer to my prayer is No.  So in this case God couldn’t do anything.  He also can’t make someone do the right thing.   He can show them the best choice, give them the capacity to choose the best thing, and they can still reject His best and turn away.

I’m not saying I doubt God’s sovereignty or His Power, I’m just saying He can’t do Everything.   This sounds like God’s power is limited, but that doesn’t sound right either.  Hmmm…

I know that sometimes He can do something, but for reasons I don’t understand, he chooses not to.   Like healing, for example.  But that’s not the same thing.   God wants every person to know Him and accept Him and to live the fullest life possible in Him, but He can’t make them choose that path.   So, is that heresy to say that God can’t do everything?

 

My new chair

The coolest thing happened this weekend.    I got something that I’ve wanted for years….a comfy chair in my bedroom!  The bedroom is the perfect quiet spot in the house–away from traffic and the tv, but it’s hard to read or hold my lappy comfortably in bed.  Waa waa, I know.  Poor me.  And I’m way too cheap (or frugal) to make a purchase like that–so many better places to put my money–but, still I wanted a comfy chair.  For years, I tell ya.

So anyway, today we went to go see Kevin’s dad in Tulsa since they are moving out of state soon–and came back with a chair!  They just gave it to us!  For free!  I’m sitting in it right now.   I could sit here for hours, typing, reading, praying.  It’s quiet, it’s comfy.   It’s from God.  I’m pretty sure I just got blessed by God.  Maybe for my patience?  It sure feels like a blessing.  Did I mention it was free?!  Thanks, God.

Habakkuk, part 2

This short book of the bible is a dialogue between Habakkuk, a “minor” prophet,  and God.   I’ve boiled it down in my own over-simplifying way.   I’m no theologian, so it may or may not be entirely accurate—it’s just my take.  There, disclosure’s done.

Habakkuk:  “Lord, do you see these evil people around me?  When are you going to do something about this? Shouldn’t they be punished?

God:  “Check this out, Habi—you’re going to be so amazed!  I’m sending some people who are even worse than they are to punish them.

Habakkuk:  “Uh, Lord, I trust you, I really do, but….that doesn’t really seem fair.  I mean, those guys deserve punishment too, not victory over my people!

God: “Look, those evil dudes will self-destruct and I will let them fall in their time but–are you listening?  Get a pen and paper….I Am and I always will be Lord.  That’s all you need to remember.”

Hab:  (on his knees) “Lord, the more I think about it, the more I know you’re Right!  Your ways are always the best, your justice always prevails, and you are always glorifed!  You saved me and you made me strong enough to live through this time–Thanks for the reminder that you are God.

To me this is a reminder of the fact that I don’t always understand what God is doing–or not doing.  But I always trust Him.  Even when I don’t understand.  Because He is God and I am not.

Habakkuk, part 1

Alright, I’m getting a jump start on this weekend.  The new message series at LC is called Habukkuk, why God doesn’t seem fair sometimes.  So, I thought I’d read Habukkuk, all 3 chapters of it, before this weekend.  Actually, I read most of it in one night.  I loved what my bible said in the intro summary of the chapter. 

Habukkuk was troubled by the evil and sin he saw.  God answered Habukkuk’s perplexity and gave him far more than he asked for–a vision of God himself.

Cool. 

Habukkuk’s new insight into the being of God and his own inadequacy gave him the courage to live through those dark days with determination and strength.

Do you ever feel like you need something to help you press on, despite the darkness that surrounds us?  When I dwell on it, which thankfully isn’t often, I find myself begging Jesus to come back quickly.   Sometimes the sin of this world seems so overwhelming, so hopeless to change.   I wouldn’t blame God if he wanted to wipe the slate clean and start over. 

What I need is a vision of God himself to give me the determination and strength to live.  and the faith to believe that God knows what he’s doing.  More on Habukkuk later.  SOon.

The Jesus I know

So, I’m finished with Mark, but something is still bothering me.  I have to get it off my chest.   You know the story about Jesus walking on water, right?   You’ve been to church enough, you’ve heard the story.   If not, you can read it here in the book of Mark, 6:47-52.  I’ll retell.  The disciples are in the boat (a rowboat apparently), there’s a big storm, they’re scared, Jesus comes to the rescue.  He walks out onto the water (I guess because either he’s in a hurry, can’t find another boat, or just wants to show off his water-walkin’ skillz).   Anyway, he walks out there, gets in, calms the sea, and saves them.  That’s all to the story, right?  NO!

There’s a part in there, just a phrase, that’s kept me up at night.  Verse 48 says “He intended to go past them…”  huh?  read it again.  “He intended to go past them…”   Wha….??   Jesus saw that they were in trouble, came toward them, walking on the water.  and intended to go past them?  This doesn’t sound like the compassionate Jesus I know.   Besides, it was 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning–not the time for a casual walk, on water or land!

I can only assume that he was waiting for them to call out to him, so he could respond with a rescue.   Oh, and they called out, actually the next verse says they cried out in terror, thinking that he was a ghost.  Probably not the reaction he was hoping for, but he saved them anyway.  

So, next time your in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves, call out to Jesus.  He sees you, he’s prepared to walk on water to get to you.  Don’t let him walk on by.  Call out to him (but, preferably not in terror!). 🙂

Why the heck is that in the Bible?

After Jesus is arrested, the bible says that all his disciples deserted him and ran away.  In fear, probably.  Instead of breaking this down and applying it to my life, I want to look at verse 51 and 52 of Mark, chapter 14. It says

One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt.  When the mob tried to grab him, he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.

Why mention this, Mark?  I believe that every word in the bible is God breathed.  and I trust that it is translated as accurately into English as possible.   But, sometimes I have to wonder…why the heck is that in the bible?  What does it mean?  Who was this ‘young man’?   He ran away naked, for Pete’s sake!   Stripped of his clothes and his sense, no doubt.

Good thing I’m not one of those intellectual types that insists on answers to everything, because so often, I just don’t have ’em!

the one–it’s not me

Quote of the Day

If I look at the mass, I will never act.   If I look at the one, I will.   Mother Teresa

 Here’s where God’s been hammering me lately.  So much of my life I go through the motions like what I do doesn’t matter.   If I could live more intentionally, like every interaction, every word, every person mattered, then what an impact I could make for God’s kingdom.   So, that’s where I’m living right now.  Being intentional and remembering that my life is not about me.