Friday, October 21, 2016

Who Is God? (continued)

I received comment on my last post that I feel needs to be addressed ...

"I say this with love and with prayer that you are able to see the true face of God soon. I don't think you understand who God really is. I will be praying for you that you do soon. You are doing a great job with your children and I admire what you do. However, your self-righteousness may be your downfall. I will pray you know the true God soon. You are wrong to have such hatred and judgment towards your fellow human being - that is not at all what Jesus preached or practiced, and that is what I see here. Please be humble. That is what God wants. Let Him do the talking. It is not for us to judge others in the way you are doing now. As for your trolls, they too will be judged . . . but it is not for you to do so. God bless you. - Lily"

Lily –

One of the many weaknesses of online interactions is that you cannot see me, you cannot hear me, and you do not know me other than reading a few posts of mine.  This is a conversation that should take place over a cup of coffee, nose to nose, heart to heart with our Bibles open in front of us so we can see the Truth before us.  You could see that I do not hate anyone.  You will not find that anywhere on my blog and you definitely would not find it in my eyes, or my tone of voice, or my words.  

I was angry with the comments against my family and my children – but even more so the mocking of my Savior.  I was angry that they were deliberately choosing to focus on those that believe in Christ and the fundamentals of the Bible – as shown by the title of the “chat room” of the criticism.  However, I do not hold on to that anger – I willingly forgive.  The momentary anger quickly gives way to deep compassion.  The things that they have chosen to focus on show that they do not know Christ.  It matters very little what they say about me, my family, or even orphans – it matters for eternity what they believe about Christ.

I think another of the huge weaknesses of online communication is that words are easily thrown out, especially when people are upset, without really thinking about what they mean.  You referred to my "self-righteousness" and I have to gently laugh a bit.  The definition of self-righteousness is being "
confident of one's own righteousness".  I have NO righteousness, Lily.  NONE.  That is one of the main points of the Gospel.  I have no righteousness.  It doesn't matter how many children we choose to adopt, how many "good" things I do - nothing, nothing will erase my sin apart from Christ's death and Resurrection.  I cannot state that boldly or fully enough.  I have no righteous.  I am guilty of breaking every one of the Ten Commandments in one way or another.  I deserve nothing but hell.  My Savior, Jesus Christ, is my righteousness - He has clothed me in His righteousness.  Isaiah 61:10 "I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."   I have nothing to claim on my behalf.  It is not "self-righteousness" to state what God has clearly said about Himself.  Sharing that truth is not showing anything good or righteous about myself - it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with His Word.

You say that I do not know God.  That is an amazingly bold statement – and may I say very gently, a fairly judgmental one for someone very concerned about me judging others.  I think it calls for a deeper communication and discussion. 

I grew up in a Christian family, surrounded by Christian friends, learning about the God, the Bible, and Christ.  But one day, I read (as in truly thought about) a passage that I had skimmed over many times.  This passage scared me to death!  It is Matthew 7:21-23 "21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [d]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’  This is a passage that most Christians have heard but haven't really thought about.  What does this person call Jesus (the one speaking in this verse)?  This is what I never thought about.  This person calls Jesus "Lord"!  This is someone who thinks they know who Christ is!  This isn't someone who just acknowledges God or even an unbeliever (as I had always assumed) - this is someone who calls him LORD!  In addition, this person prophesied, cast out demons, and performed miracles in Christ's name!!  This is someone who is "all in" - not just a casual observer.  Let that settle in.  This is someone who fully believed they knew Christ.  Then what was Jesus's response to them?  "I never knew you..."  Wow.  That is terrifying.  

I realized at that moment that I couldn't just trust what I thought I knew of God -or even the men teaching from the pulpit.  I needed to go to the source - His Word.  This is the ONLY source of truth.  Not our feelings, not what we "believe in our heart" to be true, not our experiences, and not well crafted lessons - God telling us exactly Who He is.  

He is holy - (one of many references)
  
1 Peter 15-16 " but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  

He is righteous and just - (one of many references, again) 

Psalm 89:14 "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face."   

He is full of mercy, truth, and compassion - (one of many references)

Psalm 86:15 "
But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth."

He is also the one Who tells us that He will punish sin:

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
"...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.."

These are just the tiniest drops in the ocean of what God tells us about Himself - it is just the beginning of the foundation of what I said in my post.  

I realized that I must know what God says about Himself and that is it the TRUTH.  I don't get to take some pieces out that I don't feel comfortable with.  I don't get to change or delete things to make Him seem "nicer" or more palatable.  If I start doing that, I might as well pull out my knife and carve   myself a graven image to worship.  He is not a "god" of my making.  HE IS GOD.  I don't get to change Him to suit my own needs.

As for what Jesus preached and practiced, He said (Mark 16:15-16) "“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."  I am preaching that gospel, Lily.  He was also the one that called those opposing Him a "brood of vipers" (Matthew 3:7, Matthew 12:34, Mathew 23:33, Luke 3:7, etc.)  He was also the one who told us the most about hell - read the Gospels - the reference are too numerous to mention right now.  He was not the sad, weak little man that people what to paint Him out to be - the one we see on stained glass windows.  He was bold and firm with the truth.  He did not tiptoe around people's feelings - because He loved them so much and He knew that they had to know the truth to be saved.  He was "gentle" but not in the way the world wants to paint Him.  He was meek - meaning His power was held in control.  He was gentle with those who came to Him for salvation - He had no tolerance for those who wanted to force their own beliefs about God and what they thought He should be on Him. He had no tolerance for those who did not believe they needed a Savior - that they weren't "bad" enough to need help.  Read the Gospels, it is all there to teach us.

So here is my gentle and compassionate challenge to you, Lily.  I have given you a handful of references as to who God is.  I can give you many, many more if you would like.  My question to you is how do you know who God is?  I have His own words as proof of who He is.  How do you know?  Please give me the reference from the Word that you feel I am not seeing.  This is not said in an angry, "self-righteous" tone of voice - this is from someone who has stared at the horrifying realization that I did not know who God was and I had to find the truth to save my soul.

Please Lily, please don't stop at what is easy and makes your heart happy - study His Word.  KNOW who He is.  Eternity depends upon that.  My prayers are with you. 

 


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