Elohim, God the Creator, is in Control

I have been considering how God has revealed Himself to me through His Names over the last couple of weeks.  One of His Names is Elohim.  It is the name He used in Genesis 1 to Genesis 2.  God created the heavens and the earth, and light, and everything, including you and me.  And everything he created, He noted was good, except mankind, and that was VERY GOOD.  Consider some implications.

God, in creating, takes responsibility for all He has created.  That takes a great deal of pressure off me, if I will believe it.  My tendency is to fret a bit.  Well, maybe a LOT.  Fear often leads to frozen inaction.  And inaction is a terrible manifestation of faith.

If I do nothing, then I can’t do it wrong.  Right?  Not exactly.  Faith will always lead to action.  Victories are rarely won playing defense.

Too many football games are played that way!  Teams play “not to lose” rather than “play to win.”  So, If God’s purpose is goodness (everything He created was good), don’t you think He wants us to live sharing and doing His will-which He has already purposed and creates, and not protecting the victory He has already determined?

God also restores what has been laid waste.  In Genesis 1:2, we read of the “formless and void” actually basically means “the waste or garbage dump.”  I doubt you could live at the garbage dump.  This earth was uninhabitable.

Tony Evans points out that somewhere between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, the earth became a waste dump.  Perhaps it was when Satan was cast out of heaven.  The earth was a wasteland, and God brought order to it.

Maybe your life, like mine, gets chaotic and directionless, because Satan has taken hold.  The wonderful thing about God is that He wants to take our wasted lives and make us useful.  His glory becomes unmistakable.  And joy fills our souls.

Thank you Lord, for creating in me a clean heart.

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I’m Going To Bed!

I have a wife yelling “Roll Tide” and a son growling “sic ’em Dawgs. (woof, woof)” So I went to bed at halftime, and missed a great finish. Couldn’t stand the pressure and so I just dropped off to sleep. I understand I missed an exciting finish to the 2018 National Championship college football game.

Paul was speaking EXACTLY of this in 1 Timothy 4:6-8

We are all participants in the game of life.  Can any of us say that we went to bed at halftime? Not saying that either team is equated with God, or that any of us can effect our own salvation, but I am saying that we if we go to sleep at halftime, we will miss the abundant life to which God calls us. Whatever God calls us to do, we should not drop out at halftime and miss the excitement that lies ahead.

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The Grace of God (part 2)

Yesterday, as I waited for new tires and drove around, I asked myself, “why.”  Why was God so gracious? Why was He so merciful?

I can only say, I was NOT entitled to salvation from those catastrophes.  How many times in the past have I escaped calamity?  Maybe looking up a phone number at 70 mph.  Maybe searching for a sermon on YouTube while in stop and go traffic.  Maybe wondering how the Braves did last night on the ESPN app.  Maybe just rebelling against God’s demand for my surrender.

Grace in this life is one thing.  But grace for eternity is God’s nature, too.

Why am I able to tell you about God’s working in my life?  Because somehow, I was born into a family that loved the Lord.  Somehow, I heard about the Love of Christ above the noise of the 60’s.  Somehow, when our daughter died, my faith was buoyed.  Somehow, the heart attack did not end my life.  Somehow.  Somehow.  Somehow.

That somehow is the Love of Jesus Christ.  He called and I answered.  He alone gloriously wove circumstances together, and I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and confessed Him as Lord of my life.  And He will hold me-never let me go.

I gotta tell you, deserving no blessing, He graciously spoke to my heart and I reached out to Him.  He loved me first, but I responded to His love.

What does the future hold?  Only God knows.  But my assurance is that when this life is over, He will call me to be with Him. Everything I have done during this lifetime does have eternal consequences.

Forgive me, Lord, if I haven’t made that clear enough to the world and You.  Friend, you will find Him gracious if you will believe in Jesus and confess Him as Lord of your life.

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The Grace of God

I drive quite a bit.  I like to drive-even in Atlanta.  Since Pam and I returned to Atlanta 14 years ago, roughly 3/4 million miles have passed under my vehicle.  I have had precious few incidents come close to me, and never three happen to me.

So, the last 5 days have been interesting.  First, a “large” rock flew from under an 18 wheeler, I was sure, headed toward my windshield.  I flinched, and it hit above me with a thud.  I THOUGHT it was a clump of dirt.  But the whistling wind and rattling glass revealed a hole in the glass sunroof.  It must have been a boulder.  No injury. But certainly a helpless feeling.  NOTHING I COULD DO.

First–The Rock

Two days later, in Friday afternoon stop and go traffic on the freeway, I came to a stop, looked in the rear view mirror and watched a young lady plow into my vehicle.  No injuries, but certainly a helpless feeling.  NOTHING I COULD DO.

Three days later, driving though the country, miles from anywhere, I had a blowout.  Blam!  What a helpless feeling.  NOTHING I COULD DO.  I have AAA, but I was so far from anywhere, I decided to pull out the jack for the first time and change the tire myself.

Obviously I couldn’t visit with Ms. Alison on the side of I-575 in rush hour.  But I got to meet Mr. Greg Strickland.  What a gracious Christian.  I was getting ready to make a mess, and he jumped in and changed my tire, went home to get air, and aired it up so I would be good to go!  And an unashamed Christian.  With, “God Bless you,” from both of us, we parted.  A gift of God.

3 times God spared me!  NOTHING I COULD DO.  The rock could have hit the windshield and caused a major incident.  The rear end collision could have been at 70 and not at 15 or so.  And rear tire blowouts have caused vehicles to flip.  Today, I am thanking God for his mercy and grace.  He spared me 3 times, and sent Greg to aid an old road warrior.  Thank you, Lord!  Every day, Your mercies are new!

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Salt

fried-dill-pickles

One Saturday, my wife and I went out to eat.  Featured on the menu was one of our favorites, FRIED DILL PICKLES.  The picture made our mouths water.  We chose that as an appetizer (we usually split our entree).

It took one bite!  Our mouths rebelled.  WAAAAAAYYYYY too salty.  It was repulsive.  Having been on a reduced salt diet, we both gagged, grabbed our water, and tried to wash it away.  For hours we tasted the salt.  We have not returned to that restaurant.

Paul said in Colossians  4:6, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Most Christians know we should be salt to the world.  We should be so wise and Spirit led, that we know how much salt to  sprinkle on our speech at each opportunity. The culture in which we live is so different than the one Jesus has called us to.  Every audience with the world is an opportunity!  Every word should contain enough salt to make the Gospel savory, but not so much it is repulsive.

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The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same!

The Beloit College Mindset List of 2020 is out.  The basis for thought processes for the newest group of freshmen.  I read it with interest, because this is how an adult can be cool if they are trying to relate to this new group of college students.

Whether they finish college or don’t, this is their environment.  And it has become ours, too.  What would I do without instantaneous gratification?  What is the newest, best way to stay out of a line at the store?

And while this list changes every year, the basic needs of every person does not change.  We all need to find significance.  I thought that people would respect me if I had a brand new 1965 Mustang-Red preferably.  That would make life complete for me.

Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore.  I look for respect in having a great retirement account (which isn’t gonna happen!).  Things change all the time.

The reason those needs change is because we find that if we do find what we are looking for in what we might experience or acquire, it doesn’t last more than a day or two.  The newly found fountain of life  dries up unexpectedly.

The only place any of us can go for abundance in life is God’s Amazing Grace.  That never changes.  It will still be there when everything around us changes.  It is the only answer that will outlast our lives.  It never gives up or dries up.  So contemporary, that is will soothe the restless soul of a new college student, or the oldest person in the nursing home.

The hymnwriter wrote “Grace, grace, God’s grace.  Grace that is greater than all my sin.”

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Prepared

female hiker warms hands with stove on cold morning wild camping at Horseid beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

female hiker warms hands with stove on cold morning wild camping at Horseid beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

I usually pick clothes so I will look good. Occasionally I pick clothes based on the tasks of the day. And sometimes, I pick clothes I hope NOBODY sees me wear. Only rarely will I let someone else select my wardrobe.

If I am going to be working, I need to wear clothes that do not weaken me, but give me strength.

So that I will be prepared for the challenges of today, But what if things happen I couldn’t predict? It would be really neat if God would go ahead and pick my clothes for me. Good news, HE DOES! He prepares us for everything we will need to face today. If I need to prepare for action, He will prepare me by giving me strength.

Isaiah 45: 5-6 “I am the Lord, there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.”

Help me, Lord, to recognize when You have prepared me for accomplishing Your Will.

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