Archive for April, 2011
He knew the answer before he asked the question. He was one of the outstanding Hebrew scholars of his time, noted author, recognized speaker, leader, prisoner and eventually martyr for a religious cause.
His treatise is a letter he sent to Christians in the city of Rome and it is in the eighth chapter that he poses the question and notes that no external influence can cause separation.
Yet Paul, the Apostle, knew the whole answer which began in Moses’ book of Genesis, in Chapter 3 when God asks of His creation “where are you?”, Adam was afraid for he had disobeyed the Lord God and hid himself. The answer was finalized by the visionary prophet Isaiah when God used his pen say:
“Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Isa 59:2
The question remains, who can separate us from the love of God? And the answer is—we can when we choose not to follow his ways. We can when we disobey his rules for living. We can when we hide behind our habitual sin. We can when we decide to be unholy and unworthy.
But, if we choose to allow Jesus to redeem us, save us, make us Holy, affirm that we are worthy—Then NOTHING can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Sooooo.. Are you separated from God?
Why have you chosen to be so distant from Him?
Are you like Adam, having disobeyed God that you have hidden yourself from him?
My wife recently had me help her clean out our garage and I was amazed. I carried off old, used up furniture that was no longer usable. I threw away toys that were no longer played with and lots of … well, junk. But I remembered when some of that furniture was new. I can remember saving up and being so proud when we bought the item that was going to be just perfect for our house. And now it is not. I remember when the toys were absolutely the must have item on the Christmas and birthday wish list. I smiled when I remembered the fun times watching my children play with them. Now nobody wants them. The junk I was carting away was something that at one time we thought we needed – or wanted. Not now.
At first I objected to getting rid of them because I remembered how special they had been. Of course, I know they cannot last forever. No toy does. Neither does furniture. They are not designed to last forever. They do not last. They are like everything else in this world. They have a limited shelf life.
As I thought about it, I realized the memories were not so much about the items themselves. It was what they represented: good times with family and friends. I did not mind getting rid of the things so much when it dawned on me I would always have my family. My kids are grown and their grandparents are getting old. Now my wife and I have grandchildren. We are buying toys that will be thrown out someday. But our family will be together forever. That is the special blessing for those of us that believe in Jesus. He died so we could live. Forever. My family believes that.
Cleaning out the garage reminded me of what does – and what does not – last forever. It reminded me of what is – and is not – really important. It helped me to remember to focus on what matters. If you would like to know about families that last forever, I can help you. If you want to know that you will last forever, I would enjoy visiting with you. You are not junk. You are special, and you can know that.
My head gets sunburned. It didn’t used to, but now I have to be careful when I go out. If I’m in the sun for more than a few minutes without some sort of hat, I’ll probably spend the next few days with an itchy scalp. For some reason, my head burns more easily than it used to.
I’d like to blame it on the ozone layer or global warming or something of the sort, but I know the truth: with every passing year, I’ve got less hair on the top of my head.
My body is wearing out. There are other signs of this, like my need for reading glasses, and more things seem to show up all the time.
I have what the Bible calls a “perishable body.” It will eventually deteriorate. And, as the Bible promises, someday I will get an “imperishable body,” one that won’t ever wear out. It’s the way that God originally wanted things to be, but mankind chose to disobey God, and the consequence of that rebellion was death, the decaying of our bodies.
Did you know that the world around us had the same thing happen to it? Where creation was once in a state of perfection, man’s sin affected that as well. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20-21)
That word “decay” is the same word Paul uses to talk about what happens to our bodies. Just as my body is not the perfect body I will one day have, so our creation is in a state of imperfection. Not because God made it that way, but because our sin affects the world around us.
Today we see earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and floods. One day, all of that will be gone. Creation will be set free from its “futility,” from its imperfection.
On that day, we Christians will also be set free. We will be given bodies that will never grow old nor wear out. We’ll live in a world that won’t experience the disasters we see today.
And my head won’t get sunburned any more!
(photo by Henk L, from www.sxc.hu)
I can tell from the way he looks and acts that my dog Lucky thinks he understands me. The truth is that he does not have a clue. He knows I love him, he knows I feed him, and he knows I provide shelter when it gets really cold. He adores me, minds me most of the time, and really enjoys being in my presence. But does he really understand me?
Does he really understand when I discipline him that it is for his own good? Does he understand how dangerous it is outside of his yard? Does he know why the leash has to be on before we walk? Sometimes he whines to come in, or he begs for a treat. I think he believes that I am there to make his life function exactly the way he wants it to be. He must actually think that he knows how my mind works.
He doesn’t. He cannot reason on my level. He cannot think the way I do. I doubt he thinks in terms of the future. He may recognize things I do, but does he understand why? We have a relationship, but we are not equals. We love each other, but I am the master.
So I wonder if this is how it is with me and God. We are not equal. We operate on completely different levels of thought. I cannot think like God. I cannot understand God. I may get glimpses of His character. I may see the fruits of His action. I can even communicate with Him. But for me to assume I understand God is a serious mistake. I might end up thinking God is the way I want Him to be, or imagine He should be.
So I pay close attention to what He has said to me. I do not have to understand it, but I do believe it. I read His Word, the Bible. I try to do what it says. God is God, and I am me. When I remember that, life works. When I get the roles reversed, life falls apart. He is the Master, not me.