Archive for June, 2011
I believe that God exists with every fiber of my being. I have given my life to following that conviction. But I cannot prove that He exists by scientific standards. How can I? If He is God the Creator, how can those he created understand and prove His existence? I am not sure I would want to follow a God so ordinary that His Creation could prove His existence. So my decision to believe in God is very much an act of faith. But there is a basis for my faith because I can see evidence of God.
Creation is evidence to me that there is a Creator God. It may not be definitive proof, but it seems reasonable that there is a Creator. I marvel at nature. It is beautiful, it works, it is astounding in the way it functions. Our bodies are amazing. Mind, heart, and body working together in a way that is incredible. The way of a man and a woman made for pleasure and procreation. Some would attribute all of this to randomness and chance. That seems more a leap of faith to me than accepting the existence of God.
Changed lives point to God. I have seen broken marriages healed, families restored, alcoholics made sober, angry people made gentle, and sexually immoral made pure. And they give credit to God. I have seen prayers answered. I have seen people’s health restored after asking God for healing. This is where some would ask me to explain why every prayer for healing is not answered. I do not know how or why God acts in the way He does. He is too far above my understanding to explain. And it is absurd for the created to attempt to defend the Creator. So I choose to believe.
Creation, changed lives, answered prayers. To me, that is evidence of a God greater than my understanding. I cannot prove He exists because I am one of the created. So I choose by faith to believe in the unbelievable. Because I have seen where He has been. Because He has touched my life and changed me.
Summer starts this week. Officially, that is. In the Northern Hemisphere. According to astronomers, who wait for the solstice to declare that summer is actually here.
For most of us, however, summer had already begun. For school children, summer begins when classes end. For meteorologists, summer begins when June arrives. The Irish Calendar considers May 1 as the first day of summer.
From what I can tell, none of that really matters as far as the weather is concerned. Sometimes it gets hot early in the season. Sometimes it gets hot much later. Men can debate when summer is going to begin, but the truth is, summer will do as it pleases.
Kind of like some of the debates I hear about who God is and what He can/will do. Men debate everything from the age of the earth to the existence of hell. They wrangle over whether God knows the future and whether God determines the future. Some present philosophical questions like: “Can God create a boulder so big that even He can’t lift it?”
In the end, though we may be entertained and enlightened by such discussions, none of them will actually change reality. I believe in God and believe that God will be who He is, no matter what men decide. He will act as He chooses. He will do things as He deems best. Nothing I can say or do will change that.
No scientific discovery will change who God is. No theological treatise will make Him any more or less holy. God will be God.
Rather than defining summer, we’re better off learning to enjoy it while it’s here. Saying “It’s not summer yet!” won’t make it any cooler, nor will declaring the end of summer affect how things are outside.
In the same way, our job as humans isn’t so much to define God as it is to seek to know Him and obey Him. As the old Westminster Catechism states, the chief end of man is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” That’s what we need to be about.
I’d love to talk to you more about how to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via our www.hopeforlife.org website.
I sometimes talk to people who say they believe in Jesus but do not attend church. Or if they do attend occasionally, they are not involved. Their reasoning is that they are able to worship God anywhere, or that the churches they have attended have not met their needs, or they have not felt connected. While there may be some validity in these viewpoints, it is possible they are missing the point that church is more than worship, what I need, or how I feel. Church is not a building, nor is it just about how we worship. Church is a place to be part of a community of believers.
A glimpse of the purpose for church is seen in the book of Hebrews:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another … (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Meeting together as a community is where we inspire and motivate each other to love and serve in this world. Even in the early days of Christianity, there were those who did not see the need to meet together. You need to be an encourager. You need to be motivated. That happens in community. We show unity as we share in the supper of the Lord, engaging again in his death. We are inspired by singing together. We petition and praise God together. We listen together to God’s Word. We build relationships over weeks, months, and years of worshipping together.
Church is a place for us to help each other, not just a place to receive help. It is a refuge in times of trouble and sickness. It is the place to find help in battling the evil One. It is where people can confess their sins to you and know you will pray for them, encourage them, and help them. It is a place where you can confess your sins, receive encouragement and know you will be helped.
But you cannot give – or receive – these things if you are not part of community.
In the Bible, we read about something called the Sabbath. It was a day of rest. One day each week, God’s people were to abstain from work.
They didn’t stay in bed all day. It was a day for being with family, for worship and for recreation. It was a time for all the things that could get neglected during the regular work week. The principal goal of the day was rest.
Rest has a bad reputation today. For many, the word “rest” smacks of laziness and sloth. We live in an “always on” society, where people brag of their ability to multitask (which is another word for not concentrating on any one thing!). Our cell phones beckon us night and day. E-mails clamor for our attention. We want instant, we want immediate, we want everything done now. Where does rest fit into such a society?
If you’re getting ahead of me, you probably think I’m going to propose that we return to one day per week of rest. While that’s certainly a positive thing, I don’t think it’s enough. I don’t think we should be satisfied with one day of rest. I don’t think we should be satisfied with weeks or months of rest.
We should be seeking rest that has no end. In the Bible, the writer of the book we call Hebrews says, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:9-10)
This isn’t a one-day-a-week rest. It’s a one-day-that-never-ends rest. He’s talking about the rest we’ll have when this life is over, the rest that we’ll have with God.
That’s the Sabbath I want. Not just one day. I want to come into the presence of God and know that I can forever turn off my cell phone, shut down my computer and enjoy being with Him. I won’t have to worry about work or bills or retirement any more. All I will have to do is rest.
That same writer goes on to write, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:11) Sounds like a good goal, the same goal people had under the old Sabbath. The goal is rest, God’s rest, the eternal Sabbath.