Who God Isn’t

How many times do we hear a sermon, or read a book, or get into conversations on what God is like? He is holy, just, majectic, full of mercy, has compassion, majestic, powerful, pure, etc, etc. We could go on and on about how amazing God is. But how may times do you hear about what God isn’t? God isn’t distant. He’s not angry. He’s not unfair. There are so many untruths that are being said about God today. Or maybe not being said, but being lived by Christians.

One of the big ones is Christians, me especially, living our lives in anxiety. Constant worry. About anything and everything. Finances, relationships, jobs, family. The list could go on. By living our life in anxiety we are questioning God. What? Maybe you don’t understand. When we worry about what is going on in our life or how something could work out, we are basically saying that God has forgotten about us. He didn’t hear us when we mentioned this part in our prayers last night. We are giving us and the world the idea that God is incapable. That God couldn’t possibly handle such a major thing in our life.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil. 4:6  When we worry and are anxious, we are commiting a sin. But it hasn’t just started in our generation. Even Abraham questions God and was anxious about his family’s future. God promised him a son, and heir to his inheritance. Abraham even went so far as to fully explain his situation to God as if He didn’t already know. How many times have you done that? You feel God telling you something and you feel the need to bargain with Him and to explain yourself a little more. As if He didn’t understand you the first time.

When we are anxious, we are carrying around an unneeded burden. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” Do you really believe that? Can you truly give your anxiety to God? To be able to do that you have to realize that He does care for you and that He isn’t incapable of meeting your needs. Or maybe it’s more than that. Maybe you just don’t think that God is able to handle the “worldly” stuff. He’s great with the spiritual things, but not so great with the personal or practical stuff. God just doesn’t understand. I’ve been there, thought that. And still do at times.

The problem is, with that comes us trying to help God out. And most everytime we try to help Him out and take things into our own hands, things get chaotic. Just like with Abraham. He still didn’t believe that God would give him and his wife a son, so when his wife suggested that he sleep with her maid, he agreed. The son that was born from that caused nothing but grief and trouble.

Bottom line. God doesn’t need our help. He know’s what He is doing. In every area of our life. He isn’t incapable at all. If you can’t trust God with every area of your life then how are you able to trust Him with the most important; your salvation? If God is capable of that, then surely he is capable of the other areas of your life. Right?

Advertisements

What do you think?

How many people have you looked at this past week and judged? Maybe it was something they were wearing, maybe it was how they were talking, or maybe it was their heart.

Have you ever looked at someone and within 15 seconds had this whole image about them in your head and how they just couldn’t be a Christian because of this and this and how they were probably some horrible person who would never be able to be good enough to go to church? What happens when you realize this person does go to a church, or worse they go to your church? Do you ask for forgiveness from God and look at them in a new light and introduce yourself to them? Or, do you continue to judge and think that they are just “playing church,” that they are some horrible person and they have everyone fooled (except you of course, you know exactly who they are)?

Honestly, how many of you have done that, or something of that sort? Honestly, I have. A little too often if I’m being completely honest. And I’m not proud of it.

I was reading in Craig Groeschel’s book What is God Really Like and came to a chapter written by John Burke called God is For You. He starts off talking about these 3 people who work in a pretty bad bar on the bad side of town. One of those places where you go to get drunk, hook up and basically forget about everything else. These are those people who you have their whole life story made up in 15 seconds or less just by looking at them. Judging them. You know they are far from God and you sure as heck know that God wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole. Heck, make it a 100 foot pole.

You look at them, walk by, and the whole time praise yourself for not being like that. For being the “good person” who doesn’t dress like that, act that way, work there, look that way, and would never dare hang out with them. You just know that you are the better person. And if this person goes to your church (as mentioned before) then you know that you are the better Christian. How could God like them more than you? It’s just not possible.

WRONG!

Who did Jesus hang out with when He was here on earth? The church people and those who did no wrong (well, at least in their eyes they didn’t)? No. Jesus hung out with those that were sinners. Those that weren’t your cookie-cutter, do good, high horse people. So why do we want a church full of perfect acting people?

What were to happen if church were to get messy?

If we aimed at reaching the people who don’t go to church or haven’t been in a while?

Those that don’t try to hide the fact that they mess up?

I think that’s the kind of church God wants us to have. The kind of people He wants us to reach.

Instead of walking around judging everyone for what they have done, may be doing, or what you think they are going to do, invite them to church. So you see someone with crazy piercings and tattoos who likes to party. Invite them to your church. Shake it up a little. Don’t wait for them to become the “perfect” person before you invite them.

Back to the story I mentioned earlier. Those 3 people who worked in the bar (one a waitress, one a singer, and one a manager) all ended up coming to this guys church. And to top it all off, all 3 of them eventually gave their life to Christ. And the singer is now their Worship Pastor. So, what’s the big deal? Well, can you honestly say to yourself that if people like that (or others I’ve described) came to your church that they would feel comfortable enough coming back until they got saved? Or would they feel everyone judging them and staring at them until they left before the music even started playing?

Church isn’t for those that are saved. It’s for the lost. Don’t push them out by your judgement and stupidity.

a new look at the new year

So it’s a few hours until 2011. The new year. This is the part where everyone thinks back on 2010 and then decides how they want to make 2011 even better. We do it every year. It’s tradition if you will. We normally start out the new year pumped at keeping all our goals, one of which always includes dieting and/or exercising. Normally, a few months into the year we start to kick some of our resolutions to the curb. We usually justify with It’s not that big of a deal now or It’s just not possible this year. But mostly we are just lazy and don’t want to follow through. We lose our spark and drive that we had at the beginning of the year. Our desire to try to improve things decreases and we basically decide that we are ok like we are. Or at least until the next year comes around.

I didn’t intend for this post to go this way, but it kind of just hit me. The way we are at New Years is how we are as Christians most of the time. Something major happens. Salvation, a renewing of faith, or something else. Whatever it may be, it gets us motivated to be a better me. We normally get it in our mind that we are going to be better Christians. Live like we know we should. Stop doing this and get better at doing that. We are going to read our Bible more, tell everyone we know about God and what He has done for us, heck, we may even pray for someone out loud! We stay energized and excited about this new change and our new-found excitement about God for a while. We start off strong, reading our Bible everyday, going to church every time we can, volunteering in the nursery or greeting people. We swear we will never be that person who loses their fire for God. I mean, how could they?

But then it happens. We start to lose the excitement we had. Maybe we missed a few nights of reading our Bible. Or someone said or did something at church that made us not want to help out. Maybe it’s not like that. Maybe we got a new job and don’t have much extra time for things like that. And who wants to be the weirdo in class that talks about God? I mean, isn’t it easier to keep quiet? Before you realize, it’s been a while since you have gotten in God’s word. The subjects you talk about with others isn’t about Godly things, it’s about worldly and perverse things. Maybe you still go to church but you can’t get into it because the spark is gone.

Things continue like that until your next “new year” comes around. God speaks to you at church and you fall on your face in surrender. You go to fall camp and feel God move in your life and know he cares. Maybe you are driving in your car and the song playing says everything you need to hear.Whatever it is, at that moment you feel renewed and energized again. Just like your salvation all over again. You vow that things are going to be different this time than the last, and truly believe that’s true. But, unfortunately for most of us, a few months or so go by and we are back being the same ol’ us. The spark is gone. The desire for God has died down. Don’t get me wrong, we still love Him, but our desire to tell other’s about Him and His love is in the back of our minds.

It seems like a never-ending spiral. One that will happen every time we have a God Moment just like it does every year December 31 at midnight. Our excitement and determination build up, stays strong for a while, but eventually fades out. So how do we change it? How can we stop ourselves from dealing with the new year syndrome? Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve dealt with it quiet a lot and don’t have it figured out as I’m sure many of you don’t. Or maybe you do. (If you do can you help me out a little?)

All I know is to keep trying.

Keep getting excited when you have a God moment.

Keep striving to be a better you.

Keep going strong.

I hope that everyone has a great rest of 2010 and an even better 2011. Here’s to actually keeping our resolutions and even more to find out what God has in store for you this year.

Happy New Year everyone!

twenty five 2wenty 5ive

So, I’m stealing this from Jon Acuff and his SCL post. But I feel like doing a list of the Top 25 things I want to do before I’m 25. Yes, I know it really has no point at all, but hey I want to do it. Who knows, it might be fun. So, here goes, hopefully they’ll be good…

My 25 before 25 (in no particular order):

1. Get married

2. Go to a pro-baseball game. Or football.

3. Run a half marathon

4. Learn how to cook (well)

5. Learn how to bake

6. Have my OCN license

7. Have my BSN

8. Go to Guatemala for a mission trip

9. Go snowboarding

10. Go to Maine

11. Go to a mega-mega church like SaddleBack Church or Passion City Church

12. Go see a Broadway play

13. See Michael Buble in concert

14. Go on a cross country trip

15. Play paintball

16. Go to the beach for an entire week

17. Take ballroom dance lessons with Jonathan

18. Make a difference in one of my patient’s life

19. Go back to Chicago

20. Go camping. In a tent. Outside

21. Have real Christmas trees again

22. Be able to sew. (the basics at least)

23. Be a part of a Christmas something at church

24. Help build a home, either here or in another country

25. Feel comfortable enough to be able to share God with younger girls and be a good influence for them

Alright. That’s my list. Think about yours.

-nicole

God does what? no way!

“When I’m dry and thirsty Lord/And I’m crying out for more/I know I can trust in Your love/In the darkness in the night/When I’m starving for the light/I know I can trust in Your love/You keep no record of my sin/and You don’t remember all my shame

That’s a song by Jesus Culture; some of you may know it. I believe I’ve written about a different part of that song on here before, but whatever. The part that hit me today was what is in bold (duh). God keeps no record of our sins. He doesn’t remember them.I know what you’re thinking,” What? You’re wrong. God keeps a tally of them. He remembers them all and uses it against us.” Nope. But that’s what I used to think. I used to think that because of the sins I had done in the past and all the things I did that I knew were wrong, that God held those against me and retaliated against me. If something in my life didn’t go the way I thought it was supposed to go or if something “bad” happened, I instantly thought that God did this because of the sins that I had committed. True, we are all going to be held accountable for our sins one day and there is the whole “reaping what we sow” deal, but what I’m talking about is different from all that.

Have you ever thought that God was getting back at you for things you have done in your past by not letting good things happen to you, or at least things you thought were supposed to happen? Did you, or do you still, feel that God is keeping a tally mark every time you mess up and thinking, “Hmm. What can I do to Beatrice to make her pay for all of her sins? I wont give her the job she wants. I’ll make her wait forever before finding Mr. Right. Or better yet, I’ll never let her find Mr. Right! That will show her!” Yes, those were my thoughts before, and truthfully, sometimes still are. Kind of like my last post, if God were to punish us because of the sins we committed then we would all be dead right now. We would have been killed. That’s not the case, because Jesus came to die in our place. To die for our sins. (Now all the little prayers and things you heard in Sunday school as a kid are starting to come back to you aren’t they?)  “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” Psalm 103:10

So, is God keeping a diary of all our wrongs? No. When we ask God to forgive us, and try to turn from those sins, He does. And not only does He forgive us, but he also forgets our sins. “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 In other words, when we ask God’s forgiveness, he takes our sins as far away from us as possible. He doesn’t store them for a rainy day when He is bored and He doesn’t throw them up in our face, like most of us do to others, when we get into an argument with Him. He casts them away. The true definition of “forgive and forget,” not the human definition.

Yeah, I can ask for forgiveness, but what about when I keep messing up? I know God holds it against me then. Nope. Some people may argue me on this, but I think as long as you truly ask for forgiveness and try to turn from the things you are doing, God will continue to forgive you. Even if you mess up over and over again. God’s mercy, grace, and love don’t have a limit. It’s not like you can tap out at 30 apologizes and after that God tells you you’re on your own. God keeps no record of your sin. Period. End of story. You do it, He forgives, it’s gone. And no that doesn’t give you the right to continue doing wrong because He will forgive you each time. That’s a different post all together.

My main point for tonight (sorry if I’ve skipped around a lot and confused you), is that God isn’t like us. He doesn’t use our sins against us to get us back. He doesn’t make us pay for our sins like we rightfully should. He isn’t waiting for us to mess up so He can throw a wrench in our life. He loves us with all He has and all He is, even in the times that we don’t love Him. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.” Psalm 103:11

I know some of this may be difficult to wrap your head around, as it still is for me. It’s not easy remembering that God isn’t like us. He’s on a completely different level than we are and one that is more than we can even begin to comprehend. All I know is I’m slowly realizing that when things don’t go the way I want them to or think they should go, it’s no because God is punishing me. It’s because He is protecting me and has something better in store. Which is where faith comes in.

You’re Never Going To Be Good Enough. Deal With It.

Honesty time. Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought you weren’t good enough. For anything. With anything. Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt inadequate at anything you were doing.

Both my hands are raised on that one. Many times over my 22 years I have thought that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough to have these friends. I wasn’t good enough to be loved. I wasn’t good enough to have this job. And I wasn’t good enough for God to use me. Over and over I have felt these things and over the years I have made myself believe that they are true.

Yet one by one God is breaking those thoughts. One by one God is showing me that I may not be “good enough” but I’m enough for Him and what He wants me to do.

Big honesty time.

I’ve never felt good enough to be loved. I can be a very moody person at times. I’m often (more than I like to admit) needy and have to be reassured that everything is ok. I over-analyze everything and even read into the other person’s behavior or words more than anyperson should do. I sometimes get jealous (basically just my insecurity coming out). In other words, I’ve never felt like I should be allowed to have someone love me. I didn’t feel good enough. In the past, the guys I dated never got me. They never understood me, which only made me believe that I wasn’t good enough even more. Thank goodness God had other news. Instead of God saying, “You’re right. You’re not good enough. You have too many flaws. I can’t find someone for you. Sorry.” He said, “Hey. I love you and don’t want you to change who you are. Only what you think about yourself. I have someone amazing I want you to meet.” Jonathan is different than anyone before. He looks past the moods, doesn’t mind reassuring me, brings me back to reality when I let my thinking get the best of me, and helps me not feel jealous. I don’t have to be good enough to be loved. I just have to be me and willing to let God do His work.

I also don’t feel like I’m good enough to be a nurse. I feel inadequate, especially on the Oncology unit. I’m unsure of many types of leukemia and cancer. I get confused at all the chemo medications and what they do. I feel like I can’t answer the patient’s questions because I am still learning myself. And I feel like I am inadequate at being able to comfort the patients and calming them down. God helped me with this a lot today. I had two patient’s, one mine and one that I’ve gotten close with, tell me that I was going to be a great nurse on that floor because I had the personality for it. I was also able to help decrease another patient’s anxiety and fears by talking to him and reassuring him that we would all be with him on his decision, and he thanked me numerous times. I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying this, to say that God showed me today that while I’m not perfect in this field, He will help me and He has a purpose for me here.

We’re never going to be “good enough” for God. If that were the case, He wouldn’t have had to send His son to the earth to die on the cross in our place. We wouldn’t have needed anyone to be our “bridge” to God. I’m learning that I’m never going to be good enough, and that’s ok. Jesus didn’t pick the best of the best to be His disciples. He chose unschooled, ordinary men (acts 4:13) to follow Him and learn from Him. As Groeschel says, the Greek word for ordinary is idiotes which is where we get the work idiot from. In other words, Jesus chose idiots to be His disciples. I don’t know about you, but that gives me some relief. We don’t have to be the best at what we do. We don’t have to be perfect or “good enough” for God to use us or to give us His best. We just have to be willing to let Him use us, lead us, and change us into who He knows we can be.

“God will use you in spite of your insecurities. And He’ll often use you where you’re most insecure.” Craig Groeschel

skeptical of the airplane

So. Im sitting here reading another awesome book by Groeschel and, once again, what I read describes me perfectly.

You see, he’s talking about the difference in believing in something and believing it. He uses the example of a friend that believes in airplanes but he doesn’t believe that they will carry him where he needs to go. Then we get to the part where we use this example for God.

I believe in God, but I don’t always believe Him. I believe He exists. I believe He died on the cross for me. I believe He rose again. A lot of the time though, I don’t believe what he says. I worry a lot. And I doubt a lot. More than I like to admit. For the most part, my faith isn’t even the size of a spec of dust (Still a ways to go to get to the mustard seed). My other problem is that I know what He says, but I still don’t believe it.

I know what He says in Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I know what He says in Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

I know what He says in Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.”

I know all these things but I have a hard time believing them. See, I like to be in control of situations. Any person that knows me well enough can agree with this. I like to know what is going to happen. I like to plan things out. I know (or at least like to think) that when I do things my way and by myself they will get done the right way. Basically I have a hard time relying on anyone other than me. I don’t have to worry about letting myself down. I don’t have to worry about me not following through with something I told myself I would do. I can control what I do.

I can’t control God.

I can’t know what He has planned for me.

I can’t read his mind or know if what I’m planning is what He had planned all along.

And that scares me.

I have a hard time believing that God would want good things for me and that He is fighting for me and not against me. I guess, for me, it’s because a lot of people in my past that I have trusted and relyed on have broken my trust. I couldn’t believe what they told me anymore. It’s hard for me to think that God would be different. If my dad couldn’t even keep His promises, then why would God? God knows all my screw ups and everything that I think and do. Why would He still love me and want what is best for me? Why should I believe Him?

I know that a change isn’t going to happen overnight, and that it’s going to take me some more time to work on this. Someone I trust once said something to me, and it basically can be sumed up as this: if I don’t see myself as God see’s me, it’s going to be really hard for me to believe that He wants the best for me. If I keep seeing myself as the world sees me and describes me then I’m not giving God the credit and seeing myself like He see’s me. Worse, I’m giving the enemy a ton of room in my head to build an empire and stay a while.

The longer I see myself as the world sees me, the longer it’s going to take me to fully trust and believe in God. And the enemy loves that. Believe me, he’s been having a field day with it so far.

This isn’t some big “I figured it out” post. It’s just me writing what’s been on my mind and what I feel God is trying to show me and work with me on. I know it’s going to take some time and it’s isnt going to be easy. But I do know that, actually I do believe that God cares and wants me to believe and trust Him.

Croire

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries