Friday, November 20, 2015

Knowledge of God

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
    let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
 For the Lord is a great God,
    and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
    the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:1-5 (ESV)

Sometimes I wonder how we came to know that there is a God. We cannot see Him with our eyes, nor can we feel His touch. Yet, since human civilization began, there has been evidence that people have believed in a greater being—a power greater than people themselves.  And, for thousands of years, there have also been people who do not believe in a greater power. Why, with all of the opposition to God, the unbelief, and the lack of a visible, touchable deity, does belief in God continue to persist?

Although science and scientists may question or refute the existence of God, science not overshadowed the knowledge of God because many learned scientists have a very strong faith in the Almighty God.  Suffering and persecution cause many people to abandon God, yet the same suffering and persecution has drawn many people closer to God. Many people who were raised by atheist parents have grown to have very deep beliefs in God. Many people who were raised by very devout believers have become atheists or they believe in other deities. Faith in God seems to have no pattern, no rhyme, nor reason. This makes me wonder why, in spite of all the uncertainty, faith in God still exists.

The Bible answers these questions.  It is because God made us and He made everything we see and touch. We have faith in God because He made us to have faith in Him. The Bible is the only piece of ancient literature that gives an interpretation of how the world began that corresponds to scientific evidence.  God has given us the ability to know Him, and the choice to turn our backs to Him.   But the knowledge of God is still proclaimed throughout all creation, whether we acknowledge it or not.  Knowledge of God will never fade because He created it!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Obedience and our love for God

“1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1 (NRSV)

“22 And Samuel said,

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obedience to the voice of the Lord?
Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed than the fat of rams” 1 Samuel 15:22 NRSV

One great theme, arguably the greatest theme of the Bible, is the sovereignty of a loving God over the entire universe. God created everything to in order to worship Him. There are many scriptures in the Bible recounting the praise and worship of a God much greater than man can comprehend. Psalms 99-100 and Revelation 19 are among the scriptures that deal with the praise and worship of God on a grand scale.

The scriptures above talk about obedience and worship (sacrifice and praise). When we think about obedience, we often think about a list of rules that we need to follow in order for God to view us as good. Actually, God views our obedience in a different way. According to Romans 12:1, we are to present our bodies (our physical being, including our thoughts, actions) as living sacrifices. Obedience consists of putting all of our spiritual and physical efforts toward pleasing God. When we do this, God delights in our effort.

When we strive to obey rules, our intention is to make ourselves look good. I am ashamed to admit that I have, on more than one occasion, given a tithe to church with the thoughts of how I would rather be spending the money. My intention to give the tithe was not to praise God for the bounty He has provided for me, but to fulfill a self-imposed duty so I could feel good about myself, or that my husband or family would be proud of me. This kind of obedience has never worked well for me. However, each time that I have given a tithe with a song of praise in my heart for the blessings that God have given for me, the joy I feel always surpasses any enjoyment I may have gotten from spending the money on something I wanted.

Our obedience is the greatest praise that we can give to God because it is what God desires from us. He desires our love and companionship. Obedience provides an opening for God to pour His blessings into our hearts.