Monday, February 29, 2016

Our relationships with God and with people

O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice! Psalm 95:6-7 (NRSV)

In Psalm 95, verses 1-6 is a call to prayer and praise for the God of all creation. Then, in verses 6 and 7, our relationship to God is expressed. Praise and worship are the attitudes that we need to adopt in order to be in relationship to God. 

A problem with relationships is that they require constant work to combat the sin that works to destroy them. We are people who become bored or lazy in our relationships, and we get tired of the work that relationships require. This is why some people ride a roller coaster of emotions when dealing with their relationships. Although emotions are a part of any good relationship, it is wrong to allow emotions govern the health of a relationships. Instead, we should constantly work to build a solid foundation that can withstand the strain of sin that is a constant factor of any relationship. This is how we can experience true joy in a relationship.

God wants us to come to Him in praise and joy. God does not want our emotions to be left out of our relationship with Him, but He wants us to work constantly to build a relationship with Him. And this is how we work to build a relationship with God. As the scripture passage above says, “Oh that today you would listen to his voice,” we need to listen to Him—today. We need to read His word—today. We need to pray—today. We need to praise Him—today. The ongoing constant of today requires our devotion to our relationship with God. It is all because of God’s grace that we have an opportunity to have a relationship with Him. What grace!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Abundance in God

“O how abundant is your goodness that you have laid up for those who fear you, and accomplished for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of everyone.” Psalm 31:19 (NRSV)

Recently, our state lottery awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to three winners. Lottery winners are like modern fairy tale heroes and heroines because from an earthly point of view, winning a lot of money can solve financial problems and create a happily ever after life for those who are so fortunate to receive the money. However, when we have an abundance of food, comfort and convenience, our ability to appreciate what we have diminishes and we forget that all good things come from God.  Money can be a blessing, but only if we remember that it belongs to God, not to us.

The reason that we can count our financial problems as blessings from God is because His goodness surpasses the problems. When we fear God and take refuge in Him in the sight of everyone, we create an opportunity for God to be glorified through blessing us.  The person who wins millions of dollars will have the opportunity to glorify God if he or she has sought refuge in God in the good and bad times. God is good to us here on earth, even when it does not seem like good things are happening to us. Our faith in His goodness will always yield blessings in an everlasting eternity in which our treasures are stored up for us.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

God's right hand

“fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (RSV)

The scripture above is a promise from God, and promise that He will strengthen us, help us and uphold us with His right hand so that we do not need to be afraid. There are many references in the Bible to the hand or right hand of God.  Hand has a very symbolic meaning in scripture, and it does in modern times as well. 

The right hand is a symbol of courtesy.  Even people who have a dominant left hand will shake hands with their right hand.  Extending the right hand of fellowship welcomes people into our churches, into our homes or to a social gathering. Gestures of greeting and celebration are made with our hands, such as waving, and high five. 

Our hands are unique to humans.  No other mammal has the capability of manual dexterity that humans have.  When God is described as having hands, it is not to equate God with humans, but to show the relationship that God has with us.  Our hands provide the action for our intentions, and it is the same with God.  When Christ is described as seated at the right hand of God, it is because Christ did what God intended, to save us from sin so we can spend eternity with Him. 

God’s intentions are always carried out.  His promises never fail because His right hand is victorious. Grace is God’s promise to us that He will forgive our sins if we ask Him to do so.  All we must do is hold out our hand to receive the gift. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Good, good Father

God is a good good father, and we are loved by God. It is who we are.

Here is a beautiful song by Chris Tomlin

God's goodness is greater than any good that we can imagine.