How big is your God?

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Ever wondered how come some folks receive miraculous answers to prayer, live charmed lives, hardly ever get sick, depressed or even down, while other precious folks, true believers, kind, benevolent, seem powerless in the midst of troubles? I think the question above holds part of the answer. (For a great series on this see Mark Batterson’s “Chase the lion.”)
Which do you believe to be bigger/stronger/more powerful, God or cancer/adversity/ bankruptcy/etc. Understanding God is bigger than all these things put together and loves us unconditionally, not only gives peace of mind, it puts us in line for miracles.

Here are a few things about God I’ve come to understand over the years. (Perhaps you have others to share?)

1) A God “small” enough for us to figure out would not be God.
Man has a tendency to make god in his own image – ponder the old Greek and Roman gods for example with all their human flaws. One reason there are so many atheists around today is that they try to understand God with their intellect. A god who could be understood with the transient human mind would not be God. God cannot be put in a box and labelled, but He wants to be in intimate communication with us. He loves us, that’s why Jesus came, so we could understand better. Even so, our understanding is still as a child to a father, we take most things on trust, knowing “Dad can fix it”.

2) How can God be omnipresent (everywhere at the same time) in my heart, but also in yours, intimately concerned with every minute of our day? I found this hard to conceive till I realised if something is so much bigger it can envelope everything – best I can explain what I mean.

3) God is love.
There’s far more to this than the familiar phrase denotes. It doesn’t say “God is loving,” it says “God is love”. It also states, He is a spirit. Put that together. He is the spirit of love. When we feel love in any form we are feeling the tangible spirit of God. You might go so far as to say not, “I think therefore I am” but, “I love therefore I am.” When someone comes to Christ and/or receives the holy spirit this love is intensified.

4) Pride, (not immorality etc.) is the cardinal sin. The only folks Jesus ever got angry with were the Pharisees (the religious leaders of their day). They, not the Romans, had him crucified. Yet he was full of mercy toward the harlots and tax collectors etc. Pride is what caused Lucifer to fall from his top job as God’s light bearer. Pride destroys love, it’s humbling to love, it makes you vulnerable.

5) The “who made God” question. The answer to this is simple but hard to explain. As creatures born in time, living our lives in time, we cannot conceive being without it. Time is a part of the creation, God created time, He is not confined by it, nor will we be when we leave this life. Again, man tries to reduce God to his finite conceptions.

Well, there’s some of my Sunday morning thoughts. If you have any you’d like to add, please do. Have a great day everyone!

Needlessly hard?

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I recently spent hours in A and E with my granddaughter, her third bout of severe chest pains in two weeks. Even the consultant couldn’t find the cause, though they were able, from numerous tests, to rule out many things. Only strong analgesics are able to stop the pain, leaving her unable to have a clear head for her A levels (she missed one altogether the morning I was with her). Doubtless stress is adding greatly to her condition.
I felt dis-empowered. All I could give in the way of comfort were empty platitudes. You see, riding the tide of being an outstanding, straight A student, she has embraced extreme and antagonistic atheism. She now feels “religion” is for the ignorant and gives her little brother a hard time about his simple faith.
I’ve been blessed with so many infallible proofs that faith comes naturally to me, but I can still remember the dreadful pressure of purely self-reliance before I came to know God. My greatest joy at salvation was the realisation that there was a power beyond me and it was loving, benevolent. I knew my own inadequacy and that of my fellow humans. Minus God we were without hope.
She looked to the doctors to “fix” her and grew angry at them when they couldn’t help. But doctors are not God, just sincere human beings, overworked, and often sick or in pain themselves (the consultant shared how he himself suffered severe back pain and just had to “grin and bear it” so he could tend to others, encouraging her to go ahead with the A levels regardless.)
Normally I’d offer prayer, phone others to pray for her, remind that God was in control and would take care of the A levels, but I could do none of these. I prayed silently for her but it was hard to have faith for a miracle as I had the feeling that God may believe the lesson to be more important than instant healing. I know He loves her and is working in her life, that He will take care of everything long-term, but it’s hard to see her suffer like this knowing comfort and help are so close by.
My youngest daughter expressed a while back that even if God were not real she’d rather go through life believing He was because of the comfort it brings – the de-stressing element. I know what she means. Not everyone has been blessed with seeing all the miracles we have but my heart aches for the true atheist, all alone with nothing but his flawed fellow man to fall back on, shouldering the horrors of this world knowing in his heart he is powerless to stop the hate, the suffering, even in his own life. Our choices can change a great deal but they can’t bring back the dead, heal a child, deal with all the hate and greed. Man tries to be his own God, he endeavours, often sincerely, to help his fellow man, but the honest heart knows how far we fall short – life has a way of teaching us, at that point, without a force beyond ourselves, how empty and hopeless the void.

Truth stands alone.

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“Do God and the spiritual realm cease to exist because so many choose not to believe? Of course not! The truth is the truth. It’s not contingent on anyone believing it.”

I took years to understand this. Why? I don’t know. Maybe the freedom to believe as we wish leads us to think truth must conform to our understanding.A God we could figure out and understand would not be God, but a mere reflection of us, rather than we of Him.

Does God cease to exist because so many choose not to believe?

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This was one of the revelations I received when I first encountered God (in my case through Jesus) that my belief or non belief had no baring whatsoever on His existence.

It sounds such a silly supposition to think it would, but I believe many people subconsciously think this way, (that since so few folks believe nowadays He can’t be real). Then there’s the widespread thought that mankind “invented” the idea of God to fill his need for something beyond himself – that one hampered me for many years.

I’ve often said that in my case finding God was like walking into a lamppost. The “post” was solid, to think that it needed my belief would be absurd!

I realized I’d not been seeking God as much as He’d been seeking me, it all began with Him not me (humbling but so awesomely wonderful!).

First two chill pills – Jigsaw puzzles and something bigger than yourself!

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I just love doing jigsaw puzzles, it’s quite an addition, once started it’s hard to stop! There’s an immense satisfaction when you find where a piece fits. They have so many applications to life, not worrying when the piece you need appears to not be there (it always turns up eventually), discovering when something is in the wrong place and thereby joining up whole problem areas, learning patience knowing it will all become clear in the end.  Especially when combined with soft, inspirational type music I find them hugely relaxing and they are even said to be great for stimulating brain cells.

Somehow puzzles and my life seem to have some correlation and tend to bleed into one another. I’ll often find comfort and answers to real life problems among the pieces.

Something bigger than yourself? This is the basis for alcoholics anonymous groups etc. that some things are beyond our means to conquer so we need a belief in something outside ourselves. (If you believe you can handle all life throws at you, you are headed to “crash and burn” ‘cos life can toss some pretty curved balls!)

Personally I’m a Christian with a pretty strong reliance on Christ. That doesn’t mean I belong to any particular church or denomination, I don’t, but I know when I come to the end of my resources I can reach for His. This, it has to be admitted, is the most active and always available resource in my anti stress armoury (not to mention the reason I’m still here! Lol!)

You don’t have to be a Christian, or member of some recognized religion, to utilise this one, it could be some vague belief in the power of nature or a universal element. The fact is we all reach a point sometimes when we realise a problem or situation is beyond our ability, if we can then willingly pass it on to another entity (understanding that we are not the centre of the universe) it relieves the stress levels 100%.

One of my favourite chill options is a combination of these two. Doing a jigsaw while listening to (and often singing along if no one’s around – my voice is awful! lol!) some Christian music. It requires very little mental concentration (if you choose the right puzzles with lots of well defined colours all over) and gives a comforting feeling that all is well and will turn out OK in the end, like the puzzle.