I’ve written about this before, but there’s always more to say.
Yesterday I was thinking and this came to mind:
One of God’s children looks at an insurmountable situation, then looks up at God and helplessly says, “I can’t do it.”
So God looks at them and lovingly says, “Why do you think I am here?”
Sometimes a life situation happens to us, sometimes God calls us directly to a task. Either way there are many things in life that we can’t do, even if we do the best we can. But the all-powerful, loving God is there for us. He doesn’t leave us on our own with our own devices. If it weren’t for those times that we couldn’t do it, we’d never know how much God can do or how much He loves us! (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)
I Can’t Live the Christian Life
Conversations with God – I Can’t
You must know God. Knowing about Him is not enough. You must know God. Based around some notes I took during a sermon, let’s talk about that.
Knowing God exists and knowing God Himself are two different things. Satan knows and believes God exists, and He’s evil. You and I can become friends with God, knowing more than just the fact of His existence.
Knowing God will make you strong. The more we know God, the more confidence, strength, and courage we will have to stand in a godless environment. After all, when you realize and get to know just how powerful God is, all your problems begin to look very small.
“To know God is to have Him rub off on you.” Just like the people you hang out with all the time can influence you, God will influence you. The closer you are to God, the more of a good influence you will get.
God wants to be known. That’s why He sent Jesus, and why Jesus willingly came (John 17:3). To really know God is to have life, and you’ll get to spend it with Him!
For a little more: Knowing and Knowing
I was reading a book recently (Assertively Apolitical by Greg Smith), and part of it mentioned freedoms we Christians do or do not have depending on the government. Essentially, a government cannot take away our freedom to do whatever God has commanded us to do.
We are always free to tell people about Jesus, who He is, and what He has done. We are always free to tell people about what God has done for us. We are always free to meet in church with fellow believers. We are always free to minister to people as God leads us.
God is the highest authority there is, so when God Himself tells you to do something, there is no government or human that can order you to do otherwise. When God Himself tells you to do something, you have all the freedom you need to do just that!
You can’t have it all. But that’s okay, you don’t need it anyway.
You don’t need to be making more and more and more money to have enough.
You don’t have to be passing someone to know you’re moving and going somewhere.
Of all the wealth you can amass in this life, you can take none with you into the next life when you die, and if you could it would be worth nothing there.
God will provide for all your daily needs. You don’t need to be rich and you don’t need to be poor, you just need to be faithful and trusting.
You can’t have it all. But that’s okay, you don’t need it anyway. God loves you, so He’s got you covered.
I don’t know about you, but in my life I have a few significant memories that have impacted me more now that I’m older than they did when I had the experience in the first place. Here are a couple examples.
One time, when I was very young, my mom told me to go get ready for bed. I was going to but noticed the kitchen table looked a little dirty so I cleaned it. I then went to tell my mom that I’d cleaned the table for her. She wasn’t upset, but she took the time to teach me that obedience is better than sacrifice. She hadn’t asked me to clean the table, she had asked me to get ready for bed and I hadn’t. She reminded me what we’d read in the Bible before about Saul keeping aside what God told him to get rid of, telling Samuel it was to give God sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:18-22). God wants obedience more than sacrifice. It is more important to obey, since obedience is what truly shows where your heart is.
When I was quite young, my family was in Costa Rica visiting a pastor friend and his family. We all went to a very poor area there where the people lived in huts with dirt floors, and there was no electricity or plumbing. Though I didn’t know it at the time, they could barely afford to feed themselves sometimes, and they didn’t kill their chickens because they needed the eggs more than the meat. When we visited, because they love the pastor and his family, they fed us like they were kings feeding kings. They put so much food on the table, and even killed chickens for us. My dad had visited before on his own with the pastor and had already experienced this, so when I said I wasn’t hungry and didn’t want to eat, he shared some wisdom with me. He gently pulled me aside and told me just how poor these people were and how big of a deal it was for them to be feeding us, especially so much. He told me I should eat and be very grateful. I don’t remember whether or not I ate, but I do remember the lesson about gratefulness.
Small as they may seem for the moment, there are some things in life that don’t fully affect you until later.
Sometimes it takes a long time for a prayer to be answered. But don’t stop talking to God about it! Sometimes you may never know if a prayer was answered. But don’t stop talking to God about it!
In Luke 18:1-7, Jesus tells us to keep praying by telling a story. If an unjust judge will finally respond to a widow persistently demanding that he help her, then surely the God who loves and cares for us will be there for us.
I’ve been praying for people I’ve only met once or twice, having told them about Jesus and having never seen them again. Parents in my church are still praying for wayward children. But it is encouraging to know that God has other people witnessing along the path that I left (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). It is encouraging to see parents in my church that have seen their wayward children return after years of praying, and to see those children serving God.
Just because we feel like God is taking too long doesn’t mean He is. He is there, working where we cannot see or hear.
More on prayer:
Wait, Stand, Pray
Lately people are talking on and on about how you need to believe the science. You can’t argue with the science. Science knows what it’s talking about. Some people even say they believe in science, to the point that they are essentially putting it in the place of God whether they realize it or not.
Am I saying science is bad? No! Science when properly applied is what brings a greater understanding of how God built this world! It brings advancement and better quality of life for us! I am saying that we humans are in a constant learning process, and so science must be. We humans are constantly improving, regressing, and changing, so science is.
But science is a practice, not an infallible entity. It is the thing that we humans do to try figuring out how and why our physical world works – and only the physical part. The scientific method requires trial and error, and it requires people who disagree with each other. By nature science must make mistakes to find out what works, and why and when it does or doesn’t.
For all the good that’s come of it, science has been wrong plenty of times because we humans are often wrong – and certainly biased about what experiment results we accept. We used to think spontaneous generation was real because maggots and mice just appeared from things when we weren’t looking. We used to think blood-letting was a good medical practice because surely that’s how to get sickness out of the body. We used to think the coelacanth was extinct because we couldn’t find any live ones, then we found some. Science doesn’t know everything because we humans don’t know everything. Science is not infallible because we humans are fallible.
Yet so many people put so much faith and trust in science. Even when you don’t believe in God you must believe in something. By our very nature as humans we must put something in the “God-place” of our hearts, minds, and lives. It cannot stand empty; even abstractly, nature abhors a vacuum. I’ve noticed a lot of people putting science in that God-place, even people who do believe in God.
But though science changes, God does not. Though science cannot love and help you, God can! God is the One who made all the things that we little scientists look at and try to figure out. God is above science, and though you can catch a glimpse of Him through it, you must let Him lead you beyond it to really see who He is!
Previously I talked about what love is (What Is Love?). With that in mind, let’s talk about who we love.
The short statement is: We should love everyone because God does and because He told us to. The short explanation of doing that is: Tell people who God is and what He has done for them, giving them the truth in love and winsome kindness.
This is easy to say, but when you really get down to actually doing it, it isn’t as easy as you thought. When you really think about it, sometimes you don’t actually love certain people.
Loving others by yourself is actually impossible and unnatural. But because God is within us by the Holy Spirit, we find that who we love is motivated and empowered by God! We can actually love these people. By extension, who we love reveals our spiritual parentage. If God is our Father, then we should love the people He loves, care for the people He cares for.
Leading us to find that who we love is a matter of obedience to God. Whether we feel like it or not we should love others. Essentially meaning that who you love gets down to a choice. And remember, love means nothing if it is not willing to give and sacrifice self. Who we love is evidenced by our giving.
When we love others, it brings assurance and confidence with God. Our relationship with God affects our relationships with others, and our relationships with others affect our relationship with God. (For a couple examples, see Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:25-26.) Who we love is the door to a greater fellowship and communion with God. By actively loving the people that God loves, we see more of His heart!
More on Love:
Love One Another
I Should Love
Disagreement and Love
Looking after children during the day, Sunday School, or Vacation Bible School, sometimes it’s time stop doing one thing so we can do another. It’s just as fun if not more, but sometimes a child gets sad and doesn’t want to stop their current activity. But there’s more fun to be had!
One night I thought about how we adult Christians can be this way. God has something different for us to do, but we’re having so much fun with what we’re doing (including things He told us to do), that we don’t think anything else could be as great. But God has so many activities planned that we don’t know about, and they’re all great!
Many people put God in a box and take Him out for church. Maybe they take Him out at some other time when they feel in desperate need.
But you can’t put God in a box.
When you open the box, God is not there. The thing you’re actually putting in the box is your idea of God. God Himself won’t fit. He won’t be bound by your box or defined in your terms. He can hold us each – and even all of creation – in His hand, why do we think we can confine Him to a box? If anything, we’re all in His box.
But just because God isn’t in your box doesn’t mean you can’t find Him. He is always around; turn around, look up, acknowledge Him.
God won’t fit in your box, which is good because even the most Biblically sound and piously imaginative have boxes too small. God won’t fit in our boxes, but He can hold us safely in His hand and show us greater things than we know.
If you’ll pay attention, God will show you just how far out of the box He thinks!