A Few Thoughts on Creation…

The accounts of the creation in Genesis 1 and 2 are not meant to be a complete explanation of how God created the heavens and the earth. These few scriptures’ purpose are only to convey that God did create the heavens and the earth and all it contains, including humans.
As men today struggle with creation versus evolution it is important to note that when the creation of man by God from the dust of the ground is brought up in Genesis 1 and 2, God is referring to a different kind of being than any other being that ever walked on this earth. God is talking more about the creation of a being who is made in the image of God. God is Spirit and Truth. This creation account of Adam is about the creation of a Spiritual being; one who can communicate with God and have a relationship with God.

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Does an Act of Evil Disprove the Love of God?

I was listening to Ravi Zacharias recount a story of one of Elie Wiesels’ memories of being inside a concentration camp in WWII. He said there was a very young man who was hung. Apparently, Elie Wiesel heard someone say, while watching this, that there is no God because if there was a God He would stop this atrocity. Elie prayed and asked God where He (God)  was and God replied that He was up on those gallows and in the noose too. In other words, He was with the boy and in the experience with him. It means that as those Nazi soldiers were killing the boy they were also partaking in the act of trying to kill God.

One may say, “Where was God and why didn’t He stop this?” or “I can’t believe there is a God of love because He had the power to stop this and He didn’t!” I would like to address these thoughts here with a few things to think about.

The reality of this situation is almost unbearable to imagine. It also almost feels like an impossibility to see God in any other light other than a passive, uncaring God. But, if I may try, if I may give insight into my point of view and if you are open to hearing and considering it, I would like to share it.

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The Parable of the Leopard, the Elephant and the Sanctuary Owner

Once there was a Leopard and an Elephant that were dropped off at a Sanctuary. Having been raised by humans from the time they were each only a few months old these two could not be re-released back into the wild. The Leopard had been a pet that the owner could no longer care for and the Elephant had been a part of a traveling circus that had closed its tents for good.

In the Sanctuary, they each lived in an enclosure and while most Leopards and Elephants do not talk and cannot understand each other, these two did.

The Leopard spoke candidly to the Elephant in the next enclosure after they had been there for a while. He said, “I hate it here! I don’t get to roam around freely. I’m in this cage and I never get to hunt for my own food. This is a horrible life. This man comes and gives me food and water and it is his fault that I am in this cage. Why won’t he let me out? He is not in a cage. Why can’t I be free like him? I think he delights in keeping me his prisoner. I am ten times faster when I run that he is. I am ten times quicker and ten times more powerful than he is. He likes to Lord it over me to make himself look stronger and more powerful than me. And you don’t help either, Elephant. You let him pet you! You are so big you could crush him under just one foot.”

The Elephant listened patiently for three days while the Leopard spoke about his distaste for the food, the housing, his circumstances and the Guardian of the Sanctuary until she just couldn’t take it anymore. With her loudest trumpet call she blasted his ears with so much noise that even his fur rippled back as if in a strong wind. “Now listen to me for three days, you unruly Leopard! I have heard enough of your moaning. I have been patient in high hopes that you would somehow change your spots but I see that will never happen. If you are so bound and determined to focus in on the same things over and over again then so be it but please harp on it to someone else. My hearing is most excellent but my patience is not so finely developed. In fact, my hearing is so excellent that I can hear our Guardian and his wife speaking at their dinner table every night. Do you want to know what they say? No, don’t answer that because I will tell you what they say whether you like it or not. They tell their God how thankful they are for all of us animals and for all of God’s provision. They thank God for the food they eat and the donations of money to buy the very food you are so dissatisfied with. There are days they don’t know where the money will come from to buy more food. They wish they could open up our cages and let us go free. But they are hemmed in as to what they can do and what will never be achievable. Most of all do you want to know what they thank their God for? Shhhh! I will tell you anyway, you young fool. They are thankful that we were not killed by our previous owners. That’s right, our only choices were to live here or be put to death! Oh, and you think that they are not in cages? Their cage is that they always have to be here at the Sanctuary every single day to take care of us. They have devoted their lives to us. So I guess, Leopard, that kind of love, loyalty and kindness is deserving of allowing him to pet me. Things could be worse for us. This may be a sad life but it may be as good as it gets for us and we may just have it better than other Leopards and Elephants in the world.”

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How great is your love? (Part 4)

 

 

I have posting recently about God’s love for us versus God’s acceptance of us and in continuation of that theme I wanted to continue by asking a simple question.

CAN THE LOVE ANY ONE PERSON FEELS OR EXPRESSES EQUAL OR EXCEED GOD’S LOVE FOR US?

I have seen on the news many people who stand up for their views by stating that “Love is Love”. Meaning, that whatever is done is love is acceptable and right. Through my blog posts on the difference in God’s eyes between His love and His acceptance of us, I am challenging this very idea.

Feeling love for another person is a wondrous and beautiful thing. It tells God that a person has the capacity to receive and feel His love for them. And, that is ultimate goal because God yearns for a love connection with His creation that leads to a relationship and shines down His love on all of us but love is not the only part of the equation with God.

You see, God has a problem with our changing and downgrading our moral standards to fit into what is part of popular culture. These loosened moral standards are far less than what God finds acceptable to allow into His heaven. The downgraded morals lead to acts that God doesn’t find acceptable. God cannot connect with an individual who acts, believes and thinks in ways that are opposing His standards.

GOD IS LOVE BUT LOVE IS NOT GOD.

In effect, the statement “Love is Love” is like having shoes that have no soles. In other words, “Love is Love” is missing the most important part, namely God. The “sole” of those shoes is God. It is His love that binds us together. It is through His love that we were created in the first place. It is His love that carries us through when nothing else will. Let’s not minimalist God’s love into a tiny thing that is designed to just give people the “feel-goods”. The point of God’s love is to lead to relationship with God and not the warm fuzzies.

THE JOURNEY WITH US IS WHAT GOD DESIRES, NOT THE FEEL-GOOD’S.

After all, we do not say, “Anger is Anger” and believe that statement makes any sense. We do not say, “Happiness is Happy” either. We don’t say these things because they make no sense and have no relevance to our lives. They do not enhance our lives. “Love is Love” does not open a doorway to more love, isn’t it a defensive justification of the acts we wish to have all of society find acceptable because we desperately want to be accepted without having to change?

Another problem I have with “Love is Love”, is that it makes no mention of the love of God for all mankind. It doesn’t point to the Cross of Christ in any way. God is the Author of love and what is love when the Source of all love is left out? And there is no way to put God into that phrase, either. Would one say, “God’s love is God’s love”? No, it makes no sense.

ONE OF OUR SOCIETIES ACCEPTED PRACTICES (THAT I AM CONVINCED GOD MUST LOATH) IS THE VENEER OF BEAUTY AND THE ILLUSION THAT SOMETHING DEEP AND PROFOUND HAS BEEN SPOKEN BY QUIPPING, “LOVE IS LOVE”.

People do this to justify this trite statement that is an ocean wide and only a drop deep. How sad for those who would settle for the illusion of the phrase, “Love is Love” and deny themselves connecting with “The Way, the Truth and the Life”.

There are a few things we can be certain about God’s love. One is that it shines down on everyone. Everyone good and everyone evil who are alive today has God’s love shining down on them. God’s love is not conditional to a persons’ behavior. God does this to let everyone know His love is available to all humans. He freely sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of all and this gracious gift is free to all. But,(another thing about God’s love) is that in accepting God’s love means that one must accept God’s covenant standards as well in order to move into real relationship with God.

GOD’S LOVE OPENS UP THE DIALOGUE TO BEGIN A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.

And God can only do this because Jesus became the Mediator between God and mankind. Jesus became the necessary bridge to close the gap between humans trapped in their sin and God’s high standard of acceptability.

God extended a hand of love to us to make a pact that has many terms and conditions. If we choose to accept God’s love then we are obliged to follow God’s terms of His pact. On God’s part, He has agreed to offer eternal life through His Son, Jesus, to love us and be with us as we live on this earth, and to cleanse us of all our sins (just to name a few of God’s promises).

Our part of this agreement with God is that we accept God’s gracious gift of His Son, Jesus. Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead are an integral and vital part of that pact. We are to surrender our free-will to follow Jesus and make Him Lord of our lives.

But, talking about love without talking about God almost borders on the absurd. To separate the Creator of Love from love itself is to make love an idol; a thing worshipped aside from the One Who created it. Love becomes less than what it can be. Love becomes a justification to think, be and act in any way one desires and even justifies some evils. Love becomes the creator of all good in one’s life, taking God’s place.

This is also something to consider when speaking about one’s love for another person. If we take God out of our love for another person, then that person becomes an idol that is greater in one’s life than God. And we are, in effect, stating that we don’t need God’s love; all we need is love for another. That way we don’t need God’s moral standard of living and we can circumvent God in order to live as we desire while still having love in our life. We believe we can have our cake and eat it too. Plus, we want the added benefit that says “I don’t have to change anything about me for God to find me acceptable. And if God wants me to change then I’ll skip God and go to all my friends who will accept me without my having to change at all!”.

But, can anyone say that their love is greater than God’s love? That they love higher, stronger, longer and larger than God? Can anyone fathom the totality of God’s love for us?

This isn’t a contest and yet the statement, “Love is Love”, in my mind, pits God’s love against our love for each other as to whose is greater. After all…

IS YOUR LOVE FOR ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL GREATER THAN GOD’S LOVE FOR THEM?

But, if one were to acknowledge that God loves them more than they could ever love another human then it begs the question, “So, do you show your love for God more, deeper, higher and louder than you show your love to another human being?”

DO YOU RECIPROCATE GOD’S LOVE?

If you had to choose between God’s love for you and the love that the whole world could give you, whose would you choose and whom would you deny?

In conclusion, I think of a Chris Rice song lyrics that says, “Sometimes love has to drive a nail into it’s own hand”. That kind of love is a million oceans wide and a million oceans deep. And I hope these thoughts leave you…….

…………….blinking in sunlight…………….

Janet Williams