To honor the book of Lamentations, which in Hebrew is made of acrostic poems, I write 26 words in alphabetical order describing what God is: awesome, beautiful, compassionate, daring, everlasting, friend, good, holy, illuminating, just, kind, loving, majestic, needless, omniscient, powerful, quotable, real, savior, truth, uplifting, victorious, welcoming, xenagogue, yearning, zealous.
These beautiful verses quoted in the image above from the third chapter of Lamentations demonstrate truth, hope & the love of God to me. While we are not promised an easy life, with on-going difficult circumstances, it can feel as though God has rejected us. Is this plight His way of beckoning our attention? We neglect Him & His guidance time & time again but then when the crumbling of life exceeds our limit, we shout, cursing & crying out, blaming God. To our great mercy, He forgives because HE IS FORGIVENESS:
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10
Shining His love upon us to the exact 'next thing' that requires our growth & change, He sets us up so that we MUST keep probing our ways for sin rather than to just keep on complaining! It is crucial that we return again & again to that which is good, worthy, healthy & elevating AND KNOW THIS IS THE LORD! Thank you God, for giving us eyes to see & ears to hear, amen.
God loves everyone unconditionally, meaning no matter what we do, He loves us, wanting the best for us. He knows what the best for each of us is, since we are His creation & children. He is patient, wanting everyone to come to Him for repentance. More about Jesus’ forgiveness here: because-he-first-loved-us.html
Many times in the Bible, we are told "Do not fear" also 1 John 4:18 says "Perfect love casts out fear". Yet, it is also written: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." (Proverbs 9:10) which seems a contradiction but it's not. When we have rightful fear of the Lord, we need not live in fear of the evil in the world. The Lord goes about His way of inspiring each of us toward His forgiveness & will. Allowing the "heat" of this world to intensify our life experience until (ideally) we drop to our knees in surrendered reverence to Him. This type of genuflect happens often from fear (illness, pain, conviction of sin) & awe as God's love provides profound moments of relief. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; it's not our only/final destination!
It makes sense to fear the One who is "all love" & therefore, all powerful. He protects us from that which is "all evil". While evil is a much limited force compared to love, it's damaging. Whereas agape, like parental love, doesn't always feel good, but it is good for us: "I am the Lord, & there is no other .... Causing well-being & creating calamity..." (Isa. 45:5 & 7). Most everyone longs for love, yet we also fear it to some degree because it means obliteration of little 's' self (our version of death on the cross). There is no hiding anything from the crucible of God's love. His love reveals, in ways that lead us to repent, our self-defeating/inflating & vengeful behaviors as well as our prideful, selfish, jealous & otherwise sinful natures. It's not easy; it's the warriors' way of the cross, fitting through the narrow gate unto resurrection.
A YouTube short I made on this topic:
A clip from a Youtube video about masculinity & the Way of the Cross:
Before my Dad passed away, he told me: "The idea that God will swoop down, pick up my dead body & bring me to heaven, is so absurd but ... I can't be certain that it won't happen." he said. My Dad, being a naturalist & science-minded, was not a fan of certainty (especially other peoples' certainty, lol!). Even though his skepticism drove him away from religious belief, at some point it also brought him back.
My Dad's realization that we can't be certain that the laws of nature as we know them are the only possible laws, is a beautiful, little, powerful miracle. Emphatically he would declare "God is love & heaven is right here & now!" With much prayer I trust my Dad's heart & mind was renewed even further & now he's singing & soaring limitlessly through eternal life in heaven with God who creates all the laws, how cool, amen!
So often the question Why not believe? comes to my mind. What harm or difficulty is it to believe GOD IS LOVE? The Bible & Gospel is such a rich & fantastical Truth story. I am so grateful to have been drawn by the Father & to be surrounded by believers in God's magic through Christ: "People cannot come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me; and I will raise them to life on the last day." John 6:44
Thank God for waking me up to the bondage of sin (mine & others)! Thank you Heavenly Father for giving me sanctuary & community to support my repentance & growth in Christ. I pray for the same for everyone all over the world.
Many people like myself, broken & scarred, turn to Christ when we finally realize it is the painful, heavy grip of chains of our sins that pierce & paralyze us. Duh! It is so obvious, once you know, you know. "Therefore since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin." (1 Peter 4:1) True freedom is freedom from sin which comes through faith in Jesus. What a blessing to have ears to hear, amen!
Even though being chronically ill often feels like I am "in bondage" I continuously remind myself: I am one with Christ in eternal life knowing the only true God & Jesus Christ whom thou has sent (John 17:3). In this way with me/cfs illness, I "exercise/work out" constantly & have become a spiritual warrior. I don't let being sick turn me from Christ. Instead, I use every spark of light & energy to feel & share God's love. When I can not move on my own, I ask him to carry me. He directs my everything; my standing up, going out & lying down. "The Lord is my strength & my shield..." (Psalm 28:7)
I pray for those who do not yet recognize or feel the pain of their sin. Even though facing it can be unbearably uncomfortable, this humility is necessary for salvation ("The world's sin is unbelief in me..." John 16:9). Please Lord have mercy in your way of bringing awareness to those who are ready (& those in preparation) for the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome them. In Jesus precious name I pray, amen.
I love being curious and inspired to learn more about God when I don't understand something in the Bible. In this verse, it says God does not show partiality but yet many other verses say he shows favor. What do these mean and what is the difference?
Here in Isaiah 45:5-8, God confirms that he is it, the one and only:
"I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you (this is favor), though you have not acknowledged me so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me..." (God bestows us strength when we acknowledge that our strength comes from God alone. I sense this is referring especially to spiritual strength as well as physical strength).
"I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things." (This is non partiality)
You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it." (this is just awesomeness)
Another example of non partiality is from Matthew 5:45
"That you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
Psalms 5:12 describes what it feels like to surrender to God's will. God's favor does not guarantee an easy life or material prosperity but God's protection abounds especially through suffering and physical death.
"Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield."
Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds me it really is such a blessing from God to have an awareness of God! Not everyone has this...yet, but everyone is capable of it because God put it into each of us as he formed us. The power of my words in prayer connects the godless with God:
Lord, I pray for those who do not have any sense of you, for those who have been deterred from developing their relationship with you and for those who have turned to other gods instead of you. I pray that you come to each of them, bringing the wisdom, peace and strength of your eternal love and they accept you as the God of gods and Lord of lords in their lives. In Jesus name, Amen.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
It's amazing to read the details of the old laws in Leviticus. Life back then centered around making animal sacrifices, food offerings and other strict rituals to cleanse oneself of sin, guilt and disease in order to be acceptable to the Lord (holy and to be honored always). And to think, all these rules carried a much lighter load compared to the alternative of human sacrifice and slavery.
And these days, thank God for Christ whose blood through death cleanses away all sin - we are spoiled! As Jesus said "...for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30). No animals to slaughter, just believe Jesus is the son of God, ask for forgiveness and it is given along with eternal life. Amen.
p.s. if you have trouble believing, ask God to help you with it. Ask God to open your heart and mind to the presence of Jesus.
God is, in might & power, more like a force of nature, a stormy whirlwind, a magnificent sunset, than a person. And we are protected and rest in Him as our Heavenly Father! Imagine ... the clouds are the DUST of his feet!
I am grateful that the Lord will not let the guilty go unpunished. Other than following laws, we must not burden ourselves with the drama and violence of avenging evil doers. Those who continue with wrong doing after being told & disciplined, need the firm hand of God to help them choose to become free of their iniquitous ways.