Is God Good Enough?

The Good Book

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The lie always begins with the question, “Is God good enough?”  That’s what Satan was tempting Eve with, questioning God’s goodness.

Genesis 3:1-4

The Temptation and Fall of Man

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

That’s what Satan tried to tempt Jesus with in the wilderness — to question Jesus’ authority and to question whether God, the Father, was a good God who would provide and rescue.

Matthew 4:1-11

Satan Tempts Jesus

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” [If…]

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”[a]

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and, [If… again and this is implying a testing of God’s provision… “Will God really provide for your needs?”]

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’[b]

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”[c]

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you,[d] Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”[e]

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

That’s what Satan does with us every day.  He tries to get us to question God’s goodness in the face of so much evil, sadness, suffering.

The enemy wants us to doubt God’s goodness — that He is good enough… to provide fully for us, to protect us from evil, to be with us in the midst of painful circumstances, to use everything for good, to not abandon us…

We often want our independence, but when the consequences come, we want to blame God for not rescuing us from the problems we ourselves have created.

The question is, “Who is holding onto the reins of your life — your past, present, and future?”  Is it really God?  Or is God on the “side-lines” of your life, the One to Whom you refer at times, to whom you turn only when you are desperate?

The real question is not whether God is good enough.  The question is in whom do we believe and on whom do we rely?  Ourselves?  Another?  Circumstances?

Perhaps we aren’t experiencing God’s goodness because we are living independently of it.

Perhaps, we are relying on our own “goodness” or the goodness of the rest of humanity to protect, direct, and influence us.

Maybe that’s why we sense that something is missing…

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What About The Consequences?

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We all know God forgives, right?  BUT, what do we do about the consequences of our sin?

Why do we sometimes feel crushed beneath the circumstances/the consequences of our sin? 

As I was reading through The Names Of God book, I came to the chapter on Jehovah Makkeh.  This name means “the Lord Who molds me.”  It is also used in verses that reference God smiting or correcting someone or a nation of people.

In the Bible, Jesus calls Himself the Chief Cornerstone in the kingdom of God.  We are called the “lively stones” or living stones that help to form that building.  Jesus molds and shapes us according to His Word so that we will fit perfectly into our places within His body.

Correction is one of the tools God uses to mold and shape us from our sinful “bent” into His perfect image.

Psalm 51:17

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

If we are not willing to be “broken”, to surrender our wills to Him so that He can mold us into place, then we will be crushed.  By whom?  The devil and our circumstances.” — The Names Of God

God corrects, molds, chisels us, but He never crushes us.

Deuteronomy 8:5

You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.

There are several responses that should occur when we receive correction from the Lord.   Our attitudes and responses to correction will determine the outcome of our circumstances — whether they will crush us or whether we will triumph over them.

Victory over our sinful consequences/circumstances is achieved in the following ways:

  • Receive God’s correction.
  • Throw yourself on God’s mercy and power.
  • Overcome your circumstances to experience an astounding victory (in His power).  [Notes taken from The Names Of God.]

Godly correction will not hurt you!  It will be a soothing oil that might produce a miracle in  your life.  — The Names Of God

Lest the above quote be misunderstood, I believe what the author is saying is that Godly correction may “sting”, may cause pain temporarily, but it does not wound in a way that harms.

When experiencing correction, it’s very important to be aware of God’s voice/tone versus Satan’s. 

God corrects/convicts through His Word in order to lead us to repentance.  The repentance is not to crush us.  It is to cause us to lay aside our own independence and pride and to cause us to turn to God for His mercy.

The enemy’s voice/tone condemns, crushes, accuses, causes doubts, produces bitterness and fear, and causes us to question God’s goodness.

The enemy’s voice will always tempt us to believe a lie about God and in turn a lie about ourselves.

A proper view of ourselves is always wrapped up in a proper view of God.  Without a proper view of God, we won’t have a proper view of ourselves.

When we allow circumstances to upset us, we have missed the Smitten One who came to stand between us and our heart-break. — The Names Of God

In the Bible, we read the story of Amaziah.  He was a king who vacillated between following God, securing victories, becoming proud, receiving correction, and then repeating the cycle until he eventually destroyed himself.

2 Chronicles 25:1-16New King James Version (NKJV)

Amaziah Reigns in Judah

25 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart.

Now it happened, as soon as the kingdom was established for him, that he executed his servants who had murdered his father the king. However he did not execute their children, but did as it is written in the Law in the Book of Moses, where the Lord commanded, saying, “The fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; but a person shall die for his own sin.”[a]

The War Against Edom

Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together and set over them captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, according to their fathers’ houses, throughout all Judah and Benjamin; and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them to be three hundred thousand choice men, able to go to war, who could handle spear and shield. He also hired one hundred thousand mighty men of valor from Israel for one hundred talents of silver. But a man of God came to him, saying, “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel—not with any of the children of Ephraim. But if you go, be gone! Be strong in battle! Even so, God shall make you fall before the enemy; for God has power to help and to overthrow.”

Then Amaziah said to the man of God, “But what shall we do about the hundred talents which I have given to the troops of Israel?”

And the man of God answered, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this.” 10 So Amaziah discharged the troops that had come to him from Ephraim, to go back home. Therefore their anger was greatly aroused against Judah, and they returned home in great anger.

11 Then Amaziah strengthened himself, and leading his people, he went to the Valley of Salt and killed ten thousand of the people of Seir. 12 Also the children of Judah took captive ten thousand alive, brought them to the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, so that they all were dashed in pieces.

13 But as for the soldiers of the army which Amaziah had discharged, so that they would not go with him to battle, they raided the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth Horon, killed three thousand in them, and took much spoil.

14 Now it was so, after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed down before them and burned incense to them. 15 Therefore the anger of the Lord was aroused against Amaziah, and He sent him a prophet who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of the people, which could not rescue their own people from your hand?”

16 So it was, as he talked with him, that the king said to him, “Have we made you the king’s counselor? Cease! Why should you be killed?”

Then the prophet ceased, and said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not heeded my advice.”

After great spiritual victories, we are often at some of our most vulnerable moments. 

It’s easy to fall into pride, following a spiritual victory, and to think that we can overpower anything — with or without God’s blessing/help.  We think because we are God’s child that whatever we demand will automatically be given to us.  We try to manipulate God with our will, and it never works…

…when we choose disobedience over obedience, we are essentially choosing death over life and bringing a curse upon our own lives. — The Names Of God

Even Jesus Himself never acted independently of the Father.  He was always in complete surrender/submission to the Father’s will.

Sin has its roots in independent action. — Kay Arthur

When God corrects us due to sinful/independent action on our parts, how do we respond?

When we experience God’s correction, do we receive the correction and throw ourselves upon the mercy of God — mercy that is unfailing and trustworthy?

Jeremiah 7:28

28 “So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.

When we experience painful circumstances, how do we respond?

Do we allow Jesus to enter into our difficult consequences and circumstances?  Or do we try to carry the burden on our own shoulders and therefore feel its crushing weight?

Trying to carry the circumstances and “muddy” through the consequences on our own is still sinful independence.  It is believing the lie that God is continuing to punish us, and so we have to “fix” this on our own.  It is still pride. 

Hebrews 12:11

11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for your sins — once for all.  The record against you is covered in His blood.  Your debt is paid in full. 

As a Christian, you are still being “sanctified.”  This means, you are still living with a sinful body and soul.  This means there will be times that you and I will need “correction”.  When correction happens, let’s remember the following quote:

If we will accept the Lord’s chastening and allow Him to mold and shape us, we will fit well into the Body of Christ […into His plan for our lives.] — The Names Of God

No Waste With God

The concepts of forgiveness and redemption are familiar subjects among Christians.

Christians also talk about the reality of consequences that go along with the choices we make — both good and bad.

Consequences are unavoidable, and they can be very painful.

BUT…

No consequence is outside of the Sovereignty or Omnipotence of God. 

Nothing is outside of God’s redemption and His ability to work all things out for His good.

God redeems the seemingly useless experiences in our lives.  There is no “waste” where God is concerned.

Not only does God want to write His grace upon every moment of your present, but He also wants to write His grace upon every moment of your past.

There is no pain so great, no sin so dark, that God can’t write His love and grace upon it.

This is a message we so desperately need to hear when we are convicted of sin and carrying the weight of guilt and enduring hardships as a result of the consequences of our sins.

If we do not fully understand God’s grace and redemption, we can believe the lie that we have “gone too far to be used by God”. 

The truth is we are all “jars of clay”, sinners in need of God’s grace, forgiveness, and cleansing.

God doesn’t use us or forgive us based on our worthiness.  He uses and forgives us based on the merits of His Son, based on the completeness of His grace and love.

Forgiveness is never granted based on the recipients’ worthiness or goodness.  Forgiveness is always based on the character of the one offering it.

If you want the burden of guilt removed from your shoulders, then submit yourself to God, trust in His goodness, rest in the character of the One who offers you His forgiveness.

When you trust yourself completely to Him, He will redeem even your consequences. 

Nothing is outside of the grace and redemption of God.

Ephesians 1:7

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

Sometimes The Best Way To Welcome Someone Is To Be “Unprepared”

Carved-stone welcome "mat" at the Auburn Sounder station. Note that they face the boarders, not the deboarders.

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I am a mom of five children.  It goes without being said that life is busy.

Busyness necessitates picking priorities.  I am learning that people are more important than keeping a pristine house. 

I still function better in a clean house, but I am learning that my worth isn’t found in the state of my house.

I am also learning that my worth isn’t found in the performance of my kids so that means inviting people into my life and allowing them to observe the imperfect but beautifully authentic reality of life. 

It means allowing people to see the way we interact and that we have struggles just like everyone else.  That we are imperfect people raising imperfect little people.

I am also learning that my worth isn’t based on my appearance My worth doesn’t need validation from others.  My worth has already been determined.

So this morning I knew I had company coming.   That meant it was time to clean a house that had been missing my attention due to a busy week of running, homeschooling, and caring for six other people.

My poor bathrooms!  Oh, they were in desperate need of a face-lift so I scurried around making them fit for human use.

By the time I had straightened a little, cleaned dishes, fed everyone, changed a dirty diaper, cleaned bathrooms, swept floors and stairs, I knew I was running out of time to get myself presentable.  I still hadn’t showered, dressed, or even brushed my hair.

I know it was the Lord in His grace, but the thought came to my mind, “Your company may show up any minute and maybe you are supposed to greet her this way to encourage her that your life isn’t perfect.  Don’t be stressed; just offer the gift of authenticity.”

Sure enough, the door-bell rang immediately after that thought.

I can say that without God’s gentle “coaching” I would have been stressed, embarrassed, and ashamed that I was so unprepared for company.

Yet, God in His loving way was encouraging me that sometimes what our friends and loved ones need isn’t false perfection, but what they need is our willingness to offer ourselves, to be authentic, to be vulnerable.

This dear friend so graciously entered my home and never once made me feel awkward or embarrassed over my disheveled appearance.  As we talked, laughed, and watched our active little ones, it didn’t matter that one of us hadn’t showered, dressed, or brushed her hair.

What mattered was that we were two mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends sharing a part of our lives together.

How refreshing it is to know that worth, friendship, and love is never about perfection, performance, or appearance.  It’s about authentic lavish love — love that God Himself has so richly poured upon us.

Because of that love, we are given many opportunities to share the gift of ourselves and the gift of the moment with others.

 

 

The Gift Of Today

ââ??º<i>Suntoucher</i>, Groove Armada ââ?¢Â«

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“For some today, God’s sovereignty has come to mean that God arbitrarily or randomly exercises His power; that somehow He has fatefully designed the course of human affairs toward a destiny that involves nothing of human participation. But as earlier mentioned, what God does with reference to earth, He has chosen to do in partnership with human kind who will respond to His love and who will welcome His power and grace into their lives and then into their world.” — Jack Hayford

Every day, I am given the gift of surrender — surrendering my will to God’s — El Elyon — the Most High God.

God asks us to give Him ourselves and then let Him fill us, complete us, redeem us, empower us, heal us.

I once had a friend tell me that I was humble, and I replied, “I am actually the opposite in my natural state. But in God, I am.”  In my flesh, I am envious, proud, condemning, self-righteous, impatient, angry, irritable.

In God, as I surrender to Him, it is His attributes that fill and heal the broken.

The gift of this life is the gift to be surrendered and then to watch God be glorified as the transformation reveals the work of a Master!

What Light Reveals

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This year, God made it obvious to me that I was to home-school our oldest son.  Homeschooling him has been a time commitment and definitely keeps me busy, which is why you may have noticed the reduction in the number of recent blog posts written by me.

One of the things I really love about teaching my son is all the things I learn right alongside him.

This week, we began the chapter on the study of light in his science book.  As I was reading and discussing the characteristics of light with my son, so many spiritual truths began to speak to my heart as well.

I wanted to share some of the characteristics of light with you and hope that in the process, you are blessed just as I was/am.

Note: We are not finished with this study, and my thoughts are not conclusive nor extensive on this matter.  I would encourage you to study the physical aspects of light and then compare them to what Scripture tells us concerning light.

I believe that the physical world/God’s creation was created to reveal many spiritual lessons to us as well.

Jesus says this concerning Himself and light:

John 8:12

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

As we read through the characteristics of light, let’s keep in mind what Jesus is revealing about Himself and about us, when He tells us that we, as His children, are also lights to the world.

The definition of light is the following:

  • “Light is energy moving through space from its source to an object and then from that object to our eyes.” (taken from ABeka’s 5th grade science book)

Here are some characteristics of light (taken from ABeka’s 5th grade science book):

  • Light always travels in a straight line.
  • Light travels faster than sound — faster than anything else scientists can measure.

There are also descriptions concerning an object’s “response” to light (taken from ABeka’s 5th grade science book):

  • An object is transparent if it allows light to pass straight through it.  Transparent items are clear — nothing hinders the ability of light to pass through them.
  • An opaque object does not allow light to pass through it.  (It also creates shadows when the light hits it.)
  • A translucent object diffuses or scatters the light.  People can see light through them but not objects.  For example, light from the sun passes through the clouds, but the sun was hidden.

More random facts concerning the subject of light (taken from ABeka’s 5th grade science book):

  • The size of the shadow, created by light hitting an opaque object, varies with the position of the sun.  At noon, when the sun’s strength is at its fullest, shadows are smallest.
  • To reflect is to give back the light of the sun.
  • Luminous objects produce their own light.
  • Any material heated to a high temperature will give off light.

Knowing what we know scientifically about light, what does this tell us in regards to the following verse?

Philippians 2:15

15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

How does this command challenge us when we examine our own lives in light of His Word?  Are we “transparent,” “translucent”, or “opaque”?

Suffering is often referred to as “heat”.  What might this tell us in reference to how sufferings can allow God’s light to shine more brightly in our own lives?

Isaiah 48:10

10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

Zechariah 13:9

I will bring the one–third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

 

What does the definition of light (“Light is energy moving through space from its source to an object and then from that object to our eyes.”) reveal to us in regards to God when He says the following?  How does this verse show us that God is the Source of all light?

Genesis 1:3

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

The following verses give both commands and warnings in regards to either the presence or absence of light and of what causes darkness within us (spiritual darkness):

Romans 13:12

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

1 Corinthians 4:5

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

Matthew 6:22

The Lamp of the Body

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.

Luke 11:35

35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

The following verses indicate what light is in the spiritual sense.  Note: God is the Source of light, but what is this light within Him like? (What’s its purpose?)

Acts 26:18

18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

Matthew 4:16

16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.”[a]

Luke 1:79

79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Luke 2:32

32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:12

12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

The above list of verses is definitely not exhaustive.  I would need to publish a book in order to include all the verses in regards to light.

Light reveals truth.  In the physical sense, this is true as well.  When a light is turned on, we can suddenly see the dust on the light-shade and the toys hiding in the corner of the room.

Light benefits us in many ways. In fact without light, life couldn’t and wouldn’t survive for long.

Without light, plants wouldn’t grow.

Without a source of light, there would be no warmth, and the earth would freeze over.

Proper lighting is also important when it comes to photography and art-work.

Light is also important for emotional and mental stability.  In fact, people are known to often be more depressed in the darker, colder months of the year.  Some depression is treated with “light” treatments.

Our physical survival depends upon light.  What does this signify in regards to the importance of our relationship to the Source of light in our spiritual lives?

I have only begun this study and already I feel challenged, encouraged to draw closer to God as my Source of “light”, and amazed to see how God reveals His truths in so many creative ways!

Knowing that one of the characteristics of light is that light travels in a straight line, read the following verse with wonder and also with thanksgiving:

James 1:17

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.