Understanding God

Please Read 1 Corinthians 1:20-25 2:13-14

God saw fit in His great wisdom not to allow mankind through it's wisdom to know Him. He also was pleased to let what people call foolishness (believing in Christ death for the sins of the world) be the only way to be saved. God is spirit. He can only be discerned by His spirit. (John 16:13 Luke 10:22) So many have tried to figure God out through human brain power. It is most frustrating. Everything about God goes against man's logic. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God's ways higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

I've heard many controversial questions raised about God. Some of them seemed to make a lot of sense (humanly). The Bible just doesn't add up to some, and it never will. They are examining Almighty God from a mere human standpoint. Can what is created sit in judgment on it's creator? No. But the arrogant do just that to their demise.

ASK SEEK KNOCK

Please Read Luke 11:13 Matthew 7:7-11

Only God's spirit can open our minds and hearts so that we may know Him. Jesus says the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who earnestly ask Him. Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. For all who ask receive, those who seek find, and for those who knock the door is opened. (Hebrews 11:6)

Please Read Proverbs 2:1-6

The Pharisees

WHO WERE THE PHARISEES?

The Pharisees were a group of religious leaders in Jesus’ day. You can read about them in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Bible book of Acts. They were razor sharp when it came to memorizing and quoting the scriptures. But they could not apply them. They made a big deal of little things that were not important to God. And cared nothing at all about the big things that are important to Him. They taught commands of men as if they were teachings of God; sidestepping God’s word in favor of their man-made traditions. This religious sect always sought to discredit Jesus and his followers. Why? Because the truth they spread exposed the Pharisee’s hypocrisy. They also envied the authority and clarity in which Jesus and his followers taught the word–something they could not do. The people noticed this as well. It enraged the Pharisees that others were listening to Jesus and his disciples, so they sought to kill them. Sounds familiar? Of courss it does.

HIRED HANDS

Please Read John 10:11-13

Jesus says he is the good shepherd that lays down his life for the sheep, as he well demonstrated when he willingly was crucified for the sins of the world. But the hired hands (false prophets) care nothing at all for the sheep. The sheep are not theirs, they’re only hired hands. So when the wolf comes and attacks the sheep they run and the sheep are scattered. False prophets are only in it for the money and power. They are more than happy to hand over the sheep to wolves when they attack.

MODERN DAY PHARISEES

There are religious leaders today who are Pharisees to the T. They fleece the flock; profit off the sheep, and run whenever danger comes. They are greedy cowards. They don’t stop to think: “Once all the sheep are gone (eaten by the wolves) what need will there be for us?” Won’t they be out of a job? Some of them really think the wolves won’t eat them too? So they make back room deals. (Isaiah 29:15) But they all learn the hard way that they were on the dinner menu too. Just as the Pharisees of Jesus’ day learned this when the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem in 70 A.D. destroying and enslaving the people and the priests alike. None was spared. What a price to pay for trusting in man instead of God.

FOLLOW GOD NOT MAN

The scripture is true that says if the blind leads the blind both will fall into a pit. When Jesus said this he was talking about the Pharisees. He called them blind guides and told his disciples to leave them. (Matthew 15:12-14) He is saying the same today. Throughout the scriptures we are told to separate ourselves from false teachers. (2 John 1:10-11 2 Timothy 3:5) These hired hands only care about money and power. They care nothing at all for the sheep. Their judgment has long been hanging over them. (2 Peter 2:3) It will soon be executed. Don’t get caught in their judgment. Have the courage to break away from false shepherds. Serve God in spirit and in truth. For these are the kind of worshippers God seeks. (John 4:23-24)

God Does That?

Please Read John 9:1-12

Jesus' disciples asked him was this man born blind because of his sins or his parents sins. Something this tragic couldn't happen to a good person they thought. He must be a sinner. But they didn't stop to think; how could this man being born blind be the result of his sins? Did he sin while he was in his mothers womb? Of course not Romans 9:11-13 shows. So why really was this man born blind? Jesus told his disciples he was born this way so that people would see the works of God in him, and this would bring glory to God. It had nothing to do with his or his parents sins. Did you hear what Jesus said? This man's suffering (for years) had a great purpose attached to it: to show others the glory of God? The man didn't know this. Neither did anyone else. How much do you think we don't know about our own sufferings?

Why is it so hard to believe that bad things happen even to decent people? Romans 8:28 says that in all things (good and bad) God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. He always makes their bad turn out good. Like the blind man who seemed to be in a no win situation many others have brought glory to God amid personal tragedies. This is how God chooses to work. Jesus once told the apostle Paul who begged him repeatedly to remove a thorn in his flesh, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” Jesus did not grant Paul's request and immediately remove his affliction, but let it remain so that his power would be seen through Paul. And this brought much glory to God. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

God's ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts far above our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9) If it were up to us we wouldn't experience any discomforts. But that's not how God chooses to work. Through our personal trials and tribulations God brings glory to Himself, just like he did with Paul, the blind man, and so many others. And the greatest example of this is Jesus Christ. Who knows how many will be saved for eternal life because Christ was willing to suffer for us? (Revelation 7:9) The next time we have it rough instead of saying, “Woe is me,” let's ask ourselves: “What good work is God doing through my sufferings?” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Yes, God does that.

The Best Gifts

Please Read 1 Corinthians 14:1-25

God says to follow the way of love, and desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. God clearly tells us how to regard gifts from the Holy Spirit. (Romans chapter 12 1 Corinthians chapter 12) Some put special emphasis on speaking in tongues, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, and the like. But 1 Corinthians chapter 14 shows there's a better way.

THE GIFT OF PROPHECY

1 Corinthians 14:3 says the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, comfort, and encouragement. No wonder God places this gift so high. Imagine having the ability from God to strengthen, comfort, and encourage fellow believers and others around you. Now imagine an army of believers with that spiritual gift. Do you see how much good they can do? This is the gift God tells us to especially desire; not speaking in tongues, not healing, nor miraculous powers.

SPEAKING IN TONGUES

I've heard people say unless you can speak in tongues you're not a true believer in Christ. The Bible doesn't say that. That's a false teaching. But God's word does say in 1 Corinthians 14:5 that the one who has the gift of prophecy is greater than the one who speaks in tongues unless there is someone to interpret the tongue. The whole church and nonbelievers can be edified through prophesying. They can understand these words. But if people speak in tongues and there is no one to interpret what is said, what good is that? People will think they are out of their minds since they don't understand what is being said, unless someone can interpret. How much better to be able to speak 5 intelligible encouraging words, than a whole bunch of gibberish that no one understands.

Please Read 1 Corinthians 14:27-28

God's instructions for speaking in tongues in a church meeting is two or three speakers should speak at the most, and one at a time. And if there is no one to interpret what is being said the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. But's that's not what we see going on in many churches today. Sometimes there's way more than two or three speaking in tongues, and all at the same time. And there is no one to interpret. What's even more sad is these folks claim to be speaking under the influence of the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit). I ask you: would the Holy Spirit write these specific instructions in God's word for speaking in tongues, then get inside of people in the church and make them go directly against what he says? Of course not! That would make the Holy Spirit a liar. And the one thing we know is impossible for God to do is to lie. (Hebrews 6:18) When it comes to the gift of tongues many folks have been misled. We would do well to repent and follow God's instructions found in his word regarding spiritual gifts.

THE HIGHEST GIFTS

If we do everything motivated by love, and are eager to upbuild one another, we have the greatest gifts of all. Love is the greatest commandment found in God's word. (Galatians 5:14 James 2:8 Matthew 22:36-40) And to be a source of strength, encouragement, and comfort to the church, as well as nonbelievers, is the highest spiritual gift of them all.

No One Is Righteous

Please Read Romans 3:10

God says that no one is righteous. Those of us who know God agree with Him. We're learning through experience just how flawed we really are. To make matters worse on top of our shortcomings we have the Devil who whispers things in our ears like, 'You're not a Christian. You don't love God. If you did you wouldn't have done this or that.' That voice is sometimes hard to get rid of. I hope our continued study of the scriptures make it easier to destroy and silence those evil suggestions.

Please Read Romans 7:14-25

Romans 7:14-25 is a very powerful passage. It perfectly explains our struggle with sin. We want to do what is right, but we can't. The harder it seems we try the more it seems we fail. This leaves us feeling quite wretched at times like Paul. Yet there is a way out, thank God! And that way out is Jesus Christ our Lord. He is our deliverance from sin and death. He is our righteousness from God. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He paid the price for our sins to be forgiven. We are eternally grateful to him for saving us.

There is no need to beat oneself up because of our imperfect state. In spite of being wretched we enjoy peace with God through our faith in Christ. (John 3:16) Recognizing how far we fall short of God's glory is a good thing. It's not that we try to sin, on the contrary we strive not to sin, but it happens anyway. The fact that we are deeply disturbed by our faults proves we do love God. Yet we see another law (the law of sin) waging war with the law of our minds (God's law). The fact that this struggle is even going on within us means we are in Christ Jesus. If you weren't in Christ there would be no struggle at all. Sin would completely control and dominate you. And you wouldn't even care. So when you feel down about your sins remember what Jesus did and now does for us as our high priest. (Hebrews 4:14-16) Confess your sins to God, repent, and thank Him for His son Jesus' sacrifice which says, “YOU ARE FORGIVEN; YOU'RE NOT GUILTY,” to all who trust in him. What an awesome gift from God!