Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Beautiful, Part Sixteen

What is God like?

Any artist will tell you that they put their heart and soul into what they “create.” This includes artisans of all kinds—painters, sculptors, musicians, composers, authors, etc. So it is with God (except that He really creates whereas we only use what He gave us and copy Him). We can see his BEAUTIFUL character by what He made—the amazing variety, the perfect symmetry, the intricacy and fine balance of His designs, from the vastness of the scope to the finest detail. God has shown us what He is like. Everything He made was good and even very good, when it was finished. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:31

Despite the passing of thousands of years and the introduction of sin and decay long ago, His creation still displays how wonderful its Creator is. All we have to do is look around us at what He made (if we can see past the obstructions made by men). We need microscopes and telescopes to see much of it, yet we’ll never truly understand and fully appreciate everything.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:13-20

Have you ever given someone a gift and they didn’t even bother to acknowledge it, let alone thank you and tell you if they liked it or not? Didn’t it rob you of your joy in giving that gift? Imagine how God feels when we do that very same thing to Him! We constantly take the credit for things He has done, fail to be thankful for all of the blessings He gives to us, and we even complain incessantly. Not only is it shameful of us to treat our God that way, but it makes us look bad to the world–as if our Father doesn’t take care of us, or He didn’t teach us how to act any better than that. We are cheating God out of His joy. It’s a bad habit that has to stop! For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 1 Peter 2:15 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:4 (also see Romans 1:21 above.)

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. ...And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ...Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 1:11-12, 3:15-17, 23-24

So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23

God recorded for us in the Scriptures everything that we need to know—how it all came to be and even what is going to happen before it comes to pass. All Scripture is breathed out by God... 2 Timothy 3:16 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. John 14:29 He reveals Himself through His Holy Word—His character, His values, His nature. He tells us why we are here and what He desires of us—how to please Him and what He hates. (Proverbs 6:16-19) God’s adopted children are meant to be lights in this dark world, showing what He is like as well.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world... Philippians 2:14-15

Who started this rebellion against God?

Satan. He wants to be God, but having NO chance of success, he set out to bring low the crown of God’s creation. Man was created in God’s image, and so Satan has been attacking us out of hate for God ever since the beginning. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

“How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’ Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths. Isaiah 14:12-14

Satan’s favorite method of attack is lying. It has worked well for Him for thousands of years. Make no mistake, he is the one behind the big bang and evolution theories, abortion, the breakdown and redefinition of marriage, and the doubts cast upon gender identity and roles. These are all part of his offensive weapons against God. He doesn’t want us to realize who we really are—extremely valuable in God’s sight. He knows that human life will seem to have far less value to us if we think we came to be by accident and are no better than animals. And he doesn’t want us to realize his attacks are orchestrated, not just an “inevitable change of the times.”

...Did God really say?”... Genesis 3:1 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God..." Genesis 3:3-5

“Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:43-33

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

Eve was deceived, but she was still kicked out of the Garden of Eden, along with Adam, who was led astray by Eve. They both should have known better, but they made excuses just like people do to this very day. The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." Genesis 3:12-13 Those who are redeemed by the Lord will be permitted to eat from that tree in the future.

He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Revelation 22:14

Our sinful nature rebels against Him and yet He is patient, kind, long-suffering and slow to anger. God’s power is absolute, but He doesn't use it the way people do. Our use of power is tainted by sin—oppressing, abusing, deceiving and taking advantage of others. His power is matched by His infinite and perfect love and wisdom.

"Yet even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Joel 2:12-13

This is Part Sixteen of a series.  You may download the entire devotional in a "pretty" format here or in a basic, small file size format with highlighting here.