A MOST DIFFICULT THING SOMETIMES…

Spiritual Blog - Cast

1 Peter 5:5-11 – “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  

6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  NKJV

 

All of it is difficult, at times, but what I am specifically addressing is the statement of vv. 6-7 where it speaks of four specifics:  Humbling ourselves, God’s exaltation of us, casting our cares on Him and His love for us.  It is often difficult to ‘humble ourselves’ and too often God must bring about conditions to do it for us.  The part that often proves to be incredibly difficult for multitudes is the part of ‘casting our cares upon God.’  That has been easy and almost impossible in my life and the lives of scores of people I have worked with through the years.

Why would it be difficult to cast our cares on the Lord?  I know that I am not capable of fully answering that question but among the possibilities is TRUST and the bent of human nature to EARN IT or DESERVE IT.  The trust issue stems from the reality that we do not truly ‘know’ God.  I am not saying we do not believe or have not received His pardon and experienced the new birth. I am saying we do not ‘know’ Him (His character).  We know about Him and have experienced Him to a measure but we have yet to KNOW HIM so completely that we TRUST Him fully.  Too often we form our image of God from our human relationships and in so doing begin on a wrong premise and reach a wrong conclusion.  He is not man, does not think like man nor respond as man.  HE IS!  He is Holy and Love.  He is the “I AM” and that so transcends any human relationship or emotion that we have difficulty comprehending.

The other issue(s) of EARNING or DESERVING His grace and help is one that shipwrecks our faith far too frequently.  We say publicly and privately that we know we cannot earn anything from God but take actions that contradict that confession.  We will take a matter to God in prayer and say we are leaving it on the altar but will frequently speak of it as our task not one we have given to Him.  We will fret over it as though the outcome was totally dependent upon us.  We will take steps and actions that indicate we have done anything but ‘cast it upon Him.’  That is a problem and something that many find incredibly difficult.

In all matters it is problematic and comes to light in matters we have been wronged.  We confess we ‘forgive’ but then we harbor resentment, isolate and view the offender as a spiritual leper.  We want them to pay for their wrong.  I know we wax spiritual and say all the right things but how do we respond when they are ‘blessed’ or we see no visible suffering for their wrong?  I had someone tell me once that they could not ‘turn someone over to God’ because God might not punish them.  They argued vehemently that they had truly ‘cast the care’ upon the Lord but their words, resentment and desire for vengeance and retaliation negated that testimony.  We do that in many areas of life including: finances, health and relationships. 

             My prayer for myself and you is that God help us to learn to TRUST HIM to the degree that we willingly and gladly CAST OUR CARES upon Him all the time and every time and leave them with Him.  May the Lord be with you as you go through your day!   Blessings!

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GOD? What Do You Want From Me? [Part 2]

Spiritual Blog -

1 John 4:7-11 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  NKJV

 

             Imagine a God who is Omniscient (all knowing) who does not like us.  That is a horrific thought, right?  Most of us have or have had a secret(s) that we were ashamed to confess even to our closest friends but God KNOWS everything about us and knows our thoughts even before we think them.  The terror that would accompany the thought that God who knows all about us and does not even like us would drive us suicidal.  He would be an infinite monster!

The Bible never says:  God HAS Power or Love it says HE IS!  Love is not something apart from Him it is WHO HE IS.  But what is Love?  What is Love as it is spoken of here in this passage?  Love, in the English language has become almost a worthless word for we apply it to so many things and give it some many shades of meaning.  What do we think of when we say or hear Love?

Let me suggest a possibility:  It means that we reach out to someone we can reasonably count on that is in our class.  Before you get self-righteous and pious, that is exactly what most of us do much of the time if not all the time.  In European history when a member of a royal family fell in love with a commoner they were fired.  If the king fell for a commoner and married them he would be required to give up his throne.  Likewise when we humans fall in love we tend to keep within our self-imposed boundaries.  Naturally we do not talk about it and possibly refuse to admit it but we do it.

When we say LOVE what do we mean?  If I love a person I am acknowledging that person calls forth my highest admiration and when I look at them I admire them.  We are so captivated by them that when we talk about them they are elevated to a level of worship in our eyes and minds.  We adore them!  Likewise when we LOVE someone it means they answer to what I feel is beauty (eye of the beholder).  Beauty is something that happens in our heads and that is what we usually understand to be love.

But when it comes to God and the Bible declares:  “God is Love” many assume that God is Love in the same way we love.  Virtually every religion in existence has a concept of God based on human love.  However, if God loves like we love how would that work out?  Think with me through some problems with that concept:

  • He cannot find anyone in His Class so immediately we are eliminated. If he were to get friendly with us he would be fired as being God so we are out in the cold.
  • He cannot find anyone in harmony with Him (before salvation) so our disharmony disqualifies us. He is love and holiness and we are selfish and have no plans to change (before salvation).
  • He cannot find any human that would elicit in Him a sense that says about us, ‘That is the best person I know’ for our righteousness are as filthy rags and there is none good (before salvation).

         The dilemma for us is that if God loves like we love we are TOAST!  It is over! We are without hope and hopeless lost forever!   I heard a most appropriate illustration that explains this beautifully:

A missionary went to a witch-doctor and said:  “You preach to me. I come to you with a problem. How would you tell me to reach the Most High God?  I know you have many gods, but I want to reach the Big One, the Most High God.”  The witch-doctor said: “First, you have a big problem, because the Most High God is not interested in you for you are not good enough for him.”  That’s where their religion begins!  Sadly, we have heard the same thing in much more sophisticated terms in church.  We have been told, in so many ways, that we are not good enough for God and He is not interested.

When the Bible says:  God is Love it means that He does not reach out to someone in His class but reaches out to Whosoever Will or reaches down to mankind.  Human love reaches up but God’s love reaches down.  God loves the lost, hopeless, messed up, twisted, distorted, bent, wicked, evil and sinful man and offers LIFE, LOVE and LIBERTY through Jesus!  That is the Gospel message.  What does God want from us?  He wants to dwell in us and with us and manifest Himself through us!

God bless you as you go through this day!