FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT

The Bible tells us why we are here and how we came about.  God created us.  God is presented to us in the scriptures as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God with three aspects or parts.  God created the entire physical realm in which we exist.  He is all powerful, all knowing, and omnipresent.  We are the crown of His creation, given charge to take care of the earth.  Yet, how do we relate to this amazing being.  

As Father, God takes on the position of authority.  He is the head.  He is our provider and protector.  God the Father is who we look to for help in our time of need.  With love and mercy, He corrects us and turns us to the right path.  Sometimes, He allows the consequences of our choices to teach us.  He is the perfect father.  The scriptures point out that God is slow to anger and abounding in love.  I’m glad that my Father has these two attributes. 

God the son came to earth and became one of us.  He walked through this life as we do.  He taught us many lessons to show us how we should live.  He lived as we live and suffered as we suffer.  The Son was given the name Jesus meaning God saves, and He did just that.  He gave his life to redeem us.  Through his death and resurrection, he purchased for us eternal life.  Jesus is our oldest brother, and He loves us. He is now in heaven interceding for us.

The Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, indwells those of us who have believed in Jesus and accepted his redemption.  The Holy Spirit lives within us and counsels us, teaches us, and leads us in righteousness.  The fact that the Holy Spirit lives in us amazes me.  No other relationship is more personal.

I believe God has shown us exactly how He wants us to relate to Him Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I think God is more complex than the three aspects he shares with us, but these aspects present the most personal interaction we can understand.  He takes care of us as our Father, loves us as our Brother, and through the Holy Spirit connects with us on a deep spiritual level.  God created us to love us.   His underlying characteristic is love (1 John 4:16).

WHY DO I BELIEVE

Every now and then I come to a time that I review why I believe.  I just read the creation story in Genesis 1&2 and enjoyed the thought-provoking contemplation that it brings.  Can such an awesome being exist?  Is there really an entity that can speak the entire universe into being?  Then I travel through my memories reviewing why I believe this to be true.

I start with remembering when I was at my lowest point, and I called out to God.  Somewhere in my inner being, I knew he was there.  My life changed dramatically from that moment, and I have walked a blessed life since that day.  He has spoken to me in the most intimate ways on a number of occasions.  He has directed my life in ways I didn’t understand at the time, but His ways have always brought blessing.  We have a long term relationship that is ever growing.

So as hard as it is to imagine a being who could speak the entire universe into existence, I have a personal relationship with Him.  I communicate with him on a daily basis.  He answers me.   God loves me, and I love Him.  I see His beauty in all that He created.  I say yes!  There is a being who spoke the entire universe into existence.  I believe because I have experienced Him.

LIGHT

God loves us!  As he was preparing a place for us he first created light.  Light is incredible.  It sustains physical life, refracts into all the wonderful colors we see, and provides a contrast to darkness.  God designed a great place for us that is full of light.

Light is necessary for life to exist on earth.  The process of photosynthesis is the foundation for all food consumed by living creatures.  The light we receive from the sun provides the necessary heat the earth requires.  In light we find God’s provision for his created ones.

As light contacts various objects it refracts.  These refractions disperse the light into an amazing array of colors making the earth a beautiful place.  The colors we see calm us, delight us, and stimulate us.  Through light our creator has inspired us and made our lives full and interesting.

Light and its contrast darkness are used figuratively throughout the scriptures to help us understand God’s care for us.  We read in Psalm 18: 28 “God turns my darkness into light,” and Psalm 56:13 says that God provides the light of life.   Light provides a metaphor for virtue.  Light is righteousness and darkness is sinfulness.  Romans 13:12, “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.  So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” 

Light has great importance in God’s creation.  Isaiah used light to predict the coming of Jesus, “the people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned (Isaiah 9:2).”  For us today that light has long since dawned.  We can now walk in the light.  I pray that His light will shine in your heart today, and that darkness will have no place in your heart.  Praise be to God for the wonders of light.

Controlling the Future

I like science fiction.  I don’t know what that says about me, but I do.  The idea of projecting where scientific discovery might take us fascinates me.  I like the adventure and the jolt to my imagination.  Fantasizing future worlds, even alien worlds, has occupies a fair portion of my personal time.

Yet the science fiction stories, where man goes back in time to reshape the future, point to the complexity of manipulating the intricate details of the progression of time.  Change one little occurrence and the entire future of man is impacted.  We can predict, but there are too many factors for us to have complete control over the outcome.

Now, imagine someone able to create a universe, create humans to live in this universe, and set the ball rolling toward a planned outcome.  To add to the complexity of the task, he gives the humans freedom of choice.  During the unfolding of his plan, he intervenes occasionally knowing exactly how this will affect the outcome.  Remember, his interventions usually involve humans who are continually deciding about their actions and reactions to their situation. 

The greatest intervention this creator makes is sending his son to live among humans with the plan to redeem them.  They need redemption because they have violated the prime directive to act in love and, within their freedom of choice, have chosen to injure their fellow humans. They have also turned their back to the creator and denied his very existence.  He accomplishes his redemption plan right on schedule and continues on to his planned outcome. 

The outcome he plans is for all those who receive his redemption to live forever in eternity with him.  Not all of his humans will accept the offer, but every one of them has the choice to receive redemption.  The only one who could put together such an elaborate and complex plan is the all-powerful, all-knowing, creator God.

Read: Genesis 1-3, Job 38 – 41, & Revelation 21 & 22

QUIET BEAUTY

The earth is an amazing place and quite diverse in its features. And there is always quiet beauty to be found.  Spring, here in the Central Valley of California, is filled with blossoms and flowers.  The abundant rainfall we experienced this season has made the surrounding hills alive with wild flowers.  There is colorful beauty all around us.  My back yard is no exception.

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When I walk in my garden I find peaceful contentment.  The fragrance of the flowers and their varied colors work into my soul and cause me to relax.  I often feel closer to God.  It dawned on me that I’m actually experiencing God’s nature in the midst of his creation.  He made all of these wonderful things that I’m enjoying.  In the very nature of God there must be quiet beauty.

Zephaniah 3:17  “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

THE PURPOSE OF LIFE

When contemplating the meaning of life, I find that it is infinitely complex like the Author of Life.  Still, it can also be boiled down to something quite simple.  The questions: why am I here and what is my purpose can be easily answered.  We are here because God brought forth life in his creation, and He made beings like us in his image.  So we have life because God ordained it.  Our purpose is to have a close loving relationship with him.

Since we acquired, through disobedience, the knowledge of good and evil, that relationship has been complicated.  We now have to seek him, yet he has cleared the way for us to find him through the cross of Jesus.  We just have to accept the way he has provided.  Finding him is not difficult.  However, looking for him through other paths will not lead to him.  There is only one way; His way.

We exist at God’s good pleasure, and he has given us purpose.  As I stated above, our purpose is to have a close loving relationship with him.  Some are confused about our purpose and think that our purpose is to work.  It is important to note that the work I’m referring to is the work of the kingdom, good deeds, as opposed to working for a living.  These works are not our purpose; they are the result of our purpose.  In my loving relationship with God, he has taught me to love others.  Because I love him, and he has taught me to love others, I work to help those around me.  I give of myself.

Throughout my life, I have worked to provide for my family.  This is a requirement in this fallen world.  During this time of sorting out eternity, we have to work for a living.  It is the curse for disobedience (Genesis 3:17-19).  In the midst of our work, we often have the opportunity to do the work of the Kingdom.  However, no matter what type of work we are doing, the only work that has eternal merit is that which is driven by love.  In our relationship with God, he nurtures us with love. From this love, he generates in us the strength to provide for our family and do the work of the kingdom.  Work flows out of the fruit of relationship.  Relationship with God is our purpose.

AWESOME POWER – GREAT BEAUTY

One of my favorite places on God’s earth is at Monterey Bay here on the California Coast.  At the southern tip of the bay where it meets the open ocean, large waves crash on building size rock formations creating a scene of awesome power.  Near the beach is a smaller formation that receives the partially spent waves but still with a powerful display of water crashing upon rocks. At low tide you can climb onto this smaller formation, and when you reach the top you find there a seat smoothed by the crashing waves.  I love to sit there feeling the waves crash around me.  It’s like being in the midst of great power but protected from the danger.

When I visit this place, I feel very close to God.  The awesome power of these waves reminds me of how God is ultimately powerful.  The peace and security I feel reminds me that I am protected by his love for me.  I feel as if I’m in the shadow of his wings. (see Psalm 17).  I usually don’t want to leave.  I know I have to because high tide is coming, and I must return to the world and its trials.  It seems amazing that a place so filled with chaotic noise and danger would be a place of peace and comfort, but I assure you it is.

Just a few hundred yards north along the beach, the rocks are gone and the waves brake into a rolling foam and crash into the beach.  Facing what promised to be a tough day at work, I left home early to walk along the beach in my favorite place. I needed the Lord to strengthen me.  As I looked out over the ocean, the sun began to rise from behind me.  The hill behind me was covered in a thick mist.  The rays of the sun were refracted by the mist producing a unique phenomenon.  The foam on the rolling waves began to take on the colors of the rainbow.  It was a most beautiful display.  As the sun continued to rise, the colors eventually faded, but I remained until it was finished.

This event reminded me of the great beauty of God.  Throughout God’s creation, there is great beauty.  We see his beauty in the sunrise and sunset, the flowers and trees, and in the mountains and the animals that he created.  Every once in a while, we get a special glimpse as I did that morning.  The day went much better than I had anticipated.  Who could have a bad day after that?

Our creator is awesomely powerful and greatly beautiful.  I have learned to look for his attributes each day.  I find abundant comfort in remembering who he is as I walk in the midst of what he has made.

PSALM 8, A PSALM OF DAVID

When we look with wonder into the heavens at night, we connect with the billions of others who have lived on the earth through the centuries.  There is in us a great awe as we survey the vastness of the heavens.  We are inclined to speculate about where it all came from.  For King David there was no doubt that his God had created all that he saw.  And in creation, he saw the glory of his God.  In Psalm 8 he voiced, “How majestic is your name in all the earth.”

In my quest to understand God, King David, “a man after God’s own heart” (See 1 Samuel 13:14), sets a perspective of God that is foundational.  To understand God, I need to see how big he is.  You can’t get any bigger than the creator of heaven and earth.  Everything I know and understand, plus an infinite amount beyond, was created by God.  He’s big!  Yet he allows praise from the mouths of little children to silence his enemies.  God is big, and he is humble.

What draws the attention of this mighty creator?  Human beings are at the center of his creation.  In our original state we were created just a little less than God himself.  We are created in his image.  He made us rulers over all the creature of the earth.  David’s response to these thoughts; “How majestic is your name in all the earth!”

As I look into the night sky, the words of Psalm 8 always bring from deep in my soul a resounding praise.  How amazing are you my God that you can create these limitless expanses, yet I am important to you.  Thank you God for loving me, redeeming me, and giving me an eternal future with you.

SALT

Sodium is a highly reactive element that can explode when it contacts water. Chlorine is poisonous to all living organisms.  Yet together in the compound sodium chloride (salt) they are essential for life.  Salt is another of the amazing items in this wondrous world that God created.  This simple compound has greatly affected life on earth and has been used by God to relate to us and to teach us.

In modern America salt is found in great abundance, but in ancient times salt was often worth its weight in gold.  Before refrigeration salt was used to preserve foods.  Many countries used salt to prepare the dead for burial.  It was therefore essential for survival and a part of cultural traditions.  Trade routes were established just for the selling of salt.  Countries went to war over it, and many countries levied taxes on salt.  Salt was highly valued.

For the ancient Hebrews, salt was a sign of their covenant with God.  Salt was added to their offerings to represent their covenant relationship. (See Leviticus 2:13) The salt covenant was also mentioned in relationship to King David’s promised eternal reign. (See 2 Chronicles 13:5)

Jesus used salt as an analogy when he taught, “You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot” (Matthew 5:13).  We are the salt of the earth!  We are the ones who bring flavor to the earth.  This makes sense to us because salt is a part of our daily life.

Salt is a very useful item in God’s world both as a flavor enhancement and a preservative.  Its properties also provided Jesus with a useful analogy to teach us.  So for us who love and follow God, we can enjoy salt and be salt as we walk through God’s world.

SIBLING RIVALRY

Have you ever felt like God’s favorite?  God has a unique way of making each one of his children feel special.  He knows us intimately and speaks to us individually in a personal specific manner.  No one else knows us this well.  He is never condemning even when correcting us.  Therefore we should rejoice in our close relationship with God, but we should also be aware that this intimate closeness is available to all who will receive him.

Being special to God does not in any way invoke superiority in comparison to others.  For us humans who carry a sinful nature, this is an important caution.  We want to be special, but in our fallen state, we feel it necessary to prove ourselves superior to others.  I’m better than so-n-so because _______.  It’s easy to fill in the blank because we’ve all been there.  However, Christ died for all of us.  We each get the full power of redemption through his shed blood.  Nobody gets or needs a greater portion.

As the principal of a Christian school, my position had a great deal of responsibility and prestige.  The young man who cleaned the building had a different position.  We were both called of God to fill our respective positions.  Was one job superior?  Not in God’s eyes.  We were both walking in what God had set before us.  With God there is no favoritism. (See Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9).  We were equally important in God’s kingdom.  Both of us were created and gifted to fulfil our purpose for Him.  We were also equally loved by God.  In God’s eyes we were and are his special children.

God is able to have an infinite number of favorites.  We are each one God’s favorite.  We are all special to him.  In the family of God there is no need for sibling rivalry.  We need only to love one another and trust our Father to provide what we need.  He created us with a special purpose in his kingdom.  As he directs you through your life be content.  You are unique and special in his eyes.