Category Archives: god

Faithful Fridays 2-24-17

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Morning Direction from Scripture 2-24-17

But may all who search for you     be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation     repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!” 17 As for me, since I am poor and needy,     let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior.     O my God, do […]

Evening Meditation 2-23-17

Please, Lord, rescue me!     Come quickly, Lord, and help me. 14 May those who try to destroy me     be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble     be turned back in disgrace. 15 Let them be horrified by their shame,     for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” Psalm 40:13-15 How does […]

Recognizing the God Of Love

Truly, what is the purpose of belief in God if the God whose existence that belief acknowledges knows nothing of love, or, more intrinsically, is not itself love incarnate? 

One of the deepest longings we share as humanity is to feel loved unconditionally without criticism or limitation. Many people get caught up in the belief that the source of love derives from within us, as if unconditional love is innate to human beings. But how can this be so if our first desire upon entrance into this life is to have our own needs satisfied? As babies, we are 100% dependent upon parental guidance, provision, and what else—love. Without love and affection, babies don’t survive. Perhaps stated more accurately is how our most innate need is to be loved, but not that love is so innate to us that we naturally breathe it out like God did into Adam’s nostrils, giving the first human being his first breath of sentient existence. What does this matter, why point this out? One of the major arguments of God’s existence today is that He is not a God of love, and if that is so, He must not exist. Where did this distortion come from?

As a sentient race, we are birthed with the malleability to be influenced and shaped by peers, family, culture, and time. When we’re old enough to recognize it within ourselves, we eventually start a search on a road that no one else can pave for us but God. Little do we know, however, that God is the one who paves it, and less likely are we aware when first starting that ultimately it is our need for God to be real which draws our attention to our need for this search.

When considering the atrocities in this world—ranging from poverty to human trafficking and terrorism—evil looks towering and imperious compared to love, forgiveness, peace, or hope. How can the image of an unconditionally loving God fit into the mold of a corrupted world without seemingly denuding the strength of His power like a moth to the flame of the terrors of the world? Or, put differently, how can we claim to see a loving God in full control despite the chaotic state of the world? Very simply, God will not control a human being, but He can soften a heart to listen, and let a person’s heart decide whether they want to join in relationship or resist and stubbornly oppose the invitation into a changed course of action. Basically, a terrorist has the same choice as anyone to deny evil its privileges and to accept God’s command to love and serve others in the name of Jesus Christ. Terrorists, of course, are threatened for their very lives in the face of such a name. The choice then becomes whether or not faith in a man who claimed to be God is worth death in the face of terror, hatred, power, corruption, and the promise of redemption through martyrdom.

Now, understanding this may help draw empathy for men and women in the face of terrorism perhaps, but it does not justify the results of those who ultimately choose terrorism over faith in a life of love and service in Jesus’s name. How then can we accept the claim of God’s control over the world? Who is control is defined by who is able to dispel evil from justice; not by doing evil, but by acting righteously in the face of evil. The book of Revelations, though intimidating only when reading it without context, is a book filled with pictures of God’s coming wrath, which many wise people can understand is the reaction of the love of God—that just as parents would do anything to protect their young ones from harm out of love for them, His promises are to for once and for all eradicate sin and evil from existence. This truth speaks not only of the love of God, but of his omnipotence.

We are desperate to know how such a powerful God feels about evil and wrongdoing:

(Roman 1:18 MSG) But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over the truth.

What is the truth that is “shrouded”? The truth of God’s goodness through Christ, the Good News of redemption through Christ’s resurrection, and the hope of the coming age when Heaven will be the new Earth. A heeding word of advice to the world from God through Paul:

(Ephesians 5:6 MSG) Don’t let yourself get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with Him. Don’t even hang around people like that.

Words of wisdom:

(Romans 1:9-11 MSG) If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what other say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.

This speaks to terrorists just as it does any citizen of anywhere. And how does God command us to treat our enemies until the day He returns?

(Romans 12:17-21 MSG) Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” 
Our scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

We are not to take vengeance on anyone because we are called to love in the name of Jesus. The command is very simple, though very difficult when faced in times of temptation or struggle, and excruciatingly trying if we have not found it in ourselves to forgive our wrongdoers the way Christ forgives us. From this we can take away that God is a God who promises vengeance on troublemakers and our enemies, and that we need not encroach upon His promise to do so. The reason why is that we are already to be judged for our own crimes; only God is the righteous judge. In a world full of terror and corruption, poverty, and evil, can we let God have the vengeance while following His command to love others the way He call us to?

If we cannot believe in a God who loves us enough to die for us Himself in Jesus Christ, then hopefully it will help some of us to remember God promises vengeance on every enemy. Terrorism will not go unavenged. Sex-slavery will not go unavenged. God sees everything and everyone and He hears the calls of those in need of His help. He has not gone remiss, He still loves us with an everlasting love. He loves us enough to let us suffer when He knows He can help us grow as individuals because of the pain, and He loves us enough to be silent at times, allowing us to be aware of our need for Him so we will remember He is a good God when we come running into His open arms.

For those of us solely seeking empirical evidence of God in order to prove His existence, we forget faith does not require sight, and we demand God prove Himself while we justify our own actions with a morality undefined by anyone but ourselves and a culture as subjective as all the rest. If we do not choose to see the world and look at people through the eyes of God, as we are intended to through faith in Christ—then we will continue to define our lives and ourselves from a limited plane of justification; telling ourselves our subjective justification is legitimate without so much as admitting we are no different from the rest of society telling itself it knows best because “it just does.” Without properly contending the source of morality, who can truly define good or bad? And if we cannot distinguish between good or bad, how can we argue over the existence of a loving God based on whether or not He is good in relation to His ability to love? Truly, if we cannot cross this line without stuttering and stammering, can we really point our fingers at the idea of God and reject Him when we can’t even understand our own argument?

From this article, I would like you to consider the questions posed and carefully examine your current position. The end result could help you understand why your stance on faith in Jesus does or does not make sense, and why. My hope is that with some introspection, prayer, and open-mindedness, you will allow yourself to see these perspectives from a new light, and in so doing, become aware of why you believe what you believe with a stronger sense of peace and confidence. If you have any questions or thoughts you’d feel comfortable sharing, please write in the comments below and I will respond as promptly as I can. I would love to hear from you!

If you would like to read more, please follow this blog, and please share this with anyone. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog 2017, Twitter at LancePrice2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017. May God bless you all!

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Spiritual Markers

blaze-pngI’ve mentioned many times before how much I love to go hiking.  I can never get enough of being in the outdoors enjoying the beauty of God’s creation.  One of my favorite places to hike is along the southern portion of the Appalachian Trail.  This footpath begins in the mountains of northern Georgia and ends on the summit of Mt. Katahdin in Maine.  I hope to one day thru-hike the entire trail, but so far I’ve only traveled over some of the mileage in Georgia and Tennessee.

Even though the trail is well-worn and relatively easy to follow, the path is marked with blazes on the trees and rocks along the way.  Every 100-200 yards, a tree is painted with a six inch white rectangle signifying the direction hikers should travel.  As I’ve already mentioned, it’s hard to get lost while hiking the Appalachian Trail and the blazes help to make that possible.  It’s comforting to know you have something to keep you on track and headed in the right direction.

For those who have given their lives to Christ, we too have a guide that helps to ensure we stay on the right track.  The Holy Spirit is our spiritual guide, helping us along in our walk with God and giving us clear directions to be in alignment with Him.  He is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), but He can be counted upon to lead us into all truth (John 16:13).  The blazes on the Appalachian Trail are trustworthy.  Follow them and you will ultimately reach your destination.  Likewise, following the Holy Spirit will help us grow closer to God and ultimately live in heaven with him when Christ returns.

Now, blazes or maps are a great tool to assist us when traveling, but we have to pay attention to them for them to work.  Living with the Holy Spirit works the same way.  He can urge us in the right direction but we still have free will.  We can still decide if we will listen or not.  On occasion, it may seem hard to discern if a message is from the Spirit or from our own subconscious desires.  In order to hear from the Spirit, we must be ready by not having preconceived ideas floating around in our heads.  He will never contradict scripture, so if we follow the teachings in the Bible, we’ll recognize the Spirit’s call.  He doesn’t speak in some audible voice or a spectacular spiritual experience.  He speaks to our heart through the urgings of the Spirit within us.

As the name of this blog implies, Faith and Footsteps is about walking with God in faith, trusting that our guide has our best interests at heart.  It’s about the journey of this life.  Just like hiking a long distance trail, we are on this journey for the long haul and we may face distractions and despair along the way at times.  That’s why following our Father, the example of Jesus, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit is of utmost importance.  It’s the only way we’ll ever find our way home.

-Joe

Mid Afternoon Meditation 2-23-17

Please, Lord, rescue me!     Come quickly, Lord, and help me. 14 May those who try to destroy me     be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble     be turned back in disgrace. 15 Let them be horrified by their shame,     for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” Psalm 40:13-15 What does […]

Thankful Thursdays 2-23-17

So glad God’s river has rolled over me! Learn more about the artist Josh Garrels Here

Mercy Enough For Us All

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Do not judge and you will not be judged.”

Luke 6:36-37

I admit that I’d engaged in a bit of self-deprecation. I’d been emotional and angry, sometimes with reason and sometimes for no reason at all. I questioned my life’s work, wondering exactly what that might be.

One morning, while heading to the kitchen for breakfast, I passed the wall of family photos. When I noticed my dad’s picture, he seemed to be smiling at me. Suddenly, words he spoke to me decades earlier echoed in my mind. My dad had told me, “You’re much harder on yourself than anyone else would ever be.” Though I didn’t understand what he meant at the time, I understood that day.

I’ve spent much of my life second-guessing myself, wondering if anything I said or did was good enough. Though during childhood I was blessed with the company of numerous encouraging adults, a single harsh word sent me into a tailspin. It took me weeks or longer to recover. Of course, most of those around me were completely oblivious to my self-imposed pain because I persisted in trying even harder to please them. It wasn’t until years into adulthood that I realized God’s mercy wasn’t only to be imitated in my relationships with others, but also in my regard for myself.

That morning, I promised to stop judging me. Today, I’m pleased to report that I’ve kept that promise for the most part. When I find myself faltering, I repeat my dad’s words to me and start anew.

Loving God, thank you for inspiring my dad with your amazingly merciful love and for inspiring me to listen to him.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Morning Direction From Scripture 2-23-17

Please, Lord, rescue me!     Come quickly, Lord, and help me. 14 May those who try to destroy me     be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble     be turned back in disgrace. 15 Let them be horrified by their shame,     for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” Psalm 40:13-15 What does […]

Evening Meditation 2-22-17

Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.     Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me. 12 For troubles surround me—     too many to count! My sins pile up so high     I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head.     I have lost all courage. Psalm 40:11,12 What is the […]