GOD GETS IN YOUR FACE

3_creation“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) is the most radical statement ever made.

I don’t mean to sound pessimistic but it just seems some days like the world is so untouched by God’s goodness. It seems like any kind of goodness which makes the news in its essence makes it rare. When I read the book of Genesis I see God look over his finished work and say “this is good, very good.” “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1). Satan does not own anything in this world. “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Tim 4:4-5).

This is not to say that God has left some scant details about himself like a billion piececreation 2.jpg puzzle leaving us that were trying to figure things out although for some people it may seem that way. But God is evident. He is seen. When you read a very familiar passage such as Psalm 19 case such a wonderful display of God, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” (Ps 19:1-3). Creation can be seen bursting with song, loud, bright clear and powerful.

god-creating-creatures-by-r.jpgClearly, it means there is a God. God confronts us face to face, challenges, dares and even threatens people with his existence. Even more drastic, it means that you and I cannot escape God, “You are all around me-in front of me and in back of me. You lay your hand on me.” (Psalm 139:5GW). If you don’t want him around-he’s there anyway-he’s not going anywhere. He is always there and always will be there for all our lives and when we are dead and gone.  God will always be God. You are eventually going to have to confront the whole “God” issue, now or later.

“First, God. God is the subject of life. God is foundational for living. If we do not get the sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option, not God on the weekends. God at the center and circumference; God first and last. God, God, God.” –The Old Testament Books of Moses © 2001 by Eugene H. Peterson.

Genesis is God giving our lives significance and meaning. God made the world where everything and everyone is created with an intention and design. He does not work impersonally from space, but he is in operation in the here and now. No matter how good or bad anyone is, we continue to be a part of his project-the Adam Project so there is no place to drop out.”

©2016 Stephen S. Gibney, don’t plagiarize-give us the credit and God the glory. 

Advertisements

THE SECRET LIFE OF REVEREND MITTY

“Here comes the dreamer!” (Gen. 37:19). mitty

I can relate in a way to the fictional character Walter Mitty. I was wondering what it would be like if he was cast as a pastor rather than a negative asset manager. He zones out many times thinking of adventures, and exploits. So do I. My imagination can run away with me. I just think about things. I used to be a full time Pastor and I loved doing it. I still dream about it and imagine preaching to different congregations all over the world, meeting Christians everywhere. Preaching for me is simply being in the mix where God is see him actively healing, delivering and saving people. 

I imagine some days I am Elijah, covered with hair. I can speak loud as God speaks through me.  I am confront an evil King Ahab and tell him it is not going to rain for years until he and the backslidden nation repent. I am a fugitive and the manhunt is on for this brazen prophet. I can see the ravens bring me meat as I lodge hidden by the last river in the land. I get to fight in prayer in the battle of the gods and see Yahweh bring lightning down out of a clear sky to vindicate his honor. Rain is coming. I fall to my knees and see a small cloud. Rain is coming. I am praying and the heavy droplets touch my skin. rain has COME and I feel my body filled with strength as I outrun Ahab’s chariot all the way to his palace.

Word of God to Pastor Steve. Word of God to Pastor Steve. Take your call seriously and put your armor on! Word of God to Pastor Steve. Preaching scripture, praying hard, step up to the Pulpit and may God’s love be with you.

Some days, I see myself as David prophesying to the enemies of God, standing toe to toe with the widowmaker Goliath. I sense the presence of God fills my body. I see my arm catapult a large stone and feel it leaving the sling and watch it hit the forehead of the giant. I can hear the gasps of the stalemate armies and the whole valley is silent with awe as the giant falls to the ground with a thud and without a thought I run over to him and pick up his huge sword and feel the heavy weight as I lift it and shear off his blaspheming head. Then I lift up that head by it hair, hold it up and shout in this gruesome victory and the army of Israel and shouts with me starts running after the Philistines.

Word of God to Pastor Steve. Word of God to Pastor Steve. Take your call seriously and put your armor on! Word of God to Pastor Steve. Preaching scripture, praying hard, step up to the Pulpit and may God’s love be with you.

Sometimes, I imagine I am Ezekiel transported to a valley of dry bones. It a desert graveyard with no graves. It is quiet, thirsty and barren. God talks to me, he asks me if these bones can come back to life. He tells me to speak to the bones with His Words and I can hear the bones begin to rattle and come together like metal to magnets and thunder as they form skeletons. I can see their hearts, lungs, and vital organs grow inside them and then sewn together with veins and arteries; sinew and muscle and then their ears and noses grow and eyes form in their sockets and hair on their heads. God tells me to talk to the wind and tell it to come from every direction and fill these slain soldiers with air. I speak God words again and I can hear them all at once breathe in, it sounds like one loud breath. They all stand up, dressed with armor and weapons.

Word of God to Pastor Steve. Word of God to Pastor Steve. Take your call seriously and put your armor on! Word of God to Pastor Steve. Preaching scripture, praying hard, step up to the Pulpit and may God’s love be with you.

I have looked all over the Christian world, doctrines, churches and denomination. I discover have the Quintessence of life in my Bible. It is Christ. An undeveloped picture of my life becoming developed into his image. The making of a brave Christian man. 

© 2016 Stephen S. Gibney all rights reserved.

THE 1 John 1:9 CONTROVERSY 5: STAYING ON THE SAME PAGE

same-page.png“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you.” John has a message from Jesus and he does not want his readers to miss what he is saying. In fact, he uses excessively longer phrases and more words to emphasize the meaning of his teaching when he could have simply used shorter phrases and fewer words. For example, he could have simply said, “God is light.” or he could have said, “There is no darkness in God.” It is as though John is saying, “This is what I mean and this is what I don’t mean.” He wants all Christians who read this to be on the same page. 

What is this message? God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” 

John teaches that God is light. He uses the term “the light” (v.7) later but that has another meaning. In this verse it refers to God’s nature and essence as light. This is not physical light, but spiritual light that spreads everywhere and invades everything. His essence is truth, purity, holiness. In him there is no darkness at all. John emphasizes that there is not one bit of darkness in God. James says “There is never the slightest variation or shadow of inconsistency.” in God. (James 1:17 Phillips). God is untouched by the darkness of sin and He is “absolutely perfect…there is nothing in him …which would dim or mar the pure splendor of his character.” (Barnes). 

With this is mind, the Apostle takes another sharp turn in his teaching and He puts truth and lies; light and darkness; obedience and sin; deception and honesty; reality and fantasy; saying and walking side by side. John says that the talk and action of some of the people does not match up to God’s standard of fellowship, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not do the truth.”  (v.6). These are very strong words. He calls these people liars and says they are not practicing Christians. People have no fellowship with God if they practice sin. They are living a lie. Truth is not just sterile doctrinal beliefs that you can distance yourself from. Truth is all about how you behave and act. God is in his nature is light and not in any way dark and what he says is light and not in any way dark. So in this passage the word truth means acting lawfully and walking in darkness is living in deception and disobedient behavior.

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”   Walking in the light of God means that we are drawing closer to God.We act and live in that light. His word and truth are like light that exposes our errors and deception has nowhere to hide. We welcome that because he cleanses us and purifies us continually from all sins. Now John again wants to make sure we are staying on the same page by showing our fellowship with God and one another is by these two things: walking the light of God and his cleansing holiness by the blood of Jesus.

Then John takes another turn and says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (v. 8)  The Bible teaches here that people who deny indwelling sin and do not admit their wrongdoing have gone so far off course they are believing their own lies. They claim to know the truth but they are deceived. Saying one can reach a place where they never sin after they are saved is a terrible error. Saying that we can live without confessing our sins or be disobedient is also a soul damning teaching. John say these type of people have deluded themselves to the point their hearts are evacuated of truth.

The Apostle turns again in this winding passage, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (v.9). We MUST freely admit we have sinned,  God says we MUST consent to this truth. Notice HE is faithful and just it says. As the Amplifies comments, “he is true to His own nature and promises.” The ISV says that “he might forgive us and might cleanse us of our sins.” As we must pray to receive an answer to prayer we must confess our sins to be forgiven. Christ forgave us on the cross, but we still must ask his forgiveness as proof that the truth is in us and that he is loyal and consistent in all his ways.

If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (v.10). The dangers of misrepresenting Christ and his teaching should always be on our mind. He says if we do not say what he says about sin we are saying God is falsifying his Word and misrepresenting Himself. In effect, we call God a liar. Unthinkable! This failure also shows exposes that the Word is not in us if we say such things. It used the word “truth” in verse six but here it says “word.” This is a person who insists they know “the Word” and refuse to own up to their sin nature and their acts of sin. We are actually destitute of God’s life-giving Word if we refuse to, humbly welcome the word of truth that will blossom like the seed of salvation planted in your souls.” (James 1:20Voice).

“John condemns the man who claims that he is so far advanced in knowledge and in the spiritual life that sin for him has ceased to matter; he condemns the man who evades the responsibility for his sin or who holds that sin has no effect upon him; he condemns the man who has never even realized that he is a sinner. The essence of the Christian life is first to realize our sin; and then to go to God for that forgiveness which can wipe out the past and for that cleansing which can make the future new.” (Barclay).

© 2016 Stephen S. Gibney, if you quote it, gives us some credit and God the glory.