GOD’S PERSONALITY

I promised in September that my next blog would be about God’s personality — but because of “technical problems” way
beyond my control I can only now resume working on the blogging page in my website. God is good! And His timing is perfect. I must rest in that at all times — better than I did these last few weeks. So thank you, God, for life’s lessons and for those wonderful, knowledgeable technicians who revived this website!

God is the original Promise Keeper! Many times He told Israel that the only reason He tolerated them was because of His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But when Stephen was stoned, God divorced Israel as a nation and expanded His “chosen people” to include the faithful from all nations. Galatians 3:14 says that God has blessed the “Gentiles (non-Jews) with the same blessing He promised to Abraham and we Christians receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.” (New Living Translation)

But when you look closely at the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were they perfect people, worthy of God’s promises? No. Read their stories. God loved them because they obeyed His commands. Obedience is really important to my God. Read the book of Deuteronomy. Chapter 12, verse 28 says “Be careful to obey all my commands so that all will go well with you and your children, because you will be doing what pleases the Lord your God.”

If we are going to emulate God‘s personality, we need to keep our promises to Him and to people – see Eccl.5:4-6; Ps. 76:11; Prov. 12:22 (this is a very good text on this subject); Ps. 105:42

Do you want to please God? Look at Mal 3:16: “Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In His presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared Him and loved to think about Him.” (NLT) Since I blogged to you last have you spoken to others about your love for God? If so, God heard you and He WROTE IT DOWN and put your name in His special Book of Remembrance!

IIChron.16:9 tells us that “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him…” Is your heart fully committed to Him? Do you have to be a perfect person for God to strengthen you?
Not according to scripture. My God patiently waits for life’s lessons to build our characters and move us toward Him and sanctification. He makes the effort to find us and help us!

One day Jesus was teaching a crowd of people. A woman in the crowd called out to Him “God bless your mother–the womb from which you came and the breasts that nursed you!”
Jesus answer may surprise you – His answer indicates that you and I have the possibility of being more blessed than His own mother was! He said “But even more blessed are all who hear the Word of God and put it into practice. “ What a privilege is ours. We just have to make right choices, based on Spirit-led reading of Scripture.

We didn’t have the experience of hearing and seeing Jesus’ words and His miracles, but we can read about them. My Friend is so consistent. Deut 12:32 says “Carefully obey all the commands I give you. Do not add to them or subtract from them.” Hm! Where have you heard that before? Read Rev. 22:18, 19.

What a Friend! He’s the God of the Old Testament (I Cor 10:4) and He’s my Savior-God of the New Testament.(Matt. 1:21)

Another facet of God’s personality that I see is that He views music as a vehicle for learning and He is a composer and poet. Read Deut. 31:19. God gave Moses the words to a song and told him to teach the Israelites to sing it. It was to be a witness “against them.” God must have sung it for Moses so he would know how the song went. Wouldn’t you love to hear His voice singing and speaking?

In Deut. 32:47 Moses told the people that the instructions in the song were not mere words – “they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you are crossing the Jordan River to occupy.” So God used music hoping to reach their hearts through the song. Moses urged the people to pass these words on to their children so they would obey, also.

God listened to Moses and didn’t destroy the people of Israel. He gave Moses opportunity to demonstrate qualities of God’s love for people.  Moses said he would rather die himself, than for Israel to cease to exist. In the last part of Acts 7:35, Moses is portrayed as a ruler and a savior. Jesus also preferred to die, rather than to let us face extinction!

Moses had the great privilege of being a part of God’s divine teaching plan. Moses’ character helps us see how unselfish and caring God is. Moses led the people according to directions from God. Remember when Jesus said “I speak not my own words, but say the words the Father gives me.” (paraphrase)

We see in Jude that after Moses died, there was a fight over the body of Moses. Then we see him on the Mount of Transfiguration! So we know God called Moses back to life and took him to heaven. Do you see more similarities here? I bet God didn’t allow Moses’ body to decay!

My fabulous God is an outstanding Teacher. Wouldn’t you feel it an honor beyond words if you knew God is using you and your story somehow in His Divine teaching outlines?

I know that God has a very warm, likeable personality. He laughs with us at times (Sarah), He dialoged with Abraham, Adam, Eve, Moses and many others. He is also just. He “stands on principle”!! We should do the same.

In Revelation it says we were created for God’s “good pleasure.” Chapter 4, vs. 11. He made us so that He could enjoy us! I believe He listens to us speaking (Mal. 3:16-18) because He delights in His faithful ones and that makes me feel good!!!. I believe He works for us (II Chron 16:9) and with us. (Matt. 28:20).

Jesus’ personality is the Light of my life! I hope you find your joy in Him, too.

Oct 06 Blog Topic: Baby Jesus’ Inheritance

BABY JESUS’ INHERITANCE
I recently started a This is Life Eternal Bible study group, and in the 1st week, our “bite” of the Bread of Life included Ecclesiastes, Psalms 8, 19, 65 and 77, and Genesis 1-11:9. When I read Gen.3:15, there was a reference to Romans 16:20. Paul says to the Roman Christians: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” God will eventually annihilate Satan -or “crush his head.” Satan will be allowed to kill Jesus, but it will only bruise His heel – it won’t be eternal death! I thought I finally understood Gen. 3:15 which had always seemed to elude me.
A movie spun into my mind – I saw a dragon (Rev. 12) pursuing the woman about to give birth to the Child. He wanted to destroy her and her Child! Satan has never given up since he was thrown out of heaven! Who knows how many times he approached Adam and Eve trying to get them to eat one specific tree in the lush and beautiful Garden of Eden? He knew that if Eve chose to believe him instead of God (“You shall not surely die,“ he said to Eve) it would give him an advantage in the struggle between good and evil. He would become the “owner” of this world. We see evidence of this in Matt.4:8 where he told Jesus that he would “give it all” to Him if He would only kneel down and worship him.
In the assignment for week # 2 we read the story of Abram. In Gen 12:7 it says: “Then the Lord appeared unto Abram and said, ‘I am going to give this land to your offspring.’ And Abram built an altar there to commemorate the Lord’s visit.” In the NLT, beside Gen. 12:7 there is a cross-reference to Gal. 3:16 which says: “God gave the promise to Abraham and his child. And notice that it doesn’t say the promise was to his children, as if it meant many descendants. But the promise was to his child–and that, of course, means Christ.”
Stay with me now! My mind whirled back to the Garden of Eden – was the same original Hebrew word used in both Gen. 3:15 and Gen 12:7 for “offspring” or “seed“?? Yes! Both places refer to a specific Child, not just successive generation after generation! But A CHILD.
I went back and read Gen. 3:15 with new understanding (italics emphasize identities) God is speaking: “From now on, you (the serpent, Satan) and the woman (Eve, true church) will be enemies, and your offspring (the wicked) and her offspring (Baby Jesus, the faithful) will be enemies. He (Baby Jesus) will crush your (the serpent, Satan) head, and you (Satan) will strike His (Baby Jesus) heel.”
The flashes of understanding that flooded my soul as I studied were:
1. In the Garden of Eden, God envisioned the blood line that would “in the fullness of time” produce “the” Seed, Baby Jesus. And He saw the thousands of years of tragedy that would result from the sin of Adam and Eve.
2. God covenanted (Gen. 12:7) to give the land of Canaan to Abraham’s seed. There must be a double meaning here, for God did work miracles to get the children of Israel to the promised land. But the eternal Kingdom of God will also be in the promised land. For God promised it to the Baby Jesus (Gal. 3:16), and His kingdom shall have no end!
3. For the past year, I have been struck with how many times scripture, especially the Psalms, refers to Jerusalem as the city God loves. Why did God love one particular city so much? Jesus wept over the wickedness of her inhabitants and the destruction the city was going to suffer. The fact is that this city and surrounding area was where the blood line of David continued even to the birth of the Child, and it was the City where, in the eternal plan of salvation, the Son of God would forever rule the universe!! Now I see! It was promised to the Baby Jesus!
When the sparkling New Jerusalem, inhabited by the redeemed who have been serving as judges for a millennium descends out of heaven (Rev. 21:2), it will come to rest where the Mount of Olives becomes a plain (Zech. 12). The city will be colossal compared to the earthly Jerusalem. It occurs to me that possibly the city, designed in a huge cube, will encompass the spot on the earth (Iraq!) located on the headwaters of the Tigris, Euphrates, Pishon and Gihon rivers (see Gen. 2:10,11) where God “placed” the Garden of Eden. As I contemplated this fact, a picture emerged in my mind: the Holy City, the bejeweled New Jerusalem, comes down from heaven and there, in a huge “atrium” is the lush Garden of Eden with the River of Life (Rev. 22:1,2) flowing through the city and the Tree of Life spanning the river, streets of gold, and…. Why, it could be the Central Park of the New Jerusalem!!! What a scene! We could fly over the City, descend into the park and walk along the crystal river and pick fruit from the Tree of Life before entering our “city” homes.
We can trust that God will fulfill every promise to the “max!” I want to be in the New Jerusalem!! It’s comforting to consider that Jesus Christ was willing to come to earth, and succeed in living a sinless life in spite of Satan‘s temptations, When He prayed “Let this cup pass from Me,” He so dreaded having to experience complete separation from His Father. In His humanness He struggled, begging to be relieved of this experience, until He finally said “Not My will but Thine be done.“ He is our Model, our Mentor. We need to understand that were it not for Christ’s victory over sin and death, we would face eternal EXTINCTION!
The same devil that taunted Jesus in Gethsemane still works to tempt and trick as many as possible into choosing to reject God and thus pay their own price for sin in eternal death. That way there will be less suffering for him to endure (see Luke 12:48 “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly…”). There will be degrees of punishment! And God will eternally “crush Satan’s head.” (Gen 3:15) The confessed and forgiven sins of the righteous which have been covered by the blood of Christ will ultimately be placed squarely on Satan as the biblical sanctuary service portrays (Lev. 16:20-22). Whatever sins may “beset” us, let us pray for deliverance and cleansing and with prayer for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, read the powerful Word of God until we are changed into new people! The inclinations we all inherit from our ancestors keep us humble, and on our knees. Only God will know if earthly “perfection” occurs. When Jesus comes and gives us immortal bodies (I Cor.15), and we go to heaven for the millennium (Rev. 20:6), Satan will be bound to earth (Rev. 20:1-3) and temptations will be a thing of the past. Hallelujah! Amen!
I’m praying for those who come to this website. I want to issue a disclaimer. I am not a Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic scholar. But what I am is an honest seeker to know my Savior. And when God helps me to understand Bible truth more fully, I can’t resist sharing it!
I’m so excited that the Baby Jesus got an inheritance and that the promises made to Him are being fulfilled. When Jesus prayed for His disciples (John 17) he prayed for all who would believe on Him through the disciples’ ministry — that’s you and me. We are part of His inheritance! We will share the “promised land” with Him forever. And since we were created for His good pleasure (Rev.4:11), I know He is looking forward to having us there!

Sep 06 Blog Topic: Knowing God=Eternal Life

Sometimes I tell people that my life began in August of 1998 at the age of 62! Reason? That’s when God gave me the “This is Life Eternal” Bible reading plan and the year that for the first time in my life, I read the entire Bible — in 3 months! I had gotten over half way through it again when in early 1999 a small study group started meeting in my home. So I returned to the beginning to read it through with them. What a thrill that was for me after failing to keep those New Year’s resolutions to read the Bible “cover-to-cover” so many times.

Now eight years later, I’ve made 13 or 14 journeys through the Bible. I’ve lost count! Each time through gets more exciting than the last for in each repetition God seems to reveal something of significance about Himself that’s a new dimension. It’s those “new dimensions” that I want to share with you month by month on a “blog.” Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine blogging about God! But here we are, and I’m praying that the brilliantly colored threads of acquaintance with Him which He has woven into the fabric of my experience as I have studied over the last eight years will enter your lives as well. Just one topic at a time seems the most doable for you and for me. Jesus never gave the disciples more at a time than they could handle.

Interestingly enough, it seems that although there are many texts which I have journaled relating to all my topics (see the sample journaling page) there always seems to be one significant, shimmering characteristic about God that reaches into my mind and sinks into my very soul becoming a new dimension of my understanding about my very best Friend. It has been said that this kind of experience can only happen to individuals who spend quality time acquainting themselves with Scripture. But I pray God will give me the words that will transplant the joy from my own soul into yours so that you will be captivated by the love of God. He wants you to know and love Him so much that communicating with Him through the Word, prayer AND witness will become your greatest happiness.

Picture the excellent craftsmanship and beauty in the earthly sanctuary. God requested that threads of varying colors would be woven through the draperies and the clothing of the priests. Some of the threads were even spun gold! Well the first shining thread that I would like for you to weave into the warp and woof of your life, is this: GOD WANTS YOU TO KNOW HIM. When I want to make a new friend or nurture old friends, I invite them home to dinner! Then we can eat good food and visit and get to know one another. Well, every time I sit down to read my Bible it’s like sitting down at a spiritual feast with Jesus (Rev. 3:20; John 14:21), and it is Jesus who is the Host and Who feeds me with flashes of inspiration that light up my life!

But haven’t we who have grown up in church and church schools always “known” God? All my life that was a phrase I heard and tried very hard to understand and hoped that I had accomplished it. And I believe God honors honest efforts. But this little rosebud of knowledge should open at least partially toward a full bloom as we consider what God has said in the scriptures about “knowing Him.” The more we learn about Him the more we realize that this quest, to know God, really know God, will be
a Friendship that will continue to bloom and grow for all eternity!!

Jesus presented this concept powerfully as He spoke to His disciples just before His betrayal. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent.” This is the formula from Jesus Himself: knowing God = Eternal Life! It can’t get any simpler than that!

Hear the words of Hosea 6:3: “Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know Him! Then He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” (New Living Translation – this is NOT a paraphrase)

Now hear the words of the Lord in Hosea 6:6: “I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifices. I want you to KNOW God; that’s more important than burnt offerings.” God does not expect us to accomplish this on our own. Every time we open the Bible we need to ask the Holy Spirit to guide our minds. I John 5:20 says: “And we know that the Son of God has come and He has given us understanding so that we can know the true God!” God gave John understanding and He will give it to you, too.

Jer. 9:23, 24 says: “This is what the Lord says, ’Let not the wise man gloat in his wisdom, or the mighty man in his might, or the rich man in his riches. Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord Who is just and righteous, Whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things! I, THE LORD, HAVE SPOKEN!!’ “ So God wants us to have knowledge AND understanding regarding His unfailing love and justice. It delights God when we learn about Him, see His love, and love Him above all else in return.

Solomon got some wise advice from King David just before he died. “And Solomon, my son, get to know the God of your ancestors. Worship and serve Him with your whole heart and with a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and understands and knows every plan and thought…” 1 Chron 28:9 Is God your closest Friend? He knows your every plan and thought — and loves you anyway! He seeks our friendship — Awesome God!

God knows about the distractions in our lives, Isaiah 5:12,13: “You furnish lovely music and wine at your grand parties, the harps, lyres, tambourines, and flutes are superb! But you never think about the Lord or notice what He is doing! So I will send my people into exile far away because they do not know Me. . .” Isn’t this incredible? The people in Jerusalem and Judah, could throw some sophisticated parties apparently. But they didn’t have time to think about God or even notice what He’s doing! How many times has God done helpful things for us, but we didn’t perceive that it was Divine intervention. When I’m on an errand for the church, low on time and in a hurry, was it just an accident that the closest parking space to the storefront was available? Listen, friends, the devil doesn’t want that errand for God to be accomplished. No. If he had his way, everyone who loves God would be DEAD. So I ask you again – Who saved that parking space for you? Give God the credit and learn to “notice what He is doing!!!” — for YOU! It doesn’t have to be big dramatic things He does, to merit our appreciation. He cares about every detail of your lives.

Here is the situation. You have been offered a role in the great controversy drama. Your part is to demonstrate to the universe that you trust and love God supremely. Recommit your life to Him, start reading His Word for the purpose of KNOWING HIM, and keep your mind open to the certainty that He is moving in your life in a very direct and personal way. Then as you “notice what He is doing!“ SHARE THAT WITNESS – with anyone – on a plane, a ship, at home – wherever you are, God will give you opportunity to talk about what He has done for you. It will change your life! I declare it on the authority of Malachi 3:16-18. Read it! You will probably see this text frequently over the next year or so. It has become one of my very favorite texts. And gives me a new perception about witnessing: the loving things we say about God are heard in heaven(!) and written down in God’s BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE! How about that?

There are too many texts in my journal about “knowing God” to comment on all of them. So here is a partial list for further study: Prov. 30:2; Heb. 8:7-11, esp. vs. 11; Titus 1:16; II Thess. 1:8; Jer. 4:22; I Cor. 15:34; Isa 11:9 (I really like this one in the NLT Bible); Jer. 22:15,16; Jer. 23:18 (the NLT reads: “But can you name even one of these prophets who knows the Lord well enough to hear what he is saying?…”); Col 1:10

Feel free to respond with your thoughts or questions. I will be praying that many of those who visit this site will start spending time with God in all the ways that are available to us. If the This is Life Eternal Bible Reading Plan works for you, then I will praise God! I hope that you will enjoy the journey!

Next month, October, there will be a new “journal (blog)” issued: God’s Personality