May June 2021
Who is God? It seems like a simple question, but it’s not. Everyone seems to have an answer, and they vary depending on who you talk to. The question is, from what source are you drawing your information or inspiration? Is it your experience, good or bad, your desires, what others write about God or what God has written in the Bible? As you can imagine, those who grace our doors are coming from a tough start in life. Sometimes we make bad decisions, sometimes the bad decisions of others make us. But either way, our fate or our history can shape our view of God.
As we study and talk together it doesn’t take long for a person’s view of God to surface. I can tell you, it’s hard to respond rightly to a wrong view of God. If you see your Heavenly Father like you see your earthly father, you might have hesitation trusting God. If you’ve spent most or all of your early years experiencing trauma, trials and hardship, you might be asking yourself if there is a God and if there is, how could He let this happen. You might be living in fear of when the next crisis will erupt. You can see how easy it is for us to develop a false view of who God is. Sometimes we embrace a false view of God intentionally to justify our desires or bitterness, sometimes unintentionally through the sum of our experiences. Rest assured the evil one is working overtime to malign our glorious Father.
Years ago I had my name maligned and it was a painful experience. I do a good job of making a mess of things on my own, let alone someone else working to compound it. Our culture teaches us to have a good image; that’s who we want people to think we are regardless of who we are. God tells us to establish a good name; that’s who we are regardless of who people think we are. People will always misunderstand us for a variety of reasons, I just hate to see them bypass God for lack of understanding. I can tell you that God is pure love in every way; that’s who He says He is and that’s who He proves Himself to be.
We talk these things through at our Bible studies.
We want free will, we just don’t want the fruit of our free will. Our society likes to think it can sin and others won’t be hurt, but this is simply not possible. So the Lord takes the rap for our sin and consequences, but even in the midst of our sin and earthly messes, God is working faithfully and compassionately to draw us back into fellowship with Himself. We deserve the fruit of our sin, and yet He is merciful to forgive and restore us to Himself.
So, how do we get past these false images of God? I believe the answer is in personally experiencing God Himself. Seek Him in His Word- for what comes out of the mouth is in the heart, and it is His heart that we seek. Seek Him in Prayer- more in listening than speaking. I have found that it is at the “end of my self” that I hear from the Lord. We must get past our will, our desires and our clutter to hear from the Father, but when we do hear from Him, it surpasses anything we hear from the world. Seek Him in Obedience- our Lord is first obeyed, then understood through our faith and faithfulness. Seek His Love- this is the love that we long for, but cannot find in this world. Once you truly find it, you wouldn’t trade it for anything.
So this is my goal; to show our guests who God really is. The irresistible and glorious God, the compassionate and merciful God, the forgiving and restorative God, the powerful and sovereign God, and yes, the judge and ruler of the earth God. My goal is to not teach them what to believe, but to teach them How to Believe and Who to Believe! To introduce them to who God really is, and teach them how to enter His sanctuary and meet Him face to face. If they learn How to Believe and Who to Believe, then they will be equipped for success in life and eternity! I tell our guests that the longer they stay the better off they’ll be. Stay until your stance on the Rock is solid enough to succeed when you leave.
It is so much easier to push away the god that satan portrays, and it is so much harder to resist the Lord when you see Him as He is. He is the love, truth and compassion that we have always longed for, but never thought we’d find. Many are finding that landing at A Ray of Hope is not as bad as the dread they thought it would be. It’s pretty special to see skeptics warm up to the Lord when they find the God Who dwells here. It’s hard to resist the God who created me in His own image, who blessed me with life and who suffered, died and paid for my transgressions to welcome me into His family.