How Great is Our God?

How GreatLast week I did a post of why you are not worthless. It’s absolutely true. But there is another way people think. Instead of thinking that we are worthless and that God should have nothing to do with us, they think that they have a right to be with God, they deserve it.

I think we think both ways, just at different moments in our lives. At one time we think that we’re so below God (How could You love sinful people like us?), at another time we think that He needs to bless us (How could You do this to me?).

Both of these opposite types of thinking come from, first and foremost, just being sinful people, but I think it is also partly due to the fact that we don’t understand God. Now, I definitely don’t believe that I can make you fully understand God. I don’t fully understand Him myself. But maybe I can try to give you a glimpse of what God is like for you to begin to comprehend Him.

Last week I discussed God’s love and His saving grace. Today, I want to speak of God’s greatness, His holiness.

He created the Heavens and the Earth in days. He could’ve have done it quicker, but he was  setting an example for the way we were to live. Six days of work and one day of rest. Have you ever imagined how it went about? There was nothing. If you imagine an empty space, that’s not right, because that’s something. God spoke words, just words, and out of nothing came something. It is scientifically impossible, but with God all things are possible.

God is holy, no one else is. Holy means consecrated, sacred, separate, and/or set apart. He is perfect. This holiness was the reason He can not even look at sin. It was the reason the Israelites sacrificed unblemished lambs to pay the price for their sins. It was the reason the temple had to be built to God’s design for Him to dwell in it. It was the reason priests were struck down dead on entering the temple, if they had not been cleansed of their sins first.

Even so, at our best we are still filthy and dirty in God’s eyes.

Isaiah 64:6

We are all infected and impure with sin.
When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

His perfection is incomprehensible to us. He can not sin. Every act, every decision is good and right.

There’s are terrible, horrible things happening all around the world at every moment. We may not think about it much, but when we do…we can question God’s authority. I know I do. Why would He let these things happen? Is God committing these acts? No, it is not even in God’s nature to be able to do such a thing.

Job 1:12

“All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.

But He does allow bad things to happen. Look at Job. He went through some things I’m sure 99.99% of people will never go through. And though it is hard for us to understand, God allowed it to happen.

God let’s Satan do His work, but in the end, Satan will lose.

No matter what happens, God is blameless.

Isaiah 55:8

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

We may not understand now, I’m sure in Heaven everything will be revealed to us clearly.

Job 36:26

Look, God is greater than we can understand.
His years cannot be counted.

God’s greatness can not be measured by any of our standards. Though we will put God in this mold (or box) that allows our finite minds to comprehend Him. But, in reality, He is infinite and incomprehensible. So let’s take away the mold, the box and see God for who He really is.

G. Paige

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To Christian Teens: It Doesn’t Matter What People Think

To Christian Teens_So it’s another day for a blog post. What should I talk about today? Well…I recently read The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller. It was a really short and easy read, but it made some great points that I’d like to maybe expand upon.

This is a shout out to all the teenagers out there: don’t let your fear control who you are or even more important, who you become. Now by saying this I’m not saying that I don’t have any fear, that I’m not afraid. That would be an absolute lie. I’m afraid, a lot.

I’m afraid of failing in my schoolwork. I’m afraid of not getting everything I need to get done to graduate from high school. I’m afraid of meeting new people (it’s not as bad as it was a few years ago). I’m afraid for my siblings and all those people I know who aren’t saved. What if they don’t accept Christ into their hearts and lives?

Everyone is afraid of something and these are just a few of mine. And you know many of these fears boil down to? Not being good enough. A fear of being average. And you know what?

We will never be good enough.

We try day after day to live up to media’s standards or social standards or our standards or whoever’s standards. We try to do this because we care about what people think of us. We want to be popular, to be liked. But we won’t ever live up to these standards or people. We can’t. Our sinful nature will always get in the way.

1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:3-4

As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

It doesn’t matter what people think. Their opinions do not matter. In the end, we will only be headed to Heaven or Hell. These standards are useless. All we do is full short of them (unless they’re so low as to make us feel bad about having such low standards).

The only standard and opinion that matters is God’s. And because of Christ, we are seen as blameless before Him.

Romans 8:1

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

It doesn’t matter what we’ve done or what we will do. We’re saved forever.

So don’t let your fears control you. Don’t worry about what other people think. Don’t even worry about what you think. God’s opinion is the only opinion that matters and He has already proclaimed you His own child!

Romans 8:34

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

There is no need for fear. This is a time to rejoice!

-G. Paige

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God and the Old Testament (Part 1)

ahr-largeSo I want to do a post on God, His love, and His relationship with us. I decided that I’d split it into two parts. One focusing on God in the Old Testament and one on God in the New Testament and, of course, today’s time, because there is a bit of a difference between the two.

In the beginning God created the world. He created everything, and I mean everything. There is not one thing the isn’t made by God. That means He created us. You know why? To glorify Him. We were made to share fellowship with Him and glorify Him through that.

But when Adam and Eve sinned, we fell from that perfection and could do nothing to save ourselves. We couldn’t glorify Him like we should’ve been able to. Then Adam and Eve’s descendants (except Noah and his family) turned to wickedness and it broke God’s heart.

Genesis 6:6

So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.

He then brought His righteous anger down and brought about a flood. All people except Noah his family were destroyed.

Through many years after that, God spoke to men who became the ancestors of His chosen people: the Israelites. Some of those men were Abram, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. He loved them dearly and when they followed Him faithfully, He blessed them. But those whose sinned greatly…think of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Now I’m not saying that in the Old Testament God was a God of anger and in the New Testament He was a God of love. I know some people believe that, but it is really not true. God doesn’t change, He stays the same.

Malachi 3:6

I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.

God can be angry and punish us because He is, first of all, God. God has the ultimate authority over us and everything. We all deserve hell, but because He a loving and merciful God He hasn’t sent us there. A second reason is that He is good. He can’t do anything wrong. No matter how wrong God’s decisions seems to us, it is right. I know, that is hard to believe at times and we’ll never fully understand it until we’re in Heaven.

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Exodus 20:6
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But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

In the book Exodus, God gave the Israelites “official” commandments to follow. But time and time and time again the Israelites turned away to idols and other idolatrous things. You see, the commandments only more showed how the Israelites couldn’t obey all of them and be perfect. It showed them that they needed a savior, because they couldn’t do it on their own. Do you see where this is heading?

The Old Testament is mainly the history of the Israelites and how they followed God and then turned away, then turned back to God and then turned away…you know what I mean. Though God was merciful and loving so He didn’t totally wipe them out like He could have, He punished and/or reprimanded them. He is a God of justice.

Throughout what seems the hopelessness of the Old Testament: how the Israelites always fall short of God’s commands, we actually see hope too of a coming savior who will set them (us) free from the law. The Old Testament prophecies of hope and redemption.

Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.

Isn’t that wonderful? There was hope. Next time I will post on that hope which is now a reality.

-G. Paige

To Christian Teens: Why We Need To Obey Our Parents

aheartredeemedimageWe, as teens with parents, have been told time and time again to obey our parents. But do we really know why? Why should we obey our parents? This is what I want to go into a bit today.

Colossians 3:20

Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.

Since we were created to glorify God, we should want to please Him, the creator of the universe. If we live in Jesus, he gives us the ability to please and obey Him. If pleasing Him includes obeying our parents then I think we should do just that. That’s good enough of a reason, right? We should want to obey God with every fiber of our being. So why don’t we?

1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:34‬

Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.

I believe it is the consequence of living in a fallen world. Sin is such a big temptation for us. It’s part of our nature to sin. So we disobey our parents either with disrespect, back talk, lies, and the list goes on. There are many reasons why: maybe we want control and we’re tired parents telling us what to do (we are teenagers, we can make our own decisions, right) or maybe we just are in a really bad mood and don’t want to listen to anyone (I do that quite a bit) or maybe we want to disobey, just to cross the line. Either way, we are teenagers so that means we should be able to see that obeying our parents is the right thing to do.

Ephesians‬ ‭6:1-3‬

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

It’s still very hard though, isn’t it? But if we lean and trust in Jesus Christ. We can do anything.

Luke 18:27

He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

When it feels impossible, just remember that: God is with you all the way, so what can be impossible? Anyways, your parents are probably trying to follow God too and do right by you. They are trying to teach you to do what is right so you won’t make any mistakes that you later regret. They have so much more experience than you. They have your best interests at heart. But most importantly, they love you. God gave you to them. So whatever punishment you think is unfair or whatever thing they told you to do that you don’t think you should, know that it is for your own benefit. And most likely, in later years (or now) you’ll be so grateful to have had such amazing God-loving parents. What could we have done without them? They’re a small reflection of what our Father in Heaven is like.

Proverbs 13:24

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

Our parents are just doing what they’re called to do. We don’t have to love it, but we can respect and honor their decisions. We’ll really appreciate it later.

So I’m just going to shout out to my parents. Thanks Mom and Dad for being such spectacular parents to me! I love you guys and I want you to know that it really really really means a lot how much that you’ve done and your doing for me.

-G. Paige
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John 3:1-21

Two blog posts in one day. “Are you crazy???” you might be asking. “Well, yes, I probably am,” I would reply. The real reason for this second post today is I’ve been doing a lot of book reviews (well, I do read a lot). That is good and all (I know), but I would like to do a post about the Bible, essentially Christ. He is one of the main reasons I started this blog so I can share my faith in Christ.

So, on to the central subject for this blog post. A little backstory first, though. Just a few days ago I joined a group on Goodreads. Anyways, we started going through the gospel of John, reading a chapter a day. Today being chapter three I decided I would talk about it more in-depth on my blog. Here we go.

John 3:1-2

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

First let’s find out what a “Pharisee” is. Pharisees were usually middle-class businessmen. They were held in higher regard by common man than the Sadducees. They believed the Bible (which was only the Old Testament at the time) was inspired by God, but the same authority given to the Bible was given to oral traditions they had.

Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:2‬

“Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you. Just obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you.”

So these Pharisees were directly disobeying the Word of God they believed in and followed! This man, Nicodemus, was a Pharisee and that means he most likely believed in these things too (at that time, maybe not so much later). Anyways, back to the verses above. Nicodemus came to Christ after dark one evening, which probably means he didn’t want anyone to know where he was going or no one to recognize him on his way to where Jesus was staying. We can only guess, but John did take the time to mention it so it might have some importance. Now, to move on:

‭John‬ ‭3:3-8‬ ‭

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

Here, Jesus tells Nicodemus that to see the Kingdom of God you must be born again. Now, lets think for a moment. We (those of us who have been Christians for awhile) have probably heard the words “born again” so many times that it doesn’t sound strange to us. But for people (like Nicodemus) hearing those words for the first time, imagine how strange that must sound. Born again. I like how Nicodemus is not afraid to ask what “born again” means. The Jesus answers and gives us this simile of how you know the wind is there but you can’t tell where it came from or where it is going, so you can’t tell how people are reborn of the Spirit.

John‬ ‭3:9-15

“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked. Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.”

Though Nicodemus is a Pharisee and probably understands the Old Testament so very well, he can’t understand what Jesus is saying. Jesus assures him that he is telling the truth but Nicodemus just won’t believe. If he can’t believe what Jesus says about earthly things, how can he believe what he says about heavenly things? Yes, if he can’t believe the stuff that is proved right in front of him, how much harder it would be for him to believe in things he cannot see. Next, Jesus says no one has gone to Heaven and returned, but the Son of Man has come from Heaven and must be lifted up (like Moses lifted up the bronze pole) so everyone who believes can have eternal life. The Son of Man is an interesting title to use in this context, don’t you think? Man is from the earth and quite frankly, of the earth. The Son of Man must come from Heaven, but to say the “Son of Man” is almost like saying the “Son of Earth”. Just something to think about.

John 3:16

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

I think this sums up the New Testament pretty nicely.

John‬ ‭3:17-21‬

“God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants‭‭.”

This is an interesting section. Jesus came to save the world not to judge it, but those who do not believe in Him will be judged. This is the short version.

Well, that’s all for now. I did not realize how long of a post this has turned out to be (I hope I have not been too boring). 🙂

-G. Paige

God is in Control (He Always Has a Plan)

So as you might have noticed these last two weeks (and in the coming weeks) I have not been posting as often as I should. They will probably be like this for the next couple weeks maybe even a month or so. Why? Well…my family and I are moving so without Internet it might get a bit hard to post. Just sayin’. I can’t work miracles (but we do know one who can).

So…we are moving to Puerto Rico! Oh, it is going to be so different from the United States. I am SO excited!!! It will be so amazing, but sometimes I feel like life can get so crazy that we wonder, is God really in control?  We all have those moments when we feel insecure. And with my life going a little crazy right now…I thought this would be a great topic.

God is in control, no matter how hard it gets. Look at what the Bible says.

‭‭Job‬ ‭12:10‬

For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.”

The life of every living thing is in His hand, isn’t that amazing? He holds everything in his hands. Nothing is out of His control. If something were out of His control, He wouldn’t be God.

Deuteronomy 31:6

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

It is so comforting to know that, as Christians, God will be with us all the way. We will never be alone. We never ever need to fear that God will leave us. No matter what happens, no matter where we are in life, He (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit combined) will always be with us. He is forever faithful.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

So when you’re feel unsure and you feel like how could God be in control of this or maybe why would He let this happen, know that God has a plan for you. He always has a plan. He will never ever fail you, me, and anyone who believes and trusts in Him. I know it’s hard, especially when we haven’t seen Jesus face to face.

John 20:29

Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.

There is proof that Jesus (God essentially) exists all around us. But even though it is still harder for us to believe is Jesus without having seen Him like the many people who did about two thousand years ago (it is even harder when you are going through tough times), we are blessed. And we can have just as strong a faith (or belief) in Jesus Christ as those who saw Him had. Our faith (or belief) can even be stronger than them because we rely on faith not sight.

‭Psalms‬ ‭147:5‬

How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!

Why certain things happen we may never fully understand (at least, until we are in Heaven with Christ). As the verse above says, His understanding is beyond comprehension. But God does has a plan for us and is in control of everything, no matter how horrible and unjust it seems. This next verse says about the same thing but adds a little more.

Isaiah 55:9

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

So, I’ll repeat, God is in control. Your life, my life, is in His Hands. Everything that happens, happens for a purpose, whether we can decipher that purpose or not before we go to Heaven. “my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” That speaks such truth. God is God; we are not God so we will not be able to fully comprehend or understand God until we go to Heaven and become perfect. I can’t wait to be able to look back on my life and see God’s Plan for me.

-G. Paige