The Presumptuous Ladybug

A blog about Faith, Family, Life....and Anything else

Tag: Jesus

Who Is God?-Part 3 (Is God REALLY Good?)

Answering the question of ‘Who is Jesus?’ in a few sentences is about as hard as trying to explain the existence of time in a couple of words.  Nonetheless, I’m going to attempt to, at least, explain the God I’ve come to know.  Yes, I said ‘know’.  He isn’t abstract or distant, He is here with me every day.  It is said that faith is believing in what you cannot see and when I open my eyes, I see the work of God all around me.  For me, it isn’t so much a matter of faith as it is a matter of accepting what I see as the work of God.  The depth of his story is so much deeper than I can explain in 3 short parts. It is hard to stop and break it all down, please don’t take my word for it.  I hope that if you read this it will prompt you to do two things. 1) Ask God to reveal himself to you and then let Him say whatever He wants to say without preexisting notions interfering. 2) Give the Bible a chance, take a look and see what it says for yourself; see if what I write is true.

The Role of the Sacrificial Lamb

I discussed the Old Testament God with you in the last two parts and ended with this idea that God needed to do something much bigger in order to bring true and lasting redemption to humanity.  Something I didn’t mention was the sacrificial lamb.  The very nature of sin demands death as payment.  It, simply, is the cost of sin.  God established for the first humans an alternative; they could offer a sacrificial lamb to take the place of their death.  It couldn’t be the sick, filthy, lame lamb no one wanted; it had to be as perfect as possible in order to be a sufficient replacement.  In this way the lamb paid the price of sin rather than the humans themselves.  Was it what God wanted? No.  What He had wanted was lost long ago when Adam and Eve pursued their own desires over a relationship with our Creator.  Since God wasn’t ready to give up on humanity He provided an alternative, as unsatisfactory as it may have been, it worked.  The price sin demanded was appeased temporarily through the sacrificial lamb.

But the time for a temporary fix was closing.  God came to earth and entered into humanity as a baby in order to know every part of being human and, ultimately, to be the most perfect, eternal “fix” for sin. Jesus came to be our permanent sacrificial lamb.

The God who made his way to earth is not pious, or vindictive.  He did not come as an angry God or glorious God.  He came humbly.

Isaiah also tells us that the Messiah was unattractive.  He came in every way possible so as to not attract shallow flaky believers, but to find those who were willing to love him back because they came to know Him intimately and to trust Him.

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain…surely he took our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken down by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed…We all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way…he was led like a lamb to the slaughter…For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors…the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.  The LORD will call you back…”  Isaiah 53-54:6

The God who came, wanted redemption and healing for our souls and He still wants that for each and every one of us.

So He came gently, humbly, and as a servant to show the world how to be gentle and humble and how to serve.

Who Are You God?

I asked Him once: “What do you want me to understand about you?  Who are you really?”  He answered me with John 13, the chapter in the Bible where Jesus washes his disciple’s feet.  The King of the Universe got on his knees before his students and gently washed their stinky, filthy, calloused, fungus feet with joy.

What the heck?  Really?

I wonder how many times He had to dump the water before he was done washing those 12 pairs of feet.

Feet are dirty, but there is some symbolism there because not only does Jesus gently wash our stinky feet, he washes our stinky souls too.

“After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”  John 13:5

He came to offer us peace.  He came to pay the price that sin requires and to offer us an opportunity to know him intimately.  He only asks that we accept the gift and not reject him.

And, no matter how much we might want him to, He can’t simply give it to us.  We have to receive it.  He isn’t the kind of God to push it on us or make us accept it.  He offers this gift, what we do with it is up to us, we have that choice.

Nabeel Qureshi states it well in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus:

“But how can Allah be just if He “simply forgives’ arbitrarily?  God is not arbitrary.  He is absolutely just.  How would He be just if He forgave arbitrarily?  No, He cannot ‘just forgive us if he chooses’.  The penalty for my sins must be paid.”

Jesus paid the price.  But He didn’t stay dead.  He is God after all.  And death cannot hold God hostage.  I worship a loving, compassionate God who defeated death for our sake because He loves us so intently, so deeply that He refused to let sin have the final say.  He refused to give up on us.  And, He hasn’t given up yet.  He is waiting…

Waiting for you to decide if you believe him or not.

He is a good God.  He does care.  He cares deeply.  Much more deeply than most of us realize or can even fathom but sin has a place in this world and the nature of sin is death and destruction.  The knowledge of good and evil isn’t so wonderful after all.  Satan knew what he was doing that fateful day when he deceived Eve, but God isn’t to blame for that, selfish ambition is.

We live in a cursed world far from the world it was intended to be, but the good God who created it intends for restoration and ultimately He will have it.

If we trust Him and believe what He says then we can also see Him at work in the details of our lives.

And, there is nothing arbitrary about it.

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

This is the third part of a series “Who is God?” and part of Is God REALLY Good?  Take a look at  Part 1 and Part 2  of “Who is God?” if you want.   Please know that the conclusion of Is God REALLY Good is due to post in two weeks on Monday, May 8th, 2017.  Feel free to share any thoughts.  

God thinks You’re Cool- An Easter Message

Today is Easter Sunday.  As I’ve gone through the activities and celebrations of the day I’ve been thinking about the implications as well.  The concept of Resurrection Sunday, as it is also called, can be hard to grasp.  If I understand Easter as fully as I’m able, it’s even a bit perplexing…

Why would God Almighty go through torture and death for my sake?  Why does he want a relationship with us that badly?

Why are we important to God?

GOD?!

You see I find it immensely easy to remember all the reasons I have been rejected in the past.  All the reasons I don’t quite measure up.

It’s easy to consider all of the ways in which failure and lacking dwell within me.  Perhaps you can relate.

All the ways in which we are not Most Popular, Parent of the Year, Best Dressed, Most successful, Employee of the Month, Prettiest, Smartest…

The list goes on, doesn’t it?

Many of us are more likely to win Frumpiest, Hottest Mess, Clumsiest, Nerdiest, Dirtiest house, Owner of Worst Behaved Dog, Most Likely To Be Forgotten, Most Anxious, Most Spastic…

I mean….why on earth would God want us?

What is more, why would he sacrifice his life for us?  Are we really worth it?  Are we really all that great?

We kinda aren’t.

And yet…maybe we are…

I mean maybe we actually are pretty cool.

We are created in God’s image, we think for ourselves, we have the ability to believe or not believe to choose or not choose.  We can be utterly selfish or totally self-sacrificing.  We have the ability to love deeply and trust totally…

We have righteous potential and somehow God sees past all the crap and sees everything we can be and everything he created us to be; and what he sees are beautiful messes so complicated and so multifaceted that the question moves from “Why love us?” to “What’s not to love?”

We are worth it.

The lie out there is that we aren’t worth it.  That we are too damaged, too fallen, too unlovable, too dirty, to odd, too socially awkward, too silly, too dorky, too ugly, too fat, too dumb…

But…they’re lies.

Lies we try desperately to fight against when we don’t have to.

Who cares what other people think!

The God of the Universe thinks you are pretty awesome!

He loves you, he wants you, he died to prove it.  And, because he is God, he overcame death so that death doesn’t have to hold us back or keep us down.  The Spirit of Death doesn’t need to have any power in our lives.  Our souls can be free if we walk with him; if we say “Yes,” to Jesus.

He thinks you are so great and sees all your beauty, ability, and potential, all he wants is for you to want him back; for the love to be mutual.

The risk was worth it to him.

The risk of rejection was worth it!

That is how deep his love is for us…for you…

“I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays his life down for the sheep.” John 10:11

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

All you have to do is say “Yes.”

“Yes, I accept your gift of friendship.  Yes, I accept you into my life.  Yes, I surrender and will let you be my peace.  Yes, I will let you carry my burdens.  Yes, I am not perfect.  Yes, I sin.  Yes, I need your forgiveness for rejecting you up until now.  Yes, I want you in my life.  Yes, I believe.”

Are you ready to surrender?

“If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is LORD,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Believe and admit it.  Be willing to speak the name of Jesus.  Don’t hide your belief in him as if you are ashamed of him; that is all that God asks.

If you are ready to accept Christ into your life, don’t wait.  Do it now.  Then, let someone else who believes know and if you have a chance let me know so I can pray for you.

Peace be with you!

 

Who is God? Part 2 – Is God Really Good?

God of the Bible

The story of God continues with the birth of Cain and then Able in Genesis Chapter 4. Now sin and death have entered the picture and each boy comes into the world and develops different hearts and different desires. They still have access to God through the strained relationship their parents have with Him but Cain was self-indulgent and tried to pull a fast one on God, and God, knowing his heart, was not pleased. Cain got angry because God found favor with his brother Abel but not with him. God, like a parent, came to Cain and essentially said, “Why are you angry? If you make good choices and do the work you are able to do, then I would be happy with you.” (Genesis 4:6-10)

Cain found different solution, kill Abel.

A logical choice clearly.

God, knew that Cain was guilty of murder and Cain was forced to leave and become a wanderer.  Cain eventually married and had children, but, because Cain was not faithful to God that is where his story ends. Those who ventured off became their own master’s but they also missed out on the promises and blessings God intended for them. The Bible follows the story of those who were faithful to him.  And through their stories of faith, struggle, rejection, and redemption the story of God is also told.

After Cain and Able, Seth was born.  Seth was faithful and so the story of God continued to the next generation.  The population continued to grow and with growth came more people who rejected God while the faithful grew smaller and smaller in number.

THE FLOOD

That bring us to Genesis 6 and the flood. The people in the world had grown so selfish and prideful that they fully rejected God and his heart was grieved. But the real reason for the flood was something beyond that. God didn’t simply flood the earth because he was sad that he had been forsaken.  Genesis 6 tells us that the “sons of God” (angels) saw that the “daughters of men” (human women) were beautiful and desirable.

Then guess what happened?!

The angels started sleeping with these beautiful human women and impregnated them.

Ok, I know it sounds outlandish, but we are talking about the story of GOD! An all-powerful supernatural being…

Anyway, the angels slept with the women and got them pregnant and they had children who were half angel and extremely powerful and also immortal. These are referred to as The Nephilim. They were big shots and heroes so to speak, unfortunately, they were also “evil.”

Perfect!  What could possibly go wrong?

Super strong, evil immortals leading the people of earth.  Seriously, if you were God wouldn’t that be a little bit concerning to you? I’m just asking because I can see why this was a problem.

At that point God’s heart was so filled with pain at the wickedness of the people that He wished He had never created humanity. He decided that the only thing he could do was wipe the world out.  The people were wayward and wicked and following evil immortals and the world was getting pretty rotten pretty quickly.

This wasn’t what God wanted.  I’m convinced he put it off as long as possible and only turned to this option when there were no others.

But then, God saw Noah.

And, as it turns out, Noah was from the line of Seth and was a good man despite all the wickedness around him.

Is that not cool, or what?  Noah…from the line of Seth, who happened to choose God…

God saw Noah and saw that he was blameless among the people of his time. This does not mean that Noah was perfect, but he was walking with God the best he could. God saw his heart and had mercy on him.  This isn’t just for Noah because remember, God loves to be in relationship with us and Noah was still seeking God and so his story continued.  Noah built the ark and he, with all his family got in, and God sent the flood waters.

A New Beginning

After the flood, God got to start over, so to speak, with humanity. God decided to set up an exchange of promises with Noah. Start fresh with these humans and “make an agreement” kinda thing. So basically God told Noah, “Here are the new expectations for remaining in relationship with Me. Take care of the earth and the animals. By the way, you are welcome to eat the animals now,” (which makes sense since the vegetation would have been water logged and probably covered in mud). “I give them to you to eat just as you have always had plants to eat. And you will rule over them and they will fear you.”

Rule 1: Take care of the earth. Rule 2: You can eat the animals but don’t eat meat that has lifeblood in it. In other words, don’t be savages and eat or drink animal blood.  Rule 3: Don’t murder each other or there will be consequences. (Genesis 9:6).

So we went from 1 rule in The Garden to 3 rules post flood.  Three rules to follow, and actually, the first two aren’t even really rules per say, more like expectations that are to be upheld.  I don’t think God was being unreasonable here.

Again we see that God remained with the people who were faithful to follow and worship him.  God loves all of us, but he doesn’t promise blessings to those who reject Him.  This also does not mean that those who follow God are perfect but they are covered by his grace and able to remain in relationship with him.

THE POINT of the STORY

The rest of the Bible really, is about how God sought and found those who wanted Him. It is the battle of sin and the grip it has on our souls verses our freedom and peace with God. It is the story of the Israelite people; how God blessed them or withheld blessings when they were most sinful. It is the story of God’s heartbreak over their continuous rejection of Him despite His love for them. And, it is the story of his relentless pursuit of faithful people.

But, we can’t stay faithful and we fall away so easily.  Redemption seemed out of reach.  We needed a permanent solution.  Sin came into the world and it was messing everything up.  It needed conquered once and for all and only God himself could bring a permanent redemption and bring light to darkness, life to death, and relationship to brokenness.  But it meant doing something big…really big…

Author: Jacqi Kambish

This is Part 2 in the series “Who is God?”  where we are exploring the goodness of God.  Stay tuned for Part 3 due to post on Monday, April 23, 2017.  Feel free to go back and view the other parts of this series Is God Really Good? and Who is God?- Part 1

Who is God? – part 1 (Is God Really Good?)

As I was thinking about how to tackle to subject of whether or not God is really good, I realized that it would probably be a good idea to explore who God is.  How do we know if he is really good if we don’t know anything about him?  I can’t claim to know all the inner thoughts of God.  Heck, I am still growing and learning about God myself.  However, we do have one source to go for answers about what God actually thinks. That source is the Bible.  So, here is the story of God according to the Bible.  (This is a paraphrased summary so I encourage you to go read for yourself and test my words.)  There is a lot in the Bible, but here is a hint: in the end it’s really all about Jesus.

Genesis 1 starts us off with the beautiful and spectacular story of creation.  God delicately creates and forms the universe, the land, the sea, the creatures, and the first humans.  This is the start of everything.  And everything was good and beautiful and perfect.  But, God wanted more than perfect creations, he wanted (and still wants) relationship.  In Genesis 2:15 God gives Adam a rule. One rule. One little rule that was to be obeyed. That one rule was: Do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I believe they had a rule so that they had the opportunity to choose whether or not to love and trust God based on their own heart’s desires because… true love is a choice.  That was it; one rule and total freedom in paradise otherwise. They were also given one responsibility: Take care of the animals and the garden.

The trouble began when Adam and Eve could not follow that one rule (Genesis 3). Great! They had one rule and they broke it. Unfortunately, the punishment was spiritual death; sin entered the human soul and we were separated from eternal and personal interaction with God Almighty.

Oops!

Our bodies also became mortal. God had tried to warn Adam and Eve, telling them that eating the fruit of that one tree would result in death, but they wanted to follow their own desires and what they desired was to be their own god.  What Eve wanted was the wisdom of God, what she and Adam failed to hear and understand was that the knowledge of both good and evil came with a very steep price.  Up until then, they had only experienced good.  Rather than trust God they listened to Satan, who made death seems like something desirable.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”  Genesis 3:6

Sin then produced a punishment and it stunk, but God still loved them just as he still loves us.  Except, after that the relationship had changed. Instead of walking beside and talking to God daily, God’s friends could no longer be in his presence.  Sin created a separation that could not simply and easily be undone.  While we frequently may consider the feelings of Adam and Eve in this and perhaps see God as a temperamental and unfaithful friend who removed himself, the truth is that God was deeply saddened by the choices the first human’s made.  The people he created to share life with chose to pursue their own desires rather than his friendship.  What they coveted was something out of reach while they remained obedient to the one rule God had given them.  And, although the rule was to give them choice, it was also there for their protection.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37

You see?  God will not force himself into your life.  He will not demand your obedience, or love, or friendship.  He simply puts himself out there.  What happens next is up to you.

Are you willing?

As a parent I have rules to protect my kids, they still have a choice whether or not to trust me and obey or to do what they want.  Frequently, when they choose to pursue their own desires there are consequences.  Sometimes those consequences hurt and create broken relationships and loss of trust.  This is exactly what happened for Adam and Eve and their friendship with God.

Despite that, God still wanted Adam and Eve to know him.  Throughout history, God has pursued redemption, healing, and reconciliation with humanity because regardless of the brokenness, God still wants relationship with us…even in our sin and sorrow; every part of us.

Why?

Because God is good.

This is the God that I know.  A God who wants each of us and pursues us even to our death beds.  A God who was willing to sacrifice everything in order to create lasting and permanent redemption.  A God who forgives the worst of sins and betrayal.  God…almighty and supreme…still wants you and me.

Is there anything more spectacular than that?

“This is how God showed his love for us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”

1 John 4:9

Author: Jacqi Kambish 

This is the second post in a series titled: “Is God REALLY Good?”   The first post may be of interest to you: Is God Really Good?  Also stay tuned for “Who is God-Part 2” due to post on Monday, April 10, 2017.