It's a very Big God we worship. A much bigger God than I can see right now. While it's tough for me to talk about such a great God, especially because we are going through a tough time right now (financially), but I am going to write about this Big God anyway - because it is true, and because it is the foundation for my life. But let me start this post by writing more about the 'Surprise Me' experiment:
God helped me this past week praying with someone and for someone who are both precious to me, but it is too private to speak of. But God surprised me with the prayer anyway. I wanted to pray one thing, but it seemed as though God changed my prayer to pray for what He was going to do.
What has me writing me about our Big God is that this morning was one of those times when I received a clearer view of God. I started out the morning thinking I would write a devotion to the Men's Group I'm in, and write about what one of those Bible issues I was wrestling with – the issue involves what Commands of Jesus are we to obey to be "in" with Him? Jesus tells us that if we love Him, than we will obey His Commands (John 14:15). But what Commands should we obey? Does Jesus just want us to love one another, and if we have this one down we are "abiding" in Him? I was all set to show all of the verses that emphasize loving one another as the centerpiece of keeping Jesus' Commands.
But this is where God surprised me. I read the 'New Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge' entry for 1 John 2:3, and I realized I may be verging on allowing cheap Grace into my life. There is a heresy of antinomianism in Christiandom today – The problem is this, we cannot lessen our obligation to obey God just because we are saved by grace alone. I trusted in God's Grace to remove ALL of my obligations to obey Jesus' Commands, and my seeing all of Jesus' Commands in one place helped me to see this. Anyway, after studying this Note in the New Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge, I realized there are dozens (perhaps over a hundred?) of Jesus' Commands that I need to follow to show my love to Jesus. It's so much more than just 'loving others' that followers of Christ need to do. I am humbled by how God keeps opening my eyes to errors in my thinking, and understanding of His Word. What does Jesus command us to do? Jesus demands it all, and I'm not feeling quite up to this today. Praise God that my salvation does not depend upon my efforts!
One more quick story to share. Yesterday I was having lunch at Sam's Club, and it was very crowded, when a woman asked if she could sit with me. I invited to have her sit with me, and I sent up a quick prayer 'OK, God is this an answer to my 'Surprise Me' prayer? Help me, guide me in our conversation'. She was a heavy set woman who was 61 years old – I knew this because I mentioned I was there to buy flowers for my Mom's birthday. She seemed to be focused on money things, she told me I could buy cheaper flowers at Aldi's, and talked about how cheap the pizza was here at Sam's Club, etc.. Then she mentioned that some friends said she looked like a Psychic on TV. I missed an opportunity to go further into this strange statement, and instead I talked about her grandchildren that she helps take care of, trying to encourage her. And we also spoke of the hot weather (I know original wasn't I?). And then I left. It was a nice conversation, but I left feeling like I missed an opportunity.
So that's my quick update. I pray all is well with you and your families. In Christ, /s/Tom.