Children of God

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” ~Philipians 2:14-15 NIV

children of God

Doing everything as though we are emulating Jesus, this is our goal! As the adopted sons and daughters that we are, and that we claim to be! God as our Father, adopted through our faith in Jesus, the Christ. By emulating our distant brother, we would not argue but rather we would possess a righteous indignation in our words and attitude. We would act with the authority of our Father, just as sovereign children of a king (of kings, that is).

The unfortunate truth is that we are wrapped up in fault, as we are faulty ourselves! We are sinners by nature, but we strive (or we should strive) for the perfection of our Father and of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We should pray, consistently, for “…all manner of workmanship…” (Exodus 31:3) that we may perform all manner of work with an excellence befitting a Child of the One True God! Even the Israelites sought such perfection in their qualities of workmanship.

We should be seeking this in our lives. The abilities to do our jobs, as mundane  or as exciting as they may be, we should each be endeavoring to do the absolute best that we can possibly do in order to glorify our God and Creator. But we cannot hope to please Him who created us by hemming and hawing our way through our workday; nor can we accomplish this by bitching wwjd1and complaining about our bosses. The only way we can do this is by doing our absolute best by determining in our hearts What Would Jesus Do? Yes, that ever loving acronym (WWJD) comes back to life, all of the time! I have found my bracelet that I purchased back in the 1990s and had taken off because the leather had snapped, but I replaced it with leather boot strap-laces. I use it as a reminder…Yes, it is sad that we species of man need reminders that we are part of something much bigger that we truly are! In the scheme of life, we are absolutely small and almost meaningless. However, in both Matthew 10 and Luke 12 we can know that we are something of value, even in the eyes of our Creator. If He, God, pays attention to a sparrow or even knowing of the hairs of our heads…does that not mean that we have value in the grander scheme of life?

We are filled with the Spirit of God, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, the same Spirit that breathed the breath of life into Adam (the first man), the same Spirit that was with David who was the man after God’s own heart. We have a powerful God who desires us to do well and to succeed in all that we do!

If we are what we think about, all day long (according to Dr. Robert Shuller); then if we would think on the tenets of the bible and the teachings of Jesus, we would (or could) be absolutely perfect! Unfortunately for us, we have a mind to shoes what we will…most times it is that which is for instant pleasure…no waiting. That is hard for us, but we can change…if we want to!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

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God is Big Enough!


God is big enough to handle our doubt.

God is big enough to allow us to be angry.

God is big enough for our toughest questions.

All too often people limit God to a box which they fashioned within their own minds, based upon all that they have heard from others. Of course, they never actually did any of the research to assure themselves of their beliefs, or to set a foundation and basis for their beliefs. Most people leave their faith behind with  the knowledge of a  12th grader. And when the espouse their arguments, they are based upon the incomplete teachings and learning of a 12th grader, as well.

What many fail to understand is that God is Big Enough! If God could handle the lions in the lion’s den and protect Daniel and his brothers,dealing with the Ninevites and Jonah’s attitude, the Babylonians, and the Sodomites…I truly believe, He can handle someone just like you and I! I, after much reading and studying of the Bible, truly believe that God is having greater difficulty dealing with man and his freedom of thought & choice than with the entire creation of the universe. Man is one tough cookie to gain a handle of, let alone deal with. Just dealing with co-workers, children, the elderly, etc. they all have their proclivities and difficulties. Our elder parents who Patton-mercywant things a specific way, but you do it another, hmmmmmmmm…

God is much bigger than we are, and far more forgiving & understanding than we are. Only He can accept our apology and repentance and give us another, and another, and yet another, chance until our final breath. Man, on the hand, carries a grudge for what seems to be a very long time; hours, days, weeks, months, years, and even lifetimes. Man, at his core, is vengeful and vindictive. Whether in time of war, or peace, man will carry on a grudge and hatred for another person or trust_godpeople. Although, there are many quotes about trusting God, but even God promotes common sense. Will God ensure that your camel won’t run away at night while you sleep? He could, but that is not proper and common sense handling of the assets which God has placed into your care. Do not think that I am suggesting pacifism, because I do not believe Jesus promoted such a thing when it was recorded by Doctor Luke:

“He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” ~Luke 22:36

I believe He was telling us to be prepared! In several of the parables that Jesus spoke to the crowds, the underlying principle and teaching was that of preparedness. Also, it was inferred from the Parable of the Vineyard that there is a time for war, at least upon first blush. Even though this very parable is telling of God’s judgement upon man in the End Times. There are other beliefs and interpretations, but I am trying to keep things simple, to the point, and focused.

Consider what was written in Ecclesiastes 3:

A Time for Everything

  There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:                                                            a time to be born and a time to die,
     a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
     a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
     a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
     a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
     a time to keep and a time to throw away,
     a time to tear and a time to mend,
     a time to be silent and a time to speak,
     a time to love and a time to hate,
     a time for war and a time for peace.   (vv. 1-8)

There is a time for everything during the course of our lives. We are obligated to be prepared for each and that our families need to be prepared for each, especially those most devastating moments (such as death, catastrophes, etc.) The only way we can be so prepared is to plan for just such a thing in our lives and train in such things.

Getting back to our main topic, God is big enough for us to trust in Him, have faith in Him and in His word! In part of a sermon series that Pastor Scott Beckenhauer has been speaking on, entitled “I Am: Embracing My Identity in Christ,” that we are warriors for Christ and this particular episode (June 19th, 2016) was specifically touching upon the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20. To be such a warrior, one must recognize that we must be prepared to do battle in not just the physical world, but in the spiritual world first and foremost! We aren’t just fighting other men, or people, but rather we are fighting the misguiding spirits which are guiding our foes against us. To adequately do so, we must be prepared properly. Spiritually, mentally, and physically. We place our complete faith upon our God, and seek His guidance by Christ through the Holy Spirit. Spend more time reading and feeding your mind with that which is good and noble, after all…

THINK-ABOUT

To think on God more often throughout your day will place His will upon your mind, and you have a better chance of understanding His purpose and His will for your life in His world. Keep in mind that God sees everything from before time until the end of time: in other words, He sees the big picture. You and I can only see small snippets of fragmented time frames.

Always remember that GOD IS BIG ENOUGH! Ponder that for a while, then think on the grandness of God and His eternal word and the gift He gave us…His Son as the final sacrifice for our sins! There is nothing that you can do to top that BIG act of Love!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

…and God repented…

judging ninevitesThe King James version of the Bible is very interesting, because it is the only version that states God repented. A rather interesting choice of words, but since “repentance” means, “a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised” according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary.

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” ~Jonah 3:10 KJV

God does not sin, so that is not necessary to have a debt cancelled; also, His life does not need to be changed; so this leaves to change His mind and purpose for the Ninevites. Because the Ninevites, of their own free will and their own accord, changed their purpose from following a pathway of evil, paganism, and debauchery. In other words, the Ninevites repented of their ways and changed their purpose to that of God’s will. They could have chosen to not listen to the word of God, or the warning of God, which Jonah evangelized throughout Nineveh. From the greatest to the lowliest of them, they dressed in sackcloth and sat in ashes and they fasted…not even a drink of water.

This book of Jonah has a great many teachings, but here, in this particular part, we learn of second chances from God, even to the Gentiles, and we learn of our free will, and let us not forget about repentance.

In the remaining books of the Old Testament people came to the man of God to learn of what God had to say, but here in the book of Jonah, it is a little bit different. In this book, the man of God was sent to a specific place to preach to the people of the city of Nineveh the warning of their impending destruction. The first evangelist, so-to-say. Either the man of God was in the king’s employ (King of Israel), or he was in the service of a foreign king (Israel conquered and Israelites enslaved.) The next known evangelist was John the Baptist and after him was Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. It was during Jesus’ ministry that his followers were sent out to preach the word of God (ref Matthew 10) to their fellow Israelites. After Jesus’ resurrection his follower’s were given the Great Commission (ref Matthew 28:16-20).

Now, getting back to Jonah, did God change His mind? No! The Ninevites changed their minds via their free will. God will want you to follow and believe Him and all He has done for you, as well as others. However, He will not make up your mind for you, you must do that yourself. Look at Jonah: He did not want to preach to the Ninevites because he knew if they repented, that God would avert His judgement of them and be that ever forgiving God that we know. That God who yields the infinite number of second chances until our dying breath. If we have not chosen to repent by that time, we will be judged according to all of our choices throughout our living days on this earth. Now, what would happen if Jonah decided a second time that he still did not want the Ninevites to be on the receiving end of God’s forgiving heart? I believe that that same fish would be waiting for him again if he went by sea, or something else if by land. God was bound and determined to give the Ninevites another chance! And I believe it was to be Jonah to do that job. Also, God needed His prophet to follow that task He had placed before him to do. God needed to win over His own messenger to His way of thinking. Teaching Jonah that he did not need to preach to the Ninevites because he loved them, but to go preach to the Ninevites because:

  1. God told him to go and preach to the Ninevites, and
  2. God loved them enough to give them another chance.

Simply put, if God tells us to do something, we should do it. We also have the obligation to “test every spirit,” but we are obligated to our Creator. Also, though we may have reservations, or judgements, against others…we are obligated to talk to those people because God loves them, just as God loves us. We are all creations of God and are in receipt of compassion, forgiveness, or judgement by our Creator. We have been predestined (meaning that God knew what your decision was going to be before to beginning of time) according to God’s plan and His will, also we were chosen according to His purpose for His praise and glory. (ref Ephesians 1:3-14)

For those who may disbelieve in God, there are proofs everywhere around us: cosmologically, archaeologically, textually, etc. Could be as simple as a flower, the process of photosynthesis, the birth of a child, etc. You can say there is not enough evidence for goalsGod, but what exactly are you looking for? Are you even looking? Reading? Or researching? If you have no idea as to what you want, you will never attain it! You cannot hit a target you do not know exists. The same Goes for knowing God, you won’t always get an invitation or an explanation. You may just have an “Ah-HA!” moment at something as simple as a red or green light. Who is to say?

If you want to truly find God in your life, YOU need to pray, YOU need to read, and YOU need to associate with fellow believers. It is not as easy as you may think, for you are constantly going against many people. Mentally you are beaten down, sometimes physically, and often Spiritually. But it is your ability to survive those tumultuous times that your Spirit is tempered, your mental capacity is tested, and your physical being is also tested. We sometimes succeed, and many times we fail miserably – or so it would seem – but we can rebound because of who we are…we are adopted sons and daughters of the Most High God, through the blood of Jesus and our faith in Him!

Next time you go to work, look at that co-worker that you have not liked since he/she started working there, or because of some negative interaction with them. Maybe, just maybe, God is pushing you to talk to them, so don’t prejudge them because God will not judge you before your time. Perhaps this person is your Ninevite moment and you are playing the part of Jonah. Just think about that for a moment…

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

 

Jonah & Schrödinger’s Cat

schrodingers-catHere’s Schrödinger’s thought experiment: We place a living cat into a steel chamber, along with a device containing a vial of hydrocyanic acid. There is, in the chamber, a very small amount of hydrocyanic acid, a radioactive substance. If even a single atom of the substance decays during the test period, a relay mechanism will trip a hammer, which will, in turn, break the vial and kill the cat. Accordingly, we must assume that the cat is both alive and dead at the same time, without ever opening the box.

jonah5We can see Jonah much the same way, with respect to the great fish, that God had prepared for his new housing arrangements. Jonah is both alive and dead. He is physically alive, but while in the belly of the great fish he is being digested…hmmmmmmm…heck of a way to go, don’t you think? However, on another level, Jonah is dead, he has been separated from God due to his disobedience to God’s command and mandate. We can see this in Isaiah 59:2 which says, “your iniquities have separated between you and your God…” You cannot get anymore dead than your separation from God and physical death can only make things worse!

There are those (with the popular view) that believe Jonah was alive and pondered his ways while in the belly of the fish, and the less popular view that Jonah was dead while in the belly of the fish from where he was resurrected. This book being a telling of the resurrection of Jesus, more or less; for a minor prophet, this book of Jonah possessed no prophetic messages but rather a narrative of that which occurred to him, and experience – if you will. Therefore, it is a foretelling of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself…by way of the resurrecting of man from his sins.

Can we agree that perception holds a vast amount of weight in the minds of men? To them, perception is everything! Jonah admitted that he was dead in God’s eyes, as well as, his own eyes by stating:

…From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” ~Jonah 2:2

His call from the “…realm of the dead…” is, in-fact, a call from the grave (which is the word sheol.)

Sheol
(Heb., “the all-demanding world” = Gr. Hades, “the unknown region”), the invisible world of departed souls.

When YOU believe yourself to be dead and in the grave, and when you believe you are calling out to your Creator for help to be brought out of the grave…you are seeking to be resurrected from your death. THIS is a much greater miracle than being saved from a big fish! To be brought back from the dead is far greater a miracle that is left to God!

There are two known species of whale that are able to swallow a man, or larger, the sulphur-bottom whale (or blue whale) and the whale shark. Neither possess any teeth, but open their jaws swimming at a great speed and after straining out the water they swallow what is left in their mouths. There are numerous stories and tales of people, or animals, being swallowed by either of these two “great fish;” however, one of particular interest was one in which  a man in the 1920s or the 1930s was swallowed by one of the two mentioned whales. The victim was released 2 or so days after his capture. Dr. Harry Rimmer interviewed the man and several things that were noted: 1) he had no hair on his body and 2) his body possessed patchy/blotchy brown and purplish coloration on his skin. The gastric juices were/had reacted with his body by digesting him. In so doing, in my personal opinion, aided Jonah in obtaining his audience while evangelizing the people of Nineveh.

It pretty much comes down to faith. You either believe in the power of God, or you do not. If there is a God and He is all powerful, all knowing, all present, and He is not limited by anything…do you believe that He could protect a man in the belly of a great fish??? Do you believe He could save the nation of Israel from the great and powerful Egyptian army? Or, perhaps, feed the Hebrew people during their exodus from Egypt? Grant them decisive military victories while fighting against such odds? It would be a miracle, wouldn’t it? A miracle worthy of the likes of God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus.

Consider it for a little bit, then decide whether or not you believe.

Do you believe Jonah was alive, dead, or resurrected?

May God Richly Bless You My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD