The God That Runs To You

I’m sure you’ve experienced what I’ve experienced. My nice, orderly world came crashing down all around me. It totally blindsided me! I got on my knees to do some serious soul searching and I prayed, “God I know you called me here. I know I’ve done what You’ve asked me to do. What’s happening? Why am I being attacked? Where are You, God?

I’m sure you’ve been there too. “Where’s God?” has been the cry of countless people from the oldest book of the Old Testament until this very day. In dark times our world seems to shrink, and the weight of the entire world seems to rest on our shoulders. We begin to at first sigh and say, “Why me?” and then those sighs become sobs of “God, where are You?!” 

“Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms. We want to get Him where we can use Him, or at least know where He is when we need Him. We want a God we can in some measure control. We need the feeling of security that comes from knowing what God is like.…” —A.W. Tozer 

Here’s the truth: We are always in a spiritual battle. It’s just hard to see it in the “good ol’ days.” But in the “bad ol’ days” we realize we don’t have it all figured out! The dark days are simply the reality of spiritual warfare revealed. 

Answers don’t come easily because there are no easy answers!

One of Job’s friends named Zophar thought he had God all figured out. He concluded his easy answer that the wicked have a bad life and the righteous have a good life. So if things were going badly for Job, he must have messed up somewhere. Except Zophar was wrong! God Himself pronounced Job righteous (see Job 20:1-8; 1:8). Zophar’s easy answer now doesn’t seem so easy, does it? 

I’ll say it again: In the hard times, answers don’t come easily because there are no easy answers. 

In fact, Jesus told us, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). 

How did Jesus overcome the world of hurt and pain? He did it by taking a hands-on approach—Since the children have flesh and blood, [Jesus] too shared in their humanity…. For this reason He had to be made like His brothers in every way…. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:14, 17-18). 

The phrase “He is able to help” literally means that He runs to the cry! 

In order to be able to run to our cry, Jesus has to know what our cries sound like and what our pain feels like. He had to taste all our pain for Himself. He had to feel all of them in a human body. The Limitless God was incarnated in limited flesh to experience everything we would ever feel. 

Now that Jesus has died and been resurrected, our cries bring Him running to us with ALL of His LIMITLESS love and power and empathy! 

In the good ol’ days we may not recognize just how close God is to us. But when the bad days come and we cry out to Him, He comes running. Jesus may be closer when you say, “I don’t know where You are!” than He’s ever been before. 

Go ahead and cry out. Jesus knows those cries. He hears you, He knows your pain, He runs to your cries, He comes close to help.

Join me next week as we continue this series asking “Where’s God?” in the specific difficulties that we face. We’ll ask questions like, “Where’s God in my depression?” and “Where’s God in my divorce?” and “Where’s God in this national calamity?” Please don’t miss these encouraging messages! 

Where’s God?

We’ve all asked that question. Something happens that rocks our world, and we wonder where in the world God is. 

We call out to God and He seems silent. We search our hearts to see if we can discern something we’ve done wrong, and seeing nothing amiss we cry out again, “God, where are You?” 

So where is God in our heartache? In our abandonment? In our sorrows? In our distress? In death? Believe it or not, God may be closer in His silence than you’ve ever perceived before. 

Join me this Sunday as we begin a new series called Where’s God? I hope you can join me in person, but if you can’t, please join me on Facebook Live.

In case you missed any of the posts in this series, you can find them all here:

10 Quotes From “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About God”

This book from Eric Metaxas is a great way to stimulate a conversation about spiritual questions, or a wonderful resource for you to read together with a friend who is on a spiritual journey of discovery. Check out my review of this book by clicking here, and then enjoy a few of the quotes I especially appreciated.

“We aren’t responsible for having answers to every question about God or the Bible posed to us, but we are responsible for how we answer, even if we don’t have a full answer.”

“Our culture is so obsessed with the physical and the material that we have lost the ability to think logically about anything outside that realm.”

“The bottom line is that those who follow God have to have genuine love and compassion for others, and if we recognize how profoundly messed up we ourselves are, we will have compassion for other people. So if people don’t have serious humility about their own state of affairs, they should probably keep their mouth shut. God doesn’t want His followers to add to the pain of the people He loves. He wants His children to treat others as people He desperately loves.”

“The idea of a moral structure that cuts God out of the picture is very attractive to humans because that puts us in control. But God wants us to understand that without a relationship with Him, moral behavior isn’t worth anything. Mere moral rectitude doesn’t fool God.”

“Religion in the negative sense of simply being a bunch of rules and rituals is pretty much the same as superstition. Without a relationship with God at its core, all religion devolves to superstition.”

“One of the most harmful things in human history is when people have confused fear-based superstition with faith in God.”

“Either Jesus was God and died on the Cross and then rose bodily from the dead, thereby destroying sin and death and making it possible for us to be with Him in paradise forever, or having faith in him is bogus. Period. Without the central events of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, you simply don’t have Christianity. You can call it Christianity, but it’s not. All religions are not alike, so ultimately you have to choose.” 

“That’s always the case with sin. It never presents itself as sin. It’s always presented as a doorway to a higher consciousness, as a path to enlightenment meant, as the path to divinity—to becoming a god, or like God.”

“To try to earn God’s love is to miss the point entirely. He loves us already. We can’t be more loved by Him. So to try is like adding numbers to infinity. You can’t get higher than infinity, and His love for us is infinite.”

“Faith does not necessarily make us perfect, but perhaps it does have a way of making us more aware of our feelings.”

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About God (book review)

Have you ever wanted to sit down and ask some deep questions about God? What about some not-so-deep questions? Perhaps you’ve tried to have this conversation with someone, and either they weren’t too well informed or perhaps they talked “over your head.” If that describes you, I think you will enjoy Everything You Always Wanted To Know About God (but were afraid to ask) by Eric Metaxas.

This is not a deeply theological book. Eric himself states right up front, “On the subject of God, most of us want to know whether He actually exists and whether we can know He exists and how we can know that. And if He does exist, we want to know what He’s like and what that has to do with us and how we live our lives. These are the deepest human questions, and we deserve to get some answers, even if those answers might be imperfect, which the answers in this book certainly are.”

Maybe the answers are “imperfect” but then again, who really has a “perfect” answer?! What you will find in this book is a conversational feel that is very engaging without feeling like the subject matter is “dumbed down,” some good information to help guide you on your own journey of finding answers, and some pithy humor as well. Of course, I believe the best answers are found in the Bible itself, but this book is a good starting point to connect with the Scriptures.

I would recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t been able to connect with someone that could give you satisfactory answers to your God-searching questions. This book would also be an excellent resource to read together with a friend as you attempt to find answers to your God questions.

I am a Waterbrook book reviewer.

Is It Okay To Question The Bible?

DoubtGod is not intimidated by your questions. In fact, if you look in the Bible itself, you will see lots and lots of question marks: questions asked by God, and questions asked of God. So go ahead and question!

And check out this great video from the Impact 360 Institute…

Links & Quotes

link quote

“A Christian mind asks questions, probes problems, confesses ignorance, feels perplexity, but does these things within the context of a profound and growing confidence of the reality of God and of his Christ.” —John R.W. Stott

“How can we expect to chase satan out of our churches, our homes, our troubled children, if we don’t pray? How can parents expect God to impart spiritual power to them when they argue, fight and gossip in front of their kids? How can they expect to possess authority when they go out drinking, and then fly into a rage when they learn their kids smoke pot?” —David Wilkerson

“An increase of love, a more perfect apprehension of Christ’s love is one of the best and most infallible gauges whereby we may test ourselves whether we have grown in grace or not. If we have grown in grace, it is absolutely certain that we shall have advanced in our knowledge and reciprocation of the love of Christ.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Actions have consequences! In the book of Genesis we read how Joseph placed his loyalty above lust when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. His primary concern was the preference of God when he said, ‘How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God’ (Genesis 39:9)? The lesson we learn from Joseph is surprisingly simple: Do what pleases God. Your co-workers want to include a trip to a gentleman’s club on the evening agenda. What do you do? Do what pleases God. Your date invites you to conclude the evening with drinks at his place. How should you reply? Do what pleases God. You don’t fix a struggling marriage with an affair, a drug problem with more drugs, debt with more debt. You don’t get out of a mess by making another one. You’ll never go wrong doing what is right. Just do what pleases God.” —Max Lucado

Seth Godin has a great point: We usually tell people how to do things, but rarely do we tell them why to do things. Check out Seth’s insight here.

C.S. Lewis In A Time Of War (book review)

In A Time Of WarC.S. Lewis In A Time Of War by Justin Phillips combined several favorite things for me: World War II history, an inside look at old-time radio, a biography on one of my favorite authors, and a fascinating look at the repercussions of one man’s life.

The BBC Radio was just coming into its own during the lead up to World War II. England again was to play a major part on the world stage, and the radio became not only the primary means of communicating inside Great Britain, but also to the world as well. Radio was used to inform, to pass along vital information, to entertain, and to boost morale.

After having already endured The Great War (what we now call World War I), the English populace was largely dismayed at being forced into another bloody conflict. As anyone might imagine, morale was at an all-time low and questioning God’s role in these cataclysmic events was at an all-time high. The BBC felt duty-bound to try to raise morale and answer these questions.

Looking back on history, C.S. Lewis seems the perfect choice to be the voice of encouragement and reason that the BBC would use, but at the time Lewis was a little-known don at Magdalen College who had never written a script to be read over the airways (something far different than writing for someone else to read themselves in essay or book form). So not only did the BBC take a huge leap of faith, but so did Lewis, as a failure in this venture could have seriously damaged his reputation and future.

As it turned out, Lewis’ talks were immensely popular, and the text of those talks ended up being published in the book form we now know as Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis also experienced one of the most productive times of his life, cranking out many other of his most popular books, sermons, and talks given to the Royal Air Force and other military personnel.

If you are a fan of C.S. Lewis, World War II history or old-time radio, there is much to enjoy in this well told story by Justin Phillips. Definitely a great read!

NOTE: Focus on the Family produced an excellent audio drama using this book as the source. Check out my review of that production by clicking here

Thursdays With Oswald—Thoughtful Questions

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Thoughtful Questions

Oswald Chambers usually sprinkles questions into his lectures, but in this passage, the questions came one right after another—

  • Are we lazy spiritually because we are so active in God’s work?
  • When the problems of the body face us, do we stop going with Jesus?
  • Do we listen to the tempter’s voice to put our bodily needs first—‘Eat bread, be well, first look after what you were going to wear, and then attend to God?’
  • Have we given God as much ‘elbow room’ in our lives as Our Lord gave Him in His?
  • Have we the one set purpose… not to do our own will but the will of God?
  • Are we going with Jesus in the life we are living now?
  • When we are tempted as He was, do we continue to go with Him?
  • What are we like where nobody sees?
  • Have we a place in our heart and mind and life where there is always open communion between ourselves and God so that we can detect the voice of the devil when he comes as ‘an angel of light’?
  • Are we compromising in the tiniest degree in mental conception with forces that do not continue to go with Jesus, or are we maintaining the attitude of Jesus Christ all through?
  • Are we departing from Jesus in the slightest way in connection with the world to which we belong?
  • Have we this past week choked the Son of God in our life by imperceptible degrees?

From The Love Of God

Yeah, I’m going to have to ponder these for awhile…

Keep The Questions Coming

The Q SeriesEvery year I look forward to our Q Series, where I field questions folks have about spiritual matters. Not that I’m an expert, but I’m following the example of The Expert.

Jesus never tired of answering people’s longing questions. Sometimes He gave them a direct answer; sometimes He asked them a question in reply to their question; sometimes He answered their question with a story or parable. But one thing was always consistent: Jesus answered every question in a way that pointed people to His Heavenly Father.

That’s what I am attempting to do in our Q Series.

Yesterday I fielded questions about creation/evolution; Christ’s passion week and His death, burial, and resurrection; the names given to God; and even suicide. I pray each answer created a desire for others to dig deeper in Scripture and learn more about God.

In the book of Proverbs, Wisdom is personified as one calling out to those who want help to come to her with their questions. In the New Testament, James writes, “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God for help.” So we need to keep asking The One who is The Truth.

If you would like to participate in our Q Series, please join us next Sunday at Calvary Assembly of God, or submit your question in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer it. But even if I can’t, you know where to go!

Who Is Jesus?

JesusSome call Him Savior. Some call Him a moral teacher. Some call Him a prophet. Some only call His name as a curse word. Regardless of what people call Him, Jesus is almost universally known.

Despite what people call Him, and as much as people claim to know about Jesus, there are still so many questions that swirl around—

  • Who is this Man?
  • How can someone be both God and Man at the same time?
  • Did Jesus just show up in Bethlehem, or was He around earlier?
  • Was He really perfect? Could He really live His whole life without sinning once?
  • How could He die and yet come back to life?
  • Better yet: why did He have to die at all?
  • Does it really matter whether or not He was resurrected from the dead?

As we approach this Easter season, more and more people’s thoughts will be turning toward this Man. Please join me beginning this Sunday as we consider this simple, yet profound question: Who Is Jesus? The answer to that one simple question will be life-changing!

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