Appearances and seeing deeper

The Attributes of God- part III

His Goodness

My next chapter of The Attributes of God is on His goodness.  Which I’ve had to spend most of the week wrestling with.  Not because of the darkness in the world and how He could allow that, which a lot of people wrestle with, but because of trying to understand- what is good?  It seems kind of subjective, like a matter of opinion.  And then it came to me-

God is good because His Heart is good.  God is good because what you see is really what you get, and what you see is amazing.  He is a pure, flawless diamond.  Light shines from Him,  Every way you look at Him He looks different, but he never changes.  He has so many facets!!!  Yet He is clear- you can see Him, see His Heart and Will, if you are willing to look.  You just have to look.  He will attract your gaze, but He will never force you to look.  That is His goodness- he gave you free will to do as you wish instead of making you a slave.  He is a God of freedom and desires us to be able to use our will to worship Him, to love Him, to live for Him.  But we have the choice.

Choices.

We see God as not good because of our own choices.  We see the human trafficking, the pain, and war and famine in the world and say :How can a perfect God allow that? How can He be good if this happens?”  But those things happen because of our choices, and all choices have consequences.  “How am I responsible for any of that?”, you say.  Because I cannot judge your choices, I will say some ways in which I personally am, which make good general examples.  How about that uber-cheap product  I bought which has a very high chance of being made by slave labor in China- possible by Christians imprisoned for their beliefs?  How about that girl I just walked by who was wearing extremely short shorts and I judged her instead of trying to see her heart or smiling at her?  The smallest of choices can have huge consequences.  Maybe if we all stopped buying the uber-cheap, the blood of our fellow Christians and humans wouldn’t be on our heads.  Maybe that girl was trafficked, and I could have helped her, or maybe a smile would have stopped her from committing suicide and she would have grown up and invented truly sustainable carbon-neutral energy, or been the mother of someone who will now not have a life.

Choices matter.  And having them is the most weighty, amazing power we have.

And God gave them to us.  Because He is good.

And when it comes to God, ‘good’ is not just a verb.  Yes, He does many good things; but good is relative.  Who is more ‘good’- Mother Theresa or your next-door neighbor?  Are you sure?  You are judging only by what you see, and appearances are deceiving.  I can spend all day baking a beautiful wedding cake and have everyone love it and tell everyone I loved baking it, and inside think it’s the ugliest thing ever.  Our truth, what we really think, does bear fruit, and shows eventually, but we can also be very good at hiding it for a while.  (Which is nothing at all against Mother Theresa.  Just an example) 🙂

Which brings us back to the beginning.  God is good because of His Heart.  He is true, good inside and out.  He is what He appears to be, so He can be trusted completely.

Because He is good- He is the definition of good.

(None of this, by the way, is talked about in the book….  It’s just what it made me think about)

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Marbles, Men In Black, and iMmensity

The Attributes of God, Part II

His Immensity

 God is immense and immanent.  To be immanent is to be everywhere, at once.  Think about it.  He is simultaneously in you and holding the planets in His Hand.  He is in the smallest cell and He is at the bottom of the ocean and He is in the sky and He is in your cubicle and walking on the stars.  There is no place He is not, and yet He is not contained by His creation- He contains it.  Which makes my brain smoke but also is, frankly, a bit freaky to think about- my honest immediate gut reaction is ‘Ewwww- what a stalker’.  But, then I think about how that means I can never be outside of His love or care; how He is not standing watching me for His own gain or condemning me as He watches me.  He is there because he loves me and He wants to be with me.   Which is really cool.  It’s like having a really good friend who never turns their back on you or doesn’t understand that rally cool thing you want to tell them, and who can help you with anything.  All you have to do is ask.

 

To be immense is to be endlessly big, which is somewhat incorporated in the idea of immanence, discussed above.  It also comes from a different direction of thinking, though.  Ironically, thinking very small.  The book gives a picture, from a writing by Lady Julien of Norwich (a 14th century Christian mystic), of the world and universe and every known bit of existence and creation as being a walnut.  A walnut- nothing more.  Small, bitty.  And God is everything outside of that and in that.   That is not something I have never thought of before, although I think of it more along the lines of the very end of Men In Black when all the galaxies are just marbles in a bag, since I don’t really like walnuts but like marbles…..

 

Anyway, so if God is in and around and bigger than everything, what does that mean for me?  Part of what it means is that I need to be sure my sights are not set on just obtaining the marble (or walnut, if you prefer), but on seeing and knowing the bigger Thing- God.  The marble will never satisfy, because, in the long run, it’s really just a marble.  Sure it looks huge and cool to think of all my dreams really happening and obtaining the things I desire, but other things in my life have been the same.  And obtaining them did not end my longing for more.  It was not until I learned how to seek God first, and let the dreams and desires of mine just fall into line behind Him, that I found peace in my heart.

 

 And He must be my main focus- no husband and God, no bakery farm and God, no whatever else and God.  Just God.  Those other things are good- He gave them to me, and it is my responsibility and joy to take care of them and love them; but they are not my meaning.  They are not my life. They are not necessary for my happiness.   God is my life and my focus.  When He is in focus, all else is clear.  When He is not in focus, all is fuzzy, because He is, after all, everywhere I look.  All is confusion if I am not in touch with the clarity at the center of everything.

 

A very immense God.

The concept of Infinity and brain cramps……

God has been dealing with me alot lately about the concept of identity- who i really am.  I really don’t see myself like I should.  But, I really don’t like to look at myself alot.  So I decided it would be better to learn more about God and Who He is, and see myself in light of that.  So, I started reading the book Attributes of God- volume 1, by A. W. Tozer, and want to write some of the things that God is speaking to me through it.  I hope that they can be a blessing to whomever reads this.

His Infinity

God is absolutely endless.  If He was not, He would not be God.  Who can believe in a God, who can fully trust in a God Who is not absolute?  If He doesn’t own it all, overcome it all, if He isn’t bigger that it all, if He isn’t eternal, unchanging, never ending, He is really not much better than us.  He’s just a very good, powerful man.  And who wants to place their trust in a (hu)man?  It would make Him less than perfect, less than complete.  Who knows, you might be trusting Him and loving Him, and one day come to the part of Him that He doesn’t have or overcome or know, and  OOPS!  What now?  This Being that you have built your whole life on trusting and loving and following is suddenly not able to trust or love or lead you.  He is suddenly not really God, because now you have to rely on yourself and you are outside of what He is.  And by definition, God is always over us.   Creation, space, time, all the galaxies and stars, us, are all in His heart.  He surrounds all that is.  He is bigger than all of it.

And there is a flip side.  God, in His endless, eternal, unchanging infiniteness, came down to our level and became a man so that we could see Him en masse; so that we could know Him and understand Him better and have a relationship with Him.  I do not believe that Jesus was the first time God came to earth- there are many other examples listed in the Bible, and I believe there were probably some outside of those.  But, those times were different.  He came for a very short period of time and did not physically come as a man, but as God represented as a man.  Jesus had a long ministry, and was both God and man.  (I know the God-man thing is hard to understand- I sometimes have a hard time understanding it.  In fact, I’m not sure I really do understand the mechanics of it at all- how God can physically be totally man and still be totally God, but I accept that it is true and happened, even though I don’t understand it fully.  Some things the human mind cannot comprehend, and mine less than others’ sometimes.)   Jesus’ ministry was also different from the previous appearances of God on earth because, in the previous ones, God came to speak to a person or two, whereas Jesus came to speak and interact with many people.  Previous occurrences were to deliver words, Jesus was to deliver people.

But even in this becoming human, He did not lose His infiniteness.  It was merely an extension of Himself- a way for us to see the infinite in a finite way.  We cannot truly deal with the infinite- it is outside of our realm of understanding.  Everything we do and think involves some level of measurement, and it is impossible for us to really think about things outside of measurement without getting a brain cramp or two.  The example given in the book, which is taken from C.S.Lewis, is to think of an enormous, endless piece of paper stretching in all directions, covering everything in existence.  Put a mark on it with a pencil.  Where you put your pencil down is where time began, where you pick your pencil up is where time ends.  Everything outside of that is God.  Think about it for a bit.

When your brain stops smoking and untangles from its knot, think about what is even cooler.  That is the God who loves us and has spent all of His infinite existence thinking about and chasing after and who created everything for you.

That is our value.  That is our identity.

That is infinitely amazing.

Eyes of fire and truth

Psalm 53:2

God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. KJV

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God looks down from heaven at the human race, ​​​​​​to see if there is anyone who is wise and seeks God. NIV

God sticks his head out of heaven. He looks around. He’s looking for someone not stupid— one man, even, God-expectant, just one God-ready woman. MSG

God is looking down from heaven, seeking out people who are looking for Him.  He is seeking us out, seeking to help us, to bring us closer to Him.  He is seeking to help us.   How awesome is that?!?  A God that goes out of His way to look for us, to help us in whatever we need help in.  He desires to help, to have us look to Him so that He can help us.  Conversely, can He help us if we are not looking to Him for help?  Probably, and He does, but not as much, I think.  I think God’s help when we are not asking or looking for it is more His help to be humbled and start seeking Him.

He is looking for us.  His eyes are like fire, burning through all that we put up in the way of His gaze, burning through to our souls, burning into the truth of what we are.  We cannot put up a front for God.  We are utterly naked, exposed, vulnerable, open.  We can still attempt to put up a front, of course, that is our choice.  But it is only an illusion; something done to bring some comfort to ourselves.  It is like hanging up a spider web to conceal a tank.  It doesn’t work and is kinda funny.  With this openness, God is also the only One we can truly trust with our true selves.  He accepts us as we are, regardless of what He sees in us, and He works through us to help us to be better, to be more of what He wants us to be, so that we don’t have to ashamed if front of the world, but can be transparent there, too.  He builds up our confidence in being vulnerable in front of Him, so that we can be vulnerable in front of the world.  As long as we are putting up a wall of illusions in front of the world, we are not being a true ambassador of Him; we are not witnessing in truth but only in a lie.

God, let us seek true intimacy with You!!!   We need to be closer to You to know how to live, how to be a picture of You!!!!!