11Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. (Isa 56:)
Man has two basic reasons to try and understand God. The first reason is that he wants to find out what it takes to get all he can out of God without having to do what God demands.
The second reason is similar to the first; he wants to learn all he can in order to impress his friends and associates with the great knowledge (usually mystical) he has acquired.
Very few people want to learn about God for the only acceptable reason in God's eyes, that is to learn what He wants us to do and how to accomplish it.
So, since we are looking for understanding of God through our own eyes, we do not see God, but only ourselves.
In order to see God, we have to turn three principle theologies upside-down. These three doctrines not only keep us from seeing God, but they have become a fundamental part of the established churches who supposedly "know" God and are following Him.
If you are rather shocked by the naming of these three, hold on; it gets worse.
"I want children so I can spoil them rotten and do everything I can for them, love them, nurse them, bail their sorry butts out of jail. Just be there for all their selfish, ungrateful demands they choose to demand of me."
Is that how you see yourself as a parent? Is that how you see God and His desire for His children? If it is, you are right in line with most of the Protestant churches, and even the Catholic as well, though not so blatantly.
I would assume you have children with the hope and desire to do all you can for them, and to make them just as happy and successful as you are able. Of course some people have children by mistake, or out of habit. But these people are not reading this piece.
God also wants the very best for His children. He wants what is ultimately best for them, not just what seems best to them during their formative years. During our formative years (our earthly adventure) we experience chastisement, direction, instruction and guidance. We are trained and conditioned similar to the way children used to be educated in school; that is physically (P.E.), culturally (life skills), and spiritually (morality lessons and even prayer). Of course younger people most likely have no idea what I am talking about since these no longer (essentially) exist in the schools during this age of "enlightenment."
God wants His children to be obedient and thankful. Not only thankful with lip service, but from the heart. He also wants His children to be giving and appreciative. And part of that appreciation is the willingness to share with others our good fortune, especially with those less fortunate, just as you, a parent, are happy to give to your children their needs and desires.
God wants His children to be successful. Success to God is not measured by how many degrees His children earn, or how many merit badges they acquire, or how far up the corporate ladder they climb. Success in God's eyes is seen as the amount of attention His children give to His will for them (commandments), and how well they obey, and how happy they are to be with Him and to make Him pleased with them. Is this any different than what you would desire from your own children?
And finally, God wants His children to love Him from their heart. This love is displayed by wanting to be with Him all the time (and yes, through the Holy Spirit this can actually happen!), and along with this, to have a strong desire to do all they can to make their brothers and sisters happy and safe, even if sacrifice (like Jesus, even to death) is required.
From the child's perspective, that is a child who is spoiled and unlike the blessed children described above, the parent should give him all he demands whether he deserves it or not. And this attitude is fully supported by society at large. But would you, as a parent, willingly approve and support such an attitude?
Yet that is exactly what we expect of God.
And dirt looks to itself, and not to God. Dirt serves itself, and does not serve God.
Spirit on the other hand is not dirt, but rather just uses the dirt vessel to move from one place to another. Spirit does not serve itself. Spirit does not even look to itself or point to itself. Spirit points to Jesus, and serves Jesus, and is dedicated to following the directions of the Lord. Spirit is driven toward helping others find Jesus, and thereby receiving the Holy Spirit.
God's love is just the opposite of Man's concept of love. God tells us that love means doing for God, and for others (Mat 22:37-39; John 14:15; 1John 4:20).
Upside-Down. The churches are pointing God toward Man for Man's sake; instead of pointing Man to God for God's sake.
God has two hands and two feet, a pot belly and a curved spine. God has to cut His hair and trim His nails and beard. God has to brush His teeth after eating that big steak dinner. Is that right? Is that the image you have of God? Is that why we have the features and the limitations we do, because God Himself has them?
Of course not.
God is Spirit. We have been told that many times in His Word (John 4:24; 1Cor 3:16; 2Cor 3:17).
Then if God doesn't have a body like we have, why does the Bible say we are created in God's image?
"Let us make man in our image." If I was to say; "Let us make clay into our image," wouldn't you assume that the clay already existed? You wouldn't assume I was going to make clay would you? By this the assumption would be that man already existed as one of the beasts of the field (as was Satan), and God chose that creature to make like Himself. Now if God had of said: "Let us make a creature and call it man, and make that man in our image," it would be clear that such a creature didn't exist. But that is not what God said.
I know, my reasoning sounds like grasping at straws as do so many of the cults and oddball doctrines. So forget I said it and let's press on.
It is pretty well established that the first two chapters of Geneses sounds like two separate creations. And there are many doctrines and beliefs based on just such a supposition. And in a sense, I agree. But it is not that there have been two creations, but rather there are two accounts of the same creation. The first account covers the creation from beginning to end, that is, to the end of the Millennium. The second account begins at the beginning of the creation process as it relates to man and gives a detailed account, day by day. Those who have studied news reporting understand this principal very well. The structure goes like this: first you tell them what you are going to tell them; then you tell them; then you tell them what you told them.
But there will be a day when God can rest. And we find that day, the seventh day called the Millennium, at the end of John's Revelation as well as in many of the O.T. prophets. At that time man will have dominion, just as there is One who had, and exemplified that dominion over sickness, death and nature 2,000 years ago; the one Jesus Christ.
And there will be others who will be in the same form as He is,But it won't be everyone who ever lived as some say it will be; nor the sluggards as many say, nor the ones who say the right words and perform the right rituals as even more say. It will be those who have been indwelt by and led into the identity of Christ who will be the Overcomers. Jesus, the First fruit of such people, demonstrated what a "Man in God's image" is like. Jesus, the "Beginning of the creation of God" (Rev 3:14, 21; John 16:33).
Chapter one of Geneses takes us from the beginning of creation all the way into the eighth day of creation. Then at the very end of the Bible we are given a wrap up of all the important points God wants us to have learned in the thousand pages between the intro and the conclusion (Rev 22:6-21).
We are in the image of dirt. Jesus is in the image of God. And so will be those who have chosen to obey Jesus (who is our Commander), be in the image of God, when they come into the completeness and the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13)
[ This is not to dispute that God created Man in His image in the beginning or that He rested on the seventh day. My effort is not to detract from God's Word, but to expound on it. Like most (if not all) of the O.T., the Creation story has a past, future and present application. My purpose here is to broaden our view of the story and show that it has a strong meaning to us in this day and age beyond its informational value.]
Satan is by no means at war with God. Satan was created for one purpose, and that is to be a purifying fire for those who follow God and seek after Him. This is exemplified not only by Job, but by Jesus (His temptation in the wilderness), by Paul (Arabia -- Gal 1:17-18), and by the blasphemer who was put out of the church so Satan could do his purifying work on him (1Cor 5:5; 15:50; 1Tim 1:20; Mark 1:13; Mat 4:1; Luke 4:1-2: John 17:1-3; Mark 14:38; John 6:51 ).
If there was any chance at all that Satan had any power against God, do you think God wouldn't have grabbed him when Satan stood before Him discussing Job? Would God be telling us thousands of years in advance that He is going to throw Satan into a pit, then release him again? Do you think Paul would have advised the Corinthian church to put sinning Christians out thereby turning them over to the power of Satan?
Man is already destined for the pit. Satan doesn't have to do a thing to get us there. Satan's job is not to pull those who are already at the bottom even lower. Satan's job is to keep those who are reaching ever higher toward God from reaching Him. And the purpose of keeping them from reaching God is not to hinder them as it seems, but rather to strengthen their faith and resolve. Those who fail to reach God were not truly sincere to begin with ("Weak, cowardly, fearful, unbelieving," etc.) and/or hadn't counted the cost (Luke 12:46; Rev 21:8; Luke 14:28). It's much like piling more and more rocks, little by little, into the backpack of a soldier who is learning to climb a wall. Or it's like a baseball player who picks up several bats at once, swinging them around in order that the single bat he uses feels much lighter and therefore he is able to swing much faster.
Also, like the woman in Luke 7; the more we work, the harder we try, the more we discover how wretchedly inadequate we truly are and how much in need of God's help and Grace we have become. Jesus said of the woman: "Those who are forgiven much, will love much" (paraphrased). And conversely, those who are forgiven little, love little. In other words, as I see it, if we still have an ego, are full of our self (or have any "self" in us at all), we have not been low enough in our experience to learn of our need and are still feeling self-reliant. We haven't been challenged beyond our own abilities, like a baby who finds trying to walk too much of an effort, so he decides that crawling through life is the proper way to travel.
God wants us to love; to love both Him and one another. Until we have been in the pits where others are, we can not appreciate them or their position. This is not just an intellectual affirmation God is making. He came down to the lowest of our level, that of a social outcast and criminal to learn what it's like, and to demonstrate how to accept that position.
When God says to be forgiving; to love the unlovable; to forsake our family (which does not mean to abandon them or ignore our responsibilities), to take up our cross and die for others, He is not telling us to do that which He is unwilling to do, or has not done to the full Himself.
If we love ourselves, we can neither love God nor our brothers and sisters.
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