Am I in the Place of God?

It’s been a while since I’ve visited F’s church. If I remember correctly, the last time was back in February. I’ve always respected different preacher styles. To me, where one has been trained and gained deeper perspective on our Father’s Word, definitely shapes how they craft and share of His Word, it’s applications, and His love. His love that is scattered throughout our daily interactions; the purpose and being of how important it is that we have love in our daily lives. To each their own, I believe in the Holy Spirit’s power when teachers are ministering His Word.

Today, we went into the story of Joseph. Put simply, Joseph was a favoured son of his father. His siblings were jealous and chose to sell him off as a slave. However, God watched over him through his days. At the end, Joseph became like a “Vice President” of Egypt- saving thousands when the famine struck. Without Joseph at the right hand of the King, the people of Egypt and surrounding cities may have had no hope. God’s plan works in mysterious and crazy ways, doesn’t it?


Genesis 50:15-21

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.


Sometimes, we may accidentally put ourselves in the position of God. To those around us, or to strangers. We think that we have the right to judge, or to assume because of enough “preconception”. That we know someone based on those initial moments. But what the speaker challenged us today is: “Is it possible that instead of judging, we instead show compassion and grace?”

Compassion is a difficult topic. In our society today, we’ve been conditioned to always strive. Strive to be better than the one beside you. For if we put in more effort, we’ll see our time and determination come to fruition. We will see success. We may be bound by expectation and desire to achieve, instead of compassion to help those around us. But when Joseph’s brothers came to ask Joseph for food and providence, they were met with Joseph’s confusion and tears. Joseph was confused at their misunderstanding of him. Though they had treated Joseph with contempt and hatred by selling him off as a slave, Joseph still had love for his family. He tells them that he is not God, and does not have the right to judge others. He only had happiness to see his family again, and that he has the ability to provide for them. Compassion may be difficult to give, but it is important to give it- as this will speak volumes in terms of the love you have for the other. It may also become the force that changes their ways; their ability to see the Truth and love.

Grace is something that we may not see much of. It is something that cannot be earned, but merely given. Sometimes, we view wrongdoings as punishable and only righted when the wrongdoer is punished. Similar to the saying “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. But we know from Jesus’ teaching, that this is not how we are to live. We live for instances that are greater than our life here on earth; we live for justification that cannot be merely solved by giving what is received. We give, because we were given so much more.

The speaker shared how back in University, he had been working crazy shifts at his part-time job. One time, at an intersection, the speaker had been very sleepy- he ended up taking his foot off the brake and collided with the car in front of him. Feeling as if he had committed a wrong, he got out of his car with his insurance papers- ready to remedy whatever damage he had done. However, the other driver merely looked at him, and told him “It’s alright. Go on your way”. Funnily, this happened two other times to the speaker, and each time: the response was the same. Three times he was shown grace by the other driver. He was pardoned for his wrongs, when he did not deserve to. Similarly, we were pardoned for our sins, when God sent His one and only Son to die on the cross for us. To cleanse us of any wrongdoings that may have littered our clothes; we were made clean in God’s eyes.

I loved the ending of today’s talk. For grace has always remained a beautiful gift and concept in my mind. I have a few friends who continually show me grace. In the face of frustration, of time spent together- they care for me as a sister or brother would. Taking care of and ensuring I am well-fed, well-clothed- altogether, that I am well. They would go out of their way to care for me. In the midst of getting to know God personally, I also truly felt the depth of His grace for me. This grace, that not only allowed me to become a daughter of His, but also to be saved by Him. To be freed from the ensnares of death and complications. To see His love for me in saving me and giving me a new life. To see the change within me, as compared to 5 years ago. A love that is rooted within me, because I choose to place Him at the centre of my being. For without the grounded foundation that His love places in my heart, I am certain that I would not be where I am today. I thank God for his continual grace in so many aspects of my life; whether it be in relationships, my family members, or the decisions I make each day. Though mundane small decisions may be, the attitude and thoughts behind each one matter to me. They show me my condition of how my vision is for the work He is doing in my life.

I thank God that I was made new. That I can recognize and remain grateful for the things that I have. For those around me. That by showing who You are to me, You have filled my heart and led me in Your love to those around me.

 

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The Greatest One

I think it’s pretty awesome how I have so much time this summer to do what I want. Time to meet with friends, to go for places I have never explored, but most importantly- time to really go to the Lord. It’s definitely been a struggle, years and years on end: intentionally committing time to be by His side. As I am of the type that thrives by words (as one can see by my numerous posts…), going to Him by the Word is my outlet. His Word, which I have never read in it’s entirety (though a bit embarrassed by so, I believe I will do so one day), is something that I have chosen to turn to as a priority in days that have come. I remain thankful for this insatiated need that is not filled. For, when one believes that they have reached the end to the knowing and understanding of God- that is when they have chosen not to live by faith, but by knowledge. But wrongly, as all knowledge in this world cannot encompass the beauty, power, majesty, or presence that is our Lord and the Father.

Praise remains powerful in my eyes because of the might that words hold. Both when spoken, but also when heard. Two songs that I’ve been recently listening to (deeply) are:

Big Daddy Weave – The Lion and the Lamb & Glorious Ruins- Man of Sorrows

Maybe it has also been the season. A season of not only spring as I feel refreshed and ecstatic for the period of rest I’ve been granted, but also reminiscent of what every spring also aligns with: Good Friday and Palm Sunday. Where God gifted us an atoning sacrifice in Jesus, His Son. The Son of Man, who had come to save, but was instead uplifted to a cross where even in His last breaths: He chose to love, us.

What blows my mind (and will continually do so) is the fact that the Lord sent His one and only Son to us. The God of Israel, the one who came powerfully upon David, who revealed Himself to Moses as a burning bush: “I AM WHO I AM”, the one who was with His people in splitting the Red Sea, the Lord who created the world in six days. Much more can be boasted about Him, for His name holds all prestige in our Universe.

Why would such a powerful being choose to make Himself similar to us. To come in human likeness, to speak messages in simple ways, to make known His name by sharing how the Gospel is open to any whom willingly choose to accept.

Our God is the Lion, the Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power and fighting our battles
And every knee will bow before You
Our God is the Lamb, the Lamb that was slain
For the sin of the world, His blood breaks the chains
And every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb
Oh every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb

He was almighty, but He came to die for our sins. How powerful and amazing He is, for we will never fully grasp the extent of His prowess, yet He chose to be nailed to a rugged cross, crying til He could not breathe anymore. Why does He choose to give His life up for millions, whom may not even appreciate or give thanks. Whom do not see or attempt to understand, because they not only do not understand, but because they see Him as different. He is so powerful, yet He was sacrificed. Made powerless before us, so that we may have another chance at life. Another chance to mend that relationship that was broken, when Adam & Eve chose to grasp the concept of power and knowing, in return for God’s amazing love.

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

When I look at a cross, I think back to Jesus being nailed. His flesh nailed to His sides, and the willingness of His love displayed for all to see. Though my friend says that it may be by faith we believe- we do not “require” grace to see how God works and loves us so. But if one were to believe in our Lord, would they not acknowledge it was Jesus’ passing that we are saved- and we are granted this second chance at being His children? Could one believe God to be our Lord, without realizing that in order for us to be reconciled with Him once again, it was solely by Jesus’ surrender for us? How can one fully come to faith without realizing it is the grace bestowed upon us by our Father, that we are made whole? So for me, it will always remain as Jesus’ reckless love. This love that not only teaches me how to be love, but also to hold it as an important trait to show unto others.

I have many questions. I always do, but what Kari Jobe reminded me of in her commentary for “The Cause of Christ” answers all: “though we may never fully understand the pain or questions behind certain things, I want Jesus more than I want to understand.” There will always be questions, but there is so much more that can come about by fully loving God and living life as Jesus did. Not simply living as me, but living as one who loves others, even the difficult ones- fully and unconditionally.

It is not fame that I desire
Nor stature in my brother’s eye
I pray it’s said about my life
That I lived more to build Your name than mine

 

Wisdom is as חוכמה does

I have always found difficulty in grappling with the notion of wisdom. To desire wisdom- would God see this as fruitful efforts? Something that I have seen in those around me is the power of wisdom that God grants to those whom yearn for His heart earnestly.

There are several virtues present in wisdom. A fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10) is the first stepping stone to truly acknowledging the Great I Am. The awesome respect for God and an attitude of reverent worship and prayerful study, will benefit that person greatly, as they journey in their walk with God.

Discernment, is also another key virtue of wisdom. For their open ears will allow for clarity in distinguishing truth from falsehood (1 Kings 3:9). To understand how God’s creativity in establishing our world, in science, philosophy, mathematics, or even the biblical history- requires wisdom: to see life from God’s perspective.

Trusting in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5) is also essential for wisdom. For life will surely squeeze many lemons, but when these challenges present themselves, the wise trust of God is our means of overcoming this. For we may wrestle with waiting on God’s perfect timing,

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens

but if we do not even know what tomorrow will bring, why not rest on trusting in the almighty, ever-lasting, all-knowing God? For not all of life’s mysteries and answers are self-evident and simple.

There are many more attributes that point to a person whom walks wisely in their steps, their backing being the Lord himself. For when one grows closer, they will see their prayerful life change, their intention and desires, and vision. All will be brought in alignment with God’s will. To further the work for His kingdom.

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Your love breathes multitudes

Can worship make you bow to your knees? Can worship make you revel in the beauty of His creation? Worship does this to me and so much more. Not only were we not entitled to be able to give praise to our Creator, but He did not even have to break the barrier on sin to allow us to approach Him without fear.

When my strength is failing, I will worship you a million times and more. The streets will be made golden when we go home. You do it again, you move the mountains that could not have been moved. The overwhelming, never-ending love. You are so much more than we could encompass with a world filled of books, poems, scripture, love letters, novels… 

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We fear you. And it is precisely with fear that we are able to understand and even touch your footsteps. Under fear, we are able to bestow all our worries under you. With fear, we realize everything can be made fearless in You. Is it not amazing? For without fear, we would not realize the presence You would hold in our lives. Without fear, we would not have anything to look up towards. We can never fully grasp the importance and emphasis you hold over our lives. But by fear, our wisdom flows from You. Fear in reverence for You brings joy in knowing by faith you have granted us grace for salvation.

Reckless. Oh, how reckless you were. That is why we were not left as dust, but apart from the ninety-nine, patiently waited and picked up by Your arms; to be brought home. Your promise to the ones will endure until the end of time.

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Your love is incomparable

Faith: Grace by salvation

Sometimes, it is not easy to understand our Father. There can be worries, anxiety, busyness, questions, discomfort, confrontations… and the list can go on – that stand between truly knowing Him, and ultimately – ourselves. Do you know Him?

One thought I’ve had in wanting to see His truth deeply is:

Through faith, we have received grace. By His grace, we receive salvation. So faith is essentially the stepping stone that one needs to take before they may realize His grace that is ever prominent around us. The beauty of His creation, or His blessings in keeping those around you safe. Can you count and bring to the forefront every  little encounter He has set aside for you? Grace remains a mysterious gift to me. He never was bound to give us grace, but He chose to because He loves us.

So grace is favor, “unmerited favor.” Salvation by Grace. Grace is, therefore, God’s unmerited favor – His goodness toward those who have no claim on, nor reason to expect, divine favor. The principal manifestation of God’s grace has heen in the form of a gift.

That then leads to salvation. For without salvation, we would all live without hope. Without salvation, we could not have a personal relationship with our Father. We would be unable to give thanks for the amazing things He has done for us – because we would not have the opportunity to see His grace.

There are so many merits that we will never be entitled to. Humans can be pretty powerless. Fame, money, and fortune – can always be taken away in a split second. But we know our will lies in His hands, and for that – do not have to fear tomorrow.

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

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As I gaze as His wonder and might

The Sabbath

Rest and the Sabbath. How delicate and perfect they go together.

How do you spend your Sabbath Sundays? Do they remain sacred to you, a day of rest and reflection on how the week has come and gone? Does it remain a quiet time after church, when you can come to work on that space between you and God – bringing it an inch closer than last?

How joyous it is, to be able to serve. To have the ability to praise You along with the masses; to revel in the beauty of Your name. Though words will never entirely capture the essence of your perfection, we offer what little praise we give because You deserve it this much, and that much even more.

In Mark 2:

23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest,he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

27 Then he said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Serve. Because your hands were not made to be your own, but to work as the salt of the world, heightening and exemplifying the presence of our Lord. The Sabbath has and always will be a gift among us. To remind us that even as God created the world, He took rest on the seventh day. Not because He needed to, nor did He necessarily wanted to. But He did, and so can/must we.

Let us continue guarding the gift of rest that the Lord promises us, week after week.

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How comforting it is to know in Him, we will be given rest.

Love Is

Let’s say that I have the memory of a goldfish. Like the bubbles they produce as they swim back and forth, I may forget something quickly. So to combat this amazingly awesome quirk: let’s start documenting the important words that God graces me with.

1 Corinthians 13:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Like so many have said before: God is love. He is love, and through His love for all mankind, we were saved. There is definitely a lack of love present in the world today. In the lack of love, we have conflict, strife, chaos, confusion. All these could be so easily wiped away – like our transgressions, if we were to love like Him.

It is always through His grace that I can sit in the presence and learn, grow, and see the Truth.

There are many principles within love. Why are there principles within love? That is because without them, we may forget what love truly is. Through Him, we were given the opportunity to see these in action and with the transgressions placed on the cross, the love He has and always will have for us. Most surely out of order:

  1. You have to fix your own mistakes, no one else will.
  2. You are not the center of attention.
  3. Do not be in a relationship to receive, always think of what you have to give.
  4. You will not find happiness in another person; you must first find happiness from within.
  5. Be happy with yourself.
  6. Love comes with sacrifice.
  7. Find peace.

In our changing world, though it may seem that it is harder to reach the younger generation – it requires a change and embrace in the trends. Maybe you don’t know how to talk to them as they stare at their phones, or scroll through media, or pick up new words you’ve never heard about before. That’s okay. The change is a progression. Progression we see; God provides progression for us to see the impact and provisions He will ultimately provide. Use those methods and opportunities – do not be afraid, for as

1 Corinthians 2:

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

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Yes. We may be His and to know of Him deeply in addition to sharing the Good News with those who may have not had the opportunity to know of Him – but we are not in this alone.

He is with us, every step of the way, He is not only our shadow but our heart. In Him, we receive salvation – and with that, we are also given peace, love, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. In Him, we know of unconditional love which entails sacrifice.

God, we give thanks because You continually provide. We give thanks because you provide when we need it most.

Thanks be to God for His grace, His mercy, His blessings, His strength. In Him we have salvation, given through grace and mercy; bounded by faith we are enough. For Him, we can do anything. Thanks be to God.