Archive | September, 2017

Do You Have a ‘Lopsided’ God?

8 Sep

It was interesting to see some celebrities highlighted online who have lopsided smiles”—smiles that pull naturally to one side or the other. These asymmetrical smiles sometimes resemble a grin, like the smiling person is perpetually ready to crack a joke. Or maybe they know something we don’t.

It’s a matter of opinion, but I think Mona Lisa’s smile is a tad lopsided, which makes me wonder what she was thinking about.

Lopsided smiles are interesting, adorable and captivating. But lopsided things aren’t always so positive. 

Lopsided can also be false and hurtful . . .

especially in the case of the “Lopsided” God.

Lopsided God? Yes, unfortunately.

Perhaps it’s more like our lopsided view of Him.

The lopsided view of God does not resemble the true God of the Bible, but many who claim to be Christians believe in and act based on their falsely-created god.

We have a lopsided view of God when we emphasize only one aspect of God’s character.

Think about how a person might respond to the circumstances of life with these lopsided views.

We also have a lopsided view of God when we practice religious pluralism—when we think we can serve other gods and say there are many valid ways to God (idolatry)—when He clearly says He is the only God and there is only one way to live with Him in eternity (Deuteronomy 6:5; John 14:6; Matthew 7:13-14; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5; Joshua 23:16).

We wouldn’t want people to see only one part of our character, and neither does God.

Charles Stanley wrote, “In every temptation, there is a deception about the character and motive of God, plus an attractive promise of a better way.” *

If we truly want to know the God of the Bible, we must seek Him in the Word. It is how He reveals Himself to us.

“We need to be reading the Bible so that His words will be woven into the fabric of our being,” Stormie O’Martian wrote in The Power of Praying Through the Bible (page 331). “We must know it so well that it becomes our guide, a source of renewal and knowledge of God’s will. We must let it increase our understanding of who God is and who we are in Him.”

The Bible says there is one true God, the sovereign Creator (Isaiah 42:5; Ephesians 1:11) and we need to get to know Him for who He is: eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, unchanging, holy, just, loving, truthful, holy, compassionate and merciful, the righteous judge, forgiving … and so much more.

All of God’s divine attributes combine to form one consistent whole.

We must adjust to who God is, and not try to adjust Him to our “lopsided” views.

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Work Up a Sweat

1 Sep

Sometimes our experiences don’t really count in the military.

One soldier, shortly after joining the army, stood in line as the sergeant stepped forward with the day’s assignments.

After handing out several tasks, the sergeant asked, “Does anyone here have experience with radio communication?”

The young inductee—a longtime ham radio operator—quickly and proudly shouted, “I do, Sir!”

“Good,” the Sergeant said. “You can dig the hole for the new telephone pole.” *

LOL!

The military does provide excellent, tailor-made training to prepare recruits for the many facets of serving and the possibility of battle. At boot camp they push recruits to their limits, trying to build in the character and stamina heroes are made of.

We’re all familiar with the stories of soldiers and their tough drill instructors. They aren’t trying to destroy recruits; they’re trying to break them down so they can build them up in strength for a strong military response.

I’m reminded of the Navy Seal Maxim. According to SEAL Team 6 commander Richard Marcinko, ** Seals say,

“The more you sweat in training,

the less you bleed in combat.” 

[Some argue the quote came from General George Patton who actually said, “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” And Patton was supposedly quoting an old Chinese proverb.’

Regardless, the point is the same.

If we wait until the war starts to prepare for battle, we’re in trouble!

In a practical sense, once we enlist, we’re already IN the next war because we’re being trained to fight.

Let’s take a lesson from drill instructors. They have a purpose in mind.

So does the Lord. He wants to teach us how to be strong IN HIM.

Sometimes we may not like the “drills” God takes us through.

In a spiritual sense, Christians will face many battles over their lifetimes. They have a strong, deceitful and vicious enemy, out to destroy every child of God.

We can’t wait until we’re in the heat of battle—facing tough temptations or hurtful circumstances—to prepare for the fight.

Sadly, many Christians do not even realize there’s a spiritual war. God’s children have faced-off against the enemy of our souls since the book of Genesis and we see evidences of warfare throughout the Old Testament.

(Actually that war against God and His followers began before Adam and Eve when Satan fell from heaven.)

We see the continuing truth about spiritual warfare as Jesus was tempted by Satan and in His encounters with demons before the cross. And we see the battle in many of the early stories in the church.

Others who DO understand we’re in a war don’t understand the weapons needed to fight Satan’s schemes and win. 

The Apostle Paul wrote about spiritual warfare and the divine weapons we’re to wield in Ephesians 6:10-20. James encouraged us to resist the devil. Jesus and Peter warned about our adversary too.

But it’s one thing to know all this truth. It’s quite another to PRACTICE it. Practice as in “be trained.” To walk in wisdom and train in truth. To be ready. 

We cannot fight our battles alone. We need the strength of the Lord.

We also need teachers and mentors who will help us understand how to walk in a manner worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1) and be good soldiers of Christ—determined to do whatever it takes to honor Him (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

And we must remember we’re not only fighting the devil. We’re also fighting the worldly culture and our sinful flesh—which Satan also uses to attack us (Ephesians 2:2-3a; James 1:13-15).

My point is. We need to be watchful, prayerful and ready. We need to work up a spiritual sweat now so we don’t “bleed” later.

 * Adapted from Military Jokes and Truth (clean humor).

 ** from Rogue Warrior by Richard Marcinko with John Weisman

Graphic adapted, courtesy of skeeze at Pixabay.

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