The Unknown God!

The Unknown God!

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. Acts 17:16-25 NIV

Worshiping gods was nothing new to people when Paul preached the Good News. For centuries–man made idols–with their own hands–of stone, bronze, gold, wood, whatever they used at any given time–shaped into images to represent events that they didn’t understand. They had fertility gods, sun gods, moon gods, season gods, agricultural gods, –all these gods they created to explain what they didn’t understand because they didn’t have access to science (as we know it today) to discover the “whys” of what occurred.

And then there was the representation of the “unknown god” (science still cannot explain) who had a place in their worship venues. This altar bore this inscription because the men of that day and even now, could not explain certain events, but they attributed it a god.

Mankind is still worshiping idols–gods made by their own hands. They think the “things” have dominion of events that occur in our lives. Most of us understand superstitious nonsense and know that there are no “things” that have any power–no images created by mortals can do anything of their own accord. But then there are those whose faith is in statues, and beads, and images and their faith in the things cannot be shaken.Some worship all they develop and to keep what they make in the forefront of their minds–they emblazon their name on everything–and expect others to worship them, too.

However, since they do not know God or understand God, their faith in Him is tenuous at best because they are ignorant of His ways and purposes. The God of Heaven, the Creator of all things and without whom, nothing was ever created, is still the unknown God to many–who think they are the masters of their destiny. These did not read about Jeremiah and the conversation God had with him, “before you were formed in your mother’s womb, I knew you,” and later He said, “I know the plans I have for you.”

Now while it is true that we all have choices to make, when we follow God’s plans we are going to be successful as He defines success. God does not define success as man does–especially when man’s success is contingent upon a lack of integrity, intimidation, and bullying. When success is obtained by questionable means (leaving others holding the bag of their debts) that is not godly success. Godly success is only achieved by doing things the way God directs us. That success may not mean being a billionaire–but it will mean we are pleasing God.

So while many are still serving and worshiping gods created by human hands or machines, out of a religious spirit, there are some of us who are led by the Spirit of God and will only serve Him–the unknown God for those who don’t know Him.

 

 

Paganistic Superstitions!

“Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies? For the one who makes it trust in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver and there is no breath in it.” (Habakkuk 2:18, 19 NIV)

Mention of idols and their worthlessness has been made before regarding the foolishness of men who trust in man-made objects as part of their religious beliefs. Paganism has always entreated people to believe in images and other objects made by the hands of men and in our time–made by machines for mass productions. The mass production is to make sure those promoting the value of the object make money, but the “thing” itself has no value and can do nothing on its own.

When we pray to “things” rather than to our Holy God, who is unseen by the visible eye, but lives in the hearts of every Believer, we negate faith in our Holy God–giving precedence to the “things” we can either hold in our hands, or gaze upon with our eyes. The statutes carved out of stone have no life in them; the beads and baubles strung upon review mirrors have no life in them; the images of Jesus and Mary have no life in them–they are artist’s perceptions of what Jesus and Mary “could have looked like” but no one knows for sure since there was no replication equipment available during the times in which they lived.

This is not an indictment against religious organizations who promote the use of things as part of their worship service--it is an acknowledgment that the things have no power–or value–and therefore should not take the place of having a relationship with God--who created the substance of all the things made. The real problem with the use of things is that people demonstrate a lack of faith in God without their use. God has come to the assistance of those who seek Him out of sincerity and He has used those “living, breathing beings” as messengers to speak to people, but He has never used anything that did not have life within it to do anything.

Now, some may argue that He used a desert full of dry bones to demonstrate His power and He did–not while they were dead and had no life, but He gave the dry bones life and He never told anyone to worship them, anymore than He told anyone to worship a thing. If we remember The Word–we would know that an entire family was destroyed because they had “hidden the detestable thing” in their tent–an idol used by the enemy to worship and God has said, we should worship “no graven image” or object. That is very clear. But because some insist on giving things power, their paganistic beliefs have led to all sorts of superstitions regarding things–broken mirrors, walking on cracks on a sidewalk, spilled salt, chicken bones, and ladders. I’m sure there are others, but these are things that come to mind. Notice–none of these things have ever had life in them or breathed on their own.

The very next verse of scripture in Habakkuk tells that the Lord is in His Holy Temple–one that we could not see for it resides in heaven, but through Jesus and the work on the cross–we are the temple where the Holy Spirit dwells–living and breathing in us.

We should not be afraid of “things” representing good or evil since they have no life, cannot breathe on their own, and they have no power to do anything. So–all the devil worshipers can worship their things and images, but those who profess belief in God should not be concerned about the images having any power because they have none. The real power of God lies within every heart of every person whose faith is in Him, not things!

Why Are You Seeking God?

“But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” (Psalm 70: 4 NIV).

Sometimes, when people request us to pray for them, we pray amiss–especially when we don’t inquire as to the need or how we may agree with the person in their request of God. For many, when things become the object of our prayer life, we miss seeing answer to our prayers because we don’t see the things for which we ask. But when we ask for guidance and direction, wisdom and instruction, those requests are readily seen, if we choose to hear and obey.

What or who are we seeking in our prayer requests? Are we seeking God to show us the way–to please Him and to have abundant life? Are we seeking Him for enlarge our bank accounts, give us bigger houses, more expensive cars, better jobs? It’s not that we cannot ask for things, but we must be sure of things before we ask for them.

If we want more money, have we demonstrated our ability to be good stewards over what we have already been given? If we haven’t, why do we think God will give us more to mismanage and then find ourselves asking Him, again, for more?

If we want bigger houses, have we taken of the hut we have been given? Is what we have, our castle or are we just biding our time until we can get something better? Why would God give us a bigger house, if we can’t take care of the one we have and have not appreciated the roof over our heads that shelters us from the elements?

If we want luxury cars and haven’t taken care of the used car we have, why should He give us another? Can we afford the maintenance of the luxury car when the one we have is falling apart at the seams? Have we considered the fuel cost–whether gasoline or diesel and our driving habits and how that will impact our ability to keep it sustained?

If we want a better job, have we made sure we are qualified for the better job or do we just think–we should have a qualified position when we don’t have the qualifications to fulfill the obligations of the duties involved?

Instead of asking for “things” perhaps a better route to obtaining the things would be to ask for wisdom, knowledge, and instruction so once we get the things, we’ll be able to keep them.

And before we ask for anything of Him, we should seek Him to get to know Him better. When we seek Him, establish a right relationship with Him and rejoice in the relationship as we seek to please Him, then we can say without hesitation, “The Lord is great and greatly to be praised!”

When we come into His presence we can sing with joy in our hearts and a praise on our lips–rejoicing in His goodness, love, and mercy. No sad songs with dull melodies and out of sync harmonies will ever rise in our spirits. We will be glad to sing, with thanksgiving, and liveliness–voices thronging in perfect harmony as our spirits agree–He is Lord!

When we stop treating God like a sugar-daddy–expecting Him to give us everything we want–and yet, never obeying or seeking how to please Him, we just might be surprised at His response. I firmly believe that when we have a right relationship with Him, and are obedient, we can ask for anything we want and He will give us the desires of our heart. Rather than ask for things, I ask for wisdom in obtaining what I want and He has always answered my prayers. 

Father, in the name of Jesus, open our hearts to hear You today, giving us wisdom, directing our every step, and every word that comes from our mouths or fingertips. Fill us anew with Your Spirit that we may always know how to treat one another–with kindness and consideration, compassion and mercy. Create in us a desire to obtain knowledge and skills that we can and will use to Your glory in all we do or say. For all You do and for Who You are, we bless Your Holy Name and give You all the glory. In Jesus name we pray and thank you, Amen!

Find Wisdom–Find Happiness!

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.” Proverbs 3:13-15 NKJV)

Many people are seeking a superficial happiness through–the things they amass–rather than in knowing that those things offer only a temporary appeasement, lasting only as long as they last or through people–who are so fickle they are always changing their minds. True happiness–that lasts–is in seeking and finding wisdom from God.

Wisdom, once obtained, can never be taken and God lets us know that when we gain understanding–knowing what to do with the wisdom He gives, we will discover that nothing compares to the wisdom He gives.

Solomon–the wisest man who ever lived–did not ask God for things–for riches, or gold, or silver, or lands–He asked God for wisdom and with the wisdom he obtained, he gained understanding in how to manage the riches that were given because he did not ask for them. God knows what we need!

Finding a job or a better paying job won’t bring us true happiness, which is why people are always complaining about the jobs they have. No matter how much they make, it is never enough–there is always a plea for more.

Here’s a plan–instead of asking or seeking God for more–tangible things–let’s seek wisdom and knowledge in how to manage what we have and gain understanding from exercising wisdom so that we never have to ask for things.

I am convinced that some of us will never have all that God desires for us to have because we have not mastered being a good steward over that we already have. Help us, Lord! We want–to squander–which is why we don’t have what we want. It is never too late to learn the lesson of sound financial management, planning, and saving. I’m a late bloomer–in understanding financial wisdom, but I’m willing to backtrack and learn to the extent that I can. Giving of our resources is a good thing, but saving is equally important. Even though my grandson is only 13 years-old, I’m teaching him now to save half of everything he gets from monetary gifts, chores, etc. It is never too early to learn and never too late–unless we are dead or have nothing to manage.

What we have to remember is that God can take a little–bless it–and multiply it beyond our expectations--when we exercise the wisdom, He freely gives. I’d rather have His wisdom poured out upon me than all the riches in the land because I can use the wisdom to obtain the riches!