God Is Eternal and My Comforter

Time defines anything in this world. We are born on a particular day and die on a particular day. This defines how long we have lived. There are manufactured dates, expiry date, etc.

Now, if time had limits, then there is a beginning and an end. Man has never been able to come to a conclusion on when time began, neither can he predict when it would end. When one of my friends was not paid their monthly salary because of recession, managing their home became difficult.

One month became two, three, six and nine months and before we knew we were counting years. At that time finding another job was next to impossible. If running their house for them was a challenge, for me praying for them became a challenge. What do you pray for and it seemed our prayers were not answered.

It was at that time God taught me saying a man lives, say, for 80 years. If in the 80 years for 3 years he has severe financial difficulty, it doesn’t take away the 77 years of financial stability. How they handle the 3 years would impact the way they would have to live the following years.

In the same way when I take the timeline of this world, the 80 years becomes just a dot, but how I live in this dot determines where I would be after I die. As Christians we believe in a new heaven and a new earth which would be flawless like the garden of Eden, and entry is granted only if we have lived our life on earth pleasing to God. Else we will find ourselves in the torrid place called hell.

In all this only our time on earth has a beginning and end. What a comfort it is to know that however tired and weary these years are, we have a God who is eternal and He will give us rest, free from all difficulties. Sometimes I catch myself asking the question what if I am wrong in believing this. But it scares me to live a life thinking it is wrong and what if it turns out to be the truth.

When I think of myself in hell eternally, I realize the most difficult times in our life on earth have a limited time period. It is comforting to know that these difficult times will pass.

God Is Gracious/Merciful & Righteous/Just

We take comfort in doing what we feel is right as God is gracious and merciful, and He is so slow to anger and is great in loving kindness. We don’t realize that God may be slow to anger, but He sure gets angry and His anger lasts for a moment and, yes, His favor a long time.

Have we noticed that in the moment of anger God killed Aaron’s sons when they gave unholy fire to the Lord? It’s the same God who killed Ananias and Saphira for lying to Him. Couldn’t God see, their intent, they sold their possessions to give to the Lord? Yes, they did keep a little bit for themselves. Did this really warrant death?

By those standards I should be consumed by God’s wrath, but His mercy and grace has given me opportunities to turn to him. The Bible is clear that God’s grace and mercy is for me to turn to Him and to be more like Him. Just as I have experienced His grace and mercy, I need to be gracious and merciful to my fellow human being. This means I willingly choose to show love and not hurt them the way they deserve.

So where is my justice? God says revenge is mine. Many a times like Jonah we are waiting to see God punish our enemies. We get angry and upset when we believe He doesn’t do it.

Here God wants us to be gracious and merciful like Him. Just as He gives us opportunities to turn to Him, He is waiting for our enemy to turn to Him. When that happens, our enemy now becomes our brother/sister and as Christians we go through the process of reconciliation.

Can this God be just and righteous? The gracious merciful God of today will be the righteous judge on the Day of Judgment when there will be no grace and mercy. All of us need to give an account of our actions. Justice will prevail on that day. As humans we tend to judge others, but God wants us to judge ourselves and be found blameless by His standard.

So as human beings we need God’s grace and mercy to be gracious and merciful to our fellow beings and also constantly judge ourselves so we would be found righteous on the Day of Judgment. The vice versa is dangerous.

God Is Jealous and Zealous

God being jealous is an image difficult to imagine. Don’t we get jealous when our best friend is spending time with somebody else when they should be spending time with us? Now, God created us in His image to have a relationship with Him. He is waiting for us to spend time with Him. Doesn’t He have the right to be jealous for our attention? God wants us to give Him first place in our thoughts and actions willingly and joyfully.

Closely associated with being jealous is being zealous, which shows the attitude of our heart. God is zealous about us. I have realized that it is not a matter of right or wrong but it’s a matter of our heart being zealous for the Lord. Our zeal for the Lord helps us to grow closer to Him and to get to know Him more intimately. Once we start knowing God, we want to please Him and avoid doing the things He doesn’t like which automatically means we are obeying Him.

As humans we all have some zeal – It can be to please ourselves, our family, our friends, to become famous or to pursue our own goals. God is jealous about that zeal. God has the best planned for us and He just wants us to partner with him.

As a parent I get angry when my son does not obey me. Yes, sometimes it’s the human anger which is caused because I can’t control my emotions. There are times I am angry because he fails to trust what I am telling him, as the situation is beyond his understanding.

There are times I punish him because I want him to learn a lesson. As a child my son can learn to trust me or he can move away from me and start doing things behind my back. Being a parent I am able to understand a lot of instructions my parents gave me as a child which I questioned as a child.

There is a joy as a parent when we know our children trust us and they know in their heart that we wish them well however annoying and irritating we may be. This is the same joy God wants with us. Let our misplaced zeal not arouse God’s jealousy.

God Is Holy

Our God is holy and expects us to be holy. What does ”being holy” mean for me? To be holy is to be distinct, separate, in a class by oneself being morally pure.

One of the places God declared His holiness was to Moses at the burning bush. Here God reveals Himself in a fire which encompasses a bush, but contradictory to its nature of consuming the bush, here it is not burnt. It is here God tells Moses that the ground he is standing on is holy.

Suddenly with the presence of God, the bush and the place became holy. So with God’s presence in my life, I can also become holy in God’s sight. We see the same in the lives of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were thrown in a fire that consumed those who threw them. They were taking a walk and having fellowship with their maker that even the worldly king witnessed.

The holiness of God should guide and govern our thinking on how we would live lives pleasing to God. This brings in a sense of accountability to God, others and us. It will eventually impact our attitude and the way we worship God. It should instill in us a positive fear which would motivate us to obey God.

It cautions us about what we accept and practice from those around us. God does not want us to be consumed by the situations around us.

However, the fire of this holy God should consume the unholy parts in our life, like jealousy, greed, lies, or any form of sin found in us. Just as a blacksmith purifies the metal by repeatedly putting it through fire, God purifies us by allowing fiery situations in our life, not to consume us but to purify us.

What are some of the fiery situations in our life today? It may be a terminal sickness, death of a loved one, difficult workplace, annoying people around us, etc. In this fiery situation we need to be like the bush and the three Israelites who were not consumed but had fellowship with their maker.

This image of God being holy gives us a hope of His presence and fellowship even during the tough times in our life. When we have God’s presence and His fellowship, we would be living holy lives that others around us can see God in our lives.

God Is Love

God showed His love to us by sending His one and only son to die for us on the cross for our sins. The phrase “Why do bad things happen to good people? It happened only once and He volunteered” got me thinking. It’s true that the only good person, Jesus, allowed the bad (death on the cross) to happen in His life.

Just as Christ volunteered to die for our sins to show His love for us, what can we volunteer to do to show our love to God? Verse 16 says that “God is love and whoever lives in love lives in God and God in him.”

So how do we live in love? There are many ways of showing love. Verse 20 says we are liars if we say we love God, whom we cannot see, but hate our brothers whom we can see.

Practically we cannot love everybody. How can I love somebody who hurts me or lies to me consistently? Many a times we confuse ourselves between hating somebody and protecting ourselves.

We can protect ourselves yet loving the other person. I may avoid somebody who consistently lies to me or sometimes just hates me for who I am. It does not mean I hate them.

How do I know that I am protecting myself and not hating them? We first need to try having an open conversation with them. Despite trying, if it does not work, still be prepared to try whenever God wants us to do it. We should also be in a position to openly accept them when they come to us in repentance and build the relationship.

We need to realize that in building the broken relationship we would also have to ask forgiveness as some of our actions would have hurt the other person. When we genuinely love someone, we know which action of ours hurts the other person and we avoid doing it.

We need to run this test on every relationship we have. We need to get to a point of volunteering to love anyone even if they choose to hate us. May God give us the wisdom to discern if there is hate in my heart or am I just protecting myself from the hate of others?