Why? Part 2

Part 1 can be read by clicking HERE!

Recap-  no-questions

We have been taught to “Question Everything!”  Question parents, question teachers, question questions.  Question everything.  Nothing is sacred.  A few generations ago very few people questioned Christianity.  Most people just accepted things on blind faith.  If something happened it was just supposed to happen.  It was even considered by some to be a sin to question God.  Now, it’s a sin not to.  It is our responsibility to question.  It’s our right to question, isn’t it?  Shouldn’t we be able to question God?  When something doesn’t go according to our plans shouldn’t we be able to question God about it?  When something terrible happens isn’t it ok to question God and seek a reason?

Well the answer to that is yes and no.  Not much help is it?  You’re looking for definites and unfortunately I don’t have definite answers to give you.  Allow me to share an explanation of my two at odds answers.

The other day we discussed the why it is ok to ask God why.  Today lets look at when it is not ok to question God.  (authors note- neither of these answers apply to non-Christ Followers.  In all honesty the only prayer that God hears from a non-Christian is the prayer of repentance and acceptance of His free gift of salvation.  Then the previous and following apply)

No-

I believe we have to be careful with the attitude with which we question God.  I’m not sure it is a sin to question God out of anger but it sure is a big flashing caution light.  God is all about the attitude of the heart.  We discussed this a little in part 1.  Remember from part 1 when David was all upset and asking God why and then a chapter later his attitude had changed?  Well, I have experienced that first hand.  God knows we get upset and hurt.  He knows when we are angry at Him, so why try to hide it.  All that does is allow resentment and rebellion to creep into our hearts and sour our love for Him.  I guess what I am trying to say is that you should go TO God and ask Him why, not hold those questions in your heart and let them spread diseases of doubt and bitterness throughout your mind.

The second time when it is wrong to question God is when it is done after He has answered.  Remember our buddy Moses?  When God called him to lead Israel out of slavery all he did was ask why.  “Why are you picking me?  Why do I have to do it?  Why can’t you get someone else?”  Over and over God answers but finally you see a little annoyance creep into God’s replies.  You can read the whole account HERE!  Specifically look at the last few verses,

God got angry with Moses: “Don’t you have a brother, Aaron the Levite? He’s good with words, I know he is. He speaks very well. In fact, at this very moment he’s on his way to meet you. When he sees you he’s going to be glad. You’ll speak to him and tell him what to say. I’ll be right there with you as you speak and with him as he speaks, teaching you step by step. He will speak to the people for you. He’ll act as your mouth, but you’ll decide what comes out of it. Now take this staff in your hand; you’ll use it to do the signs.”  Exodus 4:14-17  (The Message)

Fist line, first sentence- “God got angry with Moses.”  He annoyed God.  Bad idea Moses.  Because of this he looses out on some of the blessings God wanted to give him.  When you ask God a question and He answers you, stop asking the question.  It may not be the answer you wanted, but it’s the only one you’re going to get.

That’s the main two times it is NOT ok to question God.  Anyone have any other times when we need to be careful not to question God?

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The “I”s Have It

burning-bush I have been noticing recently that the Christian community is becoming increasingly self focused. Everything is about “me”. We are increasingly dedicated to finding our purpose or God’s will for our life. I hear people praying for a “Burning Bush Experience”. (see Moses and the Burning Bush) We want to know how we are important to God. We pray for God to speak to us. We ask God to give us signs. We want some mystical, magical experience to help us feel important. Well, what if we aren’t important? What if we just aren’t that important? When I read through the Bible I see some amazing ways that God spoke to people. He walked and talked with Adam. He spoke to Abraham in visions. He wrestled with Israel (the person, not the nation), he spoke to Moses through a burning bush. In the New Testement he knocked Paul of his high horse and made him blind. John got to see heaven in a vision that still perplexes and fills us with awe to this day. All amazing ways in which God revealed himself. All ways that left no doubt that God was speaking. But what about everyone else? What about Joe-Christ-Follower in the New Testament? There are what, ten or eleven amazing meetings with God in the New Testament? What about the hundreds and hundreds of other Christ-Followers?
Here’s the deal, they weren’t that important. Now don’t mis-understand. They were important to God, but not nesecarily important to His plan. Everyone of the big names in the Bible that had a “Burning Bush” experience, altered history in some way. Most of them weren’t looking for it and several didn’t want it. Check out Moses, he did everything he could to get out of it. But he was important to God’s plan so God wouldn’t leave him alone.
Am I important to God? YES! So are you! John 3:16 tells us that we were so important that God sent His only Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins and yours, individually. He died for just me and just you. We are of the utmost importance to God. But that doesn’t mean we are priority in His plan. Think about this, I have been a military member for over 14 years. I have come to understand that few soldiers are “important”. Most of us are just soldiers, together we make a difference but singlely most of us don’t accomplish a lot. Well, we as Christians are also in an army of sorts, God’s army. Several references are made in the Bible to being a good soldier or training to fight. But most soldiers are just not that important.
Here’s my thoughts, feel free to disagree. Most of us have these great dreams of being a bigshot in God’s campaign but what He really needs are people to clean the toilets, take out the trash and wipe boogers off the walls in the nursery. He needs soldiers willing to fight and willing to follow. If pressed into leadership, as most figures in the Bible were, to be ready to lead but in the present be ready and willing to clean the latrine.
I have never seen a burning bush other than when we cleared our land and burned the limbs and trees we cut up. I have never been blinded by God nor have angels played trumpets in my ear loud enough to wake the dead. But I have been given orders. And those orders are clear. They are to “GO”! Go love people, go share the love of God with people. Go feed and clothe the poor. Go take care of the widows and orphans. Go make friends with the unfriendly. Go serve soup to outcasts.
Quit waiting for your “God Moment” or “God Vision” for your life and do the simple things He has already told us to do. “Love God with all your being.” “Love your neighbor the same way you love yourself.” Teach people about God. Important commands for all us unimportant people. It’s not about us, it’s about HIM! It’s not about us, it’s about OTHERS! I think that if we focused on doisoldier-1ng the small things we know we’re supposed to do instead of trying to “find our place in God’s will” a lot more would be accomplished and a lot less people would be struggling to survive.  Plus, the Bible says if we are faithful with the little unimportant things He will give us more important stuff to do.  If you want to be important you first must master the unimportant.
The mark of a good soldier is following orders, the mark of a great soldier is following orders without question.

The Letdown!

letdown-series-bulletin1Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines the word TRUST as an- assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”.  I don’t know about you but I have trust issues.  It is hard for me to fully trust anyone or anything.  I trust very few people in this world, and even then I only fully trust about five of them.  I won’t name them but they know who they are.  It is hard to trust isn’t it?  I am pretty sure we have all felt the sting of betrayal, the pain of dishonesty and the slap of back stabbing.  People at work want our job, people at home have cheated and people at church, well, let’s just leave that one alone.  Our friends hurt us, our family hurts us and our co-workers hurt us.

Sometimes it even feels like God hurts us.  I have recently felt let down by God.  My Dad and I attempted something big for God and it ended up a failure, at least in our eyes.  Remember that definition from earlier- assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”. We felt like we relied on God and His character and we felt let down.  While I don’t pretend to know the inner workings of God’s mind nor do I even understand His thought process I do know He is All-Knowing.  If He wasn’t He couldn’t be God.

Lately I have lost my job and I have had to move a few hundred miles from my family.  I am able to go home and see my wife and kids every other weekend.  I have put out numerous resumes and I haven’t received a single call or email in response to them.  I realize that in today’s climate I have it better than most, I have a job, my kids are well fed and clothed and we have a roof over our heads but I sure do miss them.  I miss seeing them every day and tucking them in every night.  I miss falling asleep on the love seat while my wife watches T.V.  I miss Momma’s home cooking (she lives next door) and I miss hanging out with my Brother-in-Law and talking football.  I miss spending time with my Dad and watching my nephews growing bigger.  I miss a lot.  I feel let down by God.  I took a leap of faith and landed on my butt.

But here is what I am learning, trust is hard.  Trust like love, is a decision not a feeling.  I have to decide to trust God.  Faith means believing in something before you see it.  Trust is relying on something or someone before something happens.  I trust my wife to be there for me if I am ever in an accident.  I trust the chair I am sitting in to not collapse.  I trust my van to get me where I am going.  I trust all the time, why then is it so hard to trust God.

The good news is that I am not the first nor am I the only one who has ever struggled with trust issues.  Two prominent figures in the Old Testament had issues with trust.  The first was Moses, yes Moses.  Whole studies have been done on the life of Moses; “Experiencing God” is probably the most well know.  It is a wonderful study and I encourage you to read it but before Moses became the leader of Israel and the tool God used to deliver His people from slavery Moses had trust issues.  Read through Exodus 3 & 4.  Moses doubts Gods call to save Israel.  Moses says, “Who am I?”  Then in chp.4 Moses again distrusts God when he asks, “What if the Israelites don’t believe me?”, and by using the excuse that he is not eloquent enough to be God’s voice to His people.

The second person is David.  God calls David “a man after My own heart” yet still he had trust issues.  In 2 Samuel 24 God tells David not to count his army.  But David, in a lack of trust, counted anyway.  God wanted David’s army to be the size of his faith, not his faith the size of his army.

In the New Testament the disciples are recorded as having several lapses in trust.  Here is one such occasion Mark 4:35-41.  Take a few seconds and read what happened.

So we are not alone.  We are not the first.  And we will not be the last.  We all have trust issues.  We all feel let down.  Thetrust_fall struggle, the battle, the mark of strength is to keep going.  To fight!  Don’t give up.  We need to decide to trust God, even when the world is falling apart, even when OUR world is falling apart, decide to trust Him.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.  Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message)

Trust is a decision, make the decision today!