Do you get the feeling that God has changed over your lifetime?
In the last book of the Old Testament God says through the prophet Malachi, “I am the Lord, and I do not change.” (Mal 3:6)
James says something similar in 1:17 Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens. He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing.
God doesn’t change but our understanding of God does. Paul says when he was a child he thought like a child and so do we. Once we’ve matured we no longer have a childish view of God.
It’s interesting to consider how the Bible gives us a developing view of God. For example the Israelites gradually moved from believing that God was one among many gods to the only God. Now it’s quite clear God hadn’t changed but the people’s understanding of God and the truth about God had.
God doesn’t grow up with our faith but our faith in God grows and develops. It might be interesting for you to take a break from reading this and think about how your view of God has changed over time and how this affects the way you relate to God.
One of the big questions I’ve been puzzling over because of the theme I was given for the Lenten services is did the incarnation change God? When the word was made flesh, as John puts it, when Jesus was born and became one of us, did that change God?
As we continue on our journey to Easter I wonder in particular whether Jesus experience of death on the cross changed God? Does God understand us better now than he did before? I don’t know the answer but I know that Jesus’ death and resurrection makes a world of difference to each of us. Praise God for his amazing love!
Life’s full of moments when we find ourselves trying to make sense of something or other. Actually, more often than not it’s making sense of someone or other. Do you ever have my struggle - making sense of ‘self’? Sometimes I surprise myself and often I disappoint myself. I’m left puzzling over a particular comment or action.
One of the great puzzles in life is making sense of God. If it’s hard to make sense of life and people then is it even harder to make sense of God? I have a feeling it is.
One of the challenges is that God is presented in very different ways by people who claim to be in the know. So who’s right? And how can we tell?
During confirmation lessons I learnt that God was omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, i.e. all knowing, all powerful, and always present. Are these attributes of God, good news or bad news?
It depends. The attributes of God when removed from a relationship with a loving God are just plain scary. If God’s all-knowing and all-powerful and always-present but not all-loving then sinners beware!
But the good news, which I failed to learn in confirmation lessons, is that God is omniloving, i.e. all-loving. God created us in his image. God called us by name and made us part of the family.
We see the good news in the flesh and blood person of Jesus. When we look at Jesus and what he did we see some of the divine attributes and we know that he’s God the Son. But John reminds us in John 1:18
No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.
We don’t discover what Jesus is like by studying the attributes of God but we discover what God is like by studying the life of Jesus. This doesn’t deny the attributes but puts them into perspective and anchors them in the loving relationship we have with God. God made us and loves us. Jesus said we can call the Father, Abba (Daddy) because we are his children.
That’s how you make sense of God.
In the “Big Bash League” cricket match, between the Adelaide Strikers and the Melbourne Renegades on January the 22nd , Ben Laughlin and Jake Weatherald teamed up to take an amazing catch. One of the commentators said it might be the best catch ever taken. It had to be seen to be believed.
Have you been amazed lately?
Take a few moments to think about what has amazed you in this new year.
Have you noticed that children have a keen sense of wonder and amazement. They’re amazed at things adults find ordinary. Who’s right? Are beetles amazing or ordinary? Is running through a sprinkler on a hot day ordinary or amazing? Is sliding down a slippery slide amazing or ordinary? Logic says each of these has to be one or the other. But is logic always right and might it be true that the more logical we become the less amazed we are?
I wonder whether as adults we are more amazed by negatives than we are by positives. How many times do we hear ourselves say, “I’m amazed at how stupid that was, or how dumb they are, or how inconsiderate that person is?” Are we in danger of a one-eyed view of wonder?
How does having a decreasing sense of wonder and amazement affect our relationship with God?
Does our amazing God become ordinary? Could we become so used to God’s amazing love and grace that it becomes ’old hat’?
I pray that the Holy Spirit will open our eyes to see anew how amazing God is and how wonderful he has made us and this universe in which we live.
I pray that we’ll be freshly amazed by Jesus and all that he means to us.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will make us childlike or even ‘childish’, if you can think of that word in a positive sense, so we can be filled with the joy that comes from the wonder of this life we live in the presence of God’s favour and love.
God bless you with his amazing presence!