toy guns at a standoff

Posted: August 23rd, 2010 | Filed under: life | Tags: | 2 Comments »

God is sovereign and you cannot successfully build anything in your life that He does not intend to be there. We usually only acknowledge this when our effort is over. If we succeeded, we give credit to God. If we failed, we say it wasn’t God’s will. It’s while we’re trying that we worry about making the wrong choice or building the wrong thing.

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. -Psalm 127:1 NIV

God has a plan and you can’t mess it up. Not even with bad choices. Your choices are more about you and your relationship with God than they are about the cosmos hinging on your perfect execution of the Creators plan. People make bad choices every single day. Lives are completely altered by, what looks like, horrible mistakes. Yet, given time, the Master Plan reveals itself and the darkness is found to be necessary.

I’ve said it, and I’ll most certainly do it. I’ve planned it, so it’s as good as done. -Isaiah 46:11

God’s purpose doesn’t depend on your obedience. Obedience has its reward, just like mistakes hurt. However, the fear of not measuring up is removed. The eternal sting is gone. We’re not made to sit on the sidelines. We’re made to take part. If you want to eat, you have to work. It’s not because it all goes to hell if you don’t do it right, it’s because you were made in His image and tapping into that is what makes you feel alive. It’s not about your salvation, it’s about the blood that runs through your veins.

What God did in this case made it perfectly plain that his purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by his decision, flowing steadily from his initiative. -Romans 9:12

He creates people with specific purpose and they’re not always noble. His purposes are noble, but the people and their choices aren’t. It’s not about what a person does or doesn’t do that determines His purpose. It’s so much to the point that if you’re getting this, you should be feeling like all of your effort to get ahead and do it right is for nothing. You should be wondering how it is that a ‘bad person’ can be no worse than a ‘good person.’ If you were getting this, you would be wondering what the point of anything is. You would be concerned about God and wondering if He’s fair at all.

He doesn’t follow our rules. In our world, the fastest wins, the richest get and the fittest survive. In His Kingdom, offenses are forgiven like they never happened and, the most confusing part: hearts are hardened if He has a reason for it.

When God reveals something to you, is it because of something you did? Faith is from God, vision is from God, compassion is from God. There is nothing a person can do to manufacture these things in their lives. You’ve seen them try and it’s awkward and embarrassing. So, you have to consider the fact that if someone’s eyes are shut, their faith is weak and their hearts are hard, God has a purpose for it.

What does that do to your feelings about that person? The ‘deceived’ one. We get angry and blame people as though our lives depended on them not making any mistakes. Since when are you at the mercy of flesh and blood?

I have hurt people as a result of my own deception. I have altered lives with my hard and selfish heart. I know what it’s like to be horrible and I know what it’s like to have a complete transformation when my eyes were opened and my heart changed. God can shut you down for a purpose and then open you back up to a place where faith in grace is the only thing keeping you from sinking into the abyss of self-loathing and despair.

A person can hurt you horribly, even in the name of God, and not have any idea how wrong they are. If they did, it would probably crush them.

God raises people for His own purposes. He determines how they’re used and what is used. And just to one-up that, He chooses these things before you’re born.

Is that grounds for complaining that God is unfair? Not so fast, please. God told Moses, “I’m in charge of mercy. I’m in charge of compassion.” Compassion doesn’t originate in our bleeding hearts or moral sweat, but in God’s mercy. The same point was made when God said to Pharaoh, “I picked you as a bit player in this drama of my salvation power.” All we’re saying is that God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part for good or ill. –Romans 9:14-18

Do you remember what part Pharaoh played? He was the jerk. God picked him, hardened his heart and then drowned him with his army in the sea. God’s purpose is for us to know Him and He goes to extremes to make that possible.

Are you going to object, “So how can God blame us for anything since he’s in charge of everything? If the big decisions are already made, what say do we have in it?” Romans 9:19

David Bazan (Pedro the Lion) sings a song called ‘In Stitches’ and says, “When Job asked you a question, you responded ‘Who are you to challenge your Creator?’ makes You sound defensive, like you had not thought it through.” Obviously David gets it and doesn’t like it. I’ve had a few conversations with him and I like him. I like him mainly because he is who he is. A church boy with questions that give him pause.

We all have a little god complex in us. It’s the nucleus of the sin nature. You’re the master of your own universe. So, do scriptures like this make you feel like a toddler with a toy gun and plastic spurs?

Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right? -Romans 9:20-23

The English Standard Version, same passage, says: ‘What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory…’

You don’t even have to know what God is doing in order to play your part. You’re not mindless robots, so don’t try to use that as a reason to object to the invasion on your ‘kingdom’. The closest example to a mindless robot I can think of is a person who credits their inhumane brutality as acting on God’s behalf and, of course, ‘in love’. No compassion, no mercy, no love. Just judgment. Even then, you can always trace that down to selfishness and vanity. When you try to fit the role, you miss it completely. People who are trying to attain righteousness don’t reach it. People who don’t seem to care, attain it. Smoke on that.

How can we sum this up? All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling.Romans 9:30-32



2 Comments on “toy guns at a standoff”

  1. 1 Dea said at 4:48 am on August 24th, 2010:

    Sprawled out–thank God there is a hand to lift me up.

  2. 2 Serena Woods said at 4:56 am on August 24th, 2010:


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