God Cannot Do Everything?

There are many people out there that might think I have lost my salvation. I am sure I will once again upset someone for saying that there are at lest four things God cannot do. I always grew up believing God could do anything. He is after all God. However, through a rich study of the Word of God, I have found at least four things God cannot do. I submit this post to the general audience.

The first thing I found God couldn’t do is God cannot lie. In fact, if you were to get out a concordance (it is a book where one can look up a word from the Bible and see how many times it is used throughout the Old and New Testament), it says several times that God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1: 2; Hebrews 6:18; James 1: 17-18 (just to name a few)). Thanks to ‘The Way of the Master’ series, we know humans lie and Satan himself is called, “the father of lies (John 8:44). God however cannot lie. That is one thing God cannot do.

God cannot learn. To me, this is one of the most incredible and satisfying characteristics of God I am so thankful for. Since God cannot learn (because He knows everything), I cannot disappoint God. Think about it, if I do something that is not kosher, and my mom and dad found out about it, perhaps they would be disappointed in me. However, God knows we are going to screw up. He knows when we are going to make mistakes. To me, that is good. I am glad I cannot surprise God when I make mistakes. So how can we be assured God cannot learn? Here are a few: Psalm 139: 1-2; Hebrews 4:13.

God cannot remember forgiven sin. That is a true gift God gives us. Isaiah 43: 25 says, “I, even I, am He that blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and will not remember your sins.” It has taken me a while to come to a real understanding of what that means for you and I as followers of Jesus. It is truly a blessing you and I take for granted in some ways. Other verses confirm this announcement from God, Himself (Jeremiah 31:31; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17). It is Satan who reminds us of our past sin and continually brings it up to bring us down and make us feel as though we are no good. In that case, I suggest you remind Satan of his future when he attempts to bring put the past. Seriously, God is totally amazing.

The final thing God cannot act outside of His own nature. Who He is, is who He is. He is unchangeable, holy, just, and manifests love, mercy and truth. For eternity past, eternity present, and eternity future, God will remain as constant and unchanging. Since only humans live within the realms of time, God is not bound to ‘non-eternal’ status. Something that will really blow your mind is that even if God wanted to change, He could not. Since God is the highest and most supreme state of perfection, it is impossible for perfection to take form in any manner outside of its present form. Confusing? It is. It is at this point of understanding; we really cease to understand the fullness of this manner.

As I mentioned already, these are not all the things God cannot do. There are a lot. To some who have grown up believing God can do anything, it is a rude awakening to realize there are things God cannot do. For those who believe in Christ and live according to His standards (to the best of our ability), this truth concerning what God cannot do brings us a safe and secure faith. Take some time and consider other things God cannot do. Happy hunting. God bless


Same-Sex Marriage (Chapter 2)

Well we are studying a book written by Erwin Lutzer called, “The Truth about Same-Sex Marriage.”  To recap the purpose of studying this book, I will only mention that I will be engaging with the material as Erwin Lutzer writes.  I will not add my personal convictions or assessment because ultimately it does not matter.  What does matter however is that the writing of others stretches our thinking and that we remain open to their thoughts.  This is our utmost responsibility as believers in Christ.  With that, we examine chapter two:

The Bible is the first place Dr. Lutzer states we should look to understand the importance of family and marriage.  Looking at Adam, God starts the ‘family’ with Adam.  It was not good enough though for man to be alone – something was missing from the family as God saw it and wanted it.  Instead of God creating another being out of the same dust He made Adam, God created another being out of Adam (from his side).  This would make them equal.  Dr. Lutzer writes, “Both Genders bear the image of God, though they reflect God in different ways.”  This is true.  This is what separates man from animals or any other of God’s creation.

After woman (womb-man) is created, Genesis 2: 24-25 states, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.  The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”  This is a divine unity given to man and woman by God, Himself.

The term ‘one’ in Hebrew is ‘ehad’ and refers to ‘complete, one, unified, or equal.’  This is truly significant.  Dr. Lutzer states, “To put it clearly, the original purpose of marriage was to mirror God!  Yes, those couple that do not acknowledge the God of the Bible can also find meaning in their marriage relationships.  Thanks to “common grace” the spiritual unity of a man and a woman can be accepted and enjoyed even if its origin and purpose is unknown.”

Marriage is a covenant that binds two people together and cannot be broken.  Dr. Lutzer states, “However, sexual intercourse in and of itself does not constitute marriage.  A man and woman are made husband and wife by a covenant taken in the presence of God and witnesses.”  He continues, “Today millions of couples are cohabiting without the benefit of a marriage covenant.  In most instances this arrangement serves as a back door of escape, just in case the relationship does not work out.  But this relationship communicates a confusing dual message.”  This has nothing to do with a piece of paper.  It goes so far beyond that.  The paper is just a legal notice that is a witness to the bond of marriage (the covenant between two people) that is given once two individuals are married.

Lutzer calls any sexual relationship that is out of the bounds of marriage an ‘Alien bond.’  It is not a natural bond that should be accepted.  When people are in the bonds of a sexual relationship with multiple people, it is as though that person is having sex with each person they have had sex with previously.  It is the reason why medically AIDS is passed on the way it is.  If someone has AIDS, and passes it on to an individual, a part of that person has become ‘glued’ to that individual.  That person can then pass it on to others.  “A woman whose husband asked her forgiveness for his promiscuity said, “I feel as if all the other women he has had sex with are in the bed there with me.”  In a sense she was right.”

Lutzer finishes this chapter stating, “To affirm same-sex marriages it to take one more step to cut sex off from its God blessed intention of mirroring plurality and unity.  In short, to affirm same-sex marriages is to toss aside the Owner’s Manual, intent on finding our own way, at any cost.  With it we add more brokenness to our brave new world of social experimentation.

Doing Church: Exodus 7-10

Today, Gary taught on Exodus.  The story of Exodus is an amazing story of God who chastens after a people who are held in bondage by Egypt.  God calls Moses to be an Ambassador for God and lead the people out of Egypt to a promise land God would lead them to.  The section we were studying was the plagues of Egypt against Pharaoh and the people of Egypt.  Throughout the story, we see Pharaoh harden his heart towards God.  By the end of the plagues, God finishes the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, even after the death of the first-born sons of Israel.  The Israelites put blood from a lamb on their doorposts to protect their sons.  Pharaoh loses his son and allows the people of Israel to leave.  This is a quick snapshot of the narrative we read.

It is interesting to note that God, in the first two chapters of Exodus seems to be silent when the Israelites are in need of being free.  For two chapters, we rarely see God visible in the text.  He seems to be distant, unaware of all that is going on.  It is not until the last three verses of chapter two God intervenes.  When God does show up, how do we receive Him?  When we feel as though all hope is gone and we are left to fend for ourselves, and God mysteriously shows up, do we welcome Him, as we should?  Do we obey His words when He speaks to us a message that is hard to receive?  I wonder if we really believe God would show up in the first place.

God does show up though.  He speaks loud and clear.  He makes Himself known.  There are no excuses.  I truly believe that is what I need to continually meditate on this week.  Even when it seems God is not listening, God is there, and He answers in His time.

There is a whole subject matter concerning the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart that I will not get into.  It is a constant battle of the minds to understand all that is going on.  The only thing I will say is ultimately, God is active in all things.  Check out the beginning chapters where God shows up.  It is truly an amazing story to read.

A Hindu Prays in the Senate: My Response

On Thursday July 12th, 2007, a Hindu religious leader prayed the Morning Prayer in the U.S. Senate for the first time in history. The response of this man’s prayer was an alarming surprise to those in the room. Three people in the audience began to shout aloud as this man attempted to pray to his god. One news article puts it this way:

WASHINGTON – A Hindu clergyman made history Thursday by offering the Senate’s morning prayer, but only after police officers removed three shouting protesters from the visitors’ gallery.

Rajan Zed, director of interfaith relations at a Hindu temple in Reno, Nev., gave the brief prayer that opens each day’s Senate session. As he stood at the chamber’s podium in a bright orange and burgundy robe, two women and a man began shouting “this is an abomination” and other complaints from the gallery.

Police officers quickly arrested them and charged them disrupting Congress, a misdemeanor. The male protester told an AP reporter, “we are Christians and patriots” before police handcuffed them and led them away.

As a Christian, I feel as though the actions of these three individuals were completely out of line. We are called to be salt-and-light to the world through our actions and our love for others, despite other personal beliefs or lifestyles. However, that does not mean that we condone the actions of individuals that are either in sin or lead such lifestyles. This is best lived out through Jesus as our perfect example: As Jesus ate with sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes, Jesus still believed they were sick and in need of a physician. Jesus was an open door for anyone who was either an outcast or a ‘common’ person. Jesus made no distinction between anyone and showed forth His love to others.

I am not Indian, nor am I a Hindu. I am a Christian. Make no mistake about that. I was taken back a little when I found out today that a Hindu religious leader opened the Senate’s morning prayer. I am more surprised I had just heard about this today than I was that someone of a different belief led a morning prayer in Congress.

I look at this situation as I do my starbucks discussion # 247 found here. I do not believe we live in a Christian nation anymore. Perhaps when the United States was founded several hundred years ago, there were directives and foundational points that were put in place by men who believed in the YHWH God. Unfortunately (and I do mean unfortunately), we no longer live in that manner. We live in a ‘toss salad’ of people who make up a culture of individuals who are as different as Baskin Robbins ice cream flavors. That being said, we need to realize that much of what will occur in the future will not be in line with our Judeo-Christian past.

When people (like these three individuals who shouted during this man’s prayer) act in this manner, it sends out a foul aroma and pollutes our witness to others. It frustrates me when it seems we, as the body of Christ, begin to make some headway with others, other (perhaps well-meaning) Christians have to go and create a situation that puts a bad taste into other’s mouths. It seems when we are about to take two steps forward; we end up taking two steps backwards.

Was I in agreement with the man’s prayer? No. I do not believe that the religious view of Hinduism is the correct belief of faith. But this man does. He believes with his whole heart that who or what he is praying to, be his god. And, no matter how much I disagree with this man’s belief, it makes no difference to him. If I act in such a way like these individuals, nothing is gained for the sake of the Gospel. It is a waste of hot air that rises and dissipates into the atmosphere.

What would I have done if I were in the room? I cannot be sure in all honesty. I can only hope that I would have respect for this individual and pray for him that he might know Jesus. I hope that I would be more concerned with this Hindu religious leader than shouting ‘abomination statements’ while this man attempts to pray to his god. Perhaps, if I were fortunate enough to meet with him after the day’s work, I would get his contact information and build a relationship with him and share with him Jesus. Through respect and digity, I hope I would convey the truth of God’s love for him and for his family and friends. When we love God and we love others, we fulfill the Law of God. I think we would do well to act in this manner. Here is the video courtesy of Youtube.com. Instead of shouting aloud with the others in this video, why don’t we pray for him? Why don’t we instead pray that God would chasten after this individual and the love of God would overwhelm him in a powerful way? That’s the kind of prayer I hope I would be praying as he prays. Let us be the body of Christ who prays. God bless

R U Serious? (Gold Fools)

I have had people say that I am too serious. I have to admit that at times, I can be way too serious and in need of a good laugh. For that, I look to articles that have been written by individuals I personally know or I read news reports by the BBC or other news reporters. Here is one article that I had to read several times over and simply shake my head. I call this post “R U Serious?”

Gold theft in a Japanese museum

Three masked men have stolen a massive block of gold bullion on display in a museum in Japan. The gold bar, valued at $1.71m (1.27m euro; £0.87m), weighed about 220 pounds (100kg) and was kept in an open safe.

The museum, in the central city of Takayama, said, “The gold was not protected by sensors as they wanted visitors to be able to touch it.”

But the group of thieves went one step further, helping themselves to the precious metal and dragging it away.

The gold was lugged past an employee alerted by the noise, down a staircase and out of the museum where the three men were driven away by a fourth accomplice.

“The gold was exhibited on the second floor, which was monitored by a security camera from the first floor,” said 59-year-old Hisao Nakahagi, the owner of the gold.

I am not sure how I can comment on this article from the BBC. Who puts that kind of gold on display without counting the cost (literally)? Who leaves the gold unattended as hundreds of people walk around it and touch it? And finally, who allows three men (masked) to walk out the front door after dragging the gold from the second story display? If there are all those people walking around, why did someone not stop them? Part of you wants to laugh; the other part honestly feels bad. My only response is: R U Serious?

Same-Sex Marriage (Chapter One)

As I have mentioned, I thought I would begin to work through a book I picked up while I was at Camp-of-the-Woods called, “The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage” by Erwin Lutzer.  For those who do not know Erwin Lutzer, let me give you a quick synopsis about who he is.  He has been a pastor of Moody Bible Church for several years.  He is well educated, has written about twenty books, and is a popular speaker for different venues.  When I was at Camp-of-the-Woods, I saw several books he had written and considered buying different ones throughout the week.  When I did some searching through the bookstore though, I saw this book and knew this book was important.  So I bought it and began to read it.

I am not going to share my thoughts about same-sex marriages.  That is not the purpose of these posts.  I am going to do my best to stick to the information that this book calls for us to recognize.  In all honesty, it doesn’t matter what my position is:  I hope that no matter what your position is regarding this issue, you will be willing to have an open mind to the information contained therein.  With that, let us begin.

Is same-sex marriage really an issue we should be concerned with?  Erwin Lutzer says it is.  To some, it is an issue that is better left to ‘those other people.’  Ultimately though, we are called to understand the implications of how same-sex marriage will affect the family.  The term ‘family’ has been defined as, “a unit of two or more persons, related by either birth or by choice, which may or may not live together, who try and meet each other’s needs and share common goals and interests…” If we are going to allow such a definition to define what a family is, we open the doors for ‘equal rights’ to all types of ‘families’ and the end of marriage.  Ultimately then, it is the children in these ‘families’ that end up hurt the most.

It is reported that co-habitation relationships only work out (for the most part) for only five years.  Dr. Lutzer writes, “For example, in France, ‘civil solidarity pacts’ have been created for homosexuals so that they can file joint income tax returns and receive welfare and unemployment benefits.”  He continues writing, “Gay marriage, as the French are vividly demonstrating, does not extend marital rights; it abolishes marriage and puts a new, flimsier institution in its place.”  Would there really be a difference between people who are co-habitation, gay marriage, or a heterosexual marriage?  There seems that there would not be.  The lines of marriage would be blurred to non-existent and therefore endanger the institution of what marriage really is.

The issues of same-sex marriage are pushed throughout the media in a variety of ways.  Those who live an alternative lifestyle would have us believe that it is a ‘normal’ relationship.  Dr. Lutzer challenges that idea.  Though, to challenge such a thought would border the bounds of ‘hate-speech.’  This is a term that has been thrown around to bully those who are in disagreement with homosexual marriage.  Dr. Lutzer writes, “Not well:  When same-sex marriages are legalized, religious freedom will have to give way to constitutional law.”  It would end up being a violation to help someone who is struggling with homosexuality even if he or she wants it.  The church would be held in bondage by the words it can speak.  And in Canada, there was a bill that is trying to make its way through their government that would make public criticism of homosexuality a crime.  Could you image what the implications of that call passing in the US would do to those who are pastors, counselors or good friends would do?

Dr. Lutzer ends the first chapter by mentioning something that is difficult for many to read.  Everyone is a sinner.  Just because someone lives an alternative lifestyle and another person does not, it does not mean one is greater or less than the other.  As the church, we have become so critical of others in order to justify ourselves as ‘good Christians.’  That whole ‘speck of dust’ and ‘wooden beam’ story comes to mind as I consider the implications of Dr. Lutzer’s concluding thoughts.  In short, Dr. Lutzer calls for the church to repent of how they have treated those who live a homosexual lifestyle.  Even if one does not agree with their actions or choices, we are called to love people and not treat them like second-class citizens.

Doing Church: David Taylor

Today a guy named David Taylor (also known as Davis to the veterans of The Well) brought the Word.  I had never met Davis but judging from the excitement from the crowd, I figured I was in for a great sermon.  His message resonated with me quite well.

His message dealt with an honest statement most of us have often thought but have never really dealt with.  Have you ever thought, “I do not always believe that God is always good?”  I am sure most people have.  When something happens when you least expect it, it is hard to believe that God is good.  It is hard to believe God is good when someone dies; you lose your job or when you are behind on the bills.  It is hard to believe that God is good when the test results come back and the new is not so good.

His Scripture was James 1: 16-25.  When I read it during the service, I read it from the ESV.  I thought for my post, I would refer to it from ‘The Message.’  The Message is a paraphrase written by a man named Eugene Peterson.  I would never use The Message as my main study.  I use The Message every once in a while though because it reads like a story and not necessarily like a ‘text’ if that makes sense.  Anyway, James 1: 16-25 reads like this:

So, my very dear friends don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life! — Even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.

I like how the message says it (Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear).  So often, I guess we choose to rather lead with our anger rather than placing it at the rear.  When we are going through a tough time or we feel as though we have been wronged for whatever reason, anger seems to exchange its position.

It is only when we get on our knees and ask God for understanding, things seem to fall into place.  Even when it seems there is no end to the darkness we all through, we need to continue to press forward because the light will soon show itself.  Eventually we will be able to say, “God is good… All the time!”  It will not just be hearsay either.  We have so much we can learn.  It just takes an ear and some action and everything will fall into place.