Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I am…
John 8:48 “Very truly I tell you before Abraham was born, I am!”

Friedrich Nietzche once said “There are no facts only interpretations.”
If this generation had a slogan I believe it would be something along these lines. Certainly this is the secular message being preached into our culture at large here in the U.S. Virtually everything is a matter of mere opinion or preference everyone gets to determine their own “personal truth” for themselves and anyone that tries to intercede and tell you any different is just close minded or judgmental. What a blinding and destructive lie this truly is!

That day in the garden this thing called a lie entered the world and when we decided to sever our relationship with God by latching onto this lie then sin entered the world and it’s been the same since. Sure the lies have greatly multiplied, they’ve taken on many different forms and angles in order to lure us and keep us ensnared but fundamentally they are all the same, they are all founded on this first lie told by the serpent that day that it’s all about you!

This lie that truth is created by us and not given to us has lured us into the thinking that we can create our own ideas of God in our own minds based on nothing but our own selfish thoughts and fickle feelings.

We can look into the Old Testament to see that this is not a new thing. Really the only difference between us and the Idol makers of several thousand years ago is that they fashioned there false Gods from metal, wood, and stone but we today fashion them in our self-centered imaginations. I was guilty of this for years. I had a cut and paste idea of who God was, made up mostly of whom I wanted him to be patched together with some stuff I had heard and other junk I’d seen on TV. I even prayed to this idea I had formed regularly but looking back on it now what I was truly doing was asking for blessings on the plans I had already made. It was more routine and ritual like rubbing a rabbit’s foot for good luck rather than any real searching or turning over.

It’s interesting how this attitude of creating our own idea or truth about God looks when applied to anything else, for example. I drive a Toyota Corolla and I am going to bet that if I started insisting it was actually a BMW that you wouldn’t see anyone say to me “If you really believe in your heart that’s what’s true for you than you can believe your Corolla is a Beamer.” No! They would think I had lost all touch with reality, why, because I would believe a lie and be insisting you believe it with me or at least not offend me by disagreeing with “my truth.”

When Moses meets God in the image of a burning bush on Mount Horeb he asks God what to tell the Israelite's about who has sent him.
God answers saying “I am who I am” he then instructs Moses to tell the Israelite's that “I am” is who sent him. He goes onto say that he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So when we ask God who God is he is very specific that he is an individual that is set apart and independent from what we think of him, he is at times even combative to what our thoughts might be about him. Here in this setting he brings confrontation into Moses’ life which is typical of a real relationship with the living God.
He can see far past what we think ourselves capable of and through the pouring out of his love he creates in us a great desire to be stretched and grown into what he sees for us. Moses even argues with the Lord as we do sometimes. After all Moses is a murderer on the run from the law, he’s lucky to be tending sheep at this point but God says you are capable of so much more. Not because Moses is special but because the Lord is confident in his own ability to work through Moses if Moses will only allow it. Moses chooses rightly and what we see is a murdering sheep herder transformed into a man that split the sea and lead a multitude of his own people out from slavery. He was only able to do this through his own surrender to the one true living and specific God, allowing Yahweh to work through him.

He didn’t do it by following his own personal truth about who God is or might be because then he would have been left relying on only his own abilities and if that were the case he likely would have never left that field tending the sheep of his father-in-law.

Here in John chapter 8 we see Jesus using the same language as Moses heard spoken to him from the burning bush. If we go back earlier in the chapter Jesus tells the Pharisees that they are not of God that they are of their father the Devil. We as Christians often demonize the Pharisees without giving enough study I think to who they really were. These were men after God, they spent hours in prayer, wore prayer boxes on their heads, memorized the first five books of the Bible and tried to live their lives by 613 laws, and in verse 44 we see Jesus calling them children of Satin! He is telling these “men of God” that this idea you have of who I am, that isn’t me, I am who I am and you got it wrong! Jesus is also shining a light on the fact that if your not with him your with the Devil, no middle ground, no gray areas.
This should scare even the most devout Christian into keeping his heart, mind and study rightly focused. The Pharisees even while being immersed in all these rules and traditions slowly began to believe a lie, they began to boast in the keeping of the law, using it to crush others and exalt themselves rather than exalting Yahweh, they began to use these laws and traditions to keep people from the Kingdom of God rather than bring people to it, and they allowed the lies of greed and power to remove them from who the Lord really was. They had gotten so far from him that they had formed in there minds and speech a false idea of what and who he was and what his Christ would look and behave like if they saw him and then he came and they didn’t recognize him at all! They were so saturated by the illusion given by the lies they now lived by that they thought God’s Christ, God’s own son to be the Devil!
This is the incredible blinding power of believing a lie, of inventing our own truth. We stand on sand and think it to be solid rock, we walk lost in the dark thinking we see better than we ever have, we sin and claim it to be righteousness! What a power the Devil wields and how easily we can become sheep for the slaughter being lured into a beautiful illusion.
What better lie could there be than to tell us we can have our own interpretation our own truth about who God is? It is such a powerful lie and one we love to cling to that it’s been here since the beginning. Following this false God we’ve conjured up with our own depraved mind we are left defenseless to the lies that Satin weaves and the destructive sin those lies lead to. He lures us into his sheep pen with the offer of fulfilling our own deepest selfish desires and self-serving dreams all the while keeping us blind to the fact that the sheep pen contains a massive bloodthirsty wolf waiting to devour us.

There is one God he can be your God and my God yes but he is a specific God with specific attributes, a specific character, and a specific will for your life and mine. He is not a general idea or a mindless force!
This God is Yahweh the God of the Bible Old Testament and New. He is the God that flooded the earth and the God that told Lazarus to come out from the tomb, he is the God that parted the sea and the God told the man on the mat to get up and walk, he is the God that took Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind and the God that his Son ascended back to after his resurrection!
He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! The seraphim and the angels cry out in his presence Holy! Holy! Holy! The Elders sitting with him in Heaven throw themselves to the floor and place their crowns at his feet saying

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
Revelation 4:11

He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the creator, provider, and the sustainer of all things. Think about that! He didn’t just set the universe in motion and walk away, no, he provides and sustains ALL. He is active in everything around you and in you right now!
The grass in your yard grows because of him. He ordained your eye color and the breaths that you’re taking right now! And yet he also finely calibrated the direction and rotation of trillions of stars, planets, and galaxies!

When we come to this God and focus our hearts, minds, and study on him he shines a light on our sins and exposes the lies in our life for what they are. He shines a light onto our path not only so we might better know his perfect direction for us but also revealing the snares and traps set by the Devil.
He makes the Devils illusions easily recognizable in us and in others so we might not only guard ourselves against them but help others be released from them. This God is not easily going to fit into our lives or our minds, no, he will bring confrontation and change into our lives, he will demand that we grow in all directions to become a better vessel for his spirit to flow through, he will begin to conform us to his mind, to his path, and by his laws.
Not through fear of condemnation, not through any work needed on our part and certainly not through guilt or remorse for past deeds but through the pouring out of his Love and Peace on us! The more we will turn over to him the lighter our load will become and soon if we are persistent in our seeking and giving ourselves over to him not only will our load and our burdens be gone we won’t feel as if we are even walking anymore but being carried along! We won’t be struggling with our sins like a child not ready to give up a certain toy anymore; we will hate them and declare war on them! The great an awesome Love of this God will spur you into action for him, not because we feel we have to but because we cannot stand not to.

This is not a small god here to help us on our way, this is not a small god here to lavish us with trinkets and wealth, this is not a small god wanting to help our dreams come true, or a small god that changes with the wind, that’s fickle in his feelings, or that holds us to conditions for his love.

This is the one and only true and living God that will lavish us with such Love, Peace, and Joy that material wealth will appear as a burden, this God has a dream for all of us and it’s likely not what our own selfish desires would ask for but it is guaranteed to greatly exceed our dreams in every way, this God is unchanging, untiring, and rock solid forever and always giving us a real foundation to build a life on. He has eliminated all conditions through Christ and now we only need to open up and receive his Love.
He makes no demands of payment for it but gives it free to all that come to the Son regardless of where you are now or where you’ve been before. He is as he says he is so let’s let him speak for himself.

He is Yahweh, He is Yeshua, and He is the Spirit of Truth. He is the one and only I Am!