God is HUGE


“Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:34 (NLT)

Do we know what we are doing?

About what? You might ask…

About our walk with God, would be my answer.

What does our walk look like? Are we limping? Are we skipping? Are we sluggish? Are we energized? Are we timid? Are we determined?

Limping – Wounded and battered.

Skipping – With a childlike heart.

Sluggish – Tired and worn out.

Energized – Excited about each day.

Timid – Scared of many things.

Determined – On a mission for God.

The list could continue, but I think you get the idea.

Jesus knew, looking down from the Cross, that those below Him were lost, confused, angry, scared, over-whelmed, and also hopeful. Yes, hopeful, because deep in their hearts, the Jews and Romans alike, was a yearning for the God whose image they had been created in. We all want God, don’t we? Some may say they don’t, but that’s only because they’re so scared…scared to hope in something that could be all just a fantasy. If it’s just wishful thinking…we might as well just wish upon a star, and see what happens. Cross our fingers and hope to die…so it’s been said. But when we die, then what?

Many are living life a bit skittish because of wanting so much more than that, but not really thinking it’s entirely possible. I mean, if someone could prove to us that God really exists, that He really has an eternal Heaven waiting for us, that He really does watch over every minute of our every day, that He really does care about us and want the best for us…who would raise their hand and say, “I refuse that!” We’d have to be a fool!

If some human being came into our life and said, “I’m here to help you. I will love you unconditionally. I will be here for you no matter what. I will never leave you. I will calm your fears and bind up your wounds…what I have to offer you is limitless…” Would we refuse? Well, we’d probably not really trust those words because they sound too good to be true and we’ve been taught that if it sounds too good to be true, then it isn’t true… We hang up the phone!! Because it’s just a scam!

Do we hang up the phone on God the same way? Oh, perhaps we listen for a bit, but it’s really hard to believe what this “deal” includes: An eternal Home? In a tear-less place? No heartache. No sorrow. No pain. A loving God, who forgives everything we have ever done and remembers it no more? I don’t think so…good-bye.

Or…do we hang on the line?
Do we start to think so?
Do we start to hope so?
Can we come to know so?

A man named William Booth wrote:
“There are think-so Christians, and there are hope-so Christians, and there are know-so Christians.”

Let’s be honest and figure out which Christian we are. Let’s not be afraid to “go there,” because in going there, we can truly get there…right to the heart of God, which is where He wants us to be, and truly where we want to be. God is not afraid of our questioning, of our digging--of our knocking and of our looking and our asking Him about it! Sometimes, we are afraid of what we might find if we dig too deep…but God is not afraid because He is there to be found!

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for.
Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will
be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds.
And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.” Luke 11:9-10 (NLT)

Sometimes, we’re afraid to even knock…because what if no One is Home?
Then what?
What does our walk of faith mean?
What does our life in ministry mean?
What does our day-to-day walk with God mean?

It would mean nothing! Nothing at all! It would be a farce. The world would be proved right in calling us a fool for believing that Jesus died for us! Without Jesus, our “cause” would be no different than joining the PTA, the YMCA, or a fraternity at UCLA! It would keep us busy, it would probably be an enjoyable time, we would meet some great people, and when we die, that would be it. No God. No Heaven. No eternal life. No rewards. No nothing. That’s it. End of story!

BUT! If God is true, if He really is God, if all His promises are true…then, that’s a whole different story…one written about in the Bible--one Christians are to have faith in. One we are to believe with every part of our being. Not just to think it’s true. Not just to hope it’s true. But to fully know it’s true, and live each day in that assurance.

How many of us do?
Far too few…and why?
Because, the enemy is hard at work to stop such goings-on! He’s seen Heaven, he’s seen God, he knows the power that God holds in the palm of His right Hand, and the devil doesn’t want us to have any part in fully believing this…not while he’s alive and active on this earth. The reason satan got booted out of Heaven was because he wanted to be God…and he still does…only now that Heaven won’t have him, we’ve got him, and he’s messing with us as much as he can before Jesus comes back to send him to the fires of Hell.

But through it all, God says to us in Jeremiah 29:

13-14“When you come looking for me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed.” God's Decree. “I'll turn things around for you.” (The Message Bible)

13If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity…” (NLT)

13“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” (NIV)

What do we read in these different translations of the same Word of God? We read of God’s promise to be found when we come looking for Him with our whole heart…but we’re really a bit nervous about looking for Him with our whole heart aren’t we? Because if we do…then maybe our whole heart will be crushed with the disappointment of discovering He’s not “all that.” So, we come looking with a part of our heart, maybe a large part of our heart, with just enough held back in reserve that if we end up disappointed, we’ll still have a little bit of ourselves left to depend on…a little bit of our pride still intact.

These are the enemy’s devices working in us to keep us from fully knowing God as we should because there is freedom to be found there that the enemy doesn’t want us to have on this earth. God keeps saying in Jeremiah, I’ll turn things around for you, I’ll end your captivity!! And yet we refuse to go there…out of fear that it may not be true. We choose to stay locked in a cell, maybe just a small cell with just tiny chains, nothing to write home about, but a prison cell all the same, out of fear for what we might find to be missing with the Almighty Savior of the World! Something’s wrong here…

We want to believe in an all-knowing, all-loving, all-caring God…that’s the God we want to serve…but shouldn’t the desire also be for a God who is true to His word? And if that is so, then if God says, “seek me and you will find Me”…and we seek Him and we don’t find Him…then He’s not the God He says He is, He’s a liar, and we shouldn’t want anything to do with him anyway…notice the small “h” in “him” used here!

It follows the same thinking as those who will say that Jesus was a great man, perhaps even a prophet, a kind, and generous soul…NO! Either He is the Son of God or He walked around this earth telling lies about himself, and spouting crazy words, because He said He was God’s One and only Son!! We have those crazy people among us today, spouting those lies, and for the most part, we know they are out of their minds. Oh, some fall for their lies, and always will, but we can be assured these fake “messiahs” are not the “real deal” because we know Who Jesus is, and we know He hasn’t come back yet because of what God’s Word says:

“Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time. So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,’ don’t bother to go and look. Or, ‘Look, he is hiding here,’ don’t believe it! For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes.”
Matthew 24:23-27 (NLT)

This is God’s Truth; this is something that will happen. These are facts we need to know as Christians in today’s world! When the devil is this clever, we can’t be wasting our energy on only thinking and hoping about the facts of God in this life. We need to know!

We’ve been created to give glory to God. To have a relationship with Him. To hold nothing back! We need to be able to look God straight in the eye even when it seems to be the scariest thing in the world to do…when it looks like we could lose everything with one answer…and we need to ask God, “Are You exactly Who You say You are?”

Do we have the guts to do that? Because if we say we do, and God is found to be an imposter, then we have to be willing to live without Him. That’s scary, and that’s why we resist taking that risk, fully and completely. If we didn’t feel it was a risk, then it wouldn’t be scary, and everybody would be doing it!!

But here’s the up side to this! If we do have the guts to risk it all, we will find out the truth and we will gain our freedom!
Because, either way it turns out, we will be set free!
Either we will be free from serving god, because he isn’t god at all and we might as well do whatever we want to do, no holes barred.
Or, we will find out God is exactly Who He says He is and we will find such freedom and joy in a life of serving Him that nothing else compares with it!

If we’re caught anywhere between these two options, we are in captivity, and we may not even realize it! And the enemy probably is laughing at us!

Option One: There is no God.
The Good and the Bad, and the very, very Bad.
Yes, it offers freedom from serving god, so I’m not going back on saying we’ve been set free…but I’m sorry to say, it doesn’t end there. Because, if god is not god, we’ve got bigger problems than we could ever have imagined because, this is it folks, this is as good as it gets, right here, right now, and I’ll be the first one to say, I’m not satisfied with that scenario.

Option Two: God is exactly Who He says He is.
The Good and the Bad and the very, very Good!
God is God, and we have really come to know that He is, but it doesn’t mean life is suddenly rosy with barely a whimper of crying to be heard…it means we have found the right path, the one that leads us Home, and it includes a relationship with God--which is the most rewarding, long-lasting, faithful, most loving relationship ever, ever, anywhere! What seems too good to be true, is really true!

So how do we get these options figured out?
How do we look God straight in the eye, and ask Him?
Let’s read what His Word tells us to do:

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11 (NLT)

Did you notice the key words of instructions there? There are helpful hints all over in just those three lines. I’ll point them out as we read them again:

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11 (NLT)

We are urged here to see how it’s done, to be open to the things of God, to listen eagerly to His Word, to search the Scriptures daily to see what’s there, and to find out what the truth is. God’s not shrinking away from our investigation, from our fully diving in and seeing what we come up with. He’s encouraging us to do that very thing, because He has nothing at all to hide! Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” He’s not saying I’d like to be, or I think I am, or I hope to be…but, I AM! (John 14:6)

Cool! Then we don’t have to concern ourselves with any indecision on God’s part! When we get to the bottom of all this, God’s not going to suddenly change and say, “Well, that’s not exactly what I meant,” and then cause us to go on some wild egg hunt trying to figure out the chicken and the egg theory. In a day and age when there are so many gray areas, so many things that are said and done depending on whether or not they might be politically correct…God isn’t concerned with His image, He is outright bold when He speaks through His Word.

Now, obviously, this is a biased way of looking at things…because it’s coming from me, a Christian writer. Some unbelievers may want to argue their side of all of this, and they can. It’s their right, but we don’t have to fall for any of it. We don’t even have to buy into the doubts of some Christians to satisfy them, or even to our own doubts to satisfy ourselves. We get so used to that being necessary with all the negotiable things in life, that we confuse those things with God things. Wavering is just not necessary when dealing with the things of God, and in fact, God tells us not to do it!

Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 1 Kings 18:21 (NIV)

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Hebrews 10:23 (NLT)

But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6 (NLT)

There are some things we can go back and forth on, but there are bottom-line basics to Christianity that we are not to waver on, and shouldn’t waste energy doubting--Jesus is God’s Son, He came, He died, and He rose again, ascending into Heaven, paving the way for all who will believe to be forgiven and have eternal life. The devil will tell us we need to even doubt these basic truths, to question them to really make sure they’re true, but we don’t need to. God’s Word doesn’t say, “entertain these doubts until you find them to be true.” God’s Word says, “hold tightly without wavering” because “God can be trusted to keep his promise.” When we come to believe God, we have to set our face like flint, being determined to believe!

Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.
Isaiah 50:7 (NIV)

What do we do with our doubts then?
Let’s take a look at how Jesus helped doubting Thomas.
Scripture tells the story:
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:26-29 (NLT)

Jesus didn’t want Thomas to ponder it, to be scared about it. He didn’t want Thomas to sit in the dark and mull it over for years…Jesus wanted him to walk right up to Him, look into His face, and find the Truth that stood before him! Thomas did, and then Jesus told us all to do the same, to stop doubting and believe!

If someone wants to live their whole life denying God, that is every bit their right to do so--the God we believe in gave them that right, so who are we to deny them that? It’s not my place. I was there once, I didn’t believe, I fought against believing, and I had every right to do so. God wants us to come to Him freely, not forcibly. But what I would tell them is this, “If you will search for God, wholeheartedly, you will find Him.” And I will not flinch, not one iota on that statement because I didn’t say it, God did. And Jesus tells us not to doubt it, so we shouldn’t. As Christians, that’s one of our greatest acts of obedience--being a Christian who is willing to say, God is God, and I know-so. It’s bold, but so is God!

“The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect; but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience. If things are dark to me, then I may be sure there is something I will not do. Intellectual darkness comes through ignorance; spiritual darkness comes because of something I do not intend to obey.”
Oswald Chambers

What is the something we “will not do?”
How do we find that path of knowing that God desires for us in our lives?
How do we become those that Jesus says are “blessed because we believe, even though we have not seen?”

Let me give you a couple of real-life scenarios of other examples of how this works, both of which were told to me on the same day, the 4th of July this year.

We started the day out at Ardenwood Farms in Fremont. I was there with my son and his wife, and their two children. There were crafts and three-legged races, and homemade ice cream and lots of good wholesome 4th of July events to make the day special. One of the things being demonstrated that day was pottery being shaped on a spinning wheel. My daughter-in-law and I made our way over there because we both have tried it and like it a lot! It’s a fun craft. As we stood there watching this woman work at it as easily as if she had been doing this her whole life…probably because she has…Holly started to explain to me how difficult this craft is, and how you work at it and work at it and work at it until one day, something clicks, and it becomes very easy to do. For me, it still isn’t easy, because I haven’t done it as much as Holly, but she took classes in college and has had many experiences with this type of pottery, and she gets it now. I hope to learn this one day…but hoping to won’t make it happen, thinking about it won’t make this happen, I have to get in there and get messy with it…and stick with it until I know what it’s all about!

Then, onto the latter part of our day, where we enjoyed a BBQ at my sister and brother-in-law’s church out in Livermore! Yummy Tri-tip sandwiches, fellowship, games and face-painting for the kids. Along with this came a bit of music provided by my nephews, as they shared three of the songs they do with their group, “Just 3 Guys.” After the little concert, I was talking to my nephew, Vinny, about how he played the guitar, etc…and he began to tell me that he had listened to this one guitar player over and over and over, trying as hard as he could to play with the same technique that this musician was able to. He just couldn’t get it, and couldn’t get it, but he kept at it and then all of a sudden, he got it! He knew what he was doing, and it became very easy for him.

Pottery…guitar playing…when we begin the process of watching how it’s done, and we’re open to learning, and willing to listen and search and long for it…a knowing comes. In the knowing, we’ll start to experience a great ease, one that brings joy in being able to rest in what is known.

God…are we willing to begin the process of really knowing Him, until we find there’s such an ease in our relationship with our Savior, that it brings great joy and rest?

Hannah Whitall Smith writes:
“Away with such unworthy doubtings! Take your stand on the power and trustworthiness of your God, and see how quickly all difficulties will vanish before a steadfast determination to believe. Trust in the dark, trust in the light, trust at night and trust in the morning, and you will find that the faith that may begin perhaps by a mighty effort will end, sooner or later, by becoming the easy and natural habit of the soul. It is a law of spiritual life that every act of trust makes the next act less difficult, until at length, if these acts are persisted in, trusting becomes, like breathing, the natural unconscious action of the redeemed soul.”

Can it really be as easy as sticking with pottery, or guitar playing? Yes! It’s actually easier because with pottery and guitar playing, we’re learning a new skill. With God, it’s so much more than that. As Hannah writes, it’s taking a “stand on the power and trustworthiness of your God.” It’s all about Who God is, not who we are. We’re only taking a step in His direction, seeking Him, opening ourselves up to Him, that’s all we have to do. He takes over from there! It would be like the pottery teacher saying, “Just sit down there at the wheel, and don’t worry, because all your skill will come through me as you put your hands in mine.” Or the skilled guitarist saying, “Just put on the guitar and don’t even try to figure out what the notes will be. I’ll just wrap my hands around yours and play it through you.” The work is God’s to do; we just need to show up!

But you may say, it hasn’t worked so far in my life, because I have shown up, but I’m still doubting…

What was that you said?
You’re still doubting?
We don’t learn to stop doubting by doubting, we learn to stop doubting by trusting.
See the difference there?
If we’re doubting, then we’re doing more than just showing up--we’re still struggling to figure out how the pottery is made, or how the notes will be played.
If we’re trusting, we’re watching God create something beautiful, and hearing the melody of Heaven being played right in our heart.

Hannah writes again: “You may have to believe against every seeming; but no matter.”
It’s old English, but I think you get her jest there…

It may seem like we have every right to doubt, question, to get scared, but “no matter,” We can’t! We shouldn’t! It’s only the devil’s snare, and God has provided a way of escape! It’s called Trust! Each time, “trust makes the next act less difficult,” and before we know it, the pottery is looking like a professional made it, or the guitar playing is sounding like Eric Clapton, or our faith, as tiny as a mustard seed, “grows to become one of the largest of plants, with long branches where birds can come and find shelter.” (Mark 4:32 NLT)

“…I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know
its power. Then at last they will recognize that it is I who speaks to them.”
Isaiah 52:6 (NLT)

On Crucifixion Friday, Jesus asked His Father to forgive the people because, “…they don’t know what they’re doing.” It seems He was talking about those doing the crucifying, but there were also Christians there in the crowd…those who thought He was the Messiah, those who had hoped He had come to save them…and those who knew Him as their Lord. Which category would we have been in?

On Resurrection Sunday, Jesus encountered two of His followers on the road to Emmaus. It is written: “As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. Suddenly, Jesus himself came along and joined them and began walking beside them. But they didn’t know who he was, because God kept them from recognizing him.” Now, they can’t be blamed for “not knowing,” that this was actually Jesus, since God was the One who kept them from recognizing Him. But later in Luke 24:21, when they were telling Jesus, “We had thought he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel,” this is a knowing that they could be held accountable for, and Jesus seems to get a bit upset here when He said, “You are such foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted…?” (Luke 24:25-26)

God is very patient with us. Jesus was patient with these two men on the road that day as He explained things to them once again. They didn’t feel condemned when He was with them, they felt “strangely warm” as He talked to them. It seemed they were on the right road…they were just a bit confused, as many of us are…we’re walking that road Home, but we’re distressed, struggling, wondering, doubting…and Jesus only wants us to believe, to know Him in all His glory—because once we move into that knowing in our relationship with Him, as these two followers did, our eyes will be opened! We’ll then see God for all that He is--fully alive in our lives, fully able to fulfill every promise in His Word—and we will wonder how we ever missed knowing Him so deeply in the first place, because God is HUGE!