April 29, 2013

God vs. Evil

There have been so many horrible things happening around the world in the past month. We were talking about it in class, and one girl said something that ignited a spark in my mind and I think this spark needs to be helped along. She said that so many people, after horrible events, ask things like, "Why did God cause this to happen?" "How does God allow this evil to infiltrate our world?" "Maybe God is trying to punish us." These are all questions we ask sometimes. But let me get right to the point. Evil does not come from God. There is no evil in God, He cannot be evil, therefore He does not create evil. The thing I think many people get wrong, and even believers get it wrong, is that we sometimes think God is trying to get a message across or trying to make our lives miserable. That is a wrong view of God. Let's look at some Scripture to help get this across...

"For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence.You hate all who do wrong; you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, Lord, detest."
-Psalm 5:4-6
So, this verse is quite clear. God hates evil. God hates those who are evil. Can God hate? Yes. But it's not the kind of hate we think about. We can say we 'hate' broccoli. We can say we 'hate' the popular kids. We can say we 'hate' homework. But the kind of hate here is a righteous hate. God has righteous wrath. He hates those who are evil. But it's not a childish, petty, revengeful kind of hate. It is a righteous hate because evildoers are in blatant disobedience to God's law. Those who disobey God's law and do not repent or are not saved evoke God's righteous wrath. There is a huge difference between the kind of hate we feel and encounter every day from other humans. It is a much bigger wrath, with a much bigger purpose.

"When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."
-James 1:13-15
Alright, so God does not tempt us. Many times, we bring on our own destruction. This verse is quite clear about the dangerous domino effect that can happen. You know, I read this quote once, and it has stuck with me...
"Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Watch your words for they become actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become your character.
Watch your character for it becomes your destiny."
I've always loved that quote because it is such a reminder how we, as humans, lead to our own destruction. The question of "how can God cause something like this to happen" really  has no standing. He didn't cause it at all. We ourselves caused it. The two bombers at the Boston Marathon created that horrible situation. They are not of God and that event was not from God. He is not tempted by evil, He is not tempted by revenge. The devil really works hard to get us to turn away from Christ by making us believe God is creating all this evil in the world. He isn't. We are.

"'So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong. He repays everyone for what they have done; he brings on them what their conduct deserves. It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice. Who appointed him over the earth? Who put him in charge of the whole world? If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust...His eyes are on the ways of mortals; he sees their every step. There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness, where evildoers can hide...'"
-Job 34:10-22
So, obviously, this is Job talking. We all know the story of Job. We know how he was tested and how he had every reason to blame God for what was happening to him. This is such a cool verse because Job knows that evil does not come from God. It seems like he is trying to talk some sense into us. God is in charge of this entire earth, yet He does not "pervert justice". He gives us life. He knows every occurrence in this world. He knows where evil tries to hide. He knows where evil is. Even in James 2:19 it says that evil shudders in the presence of the one and only God. Now that is power, but in all that power, He only uses it for good. The wrath the Bible talks about is righteous wrath. God does not create evil on this earth. He has our best interest in mind. But evil is not from God. He wants to show us how to turn to Him and He always wants the best for His believers. We as humans distort the truth and act like God is out to get us or out to teach us a lesson. Bottom line. There is no evil in God and evil will never come from God.  I don't have all the answers to this topic, and I never will. But I know God does not create the evil that happens in this world.

April 16, 2013

You Are Not Exempt

The unthinkable happened a few days ago, guys. It happened. You are going to laugh when I tell you what occurred, but trust me, I'll be laughing right along with you.

Okay...let me just get this out right off the bat. I completely ate it on the treadmill a few days ago. Just ate it. You know, slid off of it and everything.

I'll let that mental picture marinate for a minute....

It literally was like a comedy show, or a funny video you watch on YouTube. It was probably going in slow motion for all I know. It certainly felt like it. But really, I didn't pick up my foot enough, apparently, and my toe caught the moving belt and it went downhill from there. Luckily, I didn't have a very big audience because I went when the rec had just opened, but one girl did see and kindly asked if I was okay without laughing hysterically. Goodness knows that's what I wanted to do. But, I would've drawn more attention to myself and I certainly didn't want that. I've always been one of those people who watched those funny YouTube videos and said, "Ha, I will never be THAT person to fall off of a treadmill. How do you even do that?" Well, let me tell you my friends, it is easier than it looks. And it can happen to anyone. I was mortified, yet wanted to laugh hysterically. Sometimes you just have to love the irony. And you can laugh all you want, I'm okay with that, but it got me thinking...

Have you ever felt like you're exempt from something? I felt like I was exempt from falling off of a treadmill. Apparently not. That's why I was a swimmer (I will always be a swimmer at heart), in case you were wondering haha. But think about it. As believers, sometimes we get the mentality that we are exempt from sin. We know we sin, but we sit there and judge non-believers for their sin because they aren't saved and they won't be forgiven. We take that for granted and think we are exempt from God's wrath. That's true, to a point. If we abuse that priviledge, we are not truly believers and are subject to God's wrath. The fact is, sin is sin. God sees it the same way no matter what it is. We, as believers, sometimes think we are exempt from the forces of this world. Certainly not. Be careful in thinking something doesn't apply to you. Sometimes in sermons, we hear a message and think of someone we know is guilty of such a thing. We think the message doesn't apply to us, but we know someone who really could've used it. I've done that too, and I admit to that. Be careful in thinking you're exempt. Sometimes you think surely God wouldn't test you because you've been so faithful to Him and you've done nothing wrong. Think again. Every single one of us does multiple things wrong even on our best day. Isn't that a scary thought? It is slightly intimidating. Something I've learned throughout life and in some bible stories is that God will teach you a lesson through irony, just to bring you down a couple of levels. We tend to get self-righteous as Christians, and that does not benefit anyone. Granted, this event that occurred is a minor detail compared to some lessons learned. But, it's still a great analogy.

Just keep in the back of your mind that you are not exempt from anything in this world. You are not exempt from learning a hard lesson, you are not exempt from struggling with sin, you are not exempt from Satan's attempts to destroy your faith (although he can't do that without God's permission if you're saved). You are not exempt from constructive criticism from other believers. However, you are exempt from never having someone to turn to and exempt from never having someone to carry you when you need it the most.

And I hate to break it to you, but you are not exempt from falling off of a treadmill.

"For I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me."
-Romans 7:21-23
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
-John 16:33

April 2, 2013

In The Palm of His Hand

Have you ever just had a moment where you realize that you are completely powerless next to God? I had a revelation like that just last week. Last week I had three low blood sugars in three days. What's with that?! Anyway, they weren't all that bad, but it was the first low blood sugar that had me thinking...

I woke up at about 1:25am. I barely looked at my phone laying right next to me. As soon as my eyes popped open, I knew something was off. My brain was painfully sluggish. My hands were shaking. My respiration rate was off. I was hot and realized I had been sweating. My brain tried to snap into action, but my motor neurons had a delayed response time. I closed my eyes and felt around for my juice boxes in the drawer underneath my bed. You know those juice boxes you had when you were a kid? Juicy Juice? "100% juice for 100% kids!" Yeah, those were the ones. Did I bother to check my blood sugar? No. Years of experience had taught me that I needed juice, and I needed it fast before my body shut down on me and I couldn't move to even get the juice. I sat up slightly and started to down that juice box. It went so quickly. But it was enough to where I started to feel like a normal person. My hands gradually stopped quivering and my heart rate slowed. I rested back on my pillow and I only had one thought - thank the Lord I woke up. My parents don't check my blood sugar anymore during the night. They don't get up and make sure I'm still alive. If anything, a low blood sugar makes you sleepy after you get over the fact that you want to just eat everything in sight.

I fall back asleep and as my alarm goes off in the morning, I have one thought again. Lord, thank you for waking me up last night. Medically I could easily say that my body woke me up because something was abnormal. But, I don't know. I could've easily slept through that. I never have slept through a low blood sugar, but I can never help feeling that there was some divine intervention. I have been woken up in the middle of the night when my parents checked my blood sugar. Who knows, I might have just slept through that if they weren't there.  I never truly realized how scary that is. The thought of not waking up with a low blood sugar. The next step is a coma, and then comes death. Those few brief moments is all you have to get that blood sugar back up. But I wake up in the middle of the night when all I want to do is sleep; I wake up and my body tells me that something is off. Like I said, I had one thought. Lord, thank you for waking me up. Thank you for saving my life, again. Thank you for giving me another day. All along that same line.

Control. Something I don't have when I'm low. Those who don't know diabetes don't understand that my body just fights me on a daily basis. I can try to control it when I'm awake, but when I'm sleeping, I'm completely vulnerable. These are the moments where I realize that my life is completely in God's hands. It is so easy for me to feel pity for myself with having Type 1 Diabetes. I fight that as much as I can every day because it's in moments like this where I remember that God always has a plan. He has used diabetes again and again to teach me things, to use me in ways that I wouldn't have otherwise. Waking up in the middle of the night so I can treat my low blood sugar reminds me that God is using this for a purpose. He will use me for a purpose and He watches over me. I get a humbling and thankful feeling when I wake up in the morning after a low blood sugar. I encourage all of you guys to think about what blessings come out of your greatest trials. Just know that God wants you to fulfill a purpose and no matter what He allows to happen in life, He's there watching over you.

"The Lord watches over you - the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm - he will watch over you rlife; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."
-Psalm 121:5-8

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