Friday, June 23, 2017

TRANSCENDENT AND IMMANENT

The Bible describes God as both transcendent and immanent. To hold an accurate view of God, we must live with the tension inherent in these opposing characteristics.

Transcendent means that God is far above and greater than His creation. He is and always will be infinite, independent, unchanging, and sovereign. God’s transcendence is evident in the following passages: Psalm 113:4-6, Isaiah 55:8-9, and Acts 17:24-25.

Scripture is equally clear that God is immanent. He is not an abstract deity removed from His creation. He is and always will be personal, relational, responsive, and engaged. The following passages express His immanence: Isaiah 49:15-16, Luke 12:6-7, Romans 8:15.

In many passages both immanence and transcendence are described. Here is one example: “The Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods [transcendence]… Come, let us bow down and worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care [immanence].”  (Psalm 95:3,6-7)

-- Tim Muehlhoff in an article entitled “A Balanced View of God” in “Discipleship Journal”, Sep/Oct 2006


#4125

Thursday, June 22, 2017

INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”  (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT)

Scripture requires the activity of the Holy Spirit to speak. Words become the Word by the empowering presence and activity of the Holy Spirit. Modernity taught that most rational human beings, regardless of background, training, or character, were perfectly capable of unaided understanding, perfectly able to grasp and comprehend everything in the world simply by the use of reason. Scripture frustrates such limited knowing. Scripture opens itself up to us through the work of the Holy Spirit, whom we cannot rationalize or control, and modernity is high on control and rationalization. Thus, interpretation of Scripture is a communal, pneumatic affair -- a work of grace -- requiring considerably more than the lone, reasoning reader.

-- Bishop Will Willimon, from his Peculiar Prophet blog


#4124

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

GOD’S TENDERNESS

"God takes care of His people like a shepherd. He gathers them like lambs in His arms and carries them close to Him." (Isaiah 40:11)

We have been touched by God's tenderness -- all the tenderness of a gentle father. God doesn't come quarreling and wrangling and forcing His way into anyone's heart. He comes into our hearts like a gentle lamb, not a roaring lion.

-- Max Lucado


#4123

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

GOD’S WAYS

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are My ways higher than your ways
    and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55:8-9)

The way God works is totally different than the way the world works, because the goals are totally different. If you want to build an organization, human wisdom will do it, but if you want to reveal the ways of God, you have to use God's ways.

-- adapted from Henry Blackaby


#4122


Monday, June 19, 2017

HOPE'S POWER


Hope does not build on certainty. To hope means we cannot be completely sure.  There are no guarantees. Coming to God with a mixture of hope and excitement is normal and human. We may even experience less welcome feelings alongside hope, such as anxiety, fear, and distrust. But those feelings are acceptable. God welcomes us with whatever degree and quality of hope possible for us. Even if the hope is simply an inexpressible desire for something more, it has power, and its power grows as we nurture the hope in God's presence.

The psalmist says, "You, O LORD, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth" (Psalm 71:5). When we anchor our hope in God's steady love and good plans for us, hope becomes a permanent part of us.  We have hope not because we are powerful or smart or resourceful but because of who God is. And as we test our hope by acting on it, we release God's power into our circumstances. Our "hope muscle" grows stronger and our desire for God more compelling, just as exercising strengthens our physical muscles. As we consciously work with God, we will see more evidence of God's work in the world around us. The more we hope and watch, the more we will see that reinforces our hope and trust.

-- Mary Lou Redding in “While We Wait” (Nashville, Tenn.: Upper Room Books, 2002)


#4121