Friday, July 29, 2011

Attributes of God--Z

Well, we have come to the end of this series. Although this is certainly not the last attribute of God, it will be the last post on this subject!

God is ZEALOUS--He works with ardent fervor to accomplish His purposes. This is the opposite of lazy, complacent and detached. God is devoted, diligent and intense.

Isaiah 26:11
LORD, your hand is lifted high, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame; let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.

Isaiah 37:32
For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Ezekiel 39:25
Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name.

***To get to the beginning of the series, you can click HERE. ***

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Attributes of God--X and Y

***(For the beginning of this series, starting with the letter A, please click here.) ***

As far as I can tell, there are no good English words beginning with the letters X or Y that describe the character or nature of God.

This is not an area where one wants to cheat. So I am not cheating. I am punting, and there is a difference.

For X, I'm just going to be a little bit corny and use "excellent." X is the second letter, and the first sound is undeniably the sound of "x." So that is where I am going to leave it, and I hope you will let me know if there really is a legitimate x word that I should have remembered.


Psalm 8

O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Y is a surprisingly unusual letter. I actually got out the dictionary and looked through the Y entries, assuming that there must be an appropriate Y word. I came up with nothing. Again, please let me know if there is something I am missing.

In the meantime, the best I can do is this...

God YEARNS to gather people to Himself--Scripture only speaks of us yearning for God, not of Him yearning for us. But Jesus did say:

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing."
Luke 13:34

Longing for something is similar to yearning for it, isn't it? It is comforting to know that God longs to gather even those who are unwilling to come to Him. He says over and over again in Ezekiel, "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked." It is proof of the goodness and lovingkindness of the Lord that He does not rejoice in pouring out His judgment on anyone.

Next up, Z.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Attributes of God--W


Exodus 15:11
Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

Job 9:10
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.

Psalm 17:7
Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.

Psalm 65:8
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.

Psalm 107:15
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

God is WORTHY-- The meaning of the word "worthy" is tied to the meaning of the word "worth." God's merit and character are so great, He is worth our praise and devotion. He deserves highest honors.

1 Chronicles 16:25
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.

Revelation 4:11
“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 5:12
In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

God is WISE  -- He knows everything and is absolutely perfect in how He implements His knowledge.  This attribute combines the qualities of His omniscience, perfection, and righteousness.

Romans 11:33
"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God.  How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!"

Romans 16:27
"All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever.  Amen."

1 Corinthians 1:25
"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength."

Next up, X and Y.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Attributes of God--V

God is VICTORIOUS-- God always wins. He has always won in the past, He always wins, and He always will win.

Sometimes we Christians get to feeling as though we are in a war and we are not doing so well. Sometimes the evil of this world gets us down. My son works in retail, and every day he sees people lying, cheating and stealing to try to get things that they do not deserve. Due to the policies of his store, these con artists are usually successful. On other fronts, marriages fall apart, drunk people hit parked cars and leave the scene, and when you read the news, the number of little children who have been murdered recently is alarming. It doesn't always seem as though God is winning.

But He is.

The day Jesus was crucified was the worst day any of His followers had ever experienced. Their miracle working leader was arrested, beaten and then nailed to a cross. They must have been very doubtful of the victory of God. Indeed, their actions showed their doubt... most of them ran away and hid. But on that very dark and dreadful day, God was not losing. He was implementing the plan He had designed from before the foundations of the earth. He was taking our sins on His own sinless shoulders, all our sins, past, present and future. He was doing this so that He could claim His right of ownership over us and "buy us back" from the devil. That is what redemption is, and that is what He has accomplished, successfully... victoriously. Satan no longer has any power over those who put their faith in the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 15:54-57
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 16:33
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

1 John 5:4-5
For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Psalm 60:12
With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.

Psalm 20:6
Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.

Next up, W.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Attributes of God--U

God is UNFATHOMABLE-- A fathom is a unit of measure, and to be unfathomable is to be beyond measure, immeasurable. Here we are, considering the alphabetical attributes of God, and this attribute itself says that God is immeasurable and incomprehensible. He is beyond the scope of our imaginations, beyond what we can possibly hope to wrap our minds around. No matter how many of His attributes we study, there will always be deeper truths to plumb and more attributes to discover. This is one of the reasons why we are not going to be bored in heaven.

Romans 11:33
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

Ephesians 3:8
To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.

Job 36:26
How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.

Job 37:5
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Next up, V.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Attributes of God--T

God is trustworthy and triumphant, but we dealt with His trustworthiness when we discussed His faithfulness, and we will deal with His triumph when we talk about how He is victorious (a few letters down the line...)

Today, we will talk about the truth of God.

Not many people understand about truth anymore. The powers of evil have very successfully challenged the idea that there could, in fact, exist something objective called "truth." They say that each one of us has the right and ability to design our own idea of what is true, and when something is "true for me" it is irrelevant whether it is true for you or not.

You can insist that a foot is 11 inches instead of 12. I can say, "That's OK. That can be true for you. If you want your foot measure to be 11 inches instead of 12, who am I to argue?" But if this is what you believe, I don't expect that the house you build will come out right. And I would never hire you to build a house for me, or even a bookshelf. Just saying.

If your house burns down, no matter how "truly" your friends decide to believe that it didn't happen, you still have no house.

There is objective truth, whether people want to admit it or not.

There is also one true God. All religions are not equal, and this is because there is one living God who exists, who created the heavens and the earth, who hears and answers prayer, who is sovereign. And there are a whole lot of other "gods" who exist mainly in the minds of the humans who imagine them, who did not create the heavens and the earth, and who are unable to hear or answer prayers. There is one God who will judge the world at the end of time, and there are a bunch of false gods who, if they exist at all, will be judged by Him and sent to the pit of destruction.

You can say that this is not true. To do so reminds me of something one of my kids used to do when she was in trouble when she was very small. I would come to confront her about her misbehavior, and she would close her eyes and squeeze them really tightly. She was trying to wish me away, thinking that she could make me disappear if she did not see me. This is what people are like when they refuse to accept the truth that God exists. It's rather pitiful, really.

You can insist to yourself that there is no heaven and no hell. You can tell this to yourself 100,000 times. You can decide that maybe there is a heaven, but surely there isn't a hell, and if there is a loving God, "obviously" he would never send anyone to hell. You can take a vote, and 99 out of 100 people can vote that there is no God, no absolute right and wrong, and no eternal destiny. However, at the end of time, it doesn't matter how many times you repeated something to yourself or how a vote went. It matters whether God does, in truth, exist, and this truth is not up to us to decide. It is outside of us, yet it affects us, and whether we like it or not, it's the way it is.

You can disagree with me. The problem is, if I am right and you are wrong, it will not go well for you, sort of the way if your house burns down, you no longer have a house regardless of what you decide to believe about the matter.

God is TRUE

Psalm 33:4
For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

Jeremiah 10:10
But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 7:28-29
Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

John 17:3
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Next up, U.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Attributes of God--S

Well, in the last two months we have been forced to invest nearly $2000 into a van that is not worth more that $1300.

We also have to move Shannon into her "permanent" apartment (as opposed to her "summer sub-let" apartment). All information stated that her new lease would begin on August 1. I made a reservation at a hotel for the evening of July 31. You get a slightly cheaper rate if you do a pre-pay deal, so I talked to Shawn, and we thought it through, and he said, "Well, we have to go, and that is the date her lease begins, so we might as well go for it." We got the pre-paid rate which is, and I quote: "non-refundable, non-cancelable and non-changeable."

Shannon's landlady rented the apartment to a new tenant who plans to move in on July 31.

Shannon was able to get in contact with the office that handles her new unit. The good news: she can get the key on Friday the 29th. The bad news: we can't change our hotel reservation. We will just have to hope that we can get the hotel room for the previous night as well, and we will simply have to pay for both nights whether we stay both nights or not. Oh well, it's only money. Right?

My family practice doctor did blood tests on me and sent me to a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist did further blood tests on me and sent me to an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist told me, "Just because you have symptoms, and just because you have the antibody in your blood that attacks your thyroid, it doesn't mean your thyroid is failing. You can't just blame your symptoms on your thyroid." With that, she sent me away without scheduling any follow up appointments. So I continue to ache. I've had a lingering headache for as long as I can remember. I am tired all the time. My eyes burn and sting and water spontaneously at completely unpredictable times. My hair is falling out. And I have a pile of medical bills to pay, but no answers. I am looking at that endocrinologist's bill right now, and I do not want to pay it.

It is at times like this that I need to be reminded of the sovereignty of God.

God is SOVEREIGN--The simplest way to explain this, and the way I explain it when I teach children, is that God is the Boss. He is in charge of everything, in control of everything, and perfectly able to handle everything.

He knows my hairs are falling out (Luke 12:7). Although I don't enjoy going bald, it is a comfort to know that God knows about it; He planned it for a purpose, in fact.

He knows how much money we just spent on our van. The other night, before the last bill, I leaned up on my elbow in bed and told Shawn, "I am praying that God will heal our van overnight, that the mechanics will arrive at the shop in the morning, and it will just work, and they will call us and we will only have to pay for the repairs they already finished today." Then I sank back onto my pillows and sighed, "But God doesn't usually like my ideas." Indeed, I was right on that last count. The formerly $500 bill increased to $830 before the next day was over.

God knows all about Shannon's move and our involvement in it and how it will go. He already knows everything that is going to happen that weekend, and He doesn't just know, He has orchestrated the details to accomplish His purposes.

This is what it means when we say that God is sovereign, and it is quite a comfort to ponder His sovereignty when things do not seem to be flowing smoothly. I pray that someday I will have ideas that God will like, ideas inspired by Him and not by my selfish fleshly nature. He is sovereign, and those who love Him and follow Him do not change Him. He changes us. And it is for our good and His glory.

Psalm 71:5
For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.

Psalm 71:16
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.

Psalm 141:8
But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.

Isaiah 25:8
He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 40:10
See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.

Isaiah 50:7
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.

Ezekiel 14:11
Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves anymore with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign LORD.

Daniel 4:17
The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.

Acts 4:24
When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them..."

Next up, T.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Attributes of God--R

R has always been my favorite letter.

88 is my favorite number. There is something about it that's round and square at the same time, a chubby symmetry that I just find pleasing. As a small child, I remember lying on my back in the bathtub, staring up at the bottom of a hanging plant that my mom had dangled from the ceiling over the tub. It was only a tub, not a tub-shower. I would lie there staring at the bottom of that jute basket, also visually aware of the white tile, the white organza curtain covering a window that looked out over a row of pine trees, and the small orange flowers on the wallpaper. Lying on my back, I would swish my hair around my head and say, "Eighty-eight, eighty-eight, eighty-eight," over and over until the water got cooler than lukewarm, and then I would add more hot from the faucet, over and over until I got yelled at to finish up and get out of there. I guess I was always a little weird.

But it is sensible that I should like the letter R, as my name was Ruthie Rebecca Rainbow. I liked the way it sounded and I liked the way it looked. When I saw other children spell their names, I felt sorry for them if theirs did not begin with an R.

But this should not be about me. It should be about God. An attribute of God that starts with the letter R is Righteous.

God is RIGHTEOUS--This means that God is right in all He does. He never makes a mistake. He never does anything wrong. And of course, He never sins. Righteousness usually means that someone is right in the moral sense, rather than, say, getting all the answers correct on a math exam. God certainly would always get all the answers correct on any exam. But much more importantly than that, when He considers the hearts of men, God always comes to the right conclusion about what should be done with them. God is righteous.

Psalm 7:11
God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day.
(OK, that's a scary one, but it goes to show that He is right when He shows mercy, and He is also right when he pours out His wrath.)

Psalm 7:17
I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.

Psalm 9:4
For you have upheld my right and my cause, sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.

Psalm 9:8
He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity.

Psalm 11:7
For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.

Psalm 36:6
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals.

Psalm 145:17
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 56:1
This is what the LORD says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

If you do a word study on passages in the New Testament that address God's righteousness, you will find that the miracle is how, through the sacrifice of Christ, God imputed His righteousness to us. We are credited with the righteousness of God, because of Jesus. This is an overwhelming thought and a subject for a different day.

[addendum:  RESCUER--Colossians 1:13-14, Galatians 1:4, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 2 Timothy 4:18.  REDEEMER--so many references, how about Isaiah 44:6?)

Next up, S.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Attributes of God--Q

I have been having some trouble with this one, and would certainly appreciate help and input from others.

Two things that I came up with:

God is quiet, and God is quick. The problem is, God is not always quiet. Sometimes He thunders with a mighty voice (Psalm 68:33). And God is not always quick; I think we all know that! 1 Peter 3:7-9 explains that although God may seem slow, He is really just being patient with us, giving sinners more time to repent. That doesn't sound very quick to me.

So these are not really attributes of God. Quickness and quietness are just ways that God is sometimes, not all the time.

My favorite story about the quietness of God is in 1 Kings 19, where Elijah went out on the mountain to meet God, and God was not in the great and mighty wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but after all that ruckus, God came and spoke to Elijah in a soft whisper, in a still, small voice.

also... Psalm 23:2
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

Concerning God's quickness... mostly it appears that we ask God to be quick.

Psalm 22:19
But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.

Psalm 69:17
Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.

Psalm 70:5
But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; LORD, do not delay.

So I don't think that really counts. God can do anything, and in His mercy He often does respond to us quickly. But I don't think this could really be considered one of His attributes.

What do you think?

Next up, R.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Attributes of God--P

I'm at one of those points.

I feel tired, sad, lazy and discouraged. And overwhelmed. I do not feel angry, and that is something to be thankful for. I've been trying to not be angry with myself. It feels sinful and indulgent not to, but I am starting to believe that those self-punishing feelings are from the pit.

Last week I was having trouble driving. I kept going the wrong way, making bad decisions about which route to take, or forgetting which route I was taking and getting into the wrong lane and having to go miles out of my way. This was very frustrating, and I found myself tensing up and mentally berating myself. Fortunately, I was alone. Laura has been telling me, "No negative self-talk." So I tried to fight my impulse, and I found myself in very odd conversations with myself. For example...

Me: That was really stupid. Now you are going to have to drive miles out of your way, and you will waste a ton of time and gas. You are so dumb!

Myself: It's OK. It isn't that big a deal. It isn't a life. So you're a little late and you use a little more gas. Just let it go.

I: Can you do that? Just let it go? You are wasting gas, and gas is expensive.

Me: Of course you can't let it go. If you forgive yourself for this, you will just keep making stupid, mindless decisions and you will bankrupt the family paying for the gas to cover your mistakes. Also you are never going to get anything done if you keep driving all over creation with no logical route in mind.

Myself: Come on now. You have to forgive yourself. And besides, what good does it do to punish yourself? You're already sorry. You don't have to heap extra punishments on and make yourself miserable. It won't even help anything or make anything better if you do. Just let it go. It isn't that big of a deal.

I: Can you do that?

Myself: Trust me. Beating yourself up is not going to save any gas.

So uneasily, I allowed the muscles in my jaw and upper body to relax a little, and I tried to think about something else, the future and not the immediate past, and I drove home feeling as though I had skipped out of working in a hot field to read a book in a shady hiding place.

Today I must admit, given my struggles and shortcomings and guilt, I am not really looking forward to pondering the perfection of God. Because Perfection is an attribute of God that begins with a "p" and it is one that I really struggle with and fail at in my own life.

God is PERFECT--excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement (and I lifted that definition directly off I think I am glad that God is perfect. Some days I know I am. I long for perfection, and I consistently fall short. I should rest in the fact that God is perfect and one day He will share that perfection with me, and suddenly it will be effortless in me all because of Him. Well, it is undeniably a good thing and a relief that SOMEBODY is perfect, and obviously God is the one who should be, so it is only another sign of my miserable imperfection that I should balk at the idea at all.

Deuteronomy 32:4
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

2 Samuel 22:31
“As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him."

Matthew 5:48
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
(this one is a little hard for me today, but another day I will embrace it; I just need more of His power, which leads me to the next "p" attribute...)

God is POWERFUL--He has the strength and ability to anything. Amazingly, through the Holy Spirit, He indwells us and gives us opportunity to access that perfect power. I am not very good at this yet.

Exodus 15:6
Your right hand, LORD, was majestic in power. Your right hand, LORD, shattered the enemy.

Psalm 147:5
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

Ephesians 1:18-20
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms...

God is PATIENT -- not quick to become angry or execute justice on the wicked

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Psalm 86:15 (ESV)
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Psalm 103:8 (ESV)
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Next up, Q.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Attributes of God--O

I am overwhelmed (speaking of "o" words) at the thought of writing this post.

And I have been putting it off.

The attributes of God that start with "o" are...

Omnipotent (all powerful)

Omnipresent (present everywhere, all the time)

and Omniscient (all knowing)

Revelation 19:6
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Psalm 139:7-10
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

Colossians 2:2-4
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

Next up, P.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Attributes of God--N

God is NEAR

Psalm 145:18
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Philippians 4:5
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

...and by extrapolation...

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

God is NOBLE--Noble means to be of high birth. The best "nobles" are the ones who are not only born noble but also act noble, living up to their family line and ruling with justice and righteousness. God is the Most High God, King over all creation. Jesus, Son of God, is King of kings and LORD of Lords.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

Luke 1:30-33
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

James 2:7b
...the noble name of him to whom you belong...

Next up, O.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Attributes of God--M

God is MAJESTIC-- He is supreme in His greatness and authority, lofty in His dignity, and regal in His sovereignty.

Exodus 15:11
Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

Psalm 8:1
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.

Psalm 76:4
You are radiant with light, more majestic than mountains rich with game.

God is MERCIFUL-- He has compassion on us and does not punish us as our sins deserve.

Deuteronomy 4:31
For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

Nehemiah 9:31
But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.

Psalm 78:38
Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath.

Ephesians 2:4-5
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

And speaking of attributes that begin with M, here is a Psalm that extols the majesty and the might of the Lord:

Psalm 93
The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed in majesty
and is armed with strength.
The world is firmly established;
it cannot be moved.
Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.

The seas have lifted up, O LORD,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the LORD on high is mighty.

Your statutes stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days, O LORD.

Next up, N.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Attributes of God--L

God is LOVE
(I don't need to explain this at all. This is the essence of God, and His scripture speaks for itself.)

1 John 4:7-8
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:10
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.

Psalm 138:8
The LORD will vindicate me; your love, LORD, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalm 147:11
The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Deuteronomy 10:15
Yet the LORD set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today.

Deuteronomy 10:18
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.

Ezra 3:11
With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

Nehemiah 1:5-6b
Then I said: “LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night..."

Psalm 13:5
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."

Lamentations 3:22-23
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Next up, M.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Attributes of God--K

God is KIND-- He has a benevolent nature and He treats us gently, humanely, considerately. He works on our behalf, to help us.

Psalm 138:6
Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar.

Isaiah 63:7
I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.

Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."

Hosea 11:4
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.

Luke 6:35
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Acts 14:17
Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.

Romans 2:4
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Ephesians 2:6-7
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Next up, L.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Attributes of God--J

God is JOYFUL--Mostly, we see evidence in the scriptures that God causes us to have joy. But there are also plenty of indications that God takes delight in us, and rejoices over us. It seems logical that this would be the case. How could our Source of joy not be full of joy? It is a good thing, I think, to realize that God is happy.

Nehemiah 8:10
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Psalm 104:31
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works

Isaiah 58:14
then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 62:5
As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

Isaiah 65:19
I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Luke 1:14
He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,

Luke 10:21
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do."

Luke 15:7
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

God is JUST--Justice is not our favorite attribute of God. I have heard more than one person say, "I don't want to think about the justice of God. I'd prefer to focus on His mercy." Oddly, in the Old Testament, people cried out for the Lord's justice. The justice of God is the power of God put to work to make things fair and right. Sometimes making things fair and right involves punishment, and this is why we do not like to think about it. Those who are violently persecuted do not always have the same hang-ups. Sometimes the dividing line is between those who want justice poured out on others and those who fear justice poured out on themselves. Sometimes, people simply have trouble with the idea that anyone should be punished. This, I might dare to point out, is a very modern, American sentiment, and does not have roots in the Bible. God is very clear that He will punish wrong and put an end to sin. We must trust in His other attributes: perfect wisdom, love and compassion. And we must realize that if anyone has the ability to love the sinner, hate the sin, and act appropriately... it is God Almighty.

Psalm 9:16
The LORD is known by his acts of justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.

Psalm 11:7
For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.

Psalm 89:14
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.

Psalm 99:4
The King is mighty, he loves justice— you have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right.

Psalm 103:6
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

Isaiah 11:4
...but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

Matthew 12:20
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.

Hebrews 1:8
But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom."

Next up, K.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Attributes of God--I

I love to think of the attributes of God that begin with the letter "i". It always puts me in mind of the hymn...

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

God is IMMORTAL-- We already talked about how God is everlasting and eternal, and "immortal" means the same thing, basically. But there is another layer to the meaning of immortal: It means nobody can kill God. It means Nietzsche was completely wrong when he said that God was dead. It means that Jesus is definitely risen from the grave, after the atoning sacrifice he offered for us through his own body, crucified.

1 Timothy 1:17
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:;15b-16
God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

Luke 24:5-8
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

God is INVISIBLE-- God is invisible, but he won't always be invisible. We cannot see him now, but we will see him one day. God's invisibility is part of our earthly faith test. By faith, we believe in what we do not see, and one day that faith will become sight and we will live in the glorious presence of God forever.

Job 9:11
When He passes me, I cannot see Him; when He goes by, I cannot perceive Him.

Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Colossians 1:15
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

1 Timothy 1:17
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(I know we already had this verse, and it is part of the hymn I quoted earlier as well. I think I will have that song in my head for the day... I hope so!)

Hebrews 11:27
By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Hebrews 11:1-3
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

God is IMMUTABLE --He is unchanging

James 1:17 (ESV)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Also:  INVINCIBLE (nobody can overcome Him), and INEXORABLE (otherwise known as unstoppable, impossible to stop--His purpose will stand and He will do all that He pleases [Isaiah 46:10]; the gates of hell will not prevail against His church [Matthew 16:18]).  And INFINITE.

Next up, J.