Sunday, September 26, 2010

Crazy Love: Chapter 1: Stop Praying

"What if I said, 'Stop praying'? What if I told you to stop talking at God for a while, but instead to take a long, hard look at Him before you speak another word? Solomon warned us not to rush into God's presence with words. That's what fools do. And often, that's what we do."

"We are slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry." ... {wait, that's not how it goes!}

"Have you ever thought about how diverse and creative God is?" and then Francis Chan goes on to talk about crazy facts such as: a caterpillar's head has 228 separate and distinct muscles, the average elm tree has 6 million leaves on it, and spiders have oily feet to keep them from getting stuck in their own webs. We may or may not know these crazy facts...but if we did already know about them, have we ever marveled at them?

"Whatever God's reason for such diversity, creativity, and sophistication in the universe, on earth, and in our own bodies, the point of it all is His glory. God's art speaks of Himself, reflecting who He is and what He is like."

"I sometimes struggle with how to properly respond to God's magnitude in a world-bent on ignoring or merely tolerating Him. But know this: God will not be tolerated. He instructs us to worship and fear Him. "

"There is an epidemic of spiritual amnesia going around, and none of us is immune. No matter how fascinating the details we learn about God's creation, no matter how many pictures we see of His galaxies, and no matter how many sunsets we watch, we still forget. - Most of us know that we are supposed to read our Bibles and pray so that we can get to know Him better; that we are supposed to worship Him with our lives. But actually living it out is challenging."

"It may sound "un-Christian" to say that on some mornings I don't feel like loving God, or I just forget to. But I do. In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him."

"We need [reminders] about God's goodness. We are programmed to focus on what we don't have, bombarded multiple times throughout the day with what we need to buy that will make us feel happier or sexier or more at peace. This dissatisfaction transfers over to our thinking about God. We forget that we already have everything we need in Him."

"The preposterous part about our doing this to God is that He already has a name, an identity. We don't get to decide who God is. 'God said to Moses, "I am who I am" (Ex. 3:14). We don't change that."

To say that God is holy is to say that He is set apart, distinct from us. And because of this set apart-ness, there is no way we can ever fathom all of who He is. He is perfectly set apart, with nothing and no one to compare Him to. That is what it means to be "holy."

Isn't it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?

God exists outside of time, and since we are within time, there is no way we will ever totally grasp that concept. - Not being able to fully understand God is frustrating, but it is ridiculous for us to think we have the right to limit God to something we are capable of comprehending. What a stunted, insignificant god that would be! God is so much bigger than our time-encased, air/food/sleep-dependent lives.

God is all-knowing. Isn't that an intimidating thought?
Each of us, to some degree, fool our friends and family about who we really are. But it's impossible to do that with God. He knows who we are and what we're about. When I grow weary of trying to be faithful to Him and want a break, it doesn't come as a surprise to God.

It is sobering to realize that this is the same God who is holy and eternal, the Maker of the billions of galaxies and thousands of tree species in the rainforest. This is the same God that takes the time to know all the little details about each of us. He does not have to know us so well, but He chooses to.

God is all-powerful. Colossians 1:16 tells us that everything was created by God and for God.
Don't we live instead as though God created for us, to do our bidding, to bless us, and to take care of our loved ones?

Psalm 115:3 reveals, "Our God is in heaven: he does whatever pleases Him." Yet we keep on questioning Him. The answer to each one of our questions is simply this: because He's God. He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving. 

Can you worship a God who isn't obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation?

God is fair and just. God is the only Being who is good, and the standards are set by Him. Because God hates sin, He has to punish those guilty of sin. Maybe that's not an appealing standard. But to put it bluntly, when you get your own universe, you can make your own standards.

When we disagree, let's not assume it's His reasoning that needs correction.

{Click here to read the rest of my Crazy Love notes!}

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