God is Love

Christian Atheist

Chapter 3: When You Believe in God but Aren’t Sure He Loves you

This chapter deals with a problem that a lot of us go through at times. We all know Jesus loves everyone, but we often think that Jesus loves everyone else more than us. How can He love me and use me because of my sins? If we look at this list found from Bible Basics we see a lot of God’s chosen people problems of their own.

Noah was a drunk

Abraham was too old

Isaac was a daydreamer

Jacob was a liar

Leah was ugly

Joseph was abused

Moses had a stuttering problem

Gideon was afraid

Samson had long hair and was a womanizer

Rahab was a prostitute

Jeremiah and Timothy were too young

David had an affair and was a murderer

Elijah was suicidal

Isaiah preached naked

Jonah ran from God

Naomi was a widow

Job went bankrupt

Peter denied Christ

The Disciples fell asleep while praying

Martha worried about everything

The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once

Zaccheus was too small

Paul was too religious (and use to persecute the church)

Timothy had an ulcer…

Lazarus was dead!

The point I am making is we all have our sins and problems, but that doesn’t make God love us anyless. As Pastor Craig says in his book

Love is not something God does. It is who God is. And because of who he is, god loves you . Period!

God is love, so no matter what He is going to love us. Paul also struggled with this issue

1 Corinthians 15:9

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

We as people may have a tendency to look down upon ourselves, but we must remember no matter how bad you think you are, no matter how hard things get, God still loves you unconditionally.

Shame

The Christian Atheist:

Chapter Two – When You Believe in God but Are Ashamed of Your Past

I really loved this chapter. Far to often we are ashamed of our past and limit our future because of it. We believe we are what we have done. The thought that if anyone knew who we truly are, they wouldn’t want us to be apart of our life. Pastor Craig explains in his book:

Shame usually follows a pattern—a cycle of self-recrimination and lies that claims life after life. First, we experience an intensely painful event. Second, we believe the lie that our pain and failure is who we are—not just something we’ve done, or had done to us—and we experience shame. And finally, our feelings of shame trap us into thinking that we can never recover—that, in fact, we don’t even deserve to.

This feeling of shame is a viscous cycle that hunts us. We feel so guilty for what we do, we let it define us. If you want to know the truth, WE ALL do very shameful things. No one is perfect (except God). The great thing is, whatever we have done, or been through, Jesus forgives us for it.

Like Peter, we can become convinced of the truth: namely, that we are not our sins. And we’re also not what others have done to us. Rather, We are who God says we are: his children. We are forgivable. We are changeable. We are capable. We are moldable. And we are bound by the limitless love of God.

We are forgivable and Gods love has no boundaries. There is nothing we can hide from God, but at the same time there is nothing He won’t forgive us for as long as we ask for it.

If we look at David from the bible we see that he had sexual relations with another mans wife and she became pregnant. He than had her husband killed in war so that he could claim the women to be his wife. Later a prophet of the Lord, Nathan, told David of his son. Just imagine how David felt! He could have easily given up hope. He could have fallen in to the lies of shame. Instead he wrote Psalm 51

 1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

I love this! Instead of David beating himself up over what he had down, he asks the Lord for forgiveness. He asks “Create in me a pure heart.” He wants to start over with a new heart. This is what we should do, not beat ourselves up over our past. Our past is our past, it is behind you. Do not let the past hinder your future.

If you have something that you are struggling with, or struggled with in the past, and you can’t get yourself over the shame of it. Pastor Craig’s church created a website a few years ago called http://www.mysecret.tv You can use the site to confess anonymously about anything and invite others to pray for you.

Christian Atheist

I just started reading a book that is called the Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel. In order to really observe the material that is presented in this book I am going to blog about every chapter

Chapter 1: When You Beleive in God but Don’t Really Know Him

Did you know that 94% of Americans believe in God? That is 9 out of every 10 people you know. But how many of them people truly share an intimate relationship with God? We often don’t really know God, we just know of Him. We know that He died for us and that we should be a witness for Him and do works for Him but that sometimes is the end of it. Our relationship with God sometimes is like our relationship with your favorite celebrity. You may know everything about that person, but do you actually know that person. Do you share an intimate relationship with that person? The same often results with our relationship with God. We know everything about Him, but we don’t have a relationship with Him, yet alone even strive for one. Craig talks about how he would like to compare our relationship with God like we do with a boy/girl friend, spouse, or someone that you may like. With these people we strive to get to know them more and more. We constantly think of them and want to be closer to them. We know what they want and what they don’t. Just the mention of their name can drive your heart wild. We all know these feelings, and we all know know this list goes much longer. The point is, our relationship with God should be like one with the person what we like/love. We should constantly be looking to communicate with God and strive to know Him better. The best part is God is always available to talk to us and if we want to be closer to Him, just ask and we will come running to you like the prodigal son(Luke 15:11-32).

David described his relationship with God in Psalm 63:1-4. It is truly a beautiful relationship. The words speak for itself.

Psalm 63:1-4

 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.