God vs. god

Our enjoyment and satisfaction in life is not found in being free from sickness and being prosperous. It is found in having your life connected with the true source of everything. How about you? How do you view God? How do you view His presence in the midst of this pandemic?
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Read: Acts 9:1-9 ESV

Acts 9:1-9

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him.
And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Acts 9:19-22 (ESV)
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.
And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?”
But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

How did you encounter God in your life?

We have lots of different experiences that led us to fully encounter Him in our lives and in the process was and is being transformed inside and out. Let me quote to you what Henry Reyenga, President of Christian Leaders Institute, says about an encounter with God.

The gospel message to people in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ. This message of redemption through the cross and victory over death through the empty grave immediately makes everything clear for people. This gospel ushers in a vital and loving relationship with the living God.
Sometimes sin and rebellion from God and others fuels this salvation incident. The unhappiness or consequences of sin have taken a toll. Sometimes life happenings occur through no apparent fault of the person, but God is their only comfort in the chaos. Sometimes people left God to go do their own thing, and they ended up in a situation where they cried out to God. God shows up.

Here is a list of salvation set up situations.

· The death of a loved one: Through aging, sickness, accident, or crime
· Personal sickness or the sickness of someone close
· Divorce or marriage disharmony
· Failed relationships
· Sexual abuse
· Bullying
· Soul poverty - wealth that does not buy happiness.
· The chaos caused by rebellious ways
· Drugs or alcohol
· Political persecution
· Practicing occult or demonic encounters - getting burned or becoming suicidal
· Overwhelming guilt or unhappiness
· Meaninglessness
· Destructive choices
· Bitterness from the hurt of others
· Depression and suicide attempt(s)
· Criminal behavior that resulted in incarceration
· Poverty, situational poverty, or bankruptcy
· Immigrant displacement
· Much more...

The setups or life situations God uses are beyond any list we can construct. God meets you in your unique need as a unique person. God knows your name. God saves you, and you are so filled with His presence that you are born again. This is not just a metaphor; this is a new inner reality that can start as a seed and slowly grow, or may be the radical reality of a life changed on the spot.

Apostle Paul, just like Naaman the great Syrian army commander that Pastor Jonah shared to us yesterday, experienced a radical transformation that changed not only his life, beliefs, and behavior but also his view of God.

A relationship with God changes us inside and out, total change that you have never imagined to have ever happen in your life.

A change that goes from “root to tips”, as what a famous commercial of a shampoo once said.

The radical change of our lives affect the way we think of God, His attributes, His will in our lives, everything.

Tonight, for the first part of this week’s series entitled “Radical Change”, I’m going to share to you some of the things that changes with regards to our view of who God is and other important realizations that makes His transformation in our lives so unique.

We take a look at some misconceptions that people have with regards to God and put it the right and biblical way:

1.) Grace vs. merit

Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

We need to always emphasize that the God whom we served saved us not because humanity was good and of great value (it’s as if it’s a waste of His creation) but because of His love and mercy (Eph. 2:4) for us all. We are sinners by birth (Gen 8:21) and that we have born the image of man (corrupt and vile in intentions) instead of God.

Jesus’s life and death on the cross and His resurrection and ascension was the ultimate showcase of God’s attributes compacted in a “fully God and fully man” being- His wrath regarding sin, His love for us all to be saved, and his justification by grace.

We take no credit or whatsoever on these, rather we take care of what has been given unto us as a gift.

2.) For His glory alone

Isaiah 42:8 ESV
“I am the LORD; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.”

God brought us out from darkness to light for one ultimate result- to bring glory to His name.

Naaman was healed not for the sake that he will be back to his normal life, but because his life will be used for God’s glory wherever Naaman goes, especially when he comes back to his country- a gentile nation.

Paul was radically changed in order for God’s glory to be revealed to those who don’t know it yet.

In short, God wants us to realize one thing- He is God and He created you, He deserves all praises and honor.

We were created because God wants to share His love to others, His creation, of which this love can be seen with the Trinity itself.

Unfortunately, we departed from that reality and fell into selfishness- man going after his/her own agenda, looking for things that will make him/her a god.

But my friends, see for yourself what consequences we are bringing upon ourselves when we set ourselves apart from God.

3.) His own kind of healing vs. our own kind of “healing”

Mark 1:35-39
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.”

A lot of miracles were done by Jesus but unfortunately not everyone turned back and followed Him.

God’s perfect plan is not for everyone to experience physical healing from their sickness and deformities. That’s not what His goal for us is.

It’s very clear that physical healing is not equivalent to spiritual restoration.

What is very important for us to remember is that He wants us to have a relationship with Him.

Our enjoyment and satisfaction in life is not found in being free from sickness and being prosperous. It is found in having your life connected with the true source of everything.

What He wants for us is to trust Him and that He is in control of what’s happening. We may not know its true purpose but one thing that we know- we have a God whom we could rely on and lean upon no matter what happens.

But whenever God heals physical ailments, it’s for others to see God through that act of healing.

John 9:1-7 ESV
“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”

Paul was blinded and healed of his blindness for a reason- so that through him, other people may come to know God.

How about you?
How do you view God?
How do you view His presence in the midst of this pandemic?

Pastor Peter Tan Chi of CCF said, “Thinking right is spiritual maturity. What you think about God will impact the way you think about yourself. What you think about God will impact the way you think of others. What you think about God will impact the way you interpret circumstances.”

Photo by: Lot Casquejo