Is There Anything God Can’t Do?

Although most people have some concept of God–or at least one of a god, even if they don’t believe in him–nobody knows everything about Him. The Bible leaves many questions unanswered. I’m still just as confused about the Trinity–God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit all being part of one entity–as if I’d never heard dozens of explanations that made sense until I tried to explain them to someone else.

I have so many questions that will never be answered this side of Heaven. And probably not there, either. I’ll be too overwhelmed at being in God’s presence to feel the need to ask.

No need to ask God why He doesn’t prevent bad things from happening to good people. We live in a fallen world, one that was perfect until our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, messed it up. If they hadn’t, someone else would have.

Neither do I bother to question how a loving God can send people to Hell. God is the epitome of love and goodness. None of us is as good as He is. Hell is something all of us deserve. But Jesus’s death and resurrection make us–those of us who believe in Jesus and accept His gift of eternal life–acceptable to God.

I don’t have any questions about creation, either. I believe God created the world. Whether He did it in six twenty-four-hour days or six periods of time is irrelevant. And I cannot believe the world as we know it originated from nothing–on its own. How can nothing explode and turn into something?

Nor do I question God’s creation of life in its various forms–plant, animal, and human. Adapting to environmental conditions is much different from, and tremendously more logical, than evolution.

God has done so many amazing things I can’t even wrap my head around the possibilities.

If I don’t understand everything the Bible says about God, I doubt that I’m the only one. I would definitely steer clear of anyone who claims to have all the answers.

But some people want to confuse the issue and cause doubt by asking other kinds of questions. Specifically, whether there is anything God can’t do. Surely (from their point of view) even He has limitations.

I laugh at the question “Can God make a rock (or a mountain) that’s too big for Him to lift?” (I can’t imagine why He would want to.) Giving into the temptation to prove He could create such a rock would be sinful; it would be contrary to His loving and perfect nature. To me, that settles the rock question.

What about “If God is love, isn’t He big enough to love everyone enough to save us all from Hell, regardless of how we feel about Him?”

According to the Bible, God wants to save all of us. But He wants each of us to love him, and that brings up an important point. Adam and Eve were born sinless and placed in the most perfect dwelling place on earth. They had everything good. And they enjoyed daily fellowship with God Himself. What more could they have asked for?

But God gave them something else–free will. If He hadn’t given them the freedom to hate or disobey Him, their affection for Him wouldn’t have been real love. It would’ve been like the affection we share with our pets–and our pets with us. So God could not create people who would automatically love Him and never deviate from that love. It had to be voluntary to be love.

You know what? My puny thoughts about what God might not be able to do aren’t going to accomplish anything useful. Better to think about what He has done and continues to do in the lives of His children–His highly imperfect children. That’s so mind-blowing it puts me in the mood for worship.

If you have any thoughts on this subject, please leave a comment.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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Respect for All

I don’t think I’ve ever written a post here that I didn’t have the title for first. But now I do.

When I started working at the International Mission Board in September of 1984–it was still the Foreign Mission Board then–my supervisor shared an interesting bit of information. He said that even though many of the staff had earned doctorates, no one was so important that I couldn’t address him by his first name.

That turned out to be accurate with few exceptions, and the choice to say “Dr. So-and-So” was mine. Not because I was intimidated into doing it, but because I felt an extra amount of respect for those people.

Respect is a funny thing. I’m going to share something that will surprise and perhaps shock you. It’s something I definitely wouldn’t have been stupid enough to do once I got a little older, and I still feel embarrassed at the memory of it.

Once while I was still teaching school–probably during my second or third year out of college–I was sitting in the guidance office (I always enjoyed talking to the guidance counselor) when the Superintendent of Schools came in. I had my feet up on a desk. Not a good thing to be caught doing by someone at the top of my food chain.

This fellow was someone I had absolutely no respect for. Not only didn’t he have the degrees you might expect someone in his position to have, he frequently used horrible grammar. “He don’t…she don’t.” Can you believe that?

So, did I do the smart thing and take my feet down? Nope. I didn’t feel I owed this guy that kind of respect. (I wasn’t thinking in terms of proper or improper.)

The older I get, the more I’ve come to recognize that everyone deserves my respect. Even people I don’t like or am usually at loggerheads with.

I’m not any better than anyone else. God loves everyone equally, and that has become the basis of my respect for all people.

My improved attitude about respect motivates me to show the janitors and security people at the mall the same interest and appreciation I show people I’m closer to.

I don’t expect to receive any additional jewels in my heavenly crown because of that. Why should I? I get my reward from knowing I may have been the only person to share a pleasant word with someone that day.

What about you? What is your basis for showing respect ? Do you pay attention to folks whose jobs are menial? Please leave a comment.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Check it out HERE if you’re interested. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out now. If you’re interested, please check it out at Amazon.

Best regards,
Roger

Santa Isn’t God–and God Isn’t Santa

I’m reasonably sure that everyone reading this post is old enough not to believe in Santa Claus anymore. Otherwise, feel free to think of me as the Grinch who stole Christmas.

Yes, I believed in Santa Claus when I was a kid. But my parents told me from early childhood on that Santa was love. That didn’t make sense at the time. I got quite upset the first time an older child told me that Santa wasn’t real. But I eventually accepted the truth and began to understand what my parents had told me.

When my daughter was young, her mother and I agreed to tell her that Santa was make-believe. And asked her not to tell the other kids since we didn’t want her to cause unnecessary disillusionment. We didn’t mind if she had fun pretending–as long as she knew the truth. The best I can recall, that worked well.

As a Christian, I love Christmas carols. But–as a general rule–I’m not fond of secular Christmas songs. After all, Christmas is all about Jesus’ birthday, even though He wasn’t actually born on December 25.

Most secular Christmas songs don’t offend me, however. I can tolerate “Frosty” and “Rudolph.”  “Jingle Bells.” And many others.

But this one is something else. It offends me horribly…

“You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He’s making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out
Who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

Since parents themselves are Santa, they find those words to be reasonably accurate. Most of the time, they know when their kids are misbehaving. And it’s to the parents’ advantage to convince their children that the quality of their gifts depends on their behavior.

But what about their kids? I wonder how many of them think Santa and God are the same–if they even know anything about God at all. After all, it’s more politically correct to believe in Santa nowadays.

Santa and God sound similar in several ways. God also knows when children have been naughty or nice. And since He never sleeps, He’s on top of their behavior even more than their parents are. And He’s the giver of good gifts–“every good and perfect gift,” to be precise.

Like Santa, God loves little children.

But He loves the rest of us, too.

And Santa didn’t send Jesus to earth to die for our sins. Nor does he adopt whoever comes to him through faith in Jesus as his children. Nor does he care about what’s best for us or provide gifts that aren’t dependent on good behavior.

And he certainly didn’t die on the cross to enable us receive forgiveness. Or to live the most meaningful earthly lives possible. And have eternal life in Heaven.

No, Santa’s not God, and God isn’t Santa. God is so much more. Isn’t it time to tell our children the truth?

If you want to say something about this post, please leave a comment.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Check it out HERE if you’re interested. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out now. If you’re interested, please check it out at Amazon.

Best regards,
Roger

Crosses–More than Jewelry

myCross     crossKathleenHappy     myDove

For many years I enjoyed making wooden crosses and doves by hand. I quit making them a few years ago, just as I quit making walking sticks. The effort was just too hard on my hands.

After drawing a rough shape on a ½” thick piece of wood, I cut as close to the design with a coping saw as I could. Before I did further shaping, I drilled a hole for the leather lace to go through; that way, if the wood cracked or I messed up the hole, I didn’t waste time doing more.

Next, I used very coarse sandpaper to get rid of the excess, which could take anywhere from one to two hours. The final shape was never the same.

I smoothed it with fine sandpaper. Sometimes I finished my project with a coat of polyurethane—I did that for all of the doves—but sometimes I rubbed my own skin oils into the wood of the crosses. That sounds a little weird, but it gave the crosses a unique finish.

I usually gave the cross or dove to somebody who had admired the ones I wore.

My wife has been wearing the same cross for more than ten years. Only rarely does she wear another necklace rather than the wooden one that means so much to her.

That brings up an important point. There’s no telling how many people wear cross jewelry simply because they like it—without necessarily being Christians or having any understanding of the significance of a cross.

To those people, I sing part of this song I wrote in 1999:

I wear this cross upon my neck to tell how God loves me.
I wear this cross upon my neck to show I love Him, too.
I wear this cross upon my neck to say that God loves you,
For His Son rose from death to give us life
When we trust in Him.

Have a blessed Easter.

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Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing”—check it out here—to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.

Best regards,
Roger