Dave Burchett just posted an article under this title on his “Confessions of a Bad Christian” blog. Here is a quote:
Buffalo Bill’s wide receiver Steve Johnson settled under a well thrown pass that would be the game winner against heavily favored Pittsburgh. The ball tumbled off the hands of the open receiver. Johnson sat in the endzone with a stunned look on his face. After the game he sent the now infamous Tweet questioning what God was up to.
“I praise you 24/7!!! And this how you do me!!! You expect me to learn from this??? How??? I’ll never forget this!! Ever!! Thx tho.”
Pretty insightful of Dave to see how Christianity and the social media are merging. Also insightful that he would see the deeper issue. Here is Dave’s assessment of the event:
…Steve Johnson may have chosen an odd forum to express his frustration but his response is not uncommon for honest believers. It makes sense in our performance based culture that if you commit to praising and proclaiming God that you should get a little something in return. Shouldn’t it go a little better for me than for that other player who frequents bad places and does bad things? Shouldn’t God have my back?
I agree, Dave! The REAL issue is that we want everything in our lives to be comfortable and pleasant. And, if it is not, then we look for someone to blame. The reality is, life is tough, even for Christians – sometimes ESPECIALLY for Christians. (See Todd Starnes’ recent tweet http://twitter.com/toddstarnes, “Happy Ramadan – no problem. Happy Hanukkah – no problem. Merry Christmas – you’re intolerant.”)
What do YOU think is the CAUSE of hardship in a person’ life?
According the the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, destiny is “1: something to which a person or thing is destined : fortune <wants to control his own destiny> 2: a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency.” Notice the statement “often held to be an irresistible power.” That does NOT mean that it MUST be irresistible – only that some people hold it to be so.
The concept of “irresistible” destiny is set in opposition to the truth of love and liberty. The highest form of love is to set one free. That is the work of our Savior, Jesus Christ:
John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. Hebrews 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (See also: Romans 8:2′; Galatians 5:1; Hebrews 2:15)
Our Father has not only sent His only begotten Son to die for us and set us free from sin (John 3:16), He also CREATED us free. We were created in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26,27). To none of the other creatures did God say, “fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over… every living creature“ (Genesis 1:28) It is impossible to do that unless we have free moral agency – the freedom to make our own choices – whether to obey or not. When Adam & Eve made the WRONG choice and sinned (Genesis 3:17) they proved that they (and all humans) had the freedom to choose.
Updated on Nov 27, 2010
“Destiny” is a very misunderstood word. To many people today, it means “fate.” They believe that they are destined to do or be something and it is entirely beyond their control to change it. That concept seems to be confirmed by the definition of the word, “an event (or a course of events) that will inevitably happen in the future.” But I believe that Biblically, the concept of our destiny is that God has a plan for us. It is NOT inevitable but, based upon our choices in life, we either achieve that destiny or not.
It is amazing how many things that are generally not considered “Christian” can have such powerful influence upon our Christianity! Bill Isaacs has recommended a post by Seth Godin about “Who Answers The Phone?” and the need to focus on what is important. Michael Campbell is an Internet Marketing consultant. He posted an article, “What is My Destiny” on his blog, Internet Marketing Secrets. In that article, he provides some very striking thoughts about where we are and how we got here – and how we can define where we go from here. Continue Reading »
Why was God “wrestling” with Jacob?
Many people find this episode (in Genesis 32) confusing. Consequently, there are many different interpretations of the event. Our previous articles have suggested that the “man” who wrestled with Jacob was actually God. Another article stated that Jacob was not so much praying as “struggling” with God. Further, it appears from the grammar that God Himself initiated the struggle.
So what was God’s intention? WHY would He start such an struggle? And why would He continue wrestling all night and then need to stop before sunrise? It all sounds rather bizarre and uncharacteristic of God as we generally understand Him.
It appears to me that God’s primary intention in this struggle was for Jacob to surrender to Him. A. W. Tozer (speaking of this event) said, “The Lord cannot fully bless a man until He has first conquered him.” I would state it as “The Lord cannot fully bless a man until the man surrenders.” Tozer understood that God’s blessing comes after man’s surrender. Jacob had trusted in his own strength and ability for his entire life. But God could not use him until he allowed God to be in charge. Continue Reading »
One interpretation of what was happening between Jacob and God is that Jacob was in fervent prayer (James 5:16). However, there is little to support such a statement. Jacob was more inclined to manipulate events to his favor than he was to ask God to intervene on his (or anyone else’s) behalf.
Jacob was the “supplanter” who STOLE his brother’s birthright. His life (at least to this point) had been a continual stream of lies, deceptions & manipulation of others. It is highly unlikely that he had now become totally dependent upon God.
Even if Jacob WAS praying, it is pretty clear that his main concern at this point was to placate or pacify (Gen 32:20) his brother Esau. So, any prayer that he would be uttering would have been to get God to work out the dispute between Esau and himself.
Question: Does God “fix” the issues that we have caused? Or, does He require that WE repent, make restitution and do everything WE can to resolve such disputes? Would it be appropriate for God grant a “get out of jail free” card in response to Jacob’s deception of his father Isaac & “supplanting” his brother Esau? When did Jacob repent of those things? What had he done to resolve the dispute?
Who was the “man” who wrestled with Jacob in Genesis 32?
Most commentaries agree that the man was in some way a representation of God. Some say that the event was a dream in which God appeared to Jacob in the form of a man. However, I tend to discount this concept since Jacob had a physical limp as the day began.
Some other commentaries suggest that the “man” was actually an angel since angels can evidently take the form of human beings (Heb 13:2). The Bible uses the term angel to describe both physical and spirit beings. The word is similar to the word “messenger” in present usage. It refers to the spirit beings (angelic form) but also to anyone (such as a pastor) who presents the message of God to others. It is possible that the “man” was an angel but Jacob was convinced that he had seen “God” (v.30).
I believe that the “man” was a pre-incarnate form of the 2nd person in the Godhead – Jesus Christ. This would satisfy the comment by Jacob that he had seen God and still not conflict with the Jewish belief that no one can see God and still live. Here are some Scriptures that may help sort out (seeming) conflict: John 1:18; Exodus 33:20; Matthew 11:27; Colossians 1:15.
The “man” in this story seems to fit the “office” that Jesus fills in the Godhead – that of Savior, Redeemer & Intercessor. As we will see in one of the next articles, this is the objective that God had for this event.
As always, your comments are encouraged….