Archive for November, 2009

God and the World

November 8, 2009

Have you ever noticed that people tend to have a really limited view of God? Perhaps it was just the particular church I grew up in, but I used to view the world as “reality” and God as “this guy that intervened a LONG time ago but doesn’t really do much these days.” This is a very limiting view of God. It’s a comfortable view of God, though. It means he may not notice if I don’t quite do what I’m supposed to. It means I might be able to think something I shouldn’t and slip it by Him. I might be able to keep secrets from God.

Now clearly, this is NOT a Biblical position to take. God is omniscient, omnipresent, an omnipotent. There are no secrets, and he can intervene at any moment. However, it goes beyond that: God sustains and maintains the entire universe moment by moment. How can we possibly understand such a thing?

I’m a geek. Here’s a way to think about it that makes sense to me: consider a computer. Normally we think of the hardware as the “reality” and then we have an operating system and programs running in it. We tend to view God as being like a user of the computer. He can interact with it, but the programs kind of run around doing their own things. The viruses sneak around under the radar, and the office suite just does its thing.

That’s not the way I think things actually work. God isn’t a user. Users are limited. God is more like a VM server. There is no computer, just a virtual machine. EVERYTHING is running in the VM. EVERYTHING is maintained by the VM. The VM knows about every virus, every service, every peripheral, every application. None of them can function, not even the hosted OS, unless the VM lets them.

This is what God is like. He sees EVERYTHING, even if it’s a rootkit or virus. He runs EVERYTHING, even the memory is simulated and can be forced to “fail”. He can change ANYTHING, because it’s all visible and anything can be paused, rearranged, or reworked at leisure without any awareness on the part of the hosted system. This is what God is like. Total access, total awareness, total control, total ability to interrupt the normal functioning of things. Think about it.

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A View on Spiritual Gifts

November 8, 2009

Consider the pilot of an F-15 fighter jet. He is in command of an advanced weapons system. It contains missiles, guns, radar, jamming, communications systems, and many other features. Now, suppose that pilot is scrambled in his jet and receives a command to fire a missile at a target. Consider what should happen: the pilot receives the order, the pilot locks onto the target, the pilot fires the missile.

Now, consider what happens in the case of Christians. We’ve been given a fantastic array of spiritual gifts to help us in a war against Satan. Despite this, we have the idea that we have only one tiny feature available to us. We’ll refuse to acknowledge God’s instructions because “we don’t have the gift of prophecy/knowledge.” That’s like the pilot refusing to acknowledge an order because “his F-15 doesn’t have a radio.” We’ll refuse to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and lies, because “we don’t have the gift of discernment.” That’s like the pilot claiming he doesn’t have targeting system or “friend or foe” identification systems. In the same way, we’ll claim we don’t have the gift of faith, healing, service, mercy, etc. That’s like a pilot claiming he has no guns or missiles.

We are not the crew of a B-52 bomber, where one person does communications, and another drops the bombs, and another flies the plane. It would be nice if that were so, but the reality is that only works when we’re in a group of believers.

When you aren’t in church, or a small group, or a Bible study, things change. When you’re at work, you may not have the luxury of offering to call Bob to come pray for a co-worker. You are needed when your co-worker is suffering. When someone is trying to con you out of your money, or get you to go someplace you shouldn’t, you may not be able to call those in your church who “have the gift of prophecy/discernment.”

Don’t get me wrong, you will have different gifts that you are more or less comfortable using, but that doesn’t mean God cannot, in His sovereign wisdom, grant you another gift or NOT grant you a gift at any given time. If a bad accident happens, any you are the only Christian in the area who believes in miraculous healing, you’re on deck! You never prayed for healing before? No problem, it’s God’s power, not yours.

By the same token, perhaps you’re used to relying on the gift of discernment to know what to do. Suddenly, you have no clue. Perhaps you don’t need discernment, but simple maturity, or mercy, or a servant heart at this time. Discernment isn’t always necessary. You don’t have to “discern” whether or not stealing is OK, for example.

Take the time to get to know what God wants you to do. Get to know how God may seek to use you for His glory. If you let God guide you, you may find out that your F-15 is the experimental model with stealth mode. Let Him guide you. It’s His gifts, through you, to others. Let yourself be used.