Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Fool!

The 53rd Psalm describes the foolishness of ignoring the existence of God and is almost an exact repeat of Psalm 14. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

The first half of Psalm 53 is quoted in Romans 3 which makes the opening verses of this Psalm as one of the rare sections of the Bible where God speaks the same thing 3 different times. When God speaks the same thing in multiple passages we should consider it to be very important. God knew that atheism would be a major philosophy for modern man, and those Psalms speak directly to that issue.

When a people or society believe that there is no God, it permits that people to begin a fall into depravity that has no limits.

The Fallen Race - The Psalmist describes humanity as “corrupt, who have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race, he looks to see if there is even one with real understanding, one who seeks God. But no, all have turned away from God; all have become corrupt, no one does good, not even one!

In the book of Romans we are told that all of the children of Adam are infected with sin. “When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race.” (Romans 5:12) The heart is the innermost part of man and what we confess there determines the course of our life. In this Psalm, the person has declared ‘there is no God’ and it leads to a life of corruption, evil, and the complete lack of goodness.

THE FREE SALVATION - Psalm 14 begins with the complete depravity of the human race, but ends with the Messiah coming from Zion with deliverance and joy. “Oh, that salvation would come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel! For when the Lord restores His people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.” 

Jesus has come to restore fallen humanity and to break the captivity of sin for all who believe in Him. “We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing His life for us.” (Romans 3:25) “For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God.” (Romans 10:10) What we say and believe in our hearts determines our eternal destiny and affects the quality of our live on this earth.

The final picture of this Psalm is that of Jacob shouting and Israel rejoicing over the amazing salvation given to us by our Lord. It’s the picture of God rescuing us from a fallen race through His Son to rejoice before Him forever. “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into the place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (Romans 5:2)

The wise have said in their hearts “There is a God” and He is worthy of our highest praise!

-Pastor Amundson

Monday, August 19, 2013

Image of God

It is from the very first chapter of Genesis that we begin to see what makes humanity unique in creation; human beings are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Being made in the image of God is one of the foundational theological starting points for those in the Christian faith when we come to examine our place in the universe. It is because of our “image of God-ness” that we believe that each human life is sacred.

We do not question that God made us as human beings physically but there is some question as to what it means to our being created in the “image of God”. We do know that because of this image there is an interconnection of relating with each other and with our Creator.

But what is our connection with “God’s image”? In Paul’s letter to the Colossians he writes that “Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation” (Col 1:15). And to the Corinthians he writes, “the God of this age has blinded the mind of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4). So how are we made? To be made in the image of God is to be embodied and embedded in the story of creation. Paul speaks to this in Romans: “For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that we might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Rom 8:29).

Adam was first created in God’s own image. He fell from God’s image and glory through his sin. When we were born, we were born in Adam’s sinful image. But God’s purpose is to redeem and restore man back to His image and to reflect His glory and divine character.

God sent His son, Jesus, to restore His glory through mankind and return man to His likeness and image. Jesus descended from the glory of God to this earth so that we could receive His glory in us and be restored to the image and likeness of our Creator.

The Bible says that our relationship with God personally, and experiencing the love, joy, peace, and fellowship with Him has come at the expense of Christ’s death on the cross. That’s how we become acceptable to God. “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

God’s plan and purpose is to make us into His image. Our purpose is to be conformed to the image of Christ in the manner in which we live, breathe, think, act, worship, and glorify God. I find it interesting that scripture does not focus so much on the “stuff” that we are made of as it does on what we are made for. We are made to live our lives so that we continually are being conformed to the image of Christ. Hence, fulfilling God’s purpose of being made in His image.

- Pastor Amundson

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Big God!

It was amazing to view the vast and complex universe during the presentation of “Indescribable” last Sunday on DVD. I think all of us felt very small and humble as we viewed the gigantic expanse of the universe that lies beyond our own galaxy. With so many shapes and colors of the stars thousands of light years away—trillions of them, all in their own orbit, truly we do have a BIG GOD!

God said, “My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand has stretched out the heavens.” Isaiah 48:13

In the Psalm of David we are reminded of the bitterness of man and the greatness of God. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him?” Psalm 8:2-4

Even though man is miniscule in relation to the immense universe, he is still the pinnacle of God’s creation and the object of His watchful care. In fact, God is watchful and interested in everything about us. Psalm 139 tells us that this Big God “knows everything about us. He knows when we sit down or stand up. He knows our every thought and charts our path ahead. He tells us where to stop and rest. He knows where we are every moment.” (vs. 1-3)

It is an awesome thing to know that God who created the universe also understands everything about our actions, thoughts, and motives. How does God know us so well that He knows what our thoughts are before we even speak them?

In Psalm 139 we are told that “God made all the delicate, inner parts of our bodies which He knit together in our mother’s womb.” God forms and possesses our secret parts, the seat of our desires and longings, which the word for “secret parts” in Hebrew is called the “reigns” or the seat, the tenderest and most secret emotions. The all-powerful hand of God guided the wonder of our conception.

Today we honor our GREAT BIG WONDERFUL CREATOR GOD who made us. Job said that “you guided my conception and formed me in the womb.” (10:10) God formed and fashioned us as a unique emotional, rational person possessing a nature that would continually grow into the likeness of Christ. “You must display a new nature because you are a new person created in God’s likeness – righteous, holy, and true.” (Ephesians 4:24) “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”

- Pastor Amundson