Whenever your kids are out of control, you can take comfort in the thought that even God’s omnipotence did not extend to God’s kids. After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing He said to them was: “Don’t.” “Don’t what?” Adam asked.
“Don’t eat the Forbidden Fruit.” God replied.
“Forbidden fruit? We got Forbidden Fruit? Hey, Eve! We got Forbidden Fruit!”
“No way!” “Where?”
“Don’t eat that fruit!” said God.
“Because I am your Creator and I said so!” said God, wondering why he hadn’t stopped after making the elephants.
A few minutes later God saw the kids having a fruit snack and was angry. “Didn’t I tell you not to eat that fruit?” the ‘First Parent’ asked.
“Uh huh,” Adam replied.
“Then why did you?”
“I dunno,” Eve answered.
“She started it!” Adam said.
“Did not!” “DID so!” “DID NOT!”
Having had it with the two of them, God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own…. Thus the pattern was set, and it has never changed.
If you’re facing lots of challenges and nothing seems to go right, maybe it is due to you thinking, praying, and living like you have a God that’s not big enough for the job. God is more than and can do more than what most of us consider.
As Isaiah 55:8–9 says, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”
God is a great God. There is no beginning or end with God. God is both the Alpha and Omega of the universe. He was, is, and will always be.
Scripture tells us this in more powerful language when it says, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
God’s greatness is not just greatness for himself or in herself. God’s greatness is what supports you, establishes you, defends you, upholds you, blesses you. It’s the rock on which we build our lives securely.
But God is more than just a huge piece of granite, metaphorically speaking. The Lord doesn’t just sit there. Zephaniah 3:17 tells you that “(T)he Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; (God) will rejoice over you with gladness; (The Lord) will quiet you by his love; (God) will exult over you with loud singing.”
If the way you think about God isn’t like this then you’ve got the wrong God. Your God is too small.
Claim the Lord’s greatness as your truth. God is ready to bless you. Look up to the power on high that can bring anyone up from down low. The Lord isn’t finished with any of us. You have the power of the almighty in your corner.
A fellow pastor told this story. Many years ago I was walking in Newport Beach, a beach in Southern California, with two friends. Two of us were on staff together at a church, and one was an elder at the same church. We walked past a bar where a fight had been going on inside. The fight had spilled out into the street, just like in an old western. Several guys were beating up on another guy, and he was bleeding from the forehead. We knew we had to do something, so we went over to break up the fight. … I don’t think we were very intimidating. [All we did was walk over and say,] “Hey, you guys, cut that out!” It didn’t do much good.
Then all of a sudden they looked at us with fear in their eyes. The guys who had been beating up on the one guy stopped and started to slink away. I didn’t know why until we turned and looked behind us. Out of the bar had come the biggest man I think I’ve ever seen. He was something like six feet, seven inches, maybe 300 pounds, maybe 2 percent body fat. Just huge. We called him “Bubba” (not to his face, but afterwards, when we talked about him).
Bubba didn’t say a word. He just stood there and flexed. You could tell he was hoping they would try and have a go at him. All of a sudden my attitude was transformed, and I said to those guys, “You better not let us catch you coming around here again!” I was a different person because I had great, big Bubba. I was ready to confront with resolve and firmness. I was released from anxiety and fear. I was filled with boldness and confidence. I was ready to help somebody that needed helping. I was ready to serve where
serving was required. Why? Because I had a great, big Bubba. I was convinced that I was not alone. I was safe.
If I were convinced that Bubba was with me 24 hours a day, I would have a fundamentally different approach to my life. If I knew Bubba was behind me all day long, you wouldn’t want to mess with me. But he’s not. I can’t count on Bubba.
That’s true. But God is a powerful God. God is a problem solving God.
Too often we think our problems are bigger than God. We say God can help us but our hearts betray our doubt. We focus too much on the size of our problems and fail to realize that God is bigger than our problems.
Don’t tell yourself how big your problem is. Tell yourself how big God is.
When we focus on the negative, we prevent ourselves from laying hold on what God’s doing. God is always doing something. What God is doing may take the form of taking away the mountain you’re trying to climb. But it may instead take the form of transforming your character so that while the problem doesn’t necessarily get smaller you get bigger and better.
It’s too often the case that the problem isn’t so big; we’re just too small. That’s why we need to stop harboring grudges. Let self-pity go. Instead give grace and seek Christ. Taste God’s mercy and share its sweetness. Let the Lord transform you and make you bigger compared to your problems.
In either case your blessing is coming. God’s greatness is seeing to it. We just need to put our minds where our best beliefs are, our heart where our truest loves are, our will where the greatness of the Lord can touch and transform it.
Conservative scientific estimates state that there are about one hundred billion galaxies in the universe. And in each galaxy are approximately one hundred billion stars, but our own Milky Way Galaxy alone contains some 400 billion stars. So at a very conservative number it’s a hundred billion times a hundred billion! Yet the Bible says that God calls each star by name.
And if you think that’s amazing, what astro scientists are now talking about is not the universe, but the multiverse. They believe it’s quite possible that there are more than one universes like this, many, many more.
There are times though that this greatness gets in the way of seeing God’s smallness. We might question how can anyone up there care about each and all of us down here.
Psalm 8:3–4 famously asks this question, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”
And yet for the psalmist, the question isn’t about doubt. It speaks to his amazement that this is so. It’s true, God created the universe, in “six days,” says our scripture. The author is trying to make the point that the God who created this is not like other gods who had to fight chaos or a sea monster in order to carve creation, as the stories back then talked about.
The Creator did it calmly, simply, easily, orderly, beautifully, pleasingly, and very well indeed! But God also rescued the Israelites from slavery, brought about prophets to speak on behalf of the poor and widows, sent Christ to heal the sick, calm storms, forgive sin, and conquer death.
God is great, but God is good also.
Don’t think and act like your problems are too powerful. The goodness of the Lord lifts us up and the greatness of God plans our steps. The truth is God is on your side. Nothing is impossible. Claim the new day today. Transform your mind to believe that the Lord is doing whatever it takes to bring you your salvation. God has the solution ready and waiting for you.
Every so often I receive an email that many of you have seen. It says God is like Hallmark Cards … The Lord cares enough to send the very best. God is like Tide … God gets the stains out that others leave behind. God is like General Electric … The Lord brings good things to life. God is like Aka-Seltzer … Try him, you’ll like him. God is like Allstate … You’re in good hands with God. God is like Bayer Aspirin…God works wonders.
In a lot of churches, contemporary and traditional, the greatness of God may be an occasional sermon topic but it’s not what’s on people’s minds when they walk into the auditorium or sanctuary Sunday mornings.
In some of the largest churches, you would think people were attending a football game the way they carry on. They arrive late and breathless from the parking lot. They’re laughing with the ushers, and waving to their friends rows ahead and over from them—acting as though it were a mindless exercise for humans to meet God.
It’s tough to feed your soul at church if your soul isn’t much considered while you’re at church. The truth is most people only have this one hour a week or every two weeks or more to put their lives before God. It’s important that our sanctuary become a sanctuary from outside stuff.
When you come in, focus yourself on what this is really about. Pick up the Bible and open to any psalm or read the scripture reading for the service. You could even read the whole chapter in which it is found.
Starting from 9:30 a.m. up to the prelude, we ought to practice quietness in here, so that those who want to pray, meditate, reflect, unwind, center, find peace, breathe deeply can do so without unnecessary noise and activity around them.
On the other side of the glass doors is the place for fellowship before worship. On this side is the place for preparation to worship.
Our great God deserves our worship, our thanksgiving, our praise, our time. We need to turn to the glad God, the good God, the great God, and find with the Lord the blessed life we seek.
Can the church say Amen?