Salvation in the Unseen

Periodic table of the chemical elements Españo...

What does reality consist of?  What’s real to you?  What’s the world made up of?

What are you made up of?

Am I made up of the same stuff as a rock, a table, a chair?  A pair of expensive shoes?  A piece of technology?

Wikipedia says that “almost 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of the six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus.”

Every substance on earth is made up of molecules, which consist of atoms, which have different configurations of sub-atomic particles that form different elements.

Google defines an element as “each of more than one hundred substances that cannot be chemically interconverted or broken down into simpler substances and are primary constituents of matter. Each element is distinguished by its atomic number, i.e., the number of protons in the nuclei of its atoms.”

As far as we can see — there’s no further way of breaking down existence.

One university website says this about atoms:

“What is an atom?

An atom is a fundamental piece of matter. (Matter is anything that can be touched physically.) Everything in the universe (except energy) is made of matter, and, so, everything in the universe is made of atoms.” [Source]

Is that absolutely true?  Is everything in the universe made of matter?

God steps in to this picture and says no.  It’s not true.  There’s something more than matter, molecules, atoms, and elements.

In John 4:24, Jesus Christ said to the woman at the well that “God is spirit.”  You can’t contain Him in anything that exists in the periodic table.

In Spanish there’s a saying – every mind is a world.  There is great truth to that statement.  The way you see things in your mind is your world.  And in many minds, most people’s worlds are made up of only matter.  Physical, material existence.  What’s real is what is tangible, what can be sensed, tasted, and touched.

But God speaks into that world and defies it.  God whispers to us that there is more.  More than matter.  More than mere, mindless energy.  God declares that He is.  He exists.  He is real.

But many of us live in a world where the things we can see are the only things that matter to us.  Even as we claim to believe in God, the world of our mind is a godless one, a world where only the material matters.  We focus our attention on our possessions and our own gratification because they are what really mean something to us.  We live to mold ourselves to the world’s standards, and live like there is no God in our world.  Because if there were a God in our world, wouldn’t He come before all that stuff?  Wouldn’t He be our life?

No, all too often, if we really paid attention to ourselves and the choices we are making, we would see that we still live in a world where everything that exists consists only of matter.  By denying God entry into our mental world, we become idolators.  Are we not idolators when all we care about is what we can see?  When a God who is Spirit doesn’t figure into our daily lives or plans?  When our trivial interests matter more to us than His interests?

The apostle Peter says that a day is coming when the “elements will melt with fervent heat”.  What will become of our world then?  When the only things we truly believe to be real melt away in a supernatural blaze?

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:10-13.

The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”  Isaiah 40:6-8.

Are there things you care about more than you care about God?

When what you care about most are your material possessions, you don’t possess them – they possess you.

When the choices you make center around the opinions and acceptance of others, you have fashioned your own gods made of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Your gods are visible, and they leave no room in your world for the God who transcends the elemental, whose substance we can’t encode on a chart.

There is a cure for seeing the world like the university definition.  We find it in 2 Corinthians 4:18:

“… while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:18

To open our eyes to the world in which the invisible God dwells, He bids us to look at the invisible.  Focus more on what you can’t see than on what you can see.

The things that you can see are temporary.  They will pass away.  They will amount to melted, dissolved, disintegrated nothing.

It is essential, imperative, absolutely critical that you set your eyes on the things that you can’t see, for only those things are eternal.  Only in that world can you connect with the only true God, who is Spirit, who transcends the elements on the periodic table, who is invisible.

When your eyes are focused on the things that are visible, you have reason to fear.

When your eyes are focused on the things that are invisible, you have reason to hope.

If you think you believe in God, but the choices you make every day reflect that you don’t care about Him in the least, you are focused on the things that are visible.  When God asks you to honor Him, and show that you love Him and that He is first in your life by keeping His commandments, you will be incapable of doing so.  When the day comes that the physical melts away, you will melt away with all the things you set your heart upon every day of your life.  You gave yourself to those things, to a world in which Spirit cannot exist.

The word of God tells you that you can choose what you will set your focus upon.  If you want to live in the world where the true God, who is love, dwells, change your focus.  Lift up your eyes.  Dare to look at what you can’t see.  Look for the invisible God.  Let Him in to your world each day.  Then, “when Christ, who is [y]our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:4.

Don’t focus on the things that you can easily see, taste and touch.  Remember that those things are temporary, but the Word of God, and those who abide in Him, moment by moment, will last forever.  “Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is… set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  Col. 3:1-2.

If you choose to heed the Word of God in this, your destiny will not be tied to the destiny of the elemental things of this world; the day of fire will not harm you, and you will remain forever with God, even when all the elements on the periodic table are dissolved.

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:22-25 NKJV


In God’s Eyes, Experts Not Smarter Than a 5th Grader

Ancient Babylon, originally uploaded by cool-art.

At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.” Matthew 11:25-26, NASB

In the second year of his reign after the death of his father, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that he found so disturbing he was literally losing sleep over it (Daniel 2:1). He was desperate to find someone to interpret the dream, but astutely required that his sorcerers, mediums and magicians first tell him the dream itself. These people were apparently pretty sneaky, and the king knew they would say anything to save themselves. So he tested them, saying, “First tell me the dream so that I know that I can trust you to give me it’s true interpretation” (Daniel 2:9).

Even though their words were slippery and their scruples questionable, these people weren’t stupid, or even of average intelligence. The king highly valued knowledge, and actively sought the cream of the intellectual crop to serve him in his palace (Daniel 1:4). Daniel himself referred to them as wise men (2:24).

They knew everything there was to know about the sciences and culture, were well-versed in the language of the elite (Aramaic), and made foretelling the future their primary goal. But the height of human wisdom and knowledge fell far short of accomplishing what only God could do. There is only one who knows the future, the One whom Jesus called Father, Lord of heaven and earth, and He is the only one who can reveal it. Even the wise men of Babylon admitted as much:

The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the king, inasmuch as no great king or ruler has ever asked anything like this of any magician, conjurer or Chaldean. Moreover, the thing which the king demands is difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it to the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh.” Daniel 2:10-11

Only God can reveal the secrets of the future, and He reveals them to whom He chooses. In this case, to whom did God reveal His truth? Not to the proud and self-congratulatory, who loved themselves and trusted in their own erudition, those who the godless world considered wise; but He chose people of faith, steadfast commitment to God, and continual prayer. God didn’t care how old they were. He has always loved using young people who had no credentials except their unflinching faith in Him (see my previous post on David). Here, He chose the young Hebrews – infants compared to the king’s wise men.

“Yes, Father,” said the Lord Jesus Christ, referring as much to this story as to any of the many other times He chose to work through young or inexperienced people, “for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.”

Lord, let us have the trusting faith of children, that you may deem us worthy to receive the revelations of your truth.

Daily Bread = Daily Dependence

Checkbook, originally uploaded by rdodson76.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34)

I’m learning that God always provides for His children, but not always when we’d like Him to.

We’d like Him to do it well in advance of when we need it, because we don’t want to face the uncertainty. Because God doesn’t send us a memo that lays out exactly how and when He’s going to meet our needs, we often start doubting whether He’s going to come through at all.

But as you read through the Pentateuch, you’ll notice a pattern. God doesn’t generally give His people a month’s worth of provisions, or even a week’s worth for that matter, but rather, just enough for one day. The manna, their daily bread, would only last for a day before it would spoil (except for what was collected in preparation for the seventh-day Sabbath rest). Many centuries later, Jesus reiterated that principle in the Lord’s prayer. It’s not that God can’t provide more; it’s that He wants to teach us to trust and depend on Him on a moment-by-moment basis.

To test the people’s faith, sometimes He allowed them to feel hunger. “‘He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.'” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

When my parents had just gotten married, money was in very short supply. I had recently been born, my mom was still at home with me, and my dad was working in a warehouse. There came a point when we had no money and the $400 rent payment was due on our small apartment.

We had no earthly resources, but we did have a heavenly One. My parents brought the situation to God in prayer. We didn’t know how God would provide for us, but as it turned out, that didn’t matter. Just when we needed it, a check was slipped under our door.

Would you like to venture a guess at how much the check was for? Precisely $400 and zero cents. On the very day we needed it, He gave us our daily bread. (We still don’t know where the check came from.)

Before we even ask Him for help, God knows what our needs are (Matthew 6:8, 32), but we are still to ask (Luke 11:9).

“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” (1 John 3:21-22)

The message is this: be faithful to God, and He will be faithful to you.

“I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.” (Psalms 37:25)

Dedicate yourself to being His child – He will not forsake you, either.