Monday, May 25, 2009

What is God Like?

It is the age-old question that has claimed the attention of countless men and women much smarter than myself. God by definition defies just description, being so much greater and magnificent than we could ever imagine. Perhaps that is what is meant in I Corinthians 13:12, which speaks to the fact that presently we know in part, having only what we can comprehend, but that when we join God in heaven, we shall fully know Him.

Yet, we do know in part –God has given us much information about Himself in the Bible. One passage that gives a very clear insight into the character of God is I Corinthians 13.

I John 4:8 states that God is love. The Greek word used in this verse for love is the same as that translated “charity” in I Corinthians 13 (According to my Strong’s Concordance). So, we may conclude that since the Bible tells us that God is love, the description of love given in I Corinthians 13 is, in fact, a description of God Himself. Not to say that it is an exhaustive description, but it does give a very clear picture of some aspects of the nature of God.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind…
God is often described in the Bible as longsuffering, for example in Exodus 34:6 when the Lord was meeting with Moses on Mount Sinai, His name was proclaimed, “And The Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth…” (emphasis mine) As to kindness, there is Psalm 117: “O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.”

Charity envieth not...
There is a difference between envy and jealousy. Envy is, according to my dictionary, “To repine at another’s prosperity or happiness”, while jealousy deals with the suspicion of faithlessness in the area of love. (Although God never “wonders” if there is something more precious to His child than Himself --He always knows.) In other words, God does not covet what is ours, nor does He covet or despise our happiness. God is elsewhere described as a jealous God, but He does not envy. He simply wants our love for Him to eclipse whatever else is in our lives.

Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up...
God is not --as most humans are—“puffed up” with undue pride. The word vaunt means to boast or brag ostentatiously. It is true that God speaks of His own greatness, but unlike the prideful boasting of man, every word God speaks is true and deserved.

Doth not behave itself unseemly...
The word unseemly means unbecoming, improper, or indecent. God is never any of those things! His complete holiness prevents it.

Seeketh not her own...
If Christ had sought “His own”, He would never have yielded Himself to be tortured and die that we might be saved. God is the perfect example of selfless sacrifice.

is not easily provoked...
As we have already seen, God is longsuffering. He never acts prematurely or harshly. The prophets often were frustrated with how wicked God allowed His people and other nations to become. They would ask God why He would not just punish them right away. God’s timing is perfect, however, and His punishments just, so He let them go, keeping His wrath from falling on them until their cup of wickedness was full. We may not understand God’s timing or purposes, but we may understand that He is just, not acting out on a short temper or a rash decision.

thinketh no evil...
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” God does not sit up in heaven, plotting how to “get even” with sinful humans. Rather, He mercifully works all things together for the good of His children, (Romans 8:28) even when we disobey.

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth...
God, in His complete holiness, cannot take pleasure in sin. He is not, as we too often are, blinded by the lies of Satan which enshroud sin in a web of deceitful pleasure. He sees through our attempts to lie to ourselves, (and Him) seeking to justify our wickedness. Rather, God delights in the truth. He delights in seeing us read His word, learning and understanding the freeing truth He has so graciously given to us.

Beareth all things...
According to my Strong’s Concordance, the word for “beareth” has the connotation of bearing patiently. God does not complain. He bears the pain and sorrow of man’s constant wickedness, yet does so patiently and silently, only speaking for the benefit of others.

believeth all things...
–I must admit that this one stumped me for a while. How could the God who made everything have beliefs? Yet, if we ascribe to Plato’s definition of knowledge, belief is necessary to knowledge, and God is all-knowing, so He must have beliefs. We tend to think of beliefs as pertaining to things that are unknown, but if one were to look at life like a philosopher, one would see that beliefs can concern things that we are quite certain are true. Thus, it is possible for God to have beliefs. His differ from ours, however, in that all of God’s beliefs are true and certain.

hopeth all things...
This is one of those attributes of God that I shall probably not fully understand until I get to heaven. How can God hope, being omniscient? Yet, I have always thought of hope as the joyful expectation of belief fulfilled. In that sense, it would be possible for God to hope; since His beliefs are always true, and thus always come to pass, he might joyfully expect them to do so.

endureth all things...
Patient endurance is built on belief and fueled by hope. God patiently endures man’s terrible wickedness, with the hope of the coming eternity we will spend with Him after the judgment day, when there will be no more sin to so sorrow and pain Him.

Charity never faileth...
God will never fail! No matter what must come to pass in our lives, no matter how others wrong us, no matter how faithless we are, God will never fail. It is we who so often fail God, and then seek to blame Him for our failures.

-I apologize for the lengthiness of this post, but I was so excited about this passage, I wanted to try to do it justice. : )

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Once again, I have a cold. I knew it was coming when I found myself giving my piano students alliterated assignments. (“Accurate articulation, please!”) For some reason, this particular cold makes me break out in random fits of alliteration, resulting in much hilarity at my house, since I usually don’t realize that I’m doing it. The odd thing is, my whole family has this same cold, and none of them are alliterating anything! –It’s quite a puzzle.

It’s very interesting to have everyone sick all at once. Each person in my household is in different stages of the same cold, and we seem to be taking turns as to which of us feels better at any given moment. Yesterday, I felt better than Mommy did, so I did most of the day’s housework. Today, I attempted to do the dishes, but after the hour it took me to unload the dishwasher, due to sneezing fits, I gave up. (Pathetic, I know, but quite true.) Mommy, who is feeling slightly better today, ended up finishing my task for me.

Dinner tonight caused a bit of a problem, though, because I am in no state to be cooking for anyone, but then again, neither is anyone else. After discussing the dilemma, we agreed that the best option was to have leftovers. –As Mommy pointed out, no one wants to cook, so we’re all going to. Sick people are rarely the most logical. : )

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

“What Time I am Afraid…”

The other day, Mommy and I were walking in the park when we saw three little girls skipping down a path on the other side of the park. I said to Mommy, “Doesn’t that remind you of when I used to do that?” She smiled and nodded, and as we walked on I remarked on the fact that my days of skipping down the path weren’t actually too long ago, though perhaps they should have been. I thought that maybe it was because I didn’t learn how to skip until rather late in my childhood, compared to other children. Mommy then said, “That’s right. You were kind of a late skipper, weren’t you?” We both broke out laughing, but that did make me think.

I was a late skipper.

I had acute “Little Sister Syndrome”, which meant that however I might try, I could not aim, throw, catch, kick, hop, sprint, or do anything that required any amount of coordination. I was the recipient of the classic phrase “you throw (catch, kick, etc.) like a girl!” countless times, as my frustrated brother bemoaned the fact that I was not, after all, a boy.

Perhaps that is why under my fouffy feminine “princess” layer, there lurks a mischievous tomboy who delights in such undignified things as jumping in puddles, playing with friendly bugs and digging in the dirt, and who finds the phrase “I’ll bet you can’t…” nearly irresistible.

This “inner tomboy”, however, did not keep me from being the family “fraidy cat.” I loved to follow my brother wherever he went, and attempt to copy whatever he did, but I would usually get halfway and stop, because I was too scared to go on. I tried to climb trees, but I was afraid of heights. I loved animals, but I was terrified of them. I would always enjoy playing outside –until I saw a bee, or fly, or spider, or anything else that was “scary”. My brother and I would play catch with his baseball and gloves, but I would always squeal and run when the ball came near me. It seemed as if I was afraid of everything. I was even afraid of the large coat rack we had in our hallway! -But that’s a story for another day.

Strangely enough, my propensity to fearfulness was how I first learned to really trust the Lord. As I grew older, my fears grew as well. I had (and still have) an overactive imagination, which caused me to be fearful, not only of things that were real like bees or mice or whatever, but also to be afraid of things that I imagined might happen. For years, I would pray before I went to sleep that God would protect me and my household from any and every evil I could think of, just in case. By the time I was about 10, it seemed I was almost constantly afraid of something.

It was then that I came across Psalm 91. I began to memorize it, repeating it to myself whenever I was afraid. This changed my focus from my fear, to God’s ability to protect me from the things I feared. Soon I began to notice His hand of protection on my life: we would be nearly sideswiped by another car on the freeway, or my brother and I would be thoughtlessly doing something very dangerous and come away unharmed, or, when I was a bit older, I would be walking someplace alone and get safely to my destination, despite having to walk past homeless people or drunks or other “scary” people on my way. It seemed that every day there was an instance where God protected me from harm.

Yet, while this helped me to keep from being frightened, I still had not learned how to yield my fears to the Lord in the midst of them. One night, I had a terrible dream, in which Daddy was driving us across a certain bridge, and somehow our car went over the edge, hurtling towards the water below. I awoke very frightened, but reassured myself that it was only a dream. The next afternoon, my family decided to take a trip to the living history farm we volunteer at. Daddy, driving the same car that had been in my dream, decided to take the route that crossed the bridge I had dreamt about. I was terrified, but I knew that there was no reason to fear. I had to simply ask God to take away my fear, and help me to trust Him to do that which was best. I did not have victory over my fear all at once, but as I turned my focus off my imaginings and looked to God for help, it lessened considerably.

This morning I came across Hebrews 3:14-15. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Emphasis mine.)

The only way I could escape the bondage of my fears was to give them up, and throw myself wholly on God’s protection and care.

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” Psalm 56:3

Friday, May 15, 2009


I am convinced that our copier hates me.

There I sat, minding my own business while I waited for it to finish the simple task of printing out pages for my Sunday school class, and all of a sudden it started acting up.

First, it ran out of paper. (OK, maybe I should have checked to make sure there was enough paper to begin with, but still, it was only one page into the job, and there was still paper in it!) Then, despite all my efforts to feed the paper to it correctly, it printed only one more page before smugly blinking its red exclamation point to tell me that, yes, I most definitely was not smarter than the paper tray. In the process of my third attempt, the printer grabbed a large chunk of paper and fed it in piggybacked on the one that was already printing, causing me to worry that it would jam. It managed not to, however, and is now noisily clunking away, sounding a bit like it's chuckling at my lack of technological talent.

Oh, well. -I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually! : )

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Attention Ladies...

I just finished putting up a new blog specifically aimed at ladies. I am hoping to get some dialogue started between the "aged women" of Titus 2 and those of us who are younger for the purpose of furthering the spiritual growth of all involved. (Strangely enough, I happen to at least partially fit into both these categories at the moment.)

Anyway, please come and visit!

I shall endeavor not to neglect this blog in posting on the other, and since I am now done with school, I should have more time to write. (I hope.) : )

Monday, May 11, 2009

Immediate Obedience

I recently started teaching a Sunday school class at my church. Each week I get to teach ten to thirteen precious 4&5 year olds who are very well behaved. (At least, they are well behaved so far.) I have only been teaching for a few weeks, and I know that the novelty of having a new teacher will wear off any week now, and soon my little students will tire of trying to please me, making my task much harder.

My novelty is beginning to wear off already, but fear not! I have a plan. : ) I have endeavored to run a very tight ship while I have willing spirits to work with, and have tried not to let even small discipline issues go unaddressed. Once children (and adults, for that matter) know what is expected of them, it is much easier to discern whether a matter is an issue is one of rebellion or ignorance.

The hardest principle for these little ones, however, is a relatively simple one: immediate obedience. This is a very hard, but crucial principle for anyone to learn. As one preacher put it, “Temporary disobedience is total disobedience.” In other words, to delay is to disobey. If my students won’t respond the first time they are told to do something, my classroom will be a scene of chaos. Thankfully, of all the students, only a few have had to be told anything twice, but it is with increasing frequency.

In re-analyzing the students and my teaching methods, it occurred to me that this is an area that is difficult for me, as well. It’s not so much that I don’t do what I am told, but it is a struggle sometimes to obey immediately when I am asked or when it is implied that I should do something. I am asked to do things at my house more than I am than told to do things, so this is a bigger struggle than you might think. Technically, I could use the excuse that, having been asked, rather than told, I have a choice whether or not to obey and when, but since I know that when my parents say “would you”, they really mean “do it”, I have no excuse. -I know better.

Perhaps the Lord put me in charge of this particular class so that I would be reminded of my need to keep striving in this area!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

School’s Out!

I finally finished my last test this morning, and am now officially done with school for the summer! It is rather an odd feeling, to be able to spend a day doing exactly what one wants, after having been so busy for so long. I actually found myself wandering aimlessly around the house a little while ago –I think I’m still in shock. : )

I have only a very brief time of freedom, however, because the summer is only three short months long, and before I know it, I will be back in school again. I have determined that I shall endeavor to spend my time so well that I will be so tired of “freedom” by the end of the summer, I shall be glad of schoolwork again. : )

My first order of business has been to reacquaint myself with our kitchen. I have been sadly very remiss in my helpfulness to Mommy since I started school, and since it’s Mother’s Day weekend, I decided to bake a cake.

Of course, after I finished putting the cake together, I had to clean the kitchen, since I had made such a mess, and by the time I had finished that, I was exhausted. –I really need to do more housework, so that I can build up my strength again!