Precious Testimonies Ministry Encourager
SANTA CLAUS GOD?
By: Norm Rasmussen
Imagine if you can, standing before the judge and awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of murdering the judge's wife. The judge stares sternly at you, then asks this question: 'What could have possibly been going through your mind when you took the life of my precious loving wife?'
Let's try something a little less traumatic. Pretend you get pulled over for driving 120 miles an hour with your new sports car in a 25 mile an hour residential zone. You just have that knowing that the police officer who is getting out of his patrol car is probably not going to somehow make your day better. What will be your answer that will keep him or her from writing you out a very expensive ticket, when the officer asks, 'What is your reason for driving so fast in a 25MPH zone?'
With those two possible scenarios in mind, here is one that tops everything one could possibly imagine. What would be your answer if God were to ask you this question:
'Would you still praise and worship and seek to please Me, if you knew that you knew that I was going to send you to hell for eternity anyway from this moment forward?'
Please dear reader ' don't dodge the question. I know how crazy that question sounds. Be completely honest with yourself. Your honest answer may hold the key to your future in more ways than what you might be able to comprehend at this moment.
Logically, our answer would be emphatically 'No!' - would it not? Afterall, what would be the point in serving a God who is only going to punish you for eternity anyway, after you've done all to try to please Him? That would be madly insane, would it not?
Yet if you've been a Christian for any length of time, you no doubt have reached the conclusion that God is not all that 'earthly sensible or logical.' As a matter of fact, He tends to do things His way much more often than He does things our way, doesn't He?
Now why would that be? Is it because He's on this 'power kick,' constantly trying to let you and I know He's boss ' or could it be for reasons much greater than that? Could the greatest reason be that our heavenly Father truly knows what is best for each of us in the overall eternal scheme of things, and that all that comes our way in this life is truly designed by Him to work for our eternal good, and perhaps an even greater reason ' His eternal good, and the eternal good of those who have proven their loyalty and obedience to Him?
Let's be honest. The whole world would convert to Christianity overnight if God was a 'Santa Claus God,' wouldn't they? Anything we ask of God ' ZAPPO ' right there it is! Who would refuse a God like that?
Yet no one has been able to come up with a God like that, have they? Yet interestingly, we seem to have no shortage of voices, especially here in the United States, that sort of portray the God of Christianity as just that ' a 'Santa Claus God.'
'God wants to bless you, bless you, bless! He wants to grant you the desires of your heart! He wants to prosper you, and He desires that you are the head and never the tail NOW! You don't have to wait to get to heaven to have all of God's blessings. Reach out in faith and get them now!' Ever hear any preaching like that? Sounds great, doesn't it? Hey ' that's the kind of 'Christian' God I want to serve!
What if some of those very same voices did a 180-degree about-face and started preaching that God plans to allow 'Job Encounters' to visit many of His people even worse than what Job of the Old Testament experienced? We would fire that preacher in a second, wouldn't we? We'd flip the channel on the TV so fast it would smoke the remote control. We would throw that book in the trash in seconds, wouldn't we? No one wants to serve a 'Job Encounter God'. People want a 'Santa Claus God,' right?
Heaven might be compared to Christmas morning around the tree opening packages for eternity, minus one third of the angels who didn't like the way God did things in former times. Satan evidently claimed to have a 'better' way of doing things along time ago, if allowed to be in charge, and it appeared that one third of God's angels were willing to give Satan a chance to prove it, which is what got them kicked out of God's presence and blessings for eternity, the Bible makes quite clear.
It does not take a seminary degree from a well-respected Christian college to come to the conclusion that those angels that were cast out of heaven failed to comprehend one thing about their Creator. They had not come to an iron-clad conclusion within themselves that God is not only a GOOD God, but an ALL-WISE and ALL-JUST and ALL-POWERFUL and ALL-SOVEREIGN God ' and whatever He decides to do ' it is best for not only Him, but all other created beings who will be with Him for all eternity.
That's the main point of this writing. I believe the Holy Spirit is saying that the sooner we come to the total, immovable, steadfast conclusion and agreement within ourselves that whatever God decides to allow to happen to us in this life, He has the ability to ultimately use it for His best, yet not necessarily for our best ' depending on how we ultimately respond.
Why not necessarily for our best? Because some people need to make up in their mind just how much pain it would take for them to tell God: 'No ' I would NOT still praise and worship and serve you if I knew that I knew that I was going to spend eternity in hell anyway.'
Job came to that point where he had to decide that very question. 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.' (Job:13:15 NKJV). In that declaration, Job stated that if God even sent him to hell to suffer eternal torment, Job would still serve Him as best as he was able. That was how determined he was to try to please His Creator.
However, it appears to me that his wife was not that determined, when she advised Job in her anger and frustration: 'Curse God and die!'(See: Job 2:9). What can you possibly imagine that God might allow to painfully happen to you, that you could get to the same point of frustration and anger with God that Job's wife was? You answer may well affect your eternity, I hope you realize, dear one.
Let me attempt to help explain that a bit more fully. The angels that God ejected from heaven certainly didn't work for their eternal good, but it sure worked out for the remaining two-thirds of the angels that remained with God. Furthermore, it will work for good for every person on this planet who dies and gets to go to heaven and stay there. For those humans who don't end up making it to heaven, which the Bible states most won't ' it doesn't work for their good.
'Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.'(Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV).
We will do well to always remember who made that statement. It was none other than the same person who died on the cross for our sins.
Daniel clearly indicates that a whole bunch of people are going to get painfully tested prior to the return of Jesus Christ. (See: Daniel 12:10). Yet there is also precious hope and promise in Revelation 3:10 that many will be exempt from such a time of severe testing:
'Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.'
Would it make wise sense to decide NOW what we would do if we are physically and emotionally tormented for our faith as Christians? I believe the Holy Spirit would suggest we be extremely wise, and decide that question before that moment might descend upon us. In so doing, it might well be the difference between more severe trials and testing, or less severe testing ' or very little testing at all for some, before entering heaven.
We know from the Bible that faith can move mountains into the sea, if we have enough of it. The absolutely best and rarest quality of faith we can be given is placing our trust in Jesus Christ as the One who paid full penalty for our sins, and refusing to allow anything to change that. However, what we don't see so clearly sometimes is that keeping an attitude of thanksgiving to God in every trying and difficult situation that might come our way is the second rarest quality of faith a human can possess.
This second quality of faith is a superior faith to being able to raise the dead, walk on water, or being able to heal every possible sickness and disease. It is a faith God will give any person who determines they will stop at nothing to receive that faith. A little child can possess it; the oldest person in a nearby nursing home can possess it.
What is the 'secret formula' to acquire that faith? A person who is fully determined to stay thankful to God and refuse to be angry at Him for very long for whatever life hands them is the very person God can trust with the fullest treasures of heaven ' for eternity.
Jesus had every 'logical reason' to be angry at the Father for allowing what was happening to Him while hanging on that cross, suffering unjustly. Yet what motivated Jesus to press through such emotional, spiritual and physical pain and humiliation?
The gold, my friend, the pure gold! Jesus was driven to lead 'the heavenly gold rush!' What 'heavenly gold rush' might that have been? Are you ready for this?! YOU and I! YOU and I are the pure gigantic nuggets of gold he was paying the price to possess. Here's our clue:
''Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame'' (See: Hebrew 12:2).
You and I were His object of joy! Holy Scripture tells us that there will be an abundance of gold in heaven. Have you considered the possibility that YOU happen to be one of those gigantic nuggets of gold heaven speaks of, if you remain a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ to the end of this life?
Lord - help people receive this. Let this penetrate deeply. Have you considered the possibility that you are not only being made into a golden nugget the size of the moon or the sun or a star, but perhaps God intends you to even become a Gold MINE in eternity where others can discover rare, shiny nuggets unique to all others? (Have you pondered 1 Corinthians 15:41-43 recently? You may want to!)
And if that doesn't ignite your spirit with hope, try this on for size. Have you considered the possibility that God not only intends for you to be a gold mine, but ALSO a mine where are kinds of precious gems can be discovered by others ' for all to enjoy? Or perhaps a bakery or a fine expensive restaurant, where others can come and taste the delicious goods you have baked, or foods you have taken so much time and care to prepare?
My friend ' eye has not seen, nor ear heard, of the things God has prepared for those who love Him ' (See: 1 Cor. 2:9).
Do any of us want to let anger and frustration with God for very long be the catalyst to disqualify us from being all that God has waiting for us to experience in eternity? Please ' don't let that happen to you. Don't do that to yourself. Don't do that to GOD and to others.
All suffering that is allowed to come our way as disciples of Jesus Christ in this life is only making us more precious and pure to God, dear one, as we purpose to give praise with an attitude of thanksgiving during that pain, until we come out on the other side. Who are WE to hinder how pure or how large a nugget of gold ' how precious a rare gem - how magnificent a MINE of golden nuggets and precious jewels He desires for us to one day become?
Did God create you and me to be 'fools' gold?' I'm convinced not!
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"And this gospel
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died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a
witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
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Dear Reader -are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
To be at peace with God; to have your sins forgiven; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life.
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