Christian Images

God is ...

The following 'Free Christian Illustrations' are written and illustrated by Ian Coate. They can be used without charge or obligation and can be downloaded, copied or distributed without permission as long as no cost is charged and source is recognized.

God is: infinite.

God ImageEach night, the universe stares down and challenges us to understand it.  However, the infinite universe is something far beyond our finite minds to comprehend.  It is something that may not have a beginning or an end.  If it does - what is beyond?  Heaven!  Then what is beyond Heaven?  Nothing!  Then what is beyond Nothing?
The finite mind can easily state what infinity is (academically), yet it cannot possibly grasp something which has no beginning, no middle and no end.  Now, just because the infinite universe is beyond our complete understanding, it would be silly to state it does not exist.

Similarly, an infinite God is far beyond human understanding.  Our finite minds cannot possibly comprehend a Being who has no beginning or end, is all-powerful, all-knowing and is everywhere at the same time.  It is impossible for our finite minds to academically grasp Him, (Isaiah 40:12-14).
Because we can’t reduce God to finite human terms, many are quick to state ‘God does not exist’.  However, we cannot reject the Creator of the universe (and still remain objective) because He doesn’t conveniently fit within our limited range of understanding.  If we do, we should equally state, ‘The universe does not exist’.
“God who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.  Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.”  Acts 17:24-25

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God is: outside of time and space.

God ImageComputer programmers create programs that encompass entire cyber worlds.  Within these worlds are computer-generated characters that are limited to what they can do by the boundaries of the program.  However, it would be ludicrous to say the programmer is subject to those same boundaries within her cyber world.  She is outside her program and can change a boundary whenever she chooses. 

God has created a colossal program - the universe.   He generated creatures with free-will to live in it, (Nehemiah 9:6).  Sin soon corrupted God’s program and suffering followed.God is in the process of dealing with this corruption and bringing creation back to His original design. 
Within God’s universe He has written boundaries (laws of time, space and science) to which every creature is subject.  However, we shouldn’t assume God is subject to these same laws.  As programmers are outside their program - God is outside the laws of time, space and science that He created.  The universe is subordinate to its Creator.   
God is omnipresent (everywhere all the time).  He is also omnipotent and omniscient.  It is impossible for a human finite mind to fully grasp an infinite being.  Many academic minds reject God because He doesn’t comfortably fit into the boundaries they understand.  Trying to fit infinite God into our limited understanding is like a computer-generated-character trying to comprehend its programmer. 
All we need remember is that the laws of time, space and science are subordinate to the Creator – not the other way round.  At any moment, God can change a boundary if it suits His purpose – we call this act a miracle.  However, God may need to be very cautious with miracles; as any programmer can attest when you insert a new boundary there are ripples throughout the program.
Even if we don’t like the proposition that we are subordinate to our Creator (and many do not), the best thing we can possibly do is ‘get with His program’.  John 3:16 states: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus Christ), that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

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God is: consistent.

Isaac Newton Illustration Who is GodSir Isaac Newton recognised that the laws of the physical world are constant when he coined the phrase, ‘For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.’ - A handy thing to remember before stepping off a great height.

God set many scientific laws in motion and decreed that they remain constant.  I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. Isaiah 46:11b.
God also created mankind with volition and decreed that it remain free.  The laws of ‘free-will’ are as constant as any scientific law in the physical world.  For every decision there will be consequences.  We are free to succeed and free to fail.  This explains most of our suffering in life – we bring it upon ourselves (individually and nationally). 
We may point our finger accusingly at God and ask: ‘How can You allow suffering?’  But God rarely intervenes when it comes to the repercussions caused by our own stupid decisions.  We may earnestly pray for God to miraculously remove bad repercussions (never do we ask Him to remove good repercussions), but God would sooner suspend the ‘laws of gravity’, than tamper with the ‘laws of free-will’. 
Through many choices we determine our attitude when facing life’s rotten apples.  And, it is our attitude that often determines whether we have dug ourselves out of a hole or dug ourselves deeper. This is not to say God leaves us alone to deal with life’s problems.  He has promised to deliver us THROUGH adversity – not OUT of adversity (Romans 8:28).  
God provides the necessary strength to overcome any suffering brought upon by ourselves or others, but it is up to us whether we CHOOSE to utilise His provision. God created us with volition, so life’s central issue will always be about choice and the combined repercussions of freewill.
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourself this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:15

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God is: a patient Father.

God IllustrationA wealthy man had a son whom he loved dearly.  He showered his child with gifts, took care of all needs and devoted every moment teaching his son wisdom.  But as the boy grew into manhood, he turned away from his father’s teachings and soon came to despise him.  Yet, the boy’s father continued to support him in hopes that he would come around.  His son was on his mind constantly – he wrote to him daily and continued to pay all his bills. Sadly, the ungrateful son ripped up the letters and cursed anyone who dared mention his father’s name.  Though he resented his father and pretended he didn’t exist to the day he died, never once did he stop taking his father’s money.

Sadly, the ungrateful son illustrates humanity (Judges 8:34).  God is our Heavenly Father and many of us imitate the son’s attitude.  God spends every moment with us: giving, teaching and caring – yet, many of us have turned away and pretend He doesn’t exist.  In spite of this, God still continues to support us with the desire that we will come around.  He supplies us with the riches of the universe, things that cannot be measured in wealth such as: sunshine, oxygen, gravity, atmosphere, environment (the list goes on). He has paid our bills (Christ on the cross) and written to us daily (the Bible).  We may resent God and act as if He isn’t there, but it’s ironic that we still expect Him to continue supporting us – which, as the loving Father, He does.
If we have ceased contact with our Heavenly Father, isn’t it time to have a change of heart and mend that broken relationship?  Then, like the prodigal son, God will welcome us back with open arms.
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.  Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:21-23

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God is: a willing Sacrifice.

God ImageNature is a curious thing.  It seems we’ve all been programmed with a survival instinct – an overwhelming drive to stay alive.  This instinct is in all of God’s creatures.  However, there is another instinctive programme that overrides the survival instinct – it is a protective parental instinct.  Nature shows us that when young are threatened, both the mother and father will override their own survival instinct and fight to the death to protect them.  What makes an animal, programmed to survive, suddenly forfeit its life so its young may live?  Where did this selfless and loving instinct originate and who is the Programmer? 

This loving instinct originates with God and He is the Programmer.  “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13
Through Adam, we all sin and are under the penalty of death and judgement.  We must remember God is uncompromising perfection – He is perfect righteousness, justice and truth. God MUST condemn those who transgress His perfect law or He would compromise His perfection and this He can never do.  However, there is another facet of God’s character – His Perfect Love.
God is a Parent and we are His children.  So as our Divine Father, God has a dilemma – His children are threatened with judgement at death and ironically He must judge them.  Yet the thought of His children suffering eternal judgement is abhorrent to Him – He would die to protect them. In fact, that is exactly what He did.  He willingly came to earth as a man (Jesus Christ) and forfeited His life on the cross to be judged on our behalf.  As our substitute, He took the punishment of our sins onto Himself so we could have everlasting life with Him in Heaven. 
The Cross is the greatest evidence of God’s perfect love to all mankind and a testimony to how He desperately wants everyone to be protected from judgement.  It now rests with us to either accept His loving sacrifice on our behalf, or reject His gift of salvation and face His perfect Judgement.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten (uniquely born) Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

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God is: transcendent.

God IllustrationA man owned an extravagant aquarium and spared no effort maintaining it properly.  He spent many hours attending all his fish and knew their every characteristic.  Yet, for all his time and effort, it was evident the fish knew nothing of him.  It seemed impossible they could ever get to know him.
Whenever he came close to the aquarium the fish hid in fear.  When he cleaned their tank, his fish fled not understanding cleaning was essential for their future well-being.  Even when he showered them with food, they never showed any acknowledgement to their loving caretaker. 
The man finally realized that if his fish were ever to understand who he was, he would somehow have to become a fish and swim among them.

As ludicrous as the above illustration may sound, this is similar to what God did.  He humbled Himself and took the form of man (Jesus Christ) John 10:30. 
We must understand that the human brain is incapable of comprehending a Being who exists simultaneously in the past, present and future - who knows everything that has, will and may happen - with power to create and destroy the universe and the heavens with a single word.  It would be easier for a fish in a tank to appreciate the man outside, than for mankind to comprehend an all-knowing, all-present and all-powerful God.  
However, God gave us the best illustration of who He is, in a way that our tiny brains can understand, by becoming one of us and walking among us.  So, if we wish to know God, we do so by knowing Jesus Christ.
(God) made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:7-8.

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God is: the ultimate Artist.

God the ArtistOne of the greatest pleasures artists experience is to see expressions of delight and enjoyment when people appreciate their artworks.

Is not God the ultimate Artist, who all other artists try to imitate?  (Psalms 86:8).  God has created a living interactive exhibition.  His awe-inspiring landscapes can actually be entered.  His ever-changing seascapes are there for our recreational pleasure.  Each day, He paints a new sunrise and sunset for us to enjoy.  His exhibition includes living portraits of people and animals for companionship.  His fruit-bowls are bursting with flavour and His flowers literally smell of perfume.
God receives great pleasure from watching His sons and daughters delight in His many artworks.  When time is taken to enjoy and savour an artwork, it always pleases the Artist.
“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” Revelations 4:11

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God is: not a genie.

God and GeniesGenies are magical beings from folklore who grant wishes if their lamp is rubbed the right way.

We often get into the bad habit of thinking God is like a genie - rub Him the right way and He will grant our every wish.  We must understand that God does not bless us on the basis of who we are or what we do, He blesses us solely on the basis of who He is.  We can do nothing to earn God’s blessings – we only receive through His grace.  Furthermore, God cannot be bribed, bullied, blackmailed or ‘suckered’.  God has many reasons why He blesses some and withholds blessings from others.  These reasons are always in accordance with His eternal plan. 
Every time we feel that God isn’t giving us what we deserve, we should stop and consider that due to our transgressions what we truly deserve is Divine judgement.  The only reason we receive blessings instead of condemnation is because Jesus Christ went to the cross on our behalf.  Eternal salvation is a free gift that can neither be earned nor deserved.  If we believe in Christ we will be eternally blessed and thankfully NEVER get what we truly deserve – judgement in time and eternity.
Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2: 4-5 NIV

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God is: a Protective Parent

Christian Nature IllustrationsAlthough great in size, the humpback whale is a graceful and gentle creature.  Yet when a pod of killer whales try to separate mother from calf, the peaceful humpback will act violently.  She will warn the killers to keep back.  If the warnings go unheeded, she will then defend her helpless calf by bringing down her mighty tail on those who would hurt her baby.

People are sometimes shocked that the Bible is filled with wars and violence approved by God.  We live in a brutal world (the Devil’s kingdom) where many blood-thirsty individuals and nations cause harm and havoc.  
God desires to deal peacefully with everyone and wishes no-one any harm.  He would rather go to the cross and suffer harm Himself than inflict harm on others (God paid the ultimate price at the cross so ALL may have salvation).  Yet there are many individuals and nations who have rejected God and wish to harm the innocent.  God is slow to anger and looks for graceful solutions to resolve conflicts (without compromising His perfect character).  However, when predators continue to threaten those in His care, God is forced to act (Psalm 103:8-9).  
Firstly, He gives a warning and, if they persist, He will lift His mighty ‘hand of judgement’ and send it crashing down.  God does not desire this, but He will not be mocked.  God has made promises to care for His children and knows that sometimes the only way to deal with ruthless people and violent nations is to speak in the single language they understand.  
God’s violence is not an emotional reaction, nor is it wrong.  It is an act of righteous violence similar to a mother protecting her child.  It is a last resort for God, but we should be eternally grateful that our Divine Father will not stand by and let evil triumph.
The Lord is your mighty defender, perfect and just in all His ways; Your God is faithful and true; He does what is right and fair.  Deuteronomy 32:4 GNB

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God is: the Great Conductor.

God PictureConductors are directors of an orchestra.  They manage and encourage the musical talents of singers and instrumentalists.  Furthermore, the success of any orchestral concert depends on the conductor’s timing and exact reading of the score.

We have a choice of who we allow to conduct our life. We can try conducting our own life or we can choose to allow God to conduct. When we push God off the podium in our eagerness to orchestrate our own life, discord usually follows.
If we desire our life to be filled with beautiful music (happiness and inner peace), it is best to follow God’s lead.  He is the Great Conductor.  He knows the score and His timing is always perfect.  At exactly the right moment He will signal certain events to start in our life and He knows the exact moment when they should finish.  No one is more able to conduct the romances and tragedies of our life. 
Until the day we die, there will be high notes (good days) and low notes (bad days); however, if God is on our podium, we can be assured that every note will be synchronized into a spiritual harmony. 
When God is conducting our lives, we can be confident that each event, good or bad, is there for a reason.  It may be to build us up – to give us greater insight, depth and maturity.  We may undergo certain things to be a blessing to those around.  Or, like Job, we may be placed in bizarre circumstances for the benefit of a heavenly audience. 
Whatever we are undergoing, if we trust God to conduct, we will be relaxed and at peace; our life will be a graceful harmony that will bring joy to those around us and eternal glory to our Heavenly Father.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

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God is: always wanting to provide for us.

Person in HellThe absence of water makes a desert.  The absence of land makes an ocean.  The absence of warmth makes the polar caps.  The absence of light makes darkness.  The absence of God's provision makes Hell.

Hell, for want of a better word, is simply a place where God’s abundant providence is absent.  In life, God sustains us with oxygen, gravity, water, sunshine and all the universal laws of order - even when we make it quite clear that we want nothing to do with Him.  However, there will come a day (death) when God must respect our decision to live apart from Him - His perfection demands it.  On that day He may say to those who rejected salvation, ‘It saddens Me that you have refused all My gracious offers of salvation and shown on all occasions that you want nothing to do with Me.  I must respect your decision (free-will) and leave you in a place that has been set aside where my provision shall be absent, where I will not sustain the environment or the universal laws of order, where My light will be nowhere to be seen and where you are beyond the reach of My comfort.  It is a place where I shall respect your wish and remain absent from you for eternity.’ (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
It is foolish to say we don’t need God in our lives.  Hell is the void created when God’s providence is absent.  It is a place of absolute darkness, chaos and everlasting discomfort.  Let us not eternally regret being separated from God when Heaven is simply ours for the asking. The Bible clearly states: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus Christ), that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).

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God is: Like The Air We Breathe

The air we breatheThe air we breathe is essential for our minute-by-minute survival.  It surrounds us, though it is invisible.  We take from it every few seconds, yet it costs us nothing.  It is one of the most important components to sustain our life, yet we usually don’t give it a second thought (unless it is suddenly taken away).

God is like the air we breathe – He surrounds us constantly, though He is invisible.  Whether we acknowledge Him or not, we need God to sustain and uphold all universal laws to keep us alive every moment of every day.  (Job 36:22-33)
We take from God continuously and yet it costs us nothing.  And sadly, we don’t give Him a second thought - unless we are in desperate need.
Each lungful of oxygen demonstrates God’s ‘amazing grace’ that sustains us.  What is more, is the greater grace of salvation in which all humanity is in desperate need.  God humbled himself and became a man (Jesus Christ) to wipe clean the debt of the sins of the world. (Phil 2:5-11). Without God’s daily grace and gift of salvation, we would all be in very deep water.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life – John 3:16.

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God is: The Whisper-Still Voice

What is GodThere are many sounds we hear constantly, but when they become familiar we cease to heed them.

Many people say, ‘If God exists, why doesn’t He reveal Himself with a big, booming voice from Heaven?’ 
God purposely created us with volition.  He is a Gentleman and will not coerce our free-will.  While it’s true His voice can topple mountains (1 Kings 19:11-13), a big booming voice from Heaven would scare us all into submission. 
God does not want us to worship Him because of fear but because of love.  That is not to say He is always silent.  He actually talks to us all the time in a whisper-still voice so as not to intrude on our free-will.  We often call the ‘Voice of God’ our conscience.  He speaks to us constantly, but we either tell Him to be quiet or, sadly, we have ceased to listen to Him altogether.
God speaks to us in so many ways: through Creation, through our conscience, through the Godly actions and words of others, and through the Bible.  All of these means are non-evasive and require the use of our free-will to listen.
“So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”  Acts 20:32

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God is: Our Invisible Friend

God is our Invisible FriendWe live in a ‘physical’ age.  If something cannot be physically examined it is quickly dismissed as nonsense.  Many believe humans don’t have souls.  To them, those invisible spiritual traits of personality, self-awareness and even love are simply a precise balance of chemicals, ions and memory association cells – nothing more.
Though science acknowledges a complex design behind everything in creation, many dismiss a Creator as nonsense because the God of the universe doesn’t fit conveniently on their examination table.  They think if something can’t stand up to their scrutiny – it probably doesn’t exist.

As Christians, we proclaim to the world that we have an Invisible Friend.  To a world that has become deaf to God’s call and blind to His presence, it is easy to understand that many may think Christians are crazy.  All they see is a bunch of nutty people talking (praying) to their Invisible Friend.
No one wants to be thought of as a nut – this is where many of us Christians may be tested to deny God.  Bit by bit, we ignore our ‘Invisible Friend’ because we desperately want to fit in with the world. God may implore us with His whisper-quiet voice and prod our souls through circumstances, but we continue to ignore Him until He doesn’t exist for us anymore.  Like the unbelieving world, we will live day to day giving no thought to the miracle of our existence or our invisible soul.  Our life will revolve around the physical.  Ironically, as we strive for independence from our Creator, we depend on the very oxygen He supplies and abundance from His creation.
We may deny God, but if the Bible is correct there is a day coming when we will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Heb. 9:27).  It will be a surprise for many to acknowledge they do have a soul that has continued after physical death; furthermore, that ‘Invisible Friend’ is now visible to all, (Rev 1:7). 
How will we respond if God asks: ‘What sort of a friend were you to Me?  I have always faithfully stood by you.  I even sent my Son to die for you on the cross.’
Won’t we feel small when all we can reply is: ‘Sorry Lord – I was embarrassed.  I didn’t want people thinking me nuts for believing in You!’
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.  Romans 1:20
“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:20b

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God is: Like the Wind

Wind the Holy SpiritWind is defined as air set in motion by natural causes.  Since wind is an invisible current, how can we be sure it exists?  We deduce wind’s existence and presence by how it influences surrounding objects.  We see trees swaying, flags fluttering, clouds moving and so on. We can also personally feel its force on our skin and hear it when it blows through certain instruments.

To us, God is an unpredictable, invisible force like the wind. We cannot see Him, but just because He is not seen doesn’t mean He is not there.    Most of the time, God is like the still air that unnoticeably surrounds and sustains us.  At other times, He is a gentle breeze that relieves us on a hot day.  Yet, on occasion, He can be a hurricane ripping the roofs off those who shelter in their ignorance and refuse to acknowledge His existence.
God is everywhere (omnipresent) and, like the invisible wind, we can deduce His presence by the way He affects things around us.   We can witness God’s wonderful design in Creation.  We can see the changes in those people’s lives who have trusted in Him.  We can hear God’s whisper-quiet voice as it blows through our conscience.  Furthermore, just as wind makes a distinct sound when blown through an instrument, God works through the lives of many Christians so His message is clearly heard around the world. 
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.  So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.  John 3:8

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God is: The Perfect Sculptor

Christianity ImageSculpture is defined as the art of cutting, carving or otherwise rendering solid material into an ornamental or aesthetically pleasing form. A gifted sculptor can see a work of art within a solid object and has the ability to reveal it. 

God is a Perfect Sculptor and, no matter how hard the world has made us, He can see a spiritual artwork within each of us waiting to be revealed.  Like any good sculptor, God doesn’t go to work with a sledgehammer; He knows that too much pressure applied too quickly will only cause us to break.  Instead, God patiently chips away at the edges to slowly reveal the spiritual artwork within.  
Attainment of spiritual maturity usually comes through numerous small steps of rehabilitation.  We shouldn’t be discouraged when our spiritual growth seems slow.  God is patient – and we should also be patient.  He intends us all to be masterpieces of grace and this takes time. 
Many circumstances that happen in our life may seem to have no reason, but it is through these circumstances that God shapes us. If we allow God to have His way, bit by bit, the person He wants us to be will be revealed.  Our jealousy, our bitterness, our hatred, our arrogance will slowly be chipped away to reveal a sculpture of Grace - a living artwork of humanity that many people will come to appreciate.
The best way to interest people in the Gospel and our Lord Jesus Christ is to be sculptured in His image. 
Romans 12:2 states: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.

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God is: The Missing Key

Christianity ImageA man who had lost his car-keys sat down in his house upset and depressed.  Many hours later his wife returned home and asked him what was wrong.
‘I’ve lost my keys and can’t go anywhere without them,’ he roared.
‘OK, calm down - where have you searched?’ she asked, trying to be helpful.
The man looked dumfounded and replied: ‘Well, I haven’t actually looked anywhere!’

In life, we all sense something very important is missing - a gap that needs to be filled.  We may try to fill this gap with accomplishments, social life, self-improvement classes or expensive toys, but these things will never satisfy and will only emphasize our emptiness.   Until we seriously start searching we can’t expect to find the ‘missing key’.  When finally we get off our mental-backside and look in the right place, we quickly discover that God was never hiding – we were just ignoring Him.  God does not force Himself on anyone; yet He always reveals Himself to those who seek Him.  Since God created us with free-will, He must respect it.  He patiently waits for any who desire an eternal relationship with Him and, for those who seek, God is honour-bound to reveal.  Only through Him will we be complete and fulfill the purpose for which we are created.
“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29. 

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God is: A Responsible Giver

Christianity ImageIt would be extremely irresponsible to hand car-keys to a small child to go for a joy-ride, as it would be foolish to let an infant play with a circular saw or a nail gun.  These items were not designed for children who do not have the ability, strength, or understanding to handle these things safely.  Sadly, it would only be a matter of time before they injured themselves or those around them. 

Our Heavenly Father is not an irresponsible giver.  He withholds many blessings until we (His children) have the capacity to handle them without causing injury to ourselves and those around us. 
Sometimes the things we greatly desire elude us because God is patiently waiting for us to grow up.  How often do we witness the tragic downfall of celebrities who have quickly attained success and wealth?  
God desires to bless His children greatly, but He also knows if we were given certain blessings without the capacity or maturity to handle them, it would only be a matter of time before the thing we greatly desired would be a source of misery for ourselves and those around us.  Remember: happiness is something that is built within, not something attained from without.
To build our capacity to handle great blessings we must first seek the kingdom of God, (Read Matthew 6:25-34).  Then, like the Apostle Paul, we will be able to say: Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am (prosperity or adversity) to be content… I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13.

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God is: Not a Crime-lord

Christianity ImageCrime-lords, godfathers and kingpins who shake-down local businesses for a percentage of their takings have sadly been a recurrent theme throughout history.  The victims usually pay through fear of attracting the local crime-lord’s personal attention – knowing that if they don’t voluntarily ‘cough-up’ the money, bad things will invariably happen to them and their business.

Sadly, too many Christians unconsciously view God as a Godfather, our Lord as a Crime-lord and the King of Kings as a Kingpin.  They fear God will cause misfortune and maladies to happen in their lives if they don’t voluntarily ‘cough-up’ a percentage of their earnings.  Ironically, if people believe God is trying to shake-them-down, they actually believe God is a criminal.  No wonder many are trying to pay Him off to leave them alone; who wants a personal relationship with a thug! 
But God is not a gangster, He is our loving Father and paying Him off is one of the greatest insults we can unintentionally do.  God doesn’t need our meager money; He has the riches of the universe at His disposal - He cannot be bought, bullied or blackmailed.  What He desires is for us to freely begin a personal relationship with Him so He can bless, protect and guide us. 
Stop and think; if we treat God like a thug by coughing-up money and enduring church once a week so as to be left alone, God must respect our free-will and leave us to fend for ourselves in the Devil’s Kingdom.
The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 18:32.  

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God is: Staying on Track

Christianity IllustrationA train is a powerful locomotive, yet it cannot move freely about in all directions.  A train can only move where the tracks are laid.  And when a moving train derails, the result is always catastrophic.

God is the engine powering all of Existence.  He has been described as the Unmovable-Mover.  God is absolute perfection - He is all-powerful, all-knowing and is simultaneously in the present, past and future.  Even so, like a train God is very restricted in which direction He can go.  He must always remain perfect.  This means He can never make a mistake, can never lie or be wrong - God must always maintain His perfect standard of righteousness, justice, fairness and love. 
God can never compromise His perfect character (no matter how we pray He would concede to our own personal circumstances).  God must always stay perfectly on track - if He ever derailed even once (compromised, erred, sinned or failed), He would cease to be perfect - and that would cause the biggest disaster in the universe.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He. Deuteronomy 32:4.

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God is: The Perfect Potter

Christianity IllustrationA potter can be simply defined as a maker of earthenware vessels.

As Christians, we are lumps of clay ready for moulding, but the question is: By whom?  We have a choice: we either let the world shape us or trust ourselves to God.   If the world shapes us, we usually end up as broken vessels without true purpose and meaning.  We live life to gratify ourselves and everything we gain and achieve will be taken from us and quickly forgotten. 
So what does God offer if we place ourselves in His hands?  There will be times of blessing but also suffering; of happiness but also heartbreak; of gain and also loss.  God’s way is not an easy way; however, the primary difference is that everything we experience has eternal purpose.  God desires to shape us into Christ-like vessels of grace with inner peace and a relaxed mental attitude that overcomes all circumstances in life.
God is a Perfect Potter. He starts His miraculous work the moment we choose to put ourselves in His capable hands.  God usually gives new Christians a grace period where He gently moulds them – a time where they can learn His Word and test His promises.  God uses our personal circumstances to slowly mould us into a unique Christ-like vessel.
When we are in the shape He intends, it’s only a matter of time before we are placed into a ‘Kiln of Testing’.  To a newly formed lump of clay, this is a most frightening time.  If the vessel is not properly prepared, the hot furnace will break it. But we need not fear; we are in the hands of a Perfect Potter.  He knows the exact time to place us in the kiln and He moulded us perfectly to withstand the heat (God has promised never to test us beyond what we are able to bear – 1 Corinthians 10:13). 
The heat in the kiln can be extreme but its purpose is to strengthen our form. Adversity is essential if we are to be a Christ-like, earthenware vessel into which God can pour many blessings and His divine purpose.  When we are filled with grace and inner peace, we soon learn that one of the greatest blessings in being God’s vessel is we can pour His numerous blessings onto others. 
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18.

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God is: The Infinite Imagination

Christianity IllustrationImagination is defined as the act or power of forming mental images not actually present.

Before creation came imagination.  Before God created the universe He had to imagine it.  What an incredible imagination God must have!  He created the world and everything within, (except sin - that was our addition).  He created diverse landscapes: forests, rivers, mountains, seas, as interactive playgrounds for His creatures.  He created a variety of seasons, colours and foods for all tastes.  He created animals with all their strange and unique habits.  And miraculously, He created us with all our complexity and capacity to appreciate His creation.
However, when we read our Bible, we realize this earth and all its wonders are just preludes for what is yet to come.  Eternity is where God continues to pour His infinite imagination. “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
So what does the eternal future hold for us; we certainly won’t be sitting bored on a cloud strumming a harp? 
The Bible indicates that we will have a resurrection body like our Lord’s (Philippians 3:20-21).  With our new bodies, the universe and heavens will be open to explore.  It will be a pure delight to discover the fruits of God’s infinite imagination.  Presently, we do not have the faculties to comprehend the indescribable sights and experiences that God has in store for us.  But, whatever our varied interests, we can surmise that God has catered for it – in abundance. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. 
If we spent a billion years touring God’s “Universal Exhibition”, we would be no closer to exhausting His infinite imagination than when we first began.  God will never cease to surprise us with how imaginative He is.  Eternity is a show not to be missed.  The good news is – no one needs to.  God has paid for our tickets, through Christ on the cross, and reserved a seat for any who desire this indescribable, free gift. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. Acts 16:31

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God is: The Omniscient Chess Player

Christianity IllustrationTo Satan, we humans are pieces on a chessboard to be sacrificed without a second thought.  Since humanity began, the devil has been maneuvering so he can yell ‘CHECKMATE’ to God.  At times it seemed he had the game nearly in the bag (the Garden of Eden, the Flood, the Exodus and so on).  So many times Satan has yelled, ‘CHECK’, but at the last minute God has always blocked him.  Throughout human history the devil has tried to secure his win with a ‘CHECKMATE’.  However, much to his annoyance, God is an all-knowing, omniscient chess-player and is always one step ahead to block that anticipated final move. 
At the cross, God turned the game around and said ‘CHECK’ to Satan.  Since then, the devil has tried desperate moves, callously sacrificing his pieces to get out of God’s ‘CHECK’.  Now, it is plainly evident to all that Satan is playing a losing game.  At the end of time, God will say to Satan: ‘CHECKMATE’, and all the devil’s pieces will be removed from the board.

Human history is like the chessboard and we humans are the chess pieces; however, unlike normal chess pieces, we humans have free-will and can decide in which direction we move.  The game is winding up.  Satan is desperate.  He is frantically trying to recruit new pieces to sacrifice.  If he can, the devil will employ God’s pieces to use against Him. 
We must question whose side of the board we are on.  Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean God is moving us.  We mustn’t fool ourselves - if we are not allowing God to work freely in our lives and move us where He will, we are Satan’s pawns - there is no middle ground.  We must continuously resist the devil by giving ourselves, as a living sacrifice, to God to use wisely and graciously.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5: 8.

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God is: The Servant King

Lord Jesus ChristHave you ever considered that a ‘good’ king is a servant to his people?  He holds his power and position for the betterment of his subjects.   He is not above the laws he makes, he is subject to them.  He always has his nation’s best interests at heart and is willing to lay down his life for his people. 

Jesus Christ is known as the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. As confusing as it seems, Jesus Christ is both God and man (separate and united). Revelation states: “I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
As God, Jesus is Sovereign over all His creation, yet still He serves mankind daily with oxygen, gravity and sunshine.  Matthew 28:18 states: And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
As man, Jesus is subject to all the laws that God has decreed (the many commandments).  He is also subject to all the laws of perfection. He must always be righteous, fair, truthful and sinless. Hebrews 4:15 states: For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Furthermore as with any good king, Christ has shown He is willing to lay down His life for the safety of His people.   John 10:11 states: “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” Christ went willingly to the cross to pay the penalty of sin so all who believe in Him may have eternal life. John 3:16. 
When the Son of God first came to earth as a man, He came to fulfill His role as a servant.  The next time Christ comes to earth, He will be exhibiting His entire divine splendour and be equipped with all His kingly powers.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Colossians 3:1

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God is: The Source of Light

The sun is our primary source of natural light – even at night.  Though the moon illuminates the darkness, it does not produce its own light – it simply reflects it from the sun.

Jesus declared in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world”. Without the light from the Son, we would all be in complete darkness. If Jesus Christ is the light of the world, then our purpose as Christians is to be like the moon and reflect His light in dark places.
Christianity is a process.  As new believers we reflect very little of Christ’s light because the world has cast a great shadow over us – we are like the crescent moon. 
However, if we persevere and grow in grace (through studying and applying God’s Word), we start to reflect Christ’s attributes and illuminate a path for those walking in darkness.  Eventually, we become like the full moon – brightening people’s lives with Christ-like integrity, compassion and His relaxed attitude.
Our commission as Christians is to lead people to Christ.  When we reflect His grace in a world that has little, it illuminates the path to Christianity like no other way. The measure of a mature Christian is not how much Bible verses we know or how religious we are, but how we mirror the Son of God and His immeasurable grace to a world in darkness.
‘But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.’ Proverbs 4:18  

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God is: The Perfect Hairdresser

A hairdresser is a person who cuts and styles hair.  We all want to find a good hairdresser that is professional, reliable, gives sound advice, knows our needs and can provide a great ‘do’ for every occasion.

God is like a perfect hairdresser, but instead of the best cut and style He has the best plan that suits our individual strengths and weaknesses.  He sees us from all angles and knows the circumstances that are compatible with our personality and temperament (Jeremiah 29:11). 
But here’s the problem: we keep snatching the scissors from God thinking we can do a better job styling ourselves.  It’s only when we reflect in the mirror of our past do we realise what a horrible mess we made.
So, instead of being remembered for the ridiculous ‘dos’ we give ourselves such as: self-absorption, arrogance or bitterness, we should book into God’s saloon and let Him renovate us with a graceful new style of humility, contentment and generosity that others will long remember after we are gone.  
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 5: 5-6.

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God is: Hitting the Mark

Christian God's TargetA marksman is defined as someone who shoots with great skill and accuracy.

We are all marksmen aiming at our own goals and objectives.  Some people are better than others at hitting their mark.
As marksmen, we go through life shooting at our own targets – sometimes hitting and sometimes missing.  However, as Christians, we have another choice – we can hand our arrows to God.
When God starts overshooting our targets, we can’t be blamed to think He has missed the mark; we expected Him to hit a bullseye on our objectives.  But God is a perfect marksman and never misses.  One day we will come to realise He was never aiming at our target but a target far beyond our range of vision.  As we pass it, we will see God hit the target squarely in the centre.
Mankind is often too short-sighted to see the targets of an eternal God.  Sometimes our arrows (purpose in life) will hit the target (bear fruit) long after we are dead.  On handing our arrows to God we should keep in mind that just because we can’t see where God sent our arrow doesn’t mean He didn’t hit the mark.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6.

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God is: The Holy-Ghost Writer

Ghost WriterA ghost-writer is someone who writes speeches, books or articles for another individual.  National leaders use them to prepare inspiring speeches.  Famous people use them to write their autobiographies.  
Ghost-writers work quietly behind the scenes and the credit for their work usually goes to another who claims the authorship.

It is up to us whom we choose to write our life story.  As a Christian we have the greatest ghost writer of all time at our disposal – the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Spirit - is our personal Ghost-Writer on call 24 hours a day.  He is the Inspirer of the inspirers.  He gives us words to say when we need them most, (1 Cor 2:4).  He has a way of editing life’s difficult moments so they make sense. 
However, we may choose to ignore the guidance of the divine Ghost-Writer and endeavour to write our autobiography ourselves.  In this post-Christian time, many people are now living independent of God and ironically are trying to find meaning in a meaningless evolutionary existence.  When they review their lives, it is a story of chasing the dollar, seeking comfort and consumerism – a life that has no real purpose with years that makes little sense.  Generally, when we write our story independent of God, our self-serving story is not very inspiring – even if we achieve much.
When we finally get to the point where we hand the pen to God, the Holy Spirit will start editing our life.  Soon, every day will become meaningful.  We will find purpose to existence and who we are.  We will be guided to our personal role.  Our life will be written in grace and will be an inspirational story to encourage others.  In the end, we may get the credit for our well-lived Christian life, but in reality all credit must go to our divine Ghost-Writer who has done all the work behind the scenes. 
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26

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God is: Sharing the Pain

Christian PainLoving parents share the pain of their children.  When something bad happens to a child (such as an injury, illness, rejection or failure) the parent also shares it.  Love connects people.  When we love someone, we invest part of ourselves in them – and when the object of our love suffers, so also do we.

God is our Heavenly Father.  He is connected to us in ways we cannot fathom. As Christians, God dwells in us and is with us 24/7.  He has truly invested Himself in us.  Like a loving parent, he shares in our moments of greatest joy and triumph and he shares our pain.
When we suffer through illness, loss or rejection – God suffers with us. He knows our grief and greatly desires to comfort us.  God is not the author of pain and suffering – Eden and paradise was His design for us.  Because of freewill (individually and nationally) we have brought hardships upon ourselves, but we must understand that God has not forsaken us.  We see, through Christ, that God is sharing every pain of mankind’s fall from grace.
Even when we step out of line and God must discipline us, He also loves us and shares our punishment.  As children we find it hard to believe when our parents say, “This is going to hurt me more than it will you”.  When we become parents we realise how true this is.  Through love we are connected to our kids and partake in their ups and downs.
As Christians, when we start loving God (more than ourselves) we also start sharing His grief: the grief of a lost world that has rejected Him.  We start sharing His desire: the desire to save the lost.  And we share His joy and triumphs, and these are unfathomable and eternal. 
Hebrews 13:5 states: For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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God is: The Artist behind the Artworks

God the artistA rich artist decided to create something special for the city he loved.  For many years he quietly worked on various masterpieces.  He then built a wondrous gallery and filled it with his art.  Finally, he opened his gallery free to the public and sat back to watch their reaction.
Soon word spread and people came in droves.  They toured the collection and exclaimed the wonder of the artworks within.  However, the artist was quite disappointed!  You see, none of the public wondered about the artist or gave him any credit.  For some strange reason they thought the wondrous gallery had come into existence by itself and the artworks had just randomly appeared.

There are a lot of foolish-smart people examining the wonders in nature and making fabulous theories that stubbornly deny a Creator.  They document their findings with words like: ‘nature’s design’, ‘programed’, ‘order’ and ‘purpose’.  Yet then proceed to state all complex systems and coding in creation originally appeared from nothing – that all living things evolved over long periods of punctuated time, guided precisely by random chaos.
Ironically, many atheists belittle those who have faith in God – thinking themselves wise for not believing in an unseen Creator.  However, the foundation theories of evolution are based on missing links and debatable evidence – thus it is called a theory. It takes great faith to be an evolutionist. Those who believe everything in creation originally appeared from nothing and created itself truly demonstrate the greatest faith the world has ever witnessed. 
Psalms 19:1 states: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.

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God is: Our Holy-Spiritual-Trainer

Physical TrainerA personal trainer is someone who teaches and motivates others for the purpose of their physical advancement.  A good trainer motivates their clients to exercise daily and develop good eating habits. They understand people have varying levels of fitness and ability so they tailor-make a routine for each individual.
When the client has transformed from FAT to FIT, friends often want to know who their personal trainer is so they too can benefit.

We seldom consider the role of the Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity).  He is our ‘Personal-Spiritual-Trainer’.  He has full knowledge about us and knows exactly what we need to build spiritual muscle. He motivates us when we lack motivation. He persistently whispers in our ear (the still small voice of our conscience) and inspires us to push ourselves.  He encourages us to have a balanced spiritual diet (Biblical Truths) and discourages us from junk food (sin).   At times He allows difficult circumstances and frustrating people to enter our lives so we can build spiritual muscle (but has promised to never test us beyond what we can handle).  He also understands the need for rest and will organise pleasant circumstances and inspiring people to encourage us to new levels of maturity.  He is the Perfect Spiritual-Trainer and is at our call 24/7. 
But here’s the problem: trainers can only help those that come to them with a real desire to improve themselves. We would be wise to employ our Holy-Spiritual-Trainer; not only will we eternally benefit, but furthermore strong-healthy spiritual students always bring glory to their Trainer.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26.

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God is: The Ultimate Power

High Voltage ElectrocutionWe all enjoy the benefits of electricity; it lights our world and powers our houses and devices.  Though we depend on electricity, we are taught from an early age that high voltage can kill.  If you touch an exposed live wire, you will be zapped – it makes no difference whether you are a boy or girl, young or old, good or bad. 

God is the Ultimate Power – He is the unchangeable Energiser behind all other power sources – He created and upholds the universe and all the laws of science and nature.  We enjoy the benefits of God’s power daily, but while we live on earth God gracefully insulates us from His all-powerful essence.
Though God is infinite, people often ascribe human characteristics to Him and then ironically condemn Him on that basis.  They say things like: ‘If God is good and loving, how can He sentence people to Hell for not accepting Him?’  We must remember our infinite God is beyond our understanding; to judge Him on human standards would be wrong. 
When we die, we come face to face with God and we learn from the Bible that His perfect essence is not compatible with our sin or relative human righteousness.  If we are not ‘fully insulated’ when we come face to face with Him, God’s essence must cast us from His presence. 
We may say, ‘Well, I don’t want to be in God’s presence if He is like that!’  But remember, Hell, for lack of a better word, is the very place where God’s comfort and provisions are not present.
God is as He is – He cannot compromise or change or He would cease to be the Binding Energy of the universe.  Like electricity, if we want the benefits we must acknowledge the dangers.  The Bible warns us, from Old to New Testament, if we are not ‘fully insulated’ in His presence, we will be judged and condemned.  We may meekly say, ‘But I’m a relatively good person’; however, that is like being relatively insulated when we touch a high voltage electrical wire – it will not be enough to save us. 
God wants us all to enjoy the benefits of His infinite power for eternity.  Yet the Bible clearly says, we are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  The only way to insulate ourselves from eternally being cast out of God’s presence is through the saving work of Jesus Christ.  On the Cross, Jesus paid the necessary price for our transgressions (Philippians 2:5-8), and if we accept Christ as our saviour, we are made compatible with God’s perfect righteousness – we are born again in Christ.  Jesus said: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ John 14:6.
The choice is up to us; we either accept or reject the work done by Jesus Christ on our behalf.  Only by accepting Him as Saviour are we ‘fully insulated’ when come into personal contact with the Ultimate Power of the universe.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23.

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God is: Using the Tide

Christian serviceTwo men took their boats out to sea to fish.  After a very good catch, they rowed their boats back toward the shore, but while they were fishing the tide had gone out leaving their cars some distance from the water.
The first man decided to wait for the tide to turn and started cleaning his fish. However, the second man became very frustrated as he had many things to do and didn’t have time to wait for the tide.  So he jumped out of his boat and started dragging it over the long stretch of beach.  It was exhausting work as his boat was very heavy and laden with fish, but being a stubborn man he was not easily deterred.
It soon became evident that he was getting nowhere fast so he decided to lighten his load.  He threw out his oars, lines, nets and catch of fish then kept dragging.  Step by agonizing step he advanced.   Every few metres his boat caught in the sand or wedged on a rock.  In anger, he lifted it free then heaved it out.  Ever so slowly he advanced closer to his car. 
Finally, with the last of his strength, he dragged his boat to the top of the beach.  He laughed in exhilaration and shook his fist defiantly at heaven.  Then, to his complete surprise, he noticed the tide had come in behind him.  He watched, speechless, as the other man rowed his boat effortlessly to his car, placed his oars, nets and cleaned fish into the back, then lifted his boat on top and drove away.  The second man fell down exhausted - he did not have the strength left to lift his boat.

God has told us there is a time for everything (Ecc. 3:1).  When delayed, we should be patient.  We should do the things that are within our reach and relax about the things that aren’t.   If we trust in God, He will turn the tide at exactly the right time.  All our stubborn efforts, worries and fears are just a waste of energy and will leave us frustrated, discouraged and exhausted.
Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart… Psalm 27:14a

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God is: A Victim of Identity Theft

Identity TheftImagine if your identity was stolen and the perpetrator committed crimes in your name.  Suddenly, you are held responsible for their actions and now business and banks won’t deal with you.  Of course you would want a chance to clear your name, but what if no matter what you said or did, people continue to believe the worst about you.  

God’s identity has been stolen by violent religions and weird cults. Throughout history, so many horrendous things have been done in God’s name. Sadly, people now hold God responsible for the perpetrators’ actions.
To clear His good name for all generations, God came to earth as a man.  Through the life and actions of Jesus Christ we learn first-hand who God is and what He stands for.  “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30.) 
Jesus was loving, just and graceful to all – no matter their station in life, their sex, or their sins. He equally associated with high-born and outcasts.  He actively stood against those who would condemned or swindle others. He did not force His views on those who rejected Him. We learn through His words and action that Jesus was categorically against violent crusades, inquisitions, terrorist attacks, suicide bombings, human sacrifice, suppression of women and abuse of children.  
God’s true identity is revealed through the life of Christ. When Jesus willingly went to the cross to pay the ‘debt-of-sin’ so all may have eternal life, we truly see God’s love demonstrated. 
Yet God created us with freewill and He will not coerce our volition.  Despite the written revelation in the Bible, we may still choose to hold God accountable for the atrocities done in His name.  But we must remember: God is not threatened if we choose to believe the worst about Him – He is not upset by our snide comments – and He is not less real for our unbelief.  If we cut off our relationship with God, it is not He that misses out – it is us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten (uniquely born) Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

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