Thursday, August 07, 2008

Welcome to My First Comments on Beth Moore's "Believing God"

Really?

Blink, blink.

It's Thursday morning already?

Wow, what a busy week in my personal life and in this study. I knew that committing to doing "Believing God" would be difficult time-wise, but "committing" is the key word here, and I'm committed to staying on top of the homework and applying the principles.

How are you doing? By the way, remember that even if you're not enrolled in the study, Diane and I welcome (beg for) your reflective comments here. Just like those roadside church signs that say, "There is no 'church' without 'u' in it," Diane and I feel that there is no "conversation" without 'u' in it. We need converusation.

Week #2 of "Believing God" focused on "Believing God is Who He Says He Is." (Matthew 16:13-19 is the "home base" passage, where Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?")

One of the first things Beth talked about (we're on a first-name basis now, since she's been in my family room on the computer while I sip coffee, have hot flashes and unfasten my bra and everything) is understanding that all of us have perceptions about God based on what was 1) taught to us 2) caught by us (by assimilating both the explicit and implicit actions/statements of others as we moved through life.)

Beth states that it's safe to assume that somewhere along the way, we may have subconsciously picked up a few flawed ideas about who God is and what he's capable of.

Here's an interesting exercise to see popular images of God: Go to Google, choose "images" for your search, and type in "God." The first three pages of pics will provide food for thought.

Here's an example from my life: There's a well-worn postulation in Christian evangelism, "God loves you so much that if you had been the only person on the planet, he still would have come to die for you alone." My mother never fully understood or trusted that statement and voiced her doubt often enough that I think I absorbed her doubt. As a result, whenever I hear someone make that assertion, I think, "Really? Is that true? It sounds good. Is that biblical?" And yet highly respected Christian leaders have repeated this idea many times.

Question 1: Where did you develop your perceptions of God?

Question 2: Have you ever challenged any long-held or popular concepts about God? Care to share? BM says that "Faith that remains unchallenged ordinarily remains unchanged."

Do you ever wonder, "Why doesn't God just put an end to all questions about his existence and goodness by providing irrefutable proof for our enquiring little minds?" Beth says she believes the answer stems from Hebrews 11:6, But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him. It brings God pleasure when we believe in him, so he doesn't remove all doubt because he enjoys our faith, our belief, our trust in him.

I think of it like this: What if I had a child who had an emotional disorder wherein she could never develop a trusting relationship with me. She would always pull away when I reached out, always close her hand when I tried to give her anything, always suspect everything I told her. My heart would break. Part of knowing/loving someone is trusting in their character. I would probably say to her, "Please just notice how over and over I treat you with love and gentleness and kindness. Remember those times that so that the next time I reach out to you, you won't feel compelled to pull away. HAVE FAITH IN ME. I'M A GOOD MOM." Or in another context, "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." Psalm 34:8.

Beth also spent quite a bit of time talking about culture's attempt at the "Dumbing Down" of God--demeaning his name, mocking him, tearing at his greatness bit by bit, "voting" on the validity of his Word, etc. I feel passionate about this, too. The reason we do this? We're humans. It's what we do--like "Why do flies poop every time they land? They're flies." At least we're his enemies until by his grace the scales fall off our eyes and our ears unplug and our knees hit the ground, right? But it's important to remember that God doesn't get nervous when man does this. He's unshakable.

Finally, Beth, or "Beh" as I like to call her for short, reminded us through scripture that we (humans) will reflect (in actions, in speech, in appearance) who we believe God to be. Consider Psalm 135:

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
16 They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
17 They have ears, but they do not hear;
Nor is there any breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.

Jeremiah 10:5, "Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good." Thus the scarecrow pic above. Just thought I'd point out that he's not God.

When I finished this week's teaching video, I felt as if I were having church while sitting there at the computer. That is, I was worshipping God for who he is, despite man's attempt to pin him down, dilute him, direct him, ignore him, take him for granted. There is none like him.

Basically, the lesson this week can be summed up, "Whoever you might think God is, aim a little higher" because our faith will never be stronger than the God we perceive.

The song on this video, "You Are God Alone" just reaffirms his praiseworthiness. It's not a fancy video, just the words, but the words--ooh they are powerful. If you have a couple of minutes to listen to this, it might change the rest of your day.

Thanks for stopping by. Again, Diane and I would love to "hear" your thoughts in the comments or in your own post.

18 comments:

sara said...

I just did this study last fall and it was life changing for me. I was struggling with my Aunt (like my mom) having cancer and a not-so-great prognosis. God gave me a scripture for her, but I doubted she could be healed. It was so wonderful to do the study and realize He is who he says he is and can do what he says he can do!!! My Aunt is now doing amazingly better than any doctors had predicted!!

Darlene R. said...

Thank you so much for this post today, Linda.
The song that you posted is one of my favorites and hey, that's my cousin singing it!

Enjoy the Indiana weather today!

Mocha with Linda said...

Welcome to siestadom!

Excellent, excellent thoughts here. I think we have made God so much smaller than He is. We have no idea. We have made Him in our image and it's all just self-serving.

I may have to dig out my notebook from this study.

Love your picture & caption of Morgan Freeman. After his wreck he is hopefully having some encounters with the real God!

Cindy said...

I did this study a while back and really learned lot about myself. The one thing that was really grounded in me was the fact that I didn't put limits on God and what He could do for someone, unless that someone was me. I believed God was who He said He was and could do what He said unless I was the one with the need. If I couldn't fix it, well it wasn't gonna get fixed. It totally broke my heart. I believed IN God but wasn't believing God. I still struggle with worrying about things I have no control over, but God is a good and patient father who will not stop loving me and working on me. He continues to amaze me everyday and the big and small things. The more I believe and trust Him the more I understand His love for me. My prayer is for anyone of you reading this, if this sounds like you, don't fight God for control. Whatever is going on in your life, it has not taken God by surprise. He is in control, He is still on His throne. He is uchangable, unshakable, unstoppable. Believe God.

skoots1mom said...

Hey, SIESTA!

with the energy i read in your blog, i know you are enjoying Beh and her teaching.

Speaking of "just one", it reminded me of Abraham pleading with God about sparing Sodom in Genesis 18...our compassion for others makes a difference, too! so when we feel God tugging on us about someone else's situation, soul, suffering, whatever the case, we are to take it before God for them, for they may not understand they need to be praying for themselves! May God continue to bless your study with BEH!

carol ~ i throw like a girl said...

Hi Linda! Excellent synopsis of the lesson! I appreciate the "Faith Test" Beth had us take. If asked, I would say, "Yes, I believe God" and in most areas I do. This test showed me the areas I'm holding back from Him or don't have a proper understanding of Who He is. After this lesson I realized that I need to live my life based on Who God is rather than what I can see or am feeling emotionally.

I am a week ahead of you because I started the study on my own before you and Diane decided to have this great on line Bible study discussion. (Thank you, BTW!) And all I'm going to say is Lesson 3 will rock your world! It is the best so far and increased my faith so much. I'm not going to say anymore, so I don't give anything away and so I have something to comment on next week!

Love you guys!

DidiLyn said...

Oh Lid,
Thank you for doing this with us. I know you are busy and I also know that God will bless your socks off for your commitment to Him and this study.
I love how you wrap the whole week up. I get too overwhelmed to do that in a legible manner, so bless you for that, too.
I'll write a post on my blog, but later today. Kitchen counter guys coming this morning to work.
I Kee Lee ya!

Susanne said...

"Perceptions caught by us". Wow, that is a powerful statement. That really hit me. It started me thinking that some of the perceptions caught are really easy to brush off they are so ridiculous but what about some of the more subtle ones that have crossed my eyes and heart? Have I been discerning enough to catch those? Or have I let them skew my perception of God from who He says He is? Good lesson!

Nicole said...

Hi Linda,

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a sweet encouraging comment. I do try to keep a positive attitude in the midst of my trial. Only through Christ and with His help can I do this. I have enjoyed reading your post. You have such a great sense of humor and love for learning about God. It was nice to "meet" you.

Nicole

Brenda said...

If I had known that there was going to be a test in the study I might not have signed up. I HATE tests! It turned out to be a HUGE positive for me. Great insight and was able to verbalize with my sister (& sista) for even more out of it. My other big take away this week was in how much our perceptions are based on what the adults/pastors are saying to us as kids. We need to be diligent in speaking and living faith to our children as well as helping them challenge what they are hearing to make sure it shows God as big as he really is. Look forward to next week.

Debbie said...

Great post. I love the summation - "Whoever you might think God is, aim a little higher" because our faith will never be stronger than the God we perceive. Well said.

By the way, I love the classic teen expressions on K. in the previous post - I've seen those looks from my kids....

samurai said...

Man I LOVE! that song. It is amazing how we do indeed view the Infinite through our finite point of view (no matter what view that may be). An excellent post today Linda... thank you very, very much for sharing that.

My beloved goes to Beth Moore conferences as much as possible. She is an excellent, Biblical, teacher.

Truth4thejourney said...

I'm on vacation this week, so I won't be posting about this on my site today.

I did agree that we cannot even begin to comprehend the magnitude of God and His abilities! We seem to be so limited by the experiences and opinions of others. Wouldn't it be great to just look at the Word of God for our opinions of God.

I've been blessed by the 5 finger statement of faith! I've used that so many times over the past week. Just a real faith builder.

Have a great week!

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Hello, sweet ladies! I finally got my post up on Believing God...I really got excited about this week's lesson!

My faith swells up whenever I think about God as Creator...and all of the wonderful complexities and the vastness of His work!

I know we have to be careful to not be in such awe that we end up worshipping creation rather than the Creator, but I used to see His creation as "normal;" just the way things "are."

But now I am making an effort to train my mind to see things as being purposed and willed, planned and thought out. This realization causes such faith in me because it's almost like seeing Him tangibly! Whew!

Julie Anne Fidler said...

That book radically changed the way I "do God." Beth Moore is definitely blessed with wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to take my eye off the ball but,.....

Flies poop every time they land?

Eww....

Lelia Chealey said...

I'll join you Linda. I have the audio cd teachings of this study and already have the first 2 weeks done. I'll read more of your past posts to see if you meet weekly. Excited to see what God is going to do here.
Love ya
Lelia

Chel - An Abiding Branch said...

Hello all!!! I am in utter BElief of what God is going to do and that all that is good around me or in me is simply HIM! I have posted this week as a re-cap of last week for me as I had need of admitting some UNbelief.
But since it is late I am going to make like a tree and 'lief.........oooo I know! What was I thinking, I had to, did I say it was late?

Seriously, this is going to be AWEsome and AHHHhsome as we allow God to remove this veil of disbelief from our eyes and give us HIS to see things clearly!
Love, Chel - An Abiding Branch