Getting to know – Part 1

Getting to know – Part 1

Aug 16

 

Let’s get started!

If you haven’t checked it out already, the “About” page sums up what I’m doing here on this site. We’re kicking things off by… getting to know God.

Now, that phrase might drum up all sorts of thoughts –  for me, it has been part of the biggest change in my life and how I look at things.

 

Clearing Up Misconceptions

When it came to God, I knew about Him.

I was raised in a Christian home, read the Bible, and learned about the Christian faith.

As I grew older, I began questioning and wrestling with these ideas I claimed to believe. Face it, Christianity is weird (but makes sense in its bizarreness)!

I turn 30 this year and I feel like, finally, the pieces are all falling into place.

I’ve had misconceptions about the God I said I loved – and supposedly loved me.

Jesus – I was cool with. He was the nice Guy – full of love and compassion.

The Holy Spirit – He always brought the good stuff.

But God?

No, thanks.

He was angry, bitter, prepared to smite at the drop of a hat. The kind of God you walked on eggshells around.

You see, I thought He had a major split personality problem. I had always divided God into Old Testament God (OTG) and New Testament God (NTG). NTG tolerated me because He looked at me through “Jesus Lenses”. OTG was ready to have the earth swallow me whole.

This caused some issues when I’d read verses like 1 John 4:8 where it says “God is Love”.

I would’ve said I agreed, it says so in the Bible. But, in the back of my mind I’d be thinking, “Yeah right, have you read the OT?”.

 

Heeerrreee’s God!

Now, a lot of really nice things are said about God in the Old Testament. The prophets say great things. King David wrote some wonderful Psalms about Him. But what really blew me away was how God described Himself!

It happens in Exodus 34. Moses had already trusted I AM (my favorite name for God) and led the Isrealites out of Egypt. He had just completed “Commands on Tablets: Round 1″ and was recovering from that experience when he asks to know God better. So God tells him to re-write everything on new tablets and meet Him on the mountain.

Moses does, and there God describes HIMSELF!

The shekinah envelopes the mountain and there God declares:

Yahweh! The Lord!
The God of compassion and mercy!
I am slow to anger
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
But I do not excuse the guilty.
I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren;
the entire family is affected—
even children in the third and fourth generations.

Whoa!

He leads off with compassion and mercy, describes His patience and unfailing love and faithfulness.

This isn’t the God I had in mind.

And there’s more! He explains how He spreads His love and is constantly prepared to forgive – everything. To top it off. He is just. People’s sin can negatively impact their children and their children’s children, and even their children’s children’s children.

It all left me in awe.

And there’s more! But we’ll get to that tomorrow…
UPDATE: Here’s Part 2

Photo Credit: Nicole Jenkins

8 comments

  1. Mike Securo

    Hi Josh. Thanks for hosting this.. I look forward to the chatter. You know, growing up Roman Catholic I came to believe that God was waiting to crush me like a bug if I messed up (sinned). It wasn’t til I picked up a NT while waiting to be deployed that I discovered Jesus. I couldn’t believe that Jesus’ main purpose was to Love and Heal! Well I fell in love within a few chapters. I’ve been blessed with the receptiveness that allowed the Word to penetrate my stone heart and enliven it. Unfortunately due to all of the deviation between believers and bad conduct by some “church ” leaders we have the extra burden of helping people remove the garbage they’ve been fed before we can speak to them about the Relationship that that God wants to have with them through Jesus. My prayer is that God will use your blog to reach those who are seeking Truth and that this will be an oasis in a desert of confusion, bitterness, and just plain lies and misrepresentations regarding Jesus by folks whose only agenda is to entrap and enslave.
    Til next time, love to the fam….

    • Josh

      Great to hear more of your story, Mike! It’s amazing what happens when our perspective shifts.

      There is difficulty in the disconnect between what we read in the Bible and what we see in the conduct of people. Thankfully, pressure’s off because God is big enough to close the gap.

      I second your prayer.

  2. Laura Kusmider

    Hey Josh,
    love love love your new site! It really cool to be able to hear your throughts on God and Christianity! Keep it up, brother! Love you!

    • Josh

      Thanks, Laura! I’m glad you checked it out (and left a comment!). Love you, too!

  3. Tyler Freeman

    Hey Josh! I can relate with everything you wrote in this post. I often feel that the OT was written to say “God is no brother to mess around with!”, and the NT was written to say “But he sure is nice!”.

    I used to fear God more than I loved him. I thought that if I sinned one too many times, I was sure to be damned for eternity – like I only had so many withdraws from the forgiveness account until I was eternally screwed.

    Thankfully, those days have passed and I’ve come to the realization that God, above all else, loves us. He sacrificed His only son for US! If that’s not love, I don’t know what else is.

    I’m looking forward to reading more from you, Josh. You did a great job with this inaugural post. Mine and my wife’s prayers are with you.

    Wish you the best,

    Tyler

    P.S. My wife and I both love the design of your site, as well as your wife’s. She also pointed out the meaning behind Amy’s blog title – Fuller Life to Full {Her} Life. Very clever!

    • Josh

      Thanks so much, Tyler! I really appreciate you stopping by (and sharing!). I’m grateful for you (and your wife’s) prayers as well as your compliments.

      (And I’m glad you’re wife picked up on Amy’s title ;) – she was wondering if your wife was on Twitter as well?)

      • Tyler Freeman

        My pleasure Josh! I’m a firm believer that when you have something positive to say, scream it so everyone can hear it! :)

        Unfortunately, my wife’s not on Twitter. 140 characters just isn’t enough for her to fully express herself. Lol. But she is on Facebook.

        • Josh

          Thanks!

          Yeah, Twitter’s like the telegraph of the Internet.

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