Thanking Someone

The other evening, my wife came into the den where I sat watching a baseball game on television. “Thank you for doing the dishes and cleaning the microwave,” she said.

I had not told Margaret I did that, and she didn’t see me do it. And yet, she thanked me. Why? Because there’s no one else at our house.

You and I see the brilliant sunrise and drink in the wonders of the night sky and we thank God. Why? We didn’t see Him do anything. We only saw the work.

Answer: There is no one else. He is all the God there is.

When we look at our Lord and say “God,” we have exhausted the category.

The implications of this are enormous.

I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides me. (Isaiah 45:5,6,14,18,21,22–anyone see a pattern here?)

For who is God except the Lord? And who is a Rock, except our God?(Psalm 18:31)

There is no cafeteria of deities to choose from. Our God is all the God there is.

People get into these discussions on whether the God of this religion is the same as the God of that religion. It might make for interesting parlor talk, but it’s completely pointless. The God of the Bible is either Who He claims to be in Scripture–Creator, Truth, Life itself, Redeemer, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore our Heavenly Father–or He is a royal mess.

If the God of the Christian faith is the same as the God of Islam and other faiths in the world today, then all bets are off and nothing matters much in the way of spiritual realities. Since these religions contradict and conflict and condemn one another, if all are true, then the real Bible for our faith should be George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”

The New Testament does not get into the pantheon of competing religions the way the Old Testament does. But in the OT, it’s clear God has no use at all for the faiths of the Philistines, the Canaanites, and other neighbors. Anyone questioning this will learn a lot from reading the account in I Samuel 5 of the ark of the covenant’s being in the hands of the Philistines for a short time. Clearly, God had only contempt for Dagon, the fish-god of Philistia. Soon, the priests of this cult sent the ark back to Israel; they wanted no part of such a narrow-minded deity. Today, their descendants feel the same. They want an all-inclusive God without standards who will accept every kind of behavior as authentic.

The only God who counts is the One found in Holy Scripture because He is the only God who exists.

How blessed we are that this God turns out to be the Sole Inhabitant of the Heavenly Throneroom.

God is love, says I John 4:16.

If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.(Matthew 7:11).

There is no statute written anywhere that requires the God of this universe to be loving and kind, gracious and Fatherly. He could just as easily have been the tyrant of the cosmos, the despot of the netherworld, the nightmare of every child’s dreams. That He wasn’t is our good fortune.

How blessed we are–I’m tempted to say how lucky! that the God who made the universe turned out to be like Jesus. And Jesus like Him.

Untold numbers of observant residents of this planet have come to believe in God by nothing more than noticing the order in the universe, the fixed nature of the laws of the cosmos, and the beauty found on every hand.

I recall as a teen being impressed that Werner Von Braun, head of the space program at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal, became a theist because of the orderliness in this universe. It is not a haphazard world where the laws in one part of the universe conflict with those in another. Scientists learn what the laws are, cooperate with them, and are able to send probes into space and even predict at what point they will reach a distant planet.

The child who prays, “God is good,” is saying far more than he/she ever thinks.

When we say “God,” we are speaking of the One and Only God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we rashly connect”God” with the verb “damn,” we are taking the Name of the Lord in vain. And yet, “God” is not the exact name of Yahweh God. It’s simply that He is the only one inhabiting that category of Gods, so when we speak of God, we mean Him.

It’s as though I were the only cartoonist in the world. Thereafter, everytime someone made a complimentary or harsh reference concerning the universe’s cartoonists, I would take it personally. They would be meaning me.

As I write, we are two days away from the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, tragedy that so shocked this nation. In Florida, the pastor of an independent 50-member church has declared that as “Burn a Koran Day.” He has collected quite a number of the Islamic holy books and has promised to douse them with a fluid and set them afire. No intercession from government or Christian leaders has so far deterred the man from this shameful act. Our military leaders warn that this outrageous act will inflame hostilities against our soldiers all over the world and some may be killed. No matter.

The pastor has said on national television, “God told me to do this.”

Did God tell the man to do this?

On one level, we are tempted to say, “God knows.” But I reject that. I think we do know.

God is not going to act contrary to His nature or against His revealed Word. And from that–I refer now to the New Testament–we can safely conclude that the God of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would not do such a thing.

When they said to Jesus, “Show us the Father,” He replied, “Have I been with you so long and you still don’t know who I am? When you see me, you see the Father” (John 14:8-9).

God is just like Jesus. Thank God.

Samuel Shoemaker, well-loved preacher of an earlier generation, used to tell of a successful businessman in his community whose wife and children belonged to his church. The man’s life was caught up in huge deals, large financial transactions on a high level. When Shoemaker tried to speak to him of God, the man showed no interest.

One day, the man came down with cancer of the most serious kind. Pastor Shoemaker ministered to him in the same thoughtful way he would any other member of the church. People interceded before God for the man. Eventually, the man was cancer-free.

One night late, there was a knock at the Shoemaker home. When the pastor opened the door, he was surprised to find the businessman standing there.

“Pastor,” he said, “I feel that I need to thank Someone.”

Sam Shoemaker invited him inside where they opened the Bible and he introduced the man to the Lord Jesus Christ, the One whom he did indeed need to thank. That night, the man gave his heart to the Lord and Savior.

The Apostle Peter begins his First Epistle with this bit of praise:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead….”(I Peter 1:3).

All around us there are those who are damning God. The least you and I who are His children through faith in Christ could do is to praise Him.

2 thoughts on “Thanking Someone

  1. Thank you Joe…why because there is no one else like you…(and that’s a good thing!) and for that reason, I thank God!

    Functioning in Faith

  2. I agree that there is no one else like you. No one can write God-gifted devotionals as quickly as you that gets directly to the heart of the issue. I am thankful to our Heavenly Father that I can call you my friend!

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