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Anything You Can Do, God Can Do Better

Who remembers that old song, “Anything you can do (I Can Do Better?)” If you don’t, its basically about two people trying to outdo one another. I think sometimes in moments of pure and unadulterated stupidity, we sing it to God. But then God, in His infinitely tender mercy, sings it back to us. Not in the voice of a petulant child, but with the voice of a loving Father who’s desire is for His children to have everything He intends for them to have. “Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.” What arrogance, that we could think we could possibly plan something with an nth of the grandeur and majesty that God can.

In the Old Testament, God had a plan for Israel. He wanted them to be different from all of the surrounding nations. All the -ites had natural kings. Kings you could see. Kings you could touch. God wanted Israel to stand apart. He wanted to be their king but they didn’t want to be different. They wanted to be like everyone else. They thought they knew better. God’s plan for them didn’t seem nearly as good as the plan they had built up in their minds. Surely a big, strong king would make the other nations around them think twice about trying anything. So they approached Samuel with their demand and in doing so, they not only turned their back on God’s best, they turned their back on God. We all know how that turned out.

There is a popular saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” I will take that one step further. I don’t think it would make God laugh. God wants His best for us and when we choose another path, he doesn’t rejoice or gloat. He grieves. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” When the Israelites demanded a king God gave it to them. He won’t force himself on anyone who doesn’t want him. Not only did He give them a king, He gave them the one they wanted. Saul — a man, literally head and shoulders above the rest. A man who ended up being completely corrupt.

Some believe that God is shrouded in secrecy. Even if you desire to follow His plan, there’s no way you can know it. They quote verses like Isaiah 55:9 which says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” And they spout 1 Corinthians 2:9 which says, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” They make a critical error by stopping there, mid thought. 1 Corinthians 2:10 goes on to say, “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.” God isn’t mysterious. He reveals Himself to us in His word.

Psalms 32:8 gives us a glimpse into God’s desire for our walk of obedience. It says, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” God has no desire to prod us or drag us along. In the next verse he says, “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” God yearns for us to know Him so well that just the slightest twitch of his eye will bring us up short.

He is the Good Shepherd. Let Him lead you. Don’t be like my dork-headed dog who likes to jerk my arm out of its socket when we’re on our walks or stop in the middle of the path to smell something random so that I trip over her. In order to be led by Him we must meditate on His word. We must commune with Him in prayer. Only then can we know him well enough to ascertain His plan for us. Whatever plans you have for yourself, my friend, trust me — God can do better.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:28

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Um…Dude, You’ve Got to Open It First

Those are the exact words I said to my 8-month-old yesterday when I was preparing to feed him. I sat the spoon and the food down on the tray and he proceeded to pick up the tub of pureed veggies and fruit and shove it in his mouth. My first words were, “That’s not how this works.” The next ones were, “Um…dude, you’ve got to open it first.” I thought about how silly it was that he thought he could get satisfaction that way. And then I thought how we do the exact same thing. Maybe not in such an overt way, but how many of us have Bibles that we don’t pick up every day? How many of us require wisdom, understanding and just plain old sustenance, and we don’t seek out our answer in the Word of God? Yeah…me neither. *shifts uncomfortably in my seat*

The Word of God only helps us when we open it. And not only that, it must be consumed. If I opened that tub of food and just set it in front of the tiny person: firstly, there’d be an imminent disaster that would need to be cleaned up post haste. Secondly, he would be super cranky because he didn’t get the nourishment he needed. We don’t just eat once and are satisfied. We must consume our food on a regular basis. Why do we try that with our Bibles? In many places, the Word of God likens itself to food in our mouths.

  • Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
  • Matthew 4:4 states, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
  • 1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”

One of my favorite verses is Joshua 1:8 and while it doesn’t specifically mention food, it does tell us not to let “the book of the law depart from our mouths.” I for one don’t like letting food depart from my mouth so for me, it applies. Also to “meditate on it day and night.” I like to eat day and night so ipso facto, it also applies. Romans 10:8 tells us, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.” So keep the Word of God in your mouth — chew on it, gorge yourself — for when you do that, it has an awesome benefit. It reaches your heart.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.

Colossians 3:16a
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In Case of Emergency, Break Glass

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

1 John 2:1 (KJV)

“Jesus Christ, if that’s who you believe in, Jesus Christ, admittedly was not perfect when he was here on this earth.” This ridiculously inaccurate statement was made by CNN Host, Don Lemon during his show “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.” When I heard it I was filled with gratitude for two things. One, I don’t have to go to CNN to learn about, well, anything. Two, that I know from the Word of God that Jesus was, indeed, perfect — and I’m supremely grateful that He was.

If Jesus wasn’t perfect He wouldn’t have been able to be our sacrifice. The sacrifice for sin had to be spotless — perfect. Jesus’ perfection was attested to many times throughout scripture. 1 Peter 1:18-19 tells us, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Again in 1 Peter 2:21-22 we read, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:21, makes this statement, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

Jesus’ earthly sojourn was to show us the way — to walk and to live perfect. He gave us an example of a man walking in the perfect will and authority of God. This was done, not to discourage us in our own imperfection, but to encourage us to do the same. Jesus himself said in Matthew 5:48, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” He was not a cruel man. He wouldn’t have told us to do or be something that was unattainable. We were made in the likeness of our God. We were made to be like him in every way, that includes His perfection.

It would surely blow the tiny mind of a certain CNN Host, that not only was Jesus, indeed, perfect…we are intended to walk perfect as well. The Apostle John, in 1 John 4:17 words it this way, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.” As He is, so are we in this world. Wow. That is a mouthful. How can this be? It would be nice if, at salvation, we had no desire to fulfill the lust of our flesh any longer. It would be nice if we just walked perfect and never made any more poor choices, but we have a free will — and that free will sometimes has a very loud mouth. How do we walk perfect? Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation of the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” We have to put off the old man. It’s a choice — a choice many of us have to make several times a day.

So what happens when the old man rears his head? What happens if our old nature begins to scream out? What happens if we make a poor choice? (I won’t even deign to call it a mistake, as a lot of what people call mistakes are actually just really bad decisions.) For that we have 1 John 2:1, what I like to called the “in case of emergency, break glass” verse. You don’t want to have to use the fire extinguisher. If everything goes right, you shouldn’t have to. But if something goes terribly wrong, its nice to have one. 1 John 2:1 reads, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” First of all, don’t sin — but IF you do…if you sin and judgment is sure to follow you have Jesus in heaven at the right hand of the Father as your advocate. He points to the mercy seat, sprinkled in His own blood and says, that sin is paid for, they are made righteous.

We have been given the ability to live as He lived. Walk as He walked. Do as He did. And in case of emergency, break glass.