What are the effects of not acknowledging God and being thankful? As I pondered that thought I was led to Romans 1:19-22. “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Paul is explaining that all people know about God because they see His power in nature, and the creation that is all around them. He says they have no excuse for not knowing there is a God. Creation is too magnificent to have happened by chance and the power of the wind, rain, sun and seasons are so orderly and precise they could not have been by happen-chance. Paul continues, “21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Paul is saying that when people continue to not acknowledge God they become futile, ineffective, useless in their thinking and their hearts turn away from God with dark and foolish thoughts of pride, contempt, greed, and gain. The center of their life’s focus is on them and what they can get or achieve.
Paul was talking about people who did not believe in God, who refused to believe He exists and how it effects their thinking and future. However, part of this lesson could be applied to the one who takes credit for all the good things in their life, their success at work, having a great family or home, having money in the bank and being able to take great vacations. All of those things come to us from God. He is the source of all wealth and honor and the glory, praise belongs to Him. I need to call myself up short if I begin to go down that road with that kind of futile thinking as it leads to dishonoring God.
Today as you consider all you have- thank God for those things, for the ability to do the things you do, for your health and family, your job, your home and most especially your faith in Jesus…. Philippians 4:19 is one of my favorite promises and reminds me who the provider of all is. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus used this phrase to identify himself three times in the New Testament book of Revelation. As John opens his revelation about Jesus Christ, Jesus appears returning in the clouds and says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and would signify the beginning of all things and the end of all things. The designation of ‘who is and who was and who is to come’ tells us Jesus was with God in the beginning of creation and will be with us in the future. He is the Almighty God. He is all knowing (omniscient), ever present (omnipresent) and all powerful (omnipotent). Only God is all these and He began all creation and will be there at the end.
At then end of Revelation, these words appear again in John’s vision. After the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:6 “He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.” Jesus, himself, will see to the creation of heaven and the new city of Jerusalem. In that city the water of life will be given freely to all who dwell there. What a glorious promise for us about our future home.
Lastly, Jesus reveals to John that He will be returning soon in Revelation 22:12-13 ““Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Here Jesus specifically says He was there at the the of beginning of creation and He will be there at the end of times.
What a powerful God we serve that from the beginning of time and creation to the end He will be unchanging and faithful. Hebrews 13:8 tell us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” He created all things and will see them through to the end of all time. He is unchanging in His character and purposes so we can rely upon Him. I love Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” We can cling to the promises in God’s Word that He is unchanging and faithful. He will see to us in the future just as He has done in the past. Praise God!
God refers to himself as Creator in Isaiah 43:15 “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” In Isaiah 40:28 Isaiah speaks of the hope that this Creator brings to us, “Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.” This Creator of heaven and earth, the one who made us and everything in the universe wants to be our King. Isaiah’s passage tell us this creator is eternal, has unlimited energy and power, is not subject to human weaknesses like being tired, weary or falling away and His knowledge is beyond end.
Have you ever spent time gazing at God’s creation? Those things that we make reflect on our abilities, ingenuity, creativity, dexterity, resources and perseverance. How much more so with God and His creation of the universe. It speaks of His majesty, unlimited knowledge, sense of humor and creativity, grandeur and power. Psalm 19:1-2 puts it so eloquently, “The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.”
I hope you have had some time this summer to go out and about in God’s grand creation. Did you reflect on the Creator as you gazed at His marvelous creation all around you? As summer wanes and we head into the busy fall season with school and multiple activities, I pray you will take some time to think about how awesome our God is and all He has created for you to enjoy. All creation, including you, is made to bring glory and honor to God, the Creator. Let us strive today to bring glory to Him in what we say and do.
Last fall I was working on a series based on the names of God. It is essential to our faith to learn as much about God as possible because the more we know God the more we can be assured He is who He says He is and will do all things He promises. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are incomprehensible (an attribute of God) and yet God desires that we know Him. Our finite minds can only take in so much of our omniscient God, but we know from life’s experiences that we can grow and as we do we stretch ourselves to learn more. I love this quote from Daniel 11:32b. Daniel was in a very turbulent time and he wanted to encourage the people that knowing God would give them a firm foundation to withstand the trials of their present day. “but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” That is my prayer for us too, that knowing more about our God will cause us to stand firmly planted and willing and able to take action for Him.
Psalm 148 is a psalm of praise to God as the creator of all things about earth and the heavens.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
6 And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away. The psalmist call upon all people to praise His name because of all He has created in the heavens. He continues….
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!
9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord! The psalmist calls upon all people to praise the name of the one who created all nature and peoples on the earth.
In verse 13 points us to the name of the creator, the Lord who is worthy of all our praise because He is above all, greater than all He created and He alone is worthy of our praise. If we think the creation is wonderful, it is nothing compared to God himself. The creation pales in comparison to the Creator God. This psalm is a call to all of creation to praise the creator and a reminder that He is greater than all.
I challenge you this summer to come along with me to explore greater depths of God’s character as we look into the Word and focus on Who God is by name. His name is worthy of all praise!