Pulpit Reflections

We are all squatters, living in God's world, a world that does not belong to us in any permanent way. I use the word "squatter,"  because God made and therefore owns the world and we are very temporary residents. Every one of us needs to be very honest about who and what we are. We are nothing but creatures, beings that have been created by someone else. None of us has contributed anything to the design or construction of him or herself. We did not design one fingernail, or create one hair. The apostle Paul puts this very bluntly. "For none of us brought anything into the world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out" (1 Tim. 6:7).
 
In this world, three things about God are clearly revealed for everybody to see. First, the universe shouts out the awesome wisdom, intelligence, power and goodness of God. Not only are things fantastically well designed, but the universe is a unified whole in which each part fits in with all the other parts. God made a world stuffed with natural resources as well as other human beings who are wonderful companions and servants to our needs, whether they make cars in Detroit or serve on the Vermillion police force.

Another awesome thing that the universe reveals about God is His righteous judgment upon the sinfulness of the human race. Whether we see men hurting other men or face natural disasters, we are face to face with the fact that God is a righteous Judge and that there is no such thing as a sinless human being (Jesus Christ being the only exception for a very special reason).

The third thing that the universe shouts out about God is His awesome mercy. Things are never so bad that they could not be worse. Even folks tortured in prison camps were still free in their hearts and minds to find confidence and peace in God. The real question is not, "Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?" as someone once entitled a book, BUT, "Why do good things happen to bad people?"

The most important revelation of God's mercy, of course, is that He sent His own Son Jesus Christ into the world to pay the penalty of the sins of those who trust in Him. Jesus found the Christian Church as the community that would truly worship God and spread this good news of forgiveness round the world.

Because the universe is the kind of a place, there are two kinds of squatters here, those who know, honor, trust and serve the Owner, and those who do not. And there is no excuse for not recognizing God. As the apostle Paul wrote in Rom. 1:20-21, "so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were thankful, but they became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened."

The courts, many educational systems and politicians have been doing their best to get God out of the lives of the American people. They are sure to fail. We need to take a lesson from the Soviet Union's Politburo to which it was reported in 1981, after 70 years of official Atheism and severe persecution of Christians, that fully one-third of the Russian people were still Christians. Indeed, persecution often makes more and better Christians. God still runs the world, we are sojourners.

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