Because I AM said so! By Joy Pollard
Before we began the Bible study Joy said something so profound over our lunch I had to write it down. She said, “It doesn’t take God as long to clean up our messes as it took to make them.” She mentioned we sometimes spend 20 or more years doing our own thing, making our life a big mess and then, when we finally let God come in and help us, He cleans up our messes faster than it took for us to make them.
For this study, Joy chose to use the Amplified Bible, so I will use those Scriptures. In this case they gave greater depth to the verses Joy used. Some studies can break easily into two parts, this one cannot, so I will share the complete study. This study covers a lot of things I am working through in my life right now and gives such a loving picture of God.
Joy said that “Because I said so,” is not because I (myself) said so, but because of WHO says so. If I AM (God) says so, pay attention.
Hebrews 10:22 Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water.
We can have absolute trust and confidence because of who I AM is. It has NOTHING to do with us. We can have trust and confidence in His (God’s) power and goodness. He is always powerful, wise, and good. God is not good just because we are good to Him. He IS good. He is not powerful because we give Him power. He IS powerful.
When we take a position that is not of God, God doesn’t change sides and get on our side because we made a decision. He doesn’t change his point of view because we have a different point of view. We can be on God’s side, or we can choose to go off and do our own thing. We can have a great idea, but if it is not of God, He does not have to change His ideas because of our planning.
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.
God frames and fashions the world by His Word. When I AM does it, He frames, fashions, puts in order, and equips. That is the order that God works, 1. frame, 2. fashion, 3. put in order, 4 equip.
God created EVERYTHING – and that means YOU!!! He equipped us. No matter how much we get sidetracked, he has equipped us for a purpose and it will come to pass in order, in His time. Joy said she spent 20 years working her program, her way, rocking and rolling in Woodstock. At some point she got hit in the face with the fact her plan was not a good plan. God still equipped her before time was created, for His original purpose.
Before we find God we say, “Because I SAID so.”
When we look back on our lives we see how God rescued us and kept us from going down. Sometimes, if we are very persistent in not obeying God, he might tell us to take the foot off the accelerator before we hit the wall. He knows we will hit the wall, but He helps us to slow down. If He can’t keep us from hurting ourselves, He will keep us from making, as the computers call it, a FATAL ERROR.
Joy had lymphoma, and had to have chemo. Her sister, a Christian, was praying for Joy’s health, asking God to heal her even if she was not a Christian. God healed her, while she was unsaved, and finally got Joy’s attention. Joy said she has known Pastor Don for 40 years. At one point, before Pastor Don was a pastor, he taught Bible study in the basement of Living Word Chapel. He “accidentally” saw Joy in Kingston, and asked her to come and play piano for he needed “seasonal music.” Joy said he didn’t say “Christmas” music. Later on Pastor Don told her the Holy Spirit directed him to Joy and told him to get her to come to play the music. Joy said, Pastor Don didn’t come up to her and say, “Praise God, the Holy Spirit told me to come and find you because….” He just asked her to play seasonal music. Had Pastor Don come on too strong, she would have turned and run in the opposite direction.
When God forms and fashions something, it is done by the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God, the Logos, in manifestation. The ability of God’s word to accomplish His purpose has NOTHING to do with our ability. His ability is what accomplishes things, we just go along with Him. Our Abba Father is always wise, powerful, compassionate. What He fashions, shapes, creates, and sequences, He does in order.
Sometimes we think things are not in order, because it is not in the order we think it ought to be. God puts things into the right order, at the right time, and the right place. When we want God to hurry in a situation he says, “It isn’t soup yet.” If God grants some of our requests too soon, we mess things up. He waits until the right time, when we are really ready for Him to provide what we need.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you]
God is faithful and He WILL do it. We sometimes think God needs our suggestions, or that He should put out a suggestion box. It is funny that we think the Creator of the Universe needs our input.
I AM said so. We can trust God, because of the character of God. He is trustworthy, He is goodness, and love. As we begin to know more about the character of God we can trust our relationship with Him, and trust that, when I AM says so, it is because He has our best interests at heart. We don’t deal with God on the basis of authority or position, but because of our relationship. It is not because God is big and we are little, it is relationship. We need to know God intimately, and as we do, we will trust Him.
We often misrepresent God’s character. Our relationship with God is often based on our experiences with our parents and other authority figures. They are the ones we watch and then think God will respond to us like they did to us. Joy said her father was very stern, and authoritarian. She once climbed out her bedroom window to go to a friend’s house to watch a movie and eat popcorn. After 30 minutes, she hurried back home and climbed through the window to her room for fear her father would wake up and she would face severe consequences for sneaking out. As soon as she could, she put many states between her and her father by going to college. She said her sense of God was colored by her father. At first she thought God’s relationship with her was positional, not realizing God really wanted a relationship.
Once we know that the I AM who is saying so is always good, always has our best interests in His mind and heart, and that He is always wise, we can trust Him. He sees what is best for us, far better than we can with our limited understanding.
At our church we end our services with a few verses of scriptures, and then say, “God is love, God is love, God is LOVE.” Why do we repeat this phrase more than once? To get it into our minds the true nature of God. God loves us in spite of us, in spite of our rebellion, in spite of our disobedience. God is faithful to us even when we are faithless to Him.
Joy said we have to get out of our minds the picture of God in Heaven, sitting on the throne, looking at His watch, and tapping His foot in impatience. God is aware of where we are, He has things in control, and is not impatient with us. He is out ahead of us, knowing what it takes to get us to where we can intersect with His love. Just like a good father, God knows us. He knows who we are and what we need. Just as our parents know our children and love them enough to discipline them, God will discipline us.
Joy then told us, “Discipline without relationship equals rebellion.”
She does music therapy with children at a local Headstart program and told us some of her kids are going into kindergarten in the fall. She is sad about this because many of them are not ready for school. She deals with 150 kids a week, some have special needs, others are considered to be “typical” children. But sometimes the “typical” kids have more problems than the special needs kids because their parents are too permissive, and the kids don’t realize that grownups are in charge at school, because at home the kids rule the parents. This problem sometimes follows kids all the way through school. She mentioned some children she knew never got the lesson about who is in charge until they got into the army where the leaders would relay the same information over and over until the soldiers got it.
Joy was reading a Christian counseling magazine that talked about warmth and demand in relationships. There were four graphs depicted.
High warmth, High demand = authoritative
You would think the neglectful parent would produce children with the most problems, but that is not the case. The worst outcome for kids comes from High warmth, low demand, because permissive parents do not give their children the tools do deal in a world where they have to obey others.
It was mentioned that someone used to think that, like the Ray Harryhausen movies, with the Greek gods and goddesses, where people were little figures on a chessboard being manipulated by the big deities. If I create this storm, what will that cause the little men to do? etc.
God is not like that, He has our best interests at heart.
Hebrews 1:1-2 In many separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets, [But] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order].
Jesus created, spoke to us, put in order and intercedes for us. He is the heir and lawful owner of all that is.
Luke 19:30-31“Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’ “
This scene takes place right before Jesus goes into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Someone, in another Bible study explained that the word “Lord” in this verse means owner. Jesus is the heir and lawful owner of all things. And so the disciple was to say, “The Lord needs it.” What is interesting is this donkey was never ridden before, so it was not in need of a sabbath’s rest. It could be used by Jesus without breaking the sabbath laws.
We always want to reduce God to legalism. Jesus is the heir and lawful owner of all that is, and by His Word created the world, and His sphere of influence reaches all ages of time, past, present and future. Joy shook her head and said, “That’s a lot. That’s a lot.”
Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
He is the sole and only expression of Light, bringing it into time and place. Secular humanists do not submit to God’s authority, having a higher regard for themselves. Basing all on their intellect, self-esteem and their own right to their own opinion. But all of that is just for the self, and relates to what Romans 1 says, worshipping the creation rather than the creator. Choosing to ignore what is so obvious through God’s creation.
Romans 1:20-25 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves]. And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], Because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! Amen (so be it).
God gave us free will. We have a choice, do we choose I AM said so or do we choose our own reason? Even in the church many choose their own reason over God.
Joy talked about a college course she took in the mid-70’s called “values clarification.” It was a class to teach teachers how to help children decide their own values. Teaching young kids to pick their own values rather than teaching kids the values to follow. Our society is now experiencing the fruit of values clarification, just pick up a newspaper and see what is happening. Kids being taught that what you think is true is true for you. That there is no absolute standard of truth. Because of this, we are self-serving, and this is debilitating. It distorts our understanding of who God is, and who we are in relation to Him.
There is a big difference between self-esteem and self-worth. Self-esteem holds the self in high value. Self-worth is knowing how precious we are to God. Joy said Psalm 139 tells us how special we are to God. It speaks of God searching us thoroughly. There is nowhere we can go that God is not there.
Psalm 139:13-18 For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I awoke, [could I count to the end] I would still be with You.
We are precious to God.
1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays, but my mind is unproductive [it bears no fruit and helps nobody].
Our self-esteem leans heavily on our intellect, and the idea of our mind not being fruitful challenges our intellect. Joy realized that was a foolish idea because, no matter how smart we are in our natural mind, God is far more intelligent than we are.
Instead of being locked into self-esteem, it was more important to realize who God is, and who He is to me, which is EVERYTHING.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse].
You don’t have to wonder if God is going to change His mind about you, get sick of you, get disgusted about you. God is not fickle. He won’t change His mind about you. God is not moody. He won’t get mad at you, or not pay attention to you. Only God is the source of anything good that we have or are. We spend lots of time trying to live up to what God wants us to be, and we can’t. But God still loves us.
James 1:18 And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself].
God created us to be a model, to be a sample of Himself, so others can know Him. To demonstrate God’s mind, will, faithfulness, perfection, love to others. So, when others look at us, they can say to themselves, “So that’s what God looks like.”
James 1:19-20 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry. For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].
God is slow to get angry and take offense. We are to show the righteousness of God.
Joy then told us the story of the ten-cow wife. There were two islands near each other, and the men from one island would come to the other island to choose their bride. The bride price was paid in cows, one cow being for the least desirable bride, ten cows for the most expensive bride. One father had a daughter who was not pretty, had a sharp tongue, wasn’t a good cook who at best would go for two cows. An islander came over and offered ten cows for this daughter. The people thought he was crazy. Years later, he came back to visit the island and in the canoe was a beautiful, soft-spoken woman. The men wondered what ever happened to the daughter he had originally married. Turns out that the beautiful woman in the canoe was that daughter, and what changed her was the fact that the man considered her to be a ten cow woman.
Joy then told us, in Jesus’s eyes, we are all ten cow brides. He loves us and sees what we are going to become. He doesn’t look at us as how we are. He sees us as beautiful and righteous In Christ.
Isaiah 64:6 For we have all become like one who is unclean [ceremonially, like a leper], and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God’s favor, hurrying us toward destruction.
In our dealings with God we are often like little children telling our parent what we will and won’t do, throwing our tantrums.
Romans 1:18 For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.
Gentiles will be held accountable. If God holds gentiles accountable, how much more is he going to hold us accountable? Who He (God) is is clearly revealed in His creation. God is real and He is who He says He is. We may choose to follow His way or our own way. Joy suggested reading Romans 1 to see the state we have put ourselves in by going our own way.
Romans 2:1-4 THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. [But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things. And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict? Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)?
Will we change our mind and accept God’s will? Or Romans 2:5 But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed. God will judge us righteously. What is the criteria? Whether or not we accept God’s will in our lives.
Romans 4:20 No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God.
This verse is about Abraham, known as the Father of Faith. What He did is that He trusted God. How do you empower your faith? Through giving God praise and glory.
We have deep flaws in our character. We tend to not trust God completely. We can trust God for salvation, sometimes for healing, but we don’t trust God for our happiness. We figure we can take care of that ourselves. And unfortunately, with our limited understanding, the things we think will bring us happiness don’t. We pick destructive behaviors thinking they will bring happiness.
Just like kids who think that their parents are fools, we think God is so repressive He can’t help us be happy. We have to find our own happiness. But God has our best interests at heart, and we need to trust that God will work out our happiness.
2 Peter 1:3-4 For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.
God has precious and great promises for us, and helps us to escape beyond the reach of moral decay.
2 Peter 1:5-8 For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love. For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
Joy pointed out that every one of these qualities take exercise, and each one leads to the next one. We have to exercise faith, and when we exercise faith we develop virtue. After we develop virtue, we exercise virtue and develop knowledge…and after knowledge, self control, after self control, steadfastness, after steadfastness, godliness, after godliness, brotherly affection, after brotherly affection, Christian love.
We do not immediately jump from faith to Christian love, it is a process. Once we are saved, we don’t immediately wake up and find ourselves giving Christian love. Exercise and practice builds up strength. While we may exhibit these qualities at times, we grow in our faith through a process, and God helps us exercise these traits.
What is great about our church, Joy said, is we are not all alike. We are a wonderful salad of different vegetables, some are spicy, some crunchy, some limp. That is how God likes us to be, not one homogeneous mix. He wants us bumping into each other and smoothing off the rough edges. If we can’t share Christian love with each other, how can we authentically bring Christian love out into the world? God wants us to develop into people who show forth His glory and divine nature.
Have a blessed day.
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