cause and effect

Disclaimer:  the conversation that follows is more of me thinking out-loud than a traditional “post”.  Feel free to continue the conversation.

I have been thinking about God’s will lately, and there are 2 camps:

  • Camp A believes that God wills [causes] everything to occur. 
  • Camp B believes that God allows everything to occur.

Notice the difference, and think about the implications of the two. 

Common example:  I am driving, and in need of some tunes, so I look down to scroll through my iPod.  You walk out into the road – I don’t see you – and I run you over.  You don’t make it.

So, did God will [cause] for me run over you?  Or, did he allow it?

I read a devotional today where the author (Camp A) stated the following.

One of the objectives of the Holy Spirit when He became resident in your life is to “work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” When circumstances, not to your liking, invade your life, thank Him for His providential leading, for it is His work according to His will. 

(Scripture Reference:  “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” Philippians 2:13)

Out of context?  This verse is saying that God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases Him.  This passage is not saying that God wills [causes] things to happen to you.  Now, some basic assumptions here are that God is able to do what He wants, and we see at times in history and in Scripture that God does lift His hand and lead people to act in order to accomplish His will. 

Another classic example: Job. 

Did God will [cause] the tragedies that fell on Job?  Or, did he allow it?

I sleep and eat in Camp B.   Where do you sleep?

// with everything we will shout for your glory //

In Acts 4 we read about the original church (around 5,000 households at that time) was starting to face threats and opposition.  I find their response extremely hopeful. 

They gathered, and prayed this prayer:

“Lord, help us, your servants, to speak your message without fear.  Show us your power to heal.  Give proofs and make miracles happen by the power of Jesus, your holy servant.”

And the result?  The verse that immediately follows this prayer says “After they had prayed…they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and the spoke God’s message without fear”.

So, when they (the original church) started to feel threatened, they prayed that they would “speak God’s message without fear”.   They did not pray for safety, comfort, or protection.  But for boldness.

If you need a prayer to lift up, I think this might be the one.

Lord, help me, your servant, to speak your message without fear.  Show me your power to heal.  Give proofs and make miracles happen by the power of Jesus, your holy servant.

… two truths …

First, there will be times in your life when God will test you. You cannot predict what that testing looks like, but you can prepare for it, by trusting God in the little things; the little risks prepare you for the severe times of testing.

Second, when all seems dark and you have no where to turn, trust the promises of God.

“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.” Hebrews 11:17-19.

God tested Abraham.  And Abraham leaned hard into the promises that God had made him.  God told Abraham that “through Isaac your offspring will be reckoned”.  Abraham was banking on that promise.

… There will be times in your life when God will test you …

… When all seems dark and you have no where to turn, trust the promises of God …

Mozart and Milk

You’ve heard of the Mozart effect right? Studies have shown that classical music has a quantitative effect on us intellectually and emotionally. According to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Mozart music affects the electrical impulses in the brain. 23 out of 29 patients with severe epilepsy, in one study, showed reduced epileptic activity while listening to Mozart. And numerous studies have shown a similar effect.

Musicologist, Alfred Tomatis, says music is “sonic vitamin C.” According to Dr. Raymond Bahr, director of the coronary care unit at Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore: “Half an hour of music produced the same effects as ten milligrams of Valium.” And in case you care, there are even monasteries in Britain that play music to the animals in their care. They claim that cows serenaded with Mozart produce more milk.

Because music is so pervasive I think we take it for granted. Especially in the iPod age. But think about all the ways we use music. They range from putting babies to sleep to going to war. Almost every special occasion involves music. And that music sets the mood. We’re surrounded by music all the time. Whether we’re shopping or dining or stuck in an elevator, we’re being serenaded by music.

The power of music should not surprise us. And it certainly didn’t originate with Mozart. Long before the Mozart Effect there wasthe David Effect. I Samuel 16 says that when a harpist named David played his harp, it brought emotional relief to Saul. It also had a spiritual effect. The evil spirit that was tormenting Saul would leave. That is the power of music. For good or for evil, I think music is spiritual in nature. It’s not a human construct. It dates all the way back to time before time. The angels, including a fallen angel named Lucifer, worshiped God with singing before the creation of man. And according to Revelation 4, there is perpetual singing on the other side of the space-time continuum.

Here is an awesome thought: you are part of an eternal chorus that is being sung to the Creator of the Universe. And no one else can take your part. No one can sing like you or for you. Maybe that is why each of us have an absolutely unique voiceprint?

// Again, from Mark Batterson //

thoughts from evotional

There never has been and never will be anyone like you. But that isn’t a testament to you. It’s a testament to the God who created you absolutely unique.

All of creation is singing a worship chorus to God. And it’s not just the meadow lark with its 300 notes or the nightingale finchwith its 24 songs. According to the German physicist and pianist, Arnold Summerfield, a hydrogen atom emits 100 frequencies which makes it more complex musically than a grand piano which emits 88 frequencies.

For what its worth, Pythagoras said: “A stone is frozen music.” Very interesting in light of what Jesus said: “If you remain silentthe stones will cry out.”

My point? All of creation is singing a unique song to the Creator. And you are part of that universal chorus. No one can worship God FOR you or LIKE you. God has given you a unique voiceprint. There are millions of people praying and worshiping God in every language all the time. But your voiceprint is unique. Like a parent who knows His child’s unique cry or scream or laugh, God knows your voice. He hears your voice. The Heavenly Father loves your voice.

Mark Batterson