El Olam – The everlasting God

Have you ever imagined what it would be like if the color of grass is really blue? What if dogs had five legs? What if the water at the beach was fuchsia rather than blue?

Blue Grass, 5 Legged Dog, Fuchsia Beach

Much of what we know in life is based on what we have seen, heard, felt, touched and experienced. Even if we haven’t really studied the science behind it, we have come to know a lot of things as we go through life. Grass is green because that is how we see it. Dogs have four legs because it would just be weird if they had an extra leg to kick you with. Beach water is blue because that’s the color you’ve always seen when you go to the beach.

That’s why it is impossible for us to fully understand the concept that God is eternal and that he is the everlasting God. Everything we see existed from something, it had a start. So to fully understand how it is possible that God had no beginning is hard to grasp. We may somehow be able to understand that there is no end. But no beginning. How is that possible?

Our God is “El Olam” – The everlasting God. El is the name of God meaning “strength, might or power.”While the Hebrew name Olam means “world, universe, everlasting time or space.” He is the everlasting God. Eternal God. God of All Time. God of Ages. The Unchangeable God. The God of Perpetuity

Eternal means having no beginning and no end in time. Lasting Forever. Existing at all times. This is a standard definition of the word eternal in Webster’s. Even man had to create words to communicate and describe this attribute of the Lord.

The eternity of God is nothing else but the duration of God, and the duration of God is nothing else but his existence enduring. – Stephen Charnock

In God there is no was or will be, but a continuous and unbroken is. In Him history and prophecy are one and the same. Whatever God is He is infinitely. – AW Tozer

God was, when nothing else was. He was God when the earth was not a world but a chaos. If God himself were of yesterday, he would not be a suitable refuge for mortals. The eternal existence of God is here mentioned to set forth, by contrast, the brevity of human life. - Spurgeon

Eternity is hard to describe. That’s why it’s an attribute of God. But all these lead to just one ending, one same point. How it’s possible, is unexplainable. God just existed. He is the Alpha and the Omega. And the fact that I am having a hard time understanding this gives me comfort that He is truly God. I am man and He is God. Period.

Psalm 90:1-4

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.

Here we would see Moses prayer to the Lord. As he comes to God for mercy on mortals living in a sinful world – verse 8.

You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.

All this starts with approaching God as eternal. Acknowledging that we are mere mortals compared to a powerful God who existed before time began. A God who has been with his people through all generations. The psalm contrasts God’s eternity with man’s frail and brief life. This great eternal God has the power to finish the time of mortals. 24 hours for us is not the same 24 hours for God.  It may even mean 1000 human years. The proper interpretation is this: God looks upon a thousand years as if it were “yesterday.” That thousand year period is negligible.  It is incomparable to eternity.  It is past – done, finished, “kapoof.”

Revelation, Deuteronomy, 1 Timothy and other books in the bible speaks of the wonder of God’s eternal attribute.

  • Revelation 1:8- I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
  • Deuteronomy 33:27 – The eternal God is your refuge
  • 1 Timothy 1:17 – Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

It’s clear that the bible shows God’s eternal attributes. And I just want to clarify that I’m not here to explain how that is possible, but by faith, I want to focus on what this means to us. With this in mind I only want to share three truths on how this applies to our lives.

GOD IS NOT IN TIME

This is something hard to grasp because time is a man-made word to describe motion or progress. It is a measurement. We are creatures of “time.” How many times have we tried to catch up with time? Our bodies are affected by Time but God is not. In the first place, time started with God. It begun in Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Time will start with him and it will also end with him. You can compare our time as a dot on a white sheet of paper extending infinitely. That is how tiny “time” is. The extending white paper is eternity and it is nothing compared to the dot. That’s why God is above time and he sees all time equally. That’s why I like what AW Tozer said:

“God has lived all of our tomorrows”

What you did in the past will not change his love for you. His love is as is. He already knew what you will be doing in the future but still he died for you. In terms of prayer, he knows the future and everything that will come to pass therefore he knows when and how to answer our prayers. He never changes in essence that’s why we can always approach him and come to him in prayer no matter what we have done. God knows all our tomorrows – our pain, worries, trials, sufferings, problems, tragedies and a lot more. He knows and holds it in place. But take heart friends, because with everything he holds together, we know that in all things he works it for our good. We just need to trust him, endure the trials and be joyful in it. Allow him to take us through.

GOD IS SUFFICIENT OF HIMSELF

He had no beginning, therefore no one created him. If someone else created him, then he must be God. But that is not the case! He first lived alone. He is not dependent on anything. He is sufficient of himself. In him we have our being

Acts 17:28 – 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

His Love is enough. His Grace is sufficient. He is sufficient to give us that love which can satisfy us. His being – His love is what makes us love.  We love because he first loved us. He is not dependent on anything to answer any prayers. Nothing is impossible with God. He can and is capable of answering any prayer but it will be always according to the goodness of his will. He made everything into existence, why should we doubt him now? If He did not come from something therefore He is the source of everything. God is the ultimate source of everything therefore what He can give is limitless.

GOD IS INFINITE

Limitless or endless in space, extent, or size. God is impossible to measure or calculate. His Love surpasses knowledge. No matter what you are going through always remember this truth that the Lord loves you. You may not understand everything because even the extended of his love is limitless – but know that you are loved and cared for by this great and awesome God! He can answer the impossible no matter what prayer request you have. He can answer it if He wants to. He can grant you healing and even provide for the medical expenses. He is our infinitely strong refuge. We have a God who is powerful. A self-existing being that we can put our trust and hope on. He has that unlimited strength that everyone can rely on. He will never fail us in our time of trial. He is our eternal refuge.

We can go on for hours trying to understand the eternal attribute of God, which is limitless! God cannot be contained in a box. But the challenge is for you to think about the attributes of God: omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immutable, eternal, etc. It is one in the same for God. Take the time to meditate on it and see how you can apply this to your life.

Psalm 90:12 – Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Our life here on earth is just but a breath therefore are we to fully maximizing it. The problem for humans: we tend to think of the here and now. Are we constantly living a life with a view of eternity? Or are we constantly storing treasures here on earth. Have we come to really realize the greatness of God?

The eternity of God is something hard to grasp. This is an attribute fit only for a God and THE God. But I want you guys to go back to what Ecclesiastes 3:11 says

11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

It’s pretty clear that there are things of God. Things that we will never understand. Eternity is a word only God would clearly understand because that is what He is. But there is one thing that this verse tells us. He has set this eternity in our hearts.

Eternity of longing. Eternity of knowing Him. That’s why He made a way. He made a way for us to know Him through eternity. And by understanding who He is and our place, may it drive us to respond, to love him back.

1 John 4:19 – We love because He first loved us

Understanding how God is through His eternal attribute just makes me want to love him more and worship him. I am not worthy of Him but still he chose to have a relationship with me. That’s why we love because He first loved us. The great God of the universe loves us. With that I worship him and respond with awe.

Who I am that you are mindful of me?

Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my message at CCF Alabang entitled “El Olam – The Everlasting God”. We have the following Sunday services 8am, 10am, 12pm and 6pm. Everyone is invited! I would love to meet you if you have time to visit.

My Top 5 Entries Since I Started Writing

It’s that time of year when things have started to pile up. The B1G South ministry is in the middle of planning for November’s retreat, I have a couple of speaking engagements coming up, and there’s just so much work that needs to be done. It just goes to show that when you’re busy, time just seems to fly by so fast. I can’t believe that it’s already been a year since I started writing this blog. When I was trying to decide what I wanted to write about, I honestly didn’t have any specific niche in mind. This is the reason why I decided to call my site assorted ideas – I just wrote whatever came to mind.  But as my relationship with the Lord grew, I was moved to write about Him and His impact on my life. It’s been a year and I thank God that with his spirit, He has inspired me to write powerful entries that has been a blessing to others.  To recap, here are my top 5 entries since I started this blog last September 2012.

5th Place – Prayer and Fasting Testimony 2013

It was a wonderful experience just writing what I have learned and how God has really just spoken to me during the prayer and fasting week last January 2013. I remember I was all alone in my room and I was writing my thoughts down while feeling intense hunger. It was a moment when the Lord felt so near and the hunger to know Him had become stronger than the hunger for food. This entry stands as a testimony that if we draw near to God he will definitely draw near to us.

4th Place – 3 Ways How to Manage Your Emotions

Singles love to talk about matters of the heart. This entry is an excerpt from my message at B1G Connect last July 6. Why am I including this in my top entries? Aside from the fact that this entry got the most number of comments (will reply to them one by one soon), I believe the message really hit the spot for a lot of singles. It is only through God’s word that we will be able to add logic to our emotions, and not be carried away by it. It’s only through His word that we’ll be able to really manage our emotions.  I know this entry spoke to a lot of people and I praise God for that.

3rd Place – 3 Things I learned while I was not using Facebook

If you love logging on to Facebook or any form of social media, this entry is for you. Upon posting this entry, I immediately got a high traffic of views for my site. This entry helped others rethink their Facebook habits. That anything blown out of proportion will never amount to anything good. And yeah, someone naturally linked to this entry as well so it means it was worth sharing. Amazing!

2nd Place – The Shadow I want to run away from

I can still recall the feelings I had when I wrote this entry. My heart was really heavy when I wrote this. I was just a couple of days away from preaching and I was feeling really discouraged. At that moment, I just felt that strong need to write and this is what came out of that. It took me just one seating to get it all out. I haven’t always had that much confidence in my writing because I tend to mix up words and letters when I write. But this entry made me realize that somehow, with God’s help, I’m able to write. This was the start of it all. This entry really holds a deep sentimental value in my heart. Try reading it and let me know if you come across the “shadow” I was referring to.

1st Place – Let’s do 8!

And the best entry goes to…*drumroll*…my B1G8 Retreat Experience – the most viewed entry. I’m not sure if it’s because there are a lot of people who are still interested in B1G8 or if there are people just looking for retreat ideas (according to my analytics). Whatever it is, I hope my experience has provided them with the information they need. This was one of my longest entries. I actually had to cut this entry short since I was afraid that I might end up boring my readers. This entry contains so much learnings. This retreat not only confirmed that I was serving in the right ministry, it also helped grow my love for my discipleship group. It has taught me valuable lessons about God and the overall experience proved to be such a blessing for me. I think one section of this entry that drew quite a strong interest from readers, was the part where I wrote down what happened during fellowship night. I can still remember it – my hopeful love story ending in failure. Haha.

Indeed, time flew by so fast. At this point, I’m just glad that God has lead me to write and I want nothing more than to glorify His name and bless other people through my humble entries. It’s been only a year but I have a feeling that I will continue to write as long as I can. Who knows? Maybe even write a book someday. To Him be the glory alone!

How about you? May I know if there is any article that you liked or would want me to write about?

For Richer or Poorer, Love the Lord

I love to travel. The two best moments for me has always been getting to the destination, and finally coming home after the long journey.  I’m always excited to get to the foreign land because I don’t know what is ahead of me.  But I also look forward to coming back  home  because it’s my place of peace, comfort and serenity. God has really blessed me with opportunities to visit and explore other countries. There were times when I spend a month away from home. I can honestly say that I have a lot of fun  but there’s always a part of me that longs to come back home. That’s why I understand why James started talking about trials in Chapter 1. When we look at whom James was addressing, we would see that he was addressing Jewish Christians scattered in different locations.

James 1:1 …To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.

It was during this time that the dispersal of the early church created communities of faith within their region. James speaks with authority, just like a pastor, addressing his scattered flock who are most probably feeling the pressure from society’s influences, experiencing persecution, discrimination, loneliness and lack of resources. This is why he started talking about trials in Chapter 1 – to be joyful in trials. Because in their situation, trials were very much inevitable. But in James 1:9-12 he started addressing the rich and poor so we have to put ourselves in the right context here. Although James was still talking about trials, he was addressing the rich and poor specifically.

James 1:9-12

9 But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; 10 and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.

12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Let’s look at descriptions of the rich and poor based on the book of James alone. Notice that James has been constantly addressing the rich and the poor throughout. We’ll see that that they are being described and mentioned in James 2:1-7 and 5:1-8.

 

The Rich The Poor
Fine Clothes (2:2) Dirty Clothes (2:2)
Good Seats in their assembly (3:3) Stands or Sits in the Flood in their assembly (2:3)
Withholds the wages they can pay (5:4) Cheated of their pay (5:4)
Luxurious Life (5:5) Condemned and Killed (5:6)

 

James 1:9 - But the brother of humble circumstances…

The word “Brother” addresses a believer. He is someone who is part of the family of Christ – part of the church. How did he describe his brother? A brother of humble circumstances. A term used to describe the poor or someone of low position. He wasn’t addressing the poor in general. He was addressing a poor brother. Poverty was common among those who were dispersed since they had very little resources. From the descriptions above, we would see how humbling their situation was. I believe humility starts when you acknowledge that you own nothing and are not entitled to anything. But as James continues in verse 9, he is addressing his poor brother to glory in his position

James 1:9 - But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position

He can rejoice, glory, exalt and be lifted up because his standing before God is that of exaltation – he is spiritually exalted. As he realizes that he owns nothing, he depends on the one who controls everything. Since there is nothing you can be proud about, you can glory in that position where you find contentment in God alone. You can glory in the fact that you have finally learned what is important in life. That point where you realize that God is all that you need.  You can exalt in the fact that it’s not about you, when you’re not centered on your “entitlement.” Everything you need is in God alone. Find your joy in trials because of your spiritual exaltation, that God is making you mature and allowing you to have the right perspective as you strive to be more Christ-like.

James 1:10 – And the rich man is to glory in his humiliation…

In this passage, the rich man is most probably a believer as well. He is to glory in his humiliation because of trials since he realizes that riches cannot provide the solution and exemption to trials in life. That once your riches are taken away from you, it forces you to go back to the understanding that all your possession was never yours in the first place. One rich man who gloried in his humiliation was Job. Job was a man who lived a prosperous life but because of God’s plans, everything was taken away from him. His family, health, and properties were all taken away from him. But he gloried in his humiliation and was found blameless. How he responded was more than commendable:

Job 1:21 – “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

To glory in humiliation is to be brought back to reality that “your” riches are merely temporary. Just as it is being compared to a flower in verse 10 and 11

James 10 -11 …because like flowering grass he will pass away For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed;

Just like a flower’s beauty is temporary. Riches can bring you pleasure for the moment, but you will never be able to bring all your riches to eternity. In a blink of an eye, everything you own can be taken from you.

From this, we learn three important lessons about trials.

 

(1) Trials are not dependent on status

For the rich, having lots of money won’t guarantee a solution. When you lose someone you love, even if you have all the money in the world, you won’t be able to buy his or her life back. Patience and endurance can’t be bought. Money simply cannot buy everything. For the poor, even if you don’t have enough money, that still doesn’t guarantee that you will be exempted from experiencing trials. Problems and more problems will come as we pass through this fallen world. But you can find glory in the truth that all these trials can develop something greater in you! It makes you more mature and allows you to stretch your faith as you depend on God alone.

 

(2) Trials allow you to see more clearly

Both rich and poor should realize that there is one truth that we can always rely on – in God alone we trust. It’s realizing that in the midst of having nothing, as long as I have God – I have everything. It’s realizing that even if I have all the wealth in the world, it is never truly mine, but God’s and I am just a steward of his blessings. Therefore, I will not put my security in my earthly possessions but in God alone.

 

(3) Trials brings blessings

James 1:12 – Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him

 

Fortunate, well-off or happy is the man who endures trials because he is rewarded. He is commended by the master. The crown of life is a reward and the reward comes with the acknowledgement from God that we have that “life.” We have endured and have been preserved because of our love for him. We are part of his church and we suffer with him because we love him. This is the mature kind of love. Love that is not based on emotions. We are being compared to the bride of Christ and this is our commitment to Him. To love and worship Him not matter what. For richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, in trials or in happiness. And when we realize this truth, it develops our maturity. Maturity shown in our patience, endurance, eternal Perspective, joy, dependence and love for the Lord. Trials strip us of our worldly dependencies and we are left to find security in God alone. Trials show us the character of our faith and perfects us to Christ’s likeness.

You may be going through a trial right now. You may be in a financial slump. You may still be looking for work for more than a year now. You may be praying for a partner in life, but still waiting for an answer. There may be tension within your family because of your faith or you may be experiencing problems in your relationship with your office mates. Or you may have lost someone you dearly love. Just remember, He is all you need folks. In moments of trials, He is always there. He is all you need. Let Him take you through. You just need to endure and persevere. Respond in faith and obedience – it is not meaningless. It is producing in you a glory that far outweighs them all. Allow it to develop maturity in you. That you may grow in your love for the Lord based on truth and not emotion. And when the day of judgement comes, may you someday hear – “Well done good and faithful servant.”

 

 

Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my James 1 Sermon in B1G South Connect entitled “For Richer and Poorer – your marraige vow with the Lord”. The B1G South ministry is the singles ministry of CCF Alabang. We have service every Saturday at 6pm at the 3rd floor of CCF Alabang. Everyone is invited! I would love to meet you if you have time to visit.

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