God’s Glorious Attributes
By Rayola Kelley
It becomes harder every year to face a new year. At my age if youthful dreams have not been realized, they have long been disbursed in the grave marked with a headstone reading, “What will never be.” If my grandiose goals have not materialized by now perhaps it is because they were not realistic in the first place, and by wisely accepting that fact, I have discovered that I am allowed to appreciate that which I have accomplished along the way with grace, knowing if anything of significance was brought to some fruition, it was because of the Lord.
My lack of youthful strength reminds me that I must first seek wisdom to understand how to do something, thereby, avoiding running around the same old mountain while my present strength falls to the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for another year that I have been given the opportunity to share Jesus’ life and message with others, as well as enjoy the lives of family and friends, but it seems every new year is coming at me like a fast moving train that is gaining immense speed with each passing year. It was just yesterday we were welcoming 2018 in, and now 2019 signals that this year is coming to a close and the events marking it are ready to be put to bed in some vault until someone shows enough interest to take them out, dust them off, and carefully open the pages to seek out its historical lessons. As I look back at the past years, I realize I have witnessed much history. I came out of the era of great change when what we would consider a more innocent time was being challenged by a new beat of Rock n’ Roll, followed by a tumultuous time in the 60’s where everything that was institutionalized such as God, family, country and etc. was being rejected in the name of free love while unleashing radicalism that wore the face of anger and hate. In the 70’s the generation gap was officially given a name as the drug scene was taking center stage while the basic right to life of many unborn babies was being sacrificed in the name of women’s rights. The 80’s was the Reagan era. There was prosperity but it was clear the cultural war was heating up as colleges and the different media outlets were clearly trying to influence and corrupt the worldview of innocent minds. When the 90’s came there were various scandals, an impeachment of a president, and a balanced budget. In the 21st century we were faced with election problems and with 9/11.
As we face this New Year we must realize that it marks the end of the second decade of this century. I remember the time when I was the young kid on the block, but now I am one of those individuals who are considered an elder, somewhat far removed from those seemingly fragile Millenniums who have been given everything as far as the world, but are bankrupted as far as moral character. It seems that the general presentation of the Millenniums is that they hate reality, shun hard places that could enlarge character, and believe everything should be handed to them without working for it, earning it, and yes even sacrificing for it. They believe that everyone of intelligence should see life as they do, but they do not realize that they refuse to deal in reality, and it is only by facing reality that we can wisely address the issues that are plaguing our homes, churches, and this nation.
Looking back at my Christian walk, I received Christ as Lord and Savior when the concept of “Born Again,” had become a fad, somewhat confusing the actual experience that identified a person to salvation, and eschatology was being offered up as a main menu in many churches as a call for believers to be ready for Jesus’ coming.
In my initial years of Christianity, I made the Christian walk about outward conformity to religious standards while failing to guard the inward environment of my soul. I found myself caught up with various political causes that caused me to jump on bandwagons instead of learning what it really meant to be prepared for the real spiritual battles, while walking by faith according to the Word of God and the sweet impression of the Spirit upon the soul.
I often share how the Lord gave me a seven-year rope to do my own religious thing before He pulled it and I found myself on my face, broken by my leanness of spirit and the lack of joy that is to mark salvation. It was then and there that I realized that victorious Christianity was solely established in a relationship with the living God and not by religious association, activities, or causes.
Even though I had an incredible experience in my brokenness before the Lord, I was still a carnal Christian. I had worldly notions and I had a habit of trying to fit the truths of God into my limited understanding. I also lacked valuable discernment and as a result took a few detours. Praise God He was not surprised or put back by my failures; rather, He turned them into stepping stones to teach me some very important lessons about my faith walk.
In the late 1980s I sensed God was calling me into some type of ministry, but I could not imagine how it would ever materialize because of personal responsibilities. However, God did some ripping in personal relationships and successfully tore me away from what I had known for years to be my life in order to separate me to Himself for preparation of His work. From there I found myself facing various “spiritual” terrains such as rushing rivers, destructive waterfalls, barren wildernesses, dark, long valleys of uncertainties, and the changing of spiritual seasons that were ushered in by various storms.
For the Lord to bring forth His calling in my life the first three years of the ministry, I found my fledging faith was challenged and enlarged, while the following couple of years after the initial test of faith I tasted the political aspect of religion and was occasionally tested to compromise or sell what the Lord had given me to secure what some would consider success. In the following years after some great tests, the Lord brought me into a vast wilderness where He could redefine my vision. From that point on the awareness grew that unless the Lord does something, it will never truly be brought to fruition.
Through the years my co-laborers and I have encountered one hindrance after another. In each hindrance I learned valuable lessons, and one important lesson was to avoid being sidetracked by something that had nothing to do with my commission to share the Gospel or make followers of Christ. The storms taught me that they will come and go but as long as I am founded on and in the Rock, I cannot be moved from what is true and lasting. When we encountered rushing rivers too great to cross, we quickly learned to discern whether it was the Rivers of Living Water of God’s Spirit and if so, we simply needed to get into the current of the river; or, if it was an obstacle, we had to wait on the Lord to part the river so that we could pass over.
Needless to say, I have witnessed many miracles of God touching hearts and lives. I have seen miraculous healings of bodies, broken hearts, wounded spirits, and crushed souls. I have watched Him part the waters, make straight the crooked paths, move the mountains, and take my hand to walk me through the valleys. It has not been an easy walk, but it has been a glorious journey. I would not trade any of it. In fact, I can’t imagine life being any other way than it is now, challenging at times, but satisfying, fulfilling, and rewarding.
As you can see, my life has been in constant flux. Every new move, whether it was from Idaho to Seattle, from Seattle to Houston, Texas or from Houston back to Idaho or whether if was from Moore, Idaho to New Plymouth, and on to Council, Boise, Nampa, and now here in Northern, Idaho it was orchestrated by God. In some cases we could see His hand mightily move on our part and other times He used circumstances to discipline our steps in preparation to move us into the right place at the right time.
I realize that what is normal to me is not normal to others and that the flux in my life would be too much to bear for others, but we are not asked to walk the same path as someone else and as a result we are not all prepared in the same way. The main concern a Christian must have is whether or not he or she is where God wants him or her to be.
Most people want a couple of things in their life, stability, security, and assurance that somehow matters will turn out right in the end. To some, my walk may appear to be a bit shaky and questionable. Since I walk by faith, I have no real worldly security to speak of and no real assurance that the storms on the horizon will not take me down into the abyss. However, I had to learn that my stability is based on an immovable Rock, my security rests in His salvation, and my assurance in the work of redemption. I must admit there were times that I had to be willing to lose what I had in order to gain what was before me to walk in a greater knowledge of the Lord.
I began to realize life is in a constant flux because it has a current that brings in seasons that are meant to change, revive, and mature the landscape. My soul has a landscape that must be changed and I have a spirit that must be renewed daily and a body that has come to maturity and if Jesus tarries, one day will give way to the sweet sleep of physical death.
My spiritual journey has been wrought with surprises and challenges, never letting me become idle, complacent, or bored. Granted, I could have found excuses to sit down in the middle of the course, step off course, or throw my hands up in the air as if to say the course is too hard to travel, but I knew that a person who put his or her hand to the plow and looked back was not worthy to be a disciple of Christ (Luke 9:62).
I am where I am today not because I am wonderful or honorable, but because God is faithful and capable of honoring the hearts and prayers of those truly seeking to please and obey Him. I did not finish projects because of any personal determination or ability but because nothing made sense to me but to continue to advance forward on the path before me. I do not consider my present character in light of past accomplishments but in regard to being faithful in accepting present challenges, while looking for opportunities to finish the projects that are before me.
Through the years we have kept journals and have discovered that some major events happened on the same day or around the same time at different years. Granted, there could be years between some of the happenings like changing our location, but certain events happened around the same time, which revealed that there are indeed seasons in the Christian walk.
I say all of this because even though life is in flux, Solomon made it clear that there is nothing new that happens under the sun. We all may be on different paths but no on can avoid the cycle of life and the challenges that life brings its way. The cycle of life simply means it begins with life, but we all know it ends with physical death. Although death is part of the cycle, it is still feared, unexpected, traumatic at times, and leaves one in a state of shock that often turns into anger.
Although there are events we can be certain of, life can prove to be unpredictable and will throw many curve balls at us, leaving our minds spinning, our hearts racing, and our blood pressure elevated. The truth is we might like excitement occasionally, but we do not like change unless we are initiating it. We want to somehow control change so it will not throw us off balance. We want to come out on top of situations, while avoiding being buried by them, but those who must walk through the challenges of life will agree there is no way of controlling the challenging waves or storms the current of life brings our way.
The truth is if we want stability, security, and assurance, we must put our confidence in something or someone who can’t be moved by the events of life, will not change in light of changing cultures, and will not be caught off guard.
It is this reality that causes me to seek the Lord as my Rock, the one who never moves, the one who never changes, and the one who will not step outside of who He is. He does not play games with emotions and does not try to bully or insist on His way, and yet sovereignly oversees everything that is happening on earth, above earth, and even below it.
The Bible is clear that God is immutable in His nature, character, and ways. This is true about each person of the Godhead. Malachi 3:6 states, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Hebrews 1:12 says this about the Lord, “And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou are the same, and thy years shall not fail.” We also have Hebrews 13:8 declare this about Jesus, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” And finally, we have James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
This means God is not unpredictable. He works in absolutes and has clearly outlined how He regards matters of our heart, soul, life, and conduct in His Word. I realize that the fact the Lord does not change does not set well with some people. They want God to be flexible about His Law, yet His Law is law and will stand in the end because justice stands on truth and truth cannot be moved from what it has been established as being morally so. Granted, the people who want God to be flexible is because His holy Law will ultimately bring an indictment against their evil attitude and wicked practices. People want God to be tolerant, but yet these very same people are intolerant against any absolute that might refute them. These individuals not only want everything to adjust to their immovable ideas but they want everyone to bow down in agreement to the confusion, chaos and insanity of them.
We see that since God is immutable, He is who He was at the beginning, continues to be who He is in spite of the changes taking place at different times, and will always be who He is when all the world stands before Him to be judged. He does not change His mind about what is truth because the world wants a certain fantasy that feeds selfishness. He does not care if a majority of the people disagrees with Him and rage against what He has already established as being so for He is the majority, nor does He care how world powers try to rid the world of Him, because in the end He will continue to stand as the Rock.
Whosoever has built their lives on this immovable Rock, aligned their attitude and conduct up to its righteous ways will be able to stand in the storms of life, withstand the attacks of the bullies and tyrants of the world, and will continue to stand in spite of how much they may lose along the way. King David said of this Rock in 2 Samuel 22:2-3, “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”
David names his enemies: the waves of death, the floods of ungodly men, the sorrows of hell, and the snares of death. We have the same enemies today. Death threatens to consume us, the ungodly declare they will win in the end, and the tormenting sorrows of hell edge ever so close to devour us, as death is forever trying to ensnare us into its deadly ways, but if we stand on the Rock, and hide in Him as our fortress, He will become a shield to us as His authority identifies us to His salvation.
As our Rock we can be assured that God will not move from who He is, leaving us unsure of what can be trusted, uncertain as to His plan, and unpredictable as to the end results.
If we as believers want to start the new Year right, let’s get our relationship right with the Lord, which brings us to an important question. The question is are you aligning and anchoring yourself to this Rock or will this Rock become a source of judgment to you because it remains as strong as ever and unchangeable in its location? This Rock clearly has not suffered any weathering or erosion, which reminds us that if we are not clinging to the Rock, we will be broken against it in judgment as it breaks us into pieces that will leave us in utter spiritual ruin (Matthew 21:42-44).