Gary Carpenter Ministries
What is God like? If you only read little portions of the bible you could get a pretty distorted view of Him. For example, if you only looked at the ten plagues that came upon Egypt before Pharaoh was willing to let Israel go free, you might think God is somewhat of a bully, a tyrant. Or if you only looked at how severely God had to judge Israel when they began worshipping idols, you might think God is hyper-jealous like some wife-abusing husband.
It is easy to get false impressions. If somebody only ever once saw me in my relationship with my grandchildren at a time when I was having to punish them for some disobedience on their part they might come to the conclusion that I didn't really love them and that I was only interested in obedience, not their welfare. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I deeply love my grandchildren. I would lay down my life for my grandchildren in a heartbeat. You would get a very distorted view of my true nature if you only saw that one little snippet of my life-long relationship with them.
So the question remains, what is God like? How do we get the most perfectly accurate picture of Him? We don't have to wonder or speculate because Jesus gave us the answer after Philip asked for Jesus to show them the Father.
Joh 14:8-9 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
This one verse has probably done more to clarify my understanding of the nature of God than any other. I know He was talking to Philip that day but when I read this it's like Jesus is saying to me, "Gary, do you want to see what God is like? If you do, then look at Me. Gary, if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." I remember the year when that verse became so alive in me. I was tired of being at the mercy of well-meaning preachers trying to tell me what God was like. I was no longer convinced they even knew themselves. One preacher would tell me that God was jealous and wrathful. I would live in fear just waiting for God's judgment every day. Another preacher would preach prosperity so strong that he made God out to be something like a big vending machine in the sky. All I had to do was give enough money and quote a few scriptures and God would pour out abundance so great I would not be able to spend it all. Other preachers had other "images" of God such as "greasy grace" and "sloppy agape." I would listen to them and think, they can't all be talking about the same God. The bible says that Jesus HIMSELF is the "express image of God."
Heb 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
I decided I had to "see Jesus" for myself so that year I concentrated on reading the four gospels. I read Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John over and over and over … I wish I would have kept track of how many times I read them. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say I read them a minimum of thirty times that year. Eventually … I began to "see" Jesus in the gospels. This indelible image began to be imprinted on my mind. I made amazing discoveries as to what God, our Father, is really like. Here is a very short, partial list of the things I learned:
On and on I could go. Life has become full and wonderful and exciting because I "know Him" through "seeing" Jesus! I am no longer at the mercy of preachers, no matter how well-meaning they are. Jesus gave us the very definition of eternal life when He said,
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
No matter how well you already know God, I encourage you to dive into the gospels again. Read them until the "image" of Jesus begins to rise up off the pages and become imprinted upon your mind and heart. As that image becomes more and more real in you, the true knowledge of God your Father will grow by leaps and bounds. "THE BEST IS YET TO COME!"
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,