We find ourselves asking and believing some strange questions about God.
We all have some strange questions about God. Some of them are more serious and some of them are weird Frankenstein monsters that we have sown together based on pieces of religion we have picked up along the way. But no question is a bad question. Well, unless they are actually damning beliefs disguised as questions. And that’s what we are talking about today!
This week, we are talking about all those questions we find ourselves asking about God, what they mean, and how to break those cycles of self doubt and fear. God is a god of grace and love yet we still find ourselves in terror after most every action. It is our belief that God doesn’t want you walking on pins and needles around him. After all, what kind of parent would that be?
Want a head start? Here are the questions we address:
- Does God punish me when I sin?
- Does God use me to do His bidding?
- Does God have a plan for me? What if I miss His calling?
- Does God change His mind?
- Is GD God’s name in vain?
- Is God a big man on a throne?
- Is God mad at me when I don’t spend time with Him
? DoesGod demand our worship?
Cody Johnston 1:21
Hey, everyone, welcome to the reckless pursuit. My name is Cody and my name is Elaine and this is episode 75. And today we are running down a few common questions slash doubts that we have about God. And I kind of like was in my head calling this episode crap we think about God. But I don’t think that’s going to be the official title but it’s basically in question format, but it’s things that we often find ourselves believing about God, telling ourselves about God that are just not truthful. And so I’m really excited about just running these down.
It’s just some stuff that you and I have been talking about kind of behind the scenes a little bit, and we’re going to share it with you guys. But before we get into that, a couple of quick things. Shameless plug here, my new podcast, itinerant is out into the world. There’s a new episode coming out this week. If you’re listening on launch day, Thursday, another new episode is dropping, Episode Number four, I would highly encourage you if you like biblical history, if you don’t like biblical history, probably not for you. But if you’re listening to a show about New Age, Christians and all Christianity and such like you are, then maybe you would enjoy it. So if you like biblical history from outside the perspective of the Bible, that is the goal over it, itinerant, it’s lots of different formats in this show, but it’s my passion project. So if you’d like it, head over to itinerant podcast.com. Also, if you have not done so, so far, hop over to the reckless pursuit, calm forward slash, subscribe, grab, or just go to our website, find our email list, sign up, Elaine and I send out exclusive content just to our people who are faithful subscribers on the email list, they get all kind of behind the scenes stuff. And we want you to be a part of that as well. And with that being said, also nomads, you’ve heard it before, if you’ve listened, if not, it’s private group, go join it in the show notes below. Because we want to hear your heart on these topics, we want to hear what you have to say we want to keep the conversation going. So Elaine, you got anything.
Elaine Johnston 3:30
I was gonna say I also write blog posts each week. So they come out every Wednesday. And so I just kind of, again, right a little bit about behind the scenes or something that really stood out to me for this specific episode of that week, or just something that I’m dealing with all my heart. And so you can find that every Wednesday at our website.
Cody Johnston 3:50
Yes. And you get even more of that if you’re on this is scribe Yeah, thing. So you should do that. Just saying, you should definitely do that. And I’ll say you’re going to hell if you don’t. But the Lord definitely wants you to be on our subscription list, which is probably not actually God’s intent. I don’t know where I’m going with this.
Elaine Johnston 4:09
I don’t either.
Cody Johnston 4:12
Things that we often kind of ask ourselves about God or that we believe about God in the form of questions. Let’s get right to it. Yeah.
Elaine Johnston 4:23
All right. Question number one, Elaine. So does God punish me when I sinned? Have you ever asked this to yourself? Like, oh, or have you ever done something and you’re like, Oh, I shouldn’t have done that. Like, you feel the weight of God’s plan. Like you’re scared God’s gonna punish you for it. Have you ever had that? Um, not really, in my adult life, probably more in childhood and youth and maybe even being a teenager being afraid of God punishing me for for not obey my parents or something like that, but I haven’t really, really gone through any of that. As an adult. I feel like you are one of the few
Cody Johnston 5:00
because I have I’ve done it numerous times, where if someone was like, for instance, whenever you were in the hospital last year, or random things whenever any kind of something happens that like throws off like my life for there’s just like tragedy or not even that big, you just be like a little things like, Oh, I’m not feeling well today or something. I’m just like, God’s punishing me for some sin, some unknown sin, or I did something and God is like, punishing me for that. And I was kind of inadvertently race i think that i think a lot of us are in charge of, oh, if I do something wrong, God is going to punish me for my sin, or he’s gonna block me out of the Lamb’s book of life. Or, you know, I like it best said, in Bruce Almighty, where he’s like, smite me All Mighty Snyder. He says, like, God is a mean, kid with a magnifying glass on a sunny day, and we’re just a bunch of ants. Like, we kind of take that mentality to God is like, Oh, yeah, he’s up there just waiting to fry our butts when we screw up. You know, God’s got the, the pit of hell is kind of like a lever, and we’re all standing on the platform is waiting for it to get yanked. And I know that all seems like a bit dramatic. But I think we kind of view God that way. And that’s not truthful. God has no desire to punish us. I’m not saying there’s not consequence, right? Because with any kind of thing, if you go out and if you’re a chain smoker, there can be consequences with lung problems. If you constantly lie, sooner or later, you’re going to get caught in that wet, right? Like there are consequences to our actions. But that’s not necessarily God’s punishment, God’s more redemptive.
Elaine Johnston 6:38
Yeah, and it’s important to understand of Yes, and has its consequences. If you’re a chain smoker, your chances of getting cancer later on in life, incredibly increase. Like, I’m not saying you’re going to have cancer because you smoked all your life. But that’s just a byproduct of it. If you are in a in multiple affairs and cheating on your spouse, and effective that is your kids having a false view of what a strong marriage should look like. Yeah, how ever God isn’t going to give you cancer because you didn’t ask for forgiveness when you lied to your parents or God isn’t going to give you a life threatening disease or kill you or, or kill a family member. Because I don’t know You cheated on an exam or something like God doesn’t punish you because of your sin. However, just the way natural order works. Sin inevitably has negative consequences.
Cody Johnston 7:38
Something that’s really interesting to me is you see specific returns of Saturn chart, right? You think about children being sick, right? You think about St. Jude and like, children having cancer children having ailments or, or things like that in your life. Oh, well, okay. So by that logic, by a lot of teaching that we do in church, most certainly that is huge. He’s like, generational sin of a parent or something. Right? And I know as a as a parent, I couldn’t, I’m like, I’m not a parent yet. But I could imagine the guilt that you could have of like, oh, because you know, I secretly struggle with pornography or something that my my child is now inflicted with this ailment. You think of job right? The story of Job of like, Satan just marches up into into like God’s throne room and he’s like, yo, you know, like a job who’s never done anything wrong in his life. Let’s Let’s screw with him. And God’s up there like yeah, okay, sure. Go for it. Just don’t kill him You can kill his mom you can kill his dad you could kill his family in kill his wives you could kill his kids you can kill his donkeys you can kill his bows you could kill his grass you can take his land you can do whatever you want. You can give him boys he can give him lesions you can give your disease sickness bring him to the you know the edge of his death. Oh, and make his friends be really annoying. Just don’t take his life that’d be too easy, right? You’re like wow, God is a piece of crap. Like what he is a really terrible person just to prove a point to some angel that he created that we say he threw out a heaven like for one why Satan up in the courtroom? I saw he was cast out Yeah. For to why we got a while such things like that’s just really really crappy. If that’s like truthful, and you got to kind of like realize like that’s not a lot of like job is allegorical. Like it’s it’s talking about a man it’s kind of talking to the whole thing bad things happen to good people sometimes right? It’s not saying like, God is unjust and inflicted all this stuff is Satan is more depicted of circumstance. Right? It’s these uncontrollable circumstances that happen and Job had a really bad string of luck but remain faithful to God and that’s the beauty of the story is like even in the crap even in all of the like what life through a job in we say job remain faithful. There was a time he was pretty wavering on that right? Like he was pretty fed up. He was like, God, why don’t you just go ahead and kill me off to while you’re at it. And what are you saying his job didn’t have this sin and that was kind of the whole thing is like he had friends like or he was either his his wife that ended up dying, or his friends. I don’t remember which one it was but it’s like you I think there’s this friends is like you obviously have this hidden sin. You’re not telling anyone God wouldn’t do this to you if you didn’t have this hidden sin and in job is like, No, you don’t get it. I don’t I don’t have this. And I think we I can relate to that sometime. It’s like, I’m just like, God, what have I done to piss you off today? Like, what is going on? Why are you guys up there like, Hey, man, it’s not me. This is just life. And God is not meddling in these constant affairs. God can take you out of those things. I believe God can heal. There is such thing as healing. There is miracles there is divine intervention, but God’s not up there. Like Hey, man, I yeah, that drunk driver, they hit you the other day and told your car Yeah, like I did that just because you you looked at that girl weird the other day when you walked by her or you had this really strange thought about stealing from your work or something, which I can say that because we work for ourselves. So we can’t actually like steal from ourselves, but But uh, you know, like, God’s like, yep, gonna smite you for that one later. I don’t think like, that’s just what kind of terrible like that much more like Satan.
Elaine Johnston 11:27
God doesn’t keep record of your wrongdoings God God doesn’t. Like we’ve talked about before, God’s not going to write your name every time you do a good thing. And then he races every time you do a, quote, bad thing. God’s not keeping record of all these things that you think that you’re sinning and and some of it, it’s not even like, Oh, I did this really bad thing. It’s like, Oh, I didn’t listen to God, or Oh, I didn’t pray today. So God’s mad at me. And he’s not gonna bless me like, there are little things like that, where you think, Oh, well, God’s punishing me because I didn’t talk to him today, or God’s punishing me because I didn’t pay for that person’s meal when I had an option to do so like, like, God just doesn’t have a running tab on all the times you screw up or might screw up or whatever.
Cody Johnston 12:10
Yeah. Because if that were the case, like he, if he’s on, if he’s omniscient, and that is all knowing, then like, then you could get into the whole thing of God’s punishing you for something you haven’t done yet. So he knows you’re going to do that’s like a parent who sees a toddler like thinking like, I could do, I could go push that off the edge of the, you know, I can go push that cup off the edge of the table, it won’t matter. Like you can see the gears turning in the parents like already yelling like, don’t you cared, but they didn’t actually do it. There’s no sin and temptation, right? So no, God is not punishing you. There is such thing as conviction, like we can get convicted of like, you know, the difference in that kind of the, the parabolic way I just kind of stated that is, well, if you have a kid about to push, like, you can see us thinking you can like God’s appearing going, Hey, maybe maybe you shouldn’t do that. Maybe Maybe you should pick the glass up and move it, maybe you should just knock it off the table. And then the child may decide to go ahead and knock it off the table anyway. But God’s not up there yelling at us every time we make a mistake. He’s forgiving, he’s redemptive. And the punishment A lot of times, this is kind of where I want to hop off this question here. But just the last kind of final thing I think is, most of the time the punishment is actually self induced. We actually beat ourselves up over these little things that we do. We, we tear ourselves a new one over just the craziest stuff that whole like, Oh, I’m worthless. I’ve done such a terrible thing. Like God must hate me. We beat ourselves senseless.
Elaine Johnston 13:48
And you end up talking yourself out of a blessing that God could have wanted for you. Yeah, for sure. You don’t give him room to work to bless you and love you anyway, because you’re so hard on yourself.
Cody Johnston 13:59
So the next thing and just to sum that one up, just God punish you when you sin. No, God does not punish you when you sin. There is consequence. But these are natural things in order. But God is not going to give you a disease for telling a why God is like all these things. All that stuff is just as weird manipulative crap. And it’s holding us back from living in grace, which is what Jesus came to offer. Right? So we’re, we’re sinning by thinking God is punishing us. If you want to know what you’re really sin, your true sin is and how you’re keeping yourself back. Sin is restrictive, and it’s a manipulation of truth. If you want to see sin, start beating yourself up when you make a mistake, especially when you’re trying to do good, like, that’s all we can do is give our best. And if you’re giving your best, you still make a mistake, which we all do. The sin comes in the self punishment. But like it’s really a gluttony of pain that you’re inflicting on yourself, because it gives you the self righteous, righteous vindication, that, oh, you’re making get better you’re justifying your sin. So that was my done rambling on that one. On to the next point. Does God use me to do his bidding? Just God use people. I just want to start by saying the wording and we always have probably use this wording of like, Lord, just use me today to reach out touch your people to minister your love, yada, yada yada. God use me in this situation, use me to do this, use me to do that. I want to say real quick, that I understand the sentiment of that. But that is a very hurtful terminology to a lot of people, especially people who have been victimized, like, I’ll be it like sexually or even like, emotionally to be used by someone. I would never tell my like, want my wife like I wouldn’t look at you really I would never want you to welcome stage sees me today. I think about that. Would you walk up to your boss and be like, Sir, could you just use me today? Just use me to do your bidding. Could you walk up to your spouse, or let’s just do it this way. Because we think of like God, the Father, God, the mother, like, walk up to your dad or your mom, just like, just use me to do your bidding today. Like, I just want you to use me I think of like parents living vicariously through their children. Like who didn’t get to play sports when they were kids weren’t like the star athlete. It’s just like, son, I want you to go and be the star athlete so I can live vicariously through your achievements. That just seems so weird to me. I don’t know. Like, what do you think?
Elaine Johnston 16:35
I don’t know. Because I’ve prayed that prayer. Even in adulthood, like, I don’t like I understand what you mean, like as it could have a negative connotation, especially people have been used and abused by people of authority not not even just in church, but especially in church, and pastors and all that stuff. But I also understand what people mean whenever they pray, like God use me in this situation. Because when you think of it on the flip side, when you think of it is in a positive light of God, use me today, like whatever you have for me, however, you want me to speak into somebody else’s life, however you want me to, you know, share your love, or however you want to use me to be a good friend today and speak into somebody’s life, if they’re going through something or encouraged them. How can you use me to encourage and motivate and inspires me, like I pray that prayer all the time of use me in these opportunities, but I can definitely see the negative side to have like, you wouldn’t go ask your parents to, for them to use you like you. Like you said you wouldn’t ask your spouse or friend to use you. And because that can be very mistreated into abusing people.
Cody Johnston 17:55
I think the answer this question is maybe maybe, like, it’s probably a maybe like, you have a beef with the word us like there’s two different ways you can mean that really, like I don’t think God is using you for his own personal gain. I think God can use circumstances. And I think God, I don’t think we’re just a tool at God’s disposal. I think it’s more intimate relationship than that. But I also think that on the flip side to that, like there is a co laboring with him. It’s like, show me how I can benefit those around me Show me how I can like give me divine wisdom. When you when most people say like us, me, God, I think that’s what they’re really praying is like, God give me divine wisdom. But I think I just wanted to clarify that God isn’t just using you like you’re some kind of tool, because then you think of like, Well, you know, as a musician, like this is this is kind of the best way to think like a tool. A drummer uses a drumsticks right? When you break a drumstick, you toss that out, it’s not good anymore. We don’t try to fix it, we don’t have to mend it. They’re cheap and disposable. They’re there to do the will of the drummer. When they break, you get a new pair, that’s not the relationship. They’re like, I use drumsticks, I use tools. If my laptop goes dead, I go get a new laptop, it’s a tool to me, I don’t have this intimate relationship with my laptop. But at the same time, you could argue like, there are times that my wife uses me for things like if she asks me to go grab her glass of water. Like, she’s not using me though, right? It’s not just like this abuse, it’s not a use abuse, it’s us as in like coming together to co labor to achieve a goal
Elaine Johnston 19:33
well, and we’re not tools for Christ. And the way I understand that is God’s not using as a tool as whenever he gets the job done, oh, he just goes to the next person were swept away. But we’re actually living vessels of how, you know, if we are made out of God’s image, if God walks among us, if God is within our spirits, then we are that living vessel of how we can love other people, how we can encourage people and inspire people and be there for people. And I think whenever you look at it through the lens of a living vessel, that’s not something you can just use and abuse and mistreat and use as a tool and just throw away whenever you’re finished. God isn’t throws away whenever he is finished with us. Because there’s an active relationship, an ongoing forever relationship. And I think if you if you see it in that light, maybe change your wording, or maybe change your understanding whatever. Like we said, Maybe God uses us. Maybe God uses us, but doesn’t use that language. I don’t know. But I think you can go both ways with that.
Cody Johnston 20:39
I think it’s just it depends on the attitude to sum it up. Does God use us? The answer to that is it depends on your definition of us, because for God to use us as a tool, and then once we’re burnout or broken to cast us out, which is what happens a lot in faith circles, let’s just be honest, they’re used as a tool, burn up and cast out.
Elaine Johnston 20:58
And then they’re seen as heresy takes because they acknowledge their abuse,
Cody Johnston 21:03
right. So that being said, if God were to cast out people as just like tools, when they burn out, then he would be casting out a part of himself, because God is in all of us. And in essence, like we are an echo of him. And so to cast us out is to cast himself out, it would almost be like, you know, you casting a piece of yourself away, like, I don’t need my arm anymore. I don’t need a heart anymore. Toss that out. That doesn’t happen. That’s not it’s not beneficial to anyone to do that. Like that’s, in essence, God casting us off would be self mutilation to himself. Right. Right. It’s, it’s often self mutilation. like God is literally just remembering himself. And yeah, not cool. So God doesn’t use you. But he does co labor with you. So if you want to use that wording, that’s fine. Just understand, like, if you have issues with that wording, that’s, that’s what we we’re talking it’s a co labor meant it’s a relationship. All right, next, does God have a plan for you? What if you miss his calling? I’ve talked a lot on this one before. So I’m just gonna turn it over to you, Elaine?
Elaine Johnston 22:13
Well, if you’ve been following us for a significant amount of time, you have heard us talk about this, like Cody saying, like you, you’ve heard us, you’ve heard our opinions on this. And the way we see it is God doesn’t necessarily have a plan for you, because plans change, things happen. But God does have a purpose for you. And I think we kind of confuse the two of, well, I think God has a plan for me to be a doctor. But really, God’s purpose for you is just to help people, whether that looks like a doctor, or a counselor or an artist, or you know what, however, you can help people and I think that, especially for people either going into college, or transitioning out of it into the career and workplace, those are two specific times in people’s lives where they’re like, Why just don’t know what God’s plan for me is. I’ve gone through three different major changes within my school career. I thought I wanted to do do this. But now my heart’s I think my heart’s telling me this, or in career, you’re, you graduate with whatever major you had, whatever your diploma is, and you go into the workplace, you’re like, actually, I don’t want to do this with my life. And I think we feel like we get sidetracked because we don’t know what God’s plan is for us. We don’t know what God’s purpose for, for us, and we just really get confused and bogged down. And then we just pick something that we don’t actually really have a passion for. Just because we feel like we’re trying to pursue God’s plan for us.
Cody Johnston 23:46
Yeah, I think that that’s, that’s it. I mean, I think that happens in every phase of life. Like when you have kids, you know, what is God’s plan? When you hit a midlife crisis? What am I doing with my life? Right? That’s kind of the equivalent of like, what why am I here? What is my purpose? That’s mainly ultimate desire, especially in our culture’s What is my purpose? Why, what am I purpose to do. But a lot of times, we look at purpose, and we say, well, we got to make a plan, we got to make a plan, we got to make a plan, we got to get a game plan together, we got to have its plans, says outline of plans, you think of like building something, there’s got to be plans to show where every piece of wire goes, all these things go. But in reality, it’s a purpose. And like, you were saying, like, God isn’t waiting on you to pick the right door, you know, every door is unlocked, and all doors lead to the same room. Next, it’s literally just a line of doors that go into the same room, you know, you think of like walking into Walmart, you may come into one side of the store, you may come into the other but both sides go into the same stupid store, right? department, you can get to the back service way, you know, it doesn’t matter which way you come in, you’re all coming into the same store. And and that’s the beauty of God is his plans, as long as you’re following after him, they’re all it’s not a plan, it’s a purpose, you’re going to go into that one way or another, it may look different, because you came in through a different door, you’re the grocery aisle instead of the pharmacy. But it’s still doing the same thing you can look at that literally like if your call is to help people you can be a chef or you can be a pharmacist. Either way, you’re still called to love on people. And that’s your purpose there. And you can do that through whatever means God has placed in your heart and however you so desire. He’s not micromanaging your life, and you’re not going to miss it, which is the other part of that, what if I miss his calling, if you’re worried about missing his calling, you’re not going to, if you’ve ever had the thought of what if I miss his calling, or what is God’s calling from my life, you’re not going to miss it, because you’re seeking it. If you’re seeking it, you’ve already found it, the moment you start looking the moment it’s there, you can’t miss God’s calling for your life. Even if you feel like you missed an opportunity in life, you’re not missing God’s calling for your life. So
Elaine Johnston 25:48
when I feel like a God has a calling for life, but we quote, miss opportunities, I think that’s another thing of where we get confused of, Oh, I didn’t take the opportunity, I must have gone the wrong path. But I kind of think of opportunities as you can either take it or not like there’s no obligation to take an opportunity. If you are seeking to be a public speaker or an author and you have these, you have these opportunities to speak at your local church or your local school or whatever. Or people want you to write in the newspaper and all this stuff. Like if you feel that calling on your life to be that it doesn’t really matter what opportunity you take, that’s going to it’s inevitable if you really feel like you have a calling to be a public speaker or an author, somehow, some way that is going to work itself out. And like Cody was saying, if you’re worried about missing it, you’re already pursuing your calling. If you’re worried about not being a public speaker or an author, but you have a podcast or you blog on the side like you’re pursuing that calling or if you just acknowledge the desire
Cody Johnston 26:53
Yeah, you have to white quote unquote worry about it. As long as you acknowledge the desire, you’re already pursuing it. I think a good way Look at it is think of like going to a restaurant, God’s plan for you, isn’t a thing, God’s purpose for you is much more like it’s less ordering off a menu and more going down the buffet line, right? It’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that whatever you so desire to pick up, whatever you’re in the mood for that day, it’s still the ultimate purpose of getting you full, right? So it’s not like this plan of I have to order this and this and this and tell him what i do want and what I don’t want and it comes out on this nice plate. And that’s all I get. It’s, it’s a buffet, I want a little chicken, I want to you know, I want some crab, I want some corn like you just pick up what you want. And God says here’s your spread. It’s all fulfilling the same purpose, which is to get you full, same thing in life. Alright, so does God have a plan for you? And what if you miss his calling? No, God doesn’t have a purpose for you, though. And what if you miss his calling? You won’t? If you’re even asking. So if you’re asking that. Good job, you haven’t. Next question,
Elaine Johnston 27:58
Does God change his mind?
Cody Johnston 28:01
Oh man, so and Malika it’s like what I am the Lord and I changed not. God doesn’t change how many times you heard that one. God isn’t going to change. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. God cannot change he is always who he is. I am that I am going to read an exodus, Exodus 32. I’m going to skim through this starting in verse nine. And the Lord said to Moses, I have seen this people and behold, it is a stiff necked people. I know some of those stiff necked people. Like I was a stiff necked person when I had a neck injury a couple months ago. Anyway. So there are stiff necked people now therefore, let me alone that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them in order that I may make a great nation of you. pause for a second. God’s literally saying to Moses, give me a second alone with the stars, suckers. I’ll show them the lesson. I have Pacha burn the sorry suckers that you ever had that like Give me just one second alone. I swear I’m going to ring. That’s God right now. like Moses is up on the mountain. God’s down there. Like they’re making golden calves and crap and Moses don’t even know it. He just knows like God’s PO right now like God’s like, give me a say I’m about to show the sorry, suckers. What it’s like, and yeah, so it goes on. But Moses implored that the Lord his God, to the Lord his God, and said, oh, Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say with evil intent? Did he bring them out to kill it in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? turn from your burning anger in relent from this disaster against your people? Remember, Abraham, Isaac and Israel Your servants to whom you swore by your own self and said to them, I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and all this land that I have promised? I will give to your to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever. So Moses, Lou, like hold up God, like, maybe we shouldn’t do that. Like maybe the Egyptians might look at us kind of weird, be like, man, their gods terrible. He brought them out there just to blow them up. And the Lord relented from the disasters that he had spoken to bring on his people. God’s like, I’m so sick of Israel in their griping ways. I’m going to ring on the new and Moses, like, hold up God, that might not look good on you. God’s like, yeah, Moses, you’re probably right. I guess I won’t, like release my fiery fury upon them. But God doesn’t change his mind,
Elaine Johnston 30:29
I think that’s important to realize is that they had an ongoing relationship, like they had conversation and God’s like, hey, like, I really want to do this. I’m, you know, I have a plan for this. I God’s plan changed. But his purpose was still the same. He still wanted his people to know Him and understand what was going on. And Moses is like, hey, maybe the plan of burning them, like
Cody Johnston 30:54
cook at home? Yeah, ain’t the best idea
Elaine Johnston 30:56
probably isn’t the nicest most loving way to get them to really look at you and have a relationship with you. And God’s like, you know, you’re right. You’re right. But the thing is, I’ve had these conversations with you with my friends before, like, you know, I really want to just rip them a new one and exactly how I feel. And you’re like, well, maybe you can do it in a nicer way, or maybe just kind of bite your tongue. Don’t say anything at all. Like, it’s not that important to get upset over. And I again, that plan changed.
Cody Johnston 31:28
Yeah, I guess I can just remember my favorite Bible verses since it’s right here with this passage. Okay. So Moses comes off the mountain, right? And he sees that they all like has this golden calf. And he’s sitting around like Aaron’s, like, all like leading the Israelites to worship this golden cow, Moses gone for like, I don’t know, days, right up on the mountain receiving commandments from God comes down. And Moses is like, What’s going on here? And why are people worshipping this calf? Verse 24. So I said to them, let anyone who have gold take it off, so they gave it to me, then I threw it in the fire out came this calf. Like, I don’t know, I threw out the golden the fire and a cow appeared. So we’re like, must be God worship it. I don’t know that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about. But it’s hilarious to me. It just shows.
Elaine Johnston 32:13
I thought your favorite Bible verse was about the donkey talking.
Cody Johnston 32:16
That one is one of my favorites. And then also the Bible verse that says, I have taken off my robe. How can I put it on again? Because I feel that like, every time you’re like, Hey, can you get something out of the car at night? I’m like, babe, I’ve already taken off my shoes. I’m in my underwear. I don’t want to get dressed to outside
Elaine Johnston 32:32
in the country. So it’s okay.
Cody Johnston 32:33
Okay, so that being said, All that aside, God does change his mind, you can change God’s mind, that just goes back to show and this question ties in with the whole one on purpose, and plan. If God had a plan for you, then you would not be changing God’s mind along the way. Oh, God, I you know, I pursued this law degree, but I think I really want to be an artist. If God’s plan for you is like to be a lawyer, he’d be like, no, like, I’m sorry, like, you do that. And I’m going to kill your kids, kill your grass, kill your calves kill you. I like all that stuff. Like the whole job situation, just kind of tying all these questions back together. That’s not God. God is saying, Yeah, like, I agree. Like, you know, we were going this one direction. But I think you can do a lot of good things in this other direction to like that is of me, you’re pursuing this, as long as you’re pursuing this with an attitude of, of just pursuing my purpose, like you’re doing good things with it, you’re trying to be a not a hindrance on humanity, you’re trying to uplift humanity. Like, let’s do that you’re doing good. Like, you can do that through art, you can do it through law, you can do it through dance, you can do it through construction, however you want to do it. I’m for it. So does God change his mind? The answer is yes. Now, that being said, there are some things where I understand when people are like, I am the Lord. And I changed, not like, Yes, God is still God, right? God still has a purpose. But the little mundane things, yes, you can change those. God is not. I think it’s beautiful that Moses had written the tablets of the 10 commandments on stone, and the stone broke, showing that like, even in that change can happen. And I’m not saying like go violating commandments. Like, I’m not saying that. But I’m saying like, God is constantly shifting with us, and he’s walking with us. And he’s not set in stone.
Elaine Johnston 34:23
And I think, especially with his people throughout the Bible throughout now, just throughout history and stuff, people have had, you know, what if we did this, or what if we did that, or, you know, I think God just walks with us every step of the way. And I think maybe like, you know, part of us has God, within our spirit, you know, we are made in the image of God, we walk with God walks with us. And I feel like whenever we change our minds about some things, God is like, okay, yeah, I can see that perspective. Maybe we can go with that and see, see what happened, see, see what we can make out of that. And if it doesn’t work, God’s not like, See, I told you, we should have done the other thing. God’s like, okay, let’s pivot to something else.
Cody Johnston 35:03
Yeah, that’s good. So next question. Is, GD using God’s name in vain? Or is that the equivalent of God’s name in vain? So is God God’s name in vain you and you want to talk on
Elaine Johnston 35:17
that? Well, so I’ve never really been someone who was super offended by cussing. I just, I’m not going to go actively out of my way, just to start throwing the F word and like, every other sentence, just because it can. I think that there’s purpose and I think sometimes cussing in general, kind of, sometimes he will over use it, and then it kind of loses the validity of it. I think there’s a time and place to use different words.
Cody Johnston 35:47
cursing is okay.
Elaine Johnston 35:49
I mean, I feel like there’s a time and place
Cody Johnston 35:52
for it. I mean, there’s cursing in the Bible. Yeah, literally the story of Samson, that and it says, they changed us. And pretty much everything. The translation with the KJV used to say that Samson took the jaw of an ass and made an ass out of all of his attackers. Yeah. Like, I took this donkey and made a donkey of all of you, sorry, sorry.
Elaine Johnston 36:14
I think like if you’re just cussing just because I think that’s kind of stupid. I their vocabulary is such a vast thing. And if the only word you can think of is the F word, and every sentence, I feel like, that’s a little much, right. But also, you know, like the gd. You know, that’s never really been offensive to me. I know a lot of people, especially in church, like, Oh, that’s using God’s name in vain. But it’s never really bothered me, I see that just as I see the F word just as I see all these other cuss words, and it doesn’t necessarily bother me, unless you’re just using it, just be using it. But something that I saw one time on social media, I was looking through comments on some of these posts, and somebody was saying that somebody had revealed to them that taking God’s name in vain isn’t necessarily cussing isn’t necessarily using God, though it could isn’t necessarily saying oh, my God, or oh my gosh, or whatever, you know, isn’t necessarily saying that. But taking this God taking God’s name in vain is saying, Well, God told me to tell you that you suck as a person, or God told me that we’re going to get married as we’re 13 year olds in middle school or high school or whatever. God told me to tell you this and it’s actually not what God said at all. And they kind
Cody Johnston 37:33
Elaine Johnston 37:34
Yeah, crap, prophecy, you know, they people use God’s name in vain to get what they want to get something out of it. And that’s not how God operates.
Cody Johnston 37:42
Sure. And so I just want to take a minute here, and go ahead and get the spiritual, you know, essence out of the room. God damn, using that word. Let’s break that down with that means God, it is a derivative word we use for y’all way or the Israeli God who sent Jesus Christ as a part of himself. You know you to for redemption, whatever however you want, look at that. That’s who we typically referring to in God. God is a very subjective word is not like the name God is not God’s name. You know what I mean? Like? God has lots of names to him. So we’re using this word meaning creator, right? So creator, I implore you to cast judgment or a damnation upon this. So if you’re cruising at a stoplight, you just drop God because someone cut you off. What are you damning? Are you damning the situation like, Damn, that was rough, then? Okay, like I’m saying I’m not encouraging you to start dropping GD like I’m not saying it’s even a fun word. And it’s very society frowned upon so like, that you could go into the hole like well, because it calls your brother to stumble. Yeah, I’m sure it probably could has for a lot of people, whatever, ultimately is going to like cause people to lose their faith. Probably not. But like, Sure, we should probably steer away from that. Like Elaine was saying, there’s a time there a place for cursing, for certain things to express a feelings and emotions especially. Most of the time, you’re not going to need that. But if you were to say like God Damn you, Satan, like get behind me or you know, god damn these bad thoughts I’m having Yeah, Dan, this this self loathing mentality I have because of past errors, cast them out. I am free in the name of Jesus. like whoa, okay. You just dropped GD literal translation. Yeah, it’s literal. Like, God, I want you to this. Now, if you say you pull up to a stop light, and someone gives you the burden. You’re like, God, damn that person. You’re literally asking God to take another human soul and cast them out to to judge them. And I think God’s going to lie probably sitting there going to do that. Sorry. I don’t think he realized there’s power in our world right there’s power and what we say we have the authority over angels we have the authority over the spiritual we are a bridge literally we are the only creation on earth that is a bridge between the spiritual and the in the physical you know the the the earth the reality in the ether however you want to look at it we are literally that bridge we are a bridge unit. God took Earth and breathed spirit. And so we have the ability to to do things on a supernatural honestly supernatural level to kind of get Pentecostal spooky little their dialect that we have that
Elaine Johnston 40:36
when we were just saying like you can go you can change God’s mind right? You have the the authority to help God decide somebody’s fate or something’s fate.
Cody Johnston 40:47
So I don’t think I should, you should be encouraged to go like, I implore you, Lord to Damn that person for making me work late. How dare he No, that’s that’s parents. And that’s, that’s a false, you’re using God’s name in vain. That is vanity, vain the derivative vanity and the definition of vanity just to fill this out there is excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements. Literally, like God, I am so good that I’m going to implore you to do this or to look at this way, like, crap prophecy, this is one that kind of gets under my skin is like, oh, God’s telling me that they you’re just going to go work for these people, and you’re just going to serve them and you’re just gonna do anything for their just to boost them up. Or here’s another one. And I’m not saying servant hood. That’s a whole other conversation. Like, I’m not dogging on that. But it’s the whole idea of like, if you just serve your leaders, God will reward your your efforts and he’ll he’ll elevate your platform. Right? Uh, okay. Like, I don’t have anything against like coming and co laboring with people. But what is this? It’s like, it’s got a genie, what’s going on here? No, like, you’re using God’s name in vain to sit there and say like,
Elaine Johnston 41:59
for God’s glorification,
Cody Johnston 42:01
right, you’re literally trying to Yeah, it’s for Your glory. It’s for, even if it’s just like something simple of like, man, God just revealed to me, like this thing about your life or whatever. It if it’s prophetic, even if it speaks to that person, I’m not saying God came in use that. But if it’s in you for your own glorification, to make you look better, that’s vanity. And that is God’s name in vanity, right? It’s kind of the whole thing of like the people in the Bible, the two, the two men going and trying to cast out demons, the name of God, and the demon literally overcomes them, right. Yeah, he’s like, Paul, I know, Jesus. I know. But who the hell are you? Like? And he’s learned. I mean, that’s like, literally what he said, like, they’re damning the demons in the name of God, and the demons like, no, like, I don’t know who you are, get out of here. And because they’re speaking of an authority in which they do not understand Yeah, and that’s vanity that is using God’s name in vain. So it goes a lot deeper than just GD. Yo, is. GD, God’s name in vain?
Elaine Johnston 43:01
It depends on the context. Yes
Cody Johnston 43:03
and no, yes and no, but it does help to have a better understanding of what that means. Okay, so next question. He’s got a big man on a throne.
Elaine Johnston 43:14
I mean, their scriptures that say, Christ sits on a throne with a rainbow circling him.
Cody Johnston 43:22
Okay, I want to take this is not a question I wanna spend a lot of time on. I just want to throw out like three points real quick. One, most of those scriptures that are talking about that are actually tied into the Zodiac constellations. And it’s literally talking about how the heavens worship Christ. I’m not denying there’s a throne in heaven. But a lot of times, what that is saying is literally, if you look at the four beasts circling the throne, that’s what the face of a lion face of an ox face of a man face of an eagle. If you look at the cardinal points and the four constellations that never move on the zodiac, literally north, south, east and west is a YN. an ox, a man pouring out water, which could be a lot of times is paralleled with Christ, and a scorpion, which, in ancient, it is the only symbol that has two symbols. And if it is bad as a scorpion, if it is good, it is an eagle. So creatures made entirely of eyeballs, we’re talking about stars, we’re talking about constellations constantly circling the heavens, right? It’s all symbolism. Is that saying that God isn’t real or isn’t? No, it’s bringing beauty to saying like even the stars are worship science, God, the Creator sciences, is even being worshipped as the stars rotate. It’s all his creation. And so the next thing, God’s omnipresent, so how is he on a throne? Well, he’s probably on a throne. He’s probably on every throne. He’s probably everywhere. It’s symbolic of he’s the King of all kings. Could he be sitting on a throne in a Golden Palace somewhere, often some ethical dimension? Sure, that’s completely possible, not denying it, not saying he’s not. But God is omnipresent. He’s literally everywhere. And I think the beauty of this is saying that God is in everything and everything we can worship him when you look at the grass, he’s in it, when you look at like he literally himself into creation, he spoke his words are literally when you look at the chair you’re sitting in, when you look at the headphones, you’re listening to this through, or the device you’re on, the material that’s made from was made from God’s voice, like boom, like everything, in essence is God. Sure sin has corrupted god, there’s all that kind of crap. There’s corruption. But everything is made from the essence of God, especially us whom he actually breathed into. It’s not just a spoken word. It’s a whole breath. You think of like, when you speak a word? How many words? Can you get out in a single breath? I’m doing it right now just seeing how many words can I get out in a single breath before I just have to take another one. But if I just go Think of how much essence that is, if you think it’s like a measurement, everything on earth is made from a sentence, which is like a breath of air. It’s just two words, it’s a little fraction of a breath, but you were made with a whole breath. You contain more of God than anything. So I would quit worrying about God is something distant and start taking him as something that’s in you, and literal and tangible. Also, with that being said, and I’ll shut up about this part, like I said, I had just something real quick, I want to say about it. God can be seen in everything and worshiped and everything. We don’t have to go through these weird systems to worship God. It’s good. It’s God is more simple than that.
Elaine Johnston 46:12
And also, maybe whenever it talks about God sitting on the throne, maybe it’s not meaning Oh, he’s looking down on you, and he’s judging you. And he’s up here, and you can never reach that. I think it’s just saying like, he sits on a throne, he is exalted. He is in everything. He created everything he is, quote, above everything, but not in a prideful way. But just like he oversees everything.
Cody Johnston 46:39
Yeah. And there was another question we had, I’m just gonna group it together for time sake. It’s does God demand our worship? that literally ties in what we’re just talking about? Yes, our worship is beautiful. It’s talked about all throughout Bible, there’s books of the Bible dedicated to it. But worship isn’t what we think it is. Worship isn’t going to church and bowing our heads at this right time or reading the Bible, or it’s all it’s very specific. It’s not this very specific thing. It’s literally everything you do in everything you do. You know, our bodies, you know, the whole idea of living sacrifice, and everything you do, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, everything when you go fishing, when you go to work, when you go to sleep, when you go to the bathroom, everything you do is to bring glory to Christ, because you’re a living vibration, echoing his, you know, his frequency, basically. So it’s got a big man on the throne. Who knows, and who cares, because we’re sitting here on earth. And this is where we were told to dominion, and he’s here to so we don’t have to worry about him there. If he wants to sit on the throne everywhere else, he probably can. If he’s omnipresent. That means he’s sitting on the chair with you next to you at the bus stop. And he’s Yeah, literally with you everywhere. So.
And the last question, Elaine, go ahead.
Elaine Johnston 47:52
Is God mad at you when you don’t spend time with him?
Cody Johnston 47:57
So my question to you is this, what does it mean to spend time with God?
Elaine Johnston 48:01
I know a lot of people see this in ministry and are taught that you need to be in the Bible daily, you need to meditate on his word. And a lot of people have guilt if they’re not reading the Bible every single day. And they’ll A lot of people have given up they’re not praying to God and and saying, amen, and fall asleep during their prayer, you know, and, and a lot of people just feel guilty because they’re not walking with God. And they feel like God’s punishing them because of that. They feel like God’s angry because they’re not constantly talking to God. They’re not constantly talking about God. They’re not constantly reading the Scripture. And there’s just a lot of people who just feel like they’re being sinful. And that God’s just sitting there on a throne, staring at them and just super angry because they’re not reading scripture.
Cody Johnston 48:50
Yeah, it goes back to the whole mean kid with a magnifying glass. And we’re a bunch of ants, right? Like, God’s just up there just waiting. He’s like, yep, didn’t show up again. Today, I see it like, yep, you prioritize, you can go, you can go play video games for an hour, he wins, you read your Bible, like, you can go to the movies, and hang out with your friends. But when you spend time with me, okay, like, chill out for a minute, let’s back up. Let me encourage you and ask, what does it mean to walk with God? Right? You know, Adam walked with God and the cool today, yeah, God wants a relationship. And ultimately, that’s what we were created as his relationship because God saw the value in creation, in in relation. And he literally split himself up among the billions, and created life, right? Like, he literally took pieces of himself and embedded it in every single one of us, so that he could express his desire for community God is, is almost like the centralized mind in essence, right? he is, he is in all things and is all things and with all things. That being said, like yeah, there’s good in reading your Bible. There’s I mean, I guess, you know, like, there’s good and praying and stuff. There’s, but where’s this guilt coming from? Where’s What if I were to tell you that one of our greatest forms of worship is self love? I feel like that would be like hugely frowned upon, oh, we’re just a bunch of filthy rags. What are you talking about? No, if you’re calling yourself a filthy rag, you’re discounting the value of the cross, you’re discounting the value of Christ, you’re literally discounting the work that was done, you’re saying it was worthless that the redemptive power of Christ isn’t big enough. And that’s ludicrous to think that like, this whole like idea of like, oh, self love is bad. You know, self help is bad. All this stuff. Elaine, you’re super passionate about this, like this. You’ve gotten a numerous talks about this, where people have just often like, oh, self help is bad. Like, you can’t do anything without Christ. Okay. But there’s people doing a lot out there without Christ. Let’s be honest. Like, there’s a lot of people out there doing stuff without Christ. I don’t know. Steve Jobs, whole religious situation whenever he passed away, but he did a lot of amazing things for the world. Right? arguably some of like, the most technologically big advancements connecting people all over the globe. changing the way we do so much, brings so much joy into people’s lives. Yet, I know for a long time, he was a Zen Buddhist, right? Like he went and meditated and, and like, was seeking his spirituality other ways. Like you don’t, you can do a whole lot without a relationship with Christ. But
Elaine Johnston 51:24
you can do so much more with him, right God, and self love isn’t selfish. And I know a lot of people think it is because they feel like well, they’re glorifying themselves, they find pride in themselves. But if you’re not loving yourself, how do you have that confidence of God? If If you think that you’re incapable of relating God’s message, you’re walking with God, if you’re just constantly down in the dumps, thinking crap of yourself?
Cody Johnston 51:52
Yeah, I don’t. I don’t understand where we get off with that. I don’t know why we have. Really, it seems manipulative to me, because it’s empowering, a building or empowering an organization control over other people over yourself. Right? And so it’s kind of like the whole yes and amen mentality where you don’t know how to say no, like, God’s not in that God wants you to learn how to say no. You know, Jesus had to say no, numerous times in the Bible. He said no, to many different people. He said, No, too many different meetings. He said no, to Satan, himself, like, knows a powerful thing. And we have this crazy thing of like, it’s this this submission mentality and kind of goes back to using God’s name in vain. Ultimately, like, I’m not saying every church is bad. And I’m trying to say that, but there’s a lot of people trying to build up their little organization, their little Empire, their little battle, basically, in the name of God, and it’s all in vanity. And it’s this whole, submit, submit, submit, and there’s times to come together and co labor, co labor, co labor, but there’s a big difference in the same word being used as either master or, or excuse me, either slave or servant. Just serve is one thing, but to slave is something completely different. I don’t think God calls us to be his slaves. But I do think he calls us to serve alongside of him. Because he serves us. Yeah, I mean, think of Jesus washing the disciples feet, what did he do before he died, he wouldn’t wash some, some sinners feet, right? He washed his disciples feet, even the one that was going to betray him, even the one that was going to bring his downfall hatred, the time to wash his feet, that is the most humbling thing you could do. To wash someone’s feet is an act of servitude is an act of submission. God’s submitted to man, think about that. He submitted to man to show man the value, the value that he holds in them. And I just think that is just one of the most beautiful, beautiful things. So going back to the question, Is God mad when you don’t spend time with him? I think we need to reevaluate what it means to spend time with God. Because spending time with God is taking a moment care for yourself today. His essence is in you. Right? He’s in us, taking a moment to take joy in the cool, crisp breeze. On a nice fall morning. That’s like that’s some talking because that’s like money, lanes thing, right? Taking joy in going to the beach on a nice summer day, taking joy in the beauty of creation, taking joy at the stars and how they were made to worship, taking joy, the love of your family and your friends. Those are all acts of worship. And there’s nothing wrong with worship music, as long as it’s uplifting and not demeaning, which a lot of it can be Let’s be honest. There’s nothing wrong with reading your Bible and trying to understand I encourage anyone to read and try to read with a new lens like Elaine is doing. But realize that it’s kind of like the whole thing we said earlier, if you’re worried about trying to worship God, you’re probably worshiping God. If you spend too much time worrying, that’s actually the opposite of worship, then you’re worshipping the fear of, of the little bit. And that’s a manipulation on who God is.
Elaine Johnston 54:58
And a lot of times out, we’re taught that you can only find God in the church of the you have to show up to church, every single Sunday, every Wednesday, every meeting, every volunteer session, whatever, that you constantly have to be at church. And that’s the only way you can find God. We’ve actually heard people talk about that the four walls of the church is actually the safest place to be. And that’s not true. No see a lot of use and not and control and power and authority and all of that stuff. But a lot of people really think that they can only find God or the best way to find God is is through traditional church worship is through on their knees, on the in the pews, or in a church service on Sunday morning. But you you can find God there. But you can also find God in the mountains You can also find God when you’re painting You can also find God in friendships and, and romance and in family get togethers and indeed conversation you can find God even when you’re alone by yourself. And in prayer and meditation, even if you’re not meditating, you’re praying like, you can find God in a nice book in a nice book, you can finding God on a road trip, just listening to music with your friends like and it doesn’t even have to be Christian music, you know you you can find God at a at a metal concert. You know you there you can find God anywhere. And God’s not mad at you. If you’re not showing up on church on a Sunday morning, especially if you are pursuing your relationship with him outside of the four walls, like God’s not going to punish you for not showing up to a church service.
Cody Johnston 56:25
And I just kind of sum it all up with this. Something that gets talked about a lot in churches like Holy Spirit, we invite you here, Holy Spirit fill this place with your presence. If God is omnipresent, he can’t fill more of a spot if you have a cup overflowing with water. You can’t put more water in the cup right? You get him saying like, he is everywhere at once. The problems on us. It’s not God, can you come fill this atmosphere? It’s can we accept? And can we tap into God in this atmosphere and that applies everywhere. God is as much in a church as the isn’t a strip club, not saying go to a strip club to find God. I’m saying he’s there. He is there waiting for people to say, Hey, I feel the Holy Spirit. And then he can come in and do his work. Right? He can come in and start bringing forth that fruit start rejuvenating start bringing life. God is everywhere. It’s like a it’s a constant stream, we can tap into anywhere, everywhere, all the were everywhere at once. And that is just the beauty of God.
Elaine Johnston 57:25
And the beauty of the relationship of having a relationship with God is as much as we’re waiting on God to move and and work on our behalf. God is actually waiting on us yeah, to work with him as well. And you can pray for God to show up. You can pray for God to deliver you from something. But if you’re not willing to uproot yourself, if you are not willing to be obedient and not and will just follow every rule and regulation, what people tell you, but if you want God to move, you also have to move yourself and you Yes, you can rely on God when you no longer have strength. But God’s not. I don’t think in my head God is capable of moving if you’re not capable of moving. Yeah,
Cody Johnston 58:06
I mean, it says like, we’re the hands and feet of Christ. So he’s the nerve center. But if we’re not, if we’re not picking up the signals, we’re not going to get very far. And those signals are everywhere. That’s the beauty of God. Our question to you this week is simply what are some questions you have about God? What are some questions you’ve always asked yourself about God, and how have they been wrong? We want to hear from you. Head over to the reckless pursuit calm, hop on our subscription list. There you can get our private emails you can respond directly to us from those we love it when you guys do that. And also nomads, a safe community for Christians to ask unsafe
Unknown Speaker 58:44
questions, we want you apart,
Cody Johnston 58:46
and we want to hear your voice. If you get something out of this. We encourage you to share it on with a friend. That is the best way to keep the conversation going. We love every single one of you and as always be brave, bold and be reckless.
Elaine Johnston 59:01
We’ll talk soon.
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