Friday, June 28, 2013

Guard Yourself – 1 Tim 6:20-21

Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. May God's grace be with you all. (NLT)
What has God entrusted to you? Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is salvation. We aren’t saved just for our own sake. If we think that, then we believe that somehow, we are worthy of salvation and the truth is that no one is worthy of being saved.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10 KJV)
We are saved because God has a higher purpose. It is to demonstrate His work in us. Think about that for a while, God took this rotten, sinning, lump of flesh and created a person that is going to look like Jesus. We begin to look like Jesus after He cleans us up by the power of His Holy Spirit and we start doing the things He has planned for us. When our work on earth is done, whether we die and go to be with Him or He returns in glory, we will be like Him (1 John 3:2). If that’s not impressive enough, He planned this well before we were saved. See Romans 8:28-29 as well.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15 KJV)
He has entrusted the Gospel to us. If someone were to ask you what the Gospel is, would you be able to explain it clearly and distinctly? Since gospel means good news, some have difficulty trying to distill all God’s blessing down to something that will cause someone to want to be saved. Others use church words that people outside of a Christian upbringing don’t understand. The U.S. is becoming a nation where “Jesus Christ” is just another swear word and have no knowledge of who He is or what He has done. So we need to be prepared to share our hope (1 Peter 3:15)
Paul provided the distilled Gospel in 1 Cor 15:1-4. We are saved by believing and taking our stand on this Gospel (vs 1-2); Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture (vs 3); He was buried and raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (vs 4). For the uneducated in Christian terms, we may have to explain what being saved really means. We may have to explain what sin is and why only Jesus’ death could pay for the penalty. We may have to explain what His burial proved and what His resurrection proved. We may have to explain why it is important to understand that the Scriptures predicted this beforehand. However, if we tell someone these basics of the Gospel, they are without excuse.
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, till I proclaim thy might to all the generations to come. (Ps 71:18 RSV)
He has entrusted us with the next generation. Whether the next generation is our own children or the children of friends and relatives, it is still our responsibility to reach them and tell them about Jesus. Jesus commanded that the children should be brought to Him (Matt 19:14). There is a horrible sin in the world today that teaches parents that they should abstain from teaching their children about God so that when they grow up they will be able to make their own decisions. This goes directly against God’s commands in the Old Testament to be diligent in teaching our children.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deut 6:4-7 ESV)
These words form the beginning of what is termed the "Shema" ("Hear") in the Jewish Services, and belong to the daily morning and evening office. They may be called "the creed of the Jews."[1]
How important is it to teach children about God? It is foremost in what God has commanded His people even before the Church came into being with Jesus as its Head. See how important it still is to Orthodox Jews. The highest declaration of our duty to God, to love Him above all things is followed by the command to teach children. Every part of our day should be an opportunity to teach. The previous lesson talked about how a TV can help or hinder our ministry. Can you imagine trying to talk to your children about how much you love God; can you explain how wonderful and glorious He is while you are watching 99% of what is on TV?
Would you say that refusing to teach your children about Jesus is a sin? Would you say that keeping information about Jesus’ power to overcome sin in their lives would increase their temptations to sin? If so then we should take Jesus’ words to heart.
One day Jesus said to his disciples, "There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin. (Luke 17:1-2 NLT)
Our world is changing with what seems to be more and more perverts who prey on children. We are suspicious of strangers and are on the lookout for anyone that may be a threat to our children. Unfortunately, this has all but stopped the ability of people to influence children other than their own. I haven’t heard of any churches recently that send a Sunday school bus out to pick up kids from families that don’t go to church. I haven’t heard of anyone going to a park to set up chalk talks for kids.
Does this mean that we can’t get to know children in our neighborhoods? No, it simply means that we have to first gain the trust of their parents. These are the parents that have grown up with little or no knowledge of churches and most importantly, Jesus. They are the parents that have had some bad experiences with a church or parents over religion when they grew up. This doesn’t excuse us from trying.
So-called Knowledge
How much of your time is spent in foolish discussions? How would you even recognize a foolish discussion? Sometimes, we need to know enough about what interests others to be able to engage them in conversation. We may chat about the last sporting event where our favorite team lost again, discuss eastern religions, or politics. When do they become foolish discussions? We can look to Paul’s example on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17:17-34).
For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing. (Acts 17:21 KJV)
Paul started talking to people about the Gospel in the synagogues and the marketplace. When some people heard him, they invited him to speak to them. Luke, the author of Acts explained the philosophers’ simply desired to talk about the latest ideas. They weren’t interested in truth and in a sense, all their talk was foolishness.
However, Paul started with some of their ideas and used it as a bridge to the Gospel. He made it clear that there will be a judgment for sin and that salvation comes by the resurrected Jesus. Many mocked him but a few listened and were saved. We have to judge how and when we can turn a discussion about foolish things into a witnessing opportunity. We may have to wait and put up with it for some time before they will listen.
I remember talking to a lady at work who was sure the economic crisis was going to be the end of life as we knew it in 1975. She was talking about burying coins in cans in her back yard so that she would have currency that had value when the crises came. When she started talking about those things, I would listen and interject that it sounded a lot like the book of Revelation. Over a period of a few weeks, I would listen and make the comment again. One day she stopped and asked just what I meant. She was ready to hear what God had to say and came to know the Lord.
Others tout their knowledge of science over spiritual matters. Some spout spiritual knowledge that has no basis in reality. What does God say about them?
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (Rom 1:22 KJV)
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Cor 1:21 NASB)
God has equated the world’s wisdom with foolishness. All that people think is wise but doesn’t bring them to a knowledge of God is utter foolishness. While science may tell us how things work in the world, it has become foolishness when it ignores the One who designed these things. They put the created thing above the Creator by insisting that creation evolved. By ignoring God’s work in creation they ignore God and worship creation (Rom 1:20-23). God’s answer is to preach a message of salvation by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to save those who would believe in Jesus. The world thinks that is foolish but the whole point is so that no one can boast before God and therefore all the glory goes to God (1 Cor 1:26-29).
Wandered from the Faith
Just how does wandering from faith happen? Is it possible that simply talking about things can lead someone from faith? That’s exactly what Paul says. Following foolish discussions has caused some to wander from the faith. It can happen in several ways but there are two that seem obvious to me.
The first one is prevalent in the media. Headlines carry a huge impact on what people think. They shout an idea loudly and it is repeated over and over. Today’s headlines (June 27, 2013) shouted that the Supreme Court’s decision was a huge victory for gay rights. Those are positive words carefully crafted to convey many ideas and concepts without reading the article. Victory and rights conjure up the idea that this has been a battle for something that is good. It says that anyone who opposes it is a looser and wrong. The concept is that if you shout something loud enough and long enough, as has been done in the media in this and other issues, people will eventually believe a lie.
There are many lies that have been shouted about God, Jesus, and Christianity that someone without a foundation in the Word will eventually believe. If the lie isn’t about these, it can be about what is sin or is not sin. These all can lead people away from faith.
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Col 2:8 NIV )
Another way foolish talk leads people astray is by wrapping up a lie with many facts gleaned from research, exploration, and even conjecture. A long chain of logic can then arrange the facts or statistics in such a way as to come up with the truth any way you want. The theory of evolution is good example. Most people don’t know the difference between a theory and a proven fact. They don’t know the difference between scientific proof and legal proof or a preponderance of evidence. As a result most people consider evolution as science and creationism as foolishness. When human logic contradicts God’s word, people often believe the lie and wander from faith.
For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. (2 Peter 3:5-6 NKJV)
This is a very telling verse. The root problem of sin in believing lies is exposed at the very beginning. People are willing to forget what God has said. The ESV says the deliberately forget. The chain of lies is believed because people are sinful and willing to believe things that will keep them from being accountable to the God who made them.
Paul closes with a simple blessing, “grace be with you.” Considering all the instructions and warnings we have received in this first letter to Timothy, we need grace. Just what is grace?
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14 NASU)
Grace is God’s favor on us to bring us to salvation in spite of our sinfulness. We can’t earn it and we don’t deserve it. It is a gift of God. Grace doesn’t stop at salvation but enables us by teaching us to live lives that will please God. It is grace because we can’t do it by our own will power. It is available when we ask and depend on His Holy Spirit to work in us.
Grace keeps us going by looking forward to Jesus’ return when all hope appears to be lost. It doesn’t matter what trails or temptations we are facing. It doesn’t matter if the world has gone crazy with ungodly laws and behavior or zombies are threatening to eat our brains. We remember it is Jesus who has redeemed us and is purifying us for Himself so that in the darkest of circumstances we can continue doing what is right. We know He has the victory in the end.
Grace be with you!

[1] Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Eternal ROI of Your Money – 1 Tim 6:17-19

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (NKJV)
Timely Perspective
This passage provides a significant contrast between the opening and ending phrases. It’s easy to miss this in the passage but even easier in life. This life isn’t all there is. The riches, poverty, or all that is in between are temporary. Right after we studied God’s immortality and His dwelling place, we are reminded that what we have in this world is not as important as how we use it for God’s glory and that means for eternal purposes.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matt 6:19-21 RSV)
We should be familiar with Jesus’ words about storing up treasures in heaven rather than on earth. However, how often do we really try to examine how we can do this? How often do we really consider the uncertainty of riches when we make decisions about how to spend our money? I’m not talking about budgeting to be good stewards, I’m talking about looking at the reasons we spend our money. The reasons we spend reveal where our heart is. Do we look at the cost of a flat screen TV and consider why we want that item or any other purchase? Do we look at it as an investment for our eternal home in heaven or something simply used to fulfill our self-indulgence? Do we consider where else we could invest the same money and know immediately that it would bring eternal benefits?
In the business world, return on investment (ROI) often drives the decisions about how to use money. It is usually calculated in a percentage of the investment over a period of years that the investment will remain useful. In the case of buying that TV and defining the return as eternal rewards, we would have to come up with some idea of how that TV would bring better, godly relationships in the family, bring someone to Christ, or provide spiritual guidance to someone to help them grow (as examples). The TV will have certain negative returns and some positive returns, depending on how it is used. If it is used only for your Bible study or group studies then the return could be as high as 100%. If it is used only for entertainment then it would be much less. If it is used instead of family communications and relationship building then the return could be negative.
When a business comes up with a very low or negative ROI, it will usually look for a better way to invest its resources. If the eternal ROI of the TV were very low because we’ve been honest about how we would use it, we could invest the money elsewhere such as a Christian summer camp scholarship, a short-term mission trip, or even a lot of faith building books. (This is assuming we’re already tithing to our churches, which should come before even considering the TV or other ministries.) It could be used to purchase a laborsaving tool that would then free my time for other things that are also investments for the kingdom. Every day we face choices where to invest the resources God has given us.
Haughty or Debased
Proper use of our riches leads us to look out for the needs of others. Examining the use of our recourses will also help us from looking down on others. Whatever the reason, riches and the improper use tend to make us think we are better than others. Lack of wealth tends to make people think less of themselves, especially when they are around the rich.
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. (James 1:9-10 KJV)
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Rom 12:3 KJV)
Either extreme of self-abasement or self-exaltation is not considering ourselves with sober judgment. For the rich, the reoccurring theme is to remember that this world will pass away quickly and we will be with our Savior. How we treat others will be one thing that will be rewarded in heaven. The blessings of wealth do not give anyone the right to lord it over others. The poor need to understand that in Christ they have the riches of heaven (Eph 1:3). We are all of one family, or potentially of one family for those who have not yet come to Christ. Both rich and poor need to view life in light of eternity where the physical riches will not matter anymore. Rich or poor have the same ability to store up treasures in heaven.
In God We Trust
In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. (1 Chron 29:12 ESV)
Riches are uncertain but there is no uncertainty with God. In direct opposition to God’s statements, most people believe that their wealth comes from their own abilities and strength. Think of the professional athlete who makes millions every year. One injury and his income is gone. The CEO of a large company is no different. Economic situations change rapidly and his company is gone or his health changes and is no longer able to work. It demonstrates that it is really God who is control. Many motivational speakers try to make you believe that if you follow their formulas, you will be successful. We can have all the plans and formulas we want, but God directs our steps (Prov 16:9). If God is not in it, our labor and striving is in vain (Ps 127:1-2).
What is a result of this attitude toward self and riches? Many rich people tend to believe that because they have earned this wealth that they have no obligation to share with those of lesser means. Since God doesn’t figure into their calculations, they don’t see the need to honor Him with it by taking care of the poor.
You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God. (Deut 8:17-20 NIV)
This is a stern warning to all who trust in riches instead of God. While God pours out His blessings of life and provision on all people regardless of their faith (Matt 5:45), eventually, those who do not acknowledge the source will pay the penalty. For those who don’t know Jesus, it will be eternal punishment just as God punished Israel when they turned from Him. For Christians who don’t realize the source of their prosperity, they will suffer loss of treasures that could have been stored up in heaven.
Willing to Share
While our eternal ROI on our investments are a valid way of trying to determine where we want to use our resources, it isn’t the only thing to consider when we use our riches for God’s glory. We can become very legalistic in our giving and that will not build on the foundation of Jesus Christ. That is building on our own foundation of good works. If the heart attitude is wrong, then the gift will not achieve its ultimate value.
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor 9:7 NASU)
It would be easy for us to give because that is what God says, but in our hearts we begrudge every dollar. We would much rather spend it on something that we want for our enjoyment or to make life a little easier for us. If we cringe every time we write a check and drop it in the offering, we need to examine our hearts to see why this is so hard to do.
Is it because we have too little and we have to cut back on what we have or do? For most of us, this isn’t the issue. If it is, then we need to examine our trust in God. Jesus commended the poor widow who put two small coins in the offering because it was all she had to live on. He didn’t condemn the rich for the abundance they put in but drew the contrast between her sacrifice and their giving which didn’t require a sacrifice (Mark 12:41-44).
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? (1 John 3:16-17 NKJV)
Willing to give can only come from a heart that God has changed. It is done from love that is sacrificial like Jesus’ love and death for us. The same love that Jesus has for us should be in our hearts when we see the needs of others. That need can be for physical things or the Gospel. That love should motivate us to be willing givers.
If we don’t have Jesus’ love in our hearts, then our giving is very likely motivated by trying to please God and win His approval. We are in essence trying to get salvation by our good deeds instead of trusting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as our only means of salvation.
How we make our decisions on the use of our riches and our attitude toward giving demonstrates what is in our hearts. Are our decisions and attitudes determined by the idol of self or the love of God and gratitude for our salvation?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Only Sovereign – 1 Tim 6:14b-16

The appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display  at the proper time—he who is  the blessed and only Sovereign,  the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality,  who dwells in  unapproachable light,  whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (ESV)
Proper Time
Have you ever asked God why He doesn’t come back now and set all things straight? If you have, you aren’t alone. The question is as old as the Bible. Job asked why God didn’t judge in verse one of Job 24. In the rest of the chapter he listed various atrocities of mankind and the plight of the poor and downtrodden. He even intercepted our arguments that the wicked are broken like a tree (Job 24:18-20) and pointed out that God prolongs or draws out the life of the wicked making them feel secure even though they don’t know how short their lives are (Job 24:22-23).
Asaph asked the same kinds of questions as he observed the same things in Psalm 73. He echoed the complaints of Job and even despaired that he had tried to live a good life in vain (Ps 73:12). Have you ever thought about how much easier or fun life might be if you didn’t have to tithe? How many times have you heard someone say he didn’t go to church because it was the only morning he had to sleep in? Do you envy the rich who prey on other and build their Cayman accounts at the expense of others?
When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. (Ps 73:16-17 KJV)
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Heb 9:27 KJV)
The proper time for Christ to appear will be a shock for many. 2 Cor 5:10 says that we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give account of our lives. For Christians, that will be a time of joy (Jude 24), but for those who don’t know Jesus, it will be a time of horror (Rev 20:11-15). While Christians look forward to the day that God will reveal Jesus in glory, we often forget that the majority of people who have been born or will be born first see Jesus in His Glory when they die and are judged. We need to keep our focus on Jesus and not on the temporal things of this world so that our eternity will not regret living as God wants.

How will God determine the proper time for Jesus to return? Paul says in 1 Tim 2:6 that at the proper time, Jesus came the first time to give Himself as a ransom to pay for our sins. We can go back to Daniel (Dan 9:26) and other prophecies in the Old Testament and see that the proper time had been revealed but was kept a secret until Jesus came (Rom 16:25-26). The Old Testament scholars of Jesus’ day knew a lot about the coming Messiah, but they couldn’t put it all together and show up in Bethlehem when Jesus was born or welcome Him when entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matt 24:14 KJV)
The same thing applies to Jesus’ second return. We know many prophecies about His return. A very important one is that the Gospel must first be preached to all nations. There are many more tribes that still need to be reached with the Gospel. If we look forward to His return and want to speed its coming (2 Peter 3:12), then we should be doing everything we can to spread the Gospel near and far. The Jesus Film project now has an app for mobile devices to show the Jesus Movie and other Gospel films.[1] It is available in over 1,150 languages. Let others know about it.
God’s Sovereignty
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. (Acts 1:6-7 KJV)
While we wait for Jesus’ return we must consider that only God knows when the right time will be. Most translations say that the Father has fixed the date by His authority. This conveys two important truths about Jesus’ return. The first is that the day is fixed. God knows the date and when it will happen. It isn’t a moving target. This seems contradictory to 2 Peter 3:12 where we are encouraged to speed the day until we understand God’s authority or sovereignty which is the second truth of the passage.
His sovereignty isn’t something we can understand with our limited minds. When we work to hasten Jesus’ return, we are doing what He intended in the first place. When we don’t spread the Gospel because of our sinfulness, He knew that would happen as well. However it goes even beyond knowing these things and His ability to work them together to accomplish His purpose and timing.
And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God saw the people of Israel, and God knew their condition. (Ex 2:24-25 RSV)
What do you think when you read this passage? Do you think that God was suddenly surprised to see what had happened after the Israelites lived 430 years in Egypt? In Gen 15:13, the Lord told Abram that his descendents would spend 430 years in Egypt. Think of everything that had to occur for that to happen. At that time, Abram didn’t have any children and Sarai was already past childbearing age. You know the story that eventually lead his great-grandchildren to sell their brother Joseph into slavery. How the caravan of Ishmaelites (also great-grandchildren of Abraham) came at just the right time to buy Joseph and take him to Egypt. All this was planned by God to bring them all to Egypt and to build them into a great nation.
The Bible tells that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart multiple times and that Pharaoh hardened his own heart while Moses displayed God’s miracles. Is God sovereign? Was this simply God’s foreknowledge of the future or did it demonstrate that He is able to affect even our attitudes and behavior to accomplish His will? How well this demonstrates that God is King of kings and Lord of lords. There isn’t any person, whether the most powerful in the world, or the least, whom God can’t direct (Prov 16:9). What were the results in this case?
And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame [exact] day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. (Ex 12:41 KJV)
If you think this is only coincidence, then you need to see how many other prophecies of the Bible have come true down to the exact details. Some were fulfilled in the Old Testament so that we can trust the reliability of the Scripture which demonstrates God’s sovereignty and points to Jesus’ first appearance. Some of the prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments speak of His second coming. Will you be ready for that if it happens before your death? If you were to die today are you ready to stand before Jesus? Are you ready to meet Jesus face to face either way?
God’s Imortality
We can’t imagine God’s immortality because we are mortal. We have a beginning and an end. Everything we see has a beginning and will have an end. Whatever we do is started and finished. The past can’t be relived and the future can’t be lived ahead of time. But God has always existed. No one created God, and if that were possible, the one who created Him would be the real God and the created one would be an imposter. The beginning and the end are all the same to Him.
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (Ex 3:14-15 KJV)
When Moses asked God for His name (by the way, God isn’t His name), He first said it was I Am that I Am. It is almost as if God wasn’t sure how to describe Himself in terms that we could understand. By saying this, He means that He exists. The One who exists is sending you to the Israelites. He then formalizes His name as Jehovah.
I Am: OT:1961 hayah (haw-yaw); a primitive root [compare OT:1933]; to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
Lord or Jehovah OT:3068 Yehovah (yeh-ho-vaw'); from OT:1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
From the Hebrew definitions of the two words, we can see that God is because He has always existed and that He is self-existent. That’s like saying a Boeing 787 built itself after it caused all the materials to come into existence. However with God, there was no point of origin when He didn’t exist. This is why He is God and no one else can claim to be God. No one can claim to make himself exist much less keep himself in existence. It is another mind-boggling attribute of God.
As a side note, most translations write God’s name, Jehovah, as Lord. Note that Lord is all caps even though the last three letters are small caps. This is traditionally the way we can always identify that the name of God, Jehovah, was used in the original Hebrew language.
So what does this mean for us? What importance does God’s eternal nature have to bear on how we live or what we do or say?
Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, “My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” (Isa 46:8-10 NASU)
The first thing is that it reminds us we are sinners. There is no way we can have the clarity and perspective that God has. As a result we look to our own pleasures and wills to do what we want. The NIV calls us rebels. We tend to think we are in control and that is an affront to God because we set ourselves up as gods when we do that. Since we are sinners and there is no one else like God, we need to acknowledge Him and get on board with His purpose.
His purposes and good pleasure has unfolded in the pages of the Bible as history has gone exactly the way it has. Jesus came at the right time. He gave His life for our salvation. Each of us has been born and live in the place God predetermined so that we would Him (Acts 17:26-27). His purpose is for us to bring glory to Himself as we turn to Jesus in faith and repentance and His pleasure is to give us eternal life with Him (Gal 1:4).
God’s Dwelling
 There are many descriptions of heaven in the Bible. Many books have been written about heaven. Some have approached it from a very biblical perspective and others drawn their conclusions from very questionable sources such as near death experiences where people have claimed that they were taken to heaven and saw a bright light. We have just talked about God’s immortality. Doesn’t it seem strange that a self-existing being would have a dwelling place? Perhaps the unapproachable light shouldn’t be construed to be as literal as we often think.
He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. (Ps 104:2-3 NIV)
When we view His dwelling in poetic terms, it is clear that God’s dwelling, or heaven, is as much beyond our understanding, as is His immortality. God describes Himself as filling heaven and earth (Jer 23:24). How can He dwell in unapproachable light and fill heaven and earth at the same time?
The only answer that I can provide is that heaven is much more that we imagine. I had a conversation with a person of great faith yet could only comprehend heaven as a physical place somewhere out in the universe, perhaps on a planet in some distant galaxy. I don’t think the conversation went well. I couldn’t convey the concept that heaven wasn’t in our physical universe and yet was a real place where there are things with physical substance but are not temporal as is everything in this universe. I look at 2 Cor 4:18 where Paul says that the unseen things are eternal. We will see them someday just as clearly as when God allowed Elisha’s servant to see the mountain surrounding Elisha with God’s army of horses and chariots of fire.
God has allowed some to see glimpses of heaven in various ways. He showed Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 and John throughout the book of Revelation. He showed Peter, John, and James on the mount of transfiguration. When we die, we will go to be with Christ (Phil 1:23) but even being with Christ after death isn’t the same as the ultimate glory of heaven described in Revelation 21. We will not see God in that unapproachable light until we receive immortal bodies because heaven is imperishable and only imperishable things can dwell in the presence of the imperishable (1 Cor 15:41-53). What we will be when we die before the resurrection, we don’t know. Jesus promised the thief on the cross that he would be with Jesus in Paradise.
Just as Moses saw God on the mountain in a burning bush, in the smoke on top of Mount Sinai, or face to face in the tent of meeting, we will be able to see God when we go to be with Christ because we are in Christ (Col 3:3). However, I don’t think we will see Him in all His glory until the promises of Revelation 21 and 22 are fulfilled and the Glory of the Lord provide the light and the Lamb is the lamp for the New Jerusalem.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, God's home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. (Rev 21:3-4 NLT)
Then we will join Paul in giving glory and honor to God and the Lamb during His eternal reign. I can’t wait. How about you? Are you ready for this?

[2] (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)