Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Love is not jealous; God is not jealous (or is he?)

The word in the original language generally means “having a strong, passionate emotion.” And when used intransitively is generally translated “jealous.” So, love is not jealous, therefore, God is not jealous. But God says “I am a jealous God.” This is a little confusing.


To put this into perspective, the word for “jealous” in the statement “I am a jealous God:”

·         It is only used of God.

·         It is only used six times.

·         It is only used in the Pentateuch.

·         It is only used after Israel leave Egypt.


Israel, during a time of famine, moved to live in Egypt. And they stayed 400 years. The learning, the culture, the philosophy, and the theology of Egypt seeped into Israel. They had upwards of 80 gods. It was alright to serve one, or all of them. And Israel had (unconsciously?) absorbed this concept and attitude. And it affected their practice.


Our Father is not just one god out of many. He is the only, true Creator and Father of All. And God needed to correct this type of thinking. And he used “jealous” to bump Israel out of its lethargic, lazy thinking.


God designed people for a love relationship with him. People thrive best when they flow with their design, and embrace that relationship.


“Jealousy” is generally understood as (a) seeing that somebody has something good, (b) wanting that something for yourself. “Love” is wanting the best for someone. It is the opposite of jealousy.


If God is “jealous”, it is because he wants people to embrace a love relationship with him … for which they have been designed for, for which life is best if they accept that relationship. So God is “jealous”, because he wants our best.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Love is Kind; God is Kind

Love is kind, so God is kind. The word in the original language is a unique blend of gentleness, and goodness.

In English, kind has a connotation of gentle. In other words, a kind person does not treat others harshly. A kind person has soft words, and actions. Even words or correction and rebuke are soft. They get the necessary point across, but without additional pain.

But, in the original language, the term has a component of being using, or being beneficial. There is a component of service. So, not only does a kind person not seek to cause pain and injury, but he uses words and deeds to benefit or enhance.

God could destroy us. God could inflict tremendous pain and punishment. As rebels against him, we deserve all of it. But he seeks the opposite. He seeks to build a family. He heals. He reconciles. He finds a way past sin and rebellion toward intimate relationship.

It is written in Scripture, that we change our direction in life, not because God threatens judgment, or punishes evil. We change our direction because God is kind to us. He acted to bring us back to him in Christ's death on the cross. He speaks to us to lead us to him, to restore our joy, and our original design. He provides for us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Love is Patient; God is Patient

This is not a new idea. The Bible says that God is love. That means that all the descriptions of love in the Bible are descriptions of God's nature.

The Bible says "love is patient." Patient in the original language is a compound word, coming from words for "long" and "temper."

There is an English term: "short-tempered." This is a person who is easily angered. He has a "short fuse"; he explodes quickly and easily.

Short-tempered people are frustrated by the loss of control, and unmet expectations. They run into a wall on the road of life. And because it is not easy to get around, or climb over, they bang their heads on it. And when the wall does not come tumbling down, they bang it again ... harder.

But our Father is the opposite. He is "long-tempered." He has a long fuse. He does not blow up. He waits ... and waits before expressing anger.

God is not ruled by circumstances. He is secure in his identity. He is secure in his purpose. He does not like the way the world is, but he is not controlled by it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Being the Church

The word in the original language for “church” gives the connotation of a “group of people assembled for a particular purpose.” The group of people brought together to govern a city was a common use of the word at that time. A volunteer fire company, a little league baseball team, and a chess club are current day examples.

To belong to a “church” is not unusual. It is the purpose that a “church” assembles its people for that makes a difference.

What is the purpose of the “church” of Jesus Christ?
  • To live in relation to the Creator and Father of All.
  • To give allegiance to Jesus Christ.
  • To participate in the re-creation of his kingdom by:
    • Adding to his family.
    • Restoring his design.
    • Demonstrating God’s purposes by walking in love and truth with God’s family\community.

The church is intended to be “Jesus walking in the world” today. We said said it several times here: God’s purpose is to build a family. Even though the world is filled with self, hate, and selfishness, God’s purpose has not changed. Jesus stepped into the world to facilitate God’s purposes. And we now take up Jesus’ role – to build God’s family.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Proof of Discipleship - 3

Another proof of discipleship is “unity.” I have written about this recently, a couple of times. So, this will be a short reminder.

Before he went to the cross, Jesus prayed that his disciples would be as united as he and the Father were united. And that unity is a demonstration, that the Father sent Jesus into the world, to call the world back to him.

And Jesus, the Father, and the Holy spirit have perfect unity. God’s children do not have perfect unity. But they should have an observable, practical, concrete unity. This unity should be built on love. So, we should be especially patient with one another. We should be especially kind to one another. We should bear with one another’s weaknesses, sins, “wrong” opinions, and bad decisions. It is that unity, which proclaims that Jesus is the Messiah, which proclaims that God’s children are followers of the true Creator, and true Ruler. The way we act out our unity is a very loud voice in the world.

Imagine someone discussing the positives and negatives of different political candidates. People often say to not discuss religion or politics. This is because people can very emotional over these topics. A discussion can get very heated, to put it mildly. But because of the huge impact on life, these are things that should be discussed most. People invest a lot – emotion, time, energy, resources, identity – in these things.

Now, imagine these persons are part of the family of God. If I am united with my brothers and sisters in a love relationship with my Father, and with one another:
  • How do I treat their political views?
  • How do I discuss their candidates?
  • What words do I use to characterize these things?
  • How do I talk with other people, ones that I agree with, in this light?

Do I say to my brother, “I think you have been misinformed about issue ABC?” And say to others, “Anybody who thinks that about issue ABC is stupid.” Does that honor my brother? Does that honor the family of God? And ultimately, does it honor God?

Politics is very complex. I do not say there needs to be complete agreement in the family of God. I do not say there should be no discussion. I do say we need to be mindful that this person, with whom I have political disagreements, is my brother, and Jesus died for him. I still need to love, honor, and serve him, as much as any other member of God’s family.

And how does this color our treatment of people outside of God’s family?