Monday, December 18, 2017
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Jesus had some friends, a brother, and two sisters, named: Lazerus, Martha, and Mary. It appears their parents had died, and they were living together. (Perhaps Lazerus was supporting his sisters.) And the three of them appear in a few of Jesus' stories. In one of the stories, Jesus gets word that Lazerus is sick. And Jesus sees an opportunity for God to receive glory. Jesus could have gone to Lazerus, and healed him. But he didn't. He waited.
So, a couple of days later, Jesus announces to his disciples, that it is time to return to Judea, and go to Lazerus, because he has died. And, in this case, it was good that he died, because it would provide an opportunity for God to demonstrate his glory.
When Jesus arrives in his friends home town, he finds that, not only is Lazerus dead, but he has been buried for four days.
Martha comes to Jesus. She is convinced that Jesus has a special relationship with the Father. And Jesus could have saved her borther's life, if he had been there.
Jesus assures Martha that Lazerus will live again. And Martha agrees, "Yes, he will rise at the end of time."
This is the crux of the matter. Jesus says, "I am the resurrection. I am the life." God's plan and mission center around Jesus. Sin has broken mankind's relationship with the Father. Sin has thrown a monkey wrench into mankind's design. The world is broke. And the first step to fixing it is correcting mankind's realtionship with the Father. Without this step, no social action, no 12-step plan, no therapy, will affect the world's brokenness. People are already dead. Jesus will bring the dead out of the grave. Jesus will install them with new life. Life that opens the door, and begins the process of restoring them to their original design.
Then, Martha affirms her confidence in Jesus, and goes to get her sister. Mary comes, and expresses herself in much the same way as Martha did.
Jesus asks to go to the grave site. And when they arrive, he asks for someone to remove the stone, and open the crypt.
Now, Israel is a hot place, so the body has been rotting for fours days. The crypt would obviously reek. And let's consider the state of the body a little more. Decomposition of the body means a breakdown of the body's parts and functions. Muscle and bone are degrading. Nerves and synapses are collapsing. The body's systems would no long function, even if life would suddenly return to the body.
Then, Jesus prays in a loud voice, thanking the Father for his presence, for listening, and for partnering with Jesus. The intent of the prayer is to focus attention on God's involvment and work. Everything about to happen is a work of God. He, only, should receive any glory.
Then, Jesus commands Lazerus to come out. And Lazerus, dead for four days, walks out of the crypt. His spirit is reunited with his body. And all of the body functions, that have been disintegrating for four days during the process of decomposition, are restored and renewed.
This whole incident was intended to demonstrate that, now or later, life is in, and comes through Jesus. And not just as an escape from death. The quality of life come through Jesus. God designed people. The greatest joy and peace flows through living in agreement with his design.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
The American holiday of Thanksgiving is this week. Of course, the purpose of the holiday is to get people to slow down, take a deep breath, and remember all the good in their lives. And maybe even to off a prayer, thanking God for those good things.
When one reads the Bible, it doesn't take too long to see that God encourages a thankful life. God wants us to see the good in our lives, realize how much comes from him, and have an attitude of thanks, appreciation, which leads to a positive expectation, and courage to forge ahead.
But there are a couple of verses that are a little confusing. These verses say: "Be thankful for everything."
Really? Everything? Hitler? The bomb? Cancer? Rape and murder? Racism? Arrogance? Studpidity?
It is really difficult to see that God, who commands moral perfection, wants people to be thankful for evil in the world.
When I was in college, I took a class about aerobics. When a person exercizes (like running), energy and oxygen flow into the person's muscles. These provide the fuel for movement. Eventually, the movement depletes the energy and oxygen. The body keeps shipping, but the muscles cannot efficiently receive. So, the body goes into a state called "oxygen debt."
As oxygen debt continues, the runner begins to experience pain in his muscles. Normally, when a person is experiencing pain, he stops whatever it is that is causing the pain. But, for a runner, at the point of pain, the body begins to form new capillaries. The body is creating new channels for energy and oxygen to be transported deep into the muscles, where it is needed most.
Trials, the evil in the world, especially where it touches a child of God, is spiritual oxygen debt. God does not create evil, or trials, but God does use them to create channels into a person's heart, allowing God's love, grace, and healing to flow into the broken areas of a person's life.
So, we can be thankful in the face of trials, and evil, not because of the evil, but because of the presence of God, moving through the circumstances, bringing blessing and gowth into our lives.
When the runner experiences oxygen debt, he receives the benefit, when he acts with courage, and runs through the pain. The child of God in the midst of trial also needs to respond correctly to receive the God's love and grace. And the response varies. Sometimes it is giving forgiveness. Sometimes it is love: patience, kindness, etc.
This is part of the process of restoring a person's original design. Scripture describes a lifestyle that cooperates with God building the inner life of his children. So, we can be thankful in all circumstances, because is eternally present in all circumstances, and filling his children with his love, grace, and goodness.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Friday, November 03, 2017
Monday, October 23, 2017
Considering the ideas from the book I referred to, (remembering that I have not completed the book, but am in the section where they are analyzing the problem) there are several results that I think should be mentioned.
· Each movement of God begins with a revelation of a truth. So, someone sees this truth with greater clarity. And often, someone believes that the practice of this truth should become the number one priority. The movement begins, as some move forward with this new revelation, and some decide that the status quo needs to be maintained.
God seeks to restore his family to its original design. Each successive revelation should further renew his design, and propel his people forward. It should position his people to complete his vision for the world. So, we need to remain true to the Father, and receive each revelation. It needs to be accepted, assimilated, and practiced.
· But we cannot forget truth that is already revealed. Often, people get so enamored with the new revelation, they ignore what is in their foundation. All of God’s truth needs to be obeyed. All of God’s truth is an expression of God’s nature, and are steps toward completing his purposes.
And God has revealed his priorities. We must practice the new, the foundational, and be certain to keep God’s priorities.
· No matter what movement, whether accepting the latest, greatest, or not, we need to remember:
1. No one obeys God perfectly;
2. God loves and accepts all of his children, equally, completely, and enthusiastically.
3. Each one in God’s family must love and accept in each one in God’s family.
- To give his allegiance to the Father, Son and Spirit;
- To be united with God’s family;
- To be restored to God’s original design for people. (Or, if you prefer, to be transformed into the image of Christ.)
Monday, October 16, 2017
Thursday, October 05, 2017
Monday, October 02, 2017
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Monday, September 25, 2017
Monday, September 18, 2017
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Scripture says that God does not show partiality. The example given was between the rich and poor.
The God of the Universe, Creator of all things, gives each, and every, person 100%, focused attention. He died for each, and every, person, whether they receive that forgiveness or not, whether they choose to follow him or not.
A rich man is not more important in the Father’s eyes. A poor man is not more important in the Father’s eyes. He holds each person equally responsible for following him, for keeping his word, and for maintaining fellowship with him. And he provides equally for salvation, significance and identity. He gives love, abundant and overflowing, to each one equally. And he gives 100%, focused attention to each one equally.
Think of anything that divides one kind of people from another (race, religion, country, politics, etc.) the Father knows that this thing exists. But it does not exist for him.
There is only one division that means anything to him. Is someone in his family, or not in his family? And if someone is not in his family, it makes no difference to how his loves that person, his desire for relationship with that person, his attention on that person, or his intention to restore that person to his original design.
And Scripture says that it is God’s desire for his children to imitate his heart, his attitudes, and his behavior.
Monday, August 14, 2017
- I really love Bob, because he can see my character in nature, especially the plant kingdom.
- I really love Pam, because she takes old, worn out, and ugly things, and re-creates them into new, useful, and beautiful things … kind of like I do with my children.
- I really love Mary, because her heart is given to children. They feel safe with her. And she brings out the best in them.
- I really love John, because he brings me into the center of things, and people, and helps them understand what I am really like, and how I really feel about them.
Tuesday, August 08, 2017
Monday, July 31, 2017
- Whites and blacks.
- Democrats and Republicans. (Conservatives and progressives.)
- Christians and Muslims. (ISIS?)
- Christians and gays.
- The Police and the black community.