Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Gospel means Good News. The Gospel of Jesus or Jesus’ Good News is that He is God and that He loves you! We who know and understand this are asked to share this message with no strings attached. Unfortunately too often what is heard from us is “god loves me and he would love you too if you were like me.” This is not the Gospel. People are desperate to know they are loved and the world is persistently presenting overwhelming evidence that they’re not. We have to be different; we must present the truth of God’s unconditional love, not just in word but also in action.

Is it ironic, paradoxical or just outright diabolical that we use this verse to justify judging others? Isn’t it what Jesus said to the woman right after he told the religious people not to judge her? Is it possible this statement indicates that her sin is between her and God? And isn’t it comfortingly amazing that just a few verses later He tells us “I judge no one.”?

“You are the salt of the earth…”

This statement from Jesus is intended to give us direction, to help us understand our role in this world since “that which is perfect has come”. Few will disagree with what was just said. However we do see dramatically conflicting interpretations of how this lives out.

These opposing views begin when we determined which of salt’s two primary functions we’re going to emulate or follow. Are we going to apply salt to enhance the flavor or to act as a preservative? Most of us are taught to be the preservative spending much of our lives fighting to maintain things we can’t even be sure of, unaware that what we are stubbornly trying to preserve is the very thing Jesus came to transform.

Here’s the opening quote with the dots filled in, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” And another, “Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

It’s quite clear that flavor is the attribute Jesus is suggesting for our “Salt”. And I’m certain that the essence or seasoning we are to provide is love.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”

That which is perfect is love; that which is perfect is Jesus. We need not operate out of fear or tradition. Love never fails!

This article on Casual Christianity in The Washington Post is interesting. I relate to the “joyful minority” thought near the end.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before. Oh sure I’ve heard “Jesus is God” my whole life but never “God is Jesus” and lately I’ve been wondering why. My conclusion is that “Jesus is God” leaves us a whole lot more room to make god in our image. We can fall back on thousands of years of misconceptions, hold  to misunderstood traditions and discount the very teachings of Christ by thinking Him to be just some portion of God that we can’t really understand.

Jesus said, “When you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” And I think he meant it quite literally. One of (if not the) primary reasons for God becoming one of us was to show us who He truly is and to put to rest our wrong notions of Him. It’s very sad how soon we went back to them and created a good God/bad God rationalization. If you want to know God you need look no further than Jesus. He is the One and only God in totality.

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and quite frankly this year more than any other it has me very anxious. I’m just beginning to understand that the reason for my anxiety is the obligation that’s attached. The expectations are completely external yet so effective they couldn’t be more personal. So here’s my question: Can love and obligation peacefully coexist? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The key word here for me is peacefully, as that’s certainly not what I’ve been experiencing which causes me to think the answer is probably no. Bound is an important element of understanding obligation. And freedom is a huge part of my understanding of love. I know we are “bound together…” but also “love knows no bounds” all that to say, I’d love to hear your take on this question along with any thoughts you have on this “holiday”.

Ideally I want every day to be a gift to those I love and maybe I’m just feeling resentment that others are telling me when I need to step it up.

Recently I was rereading a favorite novel written by James A. Michener in 1949 called “The Fires of Spring”. I’ve been troubled by the following passage since:

“… She sat still and intent. Suddenly her right arm shot out quicker than David’s eye could follow. She had caught a fly. Methodically she ripped off its wings and placed the flightless creature upon her barren table. Then, with a finger of spit, she drew a wide circle about the dismembered fly. Composed and calm, she watched the fly as it stumbled about the table top. As long as the fly stayed within its circle, which was ample, the mad woman followed it patiently, with her great eyes rolling this way or that. But when the fly once touched the forbidden line, the old woman’s face clouded in anger. Then she raised her right hand and with a brutal spatulate finger crushed the fly.

Then, like a spider, she waited until another fly came into her ken. Flashingly she would snatch it from the air. Wingless the fly would wander across the surface of his restricted world. It was free until it transgressed the line. Then the horrible forefinger ended all feeble wanderings.”

The reason this disturbs me is it’s such a clear description of what we’ve been taught about God. How many times have you been warned to “stay under God’s covering” or “obedience is God’s love language”? Which is another way of saying God loves you when you’re following the rules. You’ve probably learned God has favorites and other forms of blessing theology as well. (If you follow this link please read the 5th post first, then up the page from there.)

In the story we can easily see the woman is mad yet somehow we accept this same behavior from God because He can do whatever He wants. Jesus tells us, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” Let that sink in for a minute. Is He letting Phillip know what he’s been taught is all wrong? Did Christ ever treat anyone like the fly? I guess He did get angry one time in the temple but wasn’t that anger directed at those who were profiting from folks being taught to obey or else?

Jesus came to prove God’s love for you, to show you no matter who you are or what you do, His love doesn’t change. He wants you to know Him, really know Him and it breaks His heart when we picture Him anything like the lady in the story. The truth is God gave us wings and all of creation to enjoy and explore. Please don’t let others remove your wings because of their need for control.

Can’t be found in a paycheck, a fence, a wall, a gun, an army or anything else we come up with ourselves. True security only comes from a keen understanding of how deeply God loves you, how personal and unique that love is and knowing His love will never change, never leave or even waiver.

Don’t Forget

Posted: September 25, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

God loves you like He’s never loved anyone before or will again. You are unique and His greatest desire is to have an extremely intimate one of a kind connection with you. This love, this relationship is the very one your heart desires more than anything. Don’t look for it anywhere else that will do nothing but fail, bring heartache and damage those around you. Trust Him, count on His love for you. With Him you lack nothing.

Religion answers the question with “I think so”, then asks how can I manipulate Him to love me more than He does everyone else.

Faith answers the question with “yes!”, then asks how can I know Him more.