A BORN-AGAIN BELIEVER

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GOD’S JUSTICE

bow only to God

God’s justice is perfect. Everything about God is perfect. There is no imperfection in anything he is or does, so his justice must also be perfect.

God’s justice permeates Earth and everything and everyone on it. You cannot escape God’s justice; it is built into you and everyone around you. You may say that you don’t believe in God or don’t agree with his justice, but God’s justice will still prevail over your beliefs and opinions. It is inescapable and perfect.

I mention this because there is currently a pandemic of people in every nation complaining that the state of the world is unjust, and that the way to make the world just is to defund the police, tax the rich, replace politicians, topple statues, redistribute money and property, shorten the work week, and so on and so on. The gist is that the way things are is wrong and so it must be changed, and violently if necessary.

But this “the world is unjust” viewpoint clashes with the perfection of God’s justice. Those who are unhappy with the way things are are looking for scapegoats (history, politicians, police officers, pancake syrup, etc.), insisting that if these scapegoats were removed, erased or canceled, justice would reign and peace would finally be established (“no justice, no peace”). (more…)

SSSHHHHHHH!!!…

Shhhhh....

The Bible is full of secrets. Some of the secrets are meant to be told and some are meant to remain hidden until another time. Scripture tells us that Jesus often kept things to himself, knowing peoples’ hearts and so knowing that some of his followers weren’t ready to hear God’s secrets. In John’s gospel, Jesus states openly that he has much to tell his followers, but they aren’t ready to hear it yet. He promises them that when the time is right and they’re ready, God’s Holy Spirit will tell them. (more…)

IF YOU’RE GENUINELY FOLLOWING JESUS

one way

If you’re genuinely following Jesus, very few people want to hear what you say.

The first thing that all of Jesus’ disciples did was leave their jobs, their wives, their children, their homes, and their stuff. None of Jesus’ followers had property or spouses or children. THERE WERE NO CHILDREN LIVING AMONG THE FOLLOWERS. There were children who came to listen to Jesus as he taught (and he welcomed them with open arms and blessed them), but there were no children living among the followers, just as there were no people living with spouses. Jesus’ followers lived childless, celibate and without stuff, as Jesus did.

If you’re genuinely following Jesus, very few people want to hear what you say. (more…)

MARK 11:12-26: THE ONE WHERE JESUS GETS HANGRY

Grab your whip

There’s a curious but pivotal scripture that “gentle Jesus, meek and mind” Christians tend to skip because it doesn’t fit their image of Jesus. You know the one I mean – where a hungry Jesus curses a fig tree to death and then goes on a hangry rampage in the temple, overturning tables and whipping the moneychangers for violating God’s law.

Ya gotta admit – when Jesus does hangry, he does it memorably. Most of us when we’re hangry just snap at people and then head to the corner store for a candy bar or a bag of Doritos, but Jesus let it all out. And when he did, he did it with such impact and such righteousness that we’re still talking about it today. (more…)

THE GREAT TYLENOL BOTTLE IN THE SKY

painkiller in the sky

In his letters, Paul was very clear about one thing: No earthly suffering is too much if it leads to Heaven as the reward.

Heaven is our reward if God judges that we’ve earned it. Most Christians have lost sight of that. Instead of longing for Heaven, they do everything in their power to postpone death. They run to the doctor, they demand a cure, they beg for prayers so they won’t die. Why is that? (more…)

SCRIPTURE AND GOD

scripture

When Jesus was 12, he gave his parents the slip and snuck off to the temple in Jerusalem to talk scripture. The learned elders were amazed at his knowledge and perceived he was clearly a prodigy destined for great things. But his parents experienced this event somewhat differently. For three days and nights, they frantically searched for their son. When they eventually found him, instead of apologizing, Jesus simply stated that he needed to be about his Father’s business. His parents, however, discerned otherwise, and back under their wing Jesus went. We hear nothing further about him until his “coming out” miracle at the wedding at Cana 18 years later (prompted, tellingly, by his mother, who signaled to Jesus that yes, it is finally time to be about your Father’s business).

Like the precocious 12-year-old Jesus who reveled in his knowledge of scripture, fully-grown men and women today engage in the same type of display. But instead of using temples, they vie to one-up each other on blogs, online forums or YouTube videos. And in so doing, they completely miss the point of knowing scripture. (more…)

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

 

parrot

Jesus was the most independent person on Earth. He was also 100% dependent on God.

How can this be? How can this contradiction exist? (more…)

KEEPING THE LORD’S NEW PASSOVER

 

bread and wine

On his last night on Earth in a mortal body, Jesus gave us a new Commandment to add to God’s Big Ten – to love one another as he loves us.  He also asked us to do something in memory of him. That something he asked us to do was to perform a new ceremony during the annual meal commemorating Passover. He asked us to raise a cup in his name and to share it among ourselves, and to acknowledge that this cup represents his blood. But unlike the blood of the lamb that is smeared on the doorposts, this “blood” we are to drink in spiritual solidarity with Jesus, in memory of him. Same with the bread, which Jesus broke apart and shared among his followers; we are to eat the bread as if it were Jesus’ “body”. This is not an act of spiritual cannibalism but a recognition that Jesus is God’s sacrificial lamb, and that if we want the benefits of that sacrifice, we must do as Jesus’ told us to do – to drink the blood of the lamb and to eat its flesh so that it becomes a part of us, so that Jesus becomes part of us. (more…)

ARE YOU PROTECTED?

safe-in-gods-hand

In one of his final prayers before his crucifixion, Jesus asked God to protect his followers. He was very specific that they were to be protected – not taken out of the world, but protected while in the world. This request echoes God’s promise throughout the Old Testament that he would prosper and protect those who do his will and keep his Commandments. Jesus was inferring by his prayer that his followers would, in fact, do just that.

So here we are, nearly 2000 years later, and God is still making good on Jesus’ prayer. Genuine followers of Jesus are still prospering in everything they do and still being protected, AS LONG AS THEY CONSISTENTLY AND WILLINGLY CHOOSE TO DO GOD’S WILL AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. (more…)

OBEDIENCE TO GOD

OBEDIENCE TO GOD

The core characteristic that many people might find least sexy about Jesus is the same core characteristic that made him the Messiah: his willing obedience to God. Note that Jesus wasn’t just obedient – he was willingly obedient. It was this willful obedience of Jesus that God commended on a few occasions, saying: “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” God didn’t say “This is my beloved son, whose strong faith I admire” or “This is my beloved son, who is always so nice to people”. No, God didn’t commend Jesus for his faith or his works – he commended him for his obedience in doing what “pleased” him. If God places such emphasis on willful obedience, then we should, too.

But what does it mean to be willingly obedient to God? And why is it so important? (more…)