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…)
No matter how old you are spiritually, you still need to eat your spiritual veggies.
They’re not something you just eat when you’re spiritually young; you need to keep on eating them until the day you die. In fact, when you come before God on Judgment Day, you should still have a little piece of spiritual spinach stuck between your front teeth. When he sees that, God will have a good laugh and he’ll also know you took his Word to heart to the very end.
So what are your spiritual veggies?
They’re what you learned when you first came to believe in God and follow Jesus, and they’re also the core tenets of what it means to be a Christian.
Here are the five main ones: (more…)
The hubris (another word for pride) of most Christians today is astounding. They spend a good deal of their time tsk-tsking at the world, pointing fingers and quoting scripture at people who have never picked up a Bible, let alone believe in God. They think they can force-feed Jesus to people who recoil at the very name, even though God himself could not accomplish this task. God shows us that only those who are open to hearing the Word will receive it, and yet the finger-pointing and Bible-thumping continue. Jesus NEVER forced the Word on anyone. He taught, helped and healed only those who came to him of their own free will. He forced no-one to listen to him or accept his help or advice, and neither should we.
So why is it that so many Christians feel compelled to force-feed the Word to people who aren’t interested or are openly hostile to it? Why do they hold non-believers to the same standards as believers? (more…)
Jesus told us nearly 2000 years ago that what God wants is people who genuinely want God. He’s fed up with lipservers and people who feign worship out of social obligation. God wants people to come to him in spirit and in truth, like Jesus did. Through spiritual rebirth, God has enabled us to come to him in spirit and in truth. And yet, nearly 2000 years later, mainstream Christianity still banks on people showing up at church once a week to fork over their hard-earned cash. (And they don’t even have to come to church, if they set up automatic withdrawal.) (more…)
What was going through Jesus’ mind when he left his family in Nazareth and set out alone on foot to do his ministry work? We know it happened very suddenly, this change, shortly after the wedding in Cana (where his mother prodded him to turn the water into wine and he knew it was his time). Even though Jesus had been preparing for it all his life, it was still monumental, this wormhole shift to full-time ministry work. He was a young man, trained as a carpenter and expected to take over the family carpentry business… until one day (to his mother’s secret dread and delight), he walked away.
Forty days and forty nights later, after nearly starving to death and being tempted by the devil, Jesus started calling others to walk away.
He’s still calling us. (more…)
Many Christians waste precious moments of their time here on Earth worrying. They worry about people, they worry about circumstances, they worry about money, jobs, rents, mortgages, loans, neighbors, enemies, war, plane crashes, car crashes, terrorists, pollution, their health, their hair, their weight, and their children going spiritually astray. They worry about not having enough time to do all the things they think they need to do. Some even worry about worrying too much. There is no end to their worry, but every single second of it is in vain. A mind that worries reflects a soul weak in faith.
Jesus never worried about anything. He dealt with problems as they arose; otherwise, he didn’t create any in his mind. He said: (more…)
When I posted the blog yesterday about Jesus not being God, I expected some blow-back, given how much in error most Christians are these days. I was sadly not disappointed.
Not to shrink from battle, I decided to post another blog on the same topic, but to let scripture (specifically, God) do most of the talking.
So here we go. (more…)
Jesus is not God. I’ve said this before but I think of necessity it needs to be said again (and again and again, as the need arises).
The term “Emmanuel” means “God with us”, not “This is God” or “I am God”. Jesus is called Emmanuel not because Jesus is God but because God was with Jesus and, in being with Jesus, was also with the people on Earth (as prophesied in the Old Testament). In other words, God was with the people through Jesus – not AS Jesus, but THROUGH Jesus. (more…)
As Christians, we talk a lot about loving others as Jesus showed us to love. In fact, we even designate a special word for that particular kind of Christian love (caritas), which is loosely translated as “charity”. Through charity, we love people we don’t know or maybe even don’t like, but we do it because Jesus told us to do it. It’s the Christian thing to do.
But Jesus also told us to love someone else, and that the love with which we are to love that someone else is to be first and foremost of all our loves, including caritas. In fact, the love that Jesus told us about is so crucial and so absolutely necessary that God made it the very first Commandment, specifying that we are to love him with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and all our strength. This is not an optional love, like charity, that we can turn on and off at whim or put into effect only when the opportunity arises. Loving God is a Commandment, and not just any Commandment – the first one on the list, and the one that Jesus pointed out as being the most important. (more…)
They’ve been wept over, prayed over, sat before, fallen before, bathed in tears, bathed in precious perfume, smothered in kisses, patted dry with hair, and hammered through with a crude nail. They are Jesus’ feet, the most famous feet in all of human history.
But even before his birth, scripture was extolling Jesus’ feet: (more…)