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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…)
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…)
The night of Jesus’ birth was a very special night, perhaps the most special night that ever was. On what other night did an angel of the Lord appear to shepherds not while they were at worship but while they were at work, watching over their sheep? On what other night did an angel of the Lord herald the news of the actual birth of the Messiah – the eternal king of all creation – who could be found not in a palace clothed in purple silk and attended by maids and courtiers but in a stable swaddled in rough cloth and attended by cows? On what other night did those shepherds, half in fear and half in elation, hastily corral their flock and hurry into Bethlehem to see the newborn king?
No other night before or since has been as special as that one night when the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and gave them the long-awaited good news. The birth of the Messiah was revolutionary enough in Roman-occupied Israel, but even more revolutionary was the directive that these “good tidings of great joy” should be for ALL PEOPLE, not just the children of Abraham.
God does nothing by half or without a purpose. Those shepherds were chosen for their faith and their profession. God knew each and every one of them and designated them to be both the witnesses and the messengers of his holy messenger’s message. What previously had been told only to Mary and Joseph (and known supernaturally by Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mom) was told to the shepherds on that very special night, and the shepherds then, after they had seen Jesus for themselves, told everyone who would listen.
Who are those shepherds, the ones very carefully chosen by God to bring the good news of the birth of the Messiah to all people? We never hear of them again in scripture, or do we?
Just before he ascended to Heaven, Jesus directed Peter, the fisherman, to feed his sheep and his lambs. We know that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and that we are to follow him in everything he does. Jesus was directing Peter to take on his role – that of a good shepherd. Not as one that is hired to look after sheep for a fee, but as one who owns the sheep and guards them with his life. The shepherds abiding in the field on that most special of all nights were such shepherds, just as Jesus was, spiritually, and just as Peter became, spiritually.
Who are those shepherds?
WE ARE THOSE SHEPHERDS.
We have been carefully chosen by God, through Jesus, and have been told and seen for ourselves that Jesus is the Messiah. We are telling the world that the long-awaited savior has come and that his name is Jesus and that Jesus is King. And just like our spiritual brethren, the shepherds and Peter, we have been given the directive to watch over and feed our sheep and our lambs – that is, those who follow Jesus, as well as those who are learning to follow Jesus, and those who are going or have gone astray.
WE ARE THOSE SHEPHERDS. The message from God’s holy angel all those years ago was meant for us, just as Jesus’ directive to Peter was meant for us. Jesus is the Messiah and savior of ALL PEOPLE, and we are to feed his sheep and lambs with his Word and to guard their spiritual well-being with our lives.
Merry Christmas to you all!
HALLELUJAH, and PRAISE THE LORD!