Saturday, April 3, 2021

Love Never Fails

Light of the world shine on me, love is the answer. Shine on us all, set us free, love is the answer.¹ 

I do believe love is "the" answer. For the Apostle Paul tells us that love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8 NIV). Now think about that for a moment. Love.... never.....fails!  That means in every situation where there is a disagreement between neighbors, or between nations; love is "the" answer. God in Christ Jesus showed us what that love looks like.  Jesus is love personified.  He said, "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13 ASV). Then he proceeded to do just that. He laid down his life not only for his close friends, but for his enemies as well. Jesus' followers are known by this love (John 13:35). This love is not just a cure for the world's problems. This love is a way of life.  

For God himself is love. God has always existed in other-centered love.  Love is the truth of our being. It's who we are in Christ. We are his divine children (Acts 17:28-29 AMP). The apostle John writes, Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7). John tells us that love is the identifying trademark of those who live in this reality.  

We were created in love, and because of love. God became man in Christ Jesus because of love. He lived his life for us, and as us, because of love. He went to the cross because of love. He rose from the dead because of love. He is seated in the heavenly realm because of love. He sent the Holy Spirit because of love. He shares his life with us because of love. He will come again, and his kingdom will have no end, because of love. 

But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13:13 NASB).



Join me at Seeds of Love https://gab.com/groups/34725 

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        1. Todd Rundgren and his band Utopia, "Love One Another" (music video, REDUX, Live at the Gotanda Kani Hoken Hall, Tokyo, Japan 1992), posted July 6, 2011, accessed April 3, 2021,  https://youtu.be/uSOaLugmdSY. 


Friday, December 18, 2020

A Call To Lament

The Bible tells us there were periods of time when the nation of Israel lamented. Jesus and his disciples lamented.  The scriptures instruct us to lament, mourn, and grieve. We as human beings make poor decisions that lead to sin, suffering, and death for ourselves and for our neighbors. At other times we are apathetic, and people suffer because of our absence. We experience pain, and we lament. 

Joseph lamented for his father, Jacob, with a great and grievous lamentation, and mourned for his father seven days (Gen. 50:10 ESV). Joseph authentically expressed the pain that he felt when his father died. 

To Ezekiel, God said, mourn for Egypt (Ezek. 32:18 GNT).

After Herod had all the young boys killed in and around Bethlehem, the people lamented as the prophet Jeremiah had foretold. "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more" (Mat. 2:18 NASB).

Jesus said, "Blessed are you who weep" (Luke 6:21 NKJV also see Mat. 5:4). Jesus lamented - "Jerusalem, Jerusalem" (Mat. 23:37-39 New Heart English Bible), because he saw the hardness of heart of the religious leaders, and the people's rejection of the prophets, and himself. 

Jesus wept because he felt the pain of those around him (John 11:35). 

Jesus prophesied that his disciples would lament after he was murdered. "you will weep and lament... You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turned into joy" (John 16:20 New Heart English Bible).

Mary wept at Jesus' grave (John 20:11-15).

As Jesus foretold, his disciples mourned and wept for him after he was murdered (Mark 16:10 ESV).

Disciples wept when Paul was preparing to leave them for Jerusalem (Acts 21:13).

The Apostle Paul instructed us to: Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15 NASB). 

James instructed us to: Grieve, mourn, and wail (James 4:9-10 NIV). 

Ask yourself, how does Jesus feel about people being exploited, oppressed, enslaved, and censored? 

We are made in the image and likeness of God. God created us to experience love, and joy; but also  pain, suffering, and grief. We lament because we see people being exploited. We mourn because we see people suffer. When we are apathetic, we become guilty of the sin of omission. We lack compassion, and concern for others. When we lament, and experience grief, we are participating in Jesus' emotions. 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away" (Rev. 21:3-4 NASB).

Jesus came that we may have life, and life more abundantly (John 10:10). The abundant life is our, everyone's, authentic life; and no one can take away what God in Christ has given us. 















Sunday, November 1, 2020

Parousia

Parousia (para - beside; ousia - being) refers to much more than the second coming of Christ. God has come to us in the person of Jesus, and "as creature within our creaturely being," says Thomas F. Torrance.¹ 

Even though hidden from sight, Jesus is still Jesus. God became flesh. He became a human being in Christ Jesus. He went to the cross with the same human body, and still lives in his resurrected, and ascended body. Yes, his body was changed from "perishable" to "imperishable."² Jesus is no longer flesh, and blood,  "for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;"³ but he is still human. His body has gone through some sort of metamorphosis. The human body isn't sinful. God in Christ has sanctified our human bodies. Yes, God is holy; so that says a great deal about what God believes about being human. After all, he became human - one of us - to give us life, and so that we may share in his eternal kingdom of love. 

The REALITY is that the kingdom of God has been fully inaugurated, but like Jesus, it's veiled. It's not fully manifested. In Jesus' person and work, he has accomplished salvation for us. He is our salvation. When he comes again, or when he manifests himself, salvation shall be unveiled. Then we shall be like him; changed from perishable to imperishable - glorified! 

Without this understanding of parousia, we would continue to reach for a distant god, and continue to strive to draw closer to this god; not comprehending that the only true God that is revealed in Jesus is present within us. Many believe that this distant god is coming with vengeance to destroy, and or torture human beings that are made in God's image and likeness - his own children. But this god that comes at the end of the age looks much different from the God that came in the incarnation.  That's the beauty of parousia, because instead of two different gods, we have one God - the only true God that is revealed in Jesus Christ. The God that said, "Love your enemies," is the same God throughout parousia - the first and second coming. This God is a present REALITY, and he will be unveiled, fully manifested, at his return. 

Watch my video on Parousia: 




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1. Thomas F. Torrance, Atonement: The Person and Work of Christ, ed. Robert T. Walker (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 301-302.

2. 1 Cor. 15:42, 50-54  We will become like Jesus, raised to immortality. Our bodies will be changed so that we can live in the new creation - the heavenly realm - with God. 

3. 1 Cor. 15:50

4. John 10:10





Friday, June 12, 2020

Go Ahead Make My Day

No, Jesus isn't Dirty Harry. Clint Eastwood does well in Hollywood because we as human beings often like to see the bad guy get what's coming to them. However, in Jesus' upside down cruciform world, justice is mercy!

Jesus said, "Go ahead and make my day," by forgiving us of our sins; by entering into our darkness; by becoming one of us; taking on our vengeful, hateful, get the bad guy nature, and recreating us to be what we were meant to be - God's divine children. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of God's mercy, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, that is based on who God is. God is love. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have always lived in other-centered-love, because that's God's nature. The true God is revealed only in Jesus Christ. There isn't another God that looks something like Dirty Harry. God is not vengeful. God is not angry. God is not a psychopath. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit look, just like Jesus. They are all one, but distinct. The great mystery of God is revealed in Jesus. God is not defined by our favorite scripture. True knowledge of God is revealed only in the person of Jesus Christ. 

The gospel is both a proclamation, an announcement of what has already been accomplished in Christ, and it is also an  invitation to participate in the life of God. Yes, it is finished! In Jesus' person and work, salvation for humanity is completed! However, we are invited to share in this relationship of other centered love. We are invited to celebrate the good news, which is sharing in the resurrection life of Christ! He is risen, and so have we! He is seated in the heavenly realm above all, and so are we! It's not an obscure religious life that we've been invited to share; it's the Reality of a new life in Christ Jesus!  Although we are one in Christ Jesus, we are distinct from Jesus. 

In Jesus' heavenly realm, there is no need for Dirty Harry. Jesus has conquered all his enemies not by blowing them all away, but by surrendering to them. "Them" is us!   For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God, through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (Rom. 5:10 NASB). God loves everyone, including his enemies. That's why he taught us to do the same (Mat. 5:44). 

Friday, March 13, 2020

What Jesus Accomplished Outside of the Cross

So often we talk about what Jesus accomplished at the cross, but what about what Jesus accomplished outside of the cross? 

For some time I've been preaching that the "finished work of Jesus," is much more than what Jesus did. When we speak of "the cross," we're talking about much more than Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. Yes, Jesus is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). But salvation was accomplished because of who Jesus is, as much as it was accomplished by what Jesus did. In other words, we can't separate Jesus' work from Jesus' person. Salvation is a person named Jesus. The incarnation, and atonement go together. We don't have salvation without the incarnation, and the atonement. As I've said so many times, and I will continue to emphasize, that salvation was accomplished in Jesus life, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit. 

God became man so that he could live out the God-life of other-centered-love, as us, and share with us the abundant life (John 10:10; 17:3). God became man so that he could die our death. God became man so that he could be raised to new life, as us (Col. 3:3-4). God became man so that he could offer himself anew to God, as us. God became man so that he could forever be at rest in the heavenly realm, as us (Eph. 2:5-6). God sent the Holy Spirit so that we would be awakened to the reality that has been pioneered in Christ Jesus.

So the Reality of salvation is  found in Jesus' person and work. Salvation is realized in Jesus' person and work. The cross symbolizes who God is, as well as what he has accomplished in the person of Jesus.  

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Experiencing God

Experiencing God is experiencing Reality. For God is the ultimate Reality. The true God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is love, and has always lived the life of love. It would be silly to say that God is love, and then believe that God would live some other way. If God is love, he can never be hateful. He can never live in opposition to who he is. He would be a hypocrite if he did that. 

The only true God is revealed in Jesus (Col. 1:15). There is no other God but the God revealed in Jesus Christ. Any thought that we have of God that doesn't look like Jesus, we need to discard (John 10:30; John 14:9). God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, look like Jesus. This is Reality!

What God has accomplished in Jesus Christ, he has accomplished for all. When God became man in Jesus, he brought human beings back to their rightful place. Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27). We are God-like because we are God's divine children (Ps. 82:6; John 10:34; Acts 17:28-29). 

Jesus said, "The Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them" (¹Luke 9:56). He said, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work" (John 4:34). Jesus came and did the Father's will. He said, I have finished the work that you have given me to do (John 17:4). The Father's will is to save all men. In Jesus' person, and work, Jesus did the Father's will in saving all men. When we experience God, we experience God's love for humanity. When we experience God, we experience love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). When we experience hatred, strife, anger, and envy, we are not experiencing God, we are experiencing the desires of the old, crucified nature (Gal. 5:19-21). 

So how do we experience God? First, we change our mind about God. We get to know the true God revealed in Jesus, and abandon the false god(s) that do not look like Jesus. Then, we change our mind about ourselves, and about other human beings. We know, and believe that God loves us, and has saved us. We know, and believe that we are divine children of God created in God's image, and likeness. We live in the Reality of the true God, and in the Reality of our true, authentic, self. Then we will experience God. We will experience love, joy, peace, and all the fruit of the Spirit. We will no longer experience anger, hatred, bitterness, and resentment toward others. If these thoughts, and feelings become present again, we simply remind ourselves that we are divine children of God, and that we look like God. We remind ourselves that we live, move and exist in God (Acts 17:28-29). We remind ourselves that we died with Christ Jesus, and that we were made new creations in him (Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:3-4). It's not somehow that we must get ourselves into God, or that we must somehow strive to get God to come into us. The gospel is the good news that in Jesus, God has found his way into us, and that he has brought us into himself. 


¹All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Result of A Non Inclusive Mindset

The result of a non-inclusive mindset is division. We see it in religion, politics, and the world. The tribal mindset is a result of a non-inclusive mentality. Jesus has come that we may have life, and that we may have it more abundantly (John 10:10). This abundant life that Jesus speaks of is the life of God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It's a life of other-centered-love; and other-centered-love, is inclusive love.

Christendom is guilty of this non-inclusive mindset. In Christendom, bad theology is prevalent. The bad theology that results from a non-inclusive mindset includes these two religious ideas: "I do it with God's help."  "I do my part, and God does his part." These are bad ideas, that lead to a non-inclusive mindset, and division. 

Let's look at the first phrase, "I do it with God's help." The "I do it" part, involves things that one must do to add to what  God has accomplished in Christ Jesus. This mentality comes from not understanding what the incarnation means. Many believe that after they do whatever it is they must do, then they are included; and since their inclusion is based on what they do, they can easily become excluded if they fail to do whatever it is they're told they must do perfectly enough. Different tribes say there are different things you must do if you want to be included, and stay included. This concept says that God wasn't God enough to do what he did - finish the job. It also denies that the incarnation is the union of God and man in one person. It denies that Jesus isn't really God in the flesh. Jesus is only an example that one must follow. It's Gnosticism, which says the holy God can never be united to man! So man must strive to reach the elusive God who continues to live in heaven; at a very great distance from human beings. 

Now let's examine the second phrase, "I do my part, and God does his part." This religious idea says that salvation is a fifty-fifty deal. God made a deal that you can "get to heaven" if you fulfill your part of the bargain. This is another bad idea. Again, Christendom determines what your part of the bargain is, and every denomination has different ideas. Again, this mentality denies what God completed in the incarnation, and atonement (at-one-ment). Salvation isn't a deal, it's a free gift (Rom. 6:23).

So what does inclusion really mean? We are included in the life of the Trinity, by what God has done in Jesus, the Christ. Jesus is the God-man. He is perfect theology. He is God's yes to man, and man's yes to God. Jesus is Reality! He said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (¹John 14:6 KJV). "For in him we live and move and exist." We are his children (Acts 17:28-29). There is no Reality outside of this. Everything that is real, is based on this Reality! As God's divine children, we're called to live in this reality. "This is eternal life," Jesus said, "that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3). Only in your own mind can you live outside of Reality, because God's love for us is greater than our denial or ignorance of him. God has included you and me because he is other-centered-love; that's who he is. He's made himself one of us, and he will never change his mind. 

¹Scripture references are in NASB, except where noted.