God loves everyone unconditionally, meaning no matter what we do, He loves us, wanting the best for us. He knows what the best for each of us is, since we are His creation & children. He is patient, wanting everyone to come to Him for repentance. More about Jesus’ forgiveness here: because-he-first-loved-us.html
Many times in the Bible, we are told "Do not fear" also 1 John 4:18 says "Perfect love casts out fear". Yet, it is also written: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." (Proverbs 9:10) which seems a contradiction but it's not. When we have rightful fear of the Lord, we need not live in fear of the evil in the world. The Lord goes about His way of inspiring each of us toward His forgiveness & will. Allowing the "heat" of this world to intensify our life experience until (ideally) we drop to our knees in surrendered reverence to Him. This type of genuflect happens often from fear (illness, pain, conviction of sin) & awe as God's love provides profound moments of relief. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; it's not our only/final destination!
It makes sense to fear the One who is "all love" & therefore, all powerful. He protects us from that which is "all evil". While evil is a much limited force compared to love, it's damaging. Whereas agape, like parental love, doesn't always feel good, but it is good for us: "I am the Lord, & there is no other .... Causing well-being & creating calamity..." (Isa. 45:5 & 7). Most everyone longs for love, yet we also fear it to some degree because it means obliteration of little 's' self (our version of death on the cross). There is no hiding anything from the crucible of God's love. His love reveals, in ways that lead us to repent, our self-defeating/inflating & vengeful behaviors as well as our prideful, selfish, jealous & otherwise sinful natures. It's not easy; it's the warriors' way of the cross, fitting through the narrow gate unto resurrection.
A YouTube short I made on this topic:
A clip from a Youtube video about masculinity & the Way of the Cross:
I've been thinking about the significance of monotheism - One True God. I've been watching the series, The Triumph of Christianity with historian scholar, Bart Erhman, of the University of North Carolina. He explains that the commandment 'Thou shall have no other Gods before me' is a major factor in what caused a handful of Christians in the ancient, mostly pagan, Roman empire to become 25-35 million Christians by 400 CE.
Just as one pitfall of modernity is too much choice, the practice of worshiping many gods potentially allows for detours away from difficult but necessary changes & growth, for example, that certain circumstances or limitations are meant to cultivate. When push comes to shove, most people will take an out if given the chance. Would we not continually go from one wonder-doing god to the next until we get the help & answers we seek? Would these gods then not just be feeding our already overstuffed egos? Lower case gods appease people for status & money but the Lord God does not. Many people I'm sure wish it were not so that God doesn't work for $ lol, amen!
Simply put, we often don't like His ways & plans & that's just tough beans because there is none higher to appeal to. Much of the toughest stuff we are faced with is of our own doing anyway, not God's. The consequences of sin are often brutal. Even within the mercy & grace of Jesus Christ, the painful effects of sin are real & take time to heal. It's tempting to imagine that something else needs sorting out first, to get distracted with other 'pursuits' (gods) & before you know it, sin some more, rather than just keeping on resting still in God's hands while he mends our wounds. Our salvation happens in an instant, the moment we first believe, but healing from sin can take a lifetime & sometimes takes God level patience, like when a day feels like a thousand years. God bless, y'all, amen!
Thank God for waking me up to the bondage of sin (mine & others)! Thank you Heavenly Father for giving me sanctuary & community to support my repentance & growth in Christ. I pray for the same for everyone all over the world.
Many people like myself, broken & scarred, turn to Christ when we finally realize it is the painful, heavy grip of chains of our sins that pierce & paralyze us. Duh! It is so obvious, once you know, you know. "Therefore since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin." (1 Peter 4:1) True freedom is freedom from sin which comes through faith in Jesus. What a blessing to have ears to hear, amen!
Even though being chronically ill often feels like I am "in bondage" I continuously remind myself: I am one with Christ in eternal life knowing the only true God & Jesus Christ whom thou has sent (John 17:3). In this way with me/cfs illness, I "exercise/work out" constantly & have become a spiritual warrior. I don't let being sick turn me from Christ. Instead, I use every spark of light & energy to feel & share God's love. When I can not move on my own, I ask him to carry me. He directs my everything; my standing up, going out & lying down. "The Lord is my strength & my shield..." (Psalm 28:7)
I pray for those who do not yet recognize or feel the pain of their sin. Even though facing it can be unbearably uncomfortable, this humility is necessary for salvation ("The world's sin is unbelief in me..." John 16:9). Please Lord have mercy in your way of bringing awareness to those who are ready (& those in preparation) for the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome them. In Jesus precious name I pray, amen.
The books of Kings & Chronicles have taken me much longer to read through than the Gospels, the beautiful flowing poetry of the Psalms & wisdom oriented books such as Job. These two Bible verses (2 Kings 17:13-14) & writing this blog is inspiring me to look closer at the bigger picture & Biblical time line of events to orient myself. From 1050 to 586 B.C. there were forty-two kings & one queen (Athaliah) ruling over Israel & Judah. Apparently, only seven of them acted in ways that were pleasing to the Lord for some portion of their command!
Evil leadership is not surprising really, given our sinful natures (“As it is written: there is no one righteous, not even one." Romans 3:10). Those 464 years of kings' reign during the ancient world, are they really much different than present day's ruling class? Sadly, maybe not so much. Before the coming & death of Christ, there were many Godly laws - some consensus says there are 613 recorded throughout the old testament. Of these, most people know the moral laws; the ten commandments, (which Jesus summarizes in Mark & Matthew (22:38-39) by pointing out the primacy of 1a. & b.) These instructions from God are woven into our DNA & the fabric of our society yet claiming this is now taboo.
1a). You shall have no other gods before Me.
b). Love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:30-31)
2. You shall not make idols.
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet.
Whether we are kings, pastors or just regular people, past or present, try as we might, no one can keep one hundred percent free from breaking any of these rules & thus committing sin & doing evil in the sight of the Lord. And so out of love for us, God gave us a way of salvation out of the "prison of sin" through His son, the sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the new covenant. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.
I love the simplicity of how the author of "God's Ten Laws" puts it:
"Jesus fulfilled the purpose of the temple, and became the new door through which to come to God. People no longer had to come to the temple and offer sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. Now they would come to the new Temple – Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Shortly after Jesus’ ascension into heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all who would trust in Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 we are told that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit – the place in which He dwells...."
"A believer’s mission is not to obey the Ten Commandments – that is old covenant thinking and it proved inadequate (which was its purpose). A believer’s mission is to ..."
be moved by the Holy Spirit as described in Ezekiel 36:27 "And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." The difference in these missions is about intent. The new covenant is not about virtue signaling, compliance or works for self gain, rather, it's about love: "Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for entering & reigning over our hearts & letting your Kingdom come through us to Earth as it is in Heaven. Lord, please help me up when I am discouraged about injustice & evil and when I don't see actionable ways Christianity is flourishing. When I'm concerned wondering where & how is your Holy Spirit moving us? When I am blind to the Kingdom's expansion & fortification by your grace, power & glory Lord, please clear my vision & place me safely wherever you want me. Equip me Father with all the fruits of the Spirit I need.
I Lord, do not know much yet about all this but YOU know & I trust you. You are always working your good & divine, almighty plan. Your love holds us steady in Faith & I thank you. Come Holy Spirit, come! Please Lord, banish everything that obstructs the Holy Spirit from fully filling, purifying, refining & moving all Christians to do YOUR will on Earth as it is in Heaven. Lord, I pray that the Holy Spirit moves deeply & undoubtedly into the hearts & lives of those who do not yet know you personally & those who have gone astray. God, please leave the ninety nine to reunite one more lost sheep as you did with me. I pray all this in Jesus precious name. Amen!