I want to live like that--not only in the wider world, but also in my closest relationships.
Praying for grace to live humbly and gratefully every day.
"... Scripture should be studied in the context of a community of believers. We are not all Lone Rangers. We admit that others have gone before us, have studied these same things, with just as much prayer and often a lot more expertise, and we cannot simply disregard all their work. God’s Spirit works in other people as well as in ourselves, and we have to at least consider their work to see if it is coherent with what we see in the Scriptures.If you can't join me in this study, at least hold me in prayer.
"... We also need to consider the present context... that we are in a community of believers. Does our understanding of the Bible make sense to them? Are we getting positive feedback, or negative feedback, from our spiritual peers? No matter how much work we put into our study, we need a little humility about our results..."
God is revealed to us most clearly in the Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is where God has chosen to make himself visible to us. Jesus is the Word made flesh—God the Son become human. He has revealed himself in a way that we could see him, touch him, hear him and see how he lives. Jesus is the way that God has chosen to reveal himself to us.(The above is quoted from https://www.gci.org/theology)
In John 14:8, Philip asked Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus responded in verse 9: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (New International Version).
Jesus is not saying that God the Father is 5 foot 8 inches tall, with brown hair and a Jewish nose. But he is saying that in his most important respects, his character, purposes, heart, and mind, God the Father is like Jesus Christ – and that is in terms of the way he interacts with others. The compassion that Jesus had shows us exactly what God is like. The zeal for righteousness, that’s what God is like. The willingness to sacrifice for others, God is like that, too. Jesus helps us see what God the Father is like – and the Holy Spirit is like that, too.
When Jesus became incarnated as a flesh-and-blood human being, he was showing us in a tangible and visible way what the Triune God is like. The apostle Paul says, “The Son is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). Even though we cannot see God directly, Jesus shows us what he’s like, in a way that we can see and hear.
Colossians 2:9 says, “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” Jesus is the summary we are given of what we need to know about God. We can never know God completely – he is simply much bigger than our minds are capable of comprehending – but we are able to have an accurate understanding of at least some things about God, because Jesus embodies all that any human being can know of God, and he came to reveal God to us.
John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”
|Preview of an unfinished post from mid February|
|children's message time at New Life Christian Fellowship on January 31|
|Penal Substitution article in Wikipedia|
|A © Reuters / Sputnik photo from <here>|
What follows is from chapter 17 of the book Across All Worlds: Jesus Inside Our Darkness by C. Baxter Kruger. I was given the book by the pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship (part of "Grace Communion International"), but I found a moment ago that I could download the whole book in pdf format. (It might work for you to get it at this link.) I'm planning on hearing Doug Johanssen preach there tomorrow at 10:00 AM.
"Father, in the freedom of your endless love and in the safety of your embrace, I acknowledge to you that something happens to me and I get lost in the darkness. Instead of living in your joy, I get crippled inside. I change. Instead of receiving your love, my soul is disturbed. I become needy. I shut down and withdraw. I become selfcentered, angry and frustrated. In my pain I hurt those I love. I waste time and life. I am embarrassed. I am scared to look at myself. Forgive me for blaming others for my problems. Speak to my soul, Father. Tell me again that there is more to me than I know. Help me believe that my existence, my life, my future is part of yours. Help me see that facing my life and my hurt means liberation and fullness, not death. Jesus, give me your eyes. Help me to see myself as you do. Holy Spirit, bear witness to my soul that I belong to Jesus and his Father forever. Show me where and when and how I am not receiving Jesus’ Father’s love. Show me how my fear is attached to people and places, events and smells and things. Transform the triggers and associations of evil into sacraments of the Father’s love. Forgive me for what I have done and said, and for what I have not done and not said to your children."equalsharing.com
"Do not worry about your life…" —Matthew 6:25equalsharing.com
A warning which needs to be repeated is that “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches,” and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22). We are never free from the recurring waves of this invasion. If the frontline of attack is not about clothes and food, it may be about money or the lack of money; or friends or lack of friends; or the line may be drawn over difficult circumstances. It is one steady invasion, and these things will come in like a flood, unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.
“I say to you, do not worry about your life….” Our Lord says to be careful only about one thing— our relationship to Him. But our common sense shouts loudly and says, “That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing yourself to think that He says this while not understanding your circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things to the point where they become the primary concern of our life. Whenever there are competing concerns in your life, be sure you always put your relationship to God first.
“Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). How much trouble has begun to threaten you today? What kind of mean little demons have been looking into your life and saying, “What are your plans for next month— or next summer?” Jesus tells us not to worry about any of these things. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the “much more” of your heavenly Father (Matthew 6:30).
"...What has happened here is that people have let a legal metaphor, a figure of speech, become the controlling description of what God is doing. Remember, all our words are based on human experiences, and the meaning of our words depends on how they are used in human affairs. And when God sometimes uses courtroom terminology to describe sin and salvation, we should not let our concepts of legal procedure to be the final description of what God is doing. When we say that the penalty of sin is death, we should not think that 'penalty' is an exact description of what is going on, as if God is obligated to inflict punishment for every transgression of his law. No, it seems that 'consequence' would be a more appropriate term. The result of sin is death, even without God having to step in to inflict it..."There's a lot more work I need to do in this time of prayer and study on this topic, but right now I need to put this away. I've got some reading to do for my job (going through the Bus Operators Rule Book and Guide) plus we have friends coming over for the evening.
"But God, in his love for man, sends his son, Jesus Christ, who becomes man and lives as we should have lived, in perfect communion and in sinlessness before God.So what's wrong with this picture?
[Dark chair is moved around to face the light chair; both face inward.]
[Light chair faces away.]
"Now, we sinners, if we believe that Jesus Christ has done this, if we believe that Jesus Christ has died for our sins, we, too, can now have this perfect fellowship with God once again.So what is wrong with this picture... specifically what's wrong with this picture of God?
[Dark chair is moved back around to the light chair; both face inward.]
"Because when God looks at us sinners, he no longer sees us, and he no longer sees our sin. He sees Jesus Christ in his blood. We are covered in the blood of the Lamb. We are, as Martin Luther said, 'snow-covered dung,' or as R.C. Sproul put it, 'Jesus Christ is our asbestos suit against the white-hot wrath of God against sinners.”
[Light chair faces away.]
"And in the end, the sinner will be cast into hell in eternal separation from God, suffering the eternal punishment he deserves for his sins, because he has not accepted the sacrifice of Christ.
"In a nutshell, that’s the Protestant view of salvation."