RSS

Category Archives: Pentecost

Living under the law

So what are we going to say? That the Law is sin? Absolutely not! But I wouldn’t have known sin except through the Law. I wouldn’t have known the desire for what others have if the Law had not said, Don’t desire to take what others have. But sin seized the opportunity and used this commandment to produce all kinds of desires in me. Sin is dead without the Law. I used to be alive without the Law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life, 10 and I died. So the commandment that was intended to give life brought death. 11 Sin seized the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and killed me. 12 So the Law itself is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good. 13 So did something good bring death to me? Absolutely not! But sin caused my death through something good so that sin would be exposed as sin. That way sin would become even more thoroughly sinful through the commandment. 14 We know that the Law is spiritual, but I’m made of flesh and blood, and I’m sold as a slave to sin. 15 I don’t know what I’m doing, because I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do the thing that I hate. 16 But if I’m doing the thing that I don’t want to do, I’m agreeing that the Law is right. 17 But now I’m not the one doing it anymore. Instead, it’s sin that lives in me. 18 I know that good doesn’t live in me—that is, in my body. The desire to do good is inside of me, but I can’t do it. 19 I don’t do the good that I want to do, but I do the evil that I don’t want to do. 20 But if I do the very thing that I don’t want to do, then I’m not the one doing it anymore. Instead, it is sin that lives in me that is doing it. (Romans 7:7-20, CEB)

The Law is not sinful but it does make the sin that is already living in us come to light. We see how we are sinful because of the Law, but the Law can not save us. The Law will only keep us held captive.

It is not I that do the evil but the sin that lives in me and is brought to light by the knowledge of sin. I in my flesh can not do good except that God is working in and through me.

So know that sin is a part of life and the Law shows us our sin.

But trust in Jesus to live in and through you to bring you through this life to life ever after with God.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

released from the law

Or do you not know, brothers and sisters (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law is lord over a person as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of the marriage. So then, if she is joined to another man while her husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she is joined to another man, she is not an adulteress. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code. (Romans 7:1-6, NET)

So if you are divorced and your husband is still alive then if you are having relationships with others you are committing adultery. Only if your husband is dead. So a man can go and do whatever they want? If we read the text as it stands, yes, men are free to do as they please and women are not, yet I believe they text implies and has a deeper meaning that you are bound to the one you know in a biblical sense which is a very intimate way. In my understanding, marriage is complete when it is consummated. So when you know a person in the biblical understanding you are really married to them. And when we get hung up on the rules of things we get held down and feel the pressure of getting things right or doing things right.

So if we are released from the burden of feeling we have to do the right things all the time we will be freed to love and share grace.

Know you are freed to love and share grace.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

woe to unrepentant cities

20 Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities in which he had done many of his miracles, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you! 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to Hades! For if the miracles done among you had been done in Sodom, it would have continued to this day. 24 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you!”(Matthew 11:20-24, NET)

Why do these cities not get it?

He had done miracles there but they still were not doing what they needed to do. It is like we don’t see the forest for the trees. Things from this world get in our way and we can not see what is right in front of us.

How can we stay focused on Jesus so we do not get distracted by the world and drawn away from God?

What can you do to stay focused on Jesus?

 

Tags: , , , , ,

test the spirit

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. 4Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6, NRSV)

Using this test is not that straight forward, because I have friends who are from God who would say some of the things I believe are not actually what God teaches, and I know I am from God. And yet we all confess that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of the world. So how does this work? I mean there are people who believe that those in the LGBTQ+ community are not Christians if they continue in that lifestyle, but my understanding is God loves us all as God created us. And again we all confess that Jesus is God in flesh.

We test the spirit by asking what would God do, How would God love in this space. An interesting cartoon I have seen several times is this one by nakedpastor. When we use the Bible to determine love we get it wrong.

We need to love as Jesus did, which means we do what is necessary regardless of the trouble we will get in.

Love as God loves!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

love one another

9Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; 10and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, 11to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, 12so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12, NRSV)

Love one another.

It really is that easy.

Think of others over yourself, and do what is needed for them to know that God loves them.

Share what you have been given with those in need and help those who need help. If you do this, then it will be done for you too.

How much better would the world be if we all loved each other?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

welcome

40“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:40-42, NRSV)

I wonder what does it mean to welcome?

If we give someone who needs a drink a drink, then we are welcoming.

To give someone who is hungry food, then we are welcoming.

If we wear a mask to protect others and ourselves from Covid-19? No that is an infringement on my rights and I shouldn’t have to do that. Sometimes we do things for others that make us uncomfortable because they are what is needed.

We need to think about others over ourselves and do what we know is right for the betterment of all people.

Welcome the stranger, the outcast, the widow, the orphan, the one that no one else will welcome. Be Christ for them and allow God’s love and grace to shine through your life.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

millstone

Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! 2It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. 4And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.” (Luke 17:1-4, NRSV)

I have always had a love-hate relationship with this verse, because everything I do as a spiritual leader is to guide people in their relationships with God, and if I lead one the wrong way it would be better for me to hang a millstone around my neck and cast myself into the sea. Not a pretty picture or thought. I pray all the time that I might be a conduit for God and let God work in and through my life so I am allowing God to speak through me and to use me for the betterment of God’s kingdom.

How much better would the world be if we all did this?

If we all sought the kingdom of God and the renewal of all relationships, rather than our own desires?

Do we all do this, I struggle to do this, but I try and I pray for strength every day.

Pray for strength to allow God to use you and to better the world!

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Let those who unsettle you…

7You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth?8Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. 10I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty. 11But my friends, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves! (Galatians 5:7-12, NRSV)

I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves! Wow! Paul really doesn’t mince words here, does he?

Those who stir up trouble should castrate themselves. But actually, this would be all of us at one point or another wouldn’t it? We all cause issues for others, but here Paul is specifically talking about those who lead you astray from following after God and being what God has created you to be.

We need to be aware of what is happening around us and focus our attention on Jesus, and let God be the focus of our lives, then we will not be lead astray. We will have the focus of seeing Jesus and following where God leads us.

A little bit goes a long way but God has protected our hearts and leads us in the ways of life. Follow and trust in God.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

circumcised?

2Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. 4You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love. (Galatians 5:2-6, NRSV)

Here is the thing Paul is saying, if you allow yourself to be circumcised when you were not as a part of the covenant at 8 days old, then it doesn’t do you any good and actually does harm to the mission. You see the last sentence says it all, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything. Neither of these options saves you.

It is Christ that saves us and no outward sign. When we do things for others we show that there are things that are necessary for salvation and that simply isn’t true. There is nothing we can do to make us right with God. Jesus does it all.

Trust in the promise and hold tight and do not let others convince you otherwise.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

sheep among wolves

5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. 9Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. 11Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12As you enter the house, greet it. 13If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.23When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:5-23, NRSV)

People will not want to hear your message of love and understanding. They will not understand mercy and grace. Even those of us who have been covered with grace do not get it.

We are sent out into a world that doesn’t know the love we have received, with little to no protection and a reliance on those who do not get us. This really doesn’t seem like a wise plan.

But your mission is not to change minds or make people like you or God, your mission is to go and to share. And if they listen and welcome you, then graciously accept what they bring to you and tell them all about God’s mercy and grace. But if they don’t listen, then shake the dust off your feet, don’t even take that from them, and move along.

You are going where they will not want you, but God is always with you. So go in confidence that you are sheltered and protected even as a sheep among wolves.

Trust the promises and go!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,