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Tag Archives: God

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?

 

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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!

 

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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?

 

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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.

 

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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!

 
 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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be faithful

8“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of the first and the last, who was dead and came to life: 9“I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the second death. (Revelation 2:8-11, NRSV)

Be faithful until death and Jesus will give you a crown of life!

We need to be aware of those around us and those who say they are followers of Christ and are actually a part of a gathering for Satan.

I read a Facebook post this past week on the rise of the number of people who say they are post-Christian, which is a survey of different generations who were raised in a Christian church but now say they do not attend and/or believe. We could take this many ways and it is hard to tell from the post the way the original survey went but is this post-Christian, or post-Christiandom? Two very different things.

People have told me they want Sunday School like we had in the 50s and 60s. Issue with this though is some people, not a large number but some, only came to worship to not be labeled a communist. The Cold War was influencing people. We need to come to worship and follow after Christ because we are drawn and actually are following Christ. It isn’t because it is right to do, or we need to be there for what we said we would do. We go to worship and are faithful to Christ because we want to be. And some “Christian” gatherings are quilting people into being there. Is there any wonder people are seeing through the facade, and saying they are post-Christian?

Have faith in the promises and follow God because you are held in God’s hand.

And Be faithful against all that is to come, because God is always with you.

 

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enduring

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. 3I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.5Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:1-7, NRSV)

We need to endure with what we have been given to do. Even when it seems we are done we need to hold fast.

The people of Ephesus were bold in their love of God and followed after God testing those who came in God’s name. But they forgot their first love and moved away from that. We need to hold tight to our fist love and allow that to carry us through and not look for more beyond that.

Follow after God and remember what God has given you to be and to do.

Share God’s love with all the world, and never lose sight of how God holds on to you.

 

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secret made known

24“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! 26“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:24-39, NRSV)

God knows your worth because God created you. And everything that people think they do in the dark and undercover God knows. And so will everyone else. It will be made known.

So proclaim what God has told you and do not worry about what society will do to you. Because they might be able to destroy your fleshly body, but they can not destroy you. Only God can do that. So be bold and share God’s love. Even when the world pushes back. We need to be witnesses to the love and mercy that God showers on us.

We must share God’s grace in everything we do.

 

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