God’s Love

God’s love, God is love, or a God of love are terms that I have heard many times in the news and or on media sources lately. These facts are real for me as a Christian. The times I have heard them used have not been by Christians. It is political pundits, tv-trebles, movie-missed-the-pointers, and leftist-that-have-leaned-to-far individuals that have been giving their jaded insights into God and love. The problem is not that they are sharing their views. The problem is that Christians have a hard time separating out the partial truths they are saying. The comments have fallen into two general groups: 1. The way God should be. 2. Christians not fulfilling THEIR idea of loving your neighbor.

In my opinion, much of this comes from the postmodern influence on our society. Postmodernists change your mind by changing the vocabulary of society. One example of this is how they changed the Biblical definition of marriage. This practice is a bastardization of Romans 4:17 where God calls things into being that was not there before. 

Our Father and Love

When I have heard these interviews, the first thing that stands out is the generic term god. (It is easy to get caught up in this mindset.) So, ask them to name the god they are talking about. Another push would be to ask if it is a capital G or a lower-case g god. As a Christian I have a Father God, Jesus is my Lord, and the Holy Spirit is our Helper. Ask them to say Jesus is Lord. Pray for guidance here because you need to be knowledgeable and comfortable in how you refer to God. Who knows, their god maybe that lucky sports jersey with their good luck number on it. Please, remember the god of this world is satan, he is the maker of the problems we see here. Jesus has the keys and all things will be set right in time, read Revelation.

The second thing I have heard is they want our God to act according to their paradigms of what a good god should act like. A news commentator thought that a good god should give just sunshine, lollipops, and blue skies, and no one ever suffers. Basically, he was blaming Father God for the work of satan and this fallen world. He went on to say that a good god should accept the things he did and never judge him.

The Third issue was the definition of love. Ask them to define the love they are talking about. The burden here is on you to know God’s love, a good study is the only way to have a good answer. When was the last time YOU studied the topic of agape (love), as found in the Bible? How do charis (grace) and God’s view of you sit in your study program? Oh, just one passage or internet search does not make a study of a word or topic!

Here are a few verses:

  1. Psalm 45-God loves righteousness and hates wickedness.
  2. Psalm 136-He is good and His love endures forever.
  3. Acts 10:38-Jesus went about doing good.
  4. Exodus 34:6-7-This is God introducing Himself to Moses on Mt. Sinai. 
  5. 1 John 4:8 and 16 are the only verses I found that says “God is love”. That is enough for me, but I thought you should know. The Greek is theos eimi agape. This is from Mounce Reverse Interlinear.

Why-Is a very big part of the argument on how God acts. You need to know it is the god of this world they are complaining about, not Jehovah. Adam and Eve gave control of the Garden/world to satan, don’t blame Father God.   

Christians and love

Finger-pointing, condemnation, and you do not do enough were a few things I remember from the interviews. These are the same people that blocked Samaritan’s Purse from setting up during the pandemic to help New York hospitals. Helping and doing good deeds because we love God and our neighbor should be our heritage. Unfortunately, there are people who like to be Christians that don’t like Jesus and His ways. But, asking them how much they have personally given to relief and charity work may be a good start to changing the direction of the conversation. Just make sure you are part of the solution.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 does not fit well in a liberal thought process. Helping a person in need versus giving them everything does not get you votes on election day.  

The Father’s Love

Remember, God the Father’s love for us came at a price. There was a dead Son, a cross and beatings, blood, and letting His Son go through that for us. That part of God’s love the world cannot understand. Choosing Jesus and being led by the Spirit cost you something. Understanding grace and that the Blood of Jesus is why God accepts us with our sins is just not talked about enough.

God’s love is real, but you do not get to dictate to Him how He loves.     

Third Week of Counting the Omer

Here are the topics for study in this third week of counting the omer.  Many of these are the meeting that occurred.  If you are joining the study this week check out the other weeks at Week 1  and Week 2.

  1. Passover to PentecostThe Third Day        
  2. Passover to Pentecost –At the Start of Counting the Omer       
  3. Passover to Pentecost –Galilee and the Mountain       
  4. Passover to Pentecost –Emmaus       
  5. Passover to Pentecost –Easter Morning Meetings       
  6. Passover to Pentecost –Thomas
  7.  Passover to Pentecost – Other Contacts

Things Paul Wrote About

Paul, as the Apostle to the Gentiles, is responsible for many of the Books of the New Testament. Because of all of the different Churches, his circumstances, and the various needs of the people, he addresses many topics.  He likes to list things in his writings, and we love to form our beliefs around those lists.  But he does vary those lists according to the Churches/people he is writing too.  In this post I want to explore two topics he lists and how they are related.  The topics are: 1. “Armor” 2. “Faith, Hope, Love”.  I have previously written post on these topics, so if you want to see them they are: Faith, Hope, and Love; Putting On.

I think it would be safe to say that Paul’s habit of listing things has its foundations in the Old Testament.  One that he expounds on for this study is Isaiah 59: 17.  Isaiah is stating that the Lord was displeased because no one intervened for the sake of justice, so He clothed Himself with righteousness, salvation, vengeance, and zeal.  We love to use Ephesians 6: 14 as the Armor of God that we are to put on, but Paul uses the idea of armor and “putting on” in other Letters.  I think we focus on this one because it is a more complete list, and who does not want to be dressed up in armor!

1 Corinthians 13: 13 is our favorite verse for faith, hope, and love.  This in part is due to the beautiful explanation of love, and maybe because he uses the word “greatest.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5: 8 Paul brings these two themes together; faith and love are the breastplate with hope of salvation as the helmet.  In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 faith is paired with works; love prompts labor; and endurance is from hope in Jesus.

He weaves faith, hope, and love together in Colossians 1:4+5 with what is stored for us in heaven.  Changing ideas slightly Colossians 3:12 uses the idea of “clothe yourself” with a list that sounds like the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22.

To keep this mix going, in Romans 13:11 – 14 Paul tells us to “put on the armor of light” and “clothe yourself” with Jesus in order to “put off” deeds of darkness, which are listed.

Trying to “split hairs” over these lists is not in the spirit of Paul’s writings, and it would be better to combine all of these various thoughts to get the big picture/message.  One “big picture” I saw in doing this post is from 1 Thessalonians 5: 8 faith and love covers your heart, and hope covers your mind.

Christmas Verses – The First Coming #12

Isaiah 9:2 NIV

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.

Chapter 9 of Isaiah is another great Jesus chapter.  Starting in Chapter 8 this section of Isaiah is an encouragement to “fear God” and to not trust in mediums. 

The land of Zebulun and Naphtali, which was the west side of Galilee, was not part of Judah.  This is the area of Nazareth and where much of Jesus’ ministry took place.

http://bibleatlas.org/gadara.htm

Samuel – Saul’s Servant

The unsung hero in the story of Samuel and Saul is the servant.  I am pretty sure I have never heard a sermon about his role in the crowning of Saul as king.  He is never named and only referred to as a servant (na ar).  He had a “God part” to do and did it well.  He is easily compared to Ananias (Acts 9) in the story of Saul the Apostle.  He did the job that needed to be done and was never heard of again.  Na ar is mentioned nine times before Saul’s signs and only once after them.

In the Strong’s/Vines Concordance the first definition listed is probably not the description of this servant.  I think he would have been younger than Saul but not a boy.  He was certainly trusted and displayed knowledge of his physical surrounding.  He was also spiritually aware because he encouraged Saul to “see the prophet” when he was ready to go home.  He had brought his own money, and was willing to use it to resolve the “donkey problem.”  He was obedient and loyal to Saul and followed Saul’s leading when the uncle asked about Samuel.

He was honored at the sacrifice because he got to eat with Saul in the main room.  But he was not allowed to witness the actual pouring of the oil.  He would have seen the results of the anointing because the oil would have been all over Saul’s head.  He observed/witnessed the three signs and I cannot believe Saul was not talking about them as they went.

God used an unnamed servant to affect the history of Israel; sometimes we have to do things “just because.”  It turned out well for him.  Who knows maybe he was Ziba the servant in 2 Samuel 9 who did play a part in the life of Mephibosheth and the story of Lo Debar.