If there is a God, is that God limited or limitless?
Is that God conditionally loving or unconditional?
For most of my life I put God in a box that fit my parameters and what I thought was possible and just. But what if that God was something that couldn’t be boxed couldn’t be held in by my limitations?
I was talking with probably one of my best friends today. I was laying out some things in my life that I have not put into words with anyone else face to face. We talked about God, heaven, wrath, love amongst other things.
In there came up a real story of tragedy that happened here in the Kansas City area. A mother and father murdered one of there 6 children, cut up the remains and fed to the family pigs. The question came up, could that mother be forgiven or does there have to be some sort of justice and retribution? Justice, wrath, eternal condemnation…
In the church there has been a need for justice, in the world outside the church there is also need for justice. In the life of Jesus he spoke more of mercy and loved than justice. In a cursory search the word “Grace” shows up between 113 – 131 times in the NT all depending on which version you read and the word “Justice” approximately 0. I found the word “just” but not “Justice.”
I personally have been involved in a ministry that prays around the clock for God’s justice to poured out and seen on the Earth. Most automatically assume that justice is needed or demanded outcome. It seems only natural and right.
But what if God is more than that? As a child I pictured God up in the clouds listening into some super natural police scanner waiting for that transmission where He would then pull out a lightning bolts and throw a lightning bolts down on said offender.
How can a God made of unconditional love also be a God who torments the offender? Picture a father or mother (which is ever easiest for you). That parent brings five kids into this world, that parent knows three are going to fall short of the parents standards and will then torment three of the five because of short comings forever. Does that sound like a loving being? I am going to confess, if that is the God that is that is not a God I choose to love or follow. If you heard the words “love me, or I will burn your and rip the flesh from your bones.” Sounds pretty creepy, right?
So, back to the beginning thought, are there people that God cannot forgive and are not worthy of His love? Is a parent who slaughters their own child unforgivable? Is God limited by my parameters?
Are you limiting God? In biblical times the Pharisee thought they were pretty smart and had the answers. They thought they new how the Savior would be coming and Jesus was not it. Jesus shows up and is like guys, you thought you knew but you have it wrong.
I believe I had it wrong for most of my life. I thought I knew or had answers for most anything. I now believe I know way less than I thought I did, matter o’ fact I now probably have more questions than answers…
What if God is way better than we ever thought God could be?
Contemplating life this morning, my personal life has had numerous ups and lots of downs in the past few years. I have noticed I have even become jaded towards many of the things I used to take for granted. Because of the downs I have had issues with dealing with others happiness moments, I’ve been jealous and my inner me has shut off emotions and possibly even fostered bitterness inside.
This has a tendency to isolate. I have not noticed it as much due to the fact at the same time I have become very open and honest with other areas in myself. The Cure by John Lynch has been excellent in helping me see the facade I have had put on for 40+ years. Although I still have had areas where I continue to mask. With that being said I have felt I have been more real than ever before. Ask me a question and you may hear more than you want.
But back to the contemplating….
I have shut my self off but in error. I have perceived others happiness but have realized that often my perception is based on what the other person or couple is wanting to have portrayed. Talking with people who seem to have things together or in comparison more together than me… Guess what? They are human to and possibly have more issues than you or me. We are all-out there trying to keep things together, some better than others.
When you see people or things and think that their lawn is greener than yours, remember they are people and have struggles that you may not know that they may be trying to hide whether it’s shame or pride it doesn’t matter. When you see people try looking beyond the mask, look at the person within not the outer facade or mask.
Those people that annoy you, look beyond the actions, change your perspective. Being jaded is not a good thing, it brings bitterness and isolation.
- My identity is not based on my abbilities or what others think about me.
- Be real with yourself and others
These are bringing me freedom.
I am a Conditionalist. This means I hold to an evangelical view of final judgment called Conditional Immortality or more simply, Conditionalism. You may be able to guess from the name what the view entails. It goes like this: Contrary to the traditional idea that everyone will live forever in one of two places (i.e. heaven or hell), I believe that immortality is conditional. I think the Scriptures consistently and emphatically teach that only those counted righteous in Christ will be raised from the dead to live forever while those outside of Christ will be raised, judged worthy of death, and sentenced to die a second and permanent death, forever losing God’s gift of life. To quote a popular Davidic Psalm, I believe that “evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be…
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If your Gods mad, time to learn who God really is and how he loves you for you not some potential future you…
I was listening to Caleb Miller and he brought up an analogy of a good father. ..
If you have a baby who has just learned to crawl and you are watching him crawl around on the floor. You see your child heading for the stairs ….
Do you as a father wait for the child to fall down the stairs before stepping in or do you be proactive in the situation?
A good parent steps in before there is an issue. Ask yourself, do you think you would have better parenting skills then God? He has made a way, he has already responded and rescued man before we knew there was a danger. He is not a monster waiting to punish those who don’t measure up. A good parent loves and takes care of the well behaving and the misbehaving child with the same level of love and affection. You don’t have to gain some mystical brownie points before he saves you from falling down the proverbial stairs.
He loves, accepts, and has already provided for his kids.
Go(o)d parenting 101
have become just like the gods they trust
Psalm 115:8 ESV
“Images of Jesus matter… there is a strong correlation between the images of Jesus and images of the Christian life. Our image of Jesus affects our perception of the Christian life in two ways: it gives shape to the Christian life; and it can make the Christianity credible or incredible.”
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time
How do you see Jesus? The answer to this one question sets so many beliefss, ideas, and expectations.
What is the role of Jesus in the over all scene of things?
I heard Brad Jersak quote Meistersinger Ekhart “God, save us from God.” After hearing it, it rolled around in my head for the next few days. I couldn’t shake it. I have been accused of making God in my own image or the version of Him I want to believe in. If you think about that, we all have. We have a vision of who God is based on our perceptions whether good or bad our rendition is based on what we or who we believe God/Jesus is.
I have changed my thinking and perceptions in the past few years. Formerly I was in the standard evangelical charismatic with a touch of American Pentecostal thrown in for good measure. I was a conservative republican Bible toting American. The Bible said it, I believe it, and that settles it kind of a guy. To me Jesus was just as much apple pie and American as you can get. I saw a God of love and war and judgement. I believed in hell fire and brimstone for the masses who didn’t see it that way… and I was okay with that. I saw God as a judge and Jesus as my lawyer my arbitrator. My Christianity or my perceived righteousness was based on my spiritual activity and accomplishments. I was riding a spiritual roller coaster. Running to God when I had a couple notches on my spirit belt and ducking in shame and guilt when I felt I fell short. In order to be able to go to God it was a mental game to me. If I messed up, I guess I ould have to read some extra chapters maybe fast a couple meals and God will see I am repentant and worth giving me a glance.
I found myself to be a judgmental jerk. I would play mind games looking for the short comings in others in order to make myself look better than them. I probably put people off with my mental gymnastics. I know I wasn’t drawing them in with my being me. My version of God was skewed and it formed my very being. My actions and the way I treated people came out of that.
What’s your version of God/Jesus?
That will tell a lot about you. God, save me from God! Save me from the God that I thought I knew. Save me from the judgmental spirit my paradigm birthed within me. I knew that God was LOVE (period), but always had caveats as to how he was going to roll out the book of Joel and Revelation an come out swinging and taken names and letting the blood flow. I had a bipolar godhead. God, save me from God, save me from who I believed Him to be. There is a book titled The Shack by WM Paul Young.
” “Then,” she said with finality, “if you are able to judge God so easily, you certainly can judge the world.” Again she spoke without emotion. “You must choose two of your children to spend eternity in God’s new heavens and new earth, but only two.” “What?” he erupted, turning to her in disbelief. “And you must choose three of your children to spend eternity in hell.” Mack couldn’t believe what he was hearing and started to panic. “Mackenzie.” Her voice now came as calm and wonderful as he had first heard it. “I am only asking you to do something that you believe God does. He knows every person ever conceived, and he knows them so much more deeply and clearly than you will ever know your own children. He loves each one according to his knowledge of the being of that son or daughter. You believe he will condemn most to an eternity of torment, away from his presence and apart from his love. Is that not true?” “I suppose I do. I’ve just never thought about it like this.” He was stumbling over his words in his shock. “I just assumed that somehow God could do that. Talking about hell was always sort of an abstract conversation, not about anyone that I truly…” Mack hesitated, realizing that what he was about to say would sound ugly. “Not about anyone that I truly cared about.” “So you suppose, then, that God does this easily, but you cannot? Come now, Mackenzie. Which three of your five children will you sentence to hell? Katie is struggling with you the most right now. She treats you badly and has said hurtful things to you. Perhaps she is the first and most logical choice. What about her? You are the judge, Mackenzie, and you must choose.” “I don’t want to be the judge,” he said, standing up. Mack’s mind was racing. This couldn’t be real. How could God ask him to choose among his own children? There was no way he could sentence Katie, or any of his other children, to an eternity in hell just because she had sinned against him. Even if Katie or Josh or Jon or Tyler committed some heinous crime, he still wouldn’t do it. He couldn’t! For him, it wasn’t about their performance; it was about his love for them. “I can’t do this,” he said softly. “You must,” she replied. “I can’t do this,” he said louder and more vehemently. “You must,” she said again, her voice softer. “I… will… not… do… this!” Mack yelled, his blood boiling hot inside him. “You must,” she whispered. “I can’t. I can’t. I won’t!” he screamed, and now the words and emotions came tumbling out. The woman just stood watching and waiting. Finally he looked at her, pleading with his eyes. “Could I goinstead? If you need someone to torture for eternity, I’ll go in their place. Would that work? Could I do that?” He fell at her feet, crying and begging now. “Please let me go for my children. Please, I would be happy to… Please, I am begging you. Please… Please…” “Mackenzie, Mackenzie,” she whispered, and her words came like a splash of cool water on a brutally hot day. Her hands gently touched his cheeks as she lifted him to his feet. Looking at her through blurring tears, he could see that her smile was radiant. “Now you sound like Jesus. You have judged well, Mackenzie. I am so proud of you!” “But I haven’t judged anything,” Mack offered in confusion. “Oh, but you have. You have judged them worthy of love, even if it costs you everything. That is how Jesus loves.” When he heard the words he thought of his new friend waiting by the lake. “And now you know Papa’s heart,” she added, “who loves all her children perfectly.” ”
To love perfectly, that is the premise of my view of God! He is said to be love. Gods love is unconditional, it is never ending and all sufficient. Is that agreeable? Is there another view that says this would be false? Where does wrath come in or better yet how does it fit in? If he is both a God of wrath and a God of unconditional love how can that be? I was saved from that God. I was released from a bipolar godhead and and a guilt ridden lifestyle of Christianity. No, I do not believe that I now have a license to sin or free to willy nilly do as I please. The freedom I have been given or entered into has driven or you could say it propels me to want to know Him more, to trust Him more, and to believe in Him moi used to mess up and fear going before Him because I felt unworthy, I now run to Him freely because I know how He sees me and how He defines me. That definition is all that matters. How you view God will impact your personification of Him. It will either hamper or hinder your ability to relate in fear or intimacy.
Excerpt from Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd
Constantine had a fetish with Christian symbolism, placing them on weapons of warfare and going into battle. Upon his victory he said the victory was the result of the Christian symbols and the Christian God. This see the up Christianity as the religion of the state.
“Almost overnight the church found itself in a chaplaincy role to the empire and on a trajectory that would lead to the catastrophe of a deeply compromised Christianity. The catastrophe of church as vassal to the state would find its most grotesque expression in the medieval crusades when, under the banner of the cross, Christians killed in the name of Christ. The crusades are perhaps the most egregious example of how distorted Christianity can become when we separate Christ from his ideas. Yet we continue to do this—we worship Jesus as Savior while dismissing his ideas about peace.
For seventeen centuries Christianity has offered a gospel where we can accept Jesus as our personal Savior while largely ignoring his ideas about peace, violence, and human society. We have embraced a privatized, postmortem gospel that stresses Jesus dying for our sins but at the same time ignores his political ideas. This leaves us free to run the world the way it has always been run: by the power of the sword. Under pressure from the ideology of empire, concepts like freedom and truth gain radically different meanings than those intended by Christ. Freedom becomes a euphemism for vanquishing (instead of loving) enemies; truth finds its ultimate form in the will to power (expressed in the willingness to kill).
This is a long way from the ideas of peace, love, and forgiveness set forth by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. It was Jesus’s ideas about truth and freedom that made him dangerous to the principalities and powers. But today our gospel isn’t very dangerous. It’s been tamed and domesticated. If Jesus of Nazareth had preached the paper-thin version of what passes for the “gospel”today—a shrunken, postmortem promise of going to heaven when you die—Pilate would have shrugged his shoulders and released the Nazarene, warning him not to get mixed up in the affairs of the real world. But that’s not what happened. Why? Because Pilate was smart enough to understand that what Jesus was preaching was a challenge to the philosophy of empire (or as we prefer to call it today, superpower). In making Christ the chaplain-in-chief of Constantinian Christianity, what was unwittingly done was to invent a Manichean Jesus who saves our souls while leaving us free to run the affairs of the world as we see fit.”
This God of love and peace has been morphed into a God of wrath and war.
“words for the first time, it so shocked me, I left my house, book in hand, and walked for a mile pondering what I had just read. It was a “take the red pill”moment for me. What I saw was that great and powerful nations shape God into their own image; great and powerful nations conscript God to do their bidding. Great and powerful nations use the idea and vocabulary of God to legitimize their own agenda. Great and powerful nations project God as a personification of their own national interests. And for the most part, they don’t know they are doing it. This is not to say that everything great and powerful nations do is evil—far from it. They maintain order, provide security, produce industry, maintain civility, educate the populace, preserve culture, and so on. But neither are they to be confused with the kingdom of Christ. And neither can they claim that the God revealed in the crucified and risen Christ is their God, committed to their interests! No! There are no “Christian nations”in the political sense. The risen Christ does have a “nation”(see Matt. 21: 43), but it’s not a nationalized body politic, rather it’s the baptized body of Messiah! This is what I was beginning to see—disturbing yet liberating truth.”
Can a nation claim God’s right and just cause belongs to them and that the nation is carrying out God’s will?
Lately I’ve been contemplating the songs we sing and how even the tense of the the verbs or the viewpoint to which traditionally have been applied to them affects our paradigm and can possibly create a present moment or put things off at a distance.
There was a song I never heard going down this morning, really liked it and it made me think more on distance or delay.
I took a picture of the chorus and then thought about each line through His perception or what I think his view may be.
“We love you and we’ll never stop”
You always loved us and you’ve never considered anything else
“We can’t live without you Jesus”
You’ve never been separate of us ever constant never far
“We love you were can’t get enough”
Your thoughts are forever for us never anywhere else
“And all this is for you Jesus”
His all in all, His creation was solely made and designed for us His kids, His lineage, His inheritance.
I re-worded each of the lines of the chorus from my thoughts of what God would look at us and sing it over us in reverse if you/He would.
There is no more distance or delay in my thoughts these days. I had for so many years always put my righteousness or sanctification out there on a subliminal calender in the future. I had the mentality of I’m a poor sinner being saved grace and that I was wallowing in a sin nature and always fighting some area of … oops I’m falling short again with some 7 step program.
Where God is involved i no longer see as distant and aloof, he has never left us! The NT is littered with references of “Christ in Me” whether I have acknowledged it or not. He put a plan in place prior toothed creation of the world (pre-dirt) and full filled it before Adam even breathed his first breath. The only view He will ever have of His kids is perfect, holy, redeemed, and loved! He has given all for us…
His view of you is not based on your level of faith or or some level holiness. You are His gift of grace to himself. Complete now. He provided this gift for ALL at no cost.
Seeing God as one who is truly twitterpated with you one who is fully engaged in chasing you down.
Don’t put His love and acceptance of you in the future after you have attained some higher degree of holiness. It’s the “faith of God” not the “faith in God” that matters. He believes in you way more than you could ever believe in Him.
Re-thinking what I thought I knew…
Just cuz you heard it over the pulpit does not mean it is true. The Pharisee thought they knew how the Jehovah would come on in as a warrior triumphantly wiping out any that opposed their version of God. Guess what? They were wrong…..
A friend I have known since he was a little kid wrote this…
Go ahead read it.
Truman, so proud of you!
“All who are not true worshipers of God… shall be consigned to the punishment of everlasting fire… which… does not consume what it scorches, but while it burns it repairs.”(Tertullian, Apology 48:31-33)
“And they shall know thattheir torment in that fire never will have an end…They shall know that they shall forever be full of quick sense within and without; their heads, their eyes,their tongues, their hands,their feet,their loins, and their vitals, shall forever be full of glowing melting fire, fierce enough to melt the very rocks and elements; and also that they shall eternally be full of the most quick and lively sense to feel the torment.”(Jonathan Edwards, Works, Sermon 30)
While the traditional view of hell has, for the most part, been maintained as a place of “eternal torments” (Westminster Confession, 33.2), things have changed in recent times. As Bertrand Russell wrote, “Hell is…
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When putting together a resume you want to put it out there who you are and to put the object of your purpose. A resume should say who you are in a short concise manner.
Paul was a very accomplished individual. He was a learned man, a Pharisee, he was known as a zealous man who prior to his conversion he persecuted the followers of Jesus. He was known and feared. He was a brilliant mind, a commanding knowledge of philosophy and religion, and could debate with the most educated scholars of his day.
After his conversion is credited for writing at least 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament. The dude should have an impressive Resume…
Yet when reading the New Testament he does not intriguing himself on his accolades.
In Romans he opens it up on verse 1 with his resume;
“Paul, passionately engaged by Jesus Christ, identified in him to represent him. My mandate and message is to announce the goodness of God to mankind”
Okay, so this is not necessarily his resume but he states his accreditation and his objective.
He is validated by his “passionate engagement in Christ, identified in HIM to represent HIM”
“My mandate and message is to announce the goodness of God to mankind”
His identity was not based on himself, it was not based on his abilities, or his history. It was purely based on Christmas in him. It was determined by not what he could do for God, but what God had done for him, what God had provided already.
It’s relational it’s not ability or accomplishment based.
In the start to his letter to the Ephesians he re-asserts his resume;
1 Paul, employed by the delightful resolve of God and commissioned to represent Jesus Christ to the saints in Ephesus, also to every believer in Christ Jesus,
2 I greet you with the grace and peace that proceed from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Let’s celebrate God! He lavished every blessing heaven has upon us in Christ!
4 He associated us in Christ before the fall of the world ! Jesus is God’s mind made up about mankind! He always knew in his love that he would present us again face-to-face before him in blameless innocence.
It’s on God’s doing and action not what man could ever do!