Monday, May 23, 2011
Ecclesiastes 1: 4 states, “Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.”
I ponder over this as many who claim a literal reading might notice this appears to go against Jesus words later in the Gospels such as in Matthew 5: 18. “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” One might ever bring up when Peter states in 2 Peter 3: 13 “new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”
One cannot build a whole case on one scripture, however if we read one clear scripture and it is contrary to others (in this case clearly) one should take notice. With that in mind I began to ponder the words and verses. Was Jesus saying that the earth will end someday? I believe that may not be the case, but rather this may be a case of reading into Jesus words what we have been taught. Often the bible and Jesus used contrasts. John’s gospel often does this when he states “light and darkness”, life and death and so on. Looking at Jesus word that way may show that Jesus was saying His words are eternal—just as the earth is eternal. “What?” you say? Jesus is saying that the earth is more likely to pass away than His words which will never. The earth is eternal and so are Jesus words.
Now about Peter; he is not talking about the destruction of the planet, but the renewal of all things. This is a time when the old injustice of this world now is passed though the fire of purification and is restored. To further my case heaven and earth are thought eternal enough to take vows by in the OT. Old Testament people do not take oaths on perishable things. OT people took oaths on things greater than themselves.
I believe the bible, but I also see that many do not grasp the danger of reading into it their own doctrines. If people like Harold Camping can teach us one thing, it is to beware of our own reasoning.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I was just struck by a thought expressed by http://freebelievers.com/ which stated:
“It's nice to know that God didn't choose me to change me. He actually wanted relationship with ME, the way I am today:)”
I have been thinking about this truth for many years now. I admit though I had not pieced it together as nicely as that one statement. About 5 or 6 years ago I began to realize that we all have agendas. We even “love” people with our own agendas thinking we know best what other’s needs. We want people to feel loved so they will come to our church, or join our MLM or anything else that in reality benefits one’s self. Love is not about our needs or desires, ever as great as they may be. Love has no agenda but, to seek what is most beneficial for the person being loved. (I know that is sort of a sloppy definition and I am reading a great book that I will do a review on in the next few weeks- months).
We often say “God loves you as you are, but will not leave you there.” While that is true, we then insert an agenda that God wants to heal, fix, or change you in some way. I wonder, that while those things may be byproducts of God’s love working in us and through us, if God’s only agenda is to love us without any of that other stuff (especially change), attached to His love for us. God is Love. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love builds up… these are but a few of the love verses, of which the greatest one is in 1 Corinthians 13:
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (NKJV)
Notice that love has no agenda but to love? The challenge then is to allow God to love. Be a person a drunk, gay, straight, transgender, lesbian, normal, weird, clean, smelly… you know like a real person who needs love! We all need to be loved and feel loved. We all need to feel accepted as we are in all our junk. While agendas should be set aside to give true love, true love will not leave a person unchanged or challenged. We may plant, others water, but God makes things (people) grow. Only God’s love can reach inside the hurting and damaged areas of our lives. So, what if we started loving others without agenda or need for them to change for further acceptance? What if God works best when the heart is full of His love and we get our agendas (as great as they are) out of the way and let God love others through us? Are you up for the challenge?
If you want to further study on this topic there is an great podcast here http://freebelievers.com/podcast-info/the-doctrine-of-change
Monday, May 09, 2011
"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”