Category Archives: Jesus Christ

Love Might Win the Wayward in Your Life [REPOST]

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This hit home for me:

If you are paired with a prodigal, you know pain. Few trials slice as deeply as the spouse who goes rogue, the child who rebels, or the sibling who spins out of control. Rejecting their role and shutting out those that love them, wayward souls thunder with reckless entitlement, myopic selfishness, and chaotic, grief-instigating choices.

It’s a world of indescribable, emotional turmoil. Here’s some reasons why.

You flog yourself with the “why-stick” — why is this happening to them? Why is this happening to us? To me? Why? Whack. Whack. Whack. “Why?” is a cross that lovers of the wayward carry.

Often, they carry an ironic shame, too. With the wayward, a subtle paradox appears: the prodigal acts shamefully and feels justified — you love them sacrificially and feel ashamed. It’s a hellish twist on the idea of justification — their shame imputed to you.

Additionally, prodigals possess a dangerous, life-sucking power. They siphon the fuel out of those who love them in a “weariness-war.” The effects of this power take you beyond mere fatigue to a mind-enfeebling, soul-sapping, confidence-wrecking, depression-inciting, bone-tiring exhaustion.

What the Wayward Want

1. Choices Without Consequences

For someone fleeing from God, freedom is typically the ability to pursue desires without the burden of responsibility for their decision. John, infatuated with another woman, left Sally and their marriage of ten years in pursuit of freedom. When this appeared unstable to a judge, and Sally was awarded custody of the kids, John was outraged. Why?

A prodigal doesn’t typically engage in moral reasoning, so consequences strike them as offensive, unjust, or excessive. They fail to see that true freedom recognizes and honors the God-installed fences that define the borders between good and bad, wisdom and folly, sowing and reaping.

2. Autonomy Without Accountability

Wayward people want autonomy without the rule of love. They want a world where their wants are met without question or accountability. For the prodigal, life is about indulging desire, not accepting responsibility. The results are often disastrous.

Charlene is rarely cooperative, often stoned, and has little tolerance for discussion about how she spends her time or money. Charlene seeks a world where she can freely indulge and never explain. When accountability comes knocking, she withdraws behind an impenetrable emotional wall of unfettered autonomy, away from meddlesome scrutiny.

Few things plant a family in the manure of dysfunction quicker than feeding the delusion that one can live autonomously, yet dependent; unaccountable, yet family-funded.

What the Wayward Need

Ask the average Joe or Jaclyn about “love,” and their answers will skim the shallow pond of sentimental feelings, magnetic attraction, or the thrill of someone who makes them feel alive. Christians reject the merely sentimental and embrace a more robust vision of love. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3: 16).

At the eternal core of biblical love, we find a rugged cross. Blood-drenched yet triumphantly empty, this cross testifies to a promise-keeping love that goes beyond trifling sentiment. Think of it as “rugged love” — a love with teeth!

Love is rugged when it is

  • strong enough to face evil;
  • tenacious enough to do good;
  • courageous enough to enforce consequences;
  • sturdy enough to be patient;
  • resilient enough to forgive;
  • trusting enough to pray boldly.

Consider just two examples.

Strong Enough to Face Evil

Pete knows Becky is a serial adulterer, but he says nothing. Claire believes her brother is on drugs, but she won’t probe. Tammy overlooks the cruel comments her husband makes about her in public. Though each situation is distinct, they are all connected by a common compromise: Pete, Claire, and Tammy are all tolerating evil. If you ask them why, they say they do it all for love.

The Bible says, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil” (Romans 12:9). True and genuine love abhors evil. It means that we have eyes to see evil and the courage to respond to it. Sin and folly inhabit the soul of the wayward like unwelcome squatters. If these vices are ever to be expelled, they can’t be ignored or hidden, but must be honestly named and exposed.

Love goes beyond prodigal management to the deeper power of gospel application.

The gospel of God’s justification of evil people does not deny evil. In fact, the gospel shows us God’s deepest feelings about evil — he abhors it. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). God’s wrath is his settled and determined response to injustice, sin, rebellion, and evil. The gospel showcases how God met radical depravity with genuine, rugged love.

Let’s face it, loving like this is not simple or easy for us. To get here, you need to experience this love yourself, a love so sturdy that it enables you to face your biggest fears — rejection, anxiety over the unknown, failure. Giving rugged love begins by receiving the rugged love of God and holding fast to the promises of the gospel, knowing that he will never leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5) and that he is truly with us until the end (Matthew 28:20).

Tenacious Enough to Do Good

Naming evil is an important step, but it is only a first step. Love is made rugged by a tenacious commitment to “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

By doing positive good — responding with godly, rugged love — we overcome the evil that has been done. But if things deteriorate, we need to be ready for the painful reality that love may require letting a prodigal go. In the heart-breaking act of letting go, our intent is not to punish the person or to retaliate for what they have done to us. We must not meet evil with evil. When we do, everyone loses, and no one gets loved.

Rather, we let go as a way to do good.

Doing good requires tenacity, because the moments when it’s most necessary are the same moments when it’s most difficult. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Desperate Times Need Deeper Love

Anyone embracing rugged love faces huge emotional hurdles. It feels like we are piling on, almost as if we saw a drunk stumble in the street and decided to kick him to teach him a lesson. But if we’re serious about helping people enslaved in selfishness, we will find faith to think honestly and deeply about the gracious grit of genuine love.

Don’t be afraid. Speak the truth in love, and trust Jesus. He may surprise you.

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Musings on ~ Recognition and Rewards

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Matthew 6:1-6 English Standard Version (ESV)

Giving to the Needy

6 -1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

~~

Matthew Henry states:

6:1-4 Our Lord next warned against hypocrisy and outward show in religious duties.

What we do, must be done from an inward principle, that we may be approved of God, not that we may be praised of men. In these verses we are cautioned against hypocrisy in giving alms.

Take heed of it. It is a subtle sin; and vain-glory creeps into what we do, before we are aware. But the duty is not the less necessary and excellent for being abused by hypocrites to serve their pride.

The doom Christ passes, at first may seem a promise, but it is their reward; not the reward God promises to those who do good, but the reward hypocrites promise themselves, and a poor reward it is; they did it to be seen of men, and they are seen of men.

When we take least notice of our good deeds ourselves, God takes most notice of them. He will reward thee; not as a master who gives his servant what he earns, and no more, but as a Father who gives abundantly to his son that serves him.

~~

as I was looking this up I was hoping the meaning was different than what i knew to be true. I have been feeling a bit under appreciated and i know I shouldn’t because of the whole ‘treasures in heaven’ thing.

I do do the things I do for God and I want His kudos, but it just seems like no one else cares. I bust my butt helping people, networking, doing extra… blah…. I guess it doesn’t mean much in the big scheme of things. I will just keep doing what I do and loving on people and helping.

</end rant>

 

Musings on….. God Values Actions Above Words

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Matthew 21:28-32 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

~~

One commentary here

Answer: The Parable of the Two Sons can be found in Matthew 21:28-32. The basic story is of a man with two sons who told them to go work in the vineyard. The first son refused, but later obeyed and went. The second son initially expressed obedience, but actually disobeyed and refused to work in the vineyard. The son who ultimately did the will of his father was the first son because he eventually obeyed. Jesus then likens the first son to tax collectors and prostitutes—the outcasts of Jewish society—because they believed John the Baptist and accepted “the way of righteousness” (v. 32), in spite of their initial disobedience to the Law.

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Matthew 21:28-32

These five verses are a parable, not to the disciples, but to the chief priests and elders of the people, whose heritage or fine credentials alone would not give them the right to continue to rule. He tells the story of a son who says he will work and then does not as opposed to a son who says he will not but repents and does his father’s wishes. The former son is the leadership of Israel who agreed to the covenant but rejected it. The latter son is the publicans and harlots whose lives were sinful but who were willing to repent. Similarly, in I Corinthians 1:26-31, Paul attests that Christ will build His church through the weak and base, not the ones men think should be first. From here

~~

This clears it up a bit and dumbs it down: from here

Yes or No? A Parable of Two Sons

Theme: Faithfulness in our service to God and to others. Proper 21 (26) Year A
Object: A rake and some trash bags
Scripture: The Parable of the Two Sons: Matthew 21:28-32
Has your mother or your father ever asked you to help out around the house by doing some chores? I’m sure that has probably happened to you. This morning I am going to tell a story about a father who had two sons named John and William. One day dad walked into John’s room to find him building a model airplane. “John, we had a lot of wind last night and there are leaves scattered all over the yard. Would you please rake the leaves and put them in these trash bags?” dad asked.

“Aw Dad, I don’t have time to rake the leaves. I am working on this model airplane and I really want to finish it today,” John answered.

The father turned and left the room and went to look for William. He found William watching TV. “William, there are a lot of leaves in the yard. Would you please rake the leaves and put them in these bags?” dad asked.

“Sure, I’d be glad to,” William answered.

“Great!” said dad. “I’ll leave the rake and the trash bags in the yard.”

After his father left, John began to think about what he had asked him to to do. “I can rake the leaves and still have plenty of time to finish my model airplane later,” John thought to himself. He went outside and began raking the leaves.

When dad returned home, he saw John raking leaves. “Where is William?” dad asked.

“I don’t know. The last time I saw him he was watching TV,” John replied.

When dad went into the house, guess what he saw? There sat William, still watching TV! I wonder which of the two sons pleased his father? John, who said he wouldn’t rake the leaves, but did — or William, who said he would rake the leaves, but didn’t?

In our Bible lesson today, Jesus told a similar story to show how different people obey what God has called them to do. In Jesus’ parable of the two sons, the father asked both sons to go and work in his vineyard. Just as the two boys in my story, one son answered, “No,” but went and worked. The other son answered “yes” did not go. In telling the story, Jesus wanted us to realize that what we do is more important than what we say we will do. Jesus wants us to answer, “Yes,” when he tells us to “Love one another,” but what he really wants is for us to love one another! Jesus wants us to answer, “Yes,” when he says,”Follow me,” but what he really wants is for us to follow him! That’s the kind of child I want to be. Isn’t it the kind of child you want to be?

Father, sometimes we say, “Yes,” but our actions say, “No.” Help us to be faithful to do what you have called us to do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

~~

So after reading all that and realizing who Jesus was talking about; the pharisees VS the jewish believers and what He was talking about; believing John’s gospel about Jesus, I still can’t quite grasp my mind around it. Probably because I am a sinful human, but for me personal, I hate hate hate when someone says something negative or says no, then will turn around and do whatever that thing was they were against in the beginning.

As I type this, I realize it is because I want that said person or persons to want to do what I say, to do what I say, to agree and acknowledge what I say.

I don’t know, maybe it’s the mom in me too. I think of this parable when I think of parenting. Do we want to hear our kid[s] say no to us?

But I guess, in the end, If Jesus is ok with hearing NO, then seeing the opposite action because of a softening of the heart then I must be too.

~~felt good getting into a musings post…. been ruminating on that parable for a while.

~Kristina

Musings on…… Home Church/Bible Study

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Thinking about having a little bible study here at the house using these books:

http://store.precept.org/By-Series/40-minute-no-homework/

Read somewhere that these should be the points to follow for a ‘home church’

(Acts 2:42;42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

1 Corinthians 16:2;On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

1 Timothy 4:13; Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

2 Timothy 4:2: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.).

~~

and this paragraph stood out to me:

When we think of three core things any group — small or big are doing — things that are inward (with our relationships), things that are outward (in the area of evangelism) and things that are upward (toward God), the house church situation provides several advantages over the larger church. Notably, one of them is that it’s not a cultural shift for an unbelieving neighbour or friend of yours to accept your invitation to a gathering that meets in your home, unlike the culture shock of stepping into many of our church buildings for a Sunday morning meeting.

~~

Oh, I like this article, wraps it up in a  pretty bow: http://www.allaboutgod.com/house-church.htm, this one too,

http://www.compellingtruth.org/simple-church.html

http://homechurchhelp.com/how-not-to-meet and http://homechurchhelp.com/how-to-meet

http://www.smallgroups.com/articles/2008/how-to-start-house-church.html?paging=off

~~

Orderly Worship
1 Corin 14:

26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

Acts 17:11
11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

romans 16:3

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. 5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert 2 to Christ in Asia.

colossians 4
15 Give my greetings to the brothers 2 at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

Hebrews 10:24:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
1 Peter 4:10:

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

~~
Would be nice to get people gathered together to worship, even newbies. If it grew and became more permanent, we could use one weekend devoted to outreach. Questions about tithing, songs, outreach, growth and inverted focus all show up on the interwebs. Far too early to think about that.

My husband and I praying about it and asking others to pray also.

The Home Engineer sign

Yearn for the Day

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The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for  the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

And I saw the holy city,new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Do you yearn for this day?

The-New-Heaven-and-New-Earth

Are You Sure You Are Saved?

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At church last Sunday the verses were these below, the Reformation ESV study Bible had a note, so I looked it up:

2 Corinthians 13 English Standard Version (ESV)

Final Warnings
13 This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 2 I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them— 3 since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. 7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. 10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.

~~

TEXT NOTES: 13:5 Examine . . . Test. See 1 Cor. 11:28; Gal. 6:4.

Paul’s words help clarify the doctrine of assurance of faith. Paul asks the Corinthians to examine their own lives for evidence of salvation.

Such evidence would include trust in Christ (Heb. 3:6),

Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later,but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

obedience to God (Matt. 7:21),

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

growth in holiness (Heb. 12:14; 1 John 3:3),

14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again[b] he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23),

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

love for other Christians (1 John 3:14),

14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

Positive influence on others (Matt. 5:16),

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

adhering to the apostolic teaching (1 John 4:2),

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. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

and the testimony of the Holy Spirit within them (Rom. 8:15, 16).

12 So then, brothers,[e] we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[f] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

 

Do you have all that? Do I have all that? Trust, obedience, growth, fruit, love? Sometimes I think, yes…sometimes, no.

If we don’t think/feel/see these assurances, then how do we know we are saved?