Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

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Romans 12: 9-21 ; thoughts on the Just War theory.

March 1, 2011

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:9-21 (NIV)

War is never Just. I often wonder if the Just War Theory is just the Christianized version of Jihad…

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What if you become what you believe?

February 16, 2010
What if your ideas and belief in God, makes you ultimately like that God? What if, you become what you believe? What if your belief is in an angry God who only is concerned with justice, instead of a God of compassion who is willing to forgive yet still will give justice to those who do not choose to live in that forgiveness and find new life?
Will their view and belief in God as angry not reflect in how they treat others? God is love. Love knows not fear. Fear has to do with punishment, yet if one believes that God will punish them, are not be perfected in love. Instead of loving their enemies, they seek vengeance. They even justify that somehow they battle against flesh and blood though the bible is clear that is not where our battle lies.
However, what if the ultimate vengeance is forgiving your enemies, and forcing them to choose to let your forgiveness become their reality, which takes humility and the other choice is to reject your forgiveness and letting their pride become their shame and end?
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A song to meditate on… Roses from my friends ~ Ben Harper

November 4, 2009

I could have treated you better
But you couldn’t have treated me worse
But he who laughs last
is he who cries first

Sometimes I feel I know strangers
better than I know my friends
Why must a beginning
be the means to an end?

The stones from my enemies
these wounds will mend
But I cannot survive
the roses from my friends

When the last word has been spoken
and we’ve bared witness to the final setting sun
All that shall remain is a token
of what we’ve said and done

When all we’ve had has been forsaken
And distant church bells no longer ring
That’s the sound of a heart taken
and the story of tears from a king

The stones from my enemies
these wounds will mend
But I cannot survive
the roses from my friends

This may be the last time I see you
Forgive me for holding you close
This may be the last time I see you
So of this moment I will make the most

This may be the last time I see you
But if you keep me in your heart
together we shall be eternal
If you believe
we shall never part

The stones from my enemies
These wounds will mend
But I cannot survive
the roses from my friends

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What type of love is it?

November 2, 2009
What type of love is it?
I loved people as a legalist, yet it was always with an agenda. I thought it was “God’s” love and agenda until a few years ago when I realized that it was my own agenda. I felt that if I could “save” enough people then I would legitimize my own salvation…. Hmmm sounds like works right?
It is subtle and often a bit hard to grasp what I am talking about. It is a type of love, so you are right if you think it is love, but it is not unconditional. A fundamentalist will love you, but on THEIR terms and not without conditions. That is not true love. True love is hoping the best for even your enemies. This means even Loving them when they slap your face and expect you to fight back. True love is not expecting anything back from that person.
I love this story of a squirrel. One day the squirrel was playing in the street and a huge truck went by and the wind of the truck knocked the squirrel into the sewage grate. The squirrel struggled to get out yet, but could not. The man looked around for something to help get the squirrel out but could not find anything so stuck his arm down the sewage grate. The squirrel panicked and began to scratch and claw the man’s arm. The man was determined though to help the squirrel as he knew of a storm that was coming and would kill the squirrel so kept trying to get the squirrel out.
Now this story has two endings. One, the man gives up as his arms are bleeding too badly and his attempts to love the squirrel were not accepted by the squirrel. He leaves and cries over the lost and possibly soon to die squirrel.
In the other ending, the man does not leave the squirrel, stays with the squirrel. The man tries to save it though it dies, yet he does not want the squirrel to die alone. As the squirrel sees the water rising fast and is swept away his eye catches the man’s eyes. The squirrel begins to realize he (the squirrel) is about to drown and die, yet still does not climb out the man’s arms but knows the man was trying to help him.
Which one truly loved the squirrel?
It is that subtle… both appear to love the squirrel yet one has an agenda while the other does it for the love and hope of betterment of the squirrel.
Emotions like anger are not good or bad; it is what you do with them. Jesus was angry with the money changers and why? The sacrificial system was the equalizer of the people. It was to remind all of their sin. When some used it to profit off of others… meaning that by selling the “officially approved” sacrificial animals” it became more commerce. Instead of one sacrificing their own animal… taking time to raise it, care for it, love it and then… kill it for their own sin, one could simply buy an animal that was “perfect” and then slaughter it without a thought… there became a detachment from ones sin and the sacrifice. The sacrifice began to lose its significance to the one making the sacrifice and “profit” to those selling the sacrifice. The idea of “moneychangers” in the temple cut across the grain of the very idea of atoning sacrifice.

We have one instance of the Temple behind his anger over the money changers and that God does have hatred over things like injustice, abuse and perversion of the grace He gave through the kindness of Christ’s sacrifice for us. So how do we imitate Jesus if when he was struck, he did not retaliate or get offended… and his last dying words were, “Forgive them.”?

If we are to be angry, then we should be angry with what God is angry with, like injustice, abuse of power and position and things that place people, made in his image to be of no value. This is again a point that many seem to be missing as to what I mean and am saying. Emotions are neither good or bad, or right or wrong; it is what we do with them that makes them one or the other.

One can love Jesus, but part of loving Jesus is to accept His teachings. One of Jesus’ teachings is to love others including those that hate Jesus. That means we are called to live on and in a higher Way than the world. We live by Love and are to love others unconditionally. If they offend us (again note I am saying at times we WILL be offended) we are to forgive. Yet, one can rise above being offended when they realize that the world will be offensive and abusive toward them. Yet, the Love of God should still compel us to forgive those offenses as our offenses have already been forgiven. This is called walking in the forgiveness of Christ.

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Grace

February 24, 2009

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Grace

February 24, 2009

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What is to become of the Emerging Church?

September 13, 2008
What is to become of the Emerging Church?
I have thought about this for a while. I see two paths…
1. The emerging church is only a phase, not to be confused with a passing “fad”. God will move in phases. If you look at history, there are many cycles that seem to happen. Often there is growth and then persecution which moves into greater growth. Often the underdog become the new power. For example, early Christians were persecuted, yet not to the extent that was to come later. In this time there was growth as in the example of the 3000 that come to believe after Peter preached in Acts 2. This growth seems almost spontaneous as the Apostle often hear “rumors” of other towns who come to believe. Saul was one who also heard of this group call “the Way” and wanted to stop it as he saw them as apostate and following another “Messiah” other than that of the tradition of the Jews. Yet, as we read in Acts, God had other plans… and Saul became Paul and began planting even more churches.
Again, this pattern kept up until the time of Constantine. Nero and well as other Roman Emperors began harsh persecution until Consisting saw his vision of a Cross and the promise that under this banner he would win his battles. Then after Constantine’s battle at Battle of Milvian Bridge 312 Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of Rome.
Now all that is very abbreviated and the debate could go on for some time whether Constantine declaration was a good thing or not. Yet the pattern is always there. We can look at the Reformation as following the same patters before and after and so on.
Now, we can look at the present situation in the same light, though I would not say the persecution is at all close to the violence of the past. It is in some countries, yet as far as here in America the persecution has only been in “words” and not the violence of the past. Yet, these words are aimed at twisting the message of the emerging church into something hideous. Now the path I see is that of persecution and growth. In fact I see this persecution of words is actually helping the emerging church gain more of an audience. People who have never heard of the emerging church now have thanks to those who write against it. Curiosity is a strange animal as people who are “warned” often see it as forbidden fruit and thus are attracted to the thing they are warned about. Now, that sound negative, yet, as in the early church there were those who sought out Christians to persecute them, found that their own lives were changed in dynamic ways. The bible speaks of the message of the cross as “foolishness”: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”” (1 Cor 1:18-19) Those that have decided to use the ways of the world to attack and persecute the emerging church have actually exposed the authenticity and grace that is the foundation of the emerging church.
I see that this persecution is dying… and in that dying hard. People are seeing those for what they are and starting to look into deeper things of God and what the emerging church has to offer. This should bring new growth and though I hate to say, the death of the emerging church to bring out this new growth.
2. The second thing is that we of the emerging church are also growing and changing. Maturity comes with growth. This may be that the emerging church is really only realizing what God has been doing since the beginning. God gave many tools to the early church that have been covered over by man’s traditions. Now that is not to say traditions are evil and bad, rather to say that the traditions we hold often taint the truth of scriptures be that mainline denominations or looking at theology from the Reformed point of view. I will caution that not all these traditions are wrong, yet that they should be held out for examination in light of scripture instead of holding scripture to those traditions.
In this we have authenticity and can continue in the values we hold as the emerging church. I believe God has raised up leaders and many others again to see these values the emerging church holds. These values are things such as authenticity, living incarnationally, (allowing Christ to live in and through us), living missionally, (living out the Great Commission of sharing the gospel and making disciples of Jesus), removing personal agendas as we approach others, and seeing God working in peoples lives even before they have come to Jesus for salvation. Of course there are many more, but to me these are the big ones.
In this we have become reacquainted with these values that God holds. I see that as we walk in these values God will begin even a greater growth or awaking of people to the Message of the Gospel
Be blessed,
iggy