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Showing posts from December 30, 2012

Get the Right Sword

And He said to them, "But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36) Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)
These verses used to really puzzle me as I suspect they have done for millions of people. This first verse was something Jesus said as He opened up His heart to His disciples for the last time in the upper room just before His death. We are not alone in puzzling over this, for the disciples who heard Jesus say this were just as baffled about what He must mean. In fact, they responded by informing Him of how many 'swords' they already had to which Jesus responded that it was enough.
So, was Jesus actually talking about physical swords when He said these words? Did Jesus really want them to go out right then and try to buy some swords from their Roman occupiers so they could be prepared to f…

How Much Can God Trust Us?

Can God trust us with our enemies? Can God trust me enough to make my enemies vulnerable by giving me power over them?
If we look around it doesn't take long at all to see how most people think enemies should be treated. And sadly most Christians have little difference in their personal views about how to relate to enemies than everyone else. If you just listen to the scenarios presented by various groups of Christians about end-time scenarios, they almost always involve some kind of triumphalism doctrines where God uses coercion to at last win over His enemies, punish them severely and exalt those who are loyal to Him.
Yet how can we give credence to these notions when they fly directly in the face of explicit teachings and the example of Jesus regarding how we are to view and relate to our enemies? Jesus also makes it very clear that God does not treat His enemies the way we think they should be treated.
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, s…

What is Praise For?

Praise, especially for God, is for my benefit far more than for His. God does not need praise to make Him feel better about Himself. However, He very much needs me to feel and think better about Him. The problem of sin is not that God needs appeasing, softening up or flattered by showering Him with enough praise to get Him to relent and forgive me or even bless me. The problem of sin is that I do not know God rightly enough to trust Him fully. That is where praise works to transform my opinions about God and to work a change within my own mind and heart, to bring me into a greater awareness of how trustworthy God really is. Whatever is not of faith (trust) is sin. (Romans 14:23) Those who are overcomers are those who come to know God so well that they not only trust Him implicitly but they praise Him all the time for how good He is. No, God does not need our praises, except maybe in the sense that as we praise Him by focusing on the real truth about His character we more and more acc…