Posted tagged ‘God is love’

Fear, Love and the Spirit of God

May 26, 2017

Image ID: 86629260 Copyright: photoholic

The apostle, John, wrote, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) This was written by a man who, when the chips were down for Jesus, scattered in fear with the rest of the apostles. As Jesus tried to tell them of the need for him to die and be raised from the dead, something the apostles did not understand, he predicted they would all forsake him.

“You will all [i]fall away because of Me this night…. (Matthew 26:31)

Peter might have pumped his chest with bravado as he protested that others might leave Jesus, but he would never leave. (Matthew 26:32-33) But, Jesus knew better than Peter knew himself. He predicted that Peter, though swearing allegiance at that very moment, would deny him not once, but three separate times. (Matthew 26:34)

So great was the fear that overtook the disciples that they scattered after Jesus was taken by the Roman soldiers. Even Peter, who didn’t scatter, but stayed back to witness the interrogation, beatings, mocking and humiliation to which Jesus was subjected, denied that he knew him… three times.

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can overwhelm us and cause us to stumble from the path that we know is right. How do we overcome fear?

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God Lets Us Choose Him

April 22, 2017

Depositphotos Image ID: 31693997 Copyright: DesignPicsInc

In back-to-back chapters in the Gospel of John (8, 9 and 10), Jesus has conversations with Jewish crowds who question who he is. Jesus never tells them in direct words, “I am God,” but the crowd clearly knows what he is talking about. This is similar to what we experience in life.

The world is made in such a way that it is governed by natural laws that have existed since the beginning of time. The cosmological constants were set from the beginning and are so finely tuned that they could not be changed this way or that way, even the slightest bit, without negating the possibility of life on Earth. Many scientists look at these laws and draw the conclusion that either they have always existed or they are simply all there is.

But where did the laws come from? Where did the universe come from? There is plenty of other evidence that God, the Creator, exists. The cosmological constants do not eliminate the possibility of a God. In fact, if those constants had a beginning, they must have had a beginner. But, there is room to question and to dismiss the idea.

Many of the Jewish people at the time of Jesus, especially the influential leaders, questioned who Jesus claimed to be.  Jesus did not get in their face about it. Just like God does not reveal himself in the created Universe in a way that we could not ignore him, Jesus was subtle, but clear.

I find this to be fascinating. It reveals a deep thread that has been coming into focus for me going way back in time.

God created us with free will. If he was in our face, we would have no free will. He would overwhelm and overcome us if we could not ignore Him.

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What Is God’s Love Like?

October 31, 2016
Stairwell in Syria by Steve Murray

Stairwell in Syria by Steve Murray

I recently began reading The Forgotten Way, by Ted Dekker, and the book has been an eye opener. By that I don’t mean that have learned anything new. Rather, I am sensing, glimpsing something that I have not quite grasped yet about what I already know but yet not really know.

Ted Dekker describes his own journey in this knowing in the book. Here is part of the story of his journey:

There in my office, drowning in a sea of self-condemnation and unworthiness, a gentle question whispered through my mind

                Does your Father not love you with the same love that He asks you to love others?

The room was utterly still. I blinked, unable to comprehend.

What is love? The voice asked.

But I knew, of course. Love was a staggering concept that held no record of wrong and was kind in the face of cruelty. When the evil man attacked, love turned the other cheek without offering blame or grievance. This is the love no one knows – the same love Jesus talked about often.

                Does your Father not love you with the same love that He asks you to love others?

I sat in my chair, stunned, unable to accept the implication that anyone could possibly love me in such a way. I had never thought to ask if God loved me in the same way He asks me to love others.

Then I heard another thought, like a voice but not a voice at the same time.

                Let go of all you think you know about Me, so that you can KNOW Me.

Translation: let go of your intellectual knowing so that you can experience my love (to know in a biblical sense).

As a deeply philosophical thinker trained in theology, deeply dependent on logic and intellect, this invitation should have frightened me. Instead, I began to weep with gratitude at such an intimate offer.

You mean I don’t have to figure this all out?

                Has doing so ever led you to this kind of love?

No.

                Taste Me and see that I am good. I am love. I am Father.

I didn’t hesitate. Nothing else mattered to me in that moment, because if it was true that God was this kind of loving Father, I would throw myself off a cliff to fall at His feet in gratitude for such an extravagant love.

And so I did. There, in the night, I closed my eyes, let go of who I thought I was and who the Father was, stepped off a kind of cliff, and I free-fell into that space beyond mere intellect where faith and love are found.

This was my surrender, you see? I let go of my own fear of not having it all figured out; my fear of not having all the right doctrines and beliefs; my fear of not being accepted unless I measured up to the demands of a holy God. I let go of all of that and fell into the arms of trust and love.

It felt like falling into a great unseen mystery, but I was actually falling into the light. I was falling out of a prison – a darkness that had been deepened by my own attempts to make my own light through reason and striving.

As the light filled my awareness, I began to awaken to a whole new reality.

It was then that I began to know my Father intimately in the way Jesus talked about knowing the Father – a word used for a deep intimidate experience between a man and a woman. It was that kind of knowing, not an intellectual knowledge that swallowed me.

There, I trembled at his goodness , because He is infinitely good and complete and could never, never, never be compromised by anything anyone did or thought. Ever.

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God Doesn’t Send People to Hell

August 9, 2016

Sun by Me


Imagine a survivor of the Holocaust, living life out quietly, suffering the residual emotional, mental and spiritual pain of the atrocities she witnessed and experienced. She harmed no one and was a decent mother, grandmother wife and citizen. Someone preaches the Gospel to her on her death bed, and she rejects it. Will God send her to heaven or hell?

The question is deceptive. It presents a false dichotomy.

Really? Jesus said that he is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him.[1] Peter, who walked with Jesus, ate meals with Him and sat at His feet as he was mentored by Jesus, proclaimed that there is salvation in no one else.[2]

If Jesus is God’s Son, sent to bring the world to the Father, and there is no other name by which men must be saved, then a person who rejects rejects Jesus is not going to heaven. Doesn’t that mean God will send them to hell?

Well, first of all, God doesn’t send people to hell. (more…)

The Greatest Being is God

May 3, 2016
Yosemite by Kallie Carlson

Yosemite by Kallie Carlson

St. Anselm postulated that the greatest being is God. Dr. William Lane Craig often references God as the “maximal being”. If we can envision something greater than God, then the something greater has to be God, because God is the greatest being. God is by definition the greatest, the maximal being.

That is why every single sin committed must be punished. Why? Because God is perfectly just. A perfectly just being punished every crime. If we imagine a god who published some crimes and not others, that would not be the most just being. He might be merciful and nice, but he would not be the most just. We could imagine someone more just – a being who punishes every crime.

We could also conceive of someone who is merciful, who can forgive everything that could possibly be done, from the smallest offenses to the greatest. If we conceive of a judge who forgives some things, but not all things, that would not be God. God would have to be absolutely merciful and forgiving.

God would have to be absolutely just and absolutely merciful at the same time. Any being who is not the most just and/or the most merciful is not God.

God must also absolutely love. (more…)

The Divine Experiment

March 3, 2016
Chris Frayley On Rock at River Bend

Photo by Chris Fraley – On Rock at River Bend

Imagine, if you will, a God creating a creature in his own image, a God who “naturally” exists outside of time and space, who is infinite. The creature, however, could not be infinite, regardless of the image of the God she bears. The creature would be limited to time and space, but the creature would have the capacity to choose and create as well as the capacity to go its own way.

Imagine that this God loved the creature and desired to have relationship with the creature. This is the divine experiment.

The very fact that we can reject God is proof that God loves us.

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The Light in the Darkness

September 12, 2015

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We, all human kind, have an enemy that seeks to devour us. (1 Peter 5:8) We see evidence of this enemy’s work in the world in the news every day. It takes many forms: gang killings, child sexual abuse, crime in general, divisive politics and the “culture wars”, and all the ways that people hurt people and the things that cause divisiveness, lack of respect, lack of peace and turmoil in the world.

Some of that turmoil is reflected in the over aggression of policeman, who are called to serve and protect, who exhibit a callous disregard of life, even for the lives of obvious criminals. Some of that turmoil is seen in the rioting, looting and blind anger that is partially a response to incidents of police misconduct and partially the boiling over of a cauldron of racial unrest. Some of that turmoil is is evidenced in the increasing number of incidents of violence against men and women in uniform.

We live in a fallen, hurting and divisive world. (more…)


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