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Posts Tagged ‘believe’

By Mike Edwards

When my parents, partner, or friends believe in me, respect me, hope or trust in me – I am more inspired. Does God love us in the same way? We all struggle to be the person we desire to be deep down. Many struggle with habits that they regret each time they break a promise. God surely knows such regrets. Loving parents never give up on their child becoming what they know them to be like. Is God any less loving?

Why would an all-powerful God give us freedom?   

Freedom in relationships is necessary for true love. God obviously created us with freedom because of all the evil in the world contrary to God’s desires. Controlling behaviors never lead to true intimacy desired in relationships. The truth is parents or God are dependent on others to have genuine relationships. God puts their hopes and trust in us as do loving uncontrolling parents.

God can’t know or control the future and truly love!                                      

If the future is knowable and not open, I can’t act otherwise. God controlling the future is no different than parents dictating to their older children what career or partner they must pursue. God must be uncontrolling or God is uncaring. God must have faith and be vulnerable just as our parents when having us. The Bible agrees God doesn’t know the future. God regrets (I Sam. 15:10-11); God relents (Jonah 3:10); God is surprised (Is. 5); God changes their mind (Jer. 18:8-10).

How dare you compare God’s love to human love!

We may not always know what perfect love entails but intuitively we know the question we ought to ask ourselves – am I loving others perfectly or am I loving others like our Creator loves. A Creator surely loves in ways God’s creations sense they ought to love others Even the Bible suggests God’s love is the same as perfect human love: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48); be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1); be merciful like God (Lk. 6:36). God is often claimed a mystery because one’s interpretation of Scriptures makes God seem evil. Such interpreters sense intuitively God and perfect human love are the same.

God is love but what does that mean? 

An unloving God isn’t worth believing in. God’s love surely is the same as supreme parents – other-directed not self-consumed. Love gets excited when we do well and make a difference in the lives of others. Love anticipates, hopes for our success, believes in us. God is pulling for me, even when failing, because I do the same for my children. We doubt God but God still loves. God may worry but still hopes. God either believes in, hopes for us, builds us up, or doesn’t love us at all.

We matter to God!

We commit to relationships not knowing how they will turn out. God too! If you claim to love someone, you suffer when things don’t turn out as you hoped. God too! Even if you don’t believe Jesus was really divine and human, many believe Jesus may have been the most perfect person in the world like God. Jesus trusted, hoped, and had faith in others. We may feel hopeless at times but not God. God believes in and loves you the same way you want to be loved by your parents!

Resource and must read: Wm. Curtis Holtzen, The God Who Trust: A Relational Theology Of Divine Faith, Hope, and Love

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By Mike Edwards

I have written on this topic several times. See here. There may be thousands of reasons people believe or not. One may believe just because their parents do. One may not believe because God seemingly intervenes little when there is so much evil in the world. I have decided over the years to focus my writings on one main reason people may not believe but wanna.

I am convinced many may not pursue a relationship with a Creator, that they are convinced exists, because they believe lies others claim about God. I know “lies” is a strong word, but no one can claim with certainty their view of an invisible, inaudibly God is TRUTH!

I may be wrong, but I am convinced the following beliefs perpetuated about God are not true. See here.

A God who isn’t perfect isn’t worth believing in. We can only compare God’s love to perfect human love. We all must decide what a perfect, loving God would be like and whether to pursue a relationship further.

Are we better off with God?

  • If a Creator exists, they may know a thing or two about life and purpose for living
  • Parents and friends often don’t love us for who we are but what they want us to be. God can often fill a void that humans can’t.
  • I am not the man I want to be. I have desires and thoughts that I know are wrong. I need guidance and encouragement in refusing them and knowing they are not in my best interests

Do you want to know God better? Find someone who seems to have an open relationship with their Creator and ask for help. If they want to give a lot of advice and act like they speak for God all the time – run! Challenge God to help you find answers to your questions. Seek a rational view of God rather than some pie in the sky God.

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by Rocky Glenn

What two words, when combined, mean happiness and sadness?  Good and evil?  Light and dark?  Hot and cold?  Those same two words also contain give and take, war and peace, and famine and feast.  What are those two words?  All things.  All, according to Merriam-Webster, means the whole amount or quantity of as well as every member or individual component of.  Thing, also according to Merriam-Webster, means a matter of concern or particular state of affairs.  Combining these would suggest that all things would mean the whole amount of matters of concern or every individual state of affairs.  Essentially, any thought, any emotion, any feeling, any action is part of “all things.”

Returning to our musical theme, the last tune on our 3 song unplugged love-themed set (Love Unplugged, part 1 and Love Unplugged, part 2) is all about love’s relationship with all things.  For this discussion, I changed things just a little and researched the original Greek definitions for each word listed in the final verses describing love.

1-cornithians-131 Corinthians 13:7-8 from The Amplified Bible: Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].Love never fails [it never fades nor ends].

Love bears all things. Bear means to cover to keep off something which threatens or to roof over. According to the NIV, love always protects. What does it protect from? All things . . . any thought that intends to harm, any action meant to punish.  By bearing all things, love refuses to say or do something just to win an argument or fight and seeks instead to preserve the other person, as well as preserve the relationship.  Thoughtless words shot out in the heat of an argument are stopped before being spouted out by the bearing nature of love. Looking back at the end of verse 6 (Love Unplugged, part 1), we can see that love does not rejoice in iniquity.  When coupled with this bearing nature, it is safe to conclude that not only does it not rejoice in iniquity, if necessary love will take the iniquity, injustice, or wrong upon itself to ensure that another is protected.  This bearing nature would never seek to embarrass or disrespect another person. In fact, it will do everything possible to prevent it from occurring.  The bearing nature really magnifies the selfless nature of love. (Love Unplugged, part 1)

Love believes all things. To believe is to think to be true, to be persuaded of, or to place confidence in. In other words, love is an eternal optimist!

Love hopes all things. The word translated as hope here means to expect and confide or to trust in. Love not only trusts, it is also trustworthy.  It would be safe to conclude from this that love does not look for hidden meanings or veiled messages and because of this leaves itself open to be taken advantage of and often is.  (For more on this, refer back to the quote from C.S. Lewis in the section of love not being easily provoked in Love Unplugged, part 2).

Love endures all things. To endure means to stay under, to remain, and to persevere. This year, my high school sweetheart and I celebrate twenty years as husband and wife. At times, “all things” have been good; at other, “all things” have been not so good. By the grace of God, we have endured.  In fact, we have not only endured, but, through His grace and His constant teaching of love, we’ve not just survived, I’m very humbled to say we have thrived.

Love never fails. The original meaning of the word fail means to be driven out of one’s course.  Love maintains its course by bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring all things.  The Amplified Bible quite simply says it never fades or ends.

So concludes the “unplugged” discussion of these ever so famous words found in 1 Corinthians.  I pray, once again, that at the very least, these words may cause you to simply pause and possibly ponder what love truly is and if it is being displayed in your life. May your love stay on course by bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring all things.

Rocky

(This post originally written March 26, 2017.)

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Having grown up in church all my life, there are many things I used to think and believe that have changed over the years. If there was one thing I could go back twenty years ago and tell myself then, it would have to be something that involved my beliefs and interpretations. Although the one thing would be the matter of understanding my beliefs, it would be broken down into a few different areas.

The first thing I wish I had known sooner is the New Covenant didn’t start at Matthew Chapter One. I never thought about Jesus living his earthly life under the Law. The New Covenant didn’t start until His death and resurrection. When we start reading in Matthew, we are reading about the life of Christ here on earth, living under the Law. He came to fulfill the law because we were unable to do so in our own strength. We are saved and we live by grace, not by any good work we do.

I never truly thought about the fact that the Spirit of God lives within us. I always thought God was way up there in heaven, sitting on a huge throne looking down on us. I now realize God is within us. We don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to communicate with our Father. He is within us, just as Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you. We are not God, but we are one with Him, just as Jesus prayed in John 17. He is with us each and every second.

I always went along with the church being a building. I was told that we go to the Lord’s house to worship. I never thought about us being the Church, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Christ is building a church made without hands, a Church made up of His followers. We no longer have to wait until Sunday and go to a building to meet with God. The Spirit lives within us each and every day. We have fellowship with one another anytime two or three gather in His name. That can be in a living room, a restaurant, a pub or café, and it can be on any day, because every day is the day the Lord has made.

I used to look to the Bible as the word of God. I felt it was where we got all our information and all leading from God came through the Bible. Now I know the Bible is the written words that God inspired men to write. The true, perfect, powerful Word of God is Jesus. As John 1:1 says, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Jesus in the one we worship and follow, not the Bible. We learn from the Bible, it is good to see how God provided a way for us to have access to Him. It is good to read how others acted and reacted and how God dealt with them. It is good to see the plan of salvation and the way of grace explained. Unfortunately, too many of us want to make the Bible part of the trinity and worship it. The Bible is not part of God. Jesus is the word. The Spirit of Christ guides us. Study the Bible, learn from it, but do not worship it and look to it as our guide when the Spirit is our guide.

The Christian life is an ongoing, daily learning process. Sometimes we get to thinking we can’t question what we’ve been taught over the years. The Holy Spirit lives within us and He is fresh and current, and is our teacher and guide. Our interpretations will change over time as He leads us into truth. It is not wrong to question. It is not a lack a faith to wonder and seek truth. In all honesty, if we aren’t changing, growing, questioning and learning, I would have to wonder if there wasn’t something wrong. I just wonder what it will be in twenty years that I will wish I knew now.

 

This article is part of the June 2014 Synchroblog – ‘If I could tell myself one thing’. http://synchroblog.wordpress.com/

Following is the list of other contributors this month:

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Have you ever felt guilty because you didn’t say something to someone about Christ? Do you feel obligated to speak your mind about a particular sin? Do you feel it’s your duty as a Christian to force every opportunity into a chance to tell someone about salvation?

Quite frankly, I disagree with all of the above. I agree that some people have the gift of evangelism and should be using that gift to the fullest. I also feel that not all of us need to be forcing the issue with those we come in contact each day.

As Christians, we are told to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and love others as ourselves. When we live our lives each day under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love of God, the way we act will be a witness to God’s love.

Anyone can speak words…words of condemnation, words of how we should live for God, words against particular sins, but words themselves have no strength. It is the daily life we live allowing the love of God to show through that makes a difference. When we consistently live what we believe and say, it has more impact than thousands of words.

We need to remember that it’s the Holy Spirit that convicts and draws people to the Father. It is not our job to be condemning people and trying to prove to them that they are sinning against God.

God’s word says that we should live a quiet life, working with our hands and be ready to give an account of the hope that is within us.

1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12 – Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Take care of your own business, and do your own work as we have already told you. If you do, then people who are not believers will respect you, and you will not have to depend on others for what you need. (New Century Version).

1 Peter 3:15 – Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy (The Message).

Notice we are told to be ready to speak up when asked. Go about your daily routine, minding your business, living a peaceful life, but be ready at all times to give an answer about salvation and God’s love when someone asks. Only when the Holy Spirit is leading the opportunity and the words, will it make an impact on the person anyway.

By living this lifestyle, and not forcing our views on others, the words we say will have more meaning to those who are wondering what the hope is that we have within us.

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Homeless

Recently my wife, a daughter, son-in-law, two granddaughters, in-law, friend and I did something new. The girls all cooked food, then all of us went out to several homeless camps and gave the food out and spent a little time with some of the homeless people.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like doing this, but after the day was over, I have to admit I had a good time. We all felt a sense of accomplishment in doing something that helped someone else out.

The people were all friendly and seemed to enjoy talking with us. I found it interesting talking with them and finding out where they were from, how they came to the camp, what they used to do and what their plans were for the future.

I was glad a couple of my granddaughters went along to see what life was like from a homeless perspective. Our kids today have never known hardship or doing without. I think it really opened their eyes and made them more thankful for what they have.

It is hard to believe the conditions these people live in, but due to those conditions, we found a sincere sense of concern for each other and a willingness to enjoy a time of fellowship with us.

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