Monday, March 7, 2011

God, our Father

It is impossible for us to ever fully understand God. He is so far beyond our comprehension. I love the fact that the image he gives us of our relationship with him is that of one of the strongest earthly relationships we have. Father and child.

Romans 8:16-17

16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

Fathers love their children. God loves his children. God's love is prefect. It is unconditional.

Romans 8:38-39 (New Living Translation)
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Fathers discipline their children when they need to be disciplined. God disciplines us when we need it.

Hebrews 12:5-11 (New Living Translation)
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,

“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child."

7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn't’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?

10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

When a child is hurt, or sad, his father will comfort him. God also comforts us when we are troubled.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (New Living Translation)
God Offers Comfort to All
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.

When we are lost, our father will not stop searching until he finds us. If we ran away, he will wait for our return. He will stand at the door and never stop watching for you to come home.

Luke 15:3-32 (New Living Translation)
3 So Jesus told them this story: 4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
Parable of the Lost Son
11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[b]’

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

Even though I compare his love for us to that of an earthly father and child, the love that a father has for his child does not even come close to the greatness of God's love for us. But if we look at it from an earthly perspective, we can get a glimpse of how much he loves us.

Jeremiah 31:3 (New Living Translation)
3 Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How do we reach people?

I encourage you to watch this video. It is 15 minutes long. but it will help you understand why I am feeling led to share the things I am.

If you didn't have the time, or just didnt feel like watching the video, I will sum it up.
Mark, a man from Austin felt inclined to call into this talk show and let these hosts know that they will be going to Hell if they do not change their ways. It is a show called "The Atheist Experience". I have never watched this show. This video clip is all I have ever seen of it.

If you are a Christian, you would probably agree with me that we are on this earth for a purpose, and that purpose is to lead others to Christ. Are we in agreement here?

How do you suppose God meant for us to do that? Well, since we are Christians, which means followers of Christ, let's look directly to who we are to become more like. Christ!!!

Luke 4:18-19 (New Living Translation)

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.

Luke 4:42-44 (New Living Translation)
Jesus Continues to Preach
42 Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. The crowds searched everywhere for him, and when they finally found him, they begged him not to leave them. 43 But he replied, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.” 44 So he continued to travel around, preaching in synagogues throughout Judea.

Luke 19:10 (New Living Translation)
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

John 3:17 (New Living Translation)
17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Jesus came to tell the GOOD NEWS. It is also clear that he was not sent here to judge, but to save. If God did not send Jesus Christ to judge, what makes us think it is okay to do that?????

Luke 6:37 (New Living Translation)
37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.

Is anything more clear than that??? We are supposed to be sharing the good news of God's unconditional love for us, and his desire to forgive us. We are supposed to spread the good news of salvation. Not spread the message of judgement and condemnation.

If you notice in scripture, there are warnings of judgement, but notice who they are directed to. They are directed at believers. People who should know better. Since this blog is already long, I will not add scriptural evidences, but you can check it out. the only people he spoke harshly to were the pharisees and even his own disciples. When speaking to a non believer, he spoke with love and gentleness, and mercy.

1 Peter 3:14-16 (New Living Translation)
14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (New Living Translation)

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

It is not effective to scare someone into a relationship with God. God wants to lavish us with his love, he does not want to condemn anyone. That is the message we are supposed to be spreading. God loves us so much that he created us, then sent Jesus Christ to live with us and be an example of how we are to live, and to die for our sins. He paid the price for us so we can live in eternity with him in heaven. That is the message of love!!

2 Peter 3:9 (New Living Translation)
9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Romans 8:38-39 (New Living Translation)
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.