Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Random Thoughts

Some thoughts culled from my random file. Some have occurred to me in moments of quiet reflection, some in discussion with others. For your edification, inspiration and/or amusement.
  • The Bible speaks much about the love of God, but it also speaks much about His holiness and justice, about hell and judgment. Can we explain it all out, about how all this comes together in God, or how it all plays out? I expect not. There are a number of things God has given us to know, and apparently a number of things He has not. Can we live with not knowing exactly how His love and judgment work together? Can we live with the mystery of what He has not given us to know and go with what He has given us to know?
  • God can certainly teach us things in the midst of sickness and poverty, and even bring good out of them. But the teacher He has appointed for us is the Holy Spirit, not sickness and poverty.
  • God is not glorified by our sickness but by healing us in Jesus’ name. He is not glorified by our poverty but by the provision He has made for us according to His riches in glory in Jesus the Messiah. Our sickness and poverty do not please Him, but faith pleases Him. And faith is a matter of believing God, taking Him at His Word, even concerning healing and provision. In the midst of sickness, He is pleased when we believe Him for healing. In the midst of poverty, He is pleased when we trust Him for provision.
  • A man many appear to be prospering outwardly, but if he is not prospering in his inner being, his outward prosperity will not endure. When it folds, he will fold with it. But a man who is prosperous in spirit will endure even if all outward prosperity be taken away.
  • Jesus is the True Light who gives light to every person who comes into the world, so that no one is without a witness that is adequate to lead them to salvation. The real question, then, becomes about how they are responding to that witness. God will not hold anyone accountable for more light, or less, than He has given them.
  • The gifts of the Spirit were not meant to be merely “validation for the message.” They are manifestations of the kingdom. Jesus didn’t heal the sick and cast out demons because He needed to validate His message ~ He was manifesting the kingdom of God on earth.
  • The kingdom of God is the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven. There is no sickness in heaven, so the manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth in regard to sickness is healing. Likewise, the manifestation of the kingdom in regard to demonization is expelling the demons.
  • Many people today, including many Christians, think of hope as speculation: “Maybe so. Maybe not. We’ll see.” But in the Bible, hope is a matter of expectation. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for.” That is, faith is the substance, or underlying reality, of what we are expecting. Faith is believing the promise of God, expecting that it will eventually come to pass. The facts of the world (the way the world is at present) must eventually line up with the truth (the promise God has made). Faith is expecting it to be so.
  • I have been single and I have been married. I’ve known both sides of the coin. No doubt, the responsibilities inherent in marriage and family shape the way I look at life. I am committed in particular relationships in this life (till death do us part, in regard to marriage, and my children will always be my children). I am not just Jeff, I am somebody’s husband and somebody’s father, so following and honoring Christ in those roles is very important. My wife and my children are the ones Christ has set before me, and if I am going to be faithful to Him I must be faithful to them.
  • God is a God of order. But our order is not necessarily His. So what sometimes might seem out of order to us is just God establishing His order. Likewise, if God’s ways sometimes are confusing to us, it is because we started out confused and God is trying to straighten that out in us.
  • There are many facets to the gospel and many ways to reach out to people with it. The best way is the one that is needed at the time by the person you are reaching out to. But the more we understand the bigger picture of the gospel, the more we will understand what it means in a particular situation. DISCLOSURE: I am still learning the gospel and I expect it will take me the rest of my life.
  • I don’t understand the bigger picture of the gospel to mean that people are basically good. People are basically broken, and that brokenness manifests is so many ways. The good news of the bigger gospel is that Jesus does not just address God’s wrath toward our sin, but He defeats all the powers that stand against us and hold us in bondage, and restores us to God’s original purpose in creating us in this world (Genesis 1:26-28). It is a healing, not just of ourselves, but of our relationship with God, with each other, of creation and our relationship with creation. The bigger gospel means that not only is my brokenness healed, but that healing can begin to manifest now, in this life, bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit. We go from faith to faith and glory to glory. The darkness is fading away because the true light is already shining. I love the bigness of the gospel because it is the solution to my brokenness.
  • Life is not fair. But God is faithful.

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