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blustar1

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

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A Word in the silence

Light in the darkness

One single ember scatters a blaze — millions of sparks,

Each a sun, a planet — glowing into light-years of space.

A Word births galaxies, spins orbits, sets morning stars singing,

Light giving life.

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Somewhere a small blue-green ball sees its first sunrise.

Time as He counts it — all times are now — streams by,

shimmering light and encroaching dark

until

a Star slips to earth,

shines from the misty eyes of a newborn.

Stars spin, galaxies dance,

the Light flashes to the corners of our soul-darkness.

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Eons, moments, till the Light extinguishes the darkness

with a Word cried from a cross,

splits the borders of death with Light

deafens the silence with the Word.

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Planets spiral, stars rise and set,

Light blasts through clinging blue-green shadows

with the voice of the Angel,

the trumpet-Word of God.

Morning rays of a million nebulae flash

A forever-day, never night again.

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The Word made flesh, God from the beginning;

before stars dawned in Orion’s belt,

before the singing of planets,

before any shadow fell,

before we — less than sparks

in the eons-long conflagration of space —

before we saw the Light of His glory,

God, first, last, and forever,

Is.

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For the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

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38434918-wood-carved-statue-of-jesus-christ-standing-at-a-golden-door-and-knocking-as-in-sentence-from-apocal

O Christ, the healer, we have come

to pray for health, to plead for friends.

How can we fail to be restored

when reached by love that never ends?

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From every ailment flesh endures

our bodies clamor to be freed;

yet in our hearts we would confess

that wholeness is our deepest need.

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In conflicts that destroy our health

we recognize the world’s disease;

our common life declares our ills.

Is there no cure, O Christ, for these?

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Grant that we all, made one in faith,

in your community may find

the wholeness that, enriching us,

shall reach and prosper humankind.

.

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Given the upheaval and highly negative feelings on both sides of the women’s ordination debate currently flaring in the Seventh-day Adventist church, this poem I found a few years ago seems apropos.  Like any hot topic, both sides are convinced that they are Right and the other side is Of the Devil.  Unfortunately, no matter which side one espouses, it is clear that unless cooler heads have some say in things, there is going to be a split in the church.  A split over something that is at the moment a policy debate, not a “rebellion”, nor yet even a “heresy”, but an interpretation of a minor point of Scripture.  Not even doctrine.  Certainly not a salvation issue, but those “in power” (using the term much more loosely than they have been flinging it about this last week) seem to feel that espousing women’s ordination is not only a slippery slope (leading to ordaining gay people and advocating evolution, to reference some Facebook conversations I’ve read), but also apostasy and a clear call to the “head of the church”, “God’s supreme authority on earth,” to “purify” the church of negative influences through “reformation and reform”.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, reading that.  I’ve been settling for shaking my head in utter disbelief that the church I grew up in, that taught me about standing for what I believe in “though the heavens fall”, is now poised to bring stars and planets raining down on my head.

Not only was the initial language of the disagreement upsetting to me (as per a previous post), but this new flareup has even more distressing overtones.  Words like “heresy”, “apostasy”, and “rebellion” seem terribly serious charges to fling at people who, at the core, are trying to serve God by preaching His Word, as commanded in the Bible.  Not worshiping idols, breaking commandments, or denying the truth of the Bible.  Those are what I would call heresy, apostasy, or rebellion.  Telling someone they are a heretic because they are preaching the word of God? Can we say Sanhedrin? or Inquisition?

Let’s not forget the other, loaded terms: “head of the church”, “God’s supreme authority on earth”, “purify”, and “male headship”.  Last time I checked, those terms referred only to Jesus Christ.  He is the one the Bible says is the head of the church (Col. 1:18).  He is the Supreme Authority (Matt. 28:18), and did not pass His authority over to the General Conference president!  It is His job to purify the church by aligning our hearts more fully with His heart, not by throwing people out who disagree on minor points of doctrine (Mal. 3:3).  And, again, the Bible text that refers to male headship refers to the husband being head of the wife “as Christ is the head of the church” (Eph. 5:23) and says nothing about a (male) pastor, priest, bishop, or pope as being the head of the church.  In fact, Jesus says to refer to no believer as over another (Matt. 23:8-9).  For the SDA General Conference president to use language such as this is truly frightening, not just because it smacks heavily of Catholic usage and doctrine, but because it goes against Biblical teaching that is, to my mind, much more clear in how the church should be run than the disputed neighboring texts about women keeping silence in the church. “In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9).

It is plain to me that the General Conference president and his staff are cherry-picking verses to suit themselves, as they also use words from a woman (Ellen G. White, who was herself ordained) to chastise faithful believers for “rebellion” because they seek to gain legitimacy through the church to do what God has called them to do — share the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20).  If the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist church truly believes that such people are heretics and apostates, then this church has become the instrument of persecution we were warned against as children.

I expected the persecution to come from secular government.  I did not expect it to come from my church.

yomb-week-7-jesus-the-healer

Unfortunately, instead of being the instrument that brings Christ’s healing to the world, those in charge in the General Conference are becoming instruments of pain, lacking mercy, and acting as a wedge to drive the people of God apart.  Those on both sides believe strongly in their stance; there seems to be no way to compromise or change people’s convictions.  But those in power don’t seem to realize that these convictions, again, are on a minor point of church policy, not a salvation issue, not a point of doctrine.  Those on the side of women’s ordination are cognizant that this is not a major point of salvation; those on the other side blow it up until they believe it is.  There is no grace for someone with a differing viewpoint.  There is no thought that, by trying to silence someone preaching Jesus, they are themselves working against the One whose authority they claim to wield.

I have no call to preach except here, but if I were told to be silent, I would echo Peter’s words to the Sanhedrin: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). And reading further in the same chapter, it would be well for the General Conference heads to heed Gamaliel’s advice to the same Sanhedrin: “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these [wo]men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these [wo]men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God (Acts 5:38-39). 

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I pray that Ted Wilson and the rest answer the door and let the true Head of the church speak to them about mercy, healing, and true unity.

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“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).

“For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph. 2:14-16).

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adventists

One of my friends posted this picture on Facebook today, asking, “What kind of Adventist are you?”  I had to say “sadventist” today, considering the church service I’d just been through this morning.

Two summers ago we were sitting in a sermon by a layperson in the church who tends to have somewhat disjointed sermons with examples that may or may not actually prove the point he is trying to make (he has since improved somewhat, but not entirely).  Kent and I don’t always listen because we tend to sit there and mentally edit.  English teachers never sleep…

I was looking up Bible promises I wanted to memorize, when about fifteen minutes from the end of the sermon, he said, “I didn’t intend to bring this topic up today, but I feel like God has put it on my heart to share my concerns with you.”  Not thinking much of it, I listened as he started listing the dangerous decisions the church was facing.  This was before the election of 2012, when gay marriage was on the ballot, so I wasn’t surprised when that was one of the issues he mentioned (I hadn’t decided how I’d stand at that time, so was interested in hearing what he thought).  He named a couple of other issues I can’t remember now, and then brought up the topic of women’s ordination.

I grew up in New England.  Very conservative, but we did get a husband and wife team as pastors when I was a teenager, and I remember thinking at the time it was a shame we didn’t have women pastors, because the sermons the wife (seldom) preached were interesting and usually helped me see God in a way I hadn’t thought of in the past, because her viewpoint was different.  We also had the first Adventist woman pastor as the youth speaker one summer at campmeeting, and she mentioned how sometimes she was looked down on because she was a woman pastor.  But I hadn’t really thought a lot about the women’s ordination issue in the Adventist church until this summer Sabbath in Minnesota, years after both of those events.

This day, I was literally stunned at the flood of hurtful language that ensued.  None of the other topics he’d mentioned, though obviously serious to him, had gathered this level of reaction.  Among other things, he stated that any woman wishing to be ordained (or anyone who supported said woman in any way) was apostasizing and would not be saved.  He also stated (wrongly) that God never called any woman to be any kind of church leader or prophet (I could think of five off the cuff from the Bible, let alone Ellen White, our church’s prophet, whom I know he supports).  This vituperation went on for about ten minutes; then he seemed to realize he’d been off topic and went on to wrap up his sermon.  I can’t remember what the topic was, but he was completely off.

I was really angry while he was talking, upset that he was equating a woman wanting to serve God as a pastor with Sabbath-breakers, homosexuals, and people cheating on their spouses (I think those were the other three topics), and hurt that he would consider said woman apostate for daring to poach on a man’s territory.  I was also annoyed at his wrong statements, but it was the apostasy card that changed my feelings from anger (I was about to get up and either walk out or tell him to be quiet) to sadness.  About the time it really sank in that he was in effect barring over half the population of the church from ever filling a very important role (to a chorus of amens from members, some of whom were women!), he’d begun his belated wrap-up and I had to go play the closing hymn.

As they were singing, I suddenly realized that, to him, all I was good for in the church was playing the organ and helping with potluck.  Never mind I’d been one of the Sabbath School teachers for over a year at this point; to him I was most likely out of line in leading a Sabbath School.  I felt dismissed by the church I’d grown up in, dismissed to a lower position simply because of my gender, and as if no real contribution of mine would be accepted — not only not accepted, but if I ever tried to make a serious contribution to the church in any way but the acceptable ones, I would be labeled apostate and (in his mind) be headed for hell.

I came from anger that he would so cavalierly dismiss the brains, hearts, and dedication of one-half the population to grief that I was effectively barred and hedged into a limited role.  I have never, before or since, wanted to be a pastor, so I cannot understand why I started to cry as if something precious had been ripped away from me.  All I can say is that I felt dismissed, betrayed, and forced into the ultra-supporting role of Woman in a Man’s World by the church I believe holds the most truth of any church today.  I wept because I felt dismissed as worthless, because I felt betrayed by a church I thought would support the full development of every member’s spiritual gifts, and because I felt myself being pushed into the small and stifling box of The Woman’s Place by a God who was supposed to give me freedom and life abundant.

And at the same time, I knew it was only his viewpoint (and others in the church), and I was sure that he was wrong, that it wasn’t really what God wanted at all.  But it shocked me when other women agreed with him — how could they betray their own gender and submit to subservience so easily?  How could they sit there saying “Amen” when he was limiting the value of their service to God?  How could others in the church let him go on in hatred and anger for ten minutes and not stand up and say, “You are wrong!”

I found out later, after Kent took me crying out the back door of the church and we went home, that about half the members disagreed violently with him and there was a big argument at potluck.  The next weekend our resident pastor preached a sermon on the Biblical support for this other person’s standpoint, and he was everything that was tactful and well-thought-out.  The pastor was (still is) also a personal friend, and though I still cried because I again felt betrayed, if his sermon had been the week before, I would not have been affected in that way.  He was gentle, albeit convicted, and his sermon was not one to raise the ire or the sensibilities of those who disagreed.  He also did not condemn those of us who disagreed and the word “apostate” was not mentioned.  I did not feel excluded from service; I was simply sad that a friend would take a stand so divergent from mine on what I felt was an important issue.  I knew that he often sat in my Sabbath School class (the other person never has and hardly speaks to me — apostasy maybe rubs off?) and respected me as a leader, and that might have helped me not feel stifled as well.  In the end, we agreed to disagree with no condemnation on either side.

Since then, though, this has been a sore point for me.  I had never liked to sit through this other person’s sermons, simply because they weren’t very good (as on that day, he mistakes conviction for scholarship), but now every time he speaks, I find myself wanting to leave before I get attacked.  It’s been nearly two years now, and I have been trying to cultivate a Christ-like attitude toward him; I was contemplating giving piano lessons to his oldest son, and I try to say hello when I see him at church.  It’s difficult, but I have stopped ducking downstairs or just skipping church when I see he’s on the docket to speak.  I thought I could just, like my pastor friend, agree to disagree with him on this issue.  After all, I’m not planning to be a pastor myself, so I need to be less thin-skinned, right?

Today, we walked into church and he was on the platform.  I sighed, looked through my bag for my cross-stitch (which I’d left at home), and resigned myself to a meandering sermon that hopefully had some acquaintance with an actual point.  He had been getting better, so maybe today wouldn’t be so bad.  He was preaching on Nehemiah.  No women pastors there, so that should be ok.  I got out my legal pad to take notes on blog posts if I needed to be distracted.

Not fifteen minutes into the sermon he brought up the topic of women’s ordination, again couching it as apostasy and equating it with actual commandment-breaking.  I tried to distract myself with poking holes in his logic (there were several, including the fact that some of his examples actually contradicted the points he was trying to make, which was amusing, and that he tended to oversimplify or use false analogies to prove his points, which weren’t actually false in themselves).  At some point, though, I felt the disapproval, the worthlessness, the small box closing in, and I reacted the same way I had two years ago — I cried.  Call it an emotional female reaction, use it as an example of why women shouldn’t be in positions of power, but I do not understand why I react this way.

Today, things are different than two summers ago.  The Adventist church in North America has made steps toward accepting women’s ordination, and I now know that much of the church in North America supports the idea and feels it is long past time (as I do).  I still do not have any desire to become a pastor, but I do not feel that if I did, I would have no pulpit.  But I still reacted in the same way.  I still felt the word “apostate” like a slap to the face, and inwardly recoiled at being lumped with someone who denied the Sabbath or who engaged in extramarital affairs or non-Biblical sexual acts, just because I believe that women should be able to be pastors.  It was ironic, this sermon coming today, because I had just last night posted on Facebook as a joke someone’s list of ten reasons why men shouldn’t be pastors.  Maybe this person saw it; I don’t think I’m friends with him on Facebook, but maybe that prompted this attack today.

Kent said I should write out what happened and try to understand why I am so hurt by this.  I know some reasons why — I don’t like being told I can’t do something.  I don’t like it when people beat others over the head with the Bible to prove a point that isn’t a salvation issue.  I don’t like it when people make things a salvation issue when they’re not.  I don’t like being made to feel like a second-class citizen just because I don’t have a Y chromosome.  I don’t like being told that I’m a bad Christian/Adventist/daughter of God because I believe women should have an equal right within the church.  I don’t like being fobbed off with the false palliative “We aren’t telling women they can’t take part in the church, even preach if they want, just that we won’t ordain them”.

Yes.  The church will “commission” women, but not ordain them.  I don’t like my church being hypocritical.  We say we follow the Bible, but in this instance, I feel that we are following the worst traditions of man.  I know the texts people use to support their sides on this issue, and I’ll let you in on a secret: They. Are. The. Same. Texts.  And if our church can believe in a modern-day woman prophet (never mind the ones in Bible times — Deborah, Miriam, Huldah, the five daughters of Phillip, and Anna the seer, to name ones off the top of my head), why can’t we accept a woman pastor? Is it because all these unnatural women are safely in history, not prancing about exposing their thought processes to unsuspecting potential apostates?  I’ll try not to be too snarky, but I’m still annoyed.  I thought we were well past this as a nation and culture, and I know that our church is sometimes considered behind the times because of our conservatism, but I thought we were more accepting of women than to continue to limit their role.  And we are, some of us.  There are ordained women in our churches in California and other states.

So why do I continue to be so disturbed by what is, after all, a layperson’s opinion on an issue that doesn’t actually affect me?

I don’t know.  Maybe because it is a symptom of an ongoing problem with society to still consider women some sort of second-class citizen, to criticize everything we do and every choice we make, to pay us less, to penalize us both for having children and for having careers instead, to pawn off our opinions on how we’re treated as “emotional ranting”.  I watched this video last week about how white people can help to stop racism, and I understood exactly where she was coming from.  If the black woman in the video had stood up for herself, she would have been considered an “angry black woman”, much like any woman who talks about gender inequality is considered a man-hating feminist.  But since the white woman next to her spoke up, something happened.

Maybe that’s another reason I am upset that a seemingly well-educated and nice man would be so vituperative in such a patriarchal way.  Because as the majority ruling voice in this case, men should stand up for women’s rights.  Because change often doesn’t happen until a majority demands it, doesn’t happen when the oppressed minority speaks out.  Because I expect better from my church than to stay stagnated in an oppressive, outdated stance left over from a Middle Eastern society over two thousand years ago.  Because I want to know that, should I ever decide that I want the pulpit, my well-meaning fellow church member will step off his soapbox and let others have a chance to speak out.

“Come, let us reason together,” says the Lord. Isaiah 1:18

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war on Christmas

The above was posted on Facebook on Friday.  I have to admit, I didn’t read it carefully the first time, and saw “no war on Christians”.  I thought about it more as I went through the day.  When I checked back to reply, I realized it was “no war on Christmas”.  I actually agree with the sentiments there, for the most part.  I don’t actually agree that wishing someone a “merry Christmas” is a bad thing — to me, “happy holidays” is fairly meaningless to the point of being vapid.  Sort of like the phrase “best wishes” — what does that even mean?  But I do realize that many people don’t celebrate Christmas but some other holiday at this time (some do both!), and people may not have the same expectations of the Christmas season that I do, since they aren’t Christian.  I don’t have a problem with that, and if anyone wants to wish me a Happy Hanukkah, fine!  All we’re saying is, “I’m happy right now because it’s a holiday season and I want you to be happy too!”  Everyone can stop having a fit — now!

But what I was thinking about as a result of misreading the post is actually a valid point.  Christianity (as a major religion in America) is becoming the minor majority.  Let me explain how Christianity is in danger.   There are a lot of other religions and cultures in the world, and in this country, each with their own customs, standards, expectations, and — yes — holidays.  In this age of global awareness and ethnic diversity, I agree with the idea that we need to be cognizant of, and respectful to, other cultures.  This same respect needs to be extended to Christians.  It is not.

Christianity is in danger when people who usually preach open-mindedness feel free to say and spread mocking things about Christians and their beliefs.  I usually see this as Facebook posts (such as the above), with a comment about how silly, or stupid, or backward, or ________ (fill in the blank) Christians are to be thinking or saying XYZ (usually to do with something political).  If statements in the same vein (mocking Christians’ belief in literal creation rather than the theory of evolution, for a recent example) were made about the Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu religion, there would be an uproar against that person.  See what happened when the Danish cartoonist lampooned Muslims!  If a Christian mocked Muslims for wearing hijab, Hindus for drinking Ganges water, or Buddhists for looking within themselves to gain enlightenment, there might be a few who agreed, but mostly that person would have unleashed a storm upon his head.  But many people, whether they style themselves, pagans, atheists, agnostics, or just plain nothing, feel free to mock, satirize, and ridicule Christian beliefs that may seem just as odd to outsiders as the non-Christian beliefs I listed.  It has become popular to ridicule Christians.  And no one raises a fuss.    That is why many Christians feel their religion is in danger — the ‘minor majority’, if you will.

That isn’t the real reason, however, why I feel Christianity is in danger.  Christianity is in danger right now partly because it is being attacked from within.

  • Christianity is in danger when those who call themselves Christians use their religion as a front for bigotry, hatred, and power playing
  • Christianity is in danger when people use Christian beliefs as a stick to beat others with (who may not believe the same way)
  • Christianity is in danger when people who call themselves Christians (part of that 243,186,000, actually) refuse to adhere to basic principles of integrity, mercy, justice, humility, and service.
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians blindly accept the unbiblical teachings of leaders who counsel them to follow tradition and an easier, more acceptable path, rather than pointing them to truth as clearly stated in the Bible (no matter how personally inconvenient it might be).
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians look for a “feel-good” religion rather than conviction of their sins and their personal, constant need of a Savior.
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians focus on the trappings of food, decorations, rituals, and gifts that surround the holidays (Easter too!) and lose the real point of the holidays we celebrate in memory of the work God can do in our lives.
  • Christianity is in danger when we would rather give money, or even time, to people in need and neglect to tell them about God and His saving grace. “These things you ought to have done, and not left the other undone” (Luke 11:42).
  • Christianity is in danger when we are more worried about offending people by sharing our faith than offending God, who has commanded us to “go into all the world”.  Think about it.  In a world of nearly 7 billion, just over 2 billion (2.18) are Christian.  That’s a drop in the bucket of what God has asked of us!

My Facebook friend is right.  No one is making war on Christmas.  Not overtly.  Our greed does that just fine.  No one is deliberately making war on Christians, not really.  Not in the physical sense.  Not in America.  We are allowing our natural, unsanctified human tendencies to take charge — as if we had no Savior to help us deal with our sinful nature — and showing the world what an un-surrendered heart really looks like. No one is hindering the spread of Christianity.  Not really.  We are allowing our fears of embarrassment and social criticism to dissuade us from sharing what should be an unpopular message to most, if it is truly spread.  Truth is always unpopular, and no more so than truth that requires the person receiving it to change.  And the best example of that is every single Christian (including me!) who has not opened their heart and asked God to sweep it clean and dwell in it.

So as we begin December — let’s begin the Christmas season not with greed, aggression, busy-ness, or desire for control.  Let’s surrender that stubborn self to God.  Ask Him to save Christianity, not from others, but from you.  And start Christmas with a peace treaty — with the Prince of Peace.

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the days shrink

the night frays the edges

a little more

every morning

the sun is later

deeper shadows and darkness is

coming

.

flowers wither

stems straggle and trail

brown

limp

the year grows cold

so tiredly

.

“do not go gently”

.

time to remember

to make our nests warm

pull our memories around us

this laughter

those tears

that life

wisped away in the smoke of burning leaves

.

in the shadows what waits

in darkness we know nothing

ghouls

monsters

goblins

we give face to

fear

of our own mortality

.

“do not go gently”

.

let the dark trickle in

an impulse

a choice

a flood of the other side of us

and one more light is

gone

.

better to cling to light

turn towards day

the morning star

not the wicked red points of

eyes

in the dark

.

when we see the hovering shadow

as the year creaks to the end

do we choose to fight that

darkness

or embrace it?

allow evil within the walls

or turn and cast up a defense

of light?

.

“do not go gently”

.

“Stay with us, Lord Jesus; it soon is evening, and night is falling.”

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Can’t take credit for this — but thought it was too important to pass up!  For those of us who have low self-worth/self-esteem — do you know who you are??

THE BELL
I KNOW WHO I AM
I am God’s child (John 1:12)
I am Christ’s friend (John 15:15)
I am united with the Lord(1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price(1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt. 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ(1 Cor. 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation (Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil. 3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31-34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God(2 Cor. 5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God(Rom. 8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor. 1:21-22)
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8: 28)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3:12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15:1-5)
I am God’s temple (1 Cor. 3:16). I am complete in Christ (Col. 2:10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God’s co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor. 6:1). I am God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil. 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14). I have been adopted as God’s child (Eph 1:5)

I belong to God – A Child of the King

Forgiven My Past – Promised His Future

“The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you; The LORD turn His face toward you And give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light…

(from John 1 and 3)

in the beginning

all was darkness

void

empty

alone

then God spoke the Word

Let there be light

and it was so

Light came into the darkness

filled it

created life

and it was good

.

in the fullness of time

the world was weighted with darkness

hatred

anger

evil

human souls were

alone

empty

meaningless

then God spoke

It is time

and it was so

Light shone in the darkness

the Word became flesh

God with us the Light of the world

and it was good

.

one day darkness rose

evil loomed in anger

full of hatred and emptiness

as the sky turned black

they nailed to the cross the Word

alone

the earth shook and God spoke

My God why have you forsaken me

and it was so

when He hung his head and the Light of the world was

extinguished

the Word said It is finished and darkness fell

broken

and it was good

and it was

.

good

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