24 Jan 2017
Jesus and the Apostle Paul place a great deal of emphasis on being a “Son” of God and being called into “Sonship” with Christ (See Matthew 5:9; Luke 6:35; John 12:36; Romans 8:14 & 9: 26; Galatians 3:26 & 4: 4-6). For many women, these passages and references to the Son and Sonship irritate and sometimes cause women to turn away from the Gospel of Jesus. They feel it is not inclusive or worthy of 21st Century thinking. To many it seems outdated and therefore irrelevant.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
Jesus is and was the ultimate supporter and promoter of women. To fully understand how significant His affirmations of women were then and are today, we must comprehend the culture of 1st Century Judea. Then, a woman had no status, nor was her testimony admissible in courts of law. Men could divorce their wives by simply saying, three times, “I divorce you.” Men were not expected to address women in public. Women were treated as possessions. In 1st Century Judea, you had to be a man to inherited family wealth.
Jesus, in 1st Century Judea, by contrast, was the ultimate feminist! No one bestowed honor and value and worth to women more than our Savior. Consider three occasions that prove this point. First, in John 4: 1-42, Jesus meets, talks and asks for a drink of water from the Samaritan woman at the well. By doing this, He broke the rules of male/female relationships. In John 8: 1-11, Jesus defends and counsels the woman caught in adultery. He protects her, values her and gently instructs her to “go and sin no more.” Lastly, in John 20: 11-18, Jesus first appears to Mary. He entrusts the most important moment and message of history to a woman! He empowers Mary, who would not normally be believed on any subject, with the responsibility of informing the disciples that He is Risen! By 1st Century standards, this would not have been considered a promising way to begin a religious movement.
Jesus was elevating women to men’s level. Full equality! When Jesus talked to all people about becoming Sons of God and Paul continues with his teachings that we are ALL heirs of God’s bounty and righteousness, they are speaking to ALL people…women included, that they are Sons of God! To Jews listening in 1st Century Jerusalem, Jesus was preaching a radical orthodoxy that made women equal to men. The announcement that all women are equal to men and heirs to the Kingdom of God speaks powerfully to the inclusiveness of the wonderful, God we serve.
25 Jan 2016
Great fighters have destructive one-two punches—a right cross and a left hook. People who follow boxing know it’s the left hook that’s usually the knockout punch. Satan has a deadly left hook too. The reason many of us get discouraged and want to give up on ourselves and God is because we allow the devil to knock us out. Here’s what’s going down.
Often times as we walk through life, we’re scared and bewildered by the world. We’re lonely and vulnerable to the attention of predatory women and men or to the allure of drugs—or both! The hard truth is that many of us will fall into sin even though we try to avoid it. The devil tries to convince us that sin is okay. Once we fall to his right cross, he shows us his left hook. He whispers to us that we are worthless because of that sin . . . that God could never love us. . . that we should just keep on sinning. After all, we’ve already blown it, right? Wrong!
The apostle Peter denied Jesus three times. Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ with a kiss. How the two men handled their sin made all the difference. Peter wept and came back to Jesus for forgiveness, avoiding the knockout punch. Judas refused to see his sin, walked into the devil’s left hook, and hung himself. When we get hit by sin (and we all do), don’t fall into the devil’s trap and keep on sinning. Recognize that God forgives us for Jesus’ sake. God accepts us back into full relationship when we confess our sin (see 1 John 1:9). Sin is inevitable—getting knocked out by it is not!
08 May 2015
Life is a sexually transmitted disease, with a 100% mortality rate! In other words, we are all going to die. It is just a question of when the trapdoor opens underneath us and we fall off the planet. At that moment, gravity will no longer work for us and keep our feet connected to earth. The only question for us to be concerned with is “What do we fall into?” Do we tumble into the arms of a loving God or do we slide into a place where God does not dwell?
When we stop and take a hard look at this fact, we must decide what our options are. For some, The End is just…The End…that’s it…food for worms. For others an afterlife that involves reincarnation seems to work for them. But on what basis, or worldview are those scenarios based? Man-made philosophies to be sure, and while convenient, perhaps, they have very little intellectual rigor.
The Jesus alternative does have intellectual integrity but produces two tough choices. In John, chapter 1, Jesus calls His first followers. He simply asks them to “Come and See” about Him. This is a call to investigate who He claimed to be and then to decide for oneself. When we come and investigate Jesus we are faced with two choices…both at the extremes of credulity. We either must conclude that Jesus is a loony-tunes wing nut…or…exactly who He claimed to be…Savior and Lord.
But, the opposite is also hard to believe. For if Jesus is bogus then we have to conclude that His followers, the disciples, made the whole story up. His mostly, uneducated “band of brothers” concocted a wild story…that incidentally agreed with all 66 Old Testament prophecies. And, after Jesus was crucified all decided to live the lie going forward. Well, of course they would live the lie…I mean, they all received loads of money, fame and women by the score. Wait…that’s not what they got! All the disciples received their lies was persecution, poverty, and gruesome deaths. Would anyone “live the lie” for this outcome? More poignantly, would anyone knowingly DIE for a lie? Lastly, to ignore this option, you have to account for the growth of Christianity around the world for the last 2,000 years.
The only option NOT open to us is the “Jesus was a Good Man” option. When a person claims to be God, one with God the Father and able to forgive sins…He is either nuts or the Son of God.
We are all going to fall off the planet someday. We are all going to die…which hard belief choice makes the most sense to you?