Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This blog is dedicated to the discussion of the book 'Embraced, Prodigals at the Cross' written by Steve Sherwood.

Life on this rebel planet is not how God intended it to be. The proof that evolution is false (in my opinion) is found in the deterioration of our world. Disease, destruction, fear, loss, corruption, etc.....if the theory of evolution was true then things should be getting better on earth. Sadly, they are not.

Know this: I do not have all the answers. Also, I am not a theologian and my ability to understand deep and important things is limited. What I do know, I tend to feel. The Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator proved this. My emotions drive who I am.

When I was younger I struggled with this. I wanted to be just like my friend Denise. She was soft spoken, thoughtful and wise. When I turned 40, my hopes of being like Denise began to wane. Try as I might, I am emotionally charged and often make decisions with my feelings rather than my mind.

By the age of 50 I gave up hope of ever changing. And truth be told, I am beginning to like who I am. (Thanks, Sondra.) At least most of the time.

So the question remains, just who are we supposed to be? My faith in God tells me that I am beloved by my creator. And while I am never going to meet his expectations, he knew that from the beginning of time. He used the writers of the Old Testament, the Torah and other books to point out that we are woefully inadequate in the area of perfection.

So he sent himself and the person of Jesus Christ to show us the way. This is what the New Testament is about.

And once Jesus, who died on the cross and then returned to the land of the living, left earth to return to his Father, we were given the Holy Spirit to help us while we wait for Jesus' return. That's my theology. Told you I wasn't that deep of a thinker.

I believe the Bible is the word of God. And while it's pretty easy to see how far we all fall from understanding every, single intention of scripture (it is a translation after all), here are a few of my favorite verses that I purpose to live by:

Micah 6:8 (The Message)

But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.

Lamentations 3:22-33 (The Message)

22 God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. 23 They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! 24 I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left. 25 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. 26 It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. 27 It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times. 28 When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. 29 Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. 30 Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst. 31 Why? Because the Master won't ever walk out and fail to return. 32 If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. 33 He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way.

This isn't a verse, but it's a pretty good motto to live by:

"Christians should comfort each other in distress, assist each other in doubts and difficulties, embolden each other by example and assist each other through prayers."
~ John Witherspoon

2 Corinthians 1:4

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

Matthew 22:36-40 (The Message)

34-36When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: "Teacher, which command in God's Law is the most important?" 37-40Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

Romans 2:3-4 (The Message)

3-4You didn't think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he's such a nice God, he'd let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he's not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

Philippians 2:1-8

1-4If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

And so, let's journey through this book together. As we share our thoughts and feelings about what we read, let us open up our hearts to hear what God would love for us to understand and believe.