Archive for the ‘Brain Dump’ Category

Jesus and a Balloon

This is a brain dump which means it’s not worded for clarity and I could think totally different about this tomorrow. This is intended to be a fun read and if it provokes thoughts or questions, leave a comment.

Jesus is God somewhat like a balloon. When I blow up a balloon, all of the air in the balloon is mine but the air in the balloon is not all of my air. Without my air, the balloon is not really a balloon – only a piece of lifeless rubber.

Jesus is God in that all that is in Jesus is God but not all of God is in Jesus. Jesus is not a piece of God because God is no less God apart from Jesus and God is no bigger because of Jesus. Without God, “Jesus” is an unfertilized egg in Mary’s body. (The Spirit of God perhaps is a better term than “God” here but the Spirit is not separate from God.)

Jesus is man/flesh/created being as the un-inflated balloon is a piece of rubber. We cannot see the air in the balloon but the balloon conforms to a shape the rubber was created to take when filled with air. The piece of rubber allows us to see that air exists in a physical space. There is air inside and outside of the balloon. The air inside is from a specific source. That which is contained in Jesus is from a specific, untainted source – God.


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Purpose of Marriage

Have you ever thought about marriage as a proclamation of the kingdom of God?

As I’m working on teaching from the book of Nehemiah, I’m seeing a significance of the individual Christian commitment not only to God but also to the church. Jesus is the bridegroom of the church. In other words, the marriage is Christ and the Church – not Jesus and me.

How does that fit in our individualist society? How does that impact your view of being involved in an active christian community? What does that say of faithfulness in marriage and the purpose of marriage – specifically Christian marriage?

For anyone who knows of my resistance for organized church, you know this is not a comfortable lesson for me. 🙂

Jesus, lead on.

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I recently read a couple of fear-ridden articles written by Christians about the condition of our nation (USA). One quoted a well-known evangelist to say “our nation is in trouble.” Another said, the problem is “our nation has turned it’s back on God.” I think the problem is that we’ve forgotten what nation we are citizens of.

We are citizens of earthly nations but, as Christians, our influence on our earthly nation begins with our civic duty to the nation of God.

A nation is generally set apart by its laws. Jesus said all of God’s law comes down to two things: love God with all your heart, mind and strength and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. Should we attempt to make people of earthly nations abide by these laws? Can we abide by these laws on our own strength?

Paul says the law is for lawbreakers (1 Timothy 1:9). So what does that say about me if I my greatest concern is the law? Are you constantly focused on local and federal laws? Probably not unless you are about to break one… like speeding or tax issues. So what should be our focus?

Jesus Christ is the perfect citizen. In Luke 4, Jesus says he was anointed to preach the good news, heal the sick, and free the oppressed. There is nothing in that description about condemning the lawbreaker. Those who don’t believe are already condemned (John 3:18). Jesus came to set them free from condemnation, from the oppression of evil. He gives us the power and authority to do the same. It is our civic duty.

So how are we doing, fellow citizens? I confess, I’m not doing so well. But I want to do better. A group of us went out recently to pray for people in our community. It was a bit awkward but exciting. I sense the more I do it the more natural it will become – like if I moved to London and had to learn to drive on the other side of the road.

The exciting part is feeling God’s empowerment and knowing that I’m doing my civic duty – God’s expectation of His people empowered and directed by Him.

What do you see as the civic duty of a citizen of God’s kingdom? Is there more to it than a peaceful relationship with Jesus Christ? Is it more than being morally good? Is it more than talking about God with others who already know Jesus? Does being a citizen really include an expectation of healing the sick, setting people free from oppression and telling the good news even if I’m not a preacher? Am I  loving God and loving others if I see these things as optional?

Come on. Be courageous. Leave a comment to share your thoughts. You can be anonymous if you want. What if we spent more time doing what we see Jesus doing in the gospels than fighting about the budget or who should be allowed to get married? When is the last time you read one of the gospels from beginning to end? 😉 We might need to start there.

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What is pure love? I feel like God is saying “let me love you.”

I’m in a surprising quandary with that statement. I know God loves me… don’t I? But what is love, pure love?

What images come to mind with the phrase pure love?

Stop for a minute and imagine pure love.

Don’t read on until you have an image of pure love.

For me, I see a mother holding a newborn; a parent caring for a sick child; a person at the bedside of a dying spouse.

That led me to this question: Is pure love caring with no expectations? God has expectations, doesn’t he? Then I think are desires the same as expectations? I hear: Desire gives choice. Expectation demands.

Conclusion: Until I know what it means to let God love me, can I love others with a pure love? Most likely I will love others the way I perceive God loves me. Then I pass on my perspective of God’s love to my children and the cycle continues.

God, I want to let you love me as only you can so that I can pass on your image of pure love.

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Whatever you are not happy with (job, relationship, activity), ask:

How did I get here?

Is it a gift from God, something you achieved on your own strength, or something you accepted from Satan? (May be another option, I don’t know.)

First figure out how you got where you are, then maybe you can figure out how to respond?

It’s Monday, enjoy the gift or enjoy the discipline. 🙂

By the way, the giver usually knows the best way to use the gift and discipline works best when you let go of demanding your way.

But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

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Walk with God

Enoch walked with God (Gen 6:9). Noah walked with God (Gen 5:22). I can’t find a reference to Adam “walking with God.”

I was taught Adam had the ultimate relationship with God because “he walked with God in the cool of the morning.” God was in the garden in the cool of the day (Gen 3:8) but Adam wasn’t walking with him. Adam was hiding! I don’t think that falls into the same category as Enoch and Noah.

What’s worse is that I was also taught (or at least caught) the idea that we are somehow supposed to long for a return to that “perfect” relationship that Adam had with God in the garden. What I’ve not been able to figure out is if Adam and Eve ever took from the tree of life. If not, they never had the relationship with God that we can have today. I think God intended more for us from the beginning.

My perspective is that the Holy Spirit is the tree of life. We are given access to the garden again through Christ. Only this time we are allowed to take from the tree. Communion is the beautiful reminder of this. His body was broken and distributed. His blood, His life source, was poured out on us. When we take communion, we are to remember that Christ is the one who gave us access to the tree of life. Christ is the seed of the tree of life. The produce of His seed is available to be planted in us.

John 6 is all about eating from the tree of life which Adam and Eve were banned from eating after their sin.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6:51

And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. Genesis 3:22

I am drawn to believe that “walking with God” is much more than nice sweet devotional times and hearing him whisper ideas into our minds – although I fully believe that is part of it. I’m not sure what it meant for Enoch and Noah but I think walking with God has less to do with our human choices and behavior and much more to do with a union that comes only through reaching out and taking from the tree of life. That body and blood given to us is the Holy Spirit. I don’t know how to put that in words for those looking to receive the garden experience or eternal life by “being good” or even “serving God.”

I can’t imagine many who have truly tasted the fruit of the Holy Spirit would ever desire to hide from God. I don’t want His rewards or a sweet life anywhere near as much as I want to be one with God as Jesus prayed,

Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us… John 17:21

That union is not real clear to me yet. I get those warm fuzzies once in a while when I think I’ve got the part about being one with God but then I mess up with the one with others. Makes me wonder if the warm fuzzies are just a bunch of fluff I’ve rubbed off my own knowledge of God. If it is the Holy Spirit in me (rather than my choice and behavior) that makes me one with God and one with other believers, then I can’t hide from either and still be walking with God. That’s tough to swallow.

It is my heart’s desire to be one with all those who have eaten from the tree of life so that everything we do individually and corporately is by the power of the Holy Spirit. Imagine a city impacted by that union! I know my flesh gets in the way. I struggle with the desire for the knowledge of good and evil. It always seems easier to do good and avoid evil (based on my knowledge of both) than to fully surrender to the Holy Spirit (who I don’t fully understand).

I mean, hey, the tree of knowledge is so accessible! I’m sure with the right knowledge I could please God, right? Did God really say ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? [Notice how the serpent plugged in the word “any.”] God gave us a brain so we could know which trees to eat from, right?

He gave us more than a brain. Through Christ He gave us the Holy Spirit so we don’t have to know on our own strength what to do. Walk with Him. Walk in His Spirit. God, I want to be there!

Are you there? Help me out. What does it mean for you to “walk with God?” Do you interpret the relationship that Enoch and Noah had as something unique to them and the Old Testament or can you walk with God today as Enoch and Noah did? What impact did Christ make on the phrase “walk with God?”

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