Like Father, Like Son

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The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. From everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him.  (Psalm 103:8, 10–14, 17, NIV 1984).

When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  (Matthew 9:36, NIV 1984).

My Musings – These verses are loaded!

Compassionate – A sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  (1 John 4:14, NIV 1984).  It was more than a desire to alleviate our sinful state that compelled the Father to allow His Son to bear our sin and shame on the cross.

Gracious – Unmerited divine favor given to mankind for their salvation.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  (Ephesians 2:8–9, NIV 1984).  Unmerited, not earned.  Not something you can work for.  It is a gift, freely given, freely received, if we are willing to accept it.

Slow to Anger – Lacking in readiness, promptness, or willingness to display His displeasure and judgement.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  (2 Peter 3:9, NIV 1984).  When He returns, those who have not repented, who have not accepted Christ will be judged and bear the full weight of His wrath.  But because He is reluctant for this to be the case for anyone, He delays to allow the unsaved more time to consider.

Abounding in Love – Abundantly supplied goodness and kindness.  A steadfast (not subject to change) love.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  (John 3:16–17, NIV 1984).  It cannot be more abundant than for Him to send His only Son.  It cannot be more steadfast, that when we betray Him in sin, He still loves us enough to redeem us.

As High As the Heavens Are From the Earth – How high do you suppose that could possibly be?  Scientists estimate at least 93 billion light years (and still expanding).

As Far As the East Is From the West – No matter how far east (or west) you travel, you will never reach the west (or east).

From Everlasting to Everlasting – Enduring through all time.  No matter how far back in time you go, there was never a time He did not love us.  No matter how far into the future you go, there will never be a time when He stops loving us.

My Advice – How could you possibly turn away from such love? Why would you want to?

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Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

 

 

Whatever Happened to the Creator?

The Brew Is A Musing

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INTRODUCTION – LOOKING FOR A GOOD CAUSE?

If Whatever Begins to Exist Has a Cause – In nature, there are no instances of something coming into existence out of nothing. When scientists believed that the universe had always existed, they did not dispute “whatever begins to exist has a cause.” Now many do.

Then the Universe Had a Beginning – “Almost everyone now believes that the Universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the big Bang.” (Stephen Hawking). In the Big Bang theory, the universe (time, space and matter) came into being in an instant in a cosmic explosion. The effects of this have been scientifically observed (stars and plants are rapidly moving away from each other and from a common origin). In other words,

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Response Ability

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Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  (Joshua 24:14–15, NIV 1984).

Other People’s Musings – The current social paradigm (view of how things work) tells us that we are conditioned to respond in a particular way to a particular stimulus.  How we respond is determined by one or more of the following:

Genetic Determinism – Says your grandparents did it to you.  It’s in your DNA (nature).  You inherited it.

Psychic Determinism – Says your parents did it to you.  Your upbringing (nurture), your childhood experience.

Environmental Determinism – Someone or something in your environment did it to you.

But in between stimulus and response is freedom of choice.  How we respond is not determined, it is chosen.  We have the ability to decide within ourselves how we respond.  Our behavior is a function of our decisions (choices), not our conditions.  We are responsible for our own lives.

From “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey.

My Musings – We are responsible for our own choices.  God has set before us life through His Son Jesus Christ.   We either choose life (Heaven) or death (Hell). It is not determined for us based on nature, nurture or environment.

My Advice – Choose life.

 

 

Whatever Happened to Right & Wrong?

The Brew Is A Musing


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INTRODUCTION – YOU MEAN IT MAY NOT BE WRONG…

If It Isn’t Clear? – I go even further back than that. Ten years after The Great War, as we used to call it. Before we knew enough to number them. You miss that kind of action, sir? No, I miss that kind of clarity. (Wabash/Houseman and Higgins/Robertson – Three Days of the Condor)

If You Don’t Get Caught? – Boy, what is it with you people? You think not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth? (Turner/Redford – Three Days of the Condor)

If It’s A Gray Area? – You are such a boy scout. You see everything in black and white. No, no, no! Not black and white Ritter, right and wrong! (Ritter and Ryan/Ford – Clear and Present Danger)

If… – What are some other ways that we

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Why Not Rather Be Wronged?

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Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”  (2 Timothy 4:11, NIV 1984).

My Musings – What makes this passage so significant is what transpired in Acts 15.

Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.  (Acts 15:36-40, NIV 1984).

The Mark in 2 Timothy and “John, also called Mark,” in Acts 15, are generally considered by Bible scholars to be the same person.  While the disagreement surrounding Mark appears to have been quite contentious (“sharp“), and resulted in them parting company, they were eventually reconciled.  So much so that Paul wound up considering Mark to be “helpful to me in my ministry.

There will be times, when well-meaning Christians will see things differently.  It is sad when it results in broken relationships.  To amicably work through the dispute with your brother or sister in Christ is better by far.  If not, reconciliation is sweet.

My Advice – We have been called to a higher standard than those without Christ.  When you have a dispute with another believer, do you best to work it out.  Unfortunately, there will be times that being at peace with one another will not depend on you (Romans 12:18).  In such cases, “why not rather be wronged?” (1 Corinthians 6:7, NIV 1984).  Let the Holy Spirit do His work, leaving the door open for reconciliation at a later time, rather than escalating the dispute or insisting upon being right.  “Blessed are the peacemakers.

 

Whatever Happened To Authority?

Re-blog from my “Whatever” series.

The Brew Is A Musing

Screenshot (147)INTRODUCTION 

The practice of questioning authority may not have been “made in America” but we’ve done what we can to make it “new and improved.” From the declaration of self-evident truths that challenged a dominant world power and launched a revolution, to the civil rights movement that made possible a new birth of freedom for repressed minorities, Americans have prided themselves in questioning long-held customs, traditions and beliefs in the name of liberty, freedom and human rights.

In many instances,

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When In Athens

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While Paul was waiting for them [Silas and Timothy] in Athens. . .he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. . .Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.”  (Acts 17:16–20, NIV 1984).

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.”  (Acts 17:22–23, NIV 1984).

We should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”  (Acts 17:29–31, NIV 1984).

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you.”  (Acts 18:9–10, NIV 1984).

My Musings – The thought occurs to me from time-to-time, that readers of my blog might be saying of me “what is this babbler trying to say?”  Especially as I share with my friends and acquaintances on FaceBook that have known me over the years, but have never known me to share my beliefs so openly.  Maybe it’s because social media does seem to give us a degree of boldness that we rarely seem to have in our personal interactions.  You know, those three taboo topics of sex, politics and religion that we are supposed to avoid.

I do try to avoid those first two topics sex (out of a sense of modesty and decorum) and politics (can be way too divisive and polarizing).  But religion…?  I guess I feel a certain sense of urgency as we approach the day that God has set “when he will judge the world with justice,” to proclaim the good news of the Gospel.  To say what I’ve left unsaid for so many years of my life.  To share what I know with others.

I would like to think for most of my readers (if they read it at all), that I am not “bringing some strange ideas to their ears.”   Yet to some, even those quite familiar with the story of Christ, the concept of being “born again” sounds cultish or merely the belief of a fringe group of religious weirdos.  But the term “born again” was coined by Jesus Himself.  Because Jesus said it should make one “want to know what [it] mean[s].”  God does not need to be “an unknown God.”  But He can only be known though “the man He has appointed” by “raising him from the dead.”  We should not think it is strange that the Father appointed the Son to be the only way we can come to Him.

So while I do get discouraged periodically, wondering if anyone is paying attention to what I write, I guess I will “keep on speaking” and “not be silent.”  One never knows who might be listening.

My Advice – But don’t just listen to me.  Listen to Jesus, the Son of the living God.

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Today’s musing was inspired by Lead Teaching Pastor Kevin Rutledge’s sermon on January 19, 2020. Check it out at https://www.fbcsycamore.com/sermons. If you live in or are visiting the area, come and join us Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We’d love to be partners in the Gospel with you.