Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who is Jesus to your life?

Ok, back at it (and hopefully my work schedule cooperates so I'm able to make my weekly posts again!).

We'd been going through the Gospels, and I'd like to keep at that (taking some detours in subject matter here and there, as comes up). The last posts were here.

Our scriptures for this post are here.

If we aren't always wondering about who Jesus is and what He thinks of different people in this world, and what that means in our own lives, we should. The apostle John gives us some good insights here, for as is often the case, Jesus interacts in the Gospels with a lot of different kinds of people in a very short time.

In these scriptures, for example, we see Jesus interacting with:
  • Family
  • Party-goers
  • Underdogs
  • People who make their living from religion
  • Religious leaders
  • People who don't want others to know they're interested in Jesus
  • "Good Religious People"
  • Human scum
What can we see about Him from these interactions? Consider the following, thinking about where you might fit in and how Jesus might see or interact with you when you're at work, socializing, worshiping, etc. As I've said before, wipe the religious slime out of your eyes and really take a fresh look at who Jesus is, from who He demonstrates Himself to be (and not as you've been taught to see Him by other human beings):

Well, first of all we see Him at a party, celebrating with people in His social circle. What does that tell us about the idea that Christians are supposed to be dour and stiff all the time. 

We also see Him interacting with His mother, asking questions (as He often did others, as well) that test our insight and willingness to go along with His greater wisdom. What does this tell us about how Jesus teaches us and how He expects us to learn?

We see Him interacting with servants - the underdogs of the Jewish world - and in ways that are more than respectful. In fact, these servant underdogs are the only one's of the household who get to see and know exactly what Jesus did, in His miracle of turning the water they brought Him into wine for the guests. This is just as we saw when Jesus was born, and God announced His birth to filthy shepherds and pagans - but not to the "Good Religious People" and their "clergy". What does this say about God's expectations of what different kinds of people will go along with or be pleased about, or how God orders things, in this world?

We see Jesus discovering people making a living God didn't sanction from His temple system (in fact, the only approved way for anyone to make a living in God's religion was to be born in the Levite tribe of Israel, those who worked as priests in the Jewish temple proscribed by the Mosaic Law). We see Jesus getting angry at them and chasing them and their doo-dads out - not because they were ripping people off and such (as some claim), but because they'd figured out how to make people's reverence and want for God into a money-maker.What does that say about our Christian-consumer culture and our books, tapes, "love offerings", and "tithes" that so many have figured out how to sell, and so many of us want so much to buy?

Then He met some religious leaders from the temple, angry that He'd upset their profit-machine. He didn't speak plainly to them. He didn't just explain what they were doing wrong, did He? In fact, He gave them a prophecy, a riddle - something that no one could figure out yet (not even His disciples until after it had happened).When it would later come true, the disciples would remember what He said, understand it, and have an even stronger faith because of it. Do you think the religious leaders later remembered what He'd said? If so, do you think it caused them to believe?

Later another religious leader came secretly to Jesus - in those days, of course, no one visited anyone at night unless they were trying to hide their visit. Nicodemus wanted God's truth, and he sensed it in Jesus - but he wasn't willing to risk losing his religious position and community standing to get it. Jesus still interacted with him, taught him, but He also pointed out ignorant of God's real truth Nicodemus was, despite all his religious expertise. Since God isn't impressed by all the religious scholarship human beings can come up with, and has to teach the "experts" as much as or more than us, why are we so impressed by them? Why do we allow our lives to fall into their spiritual ignorance?

Finally, we see Jesus doing something completely immoral and totally confusing (according to the cultural standards of that time and place): He not only speaks to a woman, He speaks to her when alone with her, and He speaks to her as someone with brains, and He treats her with the same dignity and respect He treats everyone with even those she's "obviously" a "slut" and even though she's from a despised minority. What does it say about Jesus that He didn't give a hoot about the lines human prejudices draw all over the place, defining this person as "ok with God and us" and that person as "not ok with God and us"? What does that say about Jesus in your life?

What does all this say about Jesus Christ - and therefore, about God?
  • Does Jesus care more about the theoretical and scholarship we come up with, or with how our day-to-day lives are going?
  • Does this show Jesus running around eager to condemn people, or does it show Him hoping to teach and grow us closer to God's truth?
  • If we get more involved in our "godly" religious practices and positions than with God Himself right in front of us, are we more or less likely to get plain, easy answers from God? Are we even likely to see God when He's right in front of us?
  • If you're Gay, or female, or part of some other grouping that others despise, does that affect how God sees you, or what God expects of you?
Throwing out your religious belief and understandings, what does the Bible say to you about Jesus in your life?

This article written by Lynne at No Junk. Just Jesus. You can contact Lynne at

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Those &*%#@ Christians!

I'm continuing to get daily to prayer and information requests, as well as to direct emails from folks wanting to chat about things, even though I've not gotten back full time to (any of my) blogs (though, if things work out in the next few weeks, I hope to change that then).

Still, I got an email today from a strong-in-the-Lord brother who has been confronting people who use the Bible and religion to misrepresent Jesus and hurt other people. He requested prayer and healing over that little bit of nagging resentment we all struggle against whenever we've been confronted by someone else's insistence upon being evil, low, divisive, hurtful, etc. And for all of us, of course, sometimes that "little bit of nagging resentment" turns into an ocean of return-hate. What do we do about any of that?

Here's part of my answer to our brother (the parts that aren't personal in any way), listing my thoughts this morning. What are your thoughts on this issue? What are some other ways you deal with these kinds of things?
We ALL have to struggle with these things now and again, and it gets easier as we get more practice seeing these things Jesus' way. Here are my suggestions of things to consider when struggling with this temptation to be angry, resentful, or bitter towards someone who truly does deserve our anger, resentment, and bitterness according to the world and our flesh!

* Corrie ten Boom: she went thru a Nazi death camp and lost almost her entire family (including a sister who was with her in the camp), and had to struggle a lot to over come anger and hate during and after the war. Her books and MP3s of her talks can be very inspiring and healing, and always point us to the fact that even when dealing with evil it's only through Jesus that we can forgive and see things His way.

* Paul of Tarsus: consider who Paul was, and the incredible damage he did to people's lives, before he was confronted by Jesus. Consider that many others just like him moved among God's people in those days, and that most never turned from their evil - but that any Jesus-followers who turned away from hope that Paul and those like him could still also repent of their religiousity and surrender their hearts to Jesus were just wrong. Consider also that no follower of Jesus EVER did or could turn Paul's heart to repentance and hope in the true Lord - Jesus Christ Himself alone could do that. Such matters require our humility, our willingness to admit that only the Lord heals and calls - not us. So we do what we're called to do, and leave the results to the Lord.

* The best use of your efforts: I used to debate "Christians" all the time who had religious demons of hate and division in their hearts, thinking perhaps I could help them see a better light -- that is, until once when God told me, "If they don't listen to Me, why would they listen to you?" Truly, if God isn't at work on and in their hearts, there's no hope whatsoever that anything you can say or do will accomplish what they won't let God do. So what's the better perspective? This: what about all those people on the site (or in your local life) that are silently reading (or seeing/hearing) what you're saying? Never forget that for every person who's wanting to debate just to exercise their own demons and wear you out and get you into their world of anger and evil - there may be another person, or 100 other people, or a thousand, or more, whose hearts just might be hungry for a more true way of seeing Jesus and understanding God's way. For myself, I speak or deal publicly with evil-choosers only when doing so might be of some benefit to those who may currently be within the realm of evil but wanting out (in a small or large way). And in those times, even as I "speak" to the evil-chooser, I actually direct all my attention and efforts and words to the rest of the crowd. We're called to be wise stewards, not casting our pearls of Jesus-wisdom before spiritual-swine or spending our Holy-Spirit-energy on evil-choosing-dogs.

* What the New Testament tells us: what does the NT tell us to do with "Christians" who cause hurt, bad feelings, and teach wrong things? It tells us to try a few times to explain how they're wrong, but if they persist, we are told to remove our attention and lives from the dark cloud of their attention and lives. We forgive them, again and again - yes. But according to the NT we also recognize the truth of the damage they can and do cause, and we do not get caught up in their spiritual ugliness by trying to get them out of it (which requires God to open their hearts and minds).

* God's plan: Finally, ponder things like this in God's Bigger Picture. Jesus told us that God doesn't let His angels just go out and destroy the evil people we see around us, because if He did some good people would be destroyed, as well - and all of the Bible tells us that God's not willing to lose even one person who will turn from world-evil to Jesus-good. That person in your life who's being so wrong today (and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, and so on) MIGHT just eventually find the real Jesus, confronting him/her on the road to doing even more wrong, and be set right. Without that willingness to understand what's happening in the world from God's perspective, it's just too easy to end up bitter or angry, but also hopeless, out of faith, and so on. 
Where does the Holy Spirit lead your thoughts, today?

This article written by Lynne at No Junk. Just Jesus. You can contact Lynne at