Jul 122013
 

My boy was upset and he’s often upset.

He doesn’t “get” how the world works at times and for him most of our social structures are places of pain and confusion.

He doesn’t always listen well and sometimes when he does, he still doesn’t understand.

I tried to explain the “why’s” of his latest conflict to him but the pain still turned to anger and the anger was directed toward me because there was no one else willing to receive it.

He said I didn’t love him.

I said, “I’m loving you as much as you’ll let me”.

Now, the reality is that I love him far more than that, but what he’s able to receive is limited by his attitude and experience.

He doesn’t understand that neither his circumstances or sin can affect how much he’s loved.

That doesn’t diminish the quality or quantity of love available to him, it limits him.

I wish more than anything else I wish for that he could know and experience the depths of how much he is loved.

This morning I woke up feeling like the bottom of an ashtray.

One year older, no job, conflict online that ruins my peace offline, shaky health and shaken confidence…and nothing to write about this morning.

I sarcastically thanked God for his “loving” care on the way to the coffee pot.

“I’m loving you as much as you’ll let me” came the response from on high.

Make your own application…

 

  138 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. “I sarcastically thanked God for his “loving” care on the way to the coffee pot.

    “I’m loving you as much as you’ll let me” came the response from on high.”

    Yes! Michale, that is beautiful, and just the encouragement I need today!

  2. Josh, thank you…and thank you for being here.

  3. This is so true.

  4. Wonderful Michael! We can only receive from our Father what we have been prepared to receive and we seem to need the trials and sufferings He allows in our life to bring us to that end.

    I have been down the road you describe (still travel it whenever Jesus sees fit) and it always came back to one thing-who am I in the Kingdom? When I would accept that I am a son, joint heir and my Father loves me beyond measure, peace beyond understanding came.

    It is hard learning that David was spot on in Psalm139 but oh so worth the effort and experience. Thanks for a great post. It has made my day

  5. Sounds curiously Arminian. Where is that wink stroke… ?

  6. “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
    Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
    For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
    How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
    Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
    Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
    (Psalms 139:1–24 ESV)

  7. I have 229.8 years of parenting experience.

    I should be able to offer some advice.

    Don’t have any.

    Ok, one comment:

    Immerse yourself in his struggles.

  8. I hate it when that happens. Actually I do but I get over it in a few seconds just cuz I’m so happy He actually speaks to me.

    Is the Lord telling you that you have the same problem your son does? If that’s the case then (I’ll have to personalize this) then I would consider that I need to modify my approach to my son. (And I did.) Is your son a special needs kid? How old was he when you ‘dopted him? Do you have any other kids? I raised 4 kids and I had to approach each one differently. Each one according to his ‘bent’. Not saying I did it right. That’s a whole ‘nuther ashtray.

  9. Thank you, folks.
    It’s good to be able to share it when I get humbled. :-)
    BD, I’ll work on that. :-)

  10. Another beautiful article. You have no idea how much your writing has ministered to me and help me to grow in knowing His love.

    I continue to pray for you and Trey. May God supply ALL your needs.

  11. Nonnie,

    Thank you…you have loved us well.

  12. PP Vet,

    Trust me, I’m immersed.
    He doesn’t go through anything without me with him in the struggle.
    That’s another article, I think… :-)

  13. Gary,

    He does have special needs…my prayer is that God equip all of us who love him to be especially able to meet them.

  14. Michael, would you unilaterally forgive Trey if he rebelled against you? Would you extend mercy regardless or would you damn him to eternal hell as punishment? (whether he knew what he was doing or not)

  15. You make the analogy of Creator God and mankind as Father and Children using your father/son relationship as the metaphor with the persuasive technique and story-telling technique of “God loves us in the same way as we experience in our father/son relationships here on earth”….yet you would never punish Trey in a manner that was akin to eternal torment with no end ever…and yet you assert that a “good” and “loving” and “merciful” God would do that to the vast majority of humanity.

    Is mankind God’s children? Did God create all of mankind? Your analogy falls short in that you would never nuke one of your children, even if they rebelled, yet you assume God nukes most of his children since the Garden.

  16. RB,

    Really?
    Really?
    Does every thread have to come down to your crusade?
    Yes I would forgive him because he’s my son.
    God will forgive all that come into sonship with Him through Jesus Christ.
    Those who don’t, He won’t.
    That’s the last comment allowed on the matter.

  17. I would nuke Ricky Bobby :)

  18. My “crusade” is Truth seeking. Your crusade is some sort of calvinist contradictory belief system that talks out of both sides of its mouth and isn’t intellectually honest (or is honest but ignorant)

  19. Sorry, got in after Michael’s comment. I was just goofing, feel free to delete.

    John 1:12 is a good prooftext, though. Comforting to me, much like this TGIF.

  20. Michael,
    “I’m loving you as much as you’ll let me”…

    You’re loving your boy, and God is loving you (and each of us) beyond the permission to love.

    We’re bags of meat with chemicals which enable us to “feel”. Once I understood that, being a diabetic and subject to screwy body chemistry, I embraced the Zen of knowing love and peace as reality and letting the feelings catch up in their own sweet time.

    You and your beloved boy will soon move into that place of knowing, and you will think of today and smile.

    Your job is on an unforeseen horizon and blessing is being woven together in The Master’s loom. I’m hoping my silly words can bring a sense of calm and peace.

  21. Nah, I’ll choose to unilaterally forgive you and let you mistreat me and moderate my comments and impugn my character by asserting its some sort of crusade against Christians when in fact it’s a crusade for truth.

    I won’t example your version of god toward you as you are exampling toward me.

  22. RB,
    Timing, bud, timing. Posit the theology after some breathing space. ;)

    This thread is more about how Michael and each of us feel, yes?

    So embrace the fact that you can’t thwart anyone’s choice to love you, because I think that’s ultimately what you are getting at.

  23. Hey, I’m a little effed up today, gotta see old friends and their children who lost their dad, and the sadness is hitting in waves.

    Tomorrow is the memorial for my friend Jeff, a man who loved God very much, who was a pastor, who led literally hundreds to recovery from substance abuse, and a man who lost his life to despair.

    He cannot stop each of us who knew him from loving him, even though he removed himself from our lives.

    Love doesn’t ask permission to love, it just does.

  24. Sometimes I think that we benefit more from your gifts and calling than you do Michael. Thank you for your faithfulness. Great word today.

  25. Will pray for you G~

  26. Yes, Michael, there are those walls, barriers, boundaries, DMZ’s around us all and we work really hard to keep them well defended. Our problem so often is we don’t know or realize what we are missing. Brennan Manning’s simple realization of the love of God in the term “Abba” is the best treatment of this dilemma I’ve read. Praying for Trey and all of us in this too-common issue. Blessings.

  27. I think “selah” is an OT Jewish poetic device that needs to be reappropriated for common, modern usage. ;)

  28. ( l0)====:::
    sorry I don’t do your moniker well, but praying for your peace and wisdom today

  29. thanks filbertz

    your guitar looks like one of these, very jazzy…

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ac/George_Cole_in_2007.jpg

    =)

  30. Thank you all for your kind comments.
    Gman, may peace and hope follow you all day long.

  31. Rickety Bobbely is on a crusade much like Dr Weston in That Hideous strength. I’m off to actual work today. First in a long time.

  32. Gary,

    Congratulations on the new job!

  33. Michael,
    Thanks.

    I posted a Beatles pic elsewhere that cheered up another friend of Jeff.
    It’s the little things, ya know?

  34. Michael, I think this is your best TGIF ever. God bless you, dear friend.

  35. Xenia,

    Thank you!
    More than that, thank you for allowing me to be your friend.

  36. I have five kids. Often I love the one who is acting the worst the best.

    (But each one thinks they are my favorite.)

  37. “Often I love the one who is acting the worst the best.”
    There is a whole ‘nother TGIF in that sentence….

  38. X, would you ever punish one of your kids with an eternal never ending punishment?

  39. If one chose to dwell far away from my presence in outer darkness I would let them.

  40. If one was not my child, what could I do?

  41. The Cross tells me everything I need to know about the goodness and righteousness of God.
    God became man and lived among us and allowed us to murder Him so that many could be saved.
    That tells me first of the depth of the problem…that my sin was so heinous an offense against a holy God that it required a sacrifice that only God Himself could provide.
    I was helpless and hopelessly lost until He intervened.
    The second thing it tells me is that He loved me so strongly He was willing to make that sacrifice.
    He is God and I am not…He was under no obligation to save anyone.
    His wrath against sin is righteous and just and I am a sinner by birth and by choice.
    He is the offended party and I am the offender.
    He made a way for me, when there was no way.
    I have no right to demand another way…I had no right to what has already been given.
    The cross was an act of pure grace and mercy where my just punishment was poured out on God Himself.
    Those who refuse what has been given will receive what they have chosen.
    I do not know the judgment toward those who have never heard the Gospel…but I know the One who judges is always good and righteous in His actions.
    I know that He gave His only Son on my behalf…and it is that knowledge that I am responsible for, not the things I know not.
    The secret things belong to God.

  42. Michael,
    Another huge set of questions arises from your theology, the biggest is most troubling for me. is this an OK time to briefly ask?

  43. Out of respect I’ll post on the “Questioning the Faith” thread.

  44. “If one chose to dwell far away from my presence in outer darkness I would let them.”

    OK, then if they decided while they were in the “outer darkness” to come home, would you let them or would it be an endless contract with no chance at repentance, a final never ending “outer darkness”?

    I’d guess, as a loving mother, you’d say “no, I’d repent and let them come home, the outer darkness was to bring them back to me”

    …which is God’s heart toward “all” of his creation, I’m increasingly convinced.

  45. RB, I know I often give you abrupt answers but I do want you to know that I care about you and your journey and your name is written in my prayer book. Not quite the same as being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life but I do pray for you daily.

    May something like this happen with you: I have a friend who over the past few months has been plagued with doubts. We would talk for hours and hours but nothing helped. He’d be ok for a few days and then read something on the Internet and his doubts all started up again. But out of the blue, the perfect person called him and asked him if he had any questions about anything. The person who called him is probably the leading English-speaking person in the entire world on the questions my friend has. He doesn’t know my friend very well, he just decided to call. He answered all my friend’s questions (way better than I ever could) and they are set up for many future conversation. My friend’s faith is restored.

    May something lwonderful like this happen with you!

  46. Beauty again, Michael, thanks for sharing.

  47. If God can “choose” to forgive outside the cross, then Jesus did not have to incarnate or die.
    In that case nothing we believe is true and we should construct idols that suit us and will comfort us as we die…and go we know not where.

  48. X, here’s the irony: I love God and Jesus, no problem. I just don’t agree with the Fundamentalist Conservative interpretations of the bible, it doesn’t mean I reject God and Jesus, I just see God as being loving, merciful and forgiving (eventually) to all of his creation, not just a few who get the magic belief before they die a physical death.

  49. “If God can “choose” to forgive outside the cross, then Jesus did not have to incarnate or die”

    God chose from his Free Will to do it that way for whatever reason. He made it so that Jesus had to die for everyone to pay the self-imposed self-created penalty for sin and he’ll eventually forgive everyone, all of his creation, though I’m open that the “hell” or “outer darkness” merely brings the rest of his creation to repentance and belief in the next life and then they come home.

    The angle that God would punish his kids forever, many without even knowing they did anything wrong, doesn’t square with what we know of “love” and a good parent.

  50. I don’t have doubts in God and Jesus and Jesus as Messiah, I have doubts…serious doubts…in the “inerrant, infallible, no contradictions” Perfection Idol God of the “bible” which is really just a function of the Fundamentalist Conservative imagination and Interpretation.

    I think the bible does tell a story…a wonderful story. I just see the Ending much different than you do.

  51. Jesus was always the Messiah, always the payment for the penalty…God was reactive, God didn’t have to “make” Jesus the sacrifice, it’s who he has always been from God’s own Free Will.

    The story plays out from God’s Free Will and God will repent from his judgment on mankind as he repented in the past and at worst the “outer darkness” will serve to bring his kids back to him in eternity.

    God is not a God who slams the door shut once and for all and perpetually torments his creation b/c they didn’t know, didn’t have a chance to hear or heard and rebelled anyway.

    If God is truly a “loving parent” as your analogy suggests in this article…he will redeem (eventually) all of his kids, all of his creation.

  52. RB @ 50 – OK, at very best that is speculation, right? That people might turn to Jesus after they die…pure speculation. The problem with living by that creedo is that it might be wrong. You very well could be giving out false hope rather than sharing the Gospel of Christ with people while they are still here on earth.

  53. Correction: God WASN’T reactive above, it always was, Jesus always was Messiah/Savior/Redeemer/Sacrifice/payment for sin, always has been always will be all from God’s Free Will.

  54. Josh, everything you posit and all the Theological Boxes are speculation based off of your view of the texts, your interpretive filters, your conscience and what makes sense to you.

  55. Well, since the conversation is blossoming on this thread, I’ll chime in.

    “I love God and Jesus, no problem. I just don’t agree with the Fundamentalist Conservative interpretations of the bible, it doesn’t mean I reject God and Jesus, I just see God as being loving, merciful and forgiving (eventually) to all of his creation, not just a few who get the magic belief before they die a physical death.”

    I have to say that I’m in complete agreement with Ricky Bobby on this as he states it.

    As I see it, this in no way diminishes our call to go out and bid others to learn of Jesus and become His follower, to fall in love with Him, to consider His life, His ways, His willingness to come and live among us. it becomes about choosing a more enriching way, a way of communion with God and others.

    I also truly struggle with any notion of God being held hostage to some idea that He cannot forgive simply because He would choose to set up a prerequisite a few thousand millennium ago. if I did that everyone I know would rightly tell me that I’m stuck, holding a grudge, and need to really seek out some good therapy to get a big picture perspective and stop denying myself the joy of the relationship that I distance myself from due to my forgiveness.

    …but that’s just me

  56. @ 56 – OF course that is true. Who can be freed from their own perspective, but do you see the danger in that kind of speculation? Wouldn’t it make more sense to hold out hope that God was going to save everyone, while preaching the Gospel the way it is laid out in the Bible? That way, if your speculation is wrong, at least those people had the chance to hear the truth before they died.

  57. Josh, if you think the threat of Punishment makes a person “love” you (or God) then you don’t understand true Love.

    1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

  58. Gotta step away and create a batch of logos for some nurses who want to teach other nurses how to save lives.

    I love my job! =)

  59. Michael,
    Still love this TGIF and how you love your son

  60. RB @ 59 – Please stick with things I’ve said. I didn’t say anything about fear of punishment or making someone love me.

    This goes out to G and RB – Why does your belief system require Jesus at all?

  61. “This goes out to G and RB – Why does your belief system require Jesus at all?”

    Because he is the Messiah. I think I have enough of a “correct belief” and enough of the “correct Jesus” here and now…and I think others who either didn’t have the chance to hear the Gospel or were approached by a Missionary of a different faith or version or were mentally disabled and couldn’t understand correctly or even if they heard the “correct” message but rejected it at this time…will all know the Truth in the next life and can still come home, as God is the God of Redemption, he is not the God of eternal punishment with no end…and I cannot conceive how a person would “choose” to stay in Punishment vs. choosing (once they know and understand it’s all real in the next life) to be tormented in hell forever with no end.

    My belief system “is” Jesus and my belief system “is” God and God is Love. The new Law of Love, the perfect “no punishment, no fear” Love.

  62. God really does love my Atheist friends. They don’t “see” it now…but they will and when they do they’ll choose God…in this life or the next.

  63. But you are no different than the Buddhist, right? He follows a different god, but ends up in the same place, right? Shouldn’t everyone then just follow the god that benefits them most on this earth?

  64. Josh,

    Jesus “required” Himself, inserting Himself into my trying to make sense of life, of a Prime Source when I had what I believe to be an encounter with him in 1971. I prayed and asked God to direct me to a relationship with Him, to know Him. I didn’t know the christian terminology, I just knew that there had to be a greater intelligence, a designer, a sustainer of life, and I wanted to know WHO that intelligence was/is. I had an overwhelming urge to seek spiritual answers and having been raised a Roman Catholic I turned to the most authoritative thing we had in the house, a big huge Catholic family bible that was safely preserved, unopened, under the coffee table under the National Geographics.

    I believe Jesus influenced me to conclude that He is God, answers prayer, is my life companion, my source. I came to that realization from reading the Gospels.

    I can only speak for myself and what I am convinced of, and offer it freely for consideration and little debate. It works for me.

  65. RB,
    When you speak of God’s ‘free will’ – what makes you think God has ‘free will’?

    I say he does not as he cannot do anything that is outside of his own nature,

    So, once again you misspeak.

  66. “I believe Jesus influenced me to conclude that He is God, answers prayer, is my life companion, my source. I came to that realization from reading the Gospels.”

    Well said. My only question would be, do you think He is everyone’s God?

  67. Josh,
    “Shouldn’t everyone then just follow the god that benefits them most on this earth?”

    All things being equal, we all do just that, and then we share our insights, the things which inspire and influence each of us along the way. We align ourselves with what resonates most deeply with our natures, then we refine and adjust as we continue to seek a relationship with God in the stillness of our souls

  68. “do you think He is everyone’s God?”

    of course.

    The Earth is The Lord’s and all that is within it.

    The most basic and ancient theology is that God owns the place because He made it, keeps it running, and intervenes when we seek and let Him.

    …but, that’s just how I approach things

  69. “God really does love my Atheist friends. They don’t “see” it now…but they will and when they do they’ll choose God…in this life or the next.”

    RB, my darling wife calls that having a big “Aha!” moment ;)

  70. @ 69 – G – It doesn’t seem that The Apostles followed the God that most benefited them. They were killed. Heck, I know people purposefully living in near poverty for the sake of the Gospel. I think these people could have chosen much more lucrative lives on this earth.

  71. @ 70 – So, the Muslim who would be killed for converting to Christianity…should he remain Muslim on this earth to be comfortable, since eternity with Christ awaits regardless?

  72. I just don’t see why the Apostles and all the martyrs were willing to die if everyone goes to heaven. Why not offer a pinch of incense to Ceasar if it doesn’t really matter in the long run? I don’t see why the church sends missionaries out to dangerous places, people who risk their lives to bring the Gospel if it doesn’t matter?

    I understand why people are attracted to universalism because it makes God a nice guy. But when we say “If I were a loving God, I would do thus-and-so,” we are imagining that we are “nicer” than God. God isn’t always “nice.” Like Aslan, he’s scary and dangerous.

  73. All the Apostles except St. John (and Judas) died a martyr’s death. They heard the words straight from the lips of the Lord. Did they hear him wrong?

  74. Josh,
    Perhaps. They had a first person experience with Jesus in a way that was unique.
    They were first hand followers of Jesus, watched His expressions as he debated with the Pharisees, when He wept at the death of His friend Lazarus, when He winked while he told a parable. The texture and nuance are lost on us. All we can do is imagine.

    Thing is, theirs isn’t the only story. Many believers have lived, co-existed and fake it day by day, gone out, spread their faith. Some were martyred, others died of boredom, others discovered new continents, civilizations, they dared to, yeah I’m gonna say it, boldly go where no one had ever gone before. They also championed reform within our spirituality, evolved a more humane understanding of politics and the rights of the individual, human rights, ended slavery, stood up for women’s rights.

  75. “They had a first person experience with Jesus in a way that was unique.”

    Me too.

  76. Josh,

    “So, the Muslim who would be killed for converting to Christianity…should he remain Muslim on this earth to be comfortable, since eternity with Christ awaits regardless?”

    I can’t speak in the theoretical. A recent conversation with a Muslim student I spoke with told me He believes more in Jesus these days, but is really going to have to keep his mouth shut when he returns to Saudi Arabia. Go figure, he’s got a hell of a lot of common sense, yes?

    As I see it, once a person begins to question their faith they will end up something other than “orthodox”. It’s more about picking your battles. I’d rather choose a life where I had to live my faith a lot and talk about it very little. It’s all about who you confide in and the political climate. If we end up with an Evangelical theocracy where I would be put to death for speaking of or writing of how I do my faith, hell yeah, I might tell “the authorities” to eff off and choose an exit strategy that makes them look like the buffoons that they would be, mocking them so as to inspire any of my fellow free thinking theological heretics, but then I’m the first to admit that I find the notion of life in a theocracy to be a horrible thought.

  77. Josh,
    You posted,

    “They had a first person experience with Jesus in a way that was unique.”
    Me too.

    I can only speak for myself and what I am convinced of.
    You must also go and do that for yourself, you and anyone else who reads this.

  78. A flaw I see in this discussion is calling the unbelievers God’s children. It is a common thing we hear today but totally foreign to Scripture. We are all God’s creation, but “as many as received Him (Jesus) to them He gave the authority to BECOME the sons of God, even to those who believe in His name”

    God is not sending ANY of His kids to hell.

  79. Another TGIF that must be shared with my loved ones. Michael, you have no idea of the exponential influence you have through your writing! A bad online conflict hopefully doesn’t negate all the rest of us online that truly benefit from the insights God gives you. I’m sorry things have been difficult and trying and I pray God mercifully relieves these troubled times quickly. Please know there are many of us that care about you and pray for you. (I love that you posted psalm 139. It’s my favorite reference to include on birthday cards.) :-)

  80. So…let’s imagine you are about to leave an inheritance to your children. And dismiss any idea of minors or babies, you are in your 80s about to pass away, and give the inheritance to adult children in their 50s or 60s.

    And some adult strangers of similar age begin to yell that they have the right to share in your children’s inheritance. More than strangers, a few of these folks actually made life horribly difficult for your own children.

    And even in seeking their cut of your inheritance, their mindset is one of total entitlement. Despite having squandered plenty of opportunity to build their own estates, they don’t think it is “fair” that your wonderful inheritance is only going to your children. They still curse your name and character, even as they demand what they had spent their lives rejecting for themselves.

    To repeat, it’s not about God sending His children to hell. God’s children are all going to receive their inheritance…every one of them.

  81. “And some adult strangers of similar age begin to yell that they have the right to share in your children’s inheritance. More than strangers,”

    Isn’t that Obama with the inheritance taxes? ;-)

  82. Thank you, Pam!
    I’ll take all the encouragement I can get. :-)

  83. Just got home from *Best Maynard G Krebbs voice* “WORK!” It’s just a 2 day gig; today and tomorrow. I’m not working for the company I interviewed with last week, although I expect a call from them anytime. I’m working for the company that let me go a few months ago. I might not even get paid. They held back over 2 grand and when I asked about it the accountant said he hadn’t been paid in 3 months. Bummer. I’m still thankful for the work.

  84. Great story Michael!

  85. I love to see sinners who claim to be saved by grace argue that no everyone can be saved by grace unless they are saved by grace in the same way they themselves were saved by grace.

    ;-)

  86. Back to design

  87. Just beautiful, thank you.

  88. Steve W said (W doesn’t stand for Right :-) “So…let’s imagine you are about to leave an inheritance to your children. And dismiss any idea of minors or babies, you are in your 80s about to pass away, and give the inheritance to adult children in their 50s or 60s.

    And some adult strangers of similar age begin to yell that they have the right to share in your children’s inheritance. More than strangers, a few of these folks actually made life horribly difficult for your own children.

    And even in seeking their cut of your inheritance, their mindset is one of total entitlement. Despite having squandered plenty of opportunity to build their own estates, they don’t think it is “fair” that your wonderful inheritance is only going to your children. They still curse your name and character, even as they demand what they had spent their lives rejecting for themselves.

    To repeat, it’s not about God sending His children to hell. God’s children are all going to receive their inheritance…every one of them.”

    Prodigal Son clears this up…only my version has no expiration date or deadline.

  89. Steve W, you sound like the older responsible brother in the Prodigal Son narrative. Would you be happy or angry if God chose to save everyone (eventually)?

  90. I corrected your insistent comment about God sending His children to hell.

    Instead of changing gears once more, you can either vainly attempt to defend from Scripture that all people ever born are already a child of God by natural birth – or you can admit you were mistaken on that point and learn something.

    Or..option 3..you insult me.

  91. Ah, nothing can spoil this post for me today not even RB.

    This was great stuff, Michael!

  92. So, just got a phone call on home phone from a woman who called herself a student minister at a local church on campus.
    She said she wanted to find people that would be interested in finding people that would provide funding for her so she could do that full time.
    REALLY?!!
    When I said I wasn’t interested, she asked me if I knew any one who would be.
    REALLY?!!

    When did churches start calling random people and asking them for money so a “minister” could do that full time??

    Appalled

  93. I read this at lunch while at work and it really spoke to me.

  94. Derek,

    Thank you…It makes it worth all the rest to know people got something good from it.

  95. (|o)====::: wrote:

    If we end up with an Evangelical theocracy where I would be put to death for speaking of or writing of how I do my faith, hell yeah, I might tell “the authorities” to eff off and choose an exit strategy that makes them look like the buffoons that they would be, mocking them so as to inspire any of my fellow free thinking theological heretics, but then I’m the first to admit that I find the notion of life in a theocracy to be a horrible thought.

    If men like David Barton, Doug Wilson, & Geoffrey Botkin were allowed to seize power and institute the Bible-believing government they so desperately crave, people like you and I would wind up behind razor wire in places far worse than Guantanamo.

  96. I choose option 4.

  97. Muff, are you sure about David Barton? He’s been cozying up with the Ron Paul crowd a lot lately…and Ron Paul and the Libertarians are not at all for a Theocracy. I’m in the Libertarian Camp and I am absolutely opposed to a Theocracy, I don’t trust religious or political leaders and to put the church in charge of government is scarier than putting government in charge of government.

  98. hmmm…. sounds like a few people here haven’t read the red letters that say love your enemy….. but maybe that’s just me…

    “Why not offer a pinch of incense to Caesar if it doesn’t really matter in the long run? ”

    Those who did so were considered apostate, and a shi!+ storm ensued about what to do with them. This opened the door for the practice of the church “forgiving” sins. Father forgive me……

    @95
    We all minister full time. We either do it well, or badly, but all of us who name the name of Christ are full time ministers.

    back to design

  99. You missed the point entirely.
    And back to design was true for me.

  100. @102

    actually, I think I understood you quite well. I was taking the concept in a different direction, which I thought you would get.

    and I’m designing too

    cya

  101. “I love to see sinners who claim to be saved by grace argue that not everyone can be saved by grace unless they are saved by grace in the same way they themselves were saved by grace.”

    London,
    I’m adding this one to my treasures!

  102. Ricky Bobby,
    I totally thought about the prodigal son & his family dynamic, and all the quotes, especially the final one from the dad.

  103. Ixtlan,
    You’re a graphic designer?

  104. Ricky Bobby,

    I gotta be up front and honest here. I’m an old school FDR style socialist and I make no apologies for it. Regardless of Barton’s latest affiliations, he strikes me as the kind of guy who’d enter into a non-aggression pact with anybody if it could further his aims.

  105. There is only one begotten Son of God. He is the heir of all things.

    There are many adopted children who, once adopted, become joint-heirs with the only begotten Son. Adopted children throughout time, including our day, have the legal rights of inheritance that are there for the begotten children.

    In the first chapter of John we are told there are some who did not receive Him, but as many as did receive Him now have the authority to BECOME a child of God – receiving = believing in His Name. Born not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or the will of man, but of God. Just as Jesus told Nicodemus was necessary.

    A child by adoption.

    This is about as clear and fundamental as it gets. No one who does not receive Him is called a child of God – ever.

  106. Ricky Bobby, Obviously your god and jesus (no caps on purposes) is not the God and Jesus of the Bible. The sacrifice of the Son by the Father is the central theme of the Bible. The Son did not hesitate to offer Himself a sacrifice on the cross for the sin of mankind.

    Are you good at stock car racing? Because I would hate to think you make a living as a theologian.

  107. Lxtlan
    Oh sorry. I misinterpreted what you wrote.
    I’m disheartened and just kinda sickened by that phone call
    I thought you were making fun of me.
    Thanks for clarifying

  108. I just got around to reading this Michael. My heart goes out to ‘your boy’ as he’s growing up under circumstances that aren’t the easiest. How I wish things were easier for the two of you but it’s something I can’t control. How can we read what you shared and not see ourselves? Thank you.

  109. The prodigal son…

    I am always amazed at the way many people take the prodigal son story, almost to a “t” they think of themselves as the prodigal son whom the father has long suffered for and spew hate on the older son who stayed.

    Here’s a couple of my observations:

    1. No one seems to apply the father image to themselves.
    2. No one seems to think they are the older son.
    3. No one seems to understand (or even ask about it) the Hebrew 2nd Temple culture behind the story.

    Hebrew culture:

    For the son to ask for his inheritance before the father died is as if saying, I want my father dead!”

    The inheritance was in land and not money.

    The older son was responsible for the inheritance and its proper allocation and family use.

    The older son had a right to consider the younger dead.

    The father lost at least half of his property but still loved the younger son.

    The father loves the older son equally as well.

    Could the older son actually be a parable about Israel and the younger son the rest of the world?

    Consider to whom and when Jesus is sharing this teaching.

    Lot’s here in this story but most of us are so selfish and inward focused we think it’s all about us and we are the younger son whom the father loves. Maybe it’s time we have a father’s attitude instead of being more like the older son or spending all the living Father’s wealth.

    Just some thoughts

  110. Oh and maybe if RB spent less time trying to prove there is no church and start hearing the words of God maybe his world would be a bit different. Who knows?

  111. Michael I think your blog is actually going quite well and civility is reigning king here. Keep pressing upward!

    Knowing God isn’t about knowing the best doctrines or best theology, it’s about trusting one God and one Messiah regardless of the distractions trying to pull us from the walk.

    Pretty simple in the end.

    Thanks for your continued work!

  112. Matthew 5:9
    “New American Standard Bible (©1995)
    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
    -Jesus

    Hmmmm, He must have meant something else

  113. posted at the other blog wish the same here

    I hope everyone had a nice Friday, the weather was beautiful here in CA. Hope things are doing well Alex with you and your family. Thanks for the prayers and kind thoughts as well as challenging exchanges. It was a kind day for me, many wonderful memories of simple things to appreciate and hope in. I dont know if others think this but poetry is a very moving expression of human literature. I am gardening now, sort of, I am a death nail to most plants but trying to break that. Love to watch a seed go into the ground and life spring forth. Personally I love growing carrots it seems to be the one plant I cant kill.

    Again do have a nice weekend.

  114. If all people are sons of God, then blessed are the warmakers too. We’re all there at the end.

    The Lord in those Beatitudes defines some characteristics for those who will see God, inherit the earth, be comforted, and enjoy the kingdom of heaven, as well as be called the sons of God. Hardly universal at all. Pretty narrow as a matter of fact, in keeping with the entire Sermon on the Mount to which that is simply one verse of the introduction.

    The prior verses on adoption and becoming sons by authority in receiving Jesus do not disappear because a new verse is thrown into the mix.

    That rather lengthy red-letter sermon also defies much posted earlier, Narrow gates, depart from Me, hell fire and so forth.

    Seems a tough argument to make that someone rejecting the peace of the cross offered by Jesus could still be considered a peacemaker in the eyes of God. Just break up a fight or two along the way I guess….

    I wonder if Arafat will remember to show his Nobel Prize when his knee bows as well one day.

  115. Well played Steve Wright!!

  116. Michael happy belated birthday, sort of in the same boat, hope it helps.

  117. …nor is it a fencing match

  118. :::====( oI )

  119. Gary,

    Your wit and humor is ever on target and seems to be a constant blessing to me. ROTFLOL

  120. Steve,

    Hi ironic for me, as I had not read through the blog to see that this passage was being discussed. This morning prior to laying my head down for my 8 hours, I was in prayer and asked the Lord to show some things. He took me to this passage: Luke 6:21-49. Then from there, to Luke 8:18 which caused me to take note and reminded me some of things discussed on this and the CCA blog. In particular, as you have stated, the beatitudes is not just about those who are in Him, but also it is about so many other things, but all under the same mind and spirit in the Lord. In chapter 8, it brought me into remembrance of the parable that Jesus spoke regarding the seed and what type of ground it fell upon. The verse that stood out for me was:

    Verse 18 “Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will e given and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken away from him.”

    Oh, in Verse 11, “Now the parable is this” The eed is the word of God.”

    Selah–Shalom in Jesus

  121. Luke 8:10-18
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that

    ‘Seeing they may not see,
    And hearing they may not understand.’[a]

    Lord, how will they know if they have not heard nor read

    NKJV Luke 8:5-8 (red lettered)

    NKJV Luke: 8:9-18 (red lettered)

    The Parable of the Sower Explained

    11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

    12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

    The Parable of the Revealed Light

    16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.

    18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him

    Luke 8:10-18
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that

    ‘Seeing they may not see,
    And hearing they may not understand.’[a]

    The Parable of the Sower Explained
    11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

    The Parable of the Revealed Light
    16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him

    Luke 8:10-18
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that

    ‘Seeing they may not see,
    And hearing they may not understand.’[a]

    The Parable of the Sower Explained
    11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

    The Parable of the Revealed Light
    16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him

    Psalms, ch. 119:105 (KJV)
    105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

    Proverbs, ch. 6:22-23

    As for me and my house, I will stand upon the word of God—the
    B—I—B—L—E, that’s the book for me. From Genesis to Revelation, in and through and by the Holy Spirit according to all that God has told us, as it is written—-Amen.

    Psalms, ch. 119:114-116

    114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.115 Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God. 116 Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

  122. Michael,
    Hoping you catch the comment and delete it–what a pain in begeebee to be a moderator, huh.

    Yikes–Don’t know what happened—apologies to everyone.

    Luke 8:10-18
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that

    ‘Seeing they may not see,
    And hearing they may not understand.’[a]

    Lord, how will they know if they have not heard nor read

    NKJV Luke, ch. 8:5-8 (red lettered)

    NKJV Luke, ch. 8:9-18 (red lettered)

    The Parable of the Sower Explained
    11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

    The Parable of the Revealed Light
    16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him

    Psalms, ch. 119:105 (KJV)
    Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

    Proverbs 6:22-23
    As for me and my house, I will stand upon the word of God—the
    B—I—B—L—E, that’s the book for me. From Genesis to Revelation, in and through and by the Holy Spirit according to all that God has told us, as it is written. To me, denying His word is the same as denying Him and espousing another jesus.

    Deuteuronomy 6
    4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

    5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

    6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

    7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

    And finally:

    17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

    18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew, ch. 10:23-24

    3 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:

    24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

    Thank you, Lord for these who have been faithful in passing on the things that you taught throughout the ages and enable them to be written down for us to also gain the things that you would have us to know through the Holy Spirit and His ministry in confirming these things as we walk in obedience to Your word. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

    Psalms, ch. 119:114-116

    114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.115 Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God. 116 Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

  123. On living in a theocracy:

    Before the Lord comes, this would not do at all, but after He comes back and brings His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven—why not.

    In a large way, if we look beyond the earthy government, isn’t all of creation under a theocracy, yet in a sort of an invisible war with the powers and principalities of darkness for the souls of humans.

  124. RB @ 53 said…

    “God is not a God who slams the door shut once and for all”

    Please read Luke 13:22-30.

  125. Michael….this is beautiful and I needed to hear it! Thanks for sharing….

  126. Goose – you are right – but RB does not listen.

    I told him earlier in the week to read the parable in Luke 14:15-24 – but he babbled on.

    v24 is very clear “For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

  127. There are so many verses that clearly state that not all go to heaven – I do not recall a single clear verse that says I am taking everyone to heaven.

    if RB or G can point to a single clear explicit verse, I would be happy to look at it.

  128. MLD, you’re assuming the Bible has authority as the written revelation of God – telling us things about God we would not know apart from this revelation of His to us.

    I make that same “mistake” myself ;)

  129. Michael, beautiful. You and Trey hold a very special place in my heart.

  130. That “mistake” is one I plan and hope to keep making. :)

    Michael, sorry about the Job issue.

  131. Michael,
    Your article really touched me today. Thanks for being open and vulnerable. I came across your blog a few weeks ago and I’ve found it refreshing. You should publish some more stuff over at Amazon.

  132. Thank you, Eric!
    I have a second book coming out, hopefully in the fall.

  133. Goose,

    For whatever it’s worth, I understand what you are saying and I agree.

    Over and over again in the N.T., we are told to walk in obedience to God’s word and not sow to the flesh. We are also told that the Holy Spirit empowers and enables to do this while convicting us of those sins that will cause us to fall severely into a mindset that will and does hurt others as well as ourselves.

    Now what these sins are, we can actually make a list of them by referring to N.T. scripture. None of them are not mentioned within the O.T. And all of them we are instructed turn away from—setting our minds upon Christ and the work that He has done in our hearts and the hope that He has now given us as being the final sacrifice to pay for those sins.

    This does not free us to sin. There is not one place in the Bible that tells that sin is okay to commit. But rather, over and over and over again, we are told to rid ourselves of such. And how do we do that. By admitting we are sinners, but set free from the law—No, not all. What is that—but mocking God and His holiness and the grace He has extended to us.

    But by the Holy Spirit, which the Jews did not have within their hearts for they were not born again, but had only the sacricial system to cover their sins, not to totally washed them away. Even when they repented, they still were under the law and God made whatever judgment He did upon them individually or as a people according to His mercies.

    We then who now have access to Christ, to confess our sins are also able to rid ourselves from the very acts that God made clear to the Jewish people that they were not to commit, such as adultery, lying, cheating, exploiting, drunkeness, bearing a false witness, murdering, either physically, emotionally, or psychologically.

    So Goose, in this–at least this what I am understanding you to say, I whole-heartedly agree with you. We as Christian are no longer under the law, as it is not a stumbling block to us, in that we do have the Holy Spirit, therefore are able to walk in obedience and not in darkness, as the heathens do.

  134. I’m sure that everyone has already either thought about this or stated it at some point, but the problem with universalism (besides having to do major interpretive gymnastics to get there) is like my agnostic, antagonistic toward God nephew put it. We (my wife and kids and I) were talking about it one day and my nephew walked in the room and heard the conversation. He chimed in, “If that is true, then what is the point of being a Christian? Just live however and do whatever, and you will make it to heaven anyway. Win, win!” It gives hime less reason to follow Christ, not more.

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