Loving your neighbor doesn't just mean loving the people you agree with. Y'all know what Jesus meant. Act right.
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”-1 Timothy 6:12
"Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one's thoughts."
1 Thessalonians 5 Annotated, pt 3
“For God has not destined us to [incur His] wrath [that is, He did not select us to condemn us], but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
<Predestination anyone? I genuinely am delighted by verses that could support a predestination worldview, because I didn’t grow up with that philosophy, and there are /so many/ verses that seem to apply. I am fascinated by it. But that is beside the point. The greater message of the verse is that we were not created for “the wrath that is coming” (1 Th 1:10) or the wrath that had “overtaken” the Jews (1 Th 2:14-16). Jesus made a path for us to gain salvation, and God /wants us/ to have salvation. God isn’t trying to keep us away.>
“Who died [willingly] for us, so that whether we are awake (alive) or asleep (dead) [at Christ’s appearing], we will live together with Him [sharing eternal life].”
<I’m not sure why Paul’s metaphor of being awake/asleep has suddenly changed. In earlier verses we had night and dark, when a thief could surprise you; so being asleep meant being caught unaware. And being awake meant being alert and of clear mind. But now we assume it means being alive/dead? Could Paul mean spiritually alive or dead, as in having a “dead” heart? BUT if that’s what he means, then he says ALL OF US get to live with Him. Maybe instead of eternal life, Paul meant “live together with Him” as in He will live in our hearts. Such as when Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is among us (Lk 11:20; Lk 17:20-21). Maybe living “together with Him” is our daily spiritual walk.>
“Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing.”
“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to appreciate those who diligently work among you [recognize, acknowledge, and respect your leaders], who are in charge over you in the Lord and who give you instruction,”
<I like the combination of verses 11 and 12. Mutually building each other up, and respecting community members who are mentors, placed in positions to govern and instruct you. Even if we don’t like correction, we should respect the hard workers, the leaders, and the correction givers.>
“And [we ask that you appreciate them and] hold them in the highest esteem in love because of their work [on your behalf]. Live in peace with one another.”
<We really are called to be a community of servants. Those who serve each other should be held in highest regards. Those who give their time and energy to keep the community running smoothly should be highly respected.>
<An attempt at TL;DR of chapter 5 so far: We do not have to worry about the “day of the Lord” because we are children of the day; we are not of the night, and therefore we are not asleep. But there are some who are confused; some say “peace” when there is no peace, some are “asleep”, and some are “drunk”. Our protection is the assurance of salvation, because Jesus has provided salvation to us, whether we are awake or asleep. And since some of us are awake and some are asleep, we should build each other up and listen to our mentors.>
- 1 Thessalonians 5:9-13 AMP (2015)
we think we know the story
of how you birthed our God into our midst
— but this
is not quite accurate:
the tale of your time in Bethlehem
is overlaid by two millennia
of retellings —
tradition lining up beside tradition and
when my mind becomes
a tangled mess
trying to divine
which ones Really Happened
you guide me from
my need to know one truth
into the sacred splendor
of a whole string of stories —
each one a bead
pregnant with its little piece of Truth,
a little link between me and
your Son and you.
“it’s not so bad,” Joseph says hopefully
as he helps you settle down onto the straw.
the cave walls cut the chill;
the goat who ambles close to sniff you stinks but
oh, she’s warm.
you think of births you’ve overheard
at home — the neighbor women rushing in
to help. you expected the same for yourself
but, ah well, what has been expected
about this pregnancy?
Joseph hovers, fervent but unsure
how to help.
“if i could take your pain upon myself…”
but there is no pain!
conceived as you were
free from Eve’s bane,
as you give birth
to heaven on earth
all you know is
bliss, bliss, bliss.
Joseph is gone.
you can picture his desperate dash
from door to bolted door
off in the town
as you lie alone
on old straw — and, God! the baby crowns
with no one to help — so you reach down
into the mess of your own blood and
yours are the first hands to wrap around
the Son of God, red and slick and — oh sacred sound! — screaming.
Joseph is gone, but near — you know he waits
pacing and praying just outside the door.
in his place — women’s faces, smiling and soothing,
letting you squeeze their hands as hard as you need
or bustling about to heed Midwife’s decrees.
the guest room was too small to hold this congregation
so you were helped into the central room
to birth the Son of God right in the heart
of this small peasant home.
the poor know how to serve one of their own.
you close your eyes as agony subsides
between contractions. see yourself as one bead
upon a long strong string stretching centuries —
you are one
with Jochebed biting down to mute her moaning,
Rebekah grateful for an end to her rough pregnancy,
with Hannah, Ruth, Bathsheba, Hagar, Rahab, Leah, Eve,
and millions more unnamed. you share their groaning,
their labor, their relief, their ecstasy.
your baby crowns; the women round burst out in Glory be!
- by Avery Arden
My Advent devotions this year include praying a daily rosary. Meanwhile, I’ve been fixating upon a certain reading of Luke 2’s “no room at the inn” passage that suggests Mary gave birth not in a stable, but someone’s home (more on that in my full essay here).
As I meditated on various iterations of the Nativity tale, with all their contradictions — a painless Mary versus a groaning Mary; Mary alone or Mary with midwives; Mary dismissed to the outskirts or settled in the heart of a Bethlehemite home — they all found their place, side-by-side, along that line of beads. In spending time with each story, the sense of contradiction as conflict faded away.
In any reading of the Nativity — whether it takes place on Bethlehem’s outskirts or in its heart — Jesus is born to nobodies in a nowhere town. His parents are brown Palestinian Jews living in subjugation to an Empire; they are impoverished; and they are dependent on the hospitality of others who share their poverty and oppression. ...
[Nevertheless,] do we do a disservice to the poor whom liberationist theologies are supposed to center when we claim that the people of Bethlehem — from the innkeeper of our pageants to whatever relatives Joseph may have had there — fail to provide a pregnant teenager and her husband with better accommodations than a barn or cave?
A reading that imagines village women supporting Mary through her labor; that imagines the main room of a house given over for her use, is a reading that celebrates the generosity and hospitality often demonstrated by poor and oppressed persons. ...(keep reading on wordpress)
We can shrink back from speaking boldly about Jesus, and the world lets us know we shouldn’t talk about our Lord King Jesus. But the world doesn't hesitate to impose its own message on us. We should be just as bold to the world about Jesus as the world is bold to us about sin.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Sunday November 7th at 12:30 PM ET / 9:30 AM PT / 6:30 PM CEST
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Financially Accessible link available via the Wrestling with Torah Discord.
ALL ARE WELCOME AT WRESTLING WITH TORAH!
Do you ever just lay there and feel overcome with Jesus' love and like your heart is overflowing and warm and like you're completely safe and you're just so happy? Bc that's me rn
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”-Matthew 2:10-11
“The problem isn’t that they ate the fruit, it’s that they disobeyed God.” How would they know that disobeying your god is “wrong” without the knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil?
“They didn’t know that eating the fruit was wrong, but they knew deviating from the instructions would be unacceptable.” And how would they know that god-acceptance is a good thing, and god non-acceptance is a bad thing without the knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong?
“Well, they should have just obeyed God.” Same problem - how do they know that obeying your god is “right” and not obeying your god is “wrong” without that knowledge?
“Because they should have listened to God and not the serpent.” You’re really not getting this. How would they know that listening to your god and ignoring the snake is the “right” thing to do? And why did this god warn them about the fruit, but not about the snake?
“Be... because it’s written on everyone’s hearts.” So you’re actually trying to say that people are born with the knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil “on their hearts.” So obtaining it from the fruit was redundant. And tormenting them merely an act of capricious abuse.
Furthermore, they were (supposedly) the first people ever in the world. Nobody had any experience with anything. How would they even comprehend “lest ye die” as consequences, when nobody had ever died, ever? And didn’t even happen (i.e. was a lie). Without the knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil, how would they know that paying attention to this heart-writing was the right thing to do?
The mental gymnastics to try and salvage this stupid fable about their omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient god’s omni-incompetence are Olympic-grade.
Spoiler alert: the bible makes no sense. And we’re only up to page three.
God will not forgive you.
We are so used to the fact that God is full of love, grace, and mercy; that we sometimes abuse it.
Yes, God will not forgive you if you are only confessing your sins and not repenting.
Confession is different from repentance. Confession is when you identify and tell your sins to God, while repentance is when you feel guilty after you confess and there is conviction from the Holy Spirit. So, you are not repenting but only confessing if you ask forgiveness from the Lord and you feel nothing.
Repentance must come from the heart and not from the lips.
However, there are also two kinds of guilt when repenting. Legalistic Guilt and Holy Guilt. Legalistic Guilt is when you feel guilty when you think that you decrease your chance of going to Heaven because you broke your streak of good works—a mindset of good works will save you. Holy Guilt is when you feel guilty because you know that you hurt God.
Both are classified as guilt but have different intents. So, there is a possibility that even when you are repenting, you are still not forgiven. That is why it is important to always check your heart because we might just be confessing or repenting but with wrong motives.
If you are asking for forgiveness, check if you are doing true repentance or just repentance.
John 9:31, "We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will."
Share this with your family and friends; you might change someone's life.
3 Things I've Learned About God's Timing
1. Circumstances don’t need to be perfect for God’s timing to be perfect
2. There is a time for everything, and this current time has a specific purpose
3. Instead of stressing about the “perfect time,” let God establish His perfect timing
Read more here.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
मेरे मन ने कहा, यहोवा मेरा भाग है, इस कारण मैं उस में आशा रखूंगा।
Yes my Heavenly Father, i will have full faith on You only 🙏 ❤ 👑😇
हाँ मेरे स्वर्गीय पिता, मैं आप पर ही पुरा विश्वास रखूँगा। 🙏 ❤ 👑😇
Even if you are forsaken by others, God will not forsake you. Even if every other refuge has failed, God won't fail you.
The Way vs Religion
The early Jewish followers of Yeshua (Jesus) did not start a new religion called Christianity.
They were simply Jews who were following a rabbi named Yeshua. And as the number of followers grew, a new branch of Judaism formed, which they called The Way. (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23)
Their faith in Yeshua as the Messiah was the ultimate fulfillment of their religious and spiritual expectation of Judaism.
They continued to worship in the Temple courtyard in Jerusalem, attend synagogue services wherever they lived, and observe the appointed times (Jewish festivals) commanded in the Torah. (Acts 20:16)
The disciples were Jews.
There was no such thing as Christianity or the Gentile church culture that we know today — whether we think of Catholicism, Orthodox, Evangelical, or any other form of Christianity — it simply did not yet exist!
During the time of Yeshua, Israel was ruled by the Romans, and they viewed The Way to be a sect of Judaism, no different than the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, the Jewish community at Qumran, or the secular people — they were all Jews!
Nor did the Sanhedrin (the religious court in Jerusalem, which included the High Priest), think that Yeshua or His disciples were starting a new religion. They just viewed Yeshua as a lone-ranger rabbi (teacher) who blasphemed. (John 10:36)