What's a particular emotional story or passage from the Bible that really get to you? One of my favorites is probably Genesis 45, when Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers while weeping, and then he forgives and kisses them all while continuing to weep.
John 21. Jesus has risen from the dead. A group of his apostles have gone fishing all night and caught nothing. In the morning, Jesus appears on the shore, unrecognizable to them, and tells them where to cast their nets. They’re unable to pull their nets in because of the enormous haul of fish. In fact, it’s an almost exact reenactment of the moment when Jesus called them to be his disciples in the first place, which is maybe why the Beloved Disciple (John) shouts “It is the Lord!” Peter, the moment he hears this, leaps into the water fully-clothed and swims right to shore. Jesus has a fire and food waiting for them and they follow up the Last Supper with what you might call the First Breakfast. (It only gets more moving from there with Peter undoing his denial of Jesus via the “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” dialogue.)
What really stands out to me about this story is that the last time Peter saw Jesus, he had just denied Him three times. Peter is not (at this stage) a brave man; he’ll even admit in his dialogue with Jesus that his love for Him is still not what it should be (“agape”). He should be doing what guilty men have done since Adam—hiding himself from God. Instead he leaps into the water and goes straight into the arms of the one he betrayed. This is how we need to approach Jesus at all times. Exactly like that.
If we’re in a spiritual state where we believe we know it all, there’s not much that God can do with us. The fact is, whether you’ve been a Christian for one year or sixty, there’s always more to learn. That’s why as believers we should be in constant pursuit of a closer relationship with God. However, there’s a problem when the desire to know more of God is coupled with comparison of our own spiritual growth to that of other Christians. There’s a reason why even in the secular world there are so many self-help books emphasizing the importance of avoiding comparing yourself to others. If you’re looking at another person’s achievements and simultaneously judging yourself for how you’re lacking in that area, it’s more than likely going to discourage you, as opposed to prompt you to do better. I’ve struggled in my own life with comparing my walk with Christ to that of some very advanced Christians and needless to say, I came up significantly short. What seemed like basic things for them to grasp felt like insurmountable roadblocks to me and it left me feeling.. well, pretty inferior.
1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”
What’s easy to forget though is that no one starts off strong. It’s a process of continual surrender to God. Just because we’re saved doesn’t mean that we’ll automatically grasp everything at once. Like physical growth, spiritual growth comes in stages. Babies don’t automatically start walking and talking as soon as they pop out of the womb. They have to learn it little by little. Another important thing to keep in mind is that not everyone has had the same experiences. One person’s background may have affected their ability to trust, which would make spiritual growth significantly harder for them. In some cases, what you see as advanced growth may just be an outward show. Just because someone seems like they have it all together doesn’t mean they do. Thirdly, it’s important to take a critical look at your own actions and intents. Jeremiah 29:13 promises us that if we seek God wholeheartedly, we’ll find Him. Wholheartedly doesn’t mean giving Him a lukewarm effort. If your friend seems to be doing much better spiritually than you are, the reason for it may be the level of importance they place on their relationship with Christ. Someone who gets 99% of their spiritual nourishment from an hour service at church, isn’t going to be on the same level as another Christian who’s consistently in the Word for themselves. James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
One of the main points that I felt like God was trying to get across to
me was to keep walking in the light of what I knew. If I was already
seeking God on the matter to the best of my ability, the answer would
eventually come. Until then, it was better to not focus on what I didn’t
know and keep walking in what I did.
God never breaks a promise and He says that if anyone lacks wisdom let him ask and it WILL
be given to him. If you’re struggling with a lack of understanding when
it comes to a spiritual subject, be encouraged. You may not get the
answer immediately but it will come.
It’s God’s desire that all of His children are brought into a closer relationship with Him. He doesn’t just section off specific groups of Christians and decide that they’re the ones He wants to pour His wisdom out on.
Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. And if it’s your desire to
grow up more in Him, you can be confident that He’s even more committed
to making it happen.
Christian Conservatives neither care about hypocrisy nor morality; what’s important to them is winning elections for their agenda, e.g., voodoo economics, sexism, racism, the establishment of a state church, preferably Southern Baptist, and taxpayer funding for their allied churches and schools.
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” (Matthew 4:3)
Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, yet He never sinned (Heb. 4:15). Jesus began His public ministry with His baptism. As John the Baptist raised Him from the water, Jesus heard His Father’s affirmation, “Well done!” Immediately afterward, Jesus spent forty days fasting in the wilderness. There, Satan met Him and presented three temptations.
First, Satan enticed Jesus to use His divine power to transform stones into bread. It seemed like a logical thing to do. Jesus was hungry, but He had a much greater need to follow His Father’s leading. The Father had led Him to fast; Satan sought to persuade Him to eat.
Next, Satan tried to convince Jesus to use Satan’s means to accomplish the Father’s ends. “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down” (Matt. 4:6). Jesus understood that this would be presumption, not faith. It would be attempting God’s work in the world’s way. The world looks for spectacular displays; God uses a holy life.
The final temptation Satan proposed for Jesus to achieve God’s will was by worshiping Satan (Matt. 4:8-9). In return, Satan offered to give Him all the kingdoms of the world. By compromising, Jesus could gain a powerful ally, and achieve His mission without suffering the cross. Jesus knew that only God was to be worshiped and to do this would not bring instant success, as Satan promised, but devastating failure.
As you seek to follow God, temptations will inevitably come. Sometimes they will come to you immediately after a spiritual victory. Jesus relied on God’s Word to see Him through the temptations that could have destroyed Him and thwarted God’s plan. He has modeled the way for you to meet every temptation.
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
It’s only December 10 and people have already started complaining about Christmas and how Christians force their religion on them etc. Yet, I am pretty sure they will have no problem buying gifts, have Christmas songs on and get a couple of days off b/c holidays(!). It’s the same thing like Thanksgiving, why they can’t just enjoy the holiday season and have some fun? Besides, “Christmas” have little or nothing to do with religion anymore (if you know what I mean).
Right? I celebrate the secular aspects of Christmas. Most non-Christians in America do.
The higher goods presuppose the lower ones; for example, one cannot pursue truth if one is not able to conserve oneself in existence. But the lower goods are subordinate to the higher ones in the sense that they exist for the sake of the higher ones. The point of fulfilling the vegetative and sensory aspects of our nature is, ultimately, to allow us to fulfill the defining rational aspect of our nature.