Back to Basics, Part 2

(ancient art, unknown artist)

(ancient art, unknown artist)

The theme of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) is Jesus’ call to righteousness. In the commentary section of the NLT Bible, it says (emphasis mine):

“Jesus uses the term for moral behavior that conforms to God’s will. Specifically, righteousness is doing the will of God as Jesus reveals it. This ‘revelation of righteousness’ unifies the entire Sermon. Jesus reveals the will of God as it contrasts with traditions. The realization of the law in Christ means that obedience to all of his commands is the only acceptable response for his disciples.”

Jesus lays out the lifestyle and character of his followers – those who do the Father’s will – through the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10). By recognizing our weaknesses, by being humble, by thirsting to do God’s will, we shine a light on the nature of God. By having pure motives and being peacemakers, we carry forward the intent of Jesus.

By doing the right thing – even when no one is looking, even if we are badgered or insulted – we are faithful to the One who saved us by His grace alone. By loving all people, we do not become children of God; we show the world we are God’s children, transformed by Christ.

We must carry the commands of Jesus in our hearts, in our thoughts, in our words and in our actions, for “whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19-20)

Jesus spoke strongly against anger, name-calling, adultery, lying, retribution, violence, hate and judging others. He told us in order to follow him we need to turn the other cheek, forgive, and love our neighbors. He commanded us to love our enemies, pray for them and go the extra mile for them! Significantly, Jesus told us to ask, and continue asking God for help in keeping these commands because we cannot – and in fact, have a tendency not to – do it on our own.

The apostle Paul clarifies this command beautifully:

Don’t pay people back with evil for the evil they do to you. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘Vengeance is Mine,’ says the Lord.  But, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will make him feel guilty and ashamed.’ Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21, Deuteronomy 32:35, Proverbs 25:21-22)

How can we continue to justify chaining ourselves once again to the traditional, pharisaical Old Testament Law and revert back to blood and sacrifice when the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross ended all that forever? We have embraced exclusion and wall-building, support state-sanctioned killing and national war. We have supported class- and race-based justice. How? With our votes. With our sarcasm. With our silence.

In doing so, we allow the Gospel to be kidnapped by wolves in sheep’s clothing professing to be Christian but following an entirely different and destructive “gospel.” When we ignore His true commands, we nail Jesus to the cross all over again.

We must read and deliberate long and hard on the words of Jesus. We must consider the consequences and impact on our own eternal life when we distort his words into something he never had in mind. We must remember The Son’s words came direct from The Father he served – our Father who desires all of us to be reconciled to Himself.

 

(Holy Bible, New Living Translation, 1996, 2004, 2007, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Il., 60188)

 

45 comments

  1. Susan I really Enjoy, writing as well, and I like how you have put this together. I have began to use mine for ministry purposes of course. It is really great to see God using people to paint many pictures of truth and in our own way.
    I am looking to become a Christian Writer, at least helping me with my teaching gifts, and inspirational spirit from God!. If you could take the time to check out some of mine as well and share them with others. I pray that it blesses you always. In Jesus name.
    Thank you so much Daniel Byzewski
    https://godheaddisciplesjourney.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/be-anchored-today-in-the-word/

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    1. Daniel, thank you for your kind words today.

      You don’t need to become a Christian writer; you already are. I pray you continue to listen to the Spirit and continue your journey in His grace and love.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well bam that was inspirational! thank you very much for your words and guidance. Shalom.

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  2. […] was a lengthy discussion in the comments section of Back to Basics, Part 2 about how we as Christians call people to repentance. Sinners, outcasts, outsiders, even believers […]

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  3. […] was a lengthy discussion in the comments section of Back to Basics, Part 2 about how we as Christians call people to repentance. Sinners, outcasts, outsiders, even believers […]

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  4. We have His model, pattern, He is The way, truth and life. So, why do so few people follow his example? I shake my head. It may be irreverent, but I say they are Chinos (Christians in Name Only). A whole week of it. Still shaking my head.

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    1. Oh, Beth, you are so good at titles. I may just have to steal that and write my own blog (even though I don’t subscribe to name calling!).

      I never understand how Christians can divorce Jesus from His Message of Love. He repeated so often, quoted in the Gospels and in the letters of Paul, Peter and James, I don’t see how anyone can miss it, or misinterpret it or devalue it.

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  5. The True Light! · ·

    I believe in and agree with the concept of loving all people as Jesus has taught from His Father’s law. However, we must make this distinction: While we love all people, we do not love all that they do.

    We may love those who practice lawlessness, but we cannot include them in the church nor even in our company unless they are attempting to change their wicked ways. For if we do, we are kneading “leaven” into the bread of life and therefore spoiling the loaf for all!

    Christians are to be careful with whom we associate, (Proverbs 12:26, 13:20). In fact, we shouldn’t even be speaking of what the evil do in secret, (Ephesians 5:11-12). We love all people, but we must be careful of the company we keep with the sinful souls. Our time with them should be spent in teaching them the ways of the Lord.

    Steve

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    1. Steve: All I can say is, wow.
      “but we cannot include them in the church nor even in our company unless they are attempting to change their wicked ways,” and ” we must be careful of the company we keep with the sinful souls” are the exact opposite of what Jesus said and did.

      That is why I go back to the Gospels and read His words.

      Jesus went out of His way to spend time and have meals with “sinful souls,” with outcasts, with those who the religious leaders considered wicked and lawless. He offered them first and foremost His love, not His condemnation. Once they felt loved, only then did they feel safe enough to open up to Him, to hand over their fears and shame to Him. It is only when that occurs healing can occur.

      How can someone be open to your teaching when all they get from you is condemnation and accusation? How can someone trust you when you build a wall with separation?

      Jesus always invited first, loved first, gave comfort first. It was the religious leaders He admonished for doing the opposite. Jesus turned everything on it’s head with His life, with His death, with His resurrection. If we go back to doing things the way it was before Jesus, we ignore everything He accomplished. We deny Him and deny the Spirit He died to give us.

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      1. The True Light! · ·

        Sue…all I am saying is that one who is entangled in sin and is unwilling to repent will not be acceptable to God, so that person should not be acceptable to us as God’s children.

        We teach as Jesus taught. We teach WHAT Jesus taught. Of course we spend time with sinners, just as Jesus did, to teach them the gospel of Christ and the way of life God wants us to live.

        But if they refuse to listen and obey, we must keep away from them lest they in some way tempt us to sin. Does that not make sense?

        If that person decides later that they truly want to learn more, or repent of their sins, they will be welcomed with open arms!

        The New Testament is full of warnings from the apostles, and even Jesus Himself about fellowship with sinners of every kind. It also has many warnings about false teachers and others who lead believers into sin. We need to try to teach, (not judge), others in the way of Christ. But we must protect ourselves and fellow believers from those who simply refuse to follow the loving commands of God through Jesus Christ.

        I hope you can see what I am saying here…

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      2. “if they refuse to listen and obey, we must keep away from them lest they in some way tempt us to sin. Does that not make sense?”

        Steve, here’s what I can tell you. I, like the apostle Paul, was the worst of sinners. No, I did not murder, but I sinned in terrible ways. I had a friend who loved me and accepted me, and even brought me into her home, without ever preaching to me, for 15 years. She allowed me to see the love and light of Jesus by her actions, and never, ever condemned or judged me. Once I knew it was safe to open up to her, I began to ask her about Jesus. That was when we began to talk in earnest about the Gospel. That, my friend, is the way love works. That is how people’s hearts are turned to repentance.

        Yes, she could have preached to me, told me how sinful I was, and kept away from me for those 15 years, but if she had, I probably would not have come to Jesus’ arms. Instead, she became a living sacrifice for me and as a result, she walked with me all the way to Christ.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The True Light! · ·

        Susan, I am a sinner too. At one time, a pretty bad one, but here’s the point I’m trying to get across…

        Christ died for our sins. When we obey Him in baptism, we no longer live in sin. We put off the old man and put on the new…

        We hear the gospel message, believe, repent, confess our sins and our faith, and are baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.

        We go forth from there as a new person in Christ. We have grace to forgive the sins we will still commit along the way. But sins no longer define who we are…we belong to the Lord in our hearts and souls.

        But we can’t willfully go on sinning! We can’t live a life half-way devoted to the Lord and expect that to be sufficient for our salvation.

        And we can’t expect to be loved as a brother or sister in a case like that. We are either “all in” as a Christian, or we are “all out.”

        Even Jesus Himself said in (Matthew 18:15-17): “If your brother or sister[a] sins,[b] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

        Now that’s how we are to treat sin among believers. The intent is to remove sinful influences from the faithful so that they will not be influenced by the transgression of the word of God.

        In the case where one may be associating with believers, even working to learn more about becoming a member of the body of Christ, but refuses to accept the teaching of the word, we cannot allow them to continue in willful sin AND keep attending worship services as if they are an accepted member of the church. Again, it is not a good influence for those who are true believers.

        Susan, we love all people. But we are charged with the instruction of the word of God to others. That is to teach, not to judge. When people listen and are converted, we rejoice as the angels do in heaven.

        But if they don’t, we must allow them that right to decline the word as the Lord does. Now, if they want to come back later with a change of heart and sincerely ask for more teaching, we welcome them, of course.

        But they cannot be allowed to come to worship services and live any way they want to, especially if they know it is against the will of God!

        We must also guard the believing brothers and sisters against such people. I hope you can see and understand that, Susan…

        There are many ways in which we teach…by word and by deeds. Different things work with different people. I wish a conversion to Christ for each and every person!

        But some will just not follow. They want to continue in sin. Or they want to live with “one foot in the church and one foot in the world.” That will not work where the Lord is concerned.

        I hope to put this matter to rest with you, Susan. If we still have points of disagreement, I am sorry for that. I do wish for you the very best blessings from the Lord as I know your heart is good…

        But let us debate no more as it is not setting a good example for any who are reading these disagreeable comments.

        May the Lord bless all who come to Him for forgiveness of sins!

        Steve

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      4. Steve, I understand what you are trying to say here; let me make one more reply. I don’t think we are being disagreeable, but sharing our common concerns for people. You share them for those who are already believers – I share them for those who are not, and in this case who may have strayed from their initial beliefs.

        I don’t think we can withdraw love at any time. (“And we can’t expect to be loved as a brother or sister in a case like that.”) And I perceive the intent of Jesus’ statement (“treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector”) quite different than you do.

        I again look back at the way Jesus treated pagans, prostitutes and tax collectors. He ate with them, he offered them grace and compassion, he loved them until they were able to feel his heart, able to feel safe enough to be totally vulnerable, able to willingly surrender to him and repent. He didn’t give up on them or cast out the outcasts; just the opposite. He invited them into his arms.

        I just see we will never create pathways to the heart of Jesus or the Father’s embrace by closing doors and washing our hands. We will only create pathways by building bridges, my friend, and by keeping the door open.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Bravo Susan! Well said.

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      6. The True Light! · ·

        Susan, I care for both believers and non-believers alike. Perhaps I am just not very good at getting my points across anymore.

        I apologize for anything and everything I have said which may offend you. May you have a great day!

        Steve

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      7. No offense taken at all, Steve. As I said, I see your heart clearly.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. The True Light! · ·

        🙂

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    2. Remind me to never apply to your church or company – for truly let he who is without sin throw the first stone. Love is the Lord – you seem decidedly lacking. I used to hire for the distribution center of a major retailer and I found those with criminal records were the best employees because they appreciated the break they were given. I never felt safer than when surrounded by attempted murderers, felons and criminals as employees. You could say that they were robbing us blind but let me tell you a little story: our warehouse handled $1billion worth of goods per year. In our business prices are set to allow for an industry average 1% shrinkage – damaged goods, stolen goods, misplaced goods, mis-shipped goods, out of date goods, mis-labelled goods, mis-picked goods, etc. So, we allowed $1 million for shrinkage. Over the years I was there for many inventories and our average shrinkage was $10,000 – or .01%. The employees treated the goods as if they owned them. There was no unnoticed theft. Over the years I had to fire 3 employees for theft and none of them had records and they were all white, male, educated men with spotless records. No doubt men that you would accept as upstanding members of your church. Judge not.

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      1. Paul, I think we’re in agreement here. I don’t know where the miscommunication came. Either I misread you or you misread me.

        I totally agree with what you’re saying here: “for truly let he who is without sin throw the first stone. Love is the Lord.” I don’t know what I wrote to make you think I don’t believe this. And I also know what you’re saying about employees; just as Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners. I would tend to welcome them as well with open arms and offer grace, safety and trust.

        As I said, I think we’re totally on the same page. Where did we go wrong here?

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      2. Awww, I’m sorry Susan, I just realized that I hadn’t made it clear at all that the comment was directed at “The True Light”. I enjoyed your come back to him/her and wished to add a personal example to it. I apologize.

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      3. Oh. Whew! Thanks for making that clear, Paul. 😉

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      4. The True Light! · ·

        Paul, I don’t know you. What’s more you don’t know me. But God knows us both!

        The Lord knows I go to His word for the truth about how we are to live our lives. He is a loving God…He loves all people…He loved us before we ever loved Him!

        However, there are things we do which, even though He may love us, God has commanded us not to do.

        Do you not agree with that? Do you believe He can tell us what is and isn’t acceptable in His sight?

        I hope you do. I also hope you believe that if we don’t try to teach what God says is and isn’t right, we are doing God a disservice.

        What’s more, we need to be careful about who we keep our friendships with. And the best of friends will tell the stories of how Christ came to this earth to die for our sins. He paid the price for transgressions which we could not pay.

        That’s teaching the gospel message, not judging! There is a difference, and you must learn it.

        What’s more, if the one in sin refuses the word of God, he or she can perhaps lead others into sin, so we dismiss their company in order to protect those who are believers.

        If they come back and want to sincerely repent of sins, then they will be welcomed with open arms! That doesn’t sound like judgment either…

        You need to re-read and study the basis of my comments before you make a scathing judgment of me or what I have said.

        Steve

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      5. “so we dismiss their company” – Steve, please see my reply under your last comment. I understand your fear, but we cannot come from fear. We must come from love, because God’s love overcomes this kind of fear. And Jesus was friends with all kinds of outcasts and sinners. That is what moved them to connect with his heart; that is what moved them to repent, to change, to transform.

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      6. I have no clue as to your relationship with the Lord – that is between you and He. I read your comment and felt decidedly unloved and judged. Could very well be my problem – just thought it good to let you know how your words impacted me.

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      7. The True Light! · ·

        Paul, I apologize to you for that. That is not my intent with anyone. The acceptance of people with love is not in question here. I believe in that too.

        The problem seems to occur when we speak of teaching the word. Instead of teaching, people hear “judgment.” Yet, they are two different things. I use the words of the Lord to help people to know what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior in the sight of the Lord.

        Perhaps people see that as judging, but that isn’t the intent. We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God…myself included of course!

        My purpose is to make people aware of the expected conduct, from the word of the Lord, of those who wish to follow Him. That’s the privilege and duty of the Christian way of life.

        But some don’t take kindly to that. Even when all we are trying to do is to teach them in love for the condition of their souls.

        I don’t know you Paul, but I love you in Christ Jesus and want eternal life for your soul…and for everyone’s, including my own!

        I hope you will at least take that much away from our two brief comments with each other…

        Steve

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      8. Steve, I have read many of your words, and I know your heart; I know you are a loving soul.

        Please allow me to gently point out here this is a wonderful teaching moment, a beautiful example of how what we think are “teaching words in love” can mask our intent.

        Before a person will care what you know, they must know that you care. Trying to teach someone about acceptable behavior before you accept and love who they are (regardless of their behavior) will fall upon deaf ears. It’s akin to teaching your own children.

        Children listen because they already know you love them without condition. You make them feel safe. You love them for who they are, regardless of their behavior. It is not “love the sinner, hate the sin” because it goes deeper than that. You know the child, you understand the pain, you give grace, you feel compassion. That is what creates good soil. And in that environment, you teach. You nourish. And that is when teaching is accepted, taken in, and digested. And that is what creates disciples rather than converts.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. The True Light! · ·

        Thank you for your concern Susan. I suppose I will have to take another approach to say that while the Lord loves all people, He will not put up with sin.

        He will condemn it and He does give up on those who just will have nothing to do with Him. There are examples of that in scripture.

        I only want people to know that fact and repent if they haven’t already. My concern is to preserve the love and integrity of His word throughout the Christian community and to add as many lost souls to it as I can.

        No one wants to hear about the solemn repercussions of sin. They’d rather hear about the love and grace of God ALONE.

        But that is doing people a disservice as they need to understand they cannot continue to live as they want to, going against His word and will, and be covered by that love and grace.

        That’s all I’m trying to say…

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      10. I know, Steve, and all I wanted to point out to you is the sequence in which you say it so people can hear it.
        I love you, my friend, and thank you so much for hanging in there and and being willing to discuss this very important issue. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      11. The True Light! · ·

        Thank you Susan…

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      12. Steve: What you are describing is the Socratic method of teaching – and it works well for this physical universe (how to build a house, how to fix a car, how to solve a math problem, etc) but it does not work with teaching wisdom. In fact Socrates acknowledged this in Plato’s Republic when he stated that Wisdom could not be taught. He was wrong, it can be taught but not by the Socratic method – dissecting actions and giving positive feedback for positive accomplishments.

        Wisdom has to be taught as God’s Love. If you can love unconditionally and accept all sins without reacting in a negative way, then you can teach God’s love. As soon as you give negative feedback for negative actions, then you have slipped to the Socratic method -conditional love.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Paul: one caveat to this. As we love unconditionally, it doesn’t mean we accept sins or behaviors, just as forgiveness doesn’t mean we accept certain behaviors. It means we embrace the individual and love the person without condition and don’t disgrace them or treat them without dignity. We create a safe space for them to discover the love, mercy and grace of God. We allow them to choose, through that saving grace, to repent in their own time because God’s love moves them to do so. We don’t stand in their or erect barriers of any kind, otherwise we become stumbling blocks.

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      14. The True Light! · ·

        Thank you for this explanation, Paul. All I want to say is that God Himself loves us very much. But He will not suffer our sins forever. There are examples of this in scripture.

        We can talk about all kinds of teaching methods, but this is pure and simple Godly teaching…

        Thank you for your time, Paul.

        Steve

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  6. “In doing so, we allow the Gospel to be kidnapped by wolves in sheep’s clothing professing to be Christian but following an entirely different and destructive “gospel.”

    Amen, Susan! Sadly, there has been a difference between professing “Bible-believing Christians” and actually following Jesus. The former doesn’t necessarily make the latter true. As you said, we must deliberate long and hard on the words of Jesus, making following HIM a priority.

    I love that you brought up the Sermon on the Mount. It’s really showing us the “log” in our own eye (Matt. 7:1-5). Jesus is saying that this is what love looks like. He brilliantly obliterates our ideas of surface-only religion, exposes our hypocrisy, and leads us into His grace so that we can walk in love (love God, love others as ourselves), which is the ultimate goal of all Scripture.

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    1. It is the ultimate goal, Mel. This series is deeply personal for me. It is serving to lift me out of the hopelessness I felt after the horrible week of killing and chaos.
      Jesus’ words always serve to remind me Whose footsteps we are meant to follow, and Whose words are most important.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amen. I’m with you on that one.

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      2. Thank you, Mel. I so pray people have eyes to see and ears to hear this message. His Message. How can anyone be open to hear the Gospel of Grace and Love and Redemption when they are bombarded with speech filled with condemnation and accusation fear? Instead of being open to repentance, people will reject the gospel, turning their backs on the God who wants to save them.

        It’s the wrong message, and not the one Jesus spoke.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Susan, I wanted to comment on your post. However I might disagree with you a little bit. I like to believe that I love all mankind and that everyone is precious in God’s sight. However God also gives us wisdom and many times we see in the Bible where walks are built and certain people even God’s own where separated from God and or others, for a number of different reasons. Yes we hand the testament, that does not make they old and parts of the new old testament void.
    I honestly pray and seek God for wisdom for these topics. I am not saying I am a hundred percent right. Just that it is possible I don’t have the answers for everything. I love and respect your right to search for your own answers. I and others will have to find theirs. I pray it is through seeking God and searching God’s word,, Not me. You have such a precious heart. I would encourage you and all of us to continue to search and ask questions. We will get answers.

    All my love Tom

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    1. Oh, Tom, I agree with you; the Gospels certainly do not render the Old Testament or all the other parts of the New Testament void at all!

      I’m simply saying for me, and where I was when I wrote Sunday Afternoon (https://susanirenefox.com/2016/07/17/sunday-afternoon/) I desperately needed to get back to the basics of what our Savior said – back to his redeeming words, back to why we call ourselves Christians in the first place.

      The Gospels and Christ’s words are my shelter, my safe place, my refuge when I am confused, when I lose hope, when the world and the enemy become too much for me. This is the whole basis for this series: Back to Basics. The Gospels ground me solidly in the heart and Spirit of Jesus. It’s where I’m home.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. New Living Translation
        But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming. This always comforts me. If I were to die tomorrow I would be far better off than I am down here. I do so want to reach the lost for Jesus and give hope to many though before my time is up. So many need Jesus. This seems to be my focus these days. The old devil will try and take our attention off Kingdom purposes and have us focus on world issue’s. Not that we should ignore world issue’s, but when we are hopeless or confused, prayer and the word as you said center’s us again. Many blessings and love to you Susan. May God draw you close to him and give you favor and wisdom.

        Peace to you

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      2. Oh, Tom, this is just what I needed to hear. Thank you and bless you my friend. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hmmm, Hmmm. Let me begin by saying that this post is excellent and thought=provoking and brings a feeling of peace. That said I am a bit uncomfortable with the emphasis on the word of Christ being from God. Christ effectively lists behavior patterns and thoughts and beliefs that move one closer to God. Which is fine as far as it goes. God is NOT the words in the bible. The words come from God but they are not God. God lies in the Holy Spirit and Jesus makes this clear even going so far as to say that one can do all the right things and say the right things and still not ascend to heaven. Or to put it more succinctly before He was crucified Jesus said : Do not pray to me for I have not yet ascended to your Father and Mine.

    As an example the words in this post (excluding the quotes of course) are from Susan Irene Fox but they do not define Susan Irene Fox. Not even close. there is so so much more to you Susan, that it is ludicrous to assume that I can know you from 800 words. Just as ludicrous as it is to assume that one can define God by the words in the Bible. They are from God, as the above words are from Susan, but they do not define God. Now the Holy Spirit is a different story – but it is not made of words. A person with your Faith I am sure has felt that – when you find Peace in your soul it is like a bright white light pours from above into you and you feel as one with all that exists. And as you walk, people can sense that and often turn to watch. And you can reach out and bring Peace to that which you touch. It seldom lasts long before a cell phone rings or an issue requires your attention. But that is what Jesus came for , to bring Peace (and Love and Integrity, etc) to the world and that does not mean stopping fighting – for even Jesus said that His word would pit father against son and brother against brother.

    That is why I am a but uncomfortable with the strong emphasis on Jesus’ word – it is a means to an end not an end in itself.

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    1. Paul, when I wrote, “The Son’s words came direct from The Father he served,” I referred to Jesus himself saying he did nothing, said nothing that wasn’t from The Father.

      Yes, these words are mind – Spirit led – and I’ve said before, the Bible is not God, and we are not to worship it as we do God. I’ve even gone as far as to say some mistakenly make the Bible part of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Bible – and that is a huge mistake. That is obviously not what I meant here.

      Let me take a couple of points you brought up. The first: Jesus saying His word would pit father against son and brother against brother. Many assume these are about us fighting and initiating violence; they are not. The words are simply about Christians taking a stand for righteousness – not fighting, but enduring and peacefully resisting.
      About whether one can know us by our words – I disagree here. I think you can know me by words, and the more words of mine you read – in context – the more you know me. There are ideas and thoughts I tend to repeat in my blogs, and those things you can be assured are the things significant to my heart and mind.

      The same with Jesus. And it is a means to an end – the reconciliation of all Creation to God. That is the Gospel.

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  9. The Christian Constitution. Complete with a preamble – the Beatitudes. At some point in history, Christianity was co-opted by the governments of the world to rubber stamp their empire. We took control of things down here and left Jesus in charge of getting us into Heaven. In other words – Caesar is Lord, Jesus is secretary of our afterlife affairs. We worship the sanctityand symbols of our nations far and above anything to do with christ. We need our own constitutional convention, the get back to basics. Great post, thank you!!

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    1. John, I love this comment! Yes, the Beatitudes = our preamble. And we must somehow remember than in Christ we ARE these things. There is no need to struggle to become them. The key is ALLOWING the Spirit to reign in our lives, NOT politics or agendas or labels.
      Thanks so much for adding your words here.

      Liked by 1 person

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