Is God Hiring?

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God is not your employer.

I used to think that the “Good News” was a job offer. I would listen to preachers from various platforms and hear the call to worship as a careers development seminar. Hearing, “If you’ll just give your life to Christ (as a pledge of allegiance to the Trinity Flag, a vow of servitude) then….. you won’t be deserving of judgement and humiliation and torment, which you actually deserve and need to repent for so be sure to bow low and tremble hard when you approach God (the fearsome one who hates you, but if you apologize correctly he’ll let you serve him until you finally keel over and die of exhaustion).”

Yay?

“Good news” seemed to be a misnomer. I thought, on my best day God might employee me for scraps off the table. Jesus responded to a woman asking for help for her demon afflicted child for help by saying it was wrong to give the children’s bread to the dogs. And she came back at him saying it was right because the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table. She defended that she was not a robber of the children. Why didn’t he say coming to convince her she wasn’t a dog? (Matthew 15:26-28)

Does God correct every mind into believing in self-worth, or does he allow some to have low self-esteem while pushing them to fight for themselves? Is there anything he could have said to her to convince her, after years of belittling in her culture, that she was not a dog, but in fact a child of God deserving of inheritance in a shared portion with her brothers? Does God have the right test us? Yes. Did she have the right to speak to him that way? Yes. Pray audaciously.

God will always leads us into a understanding of our worth. But, it doesn’t, always, look like it from the outside. But, he operates uniquely with each of us. Jesus’s mission was an individual-to-individual pursuit of the individual into love for the individual that builds up the mind and strength of the individual. He was not discussing national policy. He never gave instruction to a judge as to how to enforce God’s law given to Moses more justly. His purpose was going into the gutters and lifting up the faces of the oppressed one-by-one and saying, “You are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1) (Mary Magdelene)

He spoke to crowds by thousands, but had dinner in the homes of pimps and law-abiding thieves called “tax-collectors.” (Matthew 9:11-13) He went to the hated. He went to the ones blamed for everything bad in the world and said, “In heaven I have built you a house.” (John 14:2) And, love broke in. These were men and women afflicted by cultural norms to oppress them by their own people because they were forbidden to repent: they were rejected by the temple guard of wisemen and priests. So, God went down and got them himself. Does he like their actions? No. He’s interested in setting them free of their lives, their work, and their misguided choices. They needed to hear from their God that they were wanted, even still, and redeemable.

These were men and women accustomed to being treated horribly by the elite, the knowledgable, the able, the “righteous” and yet, Jesus was a man preaching righteousness for days and they wanted more of him. His words brought life and freedom. They saw something in him. Jesus was different. I know men and women that are tired of hypocrisy and certainly the righteous elite of the day was hypocritical. The people I know don’t let a hypocrite speak for long. They can detect hypocrisy a mile away, and they stay away from it. But, Jesus was welcomed by the street-wise people. And he was telling them to repent and they saw something lovely. I believe it was truth. I believe they saw someone who understood being kind in an upright way that didn’t result in more pain for the person being asked to live uprightly. I believe they heard a voice speak the fruit of hope and they were strengthened. I am amazed by Jesus. I wish I could have heard his voice, back then.

I can’t.

And “I can’t” is what I often say to God. Does he judge me for all that I can’t? I don’t think so. I think he’s the one telling me that I can’t to get me to see his goodness; he is strong and I am not. He is God and I am not. He is able and I am not. So, that I will accept that my humanity limits me. Not to lead to me to hate myself or judge myself forever unwantable. But, to lead me into his grace, believe him that he’s got my life. Because he’s going to keep talking, if I’ll listen, that he wants me and he’s pursing me to lead me into rest. And to believe him that he came to bring life. And, to hope that he’s not trapping me into a life of servitude. Many a religious man have railed at me, vehemently passionate that if I don’t serve and serve often the church on Sundays and at the whatever meeting I’m required at and figure out what the list of Jesus is that I must adhere to then I will be spit out of God’s mouth, unwanted. I would like that religious man to search his heart to ask the question, “Have you ever trusted Jesus? Or are you working because you think you’re a servant?”

Jesus said to the disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, but I call you friends.” (John 15:15)

Salvation changes everything. Not only, are we not slaves to sin, not only are we not dogs of less worth than the bread on the table for the children, not only are not servants with heavy burdens, not only are we children of God, we are the Bride of Christ. Misogynist men and women believe a wife has no value, yet God came down and rescued us from the burden of servitude and bestowed on us a woman’s honor: wifehood of the Son of God. The pride cannot withstand this dishonor, but it’s not suppose to, the design is to force the pride to die. And, the result is life as it was meant to be lived: in a state of receiving. You are a trophy wife. You are the adornment on the arm of the Son of God. You are taken of and provided for. You don’t work. Your husband works. You are cherished. You are wanted.


“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” – Jesus using scripture to announce himself as Messiah in the synagogue (Luke 4:17-21)

Jesus said to the Pharisees who asked him why we would share a meal with sinners, “‘But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’” (Matthew 9:11-13 Jesus was quoting from scripture Hosea 6:6)

Perhaps today’s church should ask what Jesus means by “liberty.”

Is God Hiding?

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Was God absent until Abraham?

Have you heard of Melchizedek? He was spoken about in Genesis 14:18-20

18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Creator of heaven and earth.
20 And praise be to God Most High,
    who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

This means that before Abram was renamed by God as Abraham, and before God chose to make a nation from him, God was speaking and some were listening.

Melchizedek was a priest of God Most High.

I have wondered much, in my life, God where are you? Can you not speak for yourself? I felt like God was blaming his creation for his inability to speak. I felt like that would be unfair. I wanted to know if he abandoned mankind. And, to me if he had stopped speaking that would be abandonment. After Cain killed Able did God give up? If God had given up on mankind, how was I suppose to have hope?

And then I learned about the Order of Melchizedek, an ancient priesthood who knew God before their was a nation, before there were the scriptures we have today written for the peoples of earth. And I learned that God never stopped speaking to mankind.

Sometimes I look at how slow on up take the disciples were in their understanding and I find hope; Jesus didn’t throw them out just because they didn’t understand.

Sometimes I look at the nation of Israel and find hope, they didn’t choose him and yet he keeps them.

But, I wondered about his goodness. I wondered about the hope for the people before Abraham. And then, Melchizedek gave me hope in the goodness of God, in the presence of God.

I want to hope in God’s goodness. It fills my heart with awe that God has never given up on mankind. He is still speaking.

Omniscient Jesus

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How can Jesus be God

and The Father be on the throne in Heaven?

If God is omniscient is he ever in one single spot, only? If he were to change locations would he leave a stop empty of himself? Is God everywhere, all once? Does he have all-perspective, all the time? If he were to accept a body, and limit a portion of his perspective to human eyes, could he remove himself from omniscience? If God is always at every point in an infinite view of all reality in all its depths and complexities, how far fetched is it to say that he also included in his many perspectives the view from within a human comparable mind, viewing from the limited eyes of a human being while continuing also to be omniscient: not removing from his perspective, but added one?

Mary well

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Sit at the feet of Jesus

Did you know straight women like men. I think it’s important to say. We like men so much we hope to marry one and spend more time with a man because men are fun and funny and wonderful. Straight women like men as people and friends. Please know that is the truth.

While the expectant brides search for one that likes her individual characteristics, who can support her world views, and finds her hopes and dreams so lovely that he wants to partner with her increasing those hopes and dreams to be all the more rewarding because they’re shared with another individual, there is a man who seeks to get her attention, first. That man would be Jesus.

Jesus is God and he succeeds at a lot things: steadying a nervous heart, calming a fearful mind, setting a life on solid ground, surrounding the home in protections. The bible has many promises for a house built on the love of God and the following of his commands. But he is also a speaking presence in the minds, hearts, and souls of his listeners. His word is food for weary travelers and stoic believes for hope refreshed, daily.

If the greatest command of all is for man to love the Lord God with all the heart, mind, and strength of the will power. It’s probably a good idea to meet him. And he speaks. He has spoken through many prophets and there are testimonies about him.

Mary was a young woman and sister who met Jesus Christ. Jesus and his disciples were at her house. The disciples and her brother Lazaras were listening and learning from Jesus, while her sister Martha was cleaning dinner in the kitchen. Martha was sure her working was the best performing of a woman, and was sure her work was pleasing to God and Jesus, her guest. So, she hollered for Jesus to make Mary do the right thing, also and serve Jesus by cleaning. Jesus actually informed Martha that Mary had chosen the better option by sitting at his feet and leaving the work to be done when this opportunity to be his presence had gone.

You might not realize this, especially if you’re not sure that Jesus wasn’t a vain man who loved attention, but Jesus honored Mary by inviting her to sit and listen in the same way the men learning from him where invited. Mary was bold to sit with the men. And she looked lazy to her sister. But Jesus validated her boldness as excepting an invitation that was unspoken and also open to Martha. But, Martha’s cultural understanding of a good woman distracted her from the better choice: ignoring what would increase her honor to honor the guest, who was the Son of God. (Luke 10:38-42)

Jesus is still inviting the women to sit at his feet. There you will find honor, an education in righteousness that doesn’t result in greater condemnation, hope for your own soul, love, acceptance, friendship, and understanding. His words will nourish you, build you up, validate your individuality, make you bolder and gentler at the same time, because he is gentle. You do not leave him more angry and hurt. You are fed and heard and wanted, always.

What was the purpose of Christ?

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Messiah, savior of the planet.

Son of God, established as king.

Killing evil doers to end all sin, right?

War against nations, right?

We’ve got some great earthly ideas for God. We’ve got violent solutions for just about every problem and God is seeking our advice, right? Well, there are ways that the problems of the world are solve, kill, capture, enslave, subdue. Earth has some great ideas about how to rule itself. Powerlessness has really had some great ideas about enforcing righteousness on itself. Earth has offered to God a great idea about what leadership of a nation looks like, he’s proud right?

God has said a few things in his time:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8 NIV

“Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the Lord their God, will save them.” Hosea 1:7 NIV

Reading the scriptures, God often saves individuals and nations by ways we find obscure and unpredictable. It’s difficult for weakness to have ideas that strength would have. Our imaginations are, only, as large as our capabilities. God invites us to let him help. His power is infinite and his strength is greater than all force in the universe, holding suns and planetary orbits. And he’s on his own side when it comes the battles of right and wrong.

As God explained to the Israel through Moses, one of many times, before they conquered territory, “Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.” Duet 9:6 NIV

Emphasis on the “not your righteousness,” over and over God informs his nation Israel that it’s not about them. Later, Joshua is in battle and the angel of the Lord shows up. Joshua asks the angel if he’s there to fight with him or against him. The angle answers him, “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Joshua 5:14 NIV

God being on his own side means that he is first and foremost on the his own side: righteousness and justice. That being said, it says, God want mankind restored to himself. He does not want us in trouble but in peace, because that is the nature of righteousness: peace. The consequence of justice should also lead to peace. And, in that way both righteousness and justice, mercy and punishment are harmonized by what they produce: peace.

The war is for the souls of man to be brought under the cover of the strength of righteousness and the glory of justice, establishing a kingdom of heaven on earth, restoring people to God’s love, provision, shelter, and grace. Covered by his wings, once for all time.

God says, “I carry you.”

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What’s so bad about lesser gods?

There aren’t any.

Why does God want your attention? to make you righteous? yes, certainly. But, this world is full of trouble and God wants to help you.

He says in the book of Isaiah through the prophet Isaiah in the 46th chapter about idols:

“their idols are borne by beasts of burden… a burden for the weary… unable to rescue the burden” NIV

He’s talking about the figurines carried in pockets, which people give to but can never receive from. Conversely, he says about himself in the next passage:

“[I] have carried you since you were born. Even in your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I sustain you and I rescue you.”

Emphasis added to bring your attention to this perspective that God is comparing himself to the little pocket gods to set us free from what they extort from us.

God, is not the demanding and unsatisfiable beast we’re told he is by people who don’t follow him, but extort in his name. Extortion in God’s name in as old as mankind. The only God that has power made you with the intent to carry your needs and sustain you. He hates when the weary have their burden increased.

God Almighty made us to learn through example. So, he behaves in the way he intends for us to behave. And, on the seventh day he rested. Ignoring the length of time God’s snapshot of creation came to his prophet of old, later to be written, likely, by Moses while in the wilderness leading the Israelites out of Egypt, the point is he rested a whole day so that he would protect our right to rest.

He is sovereign over all things. His plan is good.

God spoke through Moses to set the Israelites free from slavery to Egypt. He spoke through Moses in the wilderness to set the Israelites free from of the the gods of Egypt that can’t help them. Although Israel never made a great work of following God and so failed to be the example to the world of what God’s way looks like: prosperity, rest, abundance and peace, with lots of joyous festivals, God Almighty is still their God, and so they are an example of his grace and his merit to make a vow and keep it.

He wants us restored to freedom, peace, and life.

Christ said, “The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10.)

Similarly, while Christ’s church in the U.S. struggles to exhibit the fullness of what God’s grace looks like, Jesus is still their husband. It’s not about the people who struggle to focus on the God their supposed to serve. It’s about the God himself. God is good. God is safe. God is able. God is worthy to be trusted, even when choosing to follow him sets us apart from the cool kids.

God’s love is free

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Nothing is free

The systems of government has us that much

This is, basically, true. Nothing is totally free, in this world, by it’s systems and requirements. Spiritually, also, things aren’t totally free because as human beings we fail the rules. Give us a rule and we will fail to meet it. Give a statue and we’ll miss the mark.

Some might say, “I follow the rules perfectly.” As long as the rules are adequately described to you and they don’t suddenly change out from under your feet. But we live in a world constantly being “perfected.” And so, good luck keeping up with all the better rules designed by people to lead to peace, as long as you can keep up: “Don’t fall or we’ll punish you. And, it’ll be validated by the crowd because we totally sent a memo. Be available to receive the next memo. Keep up or we’ll take our pound of flesh,” says the smiling face.

Even, to gain an audience with God, the Israelites had plenty to do in order to be cleansed, i.e. forgiven, and free of sickness causing bacteria in order to enter the presence of the Lord. And, still their was a shield of priests because the layman couldn’t accomplish all that was required to be clean enough. So, the priests remained clean so that the working class could, still, pray to God and be heard. Lots of exchange, it seems, in the form of tithes and guilt or sin offerings. And that’s in the rare times Israel had a righteous priest that didn’t extort more than what God had asked from the people.

So, it’s suddenly free when it never was before? Let’s think about word “restore.”

the English definition:

1. (v. t.) To bring back to its former state; to bring back from a state of ruin, decay, disease, or the like; to repair; to renew; to recover.

2. (v. t.) To give or bring back, as that which has been lost., or taken away; to bring back to the owner; to replace.

3. (v. t.) To renew; to reestablish; as, to restore harmony among those who are variance.

4. (v. t.) To give in place of, or as satisfaction for.

5. (v. t.) To make good; to make amends for.

6. (v. t.) To bring back from a state of injury or decay, or from a changed condition; as, to restore a painting, statue, etc.

7. (v. t.) To form a picture or model of, as of something lost or mutilated; as, to restore a ruined building, city, or the like.

Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary

How can you not love the word “restore?” That is a delicious word. The Hebrew has many words that translate to the English word “restore.” Some of them are:

Azab – to repair

Chalam – to be heathy or strong

Chayah – to live

Shazam – to be complete or sound

Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon, provided by Biblehub.com

The question becomes, “What is God restoring the world back to?” Before the failure of Adam and Eve was their need for sacrifice, tithes, and atonements? No.

Originally, life was given to mankind freely. And they experienced unencumbered relationship with God: pouring out of his love on them, teaching them, sustain their lives, sustaining their children’s lives.

So, when God speaks of restoring the world to himself, it would seem likely that he means to restore the world to a time prior to the need for atonement.

Again, what does it cost?

A single life of infinite value: God’s son.

And now, we can enter into true restoration to God without the continuation of payments along the way. Get your rejoice on!

God’s will is a superior morality

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The antidote to legalism

is God’s will

God did not intend to set us walking a tight rope trying to accomplish righteousness. He set us on the ground, a solid ground. He woke Adam in paradise and gave him a home.

And he asked Adam, “What’s that animal’s name? How about that one? What do you wanna call that one?” God is patient and there are a lot of animals. I have always wondered if Adam named them individually, like Sally, Jim, Howard.

He woke mankind and invited him to live. Right and wrong was God’s to know and his children would make mistakes, come to him, learn, try again and grow.

The law cannot replace God. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not God. We are not God. There will never be day when he wake up older than, wiser than, or more important than God. God knows the law best, he wrote it.

In response to us judging him ungood, unworthy, and beneath us he says, “Uh on, Adam, you broke it. It’s ok, I’ll fix it.”

The capstone of all our effort to decide the most correct way to be righteous, and then writing a dissertation on morality and presenting it to God is: God loves me.

Without God’s will being the most important law to follow God is saying, “Unfortunately, you’re still trying to replace me. You’re efforts to impress me are unwanted and thus evil. Put down your dissertation and follow me. Can you compete with me and still love yourself? If I define love as perfect, all encompassing provision, unconditional love: how will you provide for yourself? Can you command the grain to grow? If you are spending your life deciding what makes a person unworthy, how are you treating yourself when you fail? And, what if my opinion matters? What if the truth is that my opinion matters most of all commands written? So than right and wrong is pleasing me? How will you find out what I want? You have to ask me. I’m here. There’s a liar in the world, but I am not a liar. There is a thief in the world, but I am not a thief. I am so good.”

The Lord says, “I love you. Do you love me?”

We say, “Yes.”

The Lord says, “And I have accomplished the law in you. Let’s go, my love. It’s living time!”

And, Jesus Christ said, “It is finished”

Shame vs Guilt?

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Shame is a self-judgement

Guilt is a consideration that a better option was missed

When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil all of a sudden they knew a lot about right and wrong. But they had demoted God in their hearts by agreeing with the serpent, and they had decided God wasn’t good because he withheld knowledge from them. This belief led them to judge themselves wise and strong enough to handle the forbidden fruit. As soon as they took a bite they could only consult themselves to answer the question, “Is it wrong that I am nude?”

They decided God had shamed them. They covered their “shame” and hid from God.

Adam and Eve judged themselves shameful. God said to them, after pulling them out of hiding, “Who told you were naked?” This question implied that it was not God who judged them embarrassing, crass, or “uncovered.”

And shame began.

Shame is a lie that we have no one to run to because we’ve judged ourselves. It’s a lie that we are the highest, smartest, most right being, and capable of judging. So then, what do we do when we condemn ourselves?

Guilt is different. It leads a person running into the arms of the one who can help. Guilt happens with honest mistakes, but originates from a humble heart that has a good God in a seat of the smartest, most able, strongest being out there. Guilt is a safe feeling that hopes in a good solution if we can gain some insight. Then, we know we can do better. Guilt acknowledges an offense while being prepared to receive correction, apologize, and try again.

God intended to be available to teach us about everything. His voice is still speaking, “I love. I love you. I love you.” Shame has no place in the Kingdom of Heaven because so matter the amount of mistakes when the heart is restored to God guilt sends the person running into his arms with an immediate confession and a cry for help, leaning on him because he can fix it.

Nakedness

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By what way do you orient your

sense of right and wrong?

The struggle with the debates of morality is the aversion to God’s preference. The true north is the will of God. The first time this shows up in scripture is in the origin story of humanity. Adam and Eve were naked in the garden. They lived happily, living on the land and never hunted by animal predators.

And then, a being skilled at twisting words spoke to Eve and confused her sense of right and wrong with an argument that sounded logical: God is not good if he withholds from you. This argument’s seed of truth, although unspoken, is the truth that God is good. Conversely, any being who is not good is not qualified to be God. Already the ground work was played to convince Eve, and later Adam, that they themselves were qualified to be gods.

Before they judged themselves, who was judging them? There was no committee or review board on life excellence. But, suddenly, judgment entered their minds. It was exclusively from themselves, but they never changed back and they were harassed by their owns minds trying to walk a tight rope with a big stick and a can of water on either side: don’t get out of balance or you’ll fall.

God didn’t put them on the tight rope. He was going to teach them gymnastics in due time. And learning to do a flip with a spotter is far safer than a sudden, unskilled back flip, which in this case resulted in two broken necks, spiritually speaking.

Their minds, reeling with a new balancing act, accusing God of not knowing the law enough to keep them from failing it, Adam and Eve were no longer able to welcome God. God had to back away or they would die. So, he backed away and protected from eternally living in a broken world. But he also clothed them, fed them, and atoned for their sin so that, although they didn’t have the presence of the Lord, they still had his voice. And he never left them.