Sometimes I confuse the idea of being a disciple of Jesus with being a campaign manager. I often think instead of doing his will by following Jesus in an intimate way like a true disciple was made to do, I am actually here to promote God by playing politics.
But God isn’t running for office because he doesn’t need to be elected. Even though we often forget this fact, he’s the one who does the electing. He rules whether people would vote for him or not. He’s the Supreme King, not an earthly president.
It’s a dangerous and hurtful message when someone pleads with people to follow Jesus, as though Jesus is in need of people rather than the people being in need of Jesus. God isn’t campaigning. He’s already ruling. Proclaiming this is the Christians’ mission.
How do you forgive someone who has hurt you deeply? Sadly this is a question every human will have to answer if they hope to keep their heart healthy.
If you have close friends, relatives you love, a spouse, children, or any other significant relationship, the possibility for hurt will never leave and thus forgiveness will always be deeply needed.
Therefore, the first step in forgiving someone who has hurt you deeply is to prepare in advance before the hurt even happens.
There is a teaching in our day that rebels against the “health, wealth, and prosperity” gospel. The prosperity gospel, in short, says if you pray to Jesus he will bless you materially beyond your wildest dreams. The emphasis is on power, blessings, and avoidance of suffering.
Isaiah 55:9, Ephesians 3:16-21
He doesn’t live up to our expectations. God doesn’t act the way we think he should. He doesn’t love like we imagine. He doesn’t redeem, forgive, or set free like we had hoped. And this is a good thing. So what does the Bible say about expectations of God?
God Exceeds Our Expectations Because We Often Humanize Him
So many times we try to lock ourselves into a humanized version of God, but God, out of his love for us, seeks to always crush these little thoughts of ours. He doesn’t act the way we think he should because he is far greater than our minds could ever understand.
Galatians 5:6, 13-14
1 John 4:21
Jesus loves the Father and people. In fact, Jesus loves the Father by loving people.
It seems every few pages you turn in the Old Testament, someone is dying as a penalty for their sins. Compared to the New Testament, the Old Testament seems much more violent and less merciful. So why are the Old Testament laws so harsh?
Friendships are messy. No matter how good a person seems to be, eventually they will wrong you. So what should you do when someone sins against you? First off, the Bible makes clear that how we correct, or don’t correct, depends upon whether the offender claims to be a Christian or a non-Christian.
You Should Not Correct a Non-Christian as You Would a Christian
If he or she does claim to be a Christian, the Bible lays out clear steps on how address that person (Matthew 18:15-20 for peer-to-peer relationships, 1 Timothy 5:19-20 for church authority figures). However, when it comes to unbelievers, a different approach is advised.
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Perhaps the caring heart and character of God is the first lesson Jesus teaches us about in this parable because this is foundational to our desire in pursuing the Lord. If we don’t know he cares for us, why would we pray to him?
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) states, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Peter motivates us to cast all our troubles onto the Lord by reminding us that God really does care. God really is good. If you don’t know he cares for you, if you don’t know that the heart of God is for you, or if you doubt the goodness of God, you won’t pray very much.
In some respects, little sins are much more dangerous than big sins. By “little sins” and “big sins,” I certainly don’t mean some sins are less offensive in the eyes of God. All sin deserves death, and thus all sin will be paid for either by the sinner or through the cross of Christ.
If you’re like everyone else who has ever lived on planet earth, you’ve probably experienced some confusion about your life. What am I supposed to do with myself? How can I make more money? When will I meet my spouse? Should we buy this house or not? Why is life so difficult?