Any Wonder

What on earth would ever lead me to believe that God, my Father, would provide for me? What example could I possibly look to for any hope in that respect?

No wonder I picture a god lounging up in heaven, kicked back, eating grapes. Unbothered by any wrath his negligence may have me walking through. Doling out blessings to others, but not to me. Whoever will pay him lip service. 

I was never the kind to suck dick or kiss ass in order to get something. At least I can say that. But more importantly, that also goes back to God. I find myself feeling resentful. Real talk. Not wanting to approach. Dreading that there will be something I’ll have to do to get whatever He has to give me. Also learned that from others.

So I hang back. Dreading. Fear. This fucked up theology from the popularized “church”. Just like they told the people of old. That bad things will happen to you if you don’t “follow god”. And then if you take that as seriously as it implies, you spend all your damn time on edge. Checking, double-checking. Testing. Worried. What if you missed something? 

Was that Job’s mentality? Is that the point of that story? The real beginning of the Bible? That if we just get the formula right, then we’re good, right? Then god will open up his coffers and we can actually enjoy life?

I look to the people that still attend the church I used to go to. I don’t see them enjoying life at all. Most of the examples I can think of. There is this dread and fear hanging over them. I used to be there. This shell of a person. So focused on every thought and behavior. So “sin”-conscious. Completely consumed. 

We used watered-down words like “discernment” or “testing the spirits”. But it was all based on fear. Power and control. Of life, situations, and even God.

And let me be clear, this was taught from the very top. Prolifically. Obsessed.

Ridiculous. But I was there also. And I understand how it happens. 

But hey, why don’t you start telling me about Jesus? Maybe teach me about Jesus? Maybe you could fathom a universe where God could be bigger than my weaknesses, my failures, and the shitty examples that filtered down into me before I even had a chance to think for myself?

Oh, but that’s right – you had shitty examples too. No wonder my healing journey led me to them. As long as I wanted to play that game.

What if this whole time Spirit has been driving me to the point where I can say no to God without fear? What if that has been the real point all this time? All these years? Decades. 

What if the whole point of all of this has been to get me to the point where I feel confident and comfortable with deciding what I want to do and going forward without fear? Knowing that either way, I am fully Loved and I will always be fully Loved. Knowing that God is happy with me. That God wants to see me create. 

What if you had grown adult children that came back to you every five minutes to ask for your approval on every decision they made? Think about how that would look practically?

“Dad, should I pick the blue color or the black color? Dad, should I eat chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Dad, are you going to be mad at me if I choose to listen to this over that?”

Can you imagine? Your adult child would have to be calling you every other second. Would you get tired of it? What would you tell them?

Maybe, “I love you, child. I will always love you. I am more interested in seeing what you want. I want you to be free to create the life you want. I trust you. I’m here to help you if anything doesn’t work out. And even when it does. But, go; feel free. You have my blessing.”

When ego isn’t driving.

So, I finally stopped. I took a big risk. Monumental. I told God “no”. And I told God exactly what I wanted. And I am going for what I want. Now without fear. Now confident that God fully Loves me no matter what. Free to finally enjoy this life.

Another One

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”

Oh my God. Another one. So cool.

The thought came to mind of Jesus saying He came to fulfill the law. How many times have I heard that preached? And yet we gloss over it. We think Jesus meant He kept every law so we didn’t have to. We assume it means He lived perfectly as in keeping every law.

A quick search tells me there are at least 613 laws, or commandments, in the Torah. Did Jesus fulfill every one of them? We assume so when the preacher tells us so. That that is what is meant when we say Jesus lived perfectly.

But there are so-called positive commandments as well as negative commandments. Negative commandments are concerned with abstaining from something. While positive commandments are concerned with performing an act.

Deuteronomy talks all about stoning people for so-called “sexual sins”. And yet we gloss over that so quickly. Did Jesus stone people for sexual sin? Did He fulfill every jot and tittle of the law that way?

Remember the so-called “woman caught in adultery”? Did He stone her? Does that then mean that Jesus broke that law?

What about the so-called “woman at the well” who was married multiple times and living with someone who wasn’t her husband? Did Jesus stone her? Does that mean He broke that law? That He did not lead a “perfect” life?

I think that’s probably how the religious leaders thought. And maybe still think. Why they wanted to murder Jesus for claiming to be God. Because He wouldn’t destroy those they judged as more sinful than themselves. Taking the law into their own hands.

So was this Jesus you worship, was He a liar? Did He really not fulfill the whole law? I mean those were just two things in the law. What about the rest?

If you look at where Jesus’ statement about fulfilling the law is located in context, I wonder if it is yet another beautiful use of chiastic logic? And then that is the key to understanding what point He is making? I’ll try to explain.

The verses about fulfilling the law are located in the sermon on the mount – which starts with the beatitudes that basically talk about how blessed you are if you are really in a merciful mindset versus a punishment mindset.

Then Jesus seemingly switches gears and talks about how we are salt and light in the earth. For what? To go back to the law and show everyone how to keep it? Or are we to be salt and light in terms of showing people that it is possible and better to be merciful versus focused on punishment?

Then the centerpiece of the chiasm: Jesus says He came to fulfill the law. Every drop. And tells us to do so also. And says you will be least in the kingdom if you teach others to break the laws. Even the laws about stoning people?

I think the following verses answer that question. Jesus continues by explaining how how murder and adultery are more issues of the heart than issues of the hand.

And I don’t have time now to go through them all on by one, but Jesus continues by talking about going the second mile, beyond the bare minimum that we judge as fulfilling law. And doing good to people who hurt you – saying that is being perfect like God is perfect.

Continuing on by saying not to judge others – that that is the TRUE narrow way. I believe. Versus keeping every letter of the law – including stoning people.

And then saying we will know the true keepers of the law by their love, basically. I think that’s what He was getting at. Which makes sense then when He talks about telling the religious people, specifically the religious people, that He will tell them that He never knew them. They come appearing as pious perfectionists, but what is in their hearts? Do they desire what Jesus desires? Or are they hell-bent on destroying His little bumbling lambs for every misstep?

Jesus ended the sermon on the mount by descending down to us. The lepers. Rejected by the religious. He didn’t come down from the mountain and cast those people out. No, He proved His point by healing the leper. Going straight to the leper and healing him.

Then He went straight to another outsider – the real law enforcement officer – the centurion – one of the higher positions in Roman law enforcement. The Jews would have been so upset by Jesus praising this high-level Roman military law enforcement officer. They viewed guys like this as the enemy. How could Jesus say that man had more faith than anyone in Israel? Surely it didn’t have anything to do with keeping the letter of the Jewish laws!

And then the record continues with story after story of Jesus healing people. Over and over and over. I think that is the point.

Jesus fulfilled the SPIRIT of the true “law”. That’s how He lived perfectly. Which is also why we never will. Because for one, most of us were taught just as the religious leaders were taught. So our real education as adults most likely involves a great unraveling – unlearning most of what we were taught.

It’s okay. There is no condemnation.

I wish I had time for more now, but I need to move onto life and living. But what great news! We are Loved. All of us. There is no fear in Perfect Love. Rejoice.

Do You Have What It Takes?

https://youtu.be/aT3DXOzxCYk

In memory and honor of my friend, Dr. Jonathan Almirudis.

Do you have what it takes?

Before Christ was crucified, Peter was in his own strength saying, “I got this.” It is recorded for us how Peter failed. Yet we say, “I’d never be like Peter. Everyone else will, but not me, God.” And then we all fail in our own ways. We don’t trust Him and we take matters into our own hands. Like Adam and Eve?

After they all failed Jesus, Peter and the rest of the guys were hiding and went back to what they knew before their failures. Jesus revealed Himself to them!! He pursued them as they were failing to provide for themselves.

Did He say, “Man guys, if you would have laid down your lives for me, you probably would be having a better time right now.”

Nope.

He gave them a choice: “Keep doing it your way or listen to Me.”

When they listened to Him, they were overwhelmed with goodness and that goodness opened their eyes. Peter ran to Him.

Did Jesus say, “I just died for you after you denied me. The least you could do is cook me some breakfast, Peter”?

Nope.

Jesus said, “Kids, you are hungry. Take a load off and come eat some fish tacos I made for you.”

Did Jesus then say, “Peter, since you towed the line and showed all these wimps how to do it, I’m going to leave you in charge when I’m gone”?

Nope.

Did Jesus say, “Peter, since you repented and believed enough after you screwed up, I’m going to put you in charge when I leave so you can show the rest of these hoodlums how to do it when I’m gone”?

Nope.

In front everyone, to redeem Peter’s original failure (as a picture of Christ redeeming Adam’s original failure?), Jesus said, “Peter, do you have what it takes this time?”

“No, Lord. I have a little but not enough.”

Again: “Peter, do you have what it takes?”

“No, Lord.”

And a third time, “Peter, do you have what it takes?”

“No, Lord. You know I don’t have what it takes.”

Then Jesus says, “Great! Now you are ready! Tell them how much I love you. Tell them how much I love them.”

Just like with Moses: “I got this, Lord”. God says, “Whoa Moses, let me show you some stuff.” And out Moses goes to learn about dirty, stinky sheep in the desert for a few decades.

Then after he’s lost all hope of his dreams being fulfilled, it’s like God shows up and says, “You ready, Moses?”

“Oh, no way, God. Look at me.”

“Exactly! Look at you. Perfect for what I AM doing. I don’t need your strength, Moses.”

God is saying, “I don’t need your strength, Sarah.”

God is saying, “I don’t need your strength, children.”

Just like with the Israelites. Why were Joshua and Caleb praised? THEY KNEW THEIR GOD!!! They didn’t see things through their own efforts.

Just like with Abraham, no? Another picture of Adam and us?

Kinda like, “Ok Abe, I am giving you a promise.”

“Sounds great, Lord.”

Time goes by. All Abe sees is his own inabilities. Sarah says, not unlike Eve, “Well, maybe God really did leave us to figure this out on our own?” So they proceed to make a mess of it.

And what does God do? “That’s it! I can’t stand ya’ll!” ZAP!

Nope.

More grace. God says like He said to Peter, “I don’t even need your strength of believing, Abraham. I don’t need your strength of faith.”

God gave Abraham the promise of a son BEFORE Abraham believed. Did Abraham’s subsequent acts of unbelief nullify God’s promise?

GOD KNEW!!! Right after He gave the promise, He sealed it using the perfect picture: the old tradition was that if two men made an agreement, then they signified and sealed that agreement by killing an animal and splitting its body in half. Then both men would walk through the middle of the slaughtered animal so as to say, “If I don’t keep my part of this promise then let the same thing be done to me as to this animal.”

But did God let Abraham walk through the middle of the dead animals? NO! There was only a torch to represent God that was sent through the dead animals!! To show that only God was tied to keeping the promise!

And the torch, what a picture: a Light!

And on top of that, God had Abraham setup the slaughtered animals during the day but waited until the darkness in order for The Light to pass through and seal the deal.

Wow! Picture after picture.

Now that is good news!