In everything, we think, desire and live!

Exodus asks, “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? Samuel declares, “There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.” Jesus declares; I desire mercy not sacrifice.

Good Monday Morning to this week 05 of 2019

Today I was preparing to translate a very interesting sermon called:

Mercy is the new holiness. (by M. Benz)

Due to a personal emergency in the family, I had to cancel and spent the afternoon at the hospital instead.

I will shortly go into the topic nevertheless.

Holiness means “to cut.” To be holy means to be cut off, or separate, from everything else. It means to be in a class of your own, distinct from anything that has ever existed or will ever exist.
Mercy is; the act of forgiving someone or not treating them severely, especially someone who you would have the right or authority to punish. (giving something they don’t deserve)
God’s holiness is not an aspect no, it’s the essence of who he is.

If you were to ask, “How is the holiness of God revealed?” the only right answer would be, “In everything he does.” Everything He thinks, desires, speaks and does is utterly holy in every way.

He is holy in justice.
He is holy in love.
He is holy in mercy.
He is holy in power.
He is holy in sovereignty.
He is holy in wisdom.
He is holy in patience.
He is holy in anger.
He is holy in grace.
He is holy in faithfulness.
He is holy in compassion.
He is even holy in his holiness!

Then Jesus came to this earth and gave another new a very different perspective. In many particularly and evident ways, Jesus corrected the understanding of holiness in Judaism to their day.
In Matthew 12:6-8 he spoke of holding the Sabbath and said:

I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent.
Tax collectors and other outcasts had gathered in Matthew’s house for a feast. In the center of the hubbub, Jesus and his followers reclined at the dinner table. Noticing Jesus’s presence among such riffraff, the Pharisees scoffed. How could Jesus consider himself a rabbi and party with such a disreputable bunch? So they pulled a few of Jesus’s converts aside and huffed, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:10).
Overhearing their question, Jesus responded, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick”. The religious leaders’ blindness astounded him. How could he reveal God’s love to these folks if he didn’t hang out with them?
Jesus then admonished the Pharisees. “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’” . He was quoting the prophet Hosea, who, centuries earlier, had condemned the Jews for attempting to excuse their idolatry and their oppression of the poor by offering the prescribed animal sacrifices.
God always values “mercy” over “sacrifice.”

Jesus longs for us to move beyond the idea of sacrifice—what we feel obligated to give up to be perceived as religious. He wants us to get our hearts involved, tangled up with other people’s lives, so the word sacrifice drops out of our vocabulary so that all we know is the passion to love others as he loves us.

This is the roadmap Jesus set for our lives!

James 2:13
For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.!
Mercy triumphs over judgment!

Mercy triumphs, mercy wins, mercy has the last word.

No one needs to be afraid of the day of judgment if they have lived mercifully!
Jesus confronted the religious leaders because they cared more about proving
they were right about Sabbath law than they cared about a man with
a withered hand Jesus wanted to heal.

Do we as leaders and people of our time argue and talk about our theological positions, or keeping our theology correct and pure, or value “speaking truth” and “being right” significantly more than the value lifting a finger to help broken, hurting, wandering people?

If you were to ask, “How is the mercy of Jesus revealed?” the only right answer would be, “In everything Jesus does.” Everything He thinks, desires, speaks and does is utterly merciful in every way!

He is merciful in justice.
He is merciful in love.
He is compassionate in mercy.
He is merciful in power.
He is merciful in sovereignty.
He is merciful in wisdom.
He is merciful in patience.
He is merciful in anger.
He is merciful in grace.
He is merciful in faithfulness.
He is merciful in compassion.
He is even merciful in his holiness!

If you were to ask how we are to live a holy life then? The right answer would be, “In everything we do.” Everything we think, desire, speak and do in showing mercy and compassion in every way as Jesus did!
I wish you a compassionate week, full of His mercy!

Philemon

Is the wolf to blame if the sheep are roaming free?

Good Monday Morning to this week 04/2019
Philemon

Success is a little further down the road

Good Monday Morning to this week 03/2019

Last week we dug deep into the top of failure not being the end. The opposite of failure is now; hope and faith and not success.

But what about success? It’s got to be a topic, there needs to be some success as much as I agree with all the nice and challenging things I wrote last week!

Some quotes and thoughts from the Bible and some smart and ordinary people:

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24

Success is on the same road as failure; success is just a little further down the road.
Jack Hyles

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Winston Churchill

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things
will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go. 1 Kings 2.3

A safe life is a wasted life. God made you for far, far more than the life you let your fears define for you. Rick Warren

The danger of expecting nothing (having no faith)  is that, in the end,
it might be all we’ll get.  Dan Ariely

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. Norman Cousins

You have to be brave with your life so others can be brave with theirs.  Brené Brown

Here some helpful points, seven actually, I still can’t get over all the blogs with 10 points so I’ll stick to seven!

1. Embrace life’s unwanted gifts! See what happens! A transforming new perspective of life, needing some deep thought, reflecting,  soul and God searching and finding!

2. Enduring harsh comments even criticism. Harsh comments can actually wake us up from a long slumber of settling for mediocrity though quite uncomfortable.

3. Embrace your failures. It appears in the biography of most successful people!

4. Life caters to the seekers. Get to work, allow doubts, deal with doubts, seek to find,  being stretched despite the pain and struggles, often produces good results.

If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail
Be the best of whatever you are!
D. Malloch

5. You have a magnificent obsession! Search it, live it, spread it!

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. Mother Theresa

6. Don’t mind that you are different! Most successful people are!

7. Define success for yourself, have a vision for your life! Write up a personal mission statement for your life. A personal mission statement is a declaration of an individual’s purpose and path in life, emphasizing what is truly important to you. It lays out your core values, your expectations, and your pledge to other people.

Apostle Paul also had a mission statement:
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

In conclusion the vision of David in Psalm 1.3

You shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither
And whatever you do shall prosper!

Wishing a successful week!

Philemon

 

 

 

Failure is not the end

Good Monday Morning to this week 02/2019

Shortly before Christmas I was challenged again with the thought patterns, ideas and beliefs leading to the Theology of Prosperity. Christians, who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.

We could go into the many faces of poverty, economic injustices, financial dependencies, unemployment, or issues around ownership, material resources, use of land along with many other restrictions and injustices. Questions as notions of communal ownership of land of stewardship or the even the redistribution of resources and possessions from the rich to the poor come to mind. We’ll go there another time,  to John Fischer’s book; Theology of Possession.

But how can Theology of Failure help us currently in a world so much in need of change?

Mark 6:1-13, Jesus comes back to his hometown. He tries to do some great things for the people, but they reject him. Jesus just spent a few months doing some pretty amazing things, traveled from town to town and people are blessed by His power and authority: healing people, driving demons and feeding the poor. With his homecoming, he uses the same approach but only to fail. How could this happen? How could the Son of God fail?

Could it be here where the, theology of failure comes in, isn’t it often so in life , that if something fails, where things do not go as planned, where ways of thinking do not lead to success, where expectations are disappointed where projects remain inconclusive and where intentions simply fail, that we need redirection or another perspective?

1 Corinthians 1:28; God chose the lowly, the laughable in the world’s eyes, nobodies, so that He would shame the somebodies. For he chose what is regarded as insignificant in order to supersede what is regarded as prominent.

John Navone, an American Jesuit priest answered to Pope Francis as follows:
Theology of Failure is a book I wrote about how Jesus lived patiently. In the experience of limits, patience is forged in dialogue with human limits and limitations. There are times when our lives do not call so much for our ‘doing’ as for our ‘enduring,’ for bearing up with our own limitations and those of others. Being patient means accepting the fact that it takes time to mature and develop. Living with patience allows for time to integrate and shape our lives. The failure to patiently affirm and support others is the failure to love as Jesus loved and taught us to love. When he taught us the Lord’s Prayer, the only aspect of human relations he mentions is that of our needing to forgive finite, limited others as we, too, have been forgiven.

Markus Müller put’s this in other words:

Failure is not the end of things but very often the very beginning. Some things need to go a level deeper before they can grow. Look at the many seeds needing a certain amount of depth and darkness in order to germinate. God being strong in the weak is not meant to emphasize the weak but is embedded in the compassion of God. Weakness and failure are aligned and put in the order of Him who has all power in future of heaven and earth.

Failure is not in contradiction to success. Through the compassion and grace of God, failure finds a new expression in the power of God and His works. In this light, failure leads us to strength. This is relevant not only to individual failure but also collective failure as seen in people groups, cultures, churches and society. Paul sums this up wonderfully in the verse:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who strengthens me.
Therefore taking weakness and failure seriously, is not just trying to overcome or avoid it, but seriously tackling it, leading us to transformation, to a renewing of our mind and thoughts. The opposite of failure is now; hope and faith and not success.

Heavenly Father, Son and Spirit, In your light we truly see; In your love we truly love; In your freedom we are truly free; In your peace we are truly at peace; In your joy we are truly joyful; In your wisdom we are truly wise; In your strength we are truly strong; In your goodness we are truly good; In your life we are truly alive; in your beauty we are truly beautiful; in your happiness we are truly happy. In you alone, we live and move and have our being. In you alone, we have this hope of unending joy.

Wishing a great start this week!
Philemon