Thursday, 21 June 2018

The Kingdom of God.


A few weeks ago we had the reading from 1 Samuel where the people of Israel wanted a king like other nations.

Previously Israel had been ruled by Judges who were instructed by God Himself.

God says to Samuel, "'they have rejected me from being king over them.'"  1 Samuel 8:7 (NRSV)

This throws a whole new light on the Lord's Prayer where Jesus says, "'Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'"  Matthew 6:10 (NRSV)

Was Jesus proposing a return to the rule of God?

It is interesting that the early Christian martyrs were mostly executed for refusing to bow down to Caesar.

They insisted that Jesus was their king.

So what does it mean to accept God as king over you?

It means accepting the ways of God which are the ways of mercy and compassion.

And rejecting the ways of the world which are materialistic, self-serving, egotistical, ruthless, cold, hard, and violent.

It means that every decision we make is informed by the Love of God through prayer and devotion.
 
This is what it means to build the Kingdom of God on earth.


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]

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(The image has been slightly modified.)

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Hearts of Stone.


Contrary to the opinion that hearts of stone are the result of toughness and strength I say that hearts of stone are the result of fear.

So if your heart is hard and unforgiving.

If you are selfish and miserly.

You are most likely afraid.

This is why it is important not to preach fear.

Fear of judgement, fear of punishment for sins, fear of hell create a heart that is cold and hard.

The result is violence and force.

But contact with the true God softens our fears and softens our hearts.

We feel love and compassion.

We care and we help.

We have hearts of flesh.


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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Fear.


There are only two things in the world:

Love and Fear.

Whether directly or indirectly all evil, violence, and hatred in our world comes from fear.

Whether it be deliberate evil chosen as an alternative to a fearful image of God.

Or force and violence in response to fear of hell and damnation.

All these abominations stem from fear.

But God does not punish us.

God is our loving Father.

And a father does not condemn his children.

The traditional image of God as a harsh and vindictive punisher of men and women is false.

It stems from fear.

But "perfect love casts out fear".  1 John 4:18 (NRSV)

The Love of God overcomes our fears.

Love God and love your neighbor.

And your fear will dissolve like the mist.


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]

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Monday, 18 June 2018

Satanism in the World.


There is Satanism in rock music, sports, and entertainment.

It curses and poisons us.

We are disturbed and distracted.

But it is hidden behind a mask of glamour and celebrity.

It is disguised as harmless fun and pleasure.

But it is not harmless.

Drugs, divorce, depression, hedonism, excess, insanity, suicide.....

All these things derive from Satanism in our world.

And it is from this that we need Salvation.


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Sunday, 17 June 2018

Dogs and Divas.


People who have sold their souls - rock stars, celebrities, sports men and women - believe that because they have paid with their souls they are entitled to fame and fortune and the perfection of their art.

They expect "money for nothing and their chicks for free".

They have confidence in the power of Satan to deliver these things and also to hide them in the darkness.

This is the arena of the dark arts: black magic, witchcraft, and Satanism.

But they are false prophets.

Dogs and divas.

They distract and they disturb.

They divert and they deceive.

So beware!

We have been betrayed.


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Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Beatitudes.


When we first hear the Beatitudes they seem enigmatic, even unreal.

They seem to turn our experience of the world on its head.

But the key to understanding the Beatitudes is that they represent the values of the Kingdom of God not the values of the world.

These are the attitudes and values which come from God.

And it is these that Jesus was attempting to establish on earth.

So as disciples of Jesus of Nazareth we should strive to embody the values of the Kingdom of God,

As set out in the Beatitudes.


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Friday, 15 June 2018

Traditional/Progressive.


The Church has traditionally taught the Fall/Redemption model of Christianity.

That is: we are all condemned because of the Original Sin of Adam and Eve but Jesus has paid the price for our sins on the cross.

We have been told that sex is a sin.

And that we must earn our place in Heaven by doing good works.

It is no coincidence that these good works, as set out in Matthew 25, are accompanied by terrifying threats of damnation.

Progressive Christianity, however, teaches that Jesus commandment was to love.

To love God and love our neighbor.

To love one another as he loved us.

And that Matthew 25 teaches us that everyone is our neighbor.

Many Progressive Christians believe that God does not judge us.

So there can be no hell.

Hell is totally out of character for a loving God.

And God is Love.

So we seek to replace the motivation of fear with a motivation of love.


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