August 27 Esight, 2010

I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them . . . Hosea 14.4-7Recently, I received an email thanking me for the affect the presentations online had made on the their picture of our heavenly Father. The writer went on to share information about a series of meetings he was trying to put together and asked for feedback about the advertising. (Honestly, I think I’m going to steal some of it.) I’ll share the phrase that jumped out at me.

“We are a group of Christians apologizing for how the church has misrepresented Jesus. We’re sorry.”

I wonder how much respect we would gain in the world if Christian leaders, no matter how much good their religion has brought to the world, would stand up and apologize for the times when they have misrepresented God and, honestly, messed things up.

I remember that when I was little my mother made a huge mistake one day and quickly sat me down and said she was wrong and she was sorry. I remember my level of respect for her dramatically soared that day. I remember a time my oldest daughter was very young, and I lost my cool with her and spoke to her in an exasperated tone. I quickly dropped to my knees in front of her, took her face in my hands (wiping away the little tears that were just forming) and told her I was sorry. She’s much older now but recently shared how much it had affected her that I immediately recognized my error and owned it, simply saying I was sorry.

Too many times, when it comes to religion, we live in denial, afraid to admit where we have messed up for fear that others may lose confidence in us. (I have often wondered what would happen if my own church would simply stop rewriting its history and simply admit where we have erred, apologize, and move forward.) Only God and the angels are infallible. We here are earth are not. We will make mistakes, and when we do, it’s not the mistake that will cause others to lose respect for us. Our ability to confess a mistake and apologize for our living in denial will determine how effective we continue to be in this world. I think a lot could be accomplished if Christians around the globe would simply say, “I’m sorry.”

I’ll close this week with the following verse. Pay close attention to it and see if you spot what I see here.

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. Ezekiel 36.22-27

It may help our cause greatly to simply say, “We’re Sorry.”

Something to ponder.

I wish you God’s best this week.

August 17 Esight, 2010

“You who are far away, hear what I have done; And you who are near, acknowledge My might. Sinners in Zion are terrified; Trembling has seized the godless. Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with the everlasting burnings?”—Isaiah 33.13-14If any of you have listened to the presentation entitled Love’s Eternal Flame from Life Unlimited, what I am about to share this week will make perfect sense with just a little thought.

Over and over in the scriptures, God likens His love for us to an eternally burning, everlasting, unquenchable fire! (Misunderstanding of these passages has led many people to believe in an eternally burning hell, an idea that I neither subscribe to nor believe that the scriptures really teach.) Three words are found throughout the scriptures: eternal, everlasting, and unquenchable. Stop for just one moment this week and ponder what it means to experience this type of love.

Solomon wrote, “… Love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it …” (Song of Solomon 8.6,7).

God’s love for us in not only unquenchable, it is everlasting:

The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness” (Jeremiah 31.3).

This is the quality of love each of us truly desires: a love that is all-knowing, yet eternal and unchanging. We yearn for a love that knows us intimately to the smallest detail, knows everything about us, and yet loves us nonetheless. This quality of love changes us. It changes our lives. It changes those around us and, ultimately, it will change the world and usher in the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of this quality of love.

Let’s finish the verse we began with, shall we?

“Sinners in Zion are terrified; Trembling has seized the godless. Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning? He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity, He who rejects unjust gain and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; He who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil; He will dwell on the heights, his refuge will be the impregnable rock; his bread will be given him, his water will be sure” (Isaiah 33:14-16).

Who will dwell for eternity in the presence and embrace this perfect love, while others around him or her are consumed? He who walks “righteously”, or in other words, those who allow that love to be divinely reproduced in their lives.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous … you are to be perfect [love perfectly], as your heavenly Father is perfect [loves perfectly] (Matthew 5:43-48, brackets added).

In the light of His unquenchable love for you, you too, go out and love someone this week!

I wish you God’s best.