Friday, February 6, 2015

Love Wins Even in the Face of the Beast. (Confessions of a recovering Cynic)




"…and this is the evil world you will have to raise your daughter in."  I just heard this yesterday as it was followed by a story about how terrible this world has come to. My heart sank, I hate being reminded about this but I retorted quickly: "I'm not believing that for her, or for me." I've believed this "truth" at one time too.  I've said this statement, myself. At one point I thought also this world was spiraling into a dark abyss and there was no hope for our future as our sins take up residents right along side our offspring…..

I disagree now.  Although this false doctrine is sold to us everywhere we go: TV, radio, churches, well-meaning relatives and friends, we have to believe different, we have to hope for different. And we have to fight this false truth with love, or  the results of this evil could take residence in our hearts and we will suffer the same sickness from it. The sickness of being cynical.

I know there IS evil out there, there's no denying that.  But does it have to make us so cynical? Doesn't being cynical mean we've kind of given up hope?  We don't believe there could be better.  I do, because I know love does.  Love always believes, and love always trust.  It believes all things and it hopes all things.  I believe theres more good than evil.  Though the evil looks sometimes like a scary looking beast lurking at us from every corner, we are more powerful if we have love.

And guess what, I'll let you in on a little secret of what happens at the end: Love Wins.  Yep, the little itty bitty lamb slain and drenched in it's own blood will always defeat the big bad beast.  Why?  Because Love in it's purest form is the sacrificial lamb.  And the lamb shows us the way.  The way of Love.  We must always follow the way of the Lamb.  This IS the way of suffering.  But the good thing about this way, it is the way to Hope.

When I think of this love I think of the depiction in Revelations. Written by John the Revelator and is a symbolic depiction of the Roman empire in a beastly way.  It is not that hard of a book to understand.  We just happen to be 2000 years removed and speak a different language and culture, so it seems hard. Studying Historical context shows us it's NOT a book about doom and gloom destruction of the world but a book of Hope.  What?!? lol, I'm still researching this but Apocalypse doesn't mean "The End", it means "The Unveiling." The unveiling of God's Goodness.  The big bad beast coming up out of the water is Empire.  Man governing over man.  Man killing man.  Man doing things, his own way instead of God's. Guess what defeats the way of man? And it's even a satirical depiction in Revelations of the way the beast is destroyed in that it is by a little sweet lamb.  They point and say "Look behold a Lion" but when you look they only see a little tiny lamb laying down, blood soaked with it's own blood.  A poor little pitiful thing...

You wanna know something else that's cool, the number 666, you don't have to be afraid of that number, lol.  It's the number of man (man was made on the 6th day) it's the number of Beast.  You know having the mark of the beast means? Being reduced to a number in the machine (empire), looking at men as numbers instead of human beings. Dehumanizing man into something to benefit the Empire's needs. Man, man, man in place of where God, God, God needs to be.  Think about it, where do we place man's ideas before God's, before Jesus' ideas.  Jesus' ideas are and will always will be radical to our ideas.  For they are God's ideas and God's ideas are waaayy above our ideas.  We can't even picture a world not ran by man's agenda, it's so engrained in us to think of God as just something to pull along side with us while we execute God's plan in "saving" the world.  When in fact God tells us through Jesus, just to love God and Love man.  Be a sweet lil pitiful lamb in a world of big bad wolves!

Why do we have to love God first?  Because we can't find it in our hearts to love people like Christ does.  It's too radical and it's putting us last and putting God's agenda first.  This agenda can be pretty scary because it goes against what we want to do.  We want to be right, we want to govern over others, we want people to serve our God.  We need to do things our way to execute this plan…no, no, no, and no. This is the way it's been done and this is the wide gate of destruction not the narrow path of peace.

Now we can believe in this way, which is God's way, or we can do it man's way, which we've been doing for a long time and it's been nothing but an endless cycle of hurt, pain, death, and violence….But there is hope from this, we have to believe in better for our children.  We have to put us to the side and work on loving them wholeheartedly.

I preach this all the time but I'll say it again.  Know the fruits of the spirit because THAT will show you if someone is driven by the Holy Spirit instead of self-driven.  Where the Spirit reigns in the life of a believer, you will see these fruits manifested and Jesus said you will know someone by their fruits.  If they preach: Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance (long-suffering) kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  And these fruits will manifest in every aspect of their life not just the heart. These fruits are not earned in ourself because these come only with the Holy Spirit. They are the result of submitting to Christ completely and daily.  And if someone is driven by pride, anger, lust, division, accusation, they are not of the spirit.  These are not my ideas, but Jesus's and they are usually a hard pill to swallow for all of us because they remind us of the struggle we fight daily in falling short of the Glory of God.

FAITH, HOPE and LOVE.  These are the three important components to living in Christ's Kingdom.  Faith in trusting in God's plan wholeheartedly beyond our wants and desires and even our need to survive. Believing God to meet our needs.  Hope in believing better when everyone and everything says we shouldn't and even other believers.  And Love.  Love because in the end, the Light will always drive out the darkness in every aspect.  In our hearts and in our world.  Jesus didn't just come so you could ask forgiveness from your sins without killing an animal, he came to save us from our sins.  Save us from our ways of the old world kingdom and into His world Kingdom.  Open yourself up to Love and let it reign in every aspect of your life.  You'll be surprised at the power of the Love of a lil sacrificial lamb….

(Again wish I could take credit for reading and studying the bible on my own but it comes by way of great teachers and theologians helping me.  Brian Zahnd, Jonathan Stone, Walter Bruggeman, NT Wright, Eugene Petterson and lots of other greats have such an influence in my life.)


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